Engaging community in the Third Cultural Space

‘Parents play a crucial role in supporting their children’s learning, and levels of parental engagement are consistently associated with better academic outcomes.’  (The Guidance Report, 2019)

Research has found the following:

Indigenous teaching assistants working collaboratively between home and school act as the cultural bridge (Price, Jackson-Barrett, Gower & Herrington, 2017, pp. 93–105).

Indigenous teaching assistants are invaluable resources in Australian schools. When supported to work effectively, they can make a significant difference to students’ learning outcomes.

In First Nations communities, the teaching team must be grounded in an approach that is culturally responsive and pedagogically strong. This empowers First Nations Australian educators to link cultural knowledge with contemporary curriculum and pedagogical knowledge. Team-teaching practices that classroom teachers and Indigenous teaching assistants share help classroom teachers to gain understandings of Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing. They can then incorporate these into their teaching repertoire, which strengthens their practice (AITSL, 2021, p.10).

Spaces and places where Indigenous Knowledge holders, Indigenous teaching assistants, and First Nations families and communities come together for meaningful dialogue are culturally safe spaces to share knowledges. Yarning circles and storytelling between adults are examples of working in the Third Cultural Space. Through sharing knowledges within the Third Cultural Space, teachers learn about realistic and relevant teaching and learning contexts. Indigenous Knowledge holders sharing their stories of mathematics on Country can help teachers to contextualise mathematics from different perspectives. Teachers then:

  • increase their cultural capability through listening to others
  • use their expert content knowledge of mathematics to localise the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics.

Implementation strategies and considerations



Collaboratively plan culturally responsive mathematics content and pedagogy within the Third Cultural Space

  • When teachers plan culturally responsive mathematics content and pedagogy within the Third Cultural Space, it helps them to implement the cross-curriculum priority: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures.

© 2023 Commonwealth of Australia. These resources may be used under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. These resources were created by Stronger Smarter Institute and Indigenous knowledge-holders.