Darlaston-Jones, D. (2011). From Avatar to Liyarn Ngarn: Utilising film as a device in anti-racism education. 46th Annual APS Conference.
Teaching within an anti-racism framework presents many obstacles to even the most skilled educator. Overcoming resistance from students and helping them to deal with the emotional consequences associated with such content as well as the journey of understanding (for both student and educator) can be difficult. Often it is the anxiety associated with managing these responses and reactions from students as well as their own lack of knowledge and skill that inhibits educators from attempting to teach such content. In this presentation, I will discuss the development of a second year unit, Culture & Society, including the theoretical foundations and pedagogical structure of the lectures, tutorials and assessments. Specifically, I will outline the strategy of employing contemporary films such as Avatar, and Freedom Writers alongside the documentaries Australian Eye, Why Me? and Liyarn Ngarn as a device to illustrate concepts that often invoke resistance and to promote empathy as a means of facilitating understanding. I have taught the unit for three years and have achieved satisfaction ratings of 97.6% with students indicating that while it is the most difficult unit they have undertaken it has also been the most rewarding.