Not everybody will process trauma in a similar way. It could be possible that in learning about the stolen generation in history, some students would be traumatized more than others. However, trauma of the stolen generations has to be taught to students in a way that does not traumatize them (Carello & Butler, 2014). Careful planned strategy has to be taken up here. For instance, in the St Justin’s Catholic Primary school in Sydney a form of experiential learning was conducted where the children in year 4 were told that parents did not care about them and hence they would be moved out to foster care (Wahquist, 2017). Some of the students started to cry. The original intention of the school was to create an experiential learning for the children by presenting them the same trauma situation that the stolen generation faced, and then attempting to teach them about the stolen generation. Now this form of a strategy will case distress in children. They might not process emotions well, and in current times, we are more aware of the need to protect children compared to what happened for the stolen generation.
Ivan’s learning connects across to previous learning I have on the subject. The connection is more emotive. I was able to understand the magnitude of the unfair situation that was created for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait people. Previous learning experiences generally tended to ignore personal narratives in the understanding of history. Ivan’s story was more like a personal narrative where the reader is made to walk through the history of the oppressions, legislations and more in a sequential format. The reader could understand the impact better. The reader can hence better appreciate the situation from the eyes of a person who was traumatized by the happenings. The emotions felt when listening to Ivan’s story were mainly empathy and sadness. It would be impossible to change the past but by presenting this history in a sensitive way to everybody would be the right thing to do. If I was to mark on a scale of 1-5 with 1 indicating very mild emotional impact, I would rate Ian’s story as impacting me at a level of 4. At sometimes in the lecture, I felt overwhelmed. For instance, those points on how children’s letters from parents were hidden and how children were told that their parents abandoned them had me overwhelmed.
Story Telling Strategy: While older children could perhaps handle experiential learning better, the younger children in primary and secondary level will require a different approach. The first strategy is to adopt some form of storytelling that helps them connect to the issues of the stolen generation, the background and more in a better way. Now for primary school children, this pictorial version would help. In this book ‘Rabbits’, a pictorial representation of how conflicts were created between the Whites and the natives of the land and how with time, the voices of the Aborigines and the Torres Straits came to be muted and more are represented through cartoons and little texts (Marsden & Tan, 1998). Critical issues are presented, but in a story telling way, it would reach out to the children without creating trauma in learning. Once they go through this story telling phase, they would be better prepared to handle the actual history lesson.
Personal Engagement: A personal engagement could be created for the students for the teaching of the history lessons. The students could be given poster activities, essay activities and more, and can be asked to research and look up information and submit them to instructor. This will give the students the option to connect with information as they see fit.