Aims – Approach to School Work: Noel White

Noel & Lily White, along with two of their children, Ross and Jenny (Janette), prior to attending the Katanning Show in 1949. Photograph: Noelene White.

In a previous blog, I provided a list of basic needs that we as humans need satisfying in order to function normally. These needs were not satisfied for the children of Carrolup in the environment created by the Department of Native Affairs prior to the arrival of Noel and Lily White.

In the Carrolup school environment, these needs started to be satisfied thanks to the character and teaching methods of Noel White. The Aboriginal children of Carrolup showed what could be achieved in the transformative healing environment created by their teacher.

One of these basic needs I described was, ‘Having a sense of competence and achievement. Feeling pride.’ [my emphasis]

When I looked through the family memorabilia that Noelene White gave me access to, I came across some handwritten notes by her father. These notes provide some insight into Noel’s teaching methods.  Here is one page, titled Approach to School Work. You can see that Noel uses the word ‘pride’ on three occasions. Instilling pride is a key element of his approach to education and personal development.

Aims – Education of Aboriginal Children

a. Pride in personal appearance and cleanliness.

b. Good Habit Training.

c. High standard of Moral Training and Behaviour.

d. Cultural development in literature, Art and Music.

e. Fostering sport to develop the physical side, to develop a generous outlook in competition and contention.

f. Development of pride in themselves, in attainment, in character building, in behaviour and in general bearing – in truth Good Citizens.

g. To foster pride in his origin & ancestors.’ Hand written notes of Carrolup teacher Noel White. Noel & Lily White Collection.

In an article entitled To Regain Our Pride, written for Aboriginal Quarterly in 1968, Carrolup artist Revel Cooper emphasised the importance of pride to Aboriginal people.

‘Firstly, the Aboriginal was deprived of everything, his country, the freedom to live his chosen way of life. But the greatest and most depressing loss of all was the loss of man’s greatest and most treasured asset, the possession of pride. A man without pride is doomed to failure…’

I originally wrote about Revel’s article on our blog in June 2019.

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