ActivitiesCreating Aboriginal Perspective activity
The Aboriginal community forms an important part of the multicultural population of Australia. Accoridng to Lowe & Yunkaporta (2013), both the aboriginals and the non-aboriginals inhabit there and they with their diversities intact in them. However, the Aboriginals do not belong to the mainstream culture of the community. Yet all the Australians share their history and culture with them. It is, however, important to acknowledge this shared history and for this purpose, the Australian government endeavors to create the Aboriginal perspectives. Lowe & Yunkaporta (2013) stated that it suggests the points of view of the Aboriginals on specific matters and events. Lowe & Yunkaporta (2013) added that in the field of education too, the Australian government always tries to maintain the Aboriginals’ perspectives for the purpose of education. It is done through consultation with the Aboriginal people of the local school community. As Lowe & Yunkaporta (2013) discussed, at first, the Aboriginal history and cultural elements are incorporated into the subject matter of the syllabus at each stage. Thus, the aboriginal history and culture get validity into the mainstream culture of the country, as they become part of the broader community of Australia. Lowe & Yunkaporta (2013) added that this incorporation process involves the Aboriginal students to relate and recognize their identity, culture and history at a very early age. As a result of it, the Aboriginals and the non-aboriginals are reconciliated.
According to Chaffey et al (2015), a research conducted on the twelve schools in New South Wales of Australia has found out that there were confusion between Aboriginal Perspectives and aboriginal Knowledge. Chaffey et al (2015) added that it is because both are incorporated to give information about Aboriginal people, their culture and history. The process should work in a way that Aboriginal knowledge is produced inside the classroom. Chaffey et al (2015) discussed that it can be performed by telling the local stories and histories related to the Aboriginal culture. However, the efforts have been made by the schools to emphasize Aboriginal Perspectives. According to Priest et al (2012) the primary concern of them is to make the teachers “culturally competent”. It happens in many instances that the teachers are not conversant with the Aboriginal cultures and history and they face difficulty to channelize the Aboriginal perspectives to the children. Priest et al (2012) added that in most of the schools with ample number of Aboriginal students celebrate National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee (NAIDOC) week, which are integral parts of Aboriginal culture. As discussed by Priest et al (2012), it is found that two schools in New South Wales put the traditional Aboriginal games into the curricula and some other schools use the Aboriginal tools such as boomerang throwing and woomeras. They added that most of the schools select a particular day to perform the Aboriginal activities to teach all the children about the Aboriginal cultures. For the best outcome, the schools have started to train the teachers and other staffs so that they understand the Aboriginal perspectives before teaching the students. Tudball & Anderson (2016) found out that one of the major attempts is the development of Personalized Learning Plans (PLPs). Still, the concept is a problematic one because in many areas the Aboriginal communities are not allowed to find their existence into the mainstream. They face racism and are marginalized. Creation of Aboriginal Perspectives is the only solution here.
A strategy to teach and learn about aboriginal community and teach both the aboriginals and non-aboriginals
According to Habibis et al (2016), there exists eight effective Aboriginal ways of learning the Aboriginal history and culture through incorporating the Aboriginal Perspectives into the teaching methods and not into the content. Habibis et al (2016) described that through the pedagogical framework teachers use aboriginal learning techniques and thus inclusion of Aboriginal Perspectives is made. According to Habibis et al (2016), the eight ways of Aboriginal learning method includes the following:
Story Sharing: This learning method involves sharing of knowledge through narratives and stories based on the Aboriginal cultures.
Learning Maps: It includes the Aboriginal Intellectual Process, which is visually represented through metaphors. These metaphors are based on Aboriginal cultures and history.
Non-verbal: Kinesthetic and Intra-personal skills are applied to teach the students how to think and learn. In this method, the body language is considered one of the useful ways of communication.
Symbols and Images: The contents of the subject and the specific concepts are demonstrated using the symbols and images in this method. It is found that sybbols and images can express the culture and its various aspects better than any other medium.
Land Links: The benefit of this method is quite similar to using the symbols and images in the method of teaching.
Non-Linear: It includes combining of systems for developing the lateral thinking among the students. Through this method, they become able to differentiate between other perspectives and different cultures.
Deconstruct-Reconstruct: this method involves transformation of focus from the whole to the part. The process is to segregate and then reunite various aspects.
Community Links: It enables learning from the people belonging to the same community.
According to Fredericks et al (2015), among the above-mentioned strategies, Link Land is considered one of the most effective ways to educate the Aboriginal children about their cultural identity. Linking Land ensures that the students get the proper idea about the place where they belong. They suggest that this method uses symbols and images for a clear picture of the land on the student’s mind. There is a particular story about how the Kangaroos got the tails. The story is considered a dreamtime story for the Aboriginal children. In the story, the two Kangaroos used to live in two different places. One Kangaroo was from the land and he was small in size with short kegs and short arms. The other Kangaroo was a inhabitant of the plains and he had long arms and long legs in his big body. According to Fredericks et al (2015), after the students are told this story, the teachers can involve them in drawing activities. Here, the students will be asked to draw the landscape in which the Kangaroos were placed. For an elaborated in-depth study, the teachers can show them some plants and picture of the animals, which inhabit at that land. They pointed out that through this, the students will be able to link the land with their identity. They will develop a sense of belongingness to the place where they have taken birth and will relate to the natural resources that are categorically parts of their country. As they discussed, another advantage of Land Linking strategy is that it includes both Story Sharing and Symbols and Images strategies. The children enjoy learning things from pictures and symbols. This is easier than learning through reading and writing. Again, the teachers can practically make the students aware of the landscapes mentioned in the story by taking them outside the classroom and showing them the landscapes. Such a practical approach of teaching develops in them a clear understanding about their country and its culture at a very early age.
According to Shipp (2013), Koori is one of the oldest living Aboriginal communities of Australia belonging to the South Coast of the New South Wales. Koori people are called by some as Brinja-Yuin which is their clan name, and some call them by the language group in which they belong. It is Dhurga. O’Shannessy & Meakins (2016) pointed out that many Koori people are from Victoria too. Maher (2013) mentioned that they prefer to consider them a Koori because it is their inherent identity. They are proud of their heritage and culture. Bat et al (2014) found that the word Koori has originated from gurri. It is an Awabakal language. However, the Koori people have a very strong sense of belongingness to a place. According to Watkins et al (2016), they identify their culture with the concept of “place”. Although they have faced dislocation from their places many times and this has made them more insecure to maintain their identity as an Australian community. Kerwin & Van Issum (2013) discussed that they cling to their strong sense of identity through establishment of cultural centers and various cultural camps across the states. They carry out various activities such as sport events. However, it is found by Barton & Barton (2014) that, the historical facts about the Koori people do not bring out the real experiences of them. As a result, they have taken the responsibility to preserve their culture, history and identity through literature, music and movie in which they represent their own experiences and views. Kennedy (2013) discussed that the koori people have established Koori Radio. It is a community radio station that belongs to Gadigal Information Service. Koori Radio station is the only existing full time broadcasting radio station in Sydney. He added that they also have their newspaper named Koori mail. This is based in Lismore, New South Wales. Indigenous people in Australia gather in New South Wales during the occasion of Koory rugby League. Godinho et al (2014) pointed out that it has been taking place since 1971 and this is one of the largest assemblies of the indigenous people in Australia.
Koori people have a very strong sense of their belongingness to Australia. Accoridng to Willis (2014) they can work effectively as a community. For example- the establishment of community radio station, the indigenous newspaper and the sports and cultural events. The teaching environment should consider their perspective at first, which contains both the content and the process. Through the incorporation of Koori people’s planning and performance in maintaining the community radio into the syllabus of the curriculum, the teachers can send a message to all the students the importance of recognizing their own identities and make an effort to establish that identity. Community Links is the best process through which the essential information about the Koori people can be imparted among the children.
I have discussed in detail how the indigenous education has gained importance with time in Australia. Now, I will share my viewpoints on the impact of these teaching methods in a professional practice. If I were to plan the indigenous teaching methods for the benefit of both the Aboriginals and non-aboriginals in Australia, I would have considered the Aboriginals’ Perspective at first. I have to keep in mind that the Aboriginals are not included into the mainstream culture of Australia; still they share their history with the mainstream Australians. In a multicultural country like Australia, the integrity among the various communities is the need of the time. I have learnt about the eight ways of teaching methods to be applied inside the classroom. For the children the Story Sharing, Link land, Symbols and Images are very useful techniques to impart education of the Aboriginal history and culture. They grasp the matter easily and develop the sense of identification. This is a part of the learning needs of the students. Inside the primary classroom, the activities such as drawing and painting encourage and influence the students to learn more effectively than reading and writing. Various interactive sessions between the students of different communities present in the classroom can develop in them a sense of community belongingness. They are able to communicate and share their viewpoints with one another. Such a practice at a very early age also develops in them mutual respect for the other people outside the community. I have learnt an important aspect of Aboriginal Perspective development, which is consultation. It is a process through which the needs and perspectives of the Aboriginal people are gained. It involves communication between them. Such a knowledge sharing is a two way process. I will go for consultation whenever I will feel the need of a people of a different identity. I will ask for his assistance for the purpose of education. This will develop reconciliation of both the cultures. Being a professional my focus would be to share knowledge at all levels of teaching. While studying about the Aboriginals I have found out the diverse culture of Australia. I have gained knowledge hoe the Koori people are making effort since a long time to establish their own identity. Their struggle for survival can be included into the teaching environment to make the other Aboriginals aware of the community efforts.
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