Dare to Lead: National Indigenous Education Conference
‘What a difference a good start makes:
Indigenous Early Childhood Approaches’
September 2009: Melbourne
Thinkin’ you know…gettin’ it wrong…and us missin’ out:
Aboriginal worldview and knowledge, English literacy –
great expectations or grating obsessions?
Dr Karen L Martin
Associate Professor in Early Childhood
School of Education, Southern Cross University (Lismore: NSW)
Acknowledgements:
Ancestors
Traditional Owners
Elders
Conferences Organisers
Conference Participants
All who contribute to our individual and collective Stories
Equitable and appropriate educational outcomes:
...In April 2007, MCEETYA released the 2005 benchmarking results. The overall results
show that most Australian students in Years 3, 5, and 7 are achieving the national
literacy and numeracy benchmarks....
...Boys have lower achievements than girls in reading and writing in Years 3, 5 and 7
while students living in remote regions, especially in very remote regions, achieve the
benchmarks at lower rates than metropolitan and provincial students in all year
levels and domains...
...As in previous years, however, the achievement of Indigenous students in reading,
writing and numeracy was well below that for All students for every year level...
Commonwealth of Australia. (2007) National Report to Parliament on Indigenous Education and Training,
2005. Canberra.
WHAT ISTHE QUESTION THAT MUST BE ASKED
IS IT...
What does this mean for a young Aboriginal boy, living in a remote location in
Australia?
OR...
What meanings does a young Aboriginal boy, living in a remote location give to this
testing, to the content, to school, to life?
The NAPLAN tests for writing are assessed according to the ability to
compose a narrative based on this definition:
A narrative is a time-ordered text that is used to narrate events and to
create, entertain and emotionally move an audience. Other social
purposes of narrative writing may be to inform, to persuade and to
socialise. The main structural components of a narrative are the
orientation, the complication and the resolution.
The ten criteria assessed in the writing task are:
• Audience******
• Text structure
• Ideas****
• Character and setting
• Vocabulary*****
• Cohesion
• Paragraphing
• Sentence structure******
• Punctuation*****
• Spelling******
...We do not come to the world sharing exactly the same
experiences and realities.
We do not give exactly the same meanings to these
experiences and realities.
Nor do we develop exactly the same understandings –
Nor should we...
And now some ways to ‘test’ your levels of understanding,
the importance of meanings and the terms of reference for
understanding.
Let’s reconsider this test (for writing narratives) using
Aboriginal Terms of Reference
First...the story in it’s written form:
‘Jinda’
Ore raid. Dad ol-omen i bin ab boor jill-rin. Jerry ji ja depela nugudpela bud
jindarila i bi ore raid. Dempela awl-a-dame bin doc abadim, “Jindarila nugudpela,
Jindarila nugudpela!’. Ore raid. Dem jerri ji ja, dey bin huggly do-marge, and dey
bin go corroboree, dad beeg beeg corroboree an Jinda i bin lep om. Den i bin gray,
gray, gray, gray, gray. Den dad perry, i bi lilwan bit ore-raid and nem bilong im
‘Pirana Bitch-are-ding’ i gamab an i bin doc la Jinda. Dad Pirana awl-a-dame doc,
doc, doc. Wepela bin gal im ngankidi; bad i maj bi gainda marbarn – not coj i bin
jenj dad raggy durij bla Jinda and gibim niyu durij – do margie gud. An dad Jinda i
bin durave la corroborree ina wayid G.T. Muduga. Ore raid. Dad Jinda i bin
Jigalong all naid wid nambawanbala. “Cundeelee-bim alon?” dem jerry ji ja dey bin
doc abad imdupela. Den Jinda – i laig orla jilipela wajula – wari, wari, wari abad
dame. Awl-da-dime i bin luk, luk la waj. Den i bin run op an i bin looj one pela
jinabootba. Ore raid. Nambawanbala i bin luk luk eberiwe an i bin dray bit dad
jinabootba la awla jina bla awla oowan. Jinda i bin dray jinabootba an im bin bit im.
“Yunmibala labda git merry dumarra”. Ore raid. Olman i bin gamab an i bin doc la
imdubala. “Najing doing. Yundulbala bi long la rong jab-jekjin an Jinda bilong la
mi”. Ore raid. Den olman bait with nambawanbala an nambawanbala i bin pinij. Do
marie, init? (Created by Dr Toby Metcalfe, 1993).
Let’s reconsider this test (for writing narratives) using
Aboriginal Terms of Reference
Now...the story in it’s spoken form
‘Jinda’
And now the story in it’s written and verbal forms.
‘Jinda’
Ore raid. Dad ol-omen i bin ab boor jill-rin. Jerry ji ja depela nugudpela bud
jindarila i bi ore raid. Dempela awl-a-dame bin doc abadim, “Jindarila nugudpela,
Jindarila nugudpela!’. Ore raid. Dem jerri ji ja, dey bin huggly do-marge, and dey
bin go corroboree, dad beeg beeg corroboree an Jinda i bin lep om. Den i bin gray,
gray, gray. Den dad perry, i bi lilwan bit ore-raid and nem bilong im ‘Pirana Bitchare-ding’ i gamab an i bin doc la Jinda. Dad Pirana awl-a-dame doc, doc, doc.
Wepela bin gal im ngankidi; bad i maj bi gainda marbarn – not coj i bin jenj dad
raggy durij bla Jinda and gibim niyu durij – do margie gud. An dad Jinda i bin
durave la corroboree ina wayid G.T. Muduga. Ore raid. Dad Jinda i binJigalong all
naid wid nambawanbala. “Cundeelee-bim alon?” dem jerry ji ja dey bin doc abad
imdupela. Den Jinda – i laig orla jilipela wajula – wari, wari, wari abad dame. Awlda-dime i bin luk, luk la waj. Den i bin run op an i bin looj one pela jinabootba. Ore
raid. Nambawanbala i bin luk luk eberiwe an i bin dray bit dad jinabootba la awla
jina bla awla oowan. Jinda i bin dray jinabootba an im bin bit im. “Yunmibala labda
git merry dumarra”. Ore raid. Olman i bin gamab an i bin doc la imdubala. “Najing
doing. Yundulbala bi long la rong jab-jekjin an Jinda bilong la mi”. Ore raid. Den
olman bait with nambawanbala an nambawanbala i bin pinij. Do margie, init?
(Created by Dr Toby Metcalfe, 1993).
...We do not come to the world sharing exactly the same
experiences and realities.
We do not give exactly the same meanings to these
experiences and realities.
Nor do we develop exactly the same understandings – Nor
should we...
And now some discussion to share how meanings do differ
and how this impacts on the teaching-learning of literacies,
but especially English.
RELATEDNESS and LIFEHOOD: Aboriginal Terms of Reference
• Conception
• Birth
• Babyhood
• Childhood
• Young adulthood
• Adulthood
• Old age & Elders
• Death
RELATEDNESS THEORY:
Aboriginal Terms of Reference
MIBU
MATILDA
GEORGE
KAREN
GRANT
???
[By Aboriginal Terms of Reference, is Mibu my:
Grandmother, mother, aunty, sister, daughter, niece,
grandaughter?
Australian
Realities
Aboriginal
Realities
Schooling /
Education
Aboriginal
Studies
Aboriginal
Schooling
That Aboriginal culture is an ‘oral’
culture and that makes the acquisition
of ‘English written literacies’ more
difficult.
That to be effective, these English
literacy skills must replace, or ‘fill up’
an Aboriginal child’s existing
understandings and practices for
being multi-literate in their own
worlds, homes and Communities.
That carefully selected ‘artefacts’ are
effective for teaching an Aboriginal
child in English literacies (ie.
computers, games, dvds, books).
That reading books to learn English
is a relevant and effective strategy
in the English literacy learning of
Aboriginal children.
That books are the most ‘relevant’
means by which to engage,
enthuse and immerse an Aboriginal
child in English literacy.
That Aboriginal parents or families
don’t value schools.
That just ‘doing’ good things, nice
things, satisfying things is enough
– especially if the children / families
say they ‘like it’.
That measuring Aboriginal
learners against non-Aboriginal
learners is valid.
That testing Aboriginal learners
should not be different.
That being Aboriginal IS the
problem and this needs to be
changed, challenged or erased.
It is the task of teachers to
replace the child’s reality, vs.
expanding his/her relatedness.
An interface for the teaching-learning engagements with Aboriginal learners:
Now...for the low risk takers/low achievers, the story in a more comfortable form
‘Cinder’
All right. That old woman he been have four children. Fairy sister themfella no
good fella but Cinderella he be alright. Themfella all the time been talk about him.
“Cinderella no good fella. Cinderella no good fella!” All right. Them fairy sister, they
been ugly do magic and they been go dance, that big, big, dance and Cinder he
been left home. Then he been cry, cry, cry. Then that fairy he be little one bit alright
and him belong “Fran Fitzharding” he been come up and he been talk about
Cinder. That Fran all-the-time talk, talk, talk, talk. We fella been call him ngankidi;
but he must be have gained a (mabarn) power – not cause he been change that
raggedy dress and give him a new dress – do magic good. And that Cinder he
been drive to dance in a white GT motor-car. All right. That Cinder he been dance
all night with number one fella. Then Cinder – he like all the silly fella whitefella –
worry, worry, worry about them. All the time he been look, look the watch. Then he
been run off and he been lose one fella shoe. All right. Number one fella he been
look, look everywhere and he been try fit that shoe to all the feet of all the women.
Cinder he been try that shoe and him been fit him. “You and me fella have to get
married tomorrow”. All right. Old man he been come up and he been talk to him
two fella,“Nothing doing. You two fella belong the wrong sub-section and Cinder
belong to me”. All right. Then old man fight with number one fella and number one
fella he been finished. Do magic, eh?
To our Father’s Fathers, the pain the sorrow...
To our children’s children, the glad tomorrow
Oodgeroo Noonuccal (1993)
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