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The 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning
Transcript of The 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning
Story Sharing is about learning through narrative. It requires the teacher to read a story about a given mathematical concept or share a mathematical experience.
'Have a yarn-up about times when you've used maths to solve real problems in your life. Highlight the importance of yarning as a way of creating and passing on knowledge in Aboriginal culture.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶11)
Non-Verbal teaching strategies use hands-on tasks and require students to think reflectively about their learning. It utilises collaborative, kinaesthetic learning activities.
'Do hands-on problem-solving activities and allow time for reflection. Explore unspoken values and ethical issues in content. Explain that learning without words by using your hands,
thinking deeply and finding unspoken meanings are all
central to Aboriginal culture.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Symbols & Images
Symbols and Images might require students to draw, use concrete materials or visualise a given concept. It may also involve students using a metaphor to represent the concept.
'Use visuals and create symbols to help students understand and remember content. Promote this as an Aboriginal form of communication.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Land links refers to outdoors, place-based learning. It involves relating what students are learning to the location and land.
'If you have to measure something, why not measure natural objects from the local landscape? Highlight Aboriginal connection to Country.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Deconstruct - Reconstruct
Deconstruct -Reconstruct refers to the method of breaking up a whole into parts and then building it again. This may involve modelling the break down process and then scaffolding the work so students can reconstruct the whole from all the parts.
'Model every activity for students, promoting an Aboriginal
protocol of "Watch first, then do".' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Community Links refers to sharing information and connecting what is taught with the community. It involves looking at how learning will benefit the community.
'Relate problems and maths applications back to community life wherever possible. Allow students to teach/apply important mathematical knowledge to the community. Where a community equivalent does not exist for content you are teaching, discuss ways in which the new knowledge could be applied for community benefit. Create outlets and projects for students to teach/apply important mathematical knowledge to the community.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Non-Linear refers to the notion of using different pathways to reach the idea/knowledge. This may mean that you approach the problem indirectly or through a variety of different ways.
'Apply mathematical knowledge to unrelated/unexpected domains and contexts. Set problems with multiple creative solutions. Celebrate this kind of creative and adaptive thinking as the reason for
Aboriginal culture being the longest surviving culture on the planet.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
Learning Maps suggest that teachers create a visual layout of the learning process. It could be the plan or overview used for mapping a given topic.
'Use pictorial graphs to make learning maps showing student progress and desired outcomes. Use mapping to show learning pathways. Explain that visualising plans and pathways is an important part of Aboriginal culture.' (8way maths, 2013, ¶15)
8ways home. In 8 Aboriginal ways of learning. (2013). Retrieved from: http://8ways.wikispaces.com/
8way maths. In 8 Aboriginal ways of learning. (2013). Retrieved from: http://8ways.wikispaces.com/
Australian Aboriginal enumeration. In Wikipedia: The free encyclopedia. (2014). Retrieved from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_Aboriginal_enumeration
Hughes, P., More, A. J., & Williams, M. (2004). Aboriginal ways of learning. Adelaide:Flinders Press.
Pi day and teacher's notebook. In Cheers to school. (2012). Retrieved from: http://cheerstoschool.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/pi-day-and-teachers-notebook.html
Traditional Aboriginal games and activities. In Creative spirits. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://www.creativespirits.info/aboriginalculture/sport/traditional-aboriginal-games-activities
Quirindi Maths in Education. (2004). Retrieved from: http://ab-ed.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/files/Quirindi_Handbook.pdf
What can we do?
The 8 ways of Aboriginal learning is a
pedagogical framework designed to support inclusive teaching practices through the use Aboriginal learning techniques.
It provides a way to teach to the curriculum whilst being inclusive of Aboriginal perspectives.
The 8 ways are simple strategies that teachers can employ into their everyday lessons.
'How we learn - culture way
1. We connect through the stories we share.
2. We picture our pathways of knowledge.
3. We see, think, act, make and share without words.
4. We keep and share knowledge with art and objects.
5. We work with lessons from land and nature.
6. We put different ideas together and create new knowledge.
7. We work from wholes to parts, watching and then doing.
8. We bring new knowledge home to help our mob.'
(8ways home, 2013, ¶12)
When teaching mathematics we often ask our class: "why is it important to know this?"
Community Links refers to asking a similar question: "how could learning this skill help me and how can I use this knowledge to help others in the community?"
When teaching a new topic, an introductory worksheet like "Maths in Real World?" can help to build community links.
Within our usual lessons, we often give students the "big picture" and then break it down into smaller parts.
An example of this could be when finding the area of a circle.
Show students the formula for finding the area and then break it into separate parts. Trace different circles on graph paper and count the squares. Then ask students to divide the area of the circles by their diameter to investigate pi. Make pi using different
coloured beads to represent each number.
And finally, create the formula and
practise using it.
Image and bead idea sourced from: http://cheerstoschool.blogspot.com.au/2012/03/pi-day-and-teachers-notebook.html
As with all students, we often need to demonstrate more than one way for solving a given problem.
We may also find it is easier to approach a given mathematics topic incidentally, for example, as a requirement for another area of study. We could encounter mathematics as part of music, science, PE or art.
A culturally inclusive way of incorporating outdoor, place-based learning strategies could be to use an Aboriginal game like Battendi. Battendi gives the teacher the opportunity to address content from measurement (how far and how high the spear is thrown) and statistics (the results collected).
Popplet could be used as a way to create learning maps for a given topic.
Sharing an experience can be done simply in classrooms by talking about mathematical experiences when shoppping, building or playing sport.
A culturally inclusive way of Story Sharing, could be in reading the book 'Can you count in Greek?:
number systems' by Judy
Leimbach & Kathy
discussing and working
with an Indigenous
number counting system.
Here is an example of how kinaesthetic and collaborative learning could be applied to angles.
Using string and giant protractors. Students work in pairs, moving around the yard attaching or looping the piece of string around a given object. They measure the angle and name it according to the order of the object and people (from the start of the string to the end).
Symbols and images could be used to teach the distributive principle:
Indigenous Australians carry fears about education as a result of past historical events.
Education is important but it mustn't come at the cost of lost identity.
Indigenous students are disadvantaged, we are not achieving equality in our educational systems.
Part of this issue is related to poor attendance.
Indigenous history and culture are often neglected in our classrooms.
As a result, students cannot see themselves in what they are learning.
Education needs to be inclusive, authentic, meaningful, relevant and culturally significant.