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EDF 2031 Assessment 2:

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Barbara Coley

on 11 May 2016

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Transcript of EDF 2031 Assessment 2:

EDF 2031 Assessment 2:

Strategies for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and teaching Non-Indigenous students about Indigenous Histories, cultures and life ways.

By Barbara Coley #25157787

My Pedagogical Approach
When teaching Indigenous and non-indigenous students, my approach will encompass aspects of behaviourist, constructivist, and emancipatory pedagogies. Furthermore, I will engage the pedagogy of listening, which I believe to be the most powerful of all. Traditionally, many schools were founded on behaviourist theories, with rote-learning and teaching to the test, common-place. With standardised testing contentiously still a government requirement, it would be foolish to deny that these practices no longer exist, and in fact, I have witnessed them whilst on placement. I believe that on very rare occasions, rote-learning still has a place in the classrooms of today, and it is important to recognise this. There are some subjects that lend themselves to repetitive memory exercises such as Mathematics times tables or learning the lines of a play, however these applications are exceptionally limited as the subject knowledge is often disconnected from experience, and is not always committed to long-term memory. It is also important not to engage just one pedagogical approach, which could be potentially limiting.
I hold far more value in real-world learning experiences in which the learner is an active participant in the leaning process (Eggen (& Kauchak, 2010). This aligns with constructivist theories of teaching and learning, based on the work of Vygotsky and Bruner. Vygotsky believed in a sociocultural theory of development that emphasises the role of culture and language in a child’s growth. This is especially relevant when teaching Indigenous students, and adopting culturally sensitive teaching practices. Vygotsky’s views are reflected in the curriculum with the inclusion of values that “reflect local contexts and take into account individual students’ family, cultural and community background” (ACARA, 2012).
Bruner coined the term “scaffolding” where students learn with assistance from a more experienced mentor. He asserted that knowledge and perception is an active, rather than passive process and also believed in a constructivist approach to learning. Bruner worked extensively in curriculum development and advised educators to adopt a spiral model of learning whereby familiar subjects are re-visited periodically and knowledge built upon in stages which is also linked to Indigenous education practices (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). These theorists had vast influences on teaching practices in general, steering away from rote-learning style classrooms to more hands on educational experiences with real world applications. Teachers should lecture less and should frequently place students in cognitively active roles that encourage them to work collaboratively, communicate more and achieve desired learning goals (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).
Furthermore, encompassing emancipatory pedagogies will help my Indigenous and non-indigenous students to develop a conscientious connectedness to themselves, each other and the wider community. Critical enquiry can lead students to unexpected discoveries, encouraging them to take action which leads to transformation (Gordon, 2008). Good teachers develop a strong sense of personal identity and their capacity for connectedness over technique is crucial (Gordon, 2008). I hope to foster a strong sense of social justice in my students which is essential to affecting change, particularly for Indigenous students, their families, and the wider Indigenous community.
Throughout my own learning journey, the pedagogy that resonates with me the most is the Pedagogy of listening, a movement championed by Dewey and Piaget. Listening pedagogy maintains action, problem-solving and inquiry through inter-personal interaction and social communication (Hua, 2012). The didactic, transmission method of lecturing is still prevalent in nearly all academic institutions, but as a teacher, I believe it is more important to listen to your students than to lecture them. The pedagogy of listening will allow me to get to know my students, both Indigenous and non-indigenous, and hear them, as I believe that I can learn as much from them as they can from me.


My approach to engaging with the families and caregivers of Indigenous Students

In order to develop effective teaching strategies for Indigenous students, it is important to understand Indigenous ways of learning. For Indigenous students, the focus of their work is often on the relationships between themselves, the teachers and other students, not purely on the content of the lesson being taught. Harrison (2010, p.17) identified four ways that children and adults learn in one Indigenous community;
• learning by observation, modelling and imitation rather than talking and listening
• learning through trial and error rather than through words and instruction, and students prefer to be confident that they will get something right before trying it
• Indigenous students learn by doing, and engaging in purposeful tasks, rather than learn something to apply it sometime in the future
• Indigenous people learn through context-specific activities rather than through theory
Indigenous students need to have learning experiences that reflect real-life situations to enable them to make contextual connections to the learning and see the relevance in what they are learning about (Schott, 2005). A holistic approach to teaching Indigenous students will create a relaxed and informal classroom environment with plenty of co-operative group work, modelling, scaffolding and opportunities for practice and extension (Shott, 2005). Teachers need to know the child’s social and physical surroundings and be able to adapt the education to their individual needs, whilst developing strong relationships and providing practical experiences. (Hart, 1981).
The Northern Territory Department of Education and Training recommend that teachers develop cultural competence and understanding, particularly because Indigenous student have an additional learning load before they begin to study the curriculum, as many students must first learn the language, rules, procedures and expectations of school, whilst still maintaining their cultural identity (Perso, 2010). Teachers can develop a critical pedagogy of reflection that shows a willingness to reflect on their own position of privilege and power in relation to the students and their families (Perso, 2010). For example, many Indigenous students do not display the competitive determination and drive of their non-indigenous peers, who will develop intrinsically-linked rewards of success and achievement from their motivation to learn (Harrison, 2010). Indigenous students may view this approach to learning as selfish, and at the expense of others, which is in cultural conflict to Western education. As a teacher, I will respect this position, and learn from this belief of moving away from judgements and competitiveness, which is different to the cultural attitudes that I have come to accept as the norm.
When teaching, I will employ a pedagogy of cultural competence and develop strategies to engage Indigenous students in active learning including establishing strong relationships, maintaining high expectations, making the learning meaningful by designing practical and relevant activities, and catering to diverse leaning styles particularly kinaesthetic and visual learners (Perso, 2010). Additionally I will provide plenty of scaffolding, where the meaning of a text is jointly constructed, check for understanding, providing opportunities for group work and working in pairs, allow Indigenous students to test new skills privately, avoid shaming students at all costs, limit demands and be willing to listen (Harrison, 2010).

My approach to developing a
Koorie Education Learning Plan

My approach to developing a Koorie Education Learning Plan [KELP], will be to develop a positive partnership with families and caregivers of Indigenous students to achieve the best possible learning outcomes for their child. The purpose of a KELP is to develop a learning journey with the aim of closing the gap between the educational outcomes of Indigenous and non-indigenous students, which has become a national priority (Department of Education and Early Childhood Development [DEECD], 2012). KELP addresses several key areas that are closely linked to closing the gap; readiness for school, engagement and connections, attendance, Literacy and Numeracy, Leadership, quality teaching and workforce development, pathways for further education, training and employment outcomes (DEECD, 2012, p.4). Through better partnerships between teachers and families of Indigenous students, a new culture of high expectations will emerge, with more emphasis on teacher accountability, which is why, as a pre-service teacher, I need to be aware of the importance of KELPs and their practical application in schools. Through the implementation of KELP’s in Victorian schools, a system of respect, recognition and celebration of cultural identity will emerge (DEECD, 2012).
As part of developing KELPs for Indigenous students, each child has their own Individual Education Plan [IEP], that continually plans learning goals and reviews the student’s progress within the Australian Curriculum. As a teacher, I will work with the Learning Plan Manager who will consult with a local Aboriginal Education Consultative group, as well as plan, report and program resources to ensure that each student’s learning goals are established in order to improve progress and educational outcomes (DEECD, 2012). Once the KELP is established, a timeline is developed, with current performance, learning goals, strategies, student voice and reviews clearly expressed (DEECD, 2012). I will support each student to achieve these goals, and maintain contact with parents and caregivers through regular meetings, reviews and constant communication through the KELP online learning tool. The goals will be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely, taking into account curriculum requirements, previous learning plans and differentiated learning programs (DEECD, 2012).
I will take time to assure the student and their family that the KELP is not used as a way of keeping their child under constant surveillance, but is a useful tool to track their growth and achievements, whilst highlighting areas that are in need of further development. It is also a way in which the students’ voices will be heard and allow them to take ownership of their learning journey and investment in a brighter future. By developing close and positive partnerships with parents and caregivers of Indigenous students when developing a KELP, a shared responsibility of learning is established and strong links are formed to make sure that vital progress is made to close the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous students (DEECD, 2012).

Video demonstration of effective teaching strategies
Effective teaching strategies for teaching Indigenous Students
Reflective piece on how I developed my culturally appropriate teaching style
References
Image courtesy - ourdreamings.com
Acknowledgement of Country
I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of this land, the Boonerwrung People of the Kulin nations, reflected upon in this presentation, and to pay my respects to elders both past and present.
Image courtesy www.clk.com
Image courtesy www.georgeinstitute.gov.org
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority [ACARA]. (2012). The Australian Curriculum - English. Retrieved from http://www.acara.edu.au/verve/_resources/The_Shape_of_the_Australian_Curriculum_V3.pdf

Australian Human Rights Commission. (2011). Social Justice and Human Rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples. Retrieved fromhttp://www.hreoc.gov.au/social_justice/info_sheet.html

Bin-Sallik, M. (2003). Cultural safety: Let’s name it! The Australian journal of Indigenous Education (23). Retrieved from http://www.atsis.uq.edu.au/ajie/docs/2003322128.pdf

Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (2012). Koorie Education Learning Plan KELP. Retrieved from http://www.education.vic.gov.au/Documents/about/programs/aboriginal/kelpresource.pdf

Eggen, P. & Kauchak, D. (2010). Educational psychology: Windows on classrooms. New Jersey, USA: Pearson.

Gordon, M. (2008), Between Constructivism and Connectedness. Journal of Teacher Education 59 (4), pp. 322-331. doi: 10.1177/0022487108321379

Harrison, N. (2010). Teaching and Learning in Indigenous Education. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press.

Hart, M. (1981). Traditional Aboriginal Education. In Aboriginies and Schooling: Essays in honour of Max Hart (pp.1 – 11). Retrieved from http://images.lib.monash.edu.au/edf4018/04118549.pdf

Herbert, J. (2012). Ceaselessly circling the centre: Historical contextualization of indigenous education within Australia (pp. 91 – 103). History of Education Review 41, 2. DOI http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/10.1108/08198691311269484

Hua, Z. (2012). Turning to the pedagogy of “listening”. Complicity: and international journal of complexity in education 1 (9). Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/ps/i.do?ty=as&v=2.1&u=monash&it=search&s=RELEVANCE&p=AONE&qt=TI~Turning%20to%20the%20pedagogy~~SP~57~~IU~1~~SN~1710-5668~~VO~9&lm=&sw=w&authCount=1

McIntosh, P. (1988). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible knapsack. Retrieved from http://moodle.vle.monash.edu/pluginfile.php/3022469/mod_resource/content/3/WhitePrivilege.pdf

Perso, T. (2010). Pedagogical framework for cultural competence: Literacy and Numeracy Policy guidelines. Northern Territory Department of Education and Training :Prioritising Literacy and Numeracy. Retrieved from http://www.education.nt.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0017/15218/PedagogicalFrameworkCulturalCompetence.pdf

Schott, J. (2005). Effective teaching strategies for Indigenous learners. Literacy Learning: The middle years 13 (2), p.50-56. Retrieved from http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.lib.monash.edu.au/fullText;dn=144014;res=AEIPT

Stronger Smarter TV (2015, April, 21). Stronger Smarter: What is a high expectations relationship – Dalby SHS [Video file]. Retrieved from www.v=HjDiNEQ36-U
Explanation of specific teaching strategies in the video
For Indigenous students to gain proficiency in Literacy, a combination of phonics and whole-language approaches to reading and writing are not entirely sufficient. The "Reading to learn approach" has been proven to be a successful approach to teaching Indigenous students to read and write systematically from the top down (Harrison, 2010). This approach is also successful for teaching students from disadvantaged backgrounds and ESL students, as well as Inidigenous students, as children from these families often lack access to resources, books and reading support in the home. Indigenous students in particular will benefit from intensive support from teachers and begin to recognise, understand, and use the complex language patterns of written text (Harrison, 2010).
In the youtube video, I tried to convey teaching an Indigenous student a literacy lesson using the "Reading to Learn" approach. I started by connecting the literacy lesson to a topic in Science that the student had been learning about; plants, eco-systems and rainforests. By choosing a familiar topic, the student will be able to make connections to prior learning and gain broader subject knowledge by viewing the same topic through a different lens, in keeping with a constructivist pedagogy. I then mentioned that I had been speaking to the student's family and community members, in reference to the Koorie learning plan that was a collaborative effort. I give the student some positive and encouraging feedback.
I then employ the pedagogy of listening, as I allow the student to choose what topic we cover, either Mathematics or English/reading, to which the student replied "reading!" In constructivist classrooms, when students have agency over their learning, they are more motivated to learn and be engaged with the task (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010). I then introduce the award winning picture book "Where the forest meets the sea" by Jeanne Baker (1987), which was specifically chosen for it's ecological message of conservation, cross-cultural engagement and global citizenship, which aligns with emancipatory pedagogy. I mention that we have been reading it every day for two weeks as part of our "Shared book reading" (Harrison, 2010), and this repetitive leaning stye is useful in building strong word and letter connections, which could be considered somewhat behaviourist. This particular book is a good example of the type of book that is suitable for a shared book reading activity as it has lots of pictures, familiar subject knowledge, and simple and thought-provoking text, that can be read over and over again in order that students get to know the story really well and can start to read parts of it themselves. We then begin the "recognising words and making sentences" activity. This is an essential first step in learning to read and write independently, and for many Indigenous students, it is the missing link between shared book reading and understanding phonics and making the connections between letters and their sounds (Harrison, 2010).
I modelled reading the sentence in the picture book, then asked the student to recreate the sentence by placing the words in order. In an actual lesson, I would ask the students to cut up the words themselves and the activity would be extended to include every page of the book. I assessed the student's word and sound recognition and helped by scaffolding the student as part of a constructivist approach to teaching, as she placed the words in order, by reinforcing sound and letter combinations, for example "th" in "the", and "ee" in "creek". The student successfully completed the task and enthusiastically asked "what do we do next?"
In an actual lesson, I would then ask the student to mix up the words and put the sentence back together again, then ask them to make new sentences with the now familiar words, then replace some of the words with new words of similar meaning to build vocabulary and comprehension. Then the students would move on to writing these words and building them into sentences. This snippet of a literacy lesson gives a glimpse in the "Reading to learn" approach to teaching reading and writing in Indigenous students, using a combination of behaviourist, constructivist and emancipatory pedagogies.
Example of "Reading to Learn" approach, an Indigenous Literacy teaching strategy (Harrison, 2010).
In order to engage with the families and caregivers of Indigenous students, it is important to develop strong inter-personal relationships and foster an environment of cultural safety within the school community. This can be achieved through open communication, collaboration, respect and shared goals (Harrison, 2010). I will aim to keep all lines of communication open, and make time to get to know each student in and out of the classroom. I will invite families of Indigenous students to make a set time on a regular basis to discuss their child’s progress, and collaboratively develop a Koorie Educational Learning Plan [KELP], (DEECD, 2012). It will be important for families to know that I recognise and support both-ways education through maintaining Indigenous life ways and developing a culturally appropriate teaching style. I will create an inclusive and caring classroom where each student feels safe and respected, as students who do not feel valued are more likely to become disengaged in their learning (Eggen & Kauchak, 2010).
Teachers can really make a significant difference in the lives of their students by developing strong relationships and developing high expectations for all students. Through a process of perceptual positioning, teachers can begin to understand the lives of their students, rather than place judgments upon the families of Indigenous communities and children from disadvantaged backgrounds and foster this compassionate viewpoint amongst non-indigenous students also (Stronger Smarter TV, 2015). Once teachers have developed trust and a feeling of emotional security with Indigenous students, shared and meaningful conversations can then take place. An example of this is creating a ‘feelings circle’ where students and teachers hold equal power, and share their thoughts and feelings in a safe and meaningful exchange (Stronger Smarter TV, 2015). When teachers show a high level of care and commitment, they can create a strong collaborative team with Indigenous students, their families and caregivers. Through critical and meaningful feedback, students can build stronger bonds with their teachers and the school community and become more engaged with their learning (Stronger Smarter TV, 2015).
By creating an environment of cultural safety within a school community, Indigenous students and their families can feel spiritually, socially and emotionally safe (Bin-Sallik, 2003). Culturally safe environments foster shared respect, knowledge and the experience of learning and growing together (Bin-Sallik, 2003). I hope to engage with my Indigenous students and learn from them, by fostering strong relationships and encouraging them to share their cultural identity with the school community, reinforcing pride and showing respect, whist recognising the additional struggles and barriers that they have faced, both in the past and at present. This can be achieved by teaching all students, Indigenous and non-indigenous, about the cultures, histories and life-ways of Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples, re-examining and questioning Australia’s colonial history through an Indigenous lens, celebrating NAIDOC week, learning about Sorry day and reconciliation, flying an Indigenous flag on the school grounds and displaying one in the classroom. In addition to making cross-cultural engagement a priority in all areas of the curriculum, I will be sure to choose culturally sensitive teaching resources and highlight the positive contributions made by Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people to Australian society. It will also be important to be open and honest with students, and encourage them to voice their opinions and beliefs about topics that connect them to the wider community, such as introducing culturally significant resources, examining government policies surrounding Indigenous issues , and encourage them to begin to question those in power. I hope to engage the pedagogy of listening by inviting families to join us in the classroom and share their knowledge, languages, wisdom and customs with the class. Through these activities, all students will feel safe and respected in the school environment, become more connected with the wider community, and become more engaged and motivated to learn.

The following video shows a demonstration of effective teaching strategies in a Foundation Literacy lesson. For the purposes of the task, imagine that this scenario takes place in a busy classroom with a mixture of Indigenous and non-indigenous students. As a teacher, I would work either individually or in small groups with the Indigenous students, focusing on language, reading and comprehension.
Whilst learning about Indigenous perspectives on teaching and learning, I have gained great insights into Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander culture and begun to develop a culturally appropriate teaching style. I have come to understand that the traditional Indigenous curriculum lies within the living culture of the people, and that education is not so much a preparation for life, but is and experience of life itself (Hart, 1981). I also realise that my own imperialistic education was sorely lacking in providing any knowledge or understanding about Indigenous cultures and life ways and I am now aware of many of the historical injustices, atrocities and government policies that nearly destroyed the Indigenous community. As the concept of centre-periphery underpins all government policies and positions those in economic power at the centre of society, it is important as a teacher to champion the rights of those on the outer periphery with little economic and social power (Herbert, 2012). This can be achieved by making Indigenous voices heard through involvement in decision-making and access to high-quality education (Herbert, 2012).
It is through this realisation that I am determined to learn much more, and make it my responsibility to educate others, whilst endeavouring to continually develop my own teaching and learning. I have realised that learning is a life-long journey and through new experiences, values and beliefs can be questioned and personal growth is achieved. I have reflected upon, and questioned, my own beliefs, values and privileges, whilst examining this perspective through a critical lens (McIntosh, 1988; Perso, 2010).
Before learning about Indigenous perspectives I had limited knowledge about culturally appropriate teaching practice or both ways education. It is vital that Indigenous customs, languages, knowledge and ways of being are not lost for the benefit of future generations. By developing a culturally appropriate teaching style, I will be helping to assure that this knowledge is shared in the classroom and connections to the wider Indigenous community will be formed, as maintaining Indigenous lifeways is a basic human right, and a culture that should be celebrated. Non-indigenous students will also benefit as it is the responsibility of all Australians to close the gap between Indigenous and non-indigenous students particularly in areas of education, health and employment. As a culturally appropriate teacher, I recognise that as the original custodians of this country, Indigenous Australians have the rights to a distinct status and culture, the right to self-determination and the right to land (Australian Human Rights Commission, 2011). I will make sure to embed this ethos into my teaching practice and encourage all students to develop an awareness of human rights, social justice and equality, so that the lives of Indigenous and disadvantaged students will begin to improve. I hope to re-frame the established teaching practices that I grew up with, and employ transformative pedagogy in the classroom to bring about meaningful change for all of my students.


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