Acknowledgement: I respectfully acknowledge the Elders and custodians of the Wulgurukaba and Bindal nation past and present, their descendents and kin; the Mungalawurru nation of which this assignment speaks. Townsville city is located in Bindal country which is of great cultural significance and sustains the life and well-being of traditional custodians past and present. I recognise the impacts of colonisation on Indigenous Australians and value this place of shared learning. In reconciliation I am committed to participating and learning more about the local custodians and culture in a spirit of mutual honour and respect.
Support for inclusive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education increasingly improves outcomes of learning and retention of schooling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australian schools (The Australian Curriculum, 2009). This task endeavours to identify key aspects and links between Aboriginal traditional learning and teaching in remote Aboriginal communities, such as Warrego Bush School and teaching Aboriginal children in mainstream classrooms.
Part A). Describe the links between the Bush School experience and the weekly unit topics in reference to Indigenous Education in Australia, citing specific example from course learning material and themes with the DVD.
The Bush School experience highlights inclusive Indigenous education within the Australian education curriculum. Morgan and Slade (1998) emphasise Indigenous education in Australian schools curricula and education for teachers about Indigenous history, culture and learning styles. By incorporating traditional classroom learning with traditional Aboriginal culture as demonstrated in the Bush School program, results in positive learning success by Aboriginal students (Bush School, 2005).
i. Acknowledging Country – Aboriginal Terms of Reference
Learning about Aboriginal culture begins with acknowledging country, either, the country a school is situated on or the country a town or city is situated on. Acknowledging country shows respect, acceptance, and understanding, kinship and alliance of Aboriginal culture and history. Acknowledging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander countries opens communication of cultural protocols, to improve working relationships between non-Aboriginal Australians and Aboriginal Australians. Working relationships values culturally appropriate practices as well as valuing cultural diversity (Oxfam, 2012). Valuing cultural diversity paves the way for promoting individual differences in school, creating mutual respect and understanding, enhancing Aboriginal student’s self-efficacy and avoiding racial stereotyping (Craven, 1999).
ii. Cultural Knowledge in Education – Aboriginal History
Aboriginal culture is holistic, spiritual and contextual (Morgan and Slade, 1998). Hughes (1988) describes Aboriginal learning as circles with no specific reference points as compared to European mechanistic learning, in squares, with clear reference points. According to O’Brien, a Kauma Elder, Aboriginal learning begins with the reality of the Dreaming, with many inseparable aspects including, identity, spirituality, knowledge, truth and value, focussing on the interconnectedness of all facets (Morgan and Slade, 1998). European methods differs by acquiring knowledge separately from differing parts. The “Bush School” program demonstrates a holistic learning program for Aboriginal children through incorporating traditional cultural learning from elders as well as integrated subject learning across the curriculum. For example, using horse-riding skills as part of the learning, Colin Baker was able to incorporate teaching Mathematics and English (Bush School: 2005, 51:23).
Part B). How does the Bush School experience cater for the student’s physical, emotional, social and academic well-being effectively? Discuss (300 words)
i. Physical well-being – Indigenous Health and Well-being...
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