Aligning Indigenous perspectives with Western perspectives of teaching

These two examples demonstrate how western and Indigenous pedagogies can be aligned to create an enriched learning experience. The first is a lesson on descriptive writing which utilises both pedagogies in creating a richer experience for students. The second is an image which portrays the university experience of myself and peers through Indigenous perspectives after reflecting in a western way.

Descriptive writing – surprise writing and 8 ways

Painting 17

8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning

Although the curriculum requires Indigenous inclusions, it lacks ways and definitions on how to incorporate these. The 8Ways (8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning, 2013) is a fantastic framework to help guide teachers into how to incorporate and align western and Indigenous pedagogies. It is useful in realising the ways Indigenous people view the world. 8Ways (8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning, 2013) helps to acknowledge these ways in realising how these could be incorporated into teaching and learning, in entering into a culturally responsive and relevant learning environment to form relationships with all involved.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives and Western Perspectives: A Third Cultural Space

A third cultural space is the space in which two cultures work together and alongside each other to incorporate the perspectives of both into a single approach (Queensland Government, 2011). This might be done through learning about both perspectives and how they influence the other in identifying similarities and combining these to make an effective space. This would enhance the curriculum in exploring more than one perspective, developing new skills and values for the success in life and portraying the respect and value of both perspectives in education and hence society. This third space enables a broader knowledge base and understanding of ideas through exploring through various lenses which would be lost if there were only one perspective being taught. It has the potential to broaden understandings with various perspectives to allow broad approaches to problems and learning into the future.

The Future

There are many possibilities for the design and structure of learning spaces into the future. Which factors of the globe will have the most affect on these spaces? Technology, globalisation, war, poverty, multiculturalism. In the future will classrooms be based on global connections or local partnerships?

In thinking about future learning spaces, I believe it is difficult to predict what the physical structures might look like. However I do believe there will be a particular skill set necessary for all students and teachers to possess in order to succeed. This may include: creativity, innovation, problem solving, persistence and resilience. These I feel, will enable most situations to be successful.

Culture and Classroom

The idea of classroom design being based on the culture and society which surrounds the school (Marietta, 2009) is important. It provides the link between the school and community, which is what we desire as teachers. The idea of using the environment and the culture to design classrooms holds significant power for making education real and valuable in the context it is in. Is it really valuable to have classrooms designed in the same ways across the world, not taking into account individual cultures, or is it more beneficial to have individually designed classrooms which utilise the information, culture and environment of the specific context, which holds more power for education?

Individual Learning Space: Self-direction

I had thought self-directed learning was the way in which you took learning into your own hands. Whilst this is still true there are much broader implications of this than simply own learning. There are multiple perspectives of self-directed learning including an attribute/autonomy, management, control and desire to learn (Smith, 1996). These broaden my understanding of what I thought was a relatively simple concept. The notion of self is a context driven concept which therefore relates to how we define self-direction. It is hugely influenced by context and cultural history. I believe the notion of self-direction is important in order to be self sufficient in today’s society. It is a necessary skill, however it is perceived, to be a lifelong learner and continue to contribute to the forever changing world. A Taxonomy could help with self-direction in enabling questions and levels of thinking to assist self-reflection.

In identifying what assists me in being self-directed, here is my taxonomy:

1. Identification – What do I need to learn? What am I learning about?

2. Method – How can I learn this? With what strategies are useful?

3. Summarising – What is it I have learnt?

4. Understanding – How does this fit with my current knowledge? Does this change my perspectives? How have they changed?

5. Evaluation – How does this fit with my current practice?

6. Application – How can I implement this new knowledge into my practice? Is it applicable?