I have just been asked to re-design a current unit of work, which would be used in the classroom, with both current curriculum and 8Ways Pedagogy of Thinking.
At first, I had no idea where to start…no idea. Do I start from an Aboriginal perspective or from my original perspective?
So, being “Implementation of 8Ways Illiterate” I started with what I knew. That is, the unit “Global Environments – Rainforests” from the New South Wales Board of Studies website. Nothing too exciting till my feet “got off the ground” with the idea of aligning two pedagogies.
My aim was not to “reinvent the wheel” and make my unit an “out of this world” unit. I simply wanted to see how something so commonly used in schools in New South Wales could be embedded with the 8Ways pedagogy. And what I realised was that it was easy. So easy!
Now when I say “easy” that doesn’t necessarily mean I am an expert, on the contrary. And if I were to return to the classroom in the near future, my first step would to be in contact with an “expert”…an 8Ways expert, a local aboriginal community member. And I’m sure they would put a “western red pen” all over my work with clarification and correction.
What this exercise has shown me is that aligning different “ways of thinking” and appreciation for different “ways of learning” can be combined to work side by side, cohesively, interestingly, supportively and interacting.
My purpose was not to construct a unit that I would print out instantly as soon as I had a Year 5 or Year 6 class (the Stage of my example) but it was to start making intellectual connections between the theories of the pedagogies and the practise of each, side by side, in the classroom.
What is disturbing is the Board of Studies has a list of resources for this unit on its website which included 61 types ie books, videos, CD’s etc Only 3 were of aboriginal content. That is less than 5%. I don’t get it…I don’t get why this “alignment of pedagogies” isn’t a mandatory expectation in our Australian schools. I just don’t get it…..