Aligning (Not Combining) Aboriginal and Western Pedagogy …I Just Don’t Get It!

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…..

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Filed under 8Ways, aboriginal learning space

6 responses to “Aligning (Not Combining) Aboriginal and Western Pedagogy …I Just Don’t Get It!

  1. You should be getting in touch with the Board of Studies for review of the syllabus!
    It is a new way of thinking, to incorporate this pedagogy into our everyday teaching – once we get our heads around it and get used to thinking this way.
    The key word for me is ‘appreciation’. Of our heritage, our stories, our land and looking forward and appreciating what is possible in the future.

    • fin

      HI Mel, I also noticed that the unit was still referring to getting resource information off CD-Roms…you are so right…time to get in touch and ask for some revision of many aspects of these units!

  2. What a fantastic way to look at aligning the two pedagogies Rita!
    It seems as though it’s really useful to look at them as two concurrent pedagogies rather than one merged pedagogy. This way, you get the best of both worlds.

    • fin

      Annie, getting the “best of both worlds” sounds selfish in other contexts but in this case, why wouldn’t we do it. Still questioning why it is common place in schools

  3. Rita,

    I always look forward to reading your posts. A very thorough and coherent alignment of the two pedagogies. I absolutely loved the use of a table to display it. I haven’t gotten around to formatting my unit of work just yet, but you have certainly inspired me to follow a similar layout.

    Great work again,


    • fin

      Laura, I was very much at early stage understanding of aligning 8Ways with traditional classroom curriculum. Tables most definitely allows me to see how it can be done…aligning that is

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