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Strong Voices
Young Aboriginal Students
The first question is...
What on earth is a pedagogy?

Pedagogy is the function, work or art of a teacher, or teaching.

The word pops up often throughout Strong Voices, a new addition to indigenous teaching resources published by Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the Northern Territory.

 

At the end of 104 vividly coloured pages of Strong Voices, you'll know all about appropriate methods of passing knowledge of language, culture and mainstream subjects on to young Aboriginal students.

Strong Voices
Snake
You will also have come to know the special group of women who combined their efforts to write the book. Eight women, Stephanie Butler, Veronica Dobson, Fiona Gibson, Barbara Martin, Nancy Oldfield, Ruth Oliver, Imelda Palmer and Rosie Riley, all students at Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education in the NT, worked with community elders to put together a set of principles and teaching strategies appropriate to the education of Aboriginal children.

The subjects covered include; the range and importance of different relationships within the classroom and grouping children together through these relationships; learning and assessment; exploring, play and informal learning experiences and many other topics relevant to an integrated curriculum.

Personal stories are included throughout the book.These bring life to the descriptions of bush excursions, teaching activities, and even the particular difficulties that can be experienced with discipline in a small community.

"When using discipline in the classroom you need to bring in the families. If we do not do this, and take discipline into our own hands, the parents of those children come to school and tell us off and the child does not come back to school for a long time."

Strong Voices
Strong Voices
Strong Voices closes with the women's story of putting the book together.The chapter entitled "Our writing journey" describes the processes of composing text, editing, layout and design, and so gives useful pointers for others who would like to take on a similar project.

"This book might seem the end of the journey, but for us it is only the start of our continuous journey as Aboriginal Teacher Educators working together"

To enquire about the publication, phone or fax Bachelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education on 08 8939 7111 or 08 8939 7100.

 

An Aboriginal principal from the Top End once said:

"Balanda (non-Aboriginal) educators are like pieces of paper stuck to a fence. Some stay for a short time, some for a long time, but eventually when the wind blows, they blow away, until the next piece of paper comes along."

For the Aboriginal educator, the teaching is part of the lifelong process of passing on knowledge of all aspects of life to younger people.

"Aboriginal educators are here to stay and that's what is special about us."