Ngampamurrumiyi yuwurrara jarrumwaka: Both-way science education for Aboriginal pre-service teachers on the Tiwi Islands

Ngampamurrumiyi yuwurrara jarrumwaka: Both-way science education for Aboriginal pre-service teachers on the Tiwi Islands Conference Paper

AARE 2017: Education: What’s politics got to do with it?

  • Author(s): Rioux, Joel
  • Published: 2017

Abstract: One great education concern in the Northern Territory (NT) is that there are very few Aboriginal teachers in schools, and even fewer accessing teacher training programs. Universities are well positioned to collaborate more closely with schools to increase the confidence of Aboriginal students in the relevance and attainability of higher education qualifications. A community-based teacher education program, Growing Our Own, enables Aboriginal Teacher Assistants currently working in remote NT schools to gain a relevant teaching qualification. This paper reports on the integration of both Tiwi and Western science knowledge traditions of an ethnologically designed program conducted on the Tiwi Islands as a collaboration between Batchelor Institute, NT Catholic Education Office and Charles Darwin University. The overarching aim of this study was to fully engage eight Aboriginal Tiwi pre-service teachers in learning the Western science and mathematics of the Australian curriculum by merging their prior cultural knowledge as well as their local context. This study incorporated Rigney's conceptual 'Indigenist research framework' that allowed a Both-Ways approach to teaching and learning to flourish. The study privileged the voices of local Tiwi people and drew on community members' knowledge and the languages of science and mathematics to strengthen the participants' learning. Using an open investigation format, the research covered theory and practical aspects of working scientifically and bridged it to Tiwi ways of knowing by integrating the study of the Pandanus tree (Pandanus spiralis), a local emblem; known in the Tiwi language as 'Miyarti'. Thematic analysis of the data revealed that sensitive Both-Ways planning or Tiwi and Western scientific language gave rise to a meaningful cultural contextualisation, heritage and learning. This delivery method generated more interest for constructing a locally designed Tiwi science teaching and learning model that responded to the desires of the participants while simultaneously using the 5e's pedagogical framework. Bridging local Aboriginal science, language and environment with Western mathematics and science strengthened the students' Aboriginal identity as well as their identity as science learners. Outcomes illustrated that local Aboriginal science can be significantly intertwined with the Euro-American science of the Australian curriculum to provide meaningful learning opportunities for students. In this way, students can identify their culture and ways of knowing as embedded in their teaching and learning and in the delivery of science units at the tertiary level, rather than seeing science as something that is separate from their culture.

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Suggested Citation
Rioux, Joel, 2017, Ngampamurrumiyi yuwurrara jarrumwaka: Both-way science education for Aboriginal pre-service teachers on the Tiwi Islands, Conference Paper, viewed 01 December 2021, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=15775.

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