Understanding early childhood teaching and learning in two Northern Arnhem Land family and playgroup contexts

Understanding early childhood teaching and learning in two Northern Arnhem Land family and playgroup contexts Thesis

Melbourne Graduate School of Education

  • Author(s): Lee, Wan Yi
  • Published: 2019
  • Publisher: The University of Melbourne
  • Volume: PhD

Abstract: This PhD study is situated within the Australian Research Council Linkage Project ‘Building a Bridge into Preschool in Remote Northern Territory Communities (Maningrida and Galiwin’ku)’. The study aimed to improve understanding of family teaching and learning processes in the family and playgroup contexts as part of the project’s aim to determine the feasibility and success of combining the key Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a) elements with local cultural and educational practices through the Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program platform. Amidst discourses around disadvantages and developmental vulnerability in remote Aboriginal contexts, this research study provides an outsider’s perspective on families’ capacity in teaching and learning processes. Theoretically, the study drew from Nakata’s Cultural Interface Theory (2007a). As such, family teaching and learning is seen to comprise dynamic processes in which families continue to traverse between Aboriginal Australian and Western knowledge traditions. Methodologically, in response to this research context, elements of both an interpretivist paradigm and an Indigenous paradigm were utilized to inform the study, which sought to investigate the questions ‘What are local Indigenous perspectives on early childhood teaching and learning?’ and ‘What are the characteristics of teaching and learning in Indigenous mother-child book reading and play interactions?’ The research methods included listening to local perspectives in yarning circles and observing mother-child book reading and play interactions. Both the perspectives and interaction data were analyzed using a thematic approach, guided by the theoretical framework of Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being and Ways of Doing within an Aboriginal Relatedness lens (Martin, 2008). Key findings from the study demonstrate that families in the two communities value kinship and environmental knowledge and practices; maintain the qualities and values of relationships, respect, responsibility and accountability; and embrace multimodality and multilingualism in teaching and learning. The findings showed how cultural ways and educational ways can be interwoven to support the continuity of holistic learning for children as they make meaning through different Ways of Knowing, Being and Doing across various learning contexts. These findings attest to the significance of honouring families’ cultures, strengths, capacities and preferences and including these in playgroup program and policy development so that families’ teaching and learning in educational settings can be built upon their already strong cultural heritage. The study also highlighted the importance of mutual understanding and building reciprocal relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders, respecting and prioritizing families’ self-determination and aspirations for children’s education.

  • Urls: http://hdl.handle.net/11343/234319
  • Keywords: Aboriginal/Indigenous, Early childhood education, Families as first teachers, Teaching and learning, Relatedness, Cultural interface, Abecedarian Approach Australia, Mother-child interaction, Yarning circles, Arnhem Land, Playgroup

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Suggested Citation
Lee, Wan Yi, 2019, Understanding early childhood teaching and learning in two Northern Arnhem Land family and playgroup contexts, Volume:PhD, Thesis, viewed 17 July 2024, https://www.nintione.com.au/?p=17594.

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