Focus On Reading 3-6 Improving Outcomes For Aboriginal students
Cultural Insights • It is anticipated that the information here will assist teachers to provide cultural, social, linguistic and demographic connections between home and school. • Otherwise Aboriginal students run the risk of “downing tools” as early as the age of five.
Cultural World View • Aboriginal students like all students are individuals. • Each student can be situated somewhere on a continuum between those most heavily influenced by their traditional cultures and languages or Aboriginal English through to those more influenced by Western culture and Standard Australian English (Eades, 1995)
The Anglo- Australian cultural world view is the most dominant in Australia • Western Cultural view- fits in boxes work leisure recreation • Is likely to be egocentric in nature • Is likely to focus on needs, rights and desires of the individual • Is based on competition and capitalism • Separates aspects of life from each other
Aboriginal Views • Consider that knowledge of oneself comes through others knowing you exist and through interaction with others (Meyer 1998) • All aspects of life are interconnected and dynamic • Kinship relationships determine social obligations to each other • Consider that education is a lifelong process, not separate from family and other daily routine activities • Goals of the community are more important than the goals of the individual • Social practices are reciprocal
Literacy and social practices • 2 cultures – own and Western • Little or no Western literacy contributes to isolation from mainstream society – marginalisation
Aboriginal English • Is linguistically complex • Is rule governed • Culture is embedded in language • Most teachers acknowledge and respect Aboriginal English even though they do not speak it
Aboriginal English • It is important for teachers to value respect and occasionally allow the use of AE (Aboriginal English) and protocols in the classroom for specific activities but • Students need to be empowered in SAE (Standard Australian English) and western protocols so they can compete equitably in educational and employment opportunities
Featuresof Aboriginal English • Phonology (sound system). No th sound so d may be used disdat • Morpho-syntax (grammar) I seen nothing • Lexico-semantics (words and meaning) eg deadly in AE is great terrific but in SAE it is having potential to kill • It is important to say why things are done a particular way We need to use the language of classroom or workplace • Spelling and syllable differences eg butterfly butfly
Paralinguistic Features communication other than spoken words • Eye contact avoidance it is rude and confronting to look in the eye someone who is older, of the opposite sex or someone in a position of authority • Periods of silence can occur when a question is asked – allow time to respond and to talk in discussions. Jumping in will stifle communications
Pragmatics how English is used • The most difficult area for teachers and students • ... to understand a speaker’s meaning it is not enough to know meanings of words and phrases and to understand grammar. We also need to understand the speaker’s cultural background often called the socio-cultural context. Eades 1992
Pragmatics • Please, thank you is It is not used in AE because it challenges culture – not necessary due to reciprocal nature of kinship obligation. Teachers need to explain it is the way of the workplace.
Pragmatics • The way language is used in learning situations -children are taught in contextualised hands on situations with little or no verbal instructions and story telling in decontextualised situations (Hanlon 2002) • Short statements eg this your aunty. SAE Where is mum? There she is. Question / Answer format. Did you in AE can be confronting and offensive. The kids have arrived eh (Aboriginal discourse) • In class give a purpose for questions stating why they are being asked
Pragmatics • Seeking information in AE information is sought as a 2 way exchange – share information as well as asking a question. Otherwise it is disrespectful and unbalanced • In the classroom establish a 2 way communication pattern by sharing your thoughts and ideas with students as well as asking for theirs.
Pragmatics • Providing information – there are different cultural responses when quantifiable questions are asked. • Aboriginal specifications in statements or replies to questions frequently refer to physical, social, geographical, climactic events and states of affairs. (Eades1992) eg how many at the party? - name people. • Be specific about what is required in the answer. I need a number
Pragmatics • Taken for granted discourses What colour is my shirt? Aboriginal students may be confused –the teacher should know the answer to that. • If teacher is asking for a summary of lesson eg what do you know about triangles? students may not realise the purpose is to revise content and see it as irrelevant. • Give a purpose for questions even if it means stating the obvious.
Strategies • Complex issues need not be difficult • Address all cultural and language issues in instruction time • Say why we do it in the classroom a certain way. Sort out issues in a generic way – these are classroom expectations eg going to the toilet (not for a piss); doing geometry to get a job as an architect; I can become a doctor. • Give a purpose for everything. • The way of the classroom is the way of the workplace
Making Connections • Risk of not engaging in curriculum, class, school activities – leave school without literacy empowerment • Children as young as 5 down tools • Students withdraw • Do whatever to get removed from class • Learning comes from self – centre of own learning • Bringing indigenous students to benchmarks is not working - need to bring education to indigenous students
Reflection • Write 3 key messages from this session • Share why they resonated with you