Glimspe the fascinating world of Australia's Aboriginal culture with unique collection of 33 authentic, unaltered stories brought by Aboriginal storyteller custodians.
Angus Lawson's insight:
Learning about and understanding Aboriginal history and culture is very important for young Australian students. It’s particularly important for students to be ‘learning through culture, not just about it’ (Kirby and Yunkaporta, 2011, p.206), meaning they need to learn about Aboriginal culture from an Aboriginal and not an Anglo perspective. Even more important is that teachers have an understanding of Aboriginal culture from an Aboriginal perspective. For this to be possible it is recommended that teachers either consult a local Aboriginal elder, read Aboriginal academic sources or ideally both.
This site above contains information on the book ‘Gadi Mirrabooka’ which contain a number of dreaming stories as told by the elders of certain tribes. The site, and more importantly the book itself is an extremely useful source for any teacher who is about to engage in teaching students about Aboriginal culture. Aside from the dreaming stories it also contains a lot of information on Aboriginal culture that has been comprised by the Anglo editor based on collaboration with the elders.
In terms of geographical terminology this site/book informs us that navigation of the pre-colonial Australian outback and bush was very important for Aboriginals, who, like many other cultures they were aware of the compass points, albeit in a different capacity.
Navigation in Aboriginal Australia was done through song, these songs having a very practical as well as spiritual aspect. By singing the songlines that were passed down to them from their ancestors they were able to recount the mythical stories of their spiritual ancestors. Recounting the exploits of their ancestors through song allowed them to remember how to find certain waterholes and places of shelter that had been used by their tribe for hundreds of years, like a sort of memory map.
Meaning they never had to commit such knowledge to writing which suited their nomadic lifestyle. Unfortunately it is for this reason that intact songlines are hard to come by as many have been lost to history forever as the tribe’s elders or even the tribe itself have died without passing on the secret. In addition due to their sacred nature many elders are still unwilling to share their songlines with the western world.
Yunkaporta, T., & Kirby, M. (2011). Yarning up Indigenous pedagogies: A dialogue about eight Aboriginal ways of learning. Two way Teaching and Learning (pp. 205-214). Melbourne ACER.
This simple interactive map is an ideal individual activity for students who now know their compass points but are yet to fully understand their relevance in real life situations. Students are given a basic cartoon map with contains a few easily recognisable locations (airport, farm, river and bridge), by clicking the ‘next’ button at the bottom an arrow appears on the map, say from the house to the school. Students have to determine which direction one would have to head from the house in order to reach the school. Doing so allows students to understand that North, south, east and west are not just fixed points, but also direction in which one might be travelling.
This source does have its limitations as it is fairly simple and could bore students that possess greater understanding of the compass points. However the map could easily be made more challenging by including North-East etc. In addition, a natural progression could be to use an actual map of the suburb which they live in. This would allow students to relate direction to their immediate environment (e.g. what direction do YOU have to travel from home to school?). Ultimately however this map is a great practical start for those who are only just coming to terms with the compass points.
What is a border? What is a peninsula? A look into why geography is important to understand as students around the country prepare for the 2013 National Geog...
Angus Lawson's insight:
This source encourages students or teachers to view geography and geographical terminology from a perspective other than western English. Initially one might not think this to be the case, instead it may seem that the video is displaying a satirical view on geographical terminology.
However consider how definitions, such as the ones in this video, might be interpreted by a student from another country who speaks English as a second language. They might very well imagine the exact literal translation of a river as ‘smaller body of water that flows into a bigger body of water’ which is used in the video. Therefore this video encourages students (although indirectly) to attempt to view their culture through the eyes of an outsider. Doing so encourages students to think of themselves not as being from Australia or being Australian but thinking of themselves as a human being and a global citizen.
This video is limited in certain ways due to its shortness and chance of it being viewed as a mere satirical joke. In addition many might think that such analytical thought is outside the realm of stage 2 students. However if organised by the teacher then this video has the potential to encourage group discussion, and if high discussion activity is present then it is more likely that ‘higher phases of knowledge construction will be observed within these groups’ (Schellens and Valcke, 2005, p. 974). Which will hopefully challenge students to think differently about the world they live in.
Schellens, T. & Valcke, M. (2005). Collaborative learning in asynchronous discussion groups: what about the impact on cognitive processing? Computers in Human Behaviour, 21, 957-975.
Can you name the lines of latitude and longitude? by mrjpsmith
Angus Lawson's insight:
Sporcle is a site which contains quizzes on any number of topics. Their use ranges from fun quizzes on movies and TV to tools for effective study and fact memorisation. This short quiz requires students to name the important lines of latitude in a certain amount of time. They are given clues in the form of the lines degree e.g. 23.5 degrees North for the Tropic of Cancer. This quiz allows students to test or display their knowledge in a fun environment. Also by giving the exact degrees for clues it allows students to develop this knowledge which they may not have had.
How Sporcle quizzes differ from a standard hard copy quiz is that you can submit as many wrong answers as you want in the allotted time until you come by the right answer. This is really useful for students who may be unsure of their answer, as they can try different options without the fear of being told they are wrong. Then when they get the right answer there is an immediate sense of accomplishment and it’s possible that they then may remember this fact much easier.
For teachers Sporcle is really handy as you can make your own quizzes. What you can do it on is only limited by one’s imagination. Hence a teacher if they have the available number of computers, could organise weekly quizzes that go over the subjects learnt that week.
Stage 2 students are required to identify the four compass points on a map. For some this may be a totally new concept which requires them to understand that there are fixed points of direction in our world. However it can be difficult for students to remember 4 points if they have no relevance in their everyday life. Hence in the past various rhythms and other catch phrases have been used to help students memorise the compass points. Many adults would remember ‘Never Eat Soggy Weet-bix’. Although useful, I feel that this extremely catchy Hi-5 song would be a better starting point for students. It allows then to learn the compass points in an informal and fun way. Of course the song is limited as only the chorus has any relevance to geographical terminology, however it could be used in collaboration with other stimulating games and activities to ensure a deeper understanding of the points.
For example this video could be used before a simple assessment game used by teachers to figure out who knows their compass points. It involves having the 4 (or 8 if want to do NE etc.) compass points labelled in the classroom. In addition it would be smart to bring in a compass and show students which way is north and so on. One child stands in the middle with their eyes closed, the others move quietly to one of the points. The child who is in shouts out a point and those who are on that point are out, the game continues in such a fashion until only one student remains.
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