12 Canoes is a broadband website presenting, in an artistic, cultural and educational context, the stories, art and environment of the Yolngu people who live around the Arafura swamp in north-eastern Arnhem Land.
|Scooped by Grace Kwong|
“Twelve canoes” is an interactive website that provides stories and educational resources about the history and culture of the Yolngu people of Ramingining. One of the stories called “The Macassans” describes the trading of tools and technology between the Macassans and the Yolngu people in Australia. Based on the selection criteria from the Aboriginal education K-12 resource guide, I have selected this short clip as an appropriate resource that shows the diversity of Aboriginal culture through the recognition of Aboriginal input (Curriculum Support, 2011). Information presented in the short clip is conveyed through voice-over by an Aboriginal individual, where appropriate terminology is used to indicate respect to other cultures. Furthermore, the source highlights the importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander technologies conveyed through the description of trading practices with the Macassans.
As a teaching idea, teachers may ask students to brainstorm what the term “technology” is, which is the use of resources and application of knowledge in creating products to meet society’s needs. Reflection from the video may involve answering some focus questions such as: “What kind of tools did the Macassans and the Yolngu people trade?” “How did the trading of tools affect the lives of the Yolngu people?” “Name two technologies that were introduced by the Macassans and explain how they impacted the lives of the Yolngu people?” and “Do you think the Macassans had a positive relationship with the Yolngu people, and why do you think so?”
As an assessment idea, teachers may ask students to draw a tool/technology with a description about how they made the Yolngu people’s lives easier. Teachers can also ask students to reflect on what life would be like if they didn’t have these tools and then share their information with the person next to them. These assessment strategies would link with literacy outcomes (EN3-1A) where students demonstrate the ability to interact and discuss ideas. Thus, “The Macassans” narrative is effective in reinforcing an Aboriginal pedagogical framework that engages teachers and students through story-sharing. This is also highlighted by Wheaton’s (2000) understanding of story-sharing as an effective way of actively involving learners in introspection and analysis. Furthermore, the images of the land, people and the tools that were used were also shown on the clip. This highlights a place-based learning in Aboriginal pedagogy where meaning is created through understanding the importance of people’s relationship with place (Yunkaporta, 2009).
Board of Studies NSW. (1998). English K-6 Syllabus. Sydney: Board of Studies.
Curriculum Support (2011). Aboriginal education K-12 resource guide. Retrieved April 12, 2014, from http://www.curriculumsupport.education.nsw.gov.au/schoollibraries/assets/pdf/aboriginalresourceguide.pdf
Wheaton, C. (2000). An Aboriginal pedagogical model: Recovering an Aboriginal pedagogy from the Woodlands Cree. In Neil, R. (Ed.) Voice of the Drum; Kingfisher Publications: Canada.
Yunkaporta, T. (2009). Aboriginal pedagogies at the cultural interface. PhD thesis, James Cook University.