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8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning


2012 Best Aboriginal
Pedagogy Practice
2012 Developments
2012 Teaching through
2012 Training in Aboriginal
8way - a yarn-up
8way - Bangamalanha
8way - Our Protocol for
using this wiki
8way FAQ's
8way maths
8way planning checklist
8way resources, materials
8ways and Quality Teaching
8ways Whole-school e.g.
Aboriginal pedagogy
research review
Aboriginal Worldviews &
Aunty Alma Jean Fishing
Aunty Doris' 8way yarns
Aunty Olga message stick
Basic maths remedial
Behaviour management
Cultural Analysis Tool
e.g. Kelso
e.g. Lightning Ridge
e.g. Lithgow

Tell a story. Make a plan. Think and do. Draw it. Take it outside. Try a new way. Watch
first, then do. Share it with others.

Aboriginal perspectives are not found in Aboriginal content, but

Aboriginal processes...

This Aboriginal pedagogy framework is expressed as

eight interconnected pedagogies involving narrativedriven learning, visualised learning processes, handson/reflective techniques, use of symbols/metaphors,
land-based learning, indirect/synergistic logic,
modelled/scaffolded genre mastery, and
connectedness to community. But these can change in


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8ways - home

e.g. Nyngan
e.g. Orange - Wiradjuri
e.g. PE plans
E.G. Plumpton High School
e.g. Wilcannia
Eg's Mixed
Engineering student 8way
History and Technology
I don't understand!
Interface theory
Numeracy 2go
South Western Sydney
Region ECT
Sydney - symbols and story
Sydney Kinder 8ways lesson
Sydney, Campbelltown East
Visual culture way
Walgett Public School Rules
Wiki Quest - Guided Session
Your identity map

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connectedness to community. But these can change in

different settings.
For example, here is how Orange Public school and local Aboriginal
community members have organised Aboriginal ways of learning into a
dynamic learning cycle to inform their curriculum planning:

Every place, every People, has its own unique

pedagogies. These 8 simple ones are merely a starting
point for dialogue. Each school engages in a different
way, and produces its own unique frameworks for
Aboriginal education through dialogue with the
community about local ways of doing things.

8ways is something that grew out of a particular ethic, a

way of working that goes beyond cultural awareness,
cultural sensitivity and even cultural responsiveness. It is
all about relational responsiveness, a protocol of
attending to relational obligations to the field you're
working in, relating and responding holistically to people,
land, culture, language, spirit and the relationships

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land, culture, language, spirit and the relationships

between these with integrity and intellectual rigour.
8ways is a point of entry into this way of knowing. It is a
way to develop relationally responsive practice in the
way you work with your Aboriginal community.
See chapter on 8ways in ACER's 2011 book Two Way Teaching and Learning
and in
the book Reawakening Indigenous Languages
This is a pedagogy framework that allows teachers to include Aboriginal
perspectives by using Aboriginal learning techniques. In this way, focus can
remain on core curriculum content while embedding Aboriginal perspectives
in every lesson. It came from a research project involving DET staff, James
Cook Universitys School of Indigenous Studies and the Western New South
Wales Regional Aboriginal Education Team between 2007 and 2009. AECG
and SERAP approval was granted for the project.
draft report.doc
Details Download 365 KB
Final Thesis:
The research project sought to engage teachers with Indigenous knowledge
at the Cultural Interface (overlap) between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal
cultures, finding innovative ways to apply this common-ground knowledge
in the classroom. It was contended that Aboriginal perspectives do not come
from Indigenised content, but from Indigenous processes of knowledge
transmission. So Aboriginal learning processes were identified and a rich
overlap was found between these and the best mainstream pedagogies (e.g.
Quality Teaching). A common-ground pedagogical framework was
developed and trialled during this Aboriginal research project, using an
Indigenous standpoint methodology inspired by the work of Dr Karen Martin
and Dr Martin Nakata. The framework was nicknamed 8ways by teachers,
although the RAET team resisted naming it so that it would not be seen as a
commercial product or program.
"8ways" is a constantly developing body of communal expertise held by the
traditional keepers of knowledge in Aboriginal communities throughout
western NSW. Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal teachers contribute to the
framework in an ongoing cross-cultural dialogue via wiki.
It is managed by the RAET team at the Aboriginal Knowledge and Practice
Centre, Dubbo (02 6841 3852 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 02 6841
3852 end_of_the_skype_highlighting).
It is not intended to constitute an entire Aboriginal program for schools, but
is rather a culturally safe point of entry for teachers to begin engaging with
Aboriginal knowledge and cross-cultural dialogue in the community.
Listen to ABC radio interview about 8ways:


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If you use anything from here, please respect our communal

protocols for knowledge and cross-cultural dialogue ethic.
Please share any new understandings or applications here on
the wiki. Simple rule - if you take something, put something

These carvings are learning tools for exploring the 8 ways.

Each object carries and informs deep knowledge about a way
of learning. You can see what they mean by referring to the
diagram above. See brief descriptions below for explanations
of each element. These objects are kept at the Bangamalanha
Aboriginal Knowledge and Practice Centre in Dubbo, NSW.
Phone 02 6841 3852 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 02
6841 3852 end_of_the_skype_highlighting for details.
Story Sharing: Approaching learning through narrative.
Learning Maps: Explicitly mapping/visualising processes.
Non-verbal: Applying intra-personal and kinaesthetic skills to thinking and learning.
Symbols and Images: Using images and metaphors to understand concepts and
Land Links: Place-based learning, linking content to local land and place.
Non-linear: Producing innovations and understanding by thinking laterally or combining
Deconstruct/Reconstruct: Modelling and scaffolding, working from wholes to parts
(watch then do).

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(watch then do).

Community Links: Centring local viewpoints, applying learning for community benefit.

8ways banners at Dubbo cultural gathering 2010

How we learn - culture way

1. We connect through the stories we share.
2. We picture our pathways of knowledge.
3. We see, think, act, make and share without words.
4. We keep and share knowledge with art and objects.
5. We work with lessons from land and nature.
6. We put different ideas together and create new knowledge.
7. We work from wholes to parts, watching and then doing.
8. We bring new knowledge home to help our mob.

The joining lines are as important as the pedagogies themselves. Values, protocols,
systems and processes refer to the ways of valuing (ontology), ways of being (ontology
- protocols are rules for how to be), ways of knowing (epistemology) and ways of doing
(methodology). When you engage with Indigenous communities at this level, you truly
have the potential to embed broad and deep Indigenous perspectives.

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