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ERIC Number: EJ1110976
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Pages: 21
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-1071-4413
Reconciling Mixed Methods Approaches with a Community Narrative Model for Educational Research Involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Families
Dakich, Eva; Watt, Tony; Hooley, Neil
Review of Education, Pedagogy & Cultural Studies, v38 n4 p360-380 2016
Researching the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in Australian schools is an exceedingly difficult and uncompromising task. Working respectfully with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities must remain top priority with any research project regarding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewpoints of culture, knowledge, teaching, and learning and the purposes of schooling. In many cases, such viewpoints will be congruent with those of the school, but in others, there may be significant differences. All researchers, whether Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, need to have a respectful understanding of local perspectives, values, and community interests and carefully negotiate the direction of research and the appropriate methodologies to pursue. A democratic and equitable society must establish ways of recognizing and respecting Indigenous history, language and customs in all appropriate social institutions and procedures to provide cultural identification and sustainability. In considering these principals, the work of two Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australian scholars, Nakata and Radoll, has been drawn upon in constructing a research framework. Martin Nakata has developed the concept of the cultural interface where he describes this "contested space between two knowledge systems" (Nakata 2007) as being not clearly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander or non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This could be described as a "liminal" (Turner 1967) consciousness as understandings become more variable and are challenged and questioned by changing circumstances. Radoll (2012) proposes that "there is a commonality between Aboriginal pedagogy and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), which teachers can explore in the classroom" and goes on to argue that teachers can use ICT to "ensure that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students move towards a student- centric, teacher guided learning environment in which the student takes primary responsibility for their own learning and educational outcomes." While the emphasis of this article concerns approaches to research when working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities in Australia, the project itself has specific layers of complexity concerning education and schooling, approaches to teaching and learning and the incorporation of electronic tablet devices across curriculum. Three research questions formed the basis of this study: (1) What is the relationship between educational and cultural factors that impact on literacy and engagement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in regular classrooms? (2) How does the introduction of information and communications technologies (ICTs) into classrooms impact on the literacy and engagement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in regular classrooms? (3) How does altering the matrix of educational and cultural factors for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in regular classrooms impact on new understandings of literacy and engagement by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, parents and community? Recent work conducted in Australia that illustrates many of the principles described in this article can be applied at the university level. Kutay et al. (2012) outline their "Indigenous On-Line Cultural Teaching and Sharing" project that is developing a "web repository of narratives from Aboriginal community Elders, Aboriginal students and staff at the University of Sydney," so that such narratives can then be "embedded in relevant scenarios within online, single-user interactive games to teach about kinship." It is intended that the materials will support "different professional learning contexts such as law, social policy, health and education." Enabling different worldviews to co-exist around the big ideas and contestations of the day is a major contribution to social progress that formal education pursues and one that must include Indigenous culture and knowledge. Looked at in this way, Indigenous identity becomes a crucial factor in comprehending Australia itself and knowledge production. Although there may be differences in conceptualizing time, space, and origins, these do not prevent counterviews entering perhaps tentatively into a harmonious relationship and establishing the basis of new knowledge, values, and satisfaction.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Australia
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A