Appendix 1 - Two related Indigenous approaches

1. An example of a specific Indigenous tribe approach (Wik Mungkan) to sharing the 5 ways of coming to knowledge is

"...the first is mee'-aathan, which means learning through close observation and demonstration. The second is ma'aathan, which means passing on knowledge with a helping hand, assisting somebody by gradually stepping back. The third is thaa'-aathan, which means passing on knowledge verbally in activities like yarning. The fourth is konangam pi'-pi'an, which is memorising through deep listening. The fifth is ngantam ngeeyan, which is thinking, reflecting and understanding..."

Tyson Yunkaporta 2019

2.  Another example is the 5 Indigenous learning processes used by Yolngu of Milingimbi (Arnhem Land). They use learning by

i) observing and imitation rather than by verbal instructions (learning by looking and copying, not by talking)

ii) doing rather than talking plus demonstration (learning by trial and error rather than verbal instruction with demonstration)

iii) real life, rather than by practice in artificial settings (learning by real-life activity, not by practice. This involves learning by wholes, not sequenced parts, or learning by successive approximations of the product. There is no distinction between practice and performance)

iv) context-specific skills rather than generalised principles (learning skills for particular tasks rather than learning generalisable principles)

v) person-orientated in learning, not information-orientation (focusing more on people and relationships than information)

NB These learning processes are very different from the Non-Indigenous where existing classroom is the preferred option. All generations are required to be present, not just a group of same age children with one adult teacher. This people aspect of education operates on at least 4 levels, ie loyalty, adding value, working in groups and a different perception of what constitutes a good teacher.

"...much of knowledge/truth/reality/meaning are dependent on the situation..."
Stephen Harris 1992

"...people are important to the learning process in that the value of knowledge is sometimes related to the value of the person giving it......the learning process is greatly enhanced when the person giving the knowledge or skills is valued. Value often comes from the person doing the teaching and not so much from the accuracy of the information..."

Stephen Harris 1992

How do you define a good teacher, especially in different cultures?

"...this people dimension has to do with the students' personal relationship or personal history with the teacher and the teacher's personal characteristics such as whether they have a sense of humour, are people orientated themselves, and in many other ways respected......the western observers, for example, saw the top Western teachers as highly competent, organised and efficient. The Aboriginal adults saw the same teachers as too cold and detached and said they would make the Aboriginal kids afraid..."

Stephen Harris 1992

The Indigenous learning is more people-orientated than task-orientated while Non-Indigenous can be the reverse of this.

Summary of the appendix 1:

Answer the 3 core questions

i) why are we here? (answer: we are custodians)

ii) how should we live? (answer: follow LORE and the 4 protocols, ie connectedness, diversity, interaction and adaption)

iii) what will happen when we die? (answer: your legacy)

Some more questions:

i) what can we know? (answer: determined by our obligations and relationships to people, ancestors, land, law and creation)

ii) what do we know? (answer: role of custodial species is to sustain creation from complexity and connectedness)

iii) how do we know it? (answer: through our cultural metaphors)

iv) how do we work with that? (answer: work with knowledge by positioning, sharing and adapting our cultural metaphors)

(sources: Tyson Yunkaporta 2019; James Fernyhough 2019; Stephen Harris, 1992; Jennie Teasdale et al, 1992)


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