Developing culturally relevant resources to enhance preparation of remote and regional Aboriginal students for life beyond school

Year: 2019

Author: Shay, Marnee, Oliver, Rhonda, McCarthy, Helen, Bogachenko, Tatiana

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

It is well recognized that the sharing of experiences and mentoring happens informally in many Aboriginal communities. However, capturing and centering these voices and providing a platform to include these voices in educational policy and program development is only now an emerging approach. To achieve this in our research we are providing a platform for the negotiation and development of new research paradigms that include Aboriginal worldviews and cultures, including the role of stories and storying. Stories and oral histories have been a central method for sharing and transmitting knowledge in many Aboriginal cultures for millennia. This project seeks to honour the role of stories in sharing Aboriginal knowledges in addressing the continuing lack of Aboriginal voices both in Australian research literature and in education more broadly – issues that we will also discuss in our presentation.

In this conference presentation we will describe the philosophical underpinnings and methodology of our current ARC funded project which aims to learn from Aboriginal people about their post school experiences, particularly in remote communities. We do this to help facilitate transition of young Aboriginal adults from school to life beyond school, including into the workplace. Our research involves current students being trained to interview past students by means of yarning, articulated by Indigenous scholars as a cultural way of sharing, connecting and listening (Bessarab & Ng’andu, 2010). These stories are then interpreted and represented both in writing and through art. This training is being delivered as an integral part of the curriculum and through an additional series of writing workshops. These stories and pictorial representations then represent data which will be further interrogated and key themes identified. The findings will then be used for the development of key teaching and learning resources for Aboriginal students.

Bessarab, D., & Ng'andu, B. (2010). Yarning about yarning as a legitimate method in Indigenous research. International Journal of Critical Indigenous Studies, 3(1), 37-50.