Decolonising Pedagogy: Experiencing yarning circles as a Pedagogical Process

Year: 2021

Author: Fricker, Aleryk

Type of paper: Workshop

First Nations peoples of Australia are the oldest continuous cultures in the world. Having thrived on the continent for over 60,000 years and survived an Ice Age, mega droughts, and the extinction of the megafauna; First Nations communities have demonstrated adaptability that could only have come from the ability to adequately educate their children. Being the oldest continuous cultures means that we, as First Nations peoples from the Australian continent, also have the oldest pedagogical techniques, and are the oldest teachers in the world. In the context of the ongoing colonisation of Australia, these pedagogical processes have been severely disrupted and suppressed in mainstream educational contexts at all levels. One such pedagogical technique is Yarning. This is a practice that has been incorporated in First Nations teaching and learning for over 60,000 years and is still used in many First Nations communities for a variety of purposes. This is an approach that has been found to support research with First Nations participants (Atkinson, Baird, & Adams, 2021; Walker, Fredericks, Mills, & Anderson, 2014; Geia, Hayes, & Usher, 2013; Bessarab, & Ng’andu, 2010). There is also an emerging body of literature exploring the impact of yarning in other contexts, including as a pedagogical process (QCAA, 2020; Bridgen, Fricker, Johnson & Chester, 2020).This 90-minute workshop will introduce the participants to yarning circles as a pedagogical approach. It will demonstrate the power of yarning as a slow pedagogy where the participants construct relationships between each other, and relationships between themselves and the learning. It will provide participants opportunities to become mutually vulnerable, and through this process build an empathetic and supportive learning community.At the conclusion of the workshop, the participants will have engaged with a yarning will be able to reflect on how they can incorporate it into their teaching contexts. This workshop will also provide the participants an experience in slow pedagogy in a context that is safe and supportive. Finally, this workshop will also give the participants first-hand experience in a yarning circle and through the facilitation understand the oldest pedagogical principles that are the foundations for this transformative pedagogical approach.