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Getting skilled for education, training and employment : Indigenous Cultural Knowledges and mainstream knowledges of mathematics

Ewing, Bronwyn, Cooper, Thomas J., Matthews, Chris, Baturo, Annette R., Sarra, Grace, Duus, Elizabeth A., Moore, Kaitlin M., McCarthy, Mark, & Golding, Jeff (2009) Getting skilled for education, training and employment : Indigenous Cultural Knowledges and mainstream knowledges of mathematics. In Proceedings of The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) Conference 2009, The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Canberra.

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Abstract

This abstract is a preliminary discussion of the importance of blending of Indigenous cultural knowledges with mainstream knowledges of mathematics for supporting Indigenous young people. This import is emphasised in the documents Preparing the Ground for Partnership (Priest, 2005), The Indigenous Education Strategic Directions 2008–2011 (Department of Education, Training and the Arts, 2007) and the National Goals for Indigenous Education (Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations, 2008). These documents highlight the contextualising of literacy and numeracy to students’ community and culture (see Priest, 2005). Here, Community describes “a culture that is oriented primarily towards the needs of the group. Martin Nakata (2007) describes contextualising to culture as about that which already exists, that is, Torres Strait Islander community, cultural context and home languages (Nakata, 2007, p. 2). Continuing, Ezeife (2002) cites Hollins (1996) in stating that Indigenous people belong to “high-context culture groups” (p. 185). That is, “high-context cultures are characterized by a holistic (top-down) approach to information processing in which meaning is “extracted” from the environment and the situation. Low-context cultures use a linear, sequential building block (bottom-up) approach to information processing in which meaning is constructed” (p.185). In this regard, students who use holistic thought processing are more likely to be disadvantaged in mainstream mathematics classrooms. This is because Westernised mathematics is presented as broken into parts with limited connections made between concepts and with the students’ culture. It potentially conflicts with how they learn. If this is to change the curriculum needs to be made more culture-sensitive and community orientated so that students know and understand what they are learning and for what purposes.

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ID Code: 28410
Item Type: Conference Paper
Keywords: Indigenous knowledges, Contextualising to culture, Contextualising to home language, VET education
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > EDUCATION SYSTEMS (130100) > Secondary Education (130106)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > EDUCATION (130000) > SPECIALIST STUDIES IN EDUCATION (130300) > Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education (130301)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Office of Education Research
Current > Schools > School of Curriculum
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Education
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2009 Please consult the authors.
Deposited On: 04 Nov 2009 12:20
Last Modified: 25 Mar 2013 18:09

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