Red dirt thinking on power, pedagogy and paradigms: De-limiting the dialogue in remote education Sam Osborne, UniSA and CRC REP John Guenther, Flinders Uni and CRC REP Presentation for The 3rd International Symposium for Innovation in Rural Education (ISFIRE) 13th – 15th February 2013 Perth, Western Australia
Areas of RES activity Elcho IslandThe Remote EducationSystems project is partof the CRC REP Kimberley(Cooperative ResearchCentre for RemoteEconomic Participation). TanamiThere are five initial focusregions. Pathways to Southern NT/APY LandEmployment is a projectclosely linked to our work Ngaanyatjarra Landsand has two focus areascurrently. 2
Where do Anangu live? *note – the term Anangu is also used by Pintupi/Luritja communities, for example, which spreads further to the North and West of this map. Source: Ara Irititja archive website http://www.irititja.com/the_archive/audi ence.html
Remote Education Systems approach:• Reference group from Indigenous academics to systems representatives, NGOs etc• Aboriginal Community Researchers• Community conversations as well as engaging remote educators at the academic level.
The Remote Education Systems project has four main questions that local research teams can work on. They are:• What is education for in remote Australia and what can/should it achieve?• What are ‘successful’ outcomes for education from Anangu standpoints?• How can teaching change in order to achieve these successes?• What would an effective education system in remote Australia look like?
It’s Simple, right…? ‘Blue sky thinking’ The utopian Often ‘externally imagined’‘Red dirt thinking’The pragmatic– taking steps ‘in context’ –place based Aralya, SA
The knowledge interface The contested ‘middle space’Western (scientific) Indigenous Community engagement Knowledge(s)Nationally valued/measured failure Place-based ‘Decolonised’ space learning ‘Mickey Mouse’ Closing the Gap Co-constructed knowledge Politically, socially,Typically the limits of contextually constructedteacher’s experience Strength based Derived from eternalDerived from Western/Greek behind axioms (dreaming)philosophy – accepted axiomsof our education system
The values interface YapaKardiya• Being • Giving Responsible unconditionally• Individual • Collective• Education • Learning Where does the • 3 ‘L’s; Look,• 3 ‘R’s; Reading, inspired/inspiring wRiting, Listen, Learn educator begin? • Respect: country, aRithmetic• Respect: knowledge, authority, relationship property, • Relationship (no achievement such thing as• Friendship ‘friend’) and reciprocity
The knowledge interfaceNakata et al 2012:Pedagogy proposal • understanding the limits ofHow we position their own thinkingremote • engaging in open, exploratory and creative inquiryeducators, not • building language and tools forwhere… describing and analysing what they engage with • engages the politics of knowledge production and build critical skills
Who can benefit from this more nuanced ‘positioning’? • Remote systems • Remote educators • Remote Service providers • Remote Employers • ‘The bourgeois brotherhood’ & the ‘easy answers’ gang.
What are Aboriginal remote educators and communities saying?• Children need to be competent in both western and Yolngu teachings. Yolngu culture is paramount and western education must be embedded in a learning context that respects and affirms traditional Yolngu cultural knowledge, traditions and practices.• Mainstream education at all levels is essential if Yolngu children are to have the same life chances as other Australians. (Wearne & Yunupingu 2011) Aspiration and the future is viewed through the lens of family, not through the modelling/coaxing of white educators. (Tjitayi, Minutjukur, Burton) ‘We want the power that education offers, but we have our own power that we must retain’ (Minutjukur & Osborne 2013 – in press)
The knowledge interface Red dirt thinking: Can we re-imagine and begin to step outside the Western-Indigenous binary and support a liminal space for the co- generation of ‘codes of power’? (Delpit 1993)
How do we movebeyond thelimitation of thelived experience ofremote studentsand step outside ofthe limits of remoteeducators’ livedexperience?
A remote educationthat empowers ratherthan constrains?
• Builds confidence (openRed dirt thinking… spirit) to acquire new knowledgeA remote education that: • Lays footprints for aspiration • Takes account of and empowers traditional knowledge • Essential mainstream education