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By JD Sinniah Student Number: 2000209608 Subject :New Technologies in Education and Training EXE 734 Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.

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Presentation on theme: "By JD Sinniah Student Number: 2000209608 Subject :New Technologies in Education and Training EXE 734 Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia."— Presentation transcript:

1 By JD Sinniah Student Number: 2000209608 Subject :New Technologies in Education and Training EXE 734 Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia

2 Historical Context The history of the Australian Aboriginal people after European contact in 1788 began with many of them being forced off their traditional lands. Many to survive accepted the charity of the invaders. Over the following centuries they were expected to renounce their culture in favour of a superior white culture. Many were forced into missions, given a Western education and converted to Christianity. It was believed that this would see the demise of their culture (Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. 2009). This has not happened. There are currently several hundred different groups of Australian Aboriginal people speaking about 200 different languages. Many of these languages are on the verge of extinction (Nathan 2007; Wikipedia 2009) with about twenty are still spoken. Most Indigenous Australians live in urban and rural parts of Australia, with only a small number scattered in remote communities (Matthews, Howard & Perry). Their life expectancy is 15 to 20 years below that of non- Aboriginals. Many suffer health problems and live in poverty.

3 History of Aboriginal Education The history of Aboriginal education began long before European contact. The education involved the acquiring of knowledge that was necessary for living in their society (Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. 2009). Knowledge was and is conferred by participating in ritual activity (Perso 2003) and is a lifelong activity. This essay describes the methods used to improve the numeracy in Aboriginal Australians. This is done by 1. Defining numeracy 2. Outlining cultural differences between Aboriginal students and Non-Aboriginal teachers 3. Some research findings 4. Programs for improving numeracy 5. An example of the difficulties in teaching some key concepts

4 Numeracy Numeracy is a cultural construct. Aboriginal children may be numerate within their environment but not be in a Western environment. Most Aboriginal parents want a Western education for their children and to be numerate in Western society (Perso 2003). Aboriginal people are educationally the most disadvantaged people in Australia (Matthews, Howard & Perry). In Western Australia the percentage gap, from Numeracy bench mark tests, between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students in years 3 and 7 are 33% and 44% respectively.

5 Numeracy Definition of Numeracy: The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers defines numeracy as “to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at home, in paid work, and for participation in community and civic life” (Perso 2006). A knowledge of algebra which is a part of mathematics courses is thus not necessary to be numerate but a knowledge of measurement is. The Australian Government requires that all students be numerate. This requirement is described in the National Literacy and Numeracy Plan (Vincent, Stephens & Steinle 2005)

6 Mathematics Students are also expected to understand mathematics. The other mathematics goals of the Numeracy Plan are that students: (Vincent, Stephens & Steinle 2005). gain pleasure from mathematics and appreciate its fascination and power realise that mathematics is an activity requiring the observation, representation and application of patterns develop skills in presenting and interpreting mathematical arguments and appreciate that mathematics is a dynamic field with its roots in many cultures.

7 Cultural factors that affect the way Aboriginal Australian learn Maths The cultural differences between the Aboriginal students and non-Aboriginal teachers has lead to a breakdown in communication (Perso 2003) in the classroom. Some of these differences are

8 Differences in perspectives: Aboriginal people believe that individuals have rights to certain knowledge. They believe that ‘knowledge in conferred by ritual activity’. Many believe that by ritualistically attending school they will be conferred knowledge. Some students refuse to participate in activities that involve independent thinking and talking as these did not involve rituals.

9 Language differences There are numerous differences described by Perso (Perso 2003). A basic knowledge of English causes confusion because they impose their semantic language structures onto English instructions. Words such as ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ are not found in most Aboriginal languages. Courtesy is expressed in other ways. Teachers must distinguish between ‘home talk’ based on family and land relationships and responsibilities and ‘school talk’ based on achieving status, power and self-determination

10 Learning styles Learning among the Yolngu occurs by observation and imitation instead of by listening They solve problems by repetition and persistence. Verbal instruction is minor. Only family members are allowed to point out mistakes because of their relationship to them.

11 Research findings on the teaching of Numeracy to Aboriginal Australians Frigo (Frigo et al. 2003) states that teachers must be more explicit in teaching numerate concepts They must identify aspects of practices that work and must be supported Frigo states that Aboriginal students are ahead of non- aboriginal students just before starting school but then start falling behind. Matthews (Matthews, Howard & Perry) writes that teachers must understand the ‘needs and cultures in which each Aboriginal student lives’.

12 Research findings on the teaching of Numeracy to Aboriginal Australians Perso (Perso 2003) in her book ‘Improving Aboriginal Numeracy’ identifies the following as underpinning her model for improving Aboriginal Numeracy: Aboriginal parents want their children to attain Western numeracy Western numeracy should be contextualised Teachers must be inclusive in their teaching Teachers value different learning styles Numeracy can be improved by good teaching

13 Programs for improving numeracy Frigo (Frigo et al. 2003) identifies the following programs that have identified suitable pedagogies for improving numeracy among Aboriginal Australians. ‘What works’(Morris & Moronay) Improving Numeracy for Indigenous Secondary Students Project (INISSS) (Frigo et al. 2003) Improving Numeracy (Perso 2003)

14 An example of the difficulties in teaching some key concepts It is necessary to understand numbers to be numerate. For some Aboriginal people the following must be considered when developing lessons. Most Aboriginal people living in remote communities see numbers only as labels e.g. on letter boxes or football jumpers Use real life experiences to explain concepts Many Aboriginal people did not need to count high numbers so there are no words for them. The Noongar use ‘lots’ and ‘lots and lots’ or mob for numbers bigger than 5. A hand in one community may refer to 5. They are better able to learn the names of numbers because of the way they remember family relationships and environmental patterns in their lives.

15 Strategies that work Work in groups: Cooperative learning and ICT (McLoughlin 2000) Authentic learning (Perso 2003) Community of learning (McLoughlin 2000)

16 Conclusion This report attempts to summarise a very large body of work on the teaching of Numeracy to Australian Aboriginals. For this to be successful and for Aboriginal numeracy to improve (Perso 2003) we must focus on the following: Aboriginal people, their culture and their transition into schools of the dominant culture The mathematical understandings brought into the classroom by Aboriginal children and Explicit mathematics teaching required for all children in our schools.

17 Perso (Perso 2003) states that considering the obstacles faced by Aboriginal children she is astounded that the gap is so narrow. She is in awe that they perform so well on tests written by Westerners to test Aboriginal children with Western mathematics.

18 Bibliography Frigo, T, Corrigan, M, Adams, I, Hughes, P, Stephens, M & Woods, D 2003, Supporting English Literacy and Numeracy learning for indigenous students in the early years. Matthews, S, Howard, P & Perry, B 'Working together to enhance Australian Aboriginal students' mathematics learning'. McLoughlin, C 2000, 'Cultural maintenance, ownership and multiple perspectives: features of Web-based delivery to promote equity', Journal of Educational Media, vol. 25, no. 3, p. 13. Morris, C & Moronay, W What works. The work program: Core Issues 4 Numeracy, Nathan, D 2007, Aboriginal languages of Australia,>

19 Bibliography Perso, T 2003, Improving Aboriginal Numeracy, MASTEC Edith Cowan University. ---- 2006, 'Issues concerning the teaching and learning of mathematics and numeracy in Australian schools', Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers, vol. 62, no. 1. Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc., 2009,.> Vincent, J, Stephens, M & Steinle, V 2005, Numeracy research and development initiative 2001-2004 An overview of the numeracy projects, Canberra. Wikipedia 2009, List of Indigenous Australian group names, retrieved 26th May 2009,.>

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