Annette Rome & Kim Anderson—Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education (Melbourne, Australia)
This project investigated the impact on students of programs such as the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Indigenous Bunuba/Walmajarri Unit of Inquiry within the trans-disciplinary theme ‘How we express ourselves’ and with the central idea of ‘we discover more when we reflect upon other ways of knowing’ through the Research Question: How effective are programs such as the Wesley College Year 4 PYP Bunuba/Walmajarri unit in terms of changing understandings of Indigenous ways of knowing by non-Indigenous students? The methodology included a survey administered to the students as part of regular feedback gleaned on the unit, along with analyses of reflective 2007- 2010 reports. The findings indicated that as a result of this unit students: know there is a difference between non-Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge; really enjoyed getting to know (Indigenous Leader) Annette Kogolo; think their understanding of Indigenous people has improved after doing this unit of inquiry; felt their learning about indigenous ways was better because of Annette Kogolo; understand more about Indigenous ways of knowing; felt having a Bunuba/Walmajarri Leader made their learning about Indigenous people more real; know where to find information about indigenous ways of knowing that they did not know before; and think that they now know more about their own culture by learning about Indigenous culture. The research uncovered that there are two important aspects to this unit: the power of the story teller as well as the story itself. The stories are considered a valid form of accessing significant, if specialised, knowledge. The research also indicated that students developed in relation to the IB PYP Student Learner Profile, especially regarding the open-minded and caring attributes. The metric used to determine responses was considered an effective one in terms of assessing impact of unit in relation to developing cross cultural awareness.