Around about and some 'yarnin up'

Phew! Time flies when lots of things are happening at once! Heads up about a conference happening next week…

I’m off to Adelaide next week for the Action Learning Action Research Assoc (ALARA, formerly ALARPM) national conference. It’s set to be an invigorating event, as the theme is ‘Moving foward: Aboriginal ways of knowing and doing’, with the sub-themes of health, environment and education.


The Assoc has just published a pre-conference edition of it’s journal with some wonderful think pieces leading into the conference, which is running 8-10 August (next week!). The journal isn’t available online until much later, so I thought I’d give you a little taster, so you can get a sense of what the conference will cover and who will be engaging in the discussions.

Judy Atkinson writes about what she’d do if she was Prime Minister, in relation to the abuse of Indigenous children (see the recent report here):

In the medium term, if I was the Prime Minister, I would build a community strengths based approach into all that I do, advancing education at all levels. The strengths based approach would provide educational opportunities for Indigenous Australian to acquire skills so they can work with their own people, and others, for healthy early childhood development, education for lifelong learning, and education for healing (ALARj pre-conference special edition, 2007, p.90).

A full version is available via Judy’s work website, the Gnibi College of Indigenous Australian Peoples, Southern Cross Uni.

I wonder how Julie Bishop’s national curriculum masterplan and Rudd’s education revolution make room for Indigenous ways of knowing and doing?

Another piece by Vesper Tjukonai, titled Where First nations’ languages maintain the health of the lands and her peoples, English fails, uncovers how language (is dominance, its death, its power) plays a vital part in reforming our (cultural) ways to re-establish connection to land, to people, to one another. Vesper descrbes in depth the origins of the English language as its colonisation of other languages to strongly illustrate how the power of language can protect histories, hide voices and preference groups in our society. In one part, Vesper says:

English is a ‘vehicular’ language, observed French sociolinguist Louis-Jean Calvert. it is a language of conveyance and commodity. It is the utilitarian currency of the market place. it serves the interests of the speaker, rather than the holisitc needs of a community. In contrast, indigenous langauges are ‘gregarious’. They fster belonging, support relationships, nuture diversity, cross boundaries into liminality and accommodate the ‘inexplicable’ and ‘ineffable’ (ALARj pre-conference special edition, 2007, p.94).

How does this apply to our current efforts with literacy and numeracy I wonder?

Just some thinking points that I’m hoping to take in more of at this conference. I’ll blog some of the related presentations, conversations etc too, here and at the ALARA website itself.

Stay tuned!

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1 comment so far

  1. Marg on

    PS. I’ve got a head full of conference bits and pieces which I’ve noted and will add in relation tot his initial post here and also on my ALARA blog (where you’ll find the first bits fo my thinking…

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