Away with words - an Indigenous culture interpretation

Narrative Text: Away with Words

Narrative Text: Away with Words  is one of a suite of challenging Rich Tasks developed for the Queensland New Basics education reform project. Rich Tasks challenge students to perform at a high level on demanding multidisciplinary tasks. They facilitate integrating deep knowledge and skills learnt in different contexts reflecting the ways creative workers operate in their world.

Rich Tasks bring the outside world into the classroom.

In Away with Words students become authors and publishers writing an illustrated story in which an aspect of nature is central. The aspect of nature may be drawn from familiar western science or other world views such as an Indigenous resource based view of the world.

Sea Country resource for schools using this task

An Indigenous perspective

Western science may see the flowering of a tree as an important event in the life cycle of the tree – flowers are pollinated to include new genes, new life is stored in the seeds that are food for some and spread to new places by others. The seed germinates, grows to a mature plant and flowers to continue the cycle. What happens in the plant life cycle is of interest to western scientists.

Indigenous people see the flower of a wattle tree on land as a signal that the mullet are fat and ready to eat, and the salmon are running in the rivers. Their resource based view ofthe these connections is also science founded on the same processes of observation, looking for connections and explanations and testing the reliability of the patterns observed until they can be trusted.

Non-Indigenous children are most likely to be drawn to western scientific knowledge as the basis of their story. They may wish to broaden their of the world by learning about and using an Indigenous science view of their world.

Indigenous children might be encouraged to use an Indigenous scientific view of the world. It is a part of their heritage that they may or may not be know. This may be an opportunity to bring different knowledge to school linking learning with the ancient knowledge of the oldest culture on earth.

It is a culture that has survived two ice ages, is far older than the young western scientific knowledge and has just as much to teach us about our world.

This implementation plan provides a range of ideas collected from several great teachers whose students have produced high quality work with the help of these strategies.

The Away with Words teacher resource avialable here will help you undertake this task in the spirit of Sea Country Guardians.

The original Rich Task, other resources and a Grading Master for assessing student work can be found at the following link.