Aboriginal Landscapes and their Place in the Classroom

By Michael Donovan.

Published by The International Journal of Science in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Aboriginal cultural knowledge in science classrooms can be used to engage Aboriginal students and inform all students about Aboriginal Australia. The worldview of Aboriginal people can inform all students about their understandings and knowledge systems that Aboriginal people use and value. These knowledge systems highlight aspects of Aboriginal culture, a unique culture of difference in Australian society to inform all students of aspects of the oldest living culture globally. These understandings will also present the richness of their local environment and landscapes from an Aboriginal perspective. This paper will highlight the use of Aboriginal narration and its use of storytelling to inform and teach from a different viewpoint of western society. Many Aboriginal Dreaming stories present natural phenomena and landscapes from a point of difference and can allow students to make some critical comparisons and understandings from various cultural understandings about landscapes and their importance. The paper will also examine the scientific observations that are intimately linked to Aboriginal cultural practices and Aboriginal societies maintenance of their environments and long term survival.

Keywords: Aboriginal Cultural Knowledge, Knowledge Systems, Cultural Difference, Aboriginal Education

The International Journal of Science in Society, Volume 2, Issue 3, pp.243-252. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 733.229KB).

Michael Donovan

Lecturer, The Wollotuka Institute, Faculty of Education & Arts, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, NSW, Australia

I have worked in Aboriginal education for 18 years from schools through to University from being an Aboriginal Education Assistant through to completing my Bachelor of Teaching (Primary) with Honours, Class 1 and I am enrolled in a PhD in examining quality pedagogy in relation to supporting Aboriginal students educational outcomes. I am tenured at the Wollotuka institute at the University of Newcastle. My main focus is in Aboriginal education and human rights in relation to Aboriginal Australians. My research practices examine aspects of Aboriginal society and highlighted its importance in schools in supporting students’ understandings of Aboriginal Australia and its important place in Australian society. Interests include Aboriginal education, quality teaching and pedagogy, use of ICT, social justice and human rights relating to Aboriginal society. My involvement with the Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) at all levels from State Executive to Local AECG involvement is another professional strength. This is due to its voluntary membership and supportive network of educators who value the need to support Aboriginal students’ educational needs.