#GELPedu Panel "What is learning for?" - An indigenous perspective

This session focused on ways of knowing and what is worth knowing informed by indigenous/First Nation perspectives, the growing diversity of our populations and the needs of society and economy. 

To begin the session Valerie Hannon (Co-Chair GELP) set out the foundation for the discussion looking at "What is learning for?". The old narrative about 'economic competitiveness' and 'fulfilling personal potential' seem increasingly inadequate. 

Globalisation, climate change, demography, resource depletion, conflicts and problems of personal meaning present challenges - it is these things we must address.

We lack an organising framework for rethinking curriculum design and this is meaning we are struggling to make the necessary changes. Four Dimensional Education by Charles Fadel, Maya Bialik and Bernie Trilling address the foundational reason for why we find it so difficult to rebuild curricula around the needs of the modern world. In response Four-dimensional education provides a clear and actionable organising framework of competencies needed for this century (it would be interesting to see how these compare with NZs key competencies??). 

Our goal needs to be "empowered learners for a sustainable humanity". As an aside, these messages really to support what we are trying to do at Hobsonville Point Secondary School - nice work Maurie!

Learning has to be about saving our species on this planet. The idea of Indigenous Knowledge (IK) is becoming increasing important as it is imbedded within its context and community. 

Indigenous learning is:

Indigenous values such as oral traditions, identity, importance of storytelling, deep listening and intimate understanding of, and respects of our natural world. A great shout for Tū Rangiatira as a preeminent text on this very issue. 

The more I listen this morning, the more I really do appreciate how placed NZ is to be a world leader in education, through our work around culturally responsive pedagogy and our key competencies. 

Among many developments is the work in the African context of Botswana and Ghana.

This introduction was then followed by a panel made up of: 
Valerie Hannon, Co-chair GELP
Arihia Stirling, Principal, Te Kura Māori o Ngā Tapuwae
Dr John Volmink, Chairperson, Umalusi Council, South Africa
Paul Bridge, Principal, Derby District High School, Western Australia
Professor Pavel Luksha, Director, Global Education Futures
Charles Fadel, Founder and Chair, Centre for Curriculum Redesign, Harvard Graduate School of Education 

Paul Bridge (Australia) spoke of his context of a school with a 80% aboriginal population. He spoke of respectful relationships and empathy. Building a caring environment and a positive school culture. What is it that makes kids want to come to school? Learning opportunities that engage aboriginal students. 

John Volmink (South Africa) IK systems are a way of undoing colonialism and re-appropriating indigenous knowledge. Colonialism was an epistemic injustice, therefore IK is an issue of cognitive justice.  It's about changing learning interactions. It's asset basset community development. 

Arihia Stirling (New Zealand) our parents had to forgive themselves about how they were educated and they need to now upon up and trust the education system now has to offer. It's about knowing yourself, understanding where you have come from and your ancestors. Understanding we want to be person for ourselves first, then our families and the world. 

Valerie - Is this an option for all learners and all people? Arihia - Its about humanity. We all come from someone. 

Pavel Luksha (Global Education Futures) - all answers are not lying with one culture. The importance of diversity of culture and knowledge. Increasing robotics and automation is making us look at ourselves as human, our emotion and wellbeing. Ancient civilisations were based around whole human life, community and relationship with nature. Solutions for the future may lie with indigenous knowledge. The idea of mindfulness is an example of this. Tribal traditions had education of elders, if we are truly lifelong learners we need to look at this. Collaborative learning has its roots in Africa. The past will provide answers for our future. 

Valerie asked about the value of myth. Arihia responded talked about Māori myth. Is innovation going to be the new wave of re-colonisation. The mining of indigenous knowledge and then watered down. John talked about the interconnected subsystems of IK and these need to be respected. Western Knowledge is scientific and IK is not. Arihia also spoke about the need to keep some IK private.


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