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Kerry Whalley

Kerry Whalley
Teacher
What was your personal motivation behind participating in this project?

The reason our school is involved is because we've developed and used a unit with an Aboriginal contextual base. We found the students were able to observe first-hand and connect directly to the Aboriginal experience.

How did you go about making links with your local Aboriginal community?

We contacted our system's Aboriginal Liaison Officer, Louise Campbell, who offered us a resource, the 'Awabakal Dreaming Stories'. Her insight into the local Aboriginal scientific knowledge assisted us in developing our programs.

How has your view or perspective changed on the impact of Aboriginal beliefs and culture on scientific understanding?

After completing the unit, 'The Kangaroo that Lives inside Nobby's', my view changed by observing the interweaving of historical scientific data with moral teaching. It illustrated the value of the holistic approach in Aboriginal culture.

What strategies would you use in developing further teaching units to address Aboriginal perspectives in Science?

Where to now? We've assessed the success of this pilot program and we plan to introduce more Aboriginal perspectives into other units. The units will contain student research projects on 'Dreaming Ecology', 'Aboriginal Animal and Plant Classification, Aboriginal Seasons and their Use of Bush Food'. The area that we found that required change is to forge a stronger link with the Aboriginal community.

What barriers did you encounter in trying to undertake this project?

There were no actual barriers to developing this project. The students particularly liked the visual art component, researching Australia's megafauna and comparing the Aboriginal dreaming story to newspaper reports of the 1989 Newcastle earthquake.

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