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Numeracies in Indigenous communities

Situations that occur in everyday family and community life

The 'Numeracies in Indigenous Communities' project began knowing that Aboriginal learners bring to school a plethora of numeracy understandings, concepts, skills, strategies and language. This knowledge was combined with a growing concern that these numeracies were often not reflected in mathematics and numeracy assessment in the classroom. An additional interest was the numeracies in Aboriginal communities and the many contexts in which they are applied and the desire to bring these numeracies to the classroom.

The project developed a resource that consists of a set of tasks aligned with numeracy as a family and community practice, together with numeracy stories from community people.

It includes the following.

  • A CD with video snapshots of Aboriginal community members on how they use numeracy in their lives (social, family, shopping).
  • Seven hands-on problem-solving tasks developed from the stories.
  • Integrated software which allows for extension of learning.
  • Teacher and learner notes with extension options.

For more details and information about availability, contact Caty Morris of DECS SA Aboriginal Education.

Caty has provided an interesting conference paper explaining the background and pedagogical approach of 'Literacies in Indigenous Communities'.

It begins like this.

As a teacher I'm very aware of my responsibility to 'make a difference' — that it is my business to do so. I know that Aboriginal students bring to the teaching/learning environment a host of numeracies with an intricacy of understandings, concepts, skills, strategies and language and it is my job to make use of these in the teaching/learning process...

I continue to be very concerned that these numeracies are not reflected in that teaching/learning environment and in the ways we assess teaching and learning in mathematics and numeracy. In many classrooms Aboriginal learners may be working with unfamiliar contexts, language, pedagogy and curriculum. To put it another way, they may well be able to do the mathematics but a combination of circumstances may be preventing this. For example, they may have the mathematics but not the classroom language...

 

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