From my perspective, Indigenous education is all about real people, real stories, real experiences, real history, real relationship. This is what I mean when using the term ‘authentic’ in the context of teaching and learning. In this light the #Murama Teachmeet on 6th July at Sydney Olympic Park was bursting with authenticity….
A few weeks before, Shirley Gilbert set the scene with an invitation from the banks of the nearby Parramatta river. On the day of the Teachmeet more than 80 teachers gathered at the first Indigenous inspired Ibis Hotel at Sydney Olympic Park. Marc Bennie, Accor Hotels’ National Indigenous Programs Manager welcomed us with the hospitality and genuine commitment to Indigenous talent development that sets Accor apart.
Shirley joined us again, this time via Skype from China, setting the scene for the rich PD to follow with a whirlwind tour of Aboriginal 8 ways Pedagogy (explained also by Julie Waddell from WSU) and showed how the humble oyster can provide a myriad of STEAM stories for any Stage.
Dr John Hunter, (WSU lecturer and program leader for the The Murama Gathering) shared from the heart and provided a learning framework of ‘living culture’ that invited people to create new futures by understanding the past.
Brett and Rob from #aussieED then facilitated such an awesome Teachmeet that we were pushing on through lunch without so much as a fidget. Memorably rich and real presentations flowed one after another, weaved together by Brett’s usual sense of timing and ability to capture ‘the moment’. Some of these moments are in his Storify here.
Huge thanks to our inspiring guests and presenters including Baabayan (Ancestral Woman), The Koori Classroom, Carriageworks, The Aurora Education Foundation, Narragunnawali: Reconciliation in Schools and Early Learning, Walanga Muru of Macquarie University, Quizling, Western Sydney University, NRL School 2 Work Program, 8 Ways Indigenous Knowledge Game, and the contagiously charismatic William Bashford from Solid Aboriginal Consultancy.
SOPA Education’s own Kim Tilley shared part of her story as an Aboriginal woman reconnecting with culture and family and was warmly appreciated by all present for her honesty and insights. Another real highlight was the creator of ABC’s Cleverman, Ryan Griffen, sharing how he created a show so that his son could have an Aboriginal superhero. A global perspective on teaching Indigenous Knowledge was provided by Helen Murray who shared on Sami Culture in the Norwegian Curriculum.
At the end of a beautifully exhausting forum, each teacher walked away with a simple Sydney rock oyster freshly smudged with brown ochre found and gifted by John. In the spirit of connecting and reconnecting to culture that #Murama is all about, those little shells were actually infused with a lot more: stories, shared history, permission, new confidence and new connections.