The Impact of the PYP Indigenous Bunuba/Walmajarri Unit of Inquiry Within the Transdisciplinary Theme ‘How Do We Express Ourselves’

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Annette Rome & Kim Anderson—Wesley College Institute for Innovation in Education (Melbourne, Australia)

This project investigated the impact on students of programs such as the Primary Years Programme (PYP) Indigenous Bunuba/Walmajarri Unit of Inquiry within the trans-disciplinary theme ‘How we express ourselves’ and with the central idea of ‘we discover more when we reflect upon other ways of knowing’ through the Research Question: How effective are programs such as the Wesley College Year 4 PYP Bunuba/Walmajarri unit in terms of changing understandings of Indigenous ways of knowing by non-Indigenous students? The methodology included a survey administered to the students as part of regular feedback gleaned on the unit, along with analyses of reflective 2007- 2010 reports. The findings indicated that as a result of this unit students: know there is a difference between non-Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous knowledge; really enjoyed getting to know (Indigenous Leader) Annette Kogolo; think their understanding of Indigenous people has improved after doing this unit of inquiry; felt their learning about indigenous ways was better because of Annette Kogolo; understand more about Indigenous ways of knowing; felt having a Bunuba/Walmajarri Leader made their learning about Indigenous people more real; know where to find information about indigenous ways of knowing that they did not know before; and think that they now know more about their own culture by learning about Indigenous culture. The research uncovered that there are two important aspects to this unit: the power of the story teller as well as the story itself. The stories are considered a valid form of accessing significant, if specialised, knowledge. The research also indicated that students developed in relation to the IB PYP Student Learner Profile, especially regarding the open-minded and caring attributes. The metric used to determine responses was considered an effective one in terms of assessing impact of unit in relation to developing cross cultural awareness.

Executive summary (PDF, 106 KB)