Emma Hegarty and Rebecca Hunter.
Teachers Sheperdson School. Elcho Island.
SharingStories allows us to build community links. Over the last two weeks of our schools participation in the program I feel like I have built a stronger relationship with families of the eleven kids that were involved and now we can build on those relationships and can do more realistic learning and bring learning out into community and give it more context. The program has been extremely useful for bringing culture into the classroom, it was a great starting point for looking into Yolngu culture and also for looking at the indigenous cultures around Australia represented on the site. SharingStories shows how you can link culture into a western framework. I think it’s a great way to be able to bring western and cultural teachings together. It’s a great resource for communities such as Elcho but also as a resource for schools in Victoria or NSW or Melbourne because it gives students a realistic depiction of what indigenous Australia is and what these young people are doing, their culture and their reality. So not only would I use it here but also if I go back home I would definitely use this resource to teach my students about indigenous Australian culture. Sharingstories allows children to teach children and also for children to teach adults. I think it’s one of the most amazing programs I have been involved in.
Yolngu Elder and SharingStories facilitator.
We are now living in a modern world, in two worlds, Balanda ( white people) and Yolngu, if we learn Balanda system all the time and teach the children Balanda westernised culture that is very difficult for them. Our expectation is for Yolngu to hold their heritage, their culture, their song and dance, how to play yidaki, they should be taught. I want to see culture in schools as often as literacy. They can learn both, Yolngu and Balanda, white man’s law and Yolngu law.
Through the SharingStories program they (the children) are learning both ways, they are trying to express from their own heritage, from their own culture, from their own land their stories and try to make a bridge between themselves and other communities with technology. Through that technology they are sharing and telling who they are.
It is an incredible project and one of the things I was focusing on was taking the kids to the field (country), from looking at theory at school all the time I want them to be taken to the field, where they can experience a life, a real life, where the wind can speak to them, where the land can speak to them, where the water can speak to them, the environment of the nature can tell them who they are.
Principal Jilkmingann School. NT.
As principal of Jilkmingan school I’ve been really really impressed by the SharingStories Program. I’ve worked for over 30 years in indigenous schools in the Northern Territory I’m really impressed with the way that technology has been linked up with the cultural aspect of the indigenous community here. Going out, taking the students out, down to the river and on other trips and then using the technology to actually capture the really strong traditional things that have been happening on those excursions and for thousands of years. That has been really impressive. Then bringing elders into the classroom and having them share stories has really strengthened the two-way aspect of our school in ways that hasn’t happened before. Bringing elders into the classroom and taking the classroom back out into country
A lot of my non indigenous staff have been really impressed with some of the cultural aspects they’ve seen that they wouldn’t have seen otherwise and that’s created a very strong bond with the community Also Krista, the SharingStories curriculum consultant has tied the program in with our curriculum really well in a way we can basically use to really strengthen the learning outcomes we have for the students for oral language, written language and the technology side of it. She has assisted by actually writing units of work that the teachers will use after the SharingStories team have headed off and the kids have been so engaged with the whole program that our attendance has increased so it’s great!
In brief Strengths of the SharingStories project are probably the increase I’ve seen in culture in our school during the program. Other spin offs are Professional Development for teachers particularly from an IT perspective, really good engagement with our staff, indigenous and non-indigenous and also the kids; the kids love it so it’s increased attendance.
Lynette photographing her grandfather Lawrence Omeenyo making traditional skirts for ceremonial dance. Lockhart. Qld.
Head of Curriculum. Lockhart River State School. Qld.
When we were looking at curriculum with SharingStories curriculum consultant we worked on a health unit, we had aspects of environmental health and personal health and pretty much central to health for indigenous people is that concept of self and identity, where you draw yourself from. So instead of only looking at environmental health on a level that we white fellas coming in often see it, Liz (SharingStories Director) was tapping into some of the stories that really addressed health in terms of relationship to, and well being of, country. Which comes back to, or relates to, the health of the individual. Liz is somebody who is very skilled at negotiating and drawing out the stories and finding out which story we have permission for which to leave sacred, that was a whole Professional Development for us as teachers and staff and the community as well. As was the technology and media side of the program. So it wasn’t just about student education and it wasn’t just about indigenous perspectives within the curriculum on a day to day basis that I hope will influence the indigenous perspectives being embedded within our curriculum as part of our daily practice, it was also about Personal Development for teachers.
Participating Teacher. Years 6-7 Lockhart River State School. Qld.
I’ve got really inspired to get the kids learning their home language which is getting lost -there’s only a few elders that know it. With my teacher aid and a few other elders we’re going to get that going now. We made lots of digital stories and resources with SharingStories not only for language but also for bush tucker, country, and grass roots stuff. I’ve always had the desire to do all that but it’s been really difficult without the right support but the SharingStories crew just really got the ball rolling, started it off, got me inspired, got all the elders into the school. The gap between the school and the community I definitely think has closed. At the weekend we had all the community come to look at the children’s work, slide shows and photographs, their stories, I want more of that. I have already felt really passionate about that but it’s just a question of getting it started and SharingStories has done that.
Teacher’s assistant who facilitated and taught as part of a SharingStories workshop. Lockhart River. Qld.
That (program) really good, a good idea, we show them how we been doing that before, when we was young. It’s time for them to learn something about bush tucker and hunting for all different kinds food. My priority is to get these things continued, to keep on going. You have to bring your culture with you when you walking, keep both way, white fella way and black fella way.
Black fella way should come into the school. Plenty time they be in the same boat rocking. Our language is more important than English and I think kids going to continue working (making stories), their hearts are set on it now. Ben (Knight) and Leela (Teachers assistant) said they will come and pick me and Dorothy (Umpila elder) up and we will do more excursions with them. All the kids, not only grade 7 and 6, we can take all ages. Oh yes I feel good about that.
Umpila elder. Lockhart River community who facilitated and taught in SharingStories workshops.
I enjoyed yesterday, I really enjoy myself down at the school and see all that thing, that presentation of the slides, it s really good, make me feel happy to carry on that thing all the time. I really happy to see that photo on the slide.
I felt really good and really happy to see all that kids doing all that work in school. I hope they carry on the way they do it. I really happy because I see the kid go out collecting bush food, I really glad to see the kids do that, what we have done before. Really glad to see that in the school, doing that thing in school, making stories about that, sharing them with other children, make me feel happy.
Roy Wunyumbi Ashley Wagalak Elder.
Teacher and facilitator with SharingStories program in Wugularr.
If I pass away early and he got no song, no country, no law, no culture, he might sing liar one song, he can’t sing proper song, he should. If this mob learn they gotta teach other young mob coming up, new children, they can teach them more and when that mob pass away then that mob teach the next generation, keep on growing and growing and growing. I try to each them properly so they can have their really law, really culture. It’s important to record it like that (SharingStories workshop recordings), it’s important to record it because we want to put something there for them in the school to learn something for that new generation growing up
Participating Teacher. Wugularr School. NT
The new skills that I and kids have learnt during the SharingStories program is a lot to do with technology, we learnt to use hand held recording devices and cameras, they also learnt a lot about software and being able to put content up on the internet with the website and it’s all new for them and also new for myself.
SharingStories was beneficial in terms of curriculum and bringing culture into school as far as teaching traditional culture is concerned. The excursion was really a highlight of the program. We got to hear from (elder) Roy Ashley and learn about the culture and about his ideas and about what he believes and it was really good I enjoyed it and the students also enjoyed it.
It was really great to have SharingStories Curriculum consultant Krista Scott assisting with curriculum planning and we came up with some good ideas that will help me with my reporting and further development of the SharingStories program. I can see that I will continue with the units of work we’ve developed and I’ll be able to report and come up with some assessment pieces for it, I think it was really helpful.
I would recommend the program for other schools and teachers; it’s a great thing for the school, great opportunity. The problem that we have is mixing in with the community and you guys (SharingStories crew) seem to be able to make that mix and help to close the gap between the school and the community.
Principal Wugularr School. NT
Without a doubt SharingStories has been valuable professional development. It’s always very difficult to get professional development when you are living remote but by far the most valuable professional development is offered on site and that is what SharingStories has offered our teachers particularly in terms of technology.
We have so much traffic coming in here, we are so focused on what our goals are and the outcomes for our students, each time we have people coming in they are entering in to a very focused space, but after seeing what you’ve done and achieved with the children it would be really good if we could take it from here. I think more time with us would be valuable, coming back and adding on to what has taken place. It’s particularly useful when we can link special activities within our curriculum and by bringing expertise in that area with their curriculum consultant working with participating teachers, SharingStories has been particularly valuable.
Principal Jarlmdangah School. Kimberley. WA.
Having SharingStories here at Nyikina Mangala Community School has been really fantastic. We got SharingStories out basically to engage some of our older students who have been quite disengaged with schooling and it’s been really positive to see the outcomes that those students have had. Often in literacy or numeracy classes they are students you struggle to keep quiet so it’s been really good to have classes where the exuberance they have has been fostered and they’ve been allowed to speak and allowed to tell their stories. I’ve been really proud of them. It seems a by product of their learning, they think they are just having fun, but in fact there is a lot of literacy going on in the program in caption and script and song writing, that they are achieving without having to sit down and be quiet and listen to the teachers voice all the time.
Part of the SharingStories process has been going out on bush trips with the elders and that’s been a really positive experience for our students, collecting bush medicine and going and looking at rock art and listening to stories about it, going and learning about the correct way to introduce yourself to a water hole and the spirits there has been a great experience for the students and the teachers involved as well, it’s been fantastic. The program has helped the children document those stories, to put that together in such a way that it can be shared all over the world and the kids are really proud of that.
Being a remote school here in Jarlmadangah it’s really difficult and challenging to get people out here to run special programs. Often we have to close the whole school up and head into town to have Professional Development programs, so it’s been great to have SharingStories out here to not only run a great program for our children but also give our teachers skills that they will be able to use in any classroom that they move into from here into the future so it’s teachers that are fresh out of university so having a SharingStories curriculum consultant with the program has made a huge difference for our school. We often attract quite young staff, graduate teachers and its given them the confidence to understand that what they have been doing with digital media and storytelling can be integrated into curriculum and to see that there are strong links between SharingStories and the Western Australian curriculum guides so that the progam can be implemented on a daily basis.
Wynston recording song cycles with his grandmother Wittadong and uncle Mervin Mulat Mulardy. Bidyadanga. WA.
Teacher’s Assistant. Bidyadanga School. WA.
SharingStories puts our community on the map and the resources we have created with them are good, it is good to do something like this, taking kids back to country using the program out there recording our stories, that is very important. If we keep using these technologies to go out to country, to know more about the country and to record stories that’s important. It’s good to see our Aboriginal people out there being the teachers and educators of our community. I think it’s good for our community to see the kids work and stories about culture, it’s telling us we keeping our language and culture strong. It’s good to put those stories up there for other people to see.