Yumi pedagogy: pedagogy with cultural integrity in the Torres Strait

Doctorate other than PhD

McMaster, John W. F.. 2006. Yumi pedagogy: pedagogy with cultural integrity in the Torres Strait. Doctorate other than PhD Doctor of Education. University of Southern Queensland.

Yumi pedagogy: pedagogy with cultural integrity in the Torres Strait

TypeDoctorate other than PhD
AuthorMcMaster, John W. F.
SupervisorAustin, Jon
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Education
Number of Pages387

[The Mariner's Chart] I've chosen to use the metaphor of the mariners chart to highlight the characteristics that are the essential elements of this study. This metaphor also sits comfortably with the Torres Strait Islander people, both historically and contemporaneously. The document '(IN) THE BEGINNING: The mariner’s chart to the folio’, represents the chart which enables readers of this study to 'navigate' their individual progress through the study in ways that reflect the reader's motivation/s. As with most maritime voyages, destinations can be reached via a number of different routes. These routes will be partially determined by motivations including tides, winds, directness, the skill of the navigator and the whim of the skipper. These motivations also apply to any reading of this study. The essential starting point will be determined initially by reference to the chart. Being made aware of the elements of the folio (logs of the various voyages) will influence where the reader goes from there; in other words, what folio elements (logs of the voyages) the reader will go to first and the order they choose to follow, subsequent to that. There is no necessary order in which the logs of the various voyages should be read, following the initial reference to the 'chart'.

The mariner's chart identifies low water marks, channel markers, reefs, sandbanks, and unseen obstacles. These represent only a handful of the dangers the reader (mariner) will face on the voyage. Likewise the study has its share of 'dangers', both seen and unseen. The whole nature of the study is in a sense, dangerous. I anticipate that any reading of the study will necessarily reflect the idiosyncrasies of the reader, so that the conclusions that I have reached, represent only one view of the data. The identification of the data itself reflects a level of interpretation that is also very personal, highlighting the reality that others (readers/mariners) may see greater significance in aspects of the recorded data that the author has not. The log of the voyage, My Journey An Autobiographical Narrative, clearly identifies a very personal journey or series of journeys, all of which reflect a range of reefs and sandbars that the author has sometimes been stranded on, between tides, giving time for reflection on actions that have either proven unsuccessful or are cause for quiet contemplation. Each of the folio elements reflects this metaphoric mix of danger and clear passage, in many different ways and at many different levels, inviting the individual and equally legitimate reactions of each reader.

Whilst Torres Strait Islanders historically navigated by the stars and the seasons today, electronic navigation charts have tended to replace these important and culturally significant practices. Torres Strait people have metaphorically experienced being stranded on reefs and shoals and being wrecked, especially in terms of the education processes they have been exposed to, by virtue of this cultural shift. The process, educationally, of replacing the reliable historic (navigation) practices of Torres Strait Islanders with contemporary, western (navigation charts) practices has frequently resulted in confusion, frustration and a failure to produce successful educational outcomes for Torres Strait Islanders - clear passage to the future. The reasons for this situation are explored in greater depth in this study.

With these explanations in mind then, the reader is invited to engage on their own voyage through this study.

Keywordsyumi pedagogy; education process; cultural integrity; Torres Strait Islander
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020450299. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education not elsewhere classified
Byline AffiliationsFaculty of Education
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