LEARNING BY DOING
Learning by doing, or action learning, is a powerful way to enable change to happen. It is an important way to make knowledge more accessible for Indigenous people for three reasons:
It’s the traditional Indigenous mechanism for teaching and learning. Everyone can learn what they need to learn through the experience of doing it themselves, watching others doing it, and/or hearing the stories of those who have done it. It works just as well in non-Indigenous cultures.
Things get done while the learning is happening
Different meanings of key words are understood through action and reflection, so there are fewer assumptions made about what is meant, for instance, by the word “partnership” – and it will have different meanings in different places.
Another important methodology is Action Research. This methodology is ideal to check out assumptions. For example, a number of principals of schools in the Pilbara (Western Australia) assumed that participation of community members at school events would be the indicator of a successful partnership between the community and the school.
A principal in the Goldfields (WA) decided to check out this assumption, and concluded that the increase in participation of community members was related to feeling “proud of our kids”. It turned out this was not “proud of my kid” in the western sense, but proud of our kids in the sense of a community. This new (for the teachers) knowledge has led to a different way for that school to manage its relationships with the community.