Double Delight. An tale of what a young teacher learns from reflecting on an amazing experience told through the voice of the children she both teachers and learns from. Caitlin Gout 900163084.
An tale of what a young teacher learns from reflecting on an amazing experience told through the voice of the children she both teachers and learns from...
Caitlin Gout 900163084
I am your regular primary school girl and it was finally my favourite time of year, school holidays. I live in the indigenous remote community of Kowanyama. Over 600km north - west of Cairns, with a population of around 1200, we are just like any other town really. I can walk down the street and great my neighbours, I love to play touch on the grass with my friends while my brothers go pig hunting, and did I mention, school holidays is my favourite time of the year.
It’s Sunday night before the first week of holidays and I see a troopy arrive with a bunch of ‘white fellas’ carrying a vast array of sports equipment.
It’s late and dark so I don’t see much, but I’m hoping it’s for something fun I can do these holidays with my friends...
Today we go down to the hall to investigate the troopy and sports equipment I saw last night and find six friendly white faces to great us. Set up in the hall is an array of balls, hula hoops, gymnastics equipment, including a mini trampoline and air gym. They say they are from Melbourne from a place called Deakin University. I ask them if they know my aunty who lives in Melbourne, strangely they do not.
These friendly faces did not tell us what to do, but simply played with us all day. To an outsider it may have looked like chaos as there was no real structure to the first day. To me it made me feel included, which made me feel like I was cared about, recognised, comfortable and happy (Tripp, Rizzo & Webbert 2007).
The next day we raced down to the hall to find it set up again with equipment and the same friendly faces to great us. I asked one, “Hey miss, do you remember me?”
She recalled my name, and the fact that she could remember my name out of the 50 other kids who were there yesterday made me feel really special.
We as children not matter what our culture, are not all the same nor do we learn the same. We may all play the same activity but get different ideas from it (Boud, Cohen & Walker 1993).
Getting to know me individually made me feel significant and that my own experience was important to them.
Throughout the week the Deakin University team played lots of fun games and activities with us.
One of my favourites was when we played “fitness competitions”. Throughout the previous sessions they had come to realise that we kids in Kowanyama love any type of competition.
We all sat down and watched as one by one we got a turn to race. When it was my turn I was so excited and felt happy when my friends cheered me on. I ended up having three turns of the race, as I wanted to keep beating my friends. I ended up with the 2nd fastest score for my age group.
After this, we played a few large games where too many instructions were given and I didn’t understand the activity. I feel as though sometimes teachers think that individualised instructions are impossible, do they realise that sometimes without individualised instructions it’s impossible for me to learn? (Tripp, Rizzo & Webbert 2007).
The games soon changed and we were moving around in stations playing a whole heap of different games, where I was able to have more ‘one on one’ time with the staff.
I feel as though the Deakin University team heard my cry, and began to think more about our individual needs as they felt the need to reflect ‘in action’ as well as ‘on action’, to better their perspective of our engagement (Russell & Munby 1992).
These people were not only interested in teaching us; they let us teach them about our lives as well. They wanted us to teach them our favourite games, like skittle tag. This made me feel proud and gave us ownership towards the activities.
Chapter 3: Exploration of current or past assumptions about working with students with a disability (indigenous students)
Tonight we had a community BBQ at our church, where together a group of boys performed the traditional ‘shake a leg’ dance. The Deakin University team went on a tour of our museum before bringing some snags over and joining in, in our festivities.
Our personal history, culture and past, effects how we learn from an experience (Boud, Cohen & Walker 1993).Through witnessing our cultural dance and being shown through our museums artefacts the Deakin University team had a better understanding of where we have come from. How we learn is dependent on how we react to the past, and they now had a better understanding of our past, and so us as learners (Boud, Cohen & Walker 1993).
The boy who kicks the footy all day and doesn’t listen to instructions is now seen as the boy who respects his elders, and feels honoured to perform to the community.
Chapter 4: The thought process (context and considerations) when developing and teaching a lesson.
Through out their time spend with us, our Deakin University friends now take greater consideration when developing daily activity plans for us. They now consider when is the best time to play structured games with us. I like my friends love to sleep in, but then feel tired after lunch again. They now choose all inclusive games where kids from all ages can get involved. We played a game of multi sports where my sister and I got to play on the same team.
They listen to what games we want to play, including touch and gymnastics. They learnt how to manage us as a big group better by giving us simple instructions, letting us learn by doing, but also sticking to the boundaries that they have set.
I will miss this group of ‘white fellas’ from Deakin University in Melbourne. And hope that in teaching us through the experiences we shared together, they will receive the ‘double delight’ of learning twice (Boud, Cohen & Walker 1993).
This story highlights what I have learnt from the Cape York experience through reflection.
Each day after our session for the two weeks in the Cape York, I would write up my own reflections from the day, as a group we would reflect together on how the day unfolded and we also reflected on the experience as a whole, at the end of the two weeks on the long troopy ride back from Kowanyama. Reflecting does not change an experience but can change how we view an experience (Boud, Cohen & Walker 1993).
Boud, D. 2001 'Using journal writing to enhance reflective practice' in L. English, & M. Gillen (eds) Promoting Journal Writing in Adult Education. New Directions in Adult and Continuing Education No. 90, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco.
Boud, D, Cohen, R, Walker, D 1993, ‘Some propositions about Learning from Experience’, Open University Press, Buckingham.
Russell, T, Munby, H 1992 ‘Teachers & Teaching: From Classrooms to Reflection’ The Falmer Press, London
Tripp, A, Rizzo, T, Webbert, L 2007, ‘Inclusion in Physical Education: Changing the Culture’, JORERD, Vol 78, pp. 32-48.