8 Way Planning Checklist


Sample of unit/lesson planning (incl. resources) using 8ways - an excellent model:

Sample unit from Walgett:



Are you doing any of these?

  • Visualise overall process.
  • Align environmental concepts.
  • Explore different angles.
  • Share relevant experiences.
  • Model learning products.
  • Create concrete metaphors.
  • Apply physical knowledge.
  • Relate to local people.

When planning a new unit of work, jot down some responses to the following questions to get you started:

What is the topic for study?

Do you know any good stories about this topic that would help students understand the topic better? (anecdotes, legends, movie stories etc.) List:

How does the topic relate to the community context? Is the knowledge in this topic currently used locally? If not, what does the community have in its place? How might this new knowledge be used by your students to benefit the community?

Where does the new knowledge come from? What is the land and climate like there? Are there similarities to your local land context? Can the knowledge be applied in the same way to our land and climate context here? Are there any possible environmental impacts of applying this knowledge? Will you discuss this information with the students?

What work will students be producing to pass this course? What are the texts/genres/forms/performances? (e.g. dance, essay, report, equation)

How could these items be used/displayed for community benefit?

What models of these items/texts can you provide to students?

What are the features, structures, rules, codes and basic components of these items/texts that students will have to learn?
How can you work with these kinaesthetically (e.g. sequencing cards)? Visually (e.g. diagrams, symbols as memory aids)? Introspectively (e.g. aspects requiring personal reflection)?

How will you model and scaffold the skills students need to complete/reproduce their own versions of these items? What opportunities will students have to observe and imitate?

Can you see any aspects of your responses above that you would feel comfortable presenting to your students as an Aboriginal way of learning or an Aboriginal perspective?

Refer to the diagram below and draw the appropriate symbols beside your responses.


What further information or resources will you need to seek in your local community to inform your Aboriginal perspectives in this task?

Can you do these things with the topic you have?:

Yarn and tell stories as a way into the learning. 

Create a shared image (concrete or visualised) of the pathway the learning is taking. 

Use non-verbal methods as well – reflection, demonstration, hands-on practical, etc. Encourage non-verbal systems of feedback from students – gestures, facial cues etc. 

Create visual texts as well as print texts (e.g. mind-maps, diagrams etc.) 

Locate the knowledge – where it’s from. Connect to country – use natural metaphors from the local landscape to reinforce the learning. 

Bring together different cultural viewpoints to create a shared metalanguage of what you’re learning. Students co-create the knowledge. Take a roundabout route to learning outcomes. Innovate, create, exchange, adapt, synthesise. 

Model assessment tasks before expecting students to do them. Balance instruction with independent learning. 

Always relate content back to local community contexts and find the relevance for the students. Where possible, find ways to make the new knowledge benefit local community through presentations, projects, etc.