Aboriginal Pedagogy- Our Protocol for using this site

The 8 ways can be used by anyone, to work with Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal students. The traditional owners of Western New South Wales should be acknowledged if this is used for any other purpose, and permissions sought via DET's Bangamalanha Centre at Arthur St in Dubbo, Western NSW. (ph 02 6841 3852)

Please observe the protocol on the homepage - if you use something from here, please put something back. Share with others the ways you are using the framework, either in discussion tabs or create your own page.


This coolamon shows the story of where the work for the framework began. On the right you can see Walgett, where a pilot project gave us the initial ideas of Aboriginal pedagogy to bring to the work between Brewarrina and Bourke (centre and left) where we brought two western pedagogy systems together with the Aboriginal way to create the basic framework. This research then continued down the river (left) and throughout the region to develop the framework further. This process continues.

Western New South Wales Department of Education and Training has done groundbreaking work here in undertaking this project through an "intellectual commons" process. It takes real courage and commitment to the Aboriginal community to invest in something like this while asserting Aboriginal protocols of knowledge ownership. As far as we know, nothing quite like this has been attempted before. 

The 8ways belong to a place, not a person or organisation. They came from country in Western New South Wales. Baakindji, Ngiyampaa, Yuwaalaraay, Gamilaraay, Wiradjuri, Wangkumarra and other nations own the knowledges this framework came down from.

This knowledge came together in an interface with systems used by DET New South Wales, Western Region. Mainly those systems were Quality Teaching (Ladwig and Amosa) and Reading to Learn (David Rose).

In this initial interface, Nadia Gavin represented the Quality Teaching framework, Cheryl Koop represented the Reading to Learn method, and Blanche Gordon (Ngemba woman) represented local Aboriginal pedagogies. Tyson Yunkaporta brought Aboriginal perspectives shared from across the region from many elders and keepers of knowledge (but it should be noted he is not from this region, so represented a wider Indigenous context - not owning the local knowledges used). Over time, many people from across the region have continued to add to this growing body of knowledge, and this process continues.

The work was originally endorsed and supported by:

Bourke Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, Western NSW Regional Aboriginal Education Team, Muda Aboriginal Corporation, Dubbo Aboriginal Learning Knowledge and Practice Centre, Dharriwaa Elders Group, Board of Studies Aboriginal Education Unit, Murdi Paaki Regional Assembly and Western NSW Department of Education and Training.

Please note that we acknowledge the mainland Torres Strait Islander people in our region, and we pay our respects to them through inclusion of the drum symbol in the 8ways. However, as none of our team is Islander, we cannot speak for Islander knowledge, and so we often use the term "Aboriginal" rather than "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander" when talking about knowledge specific to our region.

Here are some general protocols that arose as best practise from teachers during the research.

Cultural Interface Protocols for Engaging with Aboriginal Knowledge

1. Use Aboriginal processes to engage with Aboriginal knowledge.
2. Approach Aboriginal knowledge in gradual stages, not all at once.
3. Be grounded in your own cultural identity (not “colour”) with integrity.
4. Bring your highest self to the knowledge and settle your fears and issues.
5. Share your own stories of relatedness and deepest knowledge.
6. See the shape of the knowledge and express it with images and objects.
7. Build your knowledge around real relationships with Aboriginal people.
8. Use this knowledge for the benefit of the Aboriginal community.
9. Bring your familiar understandings, but be willing to grow beyond these.
10. Respect the aspects of spirit and place that the knowledge is grounded in.