The Indigenous Story Continues
This first Northern Territory kit of fifty tasks for Aboriginal Students was later used in 1996 as the basis of a similar exploration with urban Indigenous students around Brisbane. The original set, with some modifications and additions based on knowledge about tasks which had grown over the intervening years, was found to be equally applicable to Indigenous students in this environment.
From 1996 this kit was widely used across Australia and was also been used to support the learning of Native American students in the United States.
The idea of bordering the cards with student drawings to add an Indigenous 'stamp' to the resource came from the first project. It was enthusiastically repeated by the Queensland teachers who went a step further by hiring an Aboriginal artist to help the students develop their drawings.
The logo of the Mathematics Task Centre (and its antecedent, the Mathematics Task Centre Project) came from the work of two Indigenous students in the Queensland project who journeyed where no one had gone before in the solution of the Sphinx task.
For four years from August 1998, the Aboriginal Education Unit, Tasmania, developed an on-going professional development program based around the Task Centre Kit for Indigenous Students. The stunning improvements in mathematics and literacy which developed for Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike testify to the power of long-term PD programs with the same group of teachers.
Using First Language
Anyone operating outside their first language has difficulty displaying their intellect. Therefore schools which are able to operate bilingually are encouraged to translate tasks into the appropriate language to encourage student's involvement and learning. At Areyonga school, beyond Alice Springs, Task 173, Crossing The River 1 did not interest students. However when their teacher translated it into Pitjantjatjara:
as 'Creek Crossing', the students' could see how it related to their environment and it became a favourite.
Wati munu minyma munu tjitji kutjara wirkanu karungka, munuya nyangu pautu urungka ngaranyangka. Pautu paluru kunyu kulunypa paluru kunyu katipai anangu pulka kutju munu tjitji kutjara katipai. Ka yaaltji - yaaltji wati munu minyma munu tjitji kutjara pautungka itipiriku.
Task Kit for Aboriginal Students
Full details of links between the discontinued Aboriginal tasks and mainstream tasks.
Results from INISSS
A four year professional development project which began by encouraging teachers to use the Task Centre Kit for Aboriginal Students in Year 8 has demonstrated world-first gains in numeracy and literacy within the framework of learning to work like a mathematician.
Other stories of success are also told at this link.
INISSS: An Elder's View
Auntie Joy from Tasmania, who worked as an assistant teacher in some INISSS classrooms, tells the story from her point of view.
Classroom experiences from Crossways Lutheran School Ceduna, South Australia.
Classroom experiences from Fregon Anangu School in the far northwest of South Australia as recorded in Teacher Scrapbooks.
Classroom experiences from Ernabella Anangu School, South Australia.
Changes in the participant, colleagues and children at Winkie Primary School, Riverland, South Australia as a result of a six day professional development program. Nic comments: Many of my children are Aboriginal and, before introducing this initiative, were on the border of non-productive mathematical learning.
After a long teaching career, Ruth is sharing her experience as a tutor in the Indigenous Tutorial Assistance Scheme (ITAS) in Tasmania. The reports below indicate that even though her students may be '...the most disadvantaged kids I have worked with', Ruth has been able to share her love of numbers and excite them to begin '...thinking mathematically'. Their reports illustrate a tight link between being thrilled by mathematics and wanting to use your literacy and technology skills to explain it to someone else.
Email: 11 December 2006
The kids at Moonah wanted to send you some more of their work. We talked about what to send and then they told me what to write. I hope you enjoy these and perhaps find them useful.
A teacher in a remote Northern Territory school shows that a good task is the tip of an iceberg.
A story of success with the Aboriginal Task Kit from a school in central Sydney with a significant Aboriginal student population.