Cultural Competence for Students

Outdoor Education Teaching Assistant Mr Jake Terhell has created a Numeracy in Navigation lesson and included Tasmanian Aboriginal Perspectives by applying this learning to real life scenarios.

Working in pairs, several Grade 8 and Grade 9 students used a measuring device called a click wheel to determine a 50m length, the number of steps and how long it took to walk this distance. Back in the classroom they used topographical maps of kunanyi Mt Wellington and a ruler to determine how far the distance is between the Springs and Junction Cabin and used their recorded data to measure how long it would take them to walk this distance, include a lunch stop and return to the Springs.

The lesson was then developed further by considering why people might walk from one place to another. A scenario was created whereby the students had to imagine they were members of the leenowwenne people of the Big River Nation, living around the area we know as Dysart and travelling to visit the muwininna people of the South East Nation, at the place we call Austins Ferry. The students had to imagine themselves tens of thousands of years ago, leading their families on a journey to find food and to trade and celebrate with other groups. They had to use maps and their recorded measurements to predict how long it would take them to walk that far, when to leave and at what time they would arrive.

A new scenario was then introduced, to travel across the river on bark canoes, similar to today’s stand up paddle boards, and visit the moomairremener people of the Oyster Bay Nation, at the place we call Risdon Cove. Their measurements had to be adjusted again to include land and water travel and the return journey.

The lesson also enabled discussion on how Tasmanian Aboriginal peoples would tell the time through reading the sun’s movements and navigate by reading and understanding the landscape they were travelling through and yet today we rely on maps and compasses as well as our watches or phones to tell the time or find our way. We also discussed the respectful manner in which Tasmanian Aboriginal people would arrive in other peoples’ Country and how we can be respectful too by always Acknowledging the original custodians of the Country we live and work upon.