The eighth annual YDC Sharing Summit on 29–30 October was a wonderful two days of informative and inspiring presentations from schools involved in YDC research projects across Australia.
The summit opened with a heartfelt Welcome to Country from Uncle Sam Watson, who spoke of his family connections and blood ties to the traditional owners of the lands across south-east Queensland and the spiritual strengths of country. His words made all of us feel welcomed to our gathering on the lands at Kelvin Grove where QUT stands.
Human relationships come first
Opening keynote speaker Mundanara Bayles from the BlackCard set the tone for the summit with a brilliant session on cultural capability. Using Aboriginal Terms of Reference, we formed circles to introduce ourselves to each other. Introductions in Aboriginal culture are based on who you are, not what you do. This is because human relationships come first. Each person was given a short time to introduce themselves to the others in their circle by talking about their family, their relationships or where they grew up.
Mundanara also spoke about ways for teachers to engage and work with community members including parents, giving delegates helpful tips and practical suggestions.
“She was so informative and filled many gaps”
Our second keynote speaker was the fabulous Scott Gorringe from Murrimatters Consulting. Scott’s session was highly praised by delegates for challenging their thinking. Scott spoke about developing awareness of our cultural biases and boundaries and the deficit discourse surrounding Aboriginal identity. He used the metaphor of a river to describe ‘currents of culture’, with five different types: mainstream, rocks, downstreamers, freestylers and whirlpools.
Delegates were encouraged to change the conversation to free it from the negative framing of Aboriginality and instead build robust and trusting relationships.
“Created thought-provoking conversation starters that will hopefully lead to change and understanding from both myself and my students”
Embedding Indigenous perspectives
The remainder of the summit was filled with 23 diverse presentations from 20 different schools, sharing best practice and their successes (and challenges) in using the YuMi Deadly Maths (YDM) pedagogy.
Presenters explored how to incorporate YDM’s active body → hand → mind approach and how to engage all students through embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives in teaching and learning mathematics.
“All the presentations were invaluable”
For example, Kelly Snelling from Glenala State High School in Brisbane demonstrated a lower secondary mathematics lesson called ‘Flip the Fish’, in which Indigenous cooking methods were linked with Euclidean transformations: flip (reflection), slide (translation) and turn (rotation). The lesson allows students to recognise the three types of transformation and understand that the shape still has the same size, area, angles and line lengths.
Kelly shared how her students have responded to this lesson and others like it:
“When I use Indigenous perspectives and students become mildly disruptive, other students and Indigenous students have made the firm statement ‘Respect the culture’ as a way of saying listen up, be respectful. I believe the idea of respecting culture resonates with other cultures in the classroom and students pull themselves into line. Master stroke!”
All in all, delegates at the summit thoroughly enjoyed seeing how other teachers are using the YDM pedagogy, hearing from like-minded people about realistic approaches to working within schools, sharing practical ideas and resources, and networking with their colleagues.
If you missed out on the Sharing Summit this year, we hope you will be able to attend the next one!
Presentation PowerPoints available on Blackboard
For those who have access to the YuMi Deadly Maths Professional Learning Online Blackboard site, you will find the PowerPoint slides for each presentation uploaded under the ‘Review’ section of the site. Thanks to all presenters for sharing your slides.