The Learning Communities research group brings together academics who use a range of innovative and emergent culture, arts and place-based methodologies to examine Indigenous and cultural worldviews in order to develop new knowledge, and those who focus on family learning in order to identify educational insights that can progress social change in families through to whole communities
Associate Professor Deborah
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Assistant Professor David Spillman
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Assistant Professor Ben Wilson
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Assistant Professor Rohan Nethsinghe
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Writing for all: Studying the development of handwriting and keyboarding skills in the Early Years
Project team: Anabela Abreu Malpique, Margaret Merga, Deborah Pino-Pasternak, Susan Ledger, Debora Valcan
This project will investigate Year 2 students’ abilities, engagement and self-efficacy to write by hand and by keyboard and teaching practices promoting effective writing development, including practices for teaching transcription skills. This project has been funded by a grant from the Ian Potter Foundation and is part of the State Library of Western Australia Literacy Strategy for 2017-2027.
Building Cultural integrity with 'Country as Teacher'
Project team: Dr David Spillman, Ben Wilson, Dr Katharine McKinnon, Monty Nixon
This project will implement and assess the effectiveness of the ‘Country as Teacher’s professional learning approach, pedagogy and curriculum design, building on piloting of the approach during a Teachers as Researchers program in 2020. Based in Indigenous knowledge and ways of being the ‘Country as Teacher’ program embeds classroom practice in deep respect for place-focused, ecocentric pedagogies that have been part of teaching and learning in Australia for centuries. This project will assess the transformative impacts of participation in the program for teachers, students, and the school community, exploring how well it increases capacities to know, understand, and care for the places they inhabit. Learning from Country through encounter and story-telling are central to the educative processes practiced as part of teaching and learning in Australia for centuries. The place-focused, ecocentric Indigenous pedagogical approaches informing this project build skills for cultural integrity alongside capacity to address ecological challenges and nurture capacity for genuine reconciliation.
Teaching for Country: Exploring transformative opportunities in initial teacher education through enacting Indigenous ways of knowing being and doing
This research project works towards the strategic goal of facilitating the enactment of Indigenous ways of knowing, being and doing within initial teacher education undergraduate (UG) and postgraduate units (PG). This is a concrete contribution towards two current UC imperatives: Indigenizing the Curriculum (including graduate attributes) and creating a place-based university. For us (chief investigators) this is an enactment of our cultural obligations, to know and care for the places we live and use our knowledge and capabilities to assist others to do the same. This research contributes to a broader educational vision; to prepare teachers to support schools in the ACT to rebalance their curriculum, teaching and learning to enable children to learn about, come to know and love, and care for the places they live.
SRL in Context: Contextual Supports for the Early Development of Self-Regulated Learning
Project Team: Deborah Pino-Pasternak, Anabela Malpique & Debora Valcan
This project investigated longitudinal changes in children’s self-regulation during the first two years of compulsory education in Western Australia and associations between SR and academic outcomes. The project also examined associations between parental behaviours and self-regulation. The following take-home messages have been identified through this research:
Deficit Discourse in Indigenous Education
From 2015-2018, Ben was involved with the ARC Research Project Deficit Discourse in Indigenous Education at the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at ANU. The three year project aimed to investigate how strengths based discourses disrupted established patterns of deficit thinking around Indigenous students, their families, and their communities. The project collected data from across the Northern Territory, Victoria, New South Wales, and Victoria. Several publications and a book that is currently in press discuss the findings of the research team were produced from this project.