Holistic Education from Indigenous Australia

“European colonisation has played a disrupting role in traditional forms of education, ranging from ignorant intrusion to outright warfare in the 18th and 19th centuries!”

Nicholas K Watson

This essay was originally written asEducation by and for Indigenous Australiain Semester 2 of 2020 for ABOR1110, Introduction to Aboriginal Studies, at the University of Newcastle. It has been reformated and slightly revised for this website.

The state of education in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Isander communities prior to European colonisation can be inferred to some significant extent from contemporary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education models that have emerged as a result of reflecting on traditional ways of making knowledge.

After developing a context-based model of education for Aboriginal students in Arnhem land to facilitate their completion of year 11 and year 12, Chris Garner took his model to traditional landowners in Arnhem land who said that they’d “been doing that for years” (TEDx Talks, 2011). This context-based education is found in Indigenous education frameworks, such as the Holistic Teaching and Learning Framework developed by Uncle Ernie…

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