Academic staff add cultural value to curriculum delivery

Academic staff from the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, the School of Psychology, and staff from within the School of Arts, English and Media participate in second cohort of the Jindaola Program.

Jindaola is a new educational development program for staff at UOW which takes an Aboriginal approach to embedding Indigenous Knowledges and perspectives into the curriculum. It is modelled on traditional Aboriginal systems for conducting business and maintaining knowledge integrity.

The development of the program involved staff from Learning Teaching and Curriculum (LTC) coming together with Yuin Elders and knowledge Holders at formal and informal gatherings to collaborate, learn and problem-solve in an authentic knowledge exchange. This process has enabled UOW to embed Aboriginal approaches and practices in the learning and teaching process, providing a more

Lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at LTC and Jindaola program leader, Jade Kennedy, explains the program’s origins and geographic significance.

“Jindaola is the Dharawal word for goanna, and Jindaola within our Dreaming walks from place to place teaching people ‘proper way’ for conducting business. Jindaola has left his tracks for us to follow long before we were even here.

“These tracks represent for us a part of our law, and to follow in these tracks will ensure a meaningful, respectful and appropriate way to approach the embedding of Aboriginal knowledges and perspectives in our curriculum.

“Jindaola is situated within this country, and the way that relates to UOW is that the majority of our onshore campuses sit within Yuin,” Mr Kennedy said.

The teams participating in the program have begun their journey formally gathering twice already in 2018 at the Illawarra Aboriginal Corporation to share through yarning circles and networking activities with community members.

The Jindaola program has received grant funding through the office of the PVC (Inclusion & Outreach) and draws participants from all faculties at the University annually.

The first cohort of participants who completed the program represented the faculties of Science Medicine and Health, Business, and Engineering and Information Sciences. The second cohort currently going through the program includes staff from School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, the School of Psychology, and staff from within the School of Arts, English and Media.

Program participant, Associate Professor Michael Adams from the School of Geography and Sustainable Communities, says this program serves as a really important aspect of teaching and learning.

“As geographers we are really interested in reimagining not just what our students learn but how our students learn in a way that fundamentally respects this country that we stand on and the deep history of the people from this place.”

Jindaola aims to deliver graduates who have a deep authentic understanding of cultural responsiveness and the need for cultural humility.