Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Two Cultures, Two Journeys

Two roads originally posted by Matt Lew and Peter Visontay

My friend Matt Davis introduced me to the concept of Two Roads, inspired by Little Fish in Alice Springs. Check out their site - it has some fantastic graphical tools for communicating cross culturally!

On the left the freeway represents a very Western way of traveling: focused on the end goal, high speed to get there, not stopping along the way unless necessary. This way isn't done with others unless it suits the driver and achieves the end result.
On the right, the bush track represents the journey many of our Indigenous students are on: they will reach the end goal but along the way are many impacts on the travelers. The road pulls you to the left and to the right, there are beautiful views to stop at and wait, there are others with you and they may be setting the pace or even the route.

We need to remember there are many factors influencing our Indigenous students that we might not face - cultural obligations, community & family expectations, funerals and health issues, carer roles and even the unresolved issues that lead to 'payback' which are happening back in their communities.

If our model does not effectively cater for Sorry Business, hunting trips, ceremonies and family expectations we are fundamentally preparing them for the wrong thing - an unsuccessful assessment of their education.
But, when we have the grace to accept their journey may be different to ours, we are able to adapt to support our students through all the impacts on their journey as well as celebrate their arrival at the end!

I made this image my laptop wallpaper as a daily reminder of this - even though I work with Indigenous students every day it's still so easy to lose sight of the difference!

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