The Global Legacy
Edited By Michael Adrian Peters and Tina Besley
Chapter Six: Humanization in Decolonizing Educational Research: A Tree of Life Metaphor
Humanization in Decolonizing Educational Research: A Tree of Life Metaphor
The Tree of Life is an ancient motif that appears in many cultures and religions. The Tree is symbolic of the interconnected nature of our world(s) and is often used as a reminder of the sacredness of life and its connection to the earth. This chapter uses the metaphor of the Tree of Life to explore the methodology of Participatory Action Research in a decolonizing educational project. A group of science teachers explored the possibilities of the mandated inclusion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures in the new national Australian Curriculum. The chapter connects Freirean ideas of conscientizção and humanization through the processes explored by the teachers and the educational outcomes sought. The importance of nourishment, protection, and interconnectedness related to the Tree of Life is explored in this context.
Through the process of my doctoral work I spent much time musing on the methodology of Participatory Action Research (PAR) and searching for a way of representing my work that could relate to both critical and indigenous1 understandings. From the perspectives of both the critical tradition and indigenous methodologies, the theme of interconnectedness was one that recurred throughout my reading of theoretical underpinnings. More than this, interconnectedness was a ← 103 | 104 → theme through the work itself, manifesting in unexpected and serendipitous ways. In some Australian Aboriginal understandings, it was explained...
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