Joanna Griffith

Joanna Griffith has a keen interest in Indigenous education, and Nature Pedagogy.

Joanna has shared stories of children’s learning in her classrooms at conferences over the past couple of years, focusing on the steps she took as a teacher - listening to and observing the students’ interests and how planning decisions were made.

Joanna had the privilege of living and working in Punmu - a small, remote Indigenous Martu community in the Pilbara. The Martu have a particularly special connection with the land. Many Martu were still living traditional nomadic lives until the mid 1960s, and so the elders in Punmu grew up on the land in traditional ways. Their intimate knowledge of ‘Ngurra’ (country), including plant and animal species, weather, firestick farming and, in particular, water, has been built upon and passed down for thousands of generations.

As a teacher working with students aged 6-9, many of whom had difficulty engaging in school, this connection could not be denied. Joanna was faced with the challenge of integrating local knowledge of nature into the students’ learning even though they were clearly the experts.

Join Joanna as she shares a snapshot of the ‘Nintirri Rangers’ (The Learning Rangers) program in her year 2-3 class, and explains how it opened up learning avenues that she could not have achieved inside the walls of a classroom. She will explain how she built upon students’ strength of knowledge of their environment, and offered them the opportunity to be the expert and share their knowledge.

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