Expert Advice

8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning

The eight Aboriginal Ways of Learning is a learning framework that we use at Deadly Kindy to share Aboriginal knowledge authentically and productively with students.

It also allows teachers to include Aboriginal perspectives by focusing on Aboriginal learning techniques.

The team who developed the framework understood that Aboriginal perspectives didn’t come from teaching Indigenous content but from teaching the content similarly to the ways in which Indigenous people traditionally share knowledge.

Teaching using Aboriginal processes and protocols, not just Aboriginal content validates and educates students about Aboriginal culture and can also enhance the learning for all students.

In developing the eight Aboriginal Ways of Learning, Aboriginal learning processes were identified and the team found that these traditional ways of sharing knowledge also shared similarities with the best mainstream teaching practices.

This research also gives our Deadly Kindy staff the tools to integrate learning in ways that benefit all children.

Mainstream learning

  1. Story sharing – Approaching learning through narrative.
  2. Learning maps – planning and visualising explicit processes.
  3. Working non-verbally with self-reflective, hands-on metaphors – applying non-verbal skills to thinking and learning.
  4. Symbols and Images – Using images and metaphors to understand concepts and content.
  5. Land links – Place-based learning that links content to local land and place.
  6. Non-linear – Using indirect, innovative and also interdisciplinary approaches.
  7. Deconstruct/Reconstruct – Modelling and scaffolding by working from wholes to parts.
  8. Community – Connecting learning to local values, needs and also knowledge.

Aboriginal learning


  1. Connect through the stories we share.
  2. Picture our pathways of knowledge.
  3. See, think, act, make and share without words.
  4. Keep and share knowledge with art and objects.
  5. Work with lessons from land and nature.
  6. Put different ideas together and create new knowledge.
  7. Work from wholes to parts, watching and then doing.
  8. Bring new knowledge home to help our mob.

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