Transcript: Knowledge leader - Sandra Phillips

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Transcript: Knowledge leader - Sandra Phillips

I'm Dr Sandra Phillips, and I'm a Wakka Wakka woman, with very strong ties to the Gooreng Gooreng people as well.

I'm a lecturer at the Queensland University of Technology in its Creative Industries Faculty.

Literacy for me has always been important. It's enabled me to tell the stories that I want to tell, and then eventually work with other Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders on the stories they want to tell. 

As Indigenous people, we do love a yarn. We like to tell each other stories, and I think that's the key to supporting literacy development with and amongst our little people. We need to learn how to match our stories and our yarning within families to how we write, and for me literacy is the lynch pin of all of that.

Make a bridge between our natural abilities to tell stories to that learned skill or literacy. Bring in stories, books written by Aboriginal people and Torres Strait Islanders, that show our little people that we have been there before. That we have written before. That we think it's important, and that most importantly, we retain our own distinct identity as Indigenous peoples, even if we are using the mainstream society's written word.

When a young Murri, Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander girl or boy walks into the learning space, I think it's really important for educators to start where they are, start where they're coming from. They've got things to say. They're observing all of the time. 

So the important thing is to tap into what is it that they're seeing. What is it that they're thinking, and then get them to express that in whatever manner. That's often through play, through yarning, through storytelling, and that's a fundamental part of building those bridges towards future literacy competency that they can carry with them for the rest of their life post education.

So if there was one thing that I would encourage educators of our little people, is bring in families as well. Our little people, their families are a really important part of the way that they learn, relate, communicate and become who they're becoming. 

So stories, books and family.