Extra yarning time – learning with Indigenous Rangers

Extra yarning time – learning with Indigenous Rangers

Taking a break with the BPAC rangers in the Bunya Mountains

Taking a break with the BPAC rangers in the Bunya Mountains.

Two Indigenous groups have joined forces with Leonie Swift to co-create plain English safety procedures for Indigenous rangers.

Leonie is a plain English practitioner and adult literacy teacher. She has been working with Bunya Mountains Aboriginal Corporation (BPAC) rangers and iCHASE Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Corporation (iATSIC) to create and deliver ‘safety-based engagement’ training to the rangers for the last two years. It’s a systemised andragogical approach to workplace health and safety, underpinned by action research and critical thinking. The course culminates with a procedures workshop.

Leonie applies plain English and easy English principles to all iATSIC resources to ensure they are easy to read and free of common workplace safety jargon.

“We include a glossary in every safety procedure we co-create with the rangers. One of our favourite moments was when one of the rangers spontaneously began choosing words for the glossary in a chainsaw procedure. His selections gave us firsthand and subtle insights into literacy levels of the group.” Several rangers are now keen to become trainers.

The re-imagined Indigenous "Basic Human Needs" diagram

The re-imagined Indigenous “Basic Human Needs” diagram

“We go against the flow of most mainstream training, which focuses on condensing delivery into the shortest possible timeframe. We allow extra ‘yarning time’ in our training sessions because it builds trust, embeds the learning and encourages creative input.”

“A perfect example of this was the day we ‘reimagined’ an Indigenous version of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid. When the Maslow diagram first appeared on the screen, the room did not relate to it. So, we stopped and began redesigning it (and had a lot of fun in the process). This remains a highlight of our training so far.”

“We are also co-creating procedures for the ‘use of right fire’ to heal and maintain our land. These will include some of the deeper philosophical underpinnings behind Cultural Burning. In the wake of the Black Summer fires, our shared goal is to keep our rangers safe while they keep Country safe”.

To learn more about iATSIC, see: www.iatsic.org.au
Or you can contact Leonie via leonie@plainenglishmatters.com.au