19 January, 2016

A New Voice

A young local Aboriginal girl is having trouble finding a voice. She's struggling with numeracy and literacy, and is chafing at the traditional mainstream education system. She hates the rote learning, so I've been called in as a tutor by her mother and grandmother (one of the Aboriginal elders I've been working with over the past few months).

Apon hearing that someone would be guiding her homework experience, she instantly took a dislike to the idea, but I had a plan up my sleeve. I asked her if she liked computer games, and she said that she didn't like "homework games". Her grandfather (another of the elders I've been working with) said that she was always playing computer games. I aksed her what sorts of games, and she opened up a bit. I asked her if she'd like me to teach her how to make her own computer games. Parents and grandparents looked at me a bit suspiciously at this point, so I explained that programming computer games would be good because she could expand her literacy skills by putting together descriptive text and dialogue; it could also improve her numeracy skills if we include randomisers, or conditions with addition and subtraction elements that handle things in the background.

She seemed interested, but there was one thing that really grabbed her attention. If she worked hard at making the game, and we all thought it was good enough, it could be put on sale and she might get a bit of extra pocket money from it.

So, I don't know where this experiment will lead us. I don't know if this will turn out to be a creative endeavour that changes things on a wide scale, but I can hope that for one girl this is a path forward.

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