Taylor, Bridgett Vivian
How Ngaju Dayak Christian women in three rural communities in central Kalimantan pass on their skills, beliefs and values to the next generation
University of Southampton, School of Education,
This research was carried out in three villages in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, and looked at the ways in which Ngaju Dayak Christian women passed on their skills, beliefs and values to their children. It was an educational, ethnographic, collective case-study which was both descriptive and interpretive. The main data collecting methods were participant observation and ethnographic interviews, undertaken over a two year period from 2007 to 2008. The motivation for carrying out the study was to try to find more effective ways of delivering Christian Education to rural Christian women, based on their traditional ways of teaching and learning.
The research reveals that traditional Ngaju Dayak teaching and learning fits into a situated learning model. I claim that educational practices based upon that model are not necessarily in conflict with a Christian worldview. While this study confirms many of the findings of studies which have been carried out amongst indigenous people in other parts of the world it broke new ground in that it looked for the first time at traditional education methods among the Ngaju Dayak women. It found that the mothers especially, played the dominant role in passing on skills, beliefs and values to their children. Their methods were almost totally informal, frequently modelling or demonstrating in situations where children were present and included. The younger generation learned through observation, participation and imitation and by listening and experimenting. The context for the teaching and learning was the real and meaningful environment of the village, fields and/or family and was almost always connected to ‘real-life’ situations.
Skills, beliefs and values were passed on orally. Also much was visually transmitted especially through the use of artefacts used in ceremonies. With the advent of local or personal electricity supplies, skills, beliefs and particularly values were also being transmitted via the mass media. Although there were some gender specific roles and mothers were dominant in passing on the skills, beliefs and values, overall there was minimal gender differentiation among the recipients.
The study showed that these Ngaju Dayak women are ‘functionally illiterate’. They are able to read and write but their main ways of learning are oral. Story telling, has always played an important role in the lives of the Ngaju Dayak people. Further, it is evident that they prefer visual, kinesthetic, modes of learning to passive, formal ones.
Cultural transmission from parents to children clearly takes place, but with certain modifications. Even though culture was transmitted by the parents and the wider family, motivation and relevance were important reasons for passing on the skills, beliefs and values. In summary, learning and teaching remains strongly influenced by the traditional Dayak worldview.
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