TALES Initiative seeks to support learning with a decolonial approach in developing our new, multi-faceted platform: World of Us. What does this actually mean? Decolonisation is the undoing of colonialism: practically, socially, mentally, and beyond. It is more than just the removal of monuments and state policies as it also extends to dominant belief systems that have obscured, destroyed, or ignored Indigenous realities and histories. One of these systems is that of youth education and the methods and practices surrounding it.
Why is a decolonial approach needed in early education?
As a multimedia storytelling project, we organise ourselves around a decolonial approach because it centres not only Indigenous knowledge but also other marginalised groups affected by colonial expansion. In doing this, it offers an approach to education that has historically been left out or treated as an afterthought. The work of Brazilian philosopher Paulo Freire expresses some of these foundational values. It was geared towards education and the implications of colonialism and oppressive power structures; he outlined tools such as unity, compassion, organisation, and cultural synthesis to empower those most affected by imbalanced educational institutions. This allows us to spotlight some of the most marginalised groups in our educational goals while also benefitting the greater collective by championing core values that focus on climate, eco-justice and sustainability; racial and ethnic equity and equality; and non-capitalist motivated narratives.
How can it benefit children in understanding and appreciating diverse cultures, perspectives, and histories?
One research model published in the AlterNative: an International Journal of Indigenous Peoples in 2020 explored “the benefits, barriers, and resources for engaging Indigenous knowledges in science education and research” and found commonalities of “individual experiences [woven] into a larger collective, inter-generational story of survival, adaptation, resilience, and regeneration.” Fostering a greater cohesion with these experiences on a societal scale is the antithesis to many modern, global problems that are caused by the history of colonialism: such as climate degradation, exploitation of workers’ rights, and prevailing systems of oppression. These problems can then be linked to various early educational frameworks such as individualism, prioritising technical skill output learning, surface level cultural exchange, and blind patriotism. These decolonial and indigenous-focused systems for early education can lay the foundation for a society that values collective progression over individualism and marginal exclusion. This also brings in cultural exchange, not as a novelty tool (such as teaching a secondary language to reproduce in a society) but as a core pillar of citizenship (fostering empathy and understanding for cultural differences as well as technical skills like language learning when cultural exchange is introduced).
In conclusion, the TALES initiative is producing platforms such as World of Us with these decolonial and interdisciplinary approaches in order to create a unique, open-source software experience. It is a digital world of cultural exchange, value, and appreciation that centres Indigenous and marginalised identities at its core. Connecting the youth through these digital dedicated educational spaces on a global network is something that is yet to be done and it is our hope that we can use the power of storytelling to do so.
Learn more about our future gaming experience, a safe and moderate space where children will learn through collaboration mechanics instead of competition.