Group interaction patterns as observed in informal learning events among pre-literate/semi-literate Salako women

Statement of Responsibility:
Burkhardt, Jey Lingam

The Sarawakian Salakos, numbering approximately 10,000, predominantly live in the Lundu district. Ethnically and politically, they are categorized as a sub-group of the Bidayuhs while linguistically they are Malayic. Conducted in Kampung Pueh, the hub of this indigenous society, my study focused on describing informal education practices as observed there. This study was done to enquire how Salako women traditionally passed on their skill, in order to find out their preferred and natural way of learning.

The paper describes my observation on the interaction patterns of learning groups. I selected two video recordings of spontaneous and uninitiated learning events, nyusup atap "making thatched roofs" and nganyam katupat "weaving rice cake casings", in which proficient/skilled women taught other women their skills. I then employed the grounded theory approach (Glaser and Strauss, 1967) to generate a "thick" description with keywords in order to provide an inductive method of discovering patterns. Some interesting learning interaction formations emerged, which elucidate the Salako women's preference to learn from a proficient "teacher" rather than to learn from peers. Some plausible interpretations for this observation are suggested. The paper concludes with some implications for adult educators who aim to implement a learner-centred approach in training members of indigenous communities.

19 pages
Nonformal education
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