Yarning is an informal conversation that is culturally friendly and recognised by Aboriginal people as a way to talk about something, someone or provide information.
- an Indigenous form of conversation
- part of Indigenous pedagogy (teaching)
- an informal and relaxed way of gathering information
Yarning builds on the oral tradition (genre) of handing down information. Yarning involves sharing information through the sharing of stories (narratives).
Aboriginal people’s conversations often take the form of a story when replying to a question. They may start off answering a question but then may slip into a story which might seem totally unrelated; but the story is the reply to the question/topic being explored.
Story telling has always been part of Aboriginal oral tradition. Stories were used to teach children, to hand down knowledge, and to impart information. Stories form part of the Aboriginal cosmology. The Dreaming informs people of how the world was created, and set the protocols for behaviour and outline responsibilities.
Working with stories is a culturally friendly and safe process for Aboriginal people. Stories teach people to listen.
The yarns used in the SWAY program embed Aboriginal teaching pedagogy into everyday teaching practice. They provide pathways to explore local Aboriginal history and culture and knowledge with children. The SWAY program encourages working collaboratively with Aboriginal parents, community and staff members to design, implement and evaluate effective programs that are based on local Aboriginal yarns.