Indigenous teacher education initiative: Shared conceptualisation leading to social justice and social capital in remote Australian Aboriginal communities
Maher, M. (2010). Indigenous teacher education initiative: Shared conceptualisation leading to social justice and social capital in remote Australian Aboriginal communities. International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, 5 (1), 357-366.
The Northern Territory (NT) of Australia is home to 80 different Aboriginal cultural groups; 40 different Indigenous languages are still spoken as a first language. Aboriginal children make up 40 per cent of the school aged population of the NT by comparison with 4 per cent nationally; by 2014 they will make up 50 per cent. These children perform poorly on National testing scales and, as a consequence of the remoteness of their communities, it is extremely difficult to recruit and retain teachers. This results in a lack of continuity in education for these children who are most at risk of failing. Against that backdrop, this paper describes the "Growing Our Own" Indigenous teacher education initiative currently being undertaken by Charles Darwin University in partnership with remote Aboriginal communities to reverse these trends. This project aims to empower Indigenous Assistant Teachers to join culturally relevant ways of being, knowing and doing with contemporary curriculum and pedagogical knowledge as they complete their teacher education, in situ, and to empower non-Indigenous Mentor Teachers to understand culturally relevant Indigenous ways of being, knowing and doing and infuse these with contemporary curriculum and pedagogical knowledge to strengthen opportunities for children’s learning. Achievements in this endeavour resulting in increased social capital within communities, are reported. Since the traditional Western conceptualisation of a teacher has previously not worked for children in remote Aboriginal communities, an interesting aspect of the current initiative is the co-construction with students and community of what characteristics would comprise a successful teacher in that context. [Retrieved from publisher's website: http://iji.cgpublisher.com/product/pub.88/prod.989]
Peer-reviewed, Indigenous, Aboriginal Australian, Teacher Education, Social Capital, Social Justice, Remote Communities