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International Graduate Centre of Education

Pathways to teacher education in remote communities and families

Remote Indigenous trainees are atypical of most Australian teacher education students and their programs need to recognise and structure learning experiences around a range of factors

Remote pathways

Professor Sue ShoreChief investigators: Professor Sue Shore and Professor Peter Kell

Contact: Professor Sue Shore

Funding: More Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Teacher Initiative (MATSITI)

Partners:

The overarching aim of this project was to develop a better understanding of the infrastructure and potential for employment outcomes for remote Indigenous teacher education using the knowledge of teacher education gained from the experiences of delivery in Northern Territory remote communities.

Indigenous students participating in teacher education are often described as follows:

  • generally women over 35 years
  • older than non-Indigenous teacher education students
  • lacking the financial security required for successful higher education enrolment
  • more likely to enter via alternative pathways than a process using a tertiary entrance score
  • in need of customised learning and teaching to address the disconnects between cultural and academic literacies, Indigenous knowledges and Western higher education systems.

Remote Indigenous trainees are atypical of most Australian teacher education students and their programs need to recognise and structure learning experiences around a range of factors including:

  • cultural and kinship obligations and community responsibilities
  • seasonal and climatic conditions
  • language and literacy needs associated with English which may be their second, third or fourth language, and which may not be the primary language used in the home community.

From a metropolitan perspective the key challenge is to customise programs toward localised learning needs of students at the same time as programs conform to the national rules and regulations associated with higher education course provision, accreditation and registration. From the perspective of potential teacher education students the key challenge is to recognise Aboriginal knowledge as teachers’ work; respect the substantial expertise Aboriginal residents have accumulated; reconfigure notions of ‘shared teaching’ as exercises in knowing making rather than exercises in classroom management; and, affirm teaching on country alongside persistent assumptions of mobility that currently frame the national teaching workforce.

The project worked with these distinctively different ways of understanding teacher education on country to explore the following research questions:

  • What key issues and concerns influence recruitment and retention in remote teacher training?
  • How do teacher education students and community members name and describe these issues and concerns?
  • How are these issues addressed (or not) via funding, support, pedagogical and resource allocations?

Project reports

The project produced a series of reports as follows:

Shore, S., Chisholm, P., Bat, M., Harris, B., Kell, P. & Reaburn, S. (2014).  Pathways for Yolŋu Teachers: rethinking initial teacher education (ITE) on country (PDF 741KB). Darwin, NT: School of Education, Charles Darwin University.

Shore, S., Chisholm, P., Bat, M., Harris, B., Kell, P. & Reaburn, S. (Dec 2013). Pathways for Yolŋu Teachers: rethinking initial teacher education (ITE) on country. Key messages and Yolŋu Responses (PDF 338KB). Darwin, NT: School of Education, Charles Darwin University.

Shore, S., Chisholm, P., Bat, M., Harris, B., Kell, P. & Reaburn, S. (2014).  Pathways for Yolŋu Teachers: rethinking initial teacher education (ITE) on country. Key messages for systems, teacher education institutions and educators (PDF 226KB). Darwin, NT: School of Education, Charles Darwin University.

Bat, M., & Shore, S., (2013) Listening differently: an exploration of grey literature about Aboriginal teacher education in the Top End of the Northern Territory (PDF 442KB). Review of grey literature produced for the MATSITI funded project: “Pathways for Yolŋu Teachers: rethinking initial teacher education (ITE) on country”. Darwin, NT, School of Education, Charles Darwin University.

Experiences of remote teacher education

The following interviews with Marcus Mungul Lacey explore Indigenous Australian experiences of remote teacher education programs in the Northern Territory, Australia.

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