The remote Indigenous community of One Arm Point is in the Kimberley region of WA. (ABC News: Andrew Seabourne)
A new generation of Aboriginal teachers is taking shape in classrooms once dominated by non-Indigenous staff.
- 33 Indigenous education assistants will complete a Bachelor of Education at Curtin University as part of a pilot teaching-training program
- The $3 million project will be completed within five years
- The 2019 Closing the Gap report identified teacher quality is the most significant determinant of student achievement
There have been 33 Indigenous staff already working in support roles in schools across regional Western Australia, who have been preparing to train as teachers a Curtain University as part of a pilot program.
It has been a big change from the past, where city-trained educators were flown in to teach at these schools.
The new $3-million Government program would support these Aboriginal staff to train to be qualified teachers over the next five years.
‘A chain reaction and ripple effect’
Samantha Morgan, who has lived in the remote Kimberley community of One Arm Point, said it was a great opportunity to improve the education outcomes in the Indigenous community.
Samantha Morgan is one of the participants of the pilot program. (Supplied: WA Department of Education)
“This would benefit us big time,” she said.
“Doing our degree, we have the experience of being Indigenous, and knowing what the kids will need.
“Getting this degree, we will then know the system from the education side.”
She believed it was important to break the cycle of under-education in Indigenous communities.
“We don’t want our kids going through the same cycle, just going to school because they’re told to, but [not] knowing the importance of it,” Ms Morgan said.
“We are getting the education to better [the student’s] life, and to make a difference, and contribute back into the community.”
‘Positive role models’
Mark Batka, the principal at One Arm Point Remote Community School, said it would have a positive effect for the community.
“[One Arm Point] already has four qualified Aboriginal teachers working at the school, one of whom is our new deputy principal,” he said.
“We are certainly excited to be able to continue this very positive trend at our school, promoting local employment and building our Indigenous staff.”
Thirty-three current staff members are the first participants of the program. (Supplied: WA Department of Education)
Mr Batka was optimistic about the impact of having Indigenous teachers working with Indigenous children.
“It helps to provide positive role models for our students who can see with their very own eyes what can be achieved through education,” he said.
Closing the gap
The Federal Government’s 2019 annual Closing the Gap report said attendance rates for Indigenous students had not improved between 2014 and 2018, but found teacher quality was the most significant determinant of student achievement.
West Australian Minister for Education and Training, Sue Ellery, said training more Indigenous teachers was essential for improving education outcomes.
“We want our Aboriginal students to be confident and successful learners, as well as provide greater opportunities for our Aboriginal school staff,” she said in a statement.
“Promoting local employment and building our Indigenous staff is an important step in ensuring the great initiatives we facilitate as a school are sustainable into the future.”
Ms Morgan hoped more Indigenous teachers would help close the gap in the future, and inspire the younger generation.
“We will deliver [the teaching] in our style and way, where it’s understanding the students,” she said.
“We can close the gap big time, because we know their background and their needs.”
Credit: Source link