and Remote Education Inquiry Briefing Paper
8. Pre-service preparation
intend to teach in rural, remote or metropolitan schools, it is important
that they engage in indigenous cultural awareness training. This is particularly
relevant for teachers taking placements or intending to work in isolated
communities (Submission 52, Yipirinya School, NT).
Preparation for rural
and remote living is also an important part of the training process. For
many new recruits, the success of their placement is dependent on their
ability to acculturate to the new environment and understand the ways
in which a small community may operate. The National Isolated Children's
Parents' Association recommends that a rural education component be included
in pre-service teacher training courses (Submission 37).
involved in teacher training should address the differences that graduates
may encounter in rural contexts (Miller, 1994). The nature of the rural
context is not the same as that of the urban area and generically trained
teachers will not necessarily be well prepared for the demands of teaching
in this environment (Higgins, 1993, Bloodsworth, 1994, Kirk, 1994, Herzog
& Pittman, 1995). McFaul suggests that the inexperienced rural teacher
be provided with a package containing, research findings, useful local
information, an understanding of rural values and some workable strategies
(1989). Previous research undertaken by Herzog and Pittman (1995) indicates
that minimal account is being taken of the rural context in teacher training
and that institutions should provide more than a 'superficial sensitivity
training' (Hard 1997).
to talk about proper preparation for staff who go to our remote areas,
because at the moment very few have qualifications in ESL or even a thorough
preparedness for working in cross-cultural contexts. Despite an initial
orientation program which is run by the [NT] Department of Education,
and I understand that that's a winner of some awards, a lot more needs
to be done. This comes back to increasing the size of the cake, rather
than talking about its redistribution (Robert Laird, Australian Education
Union (NT), Darwin public hearing, 10 May 1999).
employed in the communities have little understanding of the Indigenous
culture and maybe non-Aboriginal teachers need to have ongoing workshops
about culture and Aboriginal education issues, to even begin to understand
how to teach or effectively teach Indigenous students.
[We need] identified
Aboriginal teaching positions in all schools [we also need to] enhance
the pathways for Indigenous people wanting to be educators in their
community (Submission 52, Yipirinya School, NT).
From my experience
the NSW Education Department is willing to spend extra money on rural
schools. They are willing to undertake initiatives such as the Walgett
Community of Schools. The staff are generally very committed and competent.
However, they are often unprepared for the different worlds that country
towns and Aboriginal culture are. Too often the programs and regulations
are based on another culture. There are also incidents such as the principal
who said to an Aboriginal parent, who was distressed that all of one
class were in the bottom 20% of the state in a literacy test "That's
not bad for Aboriginal kids" (Submission 25, Christian Brothers
updated 2 December 2001.