Improving teaching in Indigenous education

Aug 27, 2012
Bernadette Atkinson, Dr Zane Ma Rhea and Peter Anderson

Teachers' professional development in understanding Indigenous cultures and teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students needs to be improved greatly to meet new government standards, according to new research.

The study, by Monash University researchers Dr Zane Ma Rhea, Peter Anderson and Bernadette Atkinson from the Faculty of , was recently presented to the Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership.

It looked into the current and future provision of teacher professional development in the field of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education when related to the National Professional Standards for Standard 1.4 and 2.4. 

"We found even though there was extensive policy framework regarding the provision of education services to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians, there has been no research into professional development of teachers with respect to Indigenous education," Dr Ma Rhea said. 

The researchers reviewed similar system-wide, school reform change management programs, especially involving a approach, in order to understand the scope of the change envisaged with the Federal Government's implementation of the National Professional Standards for Teachers through the Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework and the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders.

It was found there was little Indigenous involvement in decision making in the education system, no recognised professional standard by which to train teachers or support them in their on-going professional development, and no policy regime that supported teachers to bring standards-based training to progressive classroom methods.

"Many teachers have either no knowledge of Indigenous culture or experience of teaching Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students so feel less inclined to undertake professional development in these important areas," Dr Ma Rhea said.

"It became quite clear through our review of the literature that our education system needs to provide more reliable information on Indigenous subjects and the successful teaching of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students," Dr Ma Rhea said.

"Education administrators need to look at ways to address this issue by involving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education experts in the development of professional development programs, and encourage teachers to undertake training."

The report found teachers have fear and resistance about these particular standards. The researchers recommend that the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People be adopted as the guiding framework for the development of a rights-based approach to teacher professional development and that a reliable knowledge base be developed for teachers with respect to the skills and knowledge that they will need in order to account for Standards 1.4 and 2.4.

"We hope the findings of this research provide guidance to policy makers and teacher providers in Indigenous Education," Dr Ma Rhea said.

Explore further: Physicists create tool to foresee language destruction impact and thus prevent it

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Diet and nutrient intake of Indigenous Australians poor

Jul 14, 2008

Indigenous Australians eat more white bread, processed meat, added butter and added sugar than the average Australian, and fall well short of national fruit and vegetable recommendations, according to new research.

Recommended for you

Affirmative action elicits bias in pro-equality Caucasians

Jul 25, 2014

New research from Simon Fraser University's Beedie School of Business indicates that bias towards the effects of affirmative action exists in not only people opposed to it, but also in those who strongly endorse equality.

Election surprises tend to erode trust in government

Jul 24, 2014

When asked who is going to win an election, people tend to predict their own candidate will come out on top. When that doesn't happen, according to a new study from the University of Georgia, these "surprised losers" often ...

Awarded a Pell Grant? Better double-check

Jul 23, 2014

(AP)—Potentially tens of thousands of students awarded a Pell Grant or other need-based federal aid for the coming school year could find it taken away because of a mistake in filling out the form.

User comments : 0