International Rural Network Forum 2012 - Sam Osborne


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Presentation by Sam Osborne from the Remote Education Systems project of the CRC-REP, 'Learning Vs Education; Leading Learning in Anangu Schools' at the IRN Forum in Whyalla, South Australia, 24-28 September 2012.

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International Rural Network Forum 2012 - Sam Osborne

  1. 1. Learning Vs Education;Leading Learning in Anangu SchoolsPaper presented by Sam OsborneSenior Research Fellow UniSA/CRC REPRemote Education SystemsIRN Forum UniSA WhyallaSeptember 27th 2012
  2. 2. Where do Anangu live? *note – the term Anangu is also used by Pintupi/Luritja communities, for example, which spreads further to the North and West of this map. Source: Ara Irititja archive website ience.html
  3. 3. The deficit discourse:Fear APY school attendance rates falling(ABC News 2011)Parents ‘part of’ truancy problem(The Australian 2012a)Language skills poor in 40% of APY children(The Australian 2012b)Gonski: “more investment needed in remote education”(the Review of funding for Schooling – Final Report 2011)
  4. 4. Source:How young IndigenousAustralians are faringDusseldorp Skills Forum2009
  5. 5. Source: Are we making education count in remote Australiancommunities or just counting education? Guenther 2012
  6. 6. Five challenges:The challenge of meaningful measurementSmall and diverse communities – how do we ‘really know?’The flexibility challengePrincipals are caught between the fish bowl and the toilet bowlThe challenge of making a difference in the classroomAltruism gives way to cynicism:“But I thought education was the key?”
  7. 7. The power and pedagogy challengeHow do teachers take account of the ‘culture and codesof power? (Delpit 1993)The challenge of ‘really knowing’Significant differences in values, ways of knowing andbeing between the teachers/school and Anangu
  8. 8. So what do Anangu say about all of this?Andy Tjilari – Ernabella, Fregonstruggled, resisted the feeling of being different, runs awayHis parents force him into two schools, but ultimately, hisautonomy is respected. ‘Couldn’t learn in school’.Recalls in intricate detail the processes of learning fromhis fatherRuns away from Hermannsburg school and avoidsdetection. Confidence in the Anangu domain,lacks confidence in school
  9. 9. Nganinytja Ilyatjari – Angatja, Ernabella, AmataHas a wider range of ‘teachers’ than AndyIntricate knowledge of living from the land,environmental and ecological knowledge, medicines,seasons, healing (ngangkari) knowledgeErnabella mission documents cite her as anoutstanding example of ‘success’
  10. 10. Sheila – Angus Downs, ImanpaAttends school at Ernabella, Areyonga and HermannsburgDoesn’t learn literacy/numeracy skills‘Really Learns’ through working at Angus Downs StationAs a young teen, receives weekly liturgical readings inWestern Aranda and teaches herself to read
  11. 11. What does this mean for remote educators today?An enduring values systemStrongly held, though perhaps less visible in current contextCapacity to Aspire and Imagine futuresAppadurai (2004), Nakata (2007), Lingard et al (2003),Hayes et al (2006)Education is a vehicle that builds identity and provides hope (seeLeadbeater 2012) - it has the capacity to transform lives, ratherthan constrain them (Appadurai 2004).
  12. 12. Three educational failures:Attendance – poor, (all) missed critical early yearsEnglish Literacy and Numeracy -fail to achieve benchmarks: :“I couldn’t read or write”, “I taught myself to read after I leftschool”Retention – highly ‘at risk’/disengaged (except Nganinytja)
  13. 13. So what did they “achieve?”Andy:• Founded the Fregon church and subsequent community in the 1960s• Sigmund Freud Award (2011 World Congress for Psychotherapy)• 2009 Mark Sheldon Prize awarded by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatry (RANZCP)• 2009 Dr Margaret Tobin Award for excellence in the provision of mental health services to those most in need
  14. 14. Nganinytja:Described in Hilliard (1968):• Reliable historian (p.81)• Ground-breaking early childhood educator (p.165-166)• Skilled craft worker (p.171)• First Anangu to have been to Adelaide from Ernabella (p.178)• Pioneer (p.188)• Founded tourism business at Angatja• First Anangu woman to invite a (white) sister to assist in giving birth in 1951 (p.138)• Breaks Anangu tradition and commits to raising a severely disabled child• Key founder of NPY Women’s Council
  15. 15. Sheila:• Instrumental in founding the Imanpa community• Instrumental in founding Nyangatjatjara College• ATSIC representative (Southern NT region) for 13 years• Ongoing director positions
  16. 16. What am I asking remote educators to doabout all of this?• Understand another ‘reality’ exists in the Anangu context• Learning is bigger than the education focus on generic data re: attendance, retention, NAPLAN• Expect values/disciplines rather than despair their apparent absence• Recognise intergenerational knowledge assets of the students• Foster high order thinking in the curriculum and in personal approach to teaching
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  18. 18. ReferencesI have provided some copies of my full conference paper (still under peerreview). This can be accessed to view references utilized in this presentationwith the exception of:Guenther, J. (2012) Are we making education count in remote Australiancommunities or just counting education? Conference paper for presentation atAEU conference, Alice Springs 26th October 2012 and NARU conference,Darwin 31st October 2012 18
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