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Overview of research findings into initial teacher education - retention and completion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

Overview of research findings into initial teacher education - retention and completion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

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  • Bruce
  • Bruce
  • Bruce
  • JoNotes from material provided to Deakin:Following up from State meetings – phone calls to attendees to see who could help and universities identified from scans – first calls were made to universities with highest percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students; some email and phone interviews conducted with students where there were few other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in School/Faculty. Snowball referrals – In general those we phoned put us on to colleagues who were more in touch with students on a daily basis. In some cases this was the Centre, in others this was an academic within the faculty and in a few cases this was Head of School/Dean. Similarly, in some cases focus groups were organised for us, in other cases where students were not often on campus, etc, ethics forms were sent and students invited to a phone or email interviews. Some students also referred us to peers who wished to be interviewed and these were followed up. In all cases students signed confidentiality and ethical procedures followed.   
  • Jo
  • Jo tells storyPaul and Kay – unpack possibly using the summary of findings(Jo)Grace – (remote, block ) worked in the school as a teaching assistant (called different things in different states) Mature age with kids. Decided to teach when she thought “I’m a mum. I can help kids”From a Remote community. Principal taps her on the shoulder and suggests she enrol in teacher education. Grace does an enabling/bridging course, and then gets a certificate of teaching. Her transition from Cert to Degree program was a huge leap. Academic language was daunting and she felt out of her depthMost of course is offered via online lectures which were good but Grace felt isolated and didn’t really like being stuck in front of a computerProblems with the technology as there was no broadband and had to rely on wireless broadband dongle – often didn’t work. Felt disadvantaged compared to the students who were on campus. Praised the individual lecturers who set up opportunities for on line discussion Problems with accessing all resources. For instance, books were sent to the nearest study centre which was quite a distance away – problem with using material in the centre but not being able to take it home (range of distance in focus group up to 300 k round trip)Liked program but felt like the poor cousin. Always having to justify the credibility of the cohort program Prac a long way from home – financial problem as she didn’t receive income while on prac but was the main income source of the family (common story)Lots of interruptions: absence due to sorry business (7 funerals in 5 months), periods where she had to return to family...Just keeps going because she is ‘stubborn” – says ‘she doesn’t know anything about credits but just does as she is told” What can we learn from Grace?Personal and economic pressures can be partially alleviated with personal support from both faculty and Centre – personal relationships make the difference whether from Centre or Faculty, ideally bothFlexibility makes it possible for students to completeOnline study on its own can be a deterrent but alleviated by personal contactAcademic needs should be addressed at critical points, such as first year of study
  • Bruce tells storyPaul and Kay – unpack possibly using the summary of findings(Bruce)Julie – (urban, mainstream) Young, straight out of school – doing very well academically – so well in fact that she obtains a Faculty/School based scholarship at the end of her first year. Invisible to the faculty – yet has strong relationship with the Centre – does her assignments there – draws on ITAS support – the Centre knows her family Has a high GPA in years 1 and 2 – however in first semester year 3 she begins to struggle at university due to a range of Community obligations including taking care of her sister-s baby for a while, which interrupted her course progression in her 3rd year. She receives a form/standard letter from the university telling her that her scholarship was about to be withdrawn as she hadn’t completed certain units that semester – was on the cusp of leaving and although she was offered the option of moving to part-time she felt embarrassed /shame at having lost her scholarship. She is first in family to attend uni and too many people were building her up as a leader ... she felt herself under a lot of pressure. She feels she has gotten through because of the Centre, her scholarship and her ITAS tutor. Feels she wouldn’t have got through at all without the CentreShe likes her course though has struggled to do well in Primary Maths. For her, the Indigenous studies unit was a mixed bag. In some ways it was affirming - but because her Indigenous heritage is ‘not visible’, but she also said “sometimes I had to listen to a lot of ignorance and resistance from the other students who didn’t always know she was Aboriginal and this “really, really hurt”. It felt awful to keep my mouth shut when I heard this but I didn’t really know what to do. I think I’m the only Aboriginal student in my year”. She found a lot of non-Aboriginal students taking the Indigenous studies unit were negative about it and made her feel wary of stating her opinions and being proud of her Aboriginality. Wishes there were more Aboriginal students to relate to, and more Aboriginal lecturers. She was surprised not to see any Aboriginal business anywhere except in the Centre – no faces on posters, no mention in most classes Because the School and Centre had good lines of communication open they were able to quickly revise the conditions of the scholarship which enabled her to continue with the program with financial support and will graduate next year out of step (but graduate nonetheless – having achieved in the top 20% across the majority of her units) What can we learn from Julie?Urban Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are often invisible to faculty, so not followed upScholarships need regular review and scholarship students need support from within facultyIndigenous knowledges crucial for non-Indigenous students and Indigenous students, but different issues arise; Indigenous students want to see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presenceCommunication between faculty and Centre can allow for productive problem solving and quick solutions
  • Jo tells storyPaul and Kay – unpack possibly using the summary of findings(Jo)Sissy (Remote, block)Sissy is from the bush – didn’t have much ‘white’ schooling herself but grew up with culture. Grandmother taught her to ‘trust her heart and mind’ and work with children. Sissy speaks English as a third languageLeft school at 13 to work with dad as a ranger, then later became a teacher aid as “a teacher aid does twice the work and everything – behaviour management, language teaching, trained up the new teachers (who stayed on average 6 months)”. She started to feel ‘used’ as a teacher aid and decided she wanted to be the boss, not work for the boss. When she first enrolled, which took forever since she had no idea how to enrol on line, she though “Oh God, I’m going to die”. It was so scary” The academic language on top of English as ESL was very difficult. She left after 6 months because it was too hard to be away from country but she returned after a while and now likes her cohort program because it ‘embraces what she has to offer’, e.g. it is taught from a cultural perspectiveShe says the things that almost made her drop out include: The speed of the course (especially since she is still working full time as a teachers aid and also studying full time)‘School pressure’ despite encouraging her to do teaching they are not supportive of her taking time to study or weeks for her prac – in fact, they can barely seem to do without her – the kids go crazy and the teachers don’t speak language). Says it is hard to be as selfish as you need to be study – lots of people depending on herShe explains prac as a ‘prickly question” – she doesn’t get paid while on prac and because she is doing prac on community she feels the school doesn’t always treat her like the white prac students, ... she says “Its a black and white thing” as she is not entitled to accommodation (and is sleeping on a mat at her mother in laws house)She found it “A bit weird” taking an Aboriginal Studies Unit intended for white students However, nothing but praise for the lecturers and advisors.   What can we learn from Sissy?Aboriginal and TSI students often have triple the pressures on them as non-Indigenous mainstream students without flexibility students will drop out because of their overloadPrac raises specific issuesWhen genuine value is put on cultural knowledge, students know it and feel supported If we want graduations, especially from remote communities, we have to make specific plans to support literacy and numeracy needs and academic language
  • Bruce tells storyPaul and Kay – unpack possibly using the summary of findings4. (Bruce)(Urban, mainstream but from a regional town) Jack Went to a small rural school where no kids he knew went on to universityDidn’t do that well in high school – did a foundation course to get his grade 10 equivalence and came to university via alternative entryCame to Capital City to do an Arts degree (history) where he experienced loneliness and cultural dislocation (i.e. he is very family oriented so missed his family and community and didn't much like the big city, had no friends or family, felt like an outsider, couldn’t figure out how to access scholarships, information, how to take out books, found the size of the campus daunting) - struggled throughout his first year –dropped out before the end of his first year. He returned to the rural town where he was born and hung out with his mates. A family member in the Centre followed up and combined with the fact that he had family members who were teachers - encouraged him to return into an ITE course which he got into. Spends all his spare time working and hanging out in the Centre – ‘it’s quiet and I like it’ - goes there every day and has had same ITAS tutor for 4 years. Didn’t initially like to ask for help but has found individual mainstream tutors very helpful. Presented as having no specific needs because he doesn’t like to ask for help and because he generally gets himself through. He is now in his fourth year doing great but is off stream – still has a few third year units to complete because he had three funerals last yearHe had a ‘hostile’ experience on field experience “You wouldn’t send your worst enemy to that school” – he heard racism in the staffroom from teachers who were saying things like “All my Aboriginal students are hopeless”. He found that ‘very silencing and disempowering’. Personally, he wishes he had been able to do his prac with an Aboriginal supervising teacher. He was very glad he was offered a chance to reflect on that in his university assignment. Jack is doing very well, and could easily be invisible as needing support, Can’t wait to get out of the city again - looking forward to hopefully teaching next year in a rural town close to where he grew up. Now mentors other Indigenous students, having been noticed by the Head of School and Centre who work closely together in this case. Though he initially said he had no problems, he did start talking about prac towards the end of the interview Things that we can learn from JackNeeds can present as invisible unless someone takes the time to build personal relationshipCritical that Schools/Faculties and Centres liaise regularly (dean aware/advocacy from the Centre)Listening to poor or racist information, whether in classes or on prac, is disempowering and demoralising – students need avenues to debrief

MATSITI Teacher Education Research MATSITI Teacher Education Research Presentation Transcript

  • Overview of national data scanand presentation of research findings Action Planning DayDeans of Education and Heads of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Centres Sydney 26 September 2012
  • MATSITI/ACDE Project (6 stages)1. ACDE/MATSITI meeting of Deans of Education (Sydney 16th March 2012)2. Institutional scans (both qualitative and quantitative across 34 institutions offering ITE)3. Literature Review4. State meetings with Faculty/Schools of Education and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Centre staff (QLD, Vic/Tas, SA/NT, WA & NSW)5. Interviews and data collection at key sites6. Institutional Action Planning (today)
  • Summary of scan data Percentage Indigenous students studying ITE 3.00% 2.50% 2.00% QLD Percentage NSW 1.50% Vic & Tas SA & NT WA 1.00% Australia 0.50% 0.00% 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 Year
  • Indigenous ITE Students Completions (Australia Wide)700600500 30% completing their ITE courses (2007-2011)400 Commencing Course Completions300200100 0 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011
  • Summary of Interview process/data• Total of 70 interviews from 20th June – present• Arranged by School/Faculty of Education, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Higher Education Centre or combination of both + snowball referrals• Mainstream, Cohort & Residential/block• Urban, Regional, Remote• Selected on the basis of a significant number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander pre-service students or a distinctive program within a particular institution,(a summary of the findings from these interviews hasbeen distributed in the conference material)
  • Themes emerging from the dataNarrative 1: (Remote, block) GraceNarrative 2: (Urban, Mainstream) JulieNarrative 3: (Remote, block) SissyNarrative 4: (Urban, mainstream) Jack
  • What we can learn from GracePersonal and economic pressures can be partially alleviatedwith personal support from both School/Faculty and CentrePersonal relationships make the difference whether fromCentre or Faculty, ideally bothFlexibility often makes it possible for students to completeOnline study on its own can be a deterrent - but can bealleviated by personal contactAcademic needs should be addressed at criticalpoints, such as first year of study
  • What we can learn from Julie?Mainstream Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students may be invisible to School/FacultyScholarships need regular review and scholarship students need support from within School/FacultyIndigenous knowledges crucial for all students, but different issues arise; Indigenous students want to see more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander presenceCentres and ITAS tutors are often crucial to student support
  • What we can learn from Sissy?Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students often have triple thepressures on them compared to non-Indigenous mainstream studentsWithout flexibility students will drop out because of overloadField experience offices need to understand issues related to practicum:financial pressures, loaded responsibilities, racismWhen Schools/Faculties genuinely value cultural knowledge, studentsknow it and feel supportedTo improve support and graduation rates, especially from remotecommunities, language (both English and academic language) , literacyand numeracy needs should be supported initially and throughoutprogram
  • What we can learn from Jack?Personal relationships often make the differenceFlexible pathways , exit and re-entry points can allow studentsto return when ready and supportedRelationships between Schools/Faculties and Centres mayprovide timely supportMentoring makes a differenceSchools/Faculties can provide avenues for students to reflectand debrief on things such as racism