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EPT 429 Research Report

  1. 1. EPT 429 – Professional Engagement Research Report
  2. 2. Introduction to the Report This report outlines the action research project conducted at a local Christian School in Western Sydney. The school has asked not to be named in the report to ensure privacy.
  3. 3. Indigenous studies is important for all students to undertake, given this, it is crucial that the teacher is knowledgeable and able to provide education that is meaningful, current and appropriate; that positive and respectful relationships are built between the teacher and the families and between the teacher and the student; that the learning experiences offered to the students are not tokenistic or prejudicial. The curriculum needs to explore both the traditional and contemporary cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, as well as provide an environment that includes and encourages the use of languages (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011).
  4. 4. Purpose The research was conducted to assist the school in the beginning stages of implementing the cross curricula priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture (NSW Board of Studies, 2014) as such, it allows for growth and for ownership to be taken on by the school as they implement and further ideas and plans developed through the research conducted. The intended audience of the research is the school Principal, Deputy Principal – Primary, Heads of Stages Primary, School Librarian and Classroom Teachers.
  5. 5. Area of Research How can the school increase the content of Indigenous Education (and make it meaningful not tokenistic) in the units of study’s that are being prepared for next year and in future planning?
  6. 6. Following from this question are smaller questions:  What resources does the school currently have that will assist them with implementing the cross curricula priority?  What units of work have Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives added?  What training and knowledge does staff currently have?
  7. 7. Methodology To address the research questions the following methodology will take place:  Discussions held with the Principal and Assistant Principal to understand what the school is interested in, and where the school is at.  Discussions with the Librarian as part of the resource review.  A survey of teachers to  gauge their current knowledge  look at further training options  look at what units of study they feel work alongside this priority  measure their response to and knowledge of what resources the school currently has and what they would like added.  A Resource Review  Reviewing existing and proposed learning though the scope and sequences developed
  8. 8. Literature Review As this is a new component of the Australian Curriculum, there is limited research completed on the implementation of the cross curricula priority in the classroom. However there is substantial information on what programs schools are implementing using Indigenous knowledge, culture and community, as well as the frameworks that could be included.
  9. 9. Embedding the learning and making it meaningful will help to breakdown prejudices and stereotypical concepts. By doing this, teachers can be „agents of change‟ (Villegas and Lucas, 2002) providing ways to engage all students in high quality and equitable education. Teachers can purposefully act to change their impact on children‟s learning opportunities so it is positive and promotes anti – bias behaviours.  Harrison and Greenfield (2011) discuss the importance of incorporating Aboriginal knowledge into school programs without using the stereotypical representations, or the contexts of past histories (Aboriginal people lived, Aboriginal people were, Aboriginal people looked like, Aboriginal people did) that are often used as part of the current methods of teaching.  The 8Ways pedagogy builds this knowledge into a usable framework for teachers to use as a starting point in embedding relevant education based on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.
  10. 10.  Ford and Fasoli (2001) emphasise that the relationships built and, through this local Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander community engagement, is a critical element on embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander learning and knowledge. Their research indicated that cultural experiences helped in recognising the day to day interactions as significant especially for non-Indigenous educators who were implementing an Indigenous perspective.  A Study of Best Practice in The Teaching of Indigenous Culture in Australian Schools (2008) also includes a strong argument on ensuring that approaches to teaching Indigenous Studies are representative of the local culture and utilise the local Indigenous community. This provides a way to move beyond a tokenistic approach to teaching Indigenous Studies and helps break down the stereotypes.
  11. 11. Findings  Resource Review  Teacher Survey
  12. 12. Resource Review  Each of the books or book series in the school library non-fiction section has been reviewed using the resource review tool.  Narrative based books were predominately from the Dreaming. This is an area that I would recommend the school focus on and source additional narratives that use modern lifestyles and show Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as part of modern Australia.  A new document called the Living Resource document has been created for the resource review.
  13. 13. Teacher survey  The teachers returned 23 surveys from this a mixture of qualitative and quantitative data has been gathered.  The teachers have minimal basic knowledge about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture.  Teachers discussed the need for a culture change within the school to help with implement meaningful learning. They discussed items such as displaying the three flags (Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander and Australian), celebrating and acknowledging days of cultural significance such as Sorry Day and NAIDOC week, and having an Acknowledgement of Country at assemblies.
  14. 14.  Many teachers discussed their concern at giving offence or teaching the wrong thing, cultural awareness training would assist with this.  74% of teachers said they were not confident teaching the cross curricula priority.  87% teachers would like to undertake more professional development in Indigenous Education
  15. 15.  From the quantitative data, the majority of the teachers are viewing the cross curricula priority as important and a strong way to build depth into the classroom learning.  The strong feeling that was represented was that this is an area of curriculum that is important for the students to be engaged with in ways that are meaningful, authentic, enabled rich exploration, insightful and are not tokenistic in their approach.
  16. 16. Conclusion  Indigenous studies is important for all students to undertake, given this, it is crucial that the teacher is knowledgeable and able to provide education that is meaningful, current and appropriate. For the school to be effective in teaching and embedding a strong and meaningful curriculum for the students, the school needs to develop teacher capacity through training in cultural awareness and „Basics 101‟ as well as further professional development. This would be best if conducted at the school with all staff to allow for learning to be team based and provide teachers time to discuss how it would look in the school.  To support the teachers in this new cross curricula priority, a culture of respect and acknowledgement of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures should be presented across the whole school.  Building on the resources available at the school and utilising a collaborative approach to online learning materials will assist teachers.
  17. 17. References  Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority. The Australian Curriculum. Retrieved from  Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership. (2012) Teacher Professional Standards. Retrieved from  Charles Sturt University (2012) EDU 419 Teaching Indigenous Studies Effectively Module 3 Teaching Indigenous Studies; pg2  Commonwealth of Australia/Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations. (2011). National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Policy  Department of Education, Employment and Work Relations. (2008). A Study of Best Practice in The Teaching of Indigenous Culture in Australian School; final project report.  Ford, M. and Fasoli, L. (2001) Indigenous early childhood narratives: Some methodological considerations.  Harrison, N. and Greenfield, M. (2011) Relationship to Place: Positioning Aboriginal knowledge and perspectives in classroom pedagogies. Critical Studies in Education, Vol. 52, No.1, pp. 65-76  Hudson, A. (2003) Multicultural Education and the Postcolonial Turn. Policy Futures in Education, Vol. 1, pp.381-401.  Johansson, R. (2003) Case study Methodology. Keynote speech presented to the International Conference “Methodologies in Housing Research” organised by the Royal Institute of Technology in cooperation with the International Association of People–Environment Studies, Stockholm, 22–24 September 2003. Retrieved from  Neale, P., Thapa, S. & Boyce, C. (2006).Preparing A Case Study: A Guide for Designing and Conducting a Case Study for Evaluation Input. Pathfinder International. Retrieved from:  NSW Department of Education and Training. Quality Teaching Model. Retrieved from  Rowley, J. (2002). Using Case Studies in Research. Management Research News, Volume 25 Number 1 2002. Retrieved from:  Stringer, E. (2014). Action Research. (4th ed.) Sage Publications Ltd.  Teacher Professional Standards. Retrieved from   Villegas, A and Lucas, T. (2002) Preparing Culturally Responsive Teachers – Rethinking the Curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, Vol. 53, pp.20 - 32  Yin, R. (Date unknown.) Chapter 1. A (Very) Brief Refresher on the Case Study Method. Book unknown. Retrieved from:  Yin, R. (2009). Applied Research Methods Vol. 5. Case Study Research: Design and Methods (4 th ed.) Sage Publications Inc. Retrieved from  8Ways wikispace retrieved from and

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