Current orthodoxy in aboriginal education.The "Australian Journal of Indigenous Education" ("A.J.I.E.") is published twice a year by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Torres Strait (tŏr`ĭz, –rĭs), channel, c.95 mi (153 km) wide, between New Guinea and Cape York Peninsula of Australia. It connects the Arafura and Coral seas. Islander Studies Unit at the University of Queensland The University of Queensland (UQ) is the longest-established university in the state of Queensland, Australia, a member of Australia's Group of Eight, and the Sandstone Universities. It is also a founding member of the international Universitas 21 organisation. . It purports to be "the only journal for educators that is specifically devoted to issues of practice and policy in Australian indigenous education". What can we learn from its recent issues: Volume 24 (1), 1996, to Volume 28 (1), 2000?
WHY IS INDIGENOUS EDUCATION IN CRISIS?
There is virtual consensus among contributors that indigenous education is in a mess. Hillary Colman-Dimon of James Cook University Situated in the tropical gardens of the campus, the halls of residence provide students with modern social and sporting facilities as well as the opportunity to choose between catered or self-catered accommodation. , an indigenous Australian, considers that "Western education for Aboriginal people on remote communities" has been a failure. Terry Wooltorton, a non-Aboriginal academic at Western Australia's Edith Cowan Edith Dircksey Cowan (née Brown), OBE (August 2 1861–June 9 1932) was an Australian politician, social campaigner and the first woman elected as a representative in an Australian parliament. University, describes current Aboriginal education as a whole as "characterised by low academic success, low retention and high rates of discipline breaches". He may well be reversing cause and effect, and in any case there is little agreement among "A.J.I.E." writers about the main reasons for this malaise. Explanations offered can be divided into two main groups. First there are claims related to white invasion and subsequent oppression. Secondly, there are assertions that indigenous Australians Indigenous Australians are descendants of the first known human inhabitants of the Australian continent and its nearby islands. The term includes both the Torres Strait Islanders and the Aboriginal People, who together make up about 2.5% of Australia's population. reject most mainstream education because it is largely irrelevant to their needs. Weaknesses within indigenous communities themselves are sometimes admitted, but are generally regarded as consequences of white racism. Currently fashionable educational theory and teaching methods are indicted INDICTED, practice. When a man is accused by a bill of indictment preferred by a grand jury, he is said to be indicted. very rarely.
"A.J.I.E." frequently features attacks on white Australians, past and present, usually by other white Australians. Hillary Colman-Dimon claims that Aboriginal education "continues to be experienced as a vehicle of oppression, assimilation, intrusion and alienation", full of "racial abuse and vilification from teachers, negative comments about families, prejudicial prej·u·di·cial
1. Detrimental; injurious.
2. Causing or tending to preconceived judgment or convictions: treatment". The Department of Social Work in the University of Queensland asserts that many Aborigines aborigines: see Australian aborigines. are so badly affected by the loss of their traditional lands many years ago that they "choose to deaden dead·en
v. dead·ened, dead·en·ing, dead·ens
1. To render less intense, sensitive, or vigorous: the pain by resorting to substance abuse".
Irene Calgaret, a Nyungar woman from Bunbury, Western Australia This article is about the city of Bunbury. For the local government area, see City of Bunbury.
The port of Bunbury is the third largest city in Western Australia after Perth, the state capital, and Mandurah. , can recall being "forcibly removed from my family, from the love and warmth and security of my home". She describes her mission days as "child slave labour slave labour, slave labor (US) n → trabajo de esclavos
slave labour n → travail m d'esclave;
it's just slave labour (fig ". Hardships included being "deloused with kerosene kerosene or kerosine, colorless, thin mineral oil whose density is between 0.75 and 0.85 grams per cubic centimeter. A mixture of hydrocarbons, it is commonly obtained in the fractional distillation of petroleum as the portion boiling off ", made "clean enough to eat the food God had provided for us", sent to bed at 6.30 p.m after a prayer, woken up at 6.00 a.m., and being forced to help with domestic work and preparation of meals. She concedes that "the education taught us was of good standard" and that she and the other part-Aboriginal children were of equal standard to the rest when they went to a government secondary school. However, she asks, "How on earth did white people, who had invaded our country, decide that the indigenous people of Australia, with a history of more than forty thousand years, were not capable of caring for and looking after their children?" Subsequently she hints at possible reasons, such as "the habit of drinking" and domestic violence. She also complains that "some Aboriginal communities still don't have running water or flushing toilets". Unfortunately, her own educational proposals seem unlikely to produce plumbers or electricians from her own people who can rectify these deficiencies.
Sophia Gool and Wendy Patton of Queensland University of Technology allege that racism and discrimination are "powerful deterrents for Aboriginal students' participation in school", although they concede that "the high rates of Aboriginal unemployment" arise largely because "their general lack of education and qualifications means that they can seldom compete in the labour market".
Jacky Huggins, then editor of "A.J.I.E.", ran lengthy excerpts about her experiences as a student teacher from her memoir "Sister Girl":
"[My] motivation turned to despair on my first meeting with some members of the school staff who had arrived at the motel to pick up our excess luggage. As the door opened, to their amazement there I stood. I had seen that look so many times before, the look that tries to belittle one's confidence, that asks `Hey, what gives you the right to be here?' or says `so you're the student teacher and -- you're black'. Only Aboriginal people know what it feels to be degraded in this way, to feel the taint of racist jibes. Ablaze in green and gold bicentennial colours, the school was ethnocentrically Anglo ... I was initially allocated to a married conservative middle-class supervising teacher ... Her lack of interest in Aboriginal education was quite evident ... I would not have even attempted to plan a geography lesson with the students as, like the Bob Hawke treaty, it would introduce `pie in the sky' for the victims ... The white education system has much to learn from Aboriginal people; indeed, white Australia should be looking to Aboriginal expertise in describing the nature of geography."
From her own account, Huggins was an arrogant and disastrous student teacher, but this did not inhibit her progress to becoming a member of the National Council for Reconciliation.
Douglas Morgan and Malcolm Slade of Flinders University The university has established a reputation as a leading research institution with a devotion to innovation. It is a member of Innovative Research Universities Australia and ranks among the leading universities in Australia. argue that the "Aboriginal Australian `Dark Age' began when the survivors of initial contact were `protected' by Europeans on missions and reserves". Morgan and Slade fail to acknowledge that many Aborigines were genuinely at risk and that protection was adopted from humanitarian motives. They recognise that "policies of assimilation and integration did not deny Aboriginal Australians participation in Australian schools", but add that "the missions and reserves were geographically isolated, preventing equal participation and benefit from mainstream education". These considerations led Sir Paul Hasluck Sir Paul Meernaa Caedwalla Hasluck, KG, GCMG, GCVO (1 April 1905–9 January 1993), Australian historian, public servant and politician, and 17th Governor-General of Australia, was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, into a family of Salvationists, whose values he retained to seek to give, in the first place, part-Aboriginal children a better chance in life by attending mainstream schools.
ALLEGED IRRELEVANCE OF MOST SCHOOL WORK
R. G. Smith of Maningrida Community Education in the Northern Territory laments that mainstream education "in its formalising and timetabling of educational processes, its preoccupation with literacy and largely mainstream concepts and skills, repudiates much of the current Aboriginal world". Curiously, Smith considers timetables utterly foreign to Aboriginal thought. One Aboriginal teacher with whom Smith works refused to use a computer because it was "Balanda [white man] stuff", and another woman colleague scorned a "rather sophisticated new telescope", because "she wanted to teach her children Aboriginal science, not Balanda astronomy".
Terry Wooltorton provides a transcript of interviews with a Year Eight Nyungar boy, Malcolm, and one of Malcolm's teachers. Malcolm explains that he does not attend school every day because "it's boring -- "the work, gotta write all the time". He objects to his teacher because "she always worry about school rules". In a typical lesson, Malcolm will "just write one to ten on the page" and soon afterwards will start to draw.
PROJECTS TO SUSTAIN ABORIGINAL IDENTITY AND CULTURE
Gilbert Van Kerckhoven of Denmark, Western Australia Denmark is a town and local government area located 423 km south-south-east of Perth, Western Australia on the banks of the Denmark River. According to the 2001 census, the area's population was 2,431, of whom 24 (0.6 per cent) were Indigenous. 1738 persons (71. , tells of "an Aboriginal Christmas Celebration" with, at its centre, the legend of Wargyl the Rainbow Snake. He may not know that in the 1996 census 71 per cent of Aboriginal respondents claimed to be Christians, and fewer than three per cent to believe in a traditional Aboriginal religion.
Veronica Dobson, Rosalie Riley, Jeannette McCormack and Debbie Hartman describe an Arrernte Early Childhood Project aimed at influencing parents and children who "are losing that strong Arrernte that we have". They accuse non-Aboriginal teachers of paying too much attention to achieving irrelevant "standards", but add that there are "too many family groups involved" which squabble squab·ble
intr.v. squab·bled, squab·bling, squab·bles
To engage in a disagreeable argument, usually over a trivial matter; wrangle. See Synonyms at argue.
A noisy quarrel, usually about a trivial matter. , and that drunken parents cannot tell stories to their children, who instead sit in front of television screens and absorb ideas alien to traditional Arrernte ways. This article suggests that it is almost impossible, even if it were desirable, to keep Aboriginal children within cocoons of traditional culture.
Judith Selby of Bundaberg North State High School, Queensland, cites an Aboriginal student, Jason, who hopes to get a job after leaving school. Jason wants "to do massage therapy Massage Therapy Definition
Massage therapy is the scientific manipulation of the soft tissues of the body for the purpose of normalizing those tissues and consists of manual techniques that include applying fixed or movable pressure, holding, and/or or work in the mines", jobs with little in common, but he appreciates that success in Year Twelve would help towards either goal. Jason's school achievements include certificates for basketball, rugby league rugby league
a form of rugby played between teams of 13 players , touch football and athletics: all worthy and commendable, but Jason may look back with regret on a lack of any achievement in maths, English, science and other basic school subjects.
Sue Jude believes that in racial societies "oppressed op·press
tr.v. op·pressed, op·press·ing, op·press·es
1. To keep down by severe and unjust use of force or authority: a people who were oppressed by tyranny.
2. groups" are forced to become "cynical" and alienated from education. She fails to acknowledge that Chinese in Malaysia, Indonesia and elsewhere, and Jews and others in many countries, have responded to racial oppression with fervent positive engagement into educational opportunities when these arise.
Elizabeth Mackinlay of the University of Queensland's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit, insists that "prior to colonisation indigenous women and men enjoyed a gender status and role which was based on equality and complementarity com·ple·men·tar·i·ty
1. The correspondence or similarity between nucleotides or strands of nucleotides of DNA and RNA molecules that allows precise pairing.
2. ." Mackinlay does not mention family violence, mainly directed against women and children, which concerns so many Aborigines today.
Professor Johann Le Roux Roux , Pierre Paul Émile 1853-1933.
French bacteriologist. His work with the diphtheria bacillus led to the development of antitoxins to neutralize pathogenic toxins. , on exchange at the University of New England The University of New England can refer to:
In ontology, the view that some properties of objects are essential to them. The “essence” of a thing is conceived as the totality of its essential properties. , was until very recently denounced in South Africa South Africa, Afrikaans Suid-Afrika, officially Republic of South Africa, republic (2005 est. pop. 44,344,000), 471,442 sq mi (1,221,037 sq km), S Africa. by opponents of apartheid as racist and reactionary.
By way of contrast, Cecily Willis, who had recently completed thirteen years' teaching in Arnhem Land Arnhem Land, 37,100 sq mi (96,089 sq km), N Northern Territory, Australia, on a wide peninsula W of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The great majority of the region belongs to the Arnhem Land Aboriginal Reserve, the largest aboriginal reservation in Australia. , contributes a most insightful review of Stephen Harris' "Two-Way Schooling: Education and Cultural Survival". Harris "advocates a separation of domains in the schooling system in order to perpetuate `traditional' Aboriginal culture and identity". He expressed his alarm that "academic success in the Western school system could seriously undermine Aboriginal identity", whereas Willis's fear is that lack of success in Australian schools condemns further generations of indigenous people to poverty and dependence on others for basic goods and services In economics, economic output is divided into physical goods and intangible services. Consumption of goods and services is assumed to produce utility (unless the "good" is a "bad"). It is often used when referring to a Goods and Services Tax. . In effect, Harris offers a new racism wrapped up in euphemistic eu·phe·mism
The act or an example of substituting a mild, indirect, or vague term for one considered harsh, blunt, or offensive: "Euphemisms such as 'slumber room' . . . anti-racist rhetoric.
CURRICULUM AND PEDAGOGY
Maggie Young of the Shepherdson College on Elcho Island Elcho Island is an island off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. It is located at the southern end of the Wessel Islands group located in the East Arnhem Region. The island's largest community is the settlement of Galiwin'ku. in the Northern Territory describes how her class of ten-, eleven- and twelve-year olds transformed their classroom into a cafe, in order to make school more "relevant" to life outside it. Through role-play, Young holds, the students will "learn social skills, solve problems in real-life situations, learn cooking skills, skills in handling real money, ordering food literacy and numeracy numeracy Mathematical literacy Neurology The ability to understand mathematical concepts, perform calculations and interpret and use statistical information. Cf Acalculia. skills, and emphasise the importance of Hygiene and Nutrition as well". Apparently the whole school year was spent in this extended project.
John Fanshawe, a lecturer in Queensland University of Technology, observes that "effective teachers of adolescent Aborigines" are likely to be warm and supportive, to make realistic rather than unrealistic demands, to act in a responsible, businesslike and systematic manner, and to be imaginative and original. This has been widely held to be the case for teachers in general, but there can be no harm in restating ancient truths.
ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL SUCCESS
Some contributors consider that any testing of Aboriginal children is bad, since it stimulates a competitiveness ostensibly os·ten·si·ble
Represented or appearing as such; ostensive: His ostensible purpose was charity, but his real goal was popularity. alien to Aboriginal culture, although Stuart Grimley concedes that "Aboriginal people seem to use the sporting arena as a means towards more competitive ends." Perhaps he had seen Cathy Freeman Catherine Astrid Salome Freeman OAM (born 16 February 1973) is an Australian athlete who is particularly associated with the 400 m race. As an Aboriginal Australian, she is regarded as a role model for her people, and by many in the non-Aboriginal community as a symbol of national in a race or watched Aboriginal footballers.
A. L. Barnes, of the Division of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Murdoch University, notes that the indigenous "students here do not favour assessment methods that test memory but not necessarily understanding". Yet memory is an essential building block of understanding. Pet-owners would be nervous if vets cannot remember which part of an animal's anatomy is which. But Barnes favours assignments free from "the stressful artificial environment of examinations", and fears that oral and practical examinations may also be inappropriate if students are "intimidated by the teacher conducting the assessment".
NON-INDIGENOUS ACADEMICS AND INDIGENOUS CONTROL
Most contributors favour indigenous control or "ownership" of all knowledge relating to relating to relate prep → concernant
relating to relate prep → bezüglich +gen, mit Bezug auf +acc indigenous life and culture, past and present. Sister Anne Gardner, then Principal of Murrupurtyanuwu Catholic School in the Northern Territory, explains how she decided to "let go, to move away from the dominant role as Principal". Sister Gardner holds that "Aboriginal people never act as `leader'." Perhaps the Church of Rome might become more relevant to indigenous persons if it abandoned having a "leader"? Teresita Puruntayemeri, her successor, suggests that one way for Aborigines to share the burdens of leadership is to "perform different dances in the Milmaka ring, sometimes in pairs or in a group".
Professor Le Roux was shocked to learn that "about 80 per cent of available published manuscripts" concerning Australian indigenous education have been "written by non-Aboriginals". John Budby and Dennis Foley ask: "does academic licence [concerning research on indigenous communities] apply in these circumstances, or are Elder members of the Australian communities the custodians of knowledge and the ones who should approve its sharing across other cultures?". The delicate problem of "cultural ownership", implied here, also arises concerning the Internet: it is vitally important to let the whole world know about Aboriginal traditional thought, yet equally necessary to confine its secrets to proper custodians. But one doubts whether Budby and Foley would tolerate similar knowledge censorship exercised by, for example, R.S.L. members concerning Australian armed forces' history.
UNIVERSITIES AND THE INDIGENOUS
Professor Le Roux and Myra J. Dunn examine "Aboriginal student empowerment" in the University of New England, a worthy institution that, we are told, resists "racism, systemic bias This article or section may contain original research or unverified claims.
Please help Wikipedia by adding references. See the for details.
This article has been tagged since September 2007. and structural violence" with which "Aborigines have been marginalised, disempowered, impoverished and dispossessed". Yet Le Roux and Dunn find other factors, unconnected with racism and colonialism, which inhibit Aboriginal educational success: such as "lack of parental encouragement", "deficient English language English language, member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Spoken by about 470 million people throughout the world, English is the official language of about 45 nations. skills", "peer group influences antipathetic to formal education" and "poor academic discipline and motivation".
Various education lecturers and students from Central Queensland University Central Queensland University is an Australian public university based in Queensland. Its main campus in North Rockhampton Queensland, but it has operations throught Asia-Pacific. describe a project inspired by "Action Learning", which claims to be experience-based and to avoid prescriptive methods. They created "a more tactile learning environment" involving "holding hands, touching and hugging". All three men among the eight indigenous student teachers engaged in this generously staffed project dropped out by the end of the year.
Boards of censorship will have extensive powers over schools and universities if Dennis Foley has his way. Reviewing Debra Adelaide's "Serpent Dust", he writes that "hatred and frustration surged through my veins" on reading her account of Aboriginal women who are "slippery as an eel eel, common name for any fish of the 10 families constituting the order Anguilliformes, and characterized by a long snakelike body covered with minute scales embedded in the skin. outside, inside as hot and soft as any man could ask". He declares that the "negative stereotyping mixed with culturally unacceptable material of traditional birth is difficult to tolerate" and that Adelaide's story "should not be a reader for impressionable im·pres·sion·a·ble
1. Readily or easily influenced; suggestible: impressionable young people.
2. teenagers". In addition, Foley maintains that personal tutors, combining the skills of Oxbridge dons and experienced nannies, must keep indigenous students out of "the city, its lights, noise and nightclubs", since otherwise they are "like lambs to the slaughter". If his plan were actually carried out, of course, cries of "paternalism paternalism (p·terˑ·n " would rend rend
v. rent or rend·ed, rend·ing, rends
1. To tear or split apart or into pieces violently. See Synonyms at tear1.
2. the skies.
Arthur Smith Arthur Smith is a name shared by several people:
Not changing or subject to change; constant.
in·vari·a·bil heavily involved in establishing a political beachhead beach·head
1. A position on an enemy shoreline captured by troops in advance of an invading force.
2. A first achievement that opens the way for further developments; a foothold: in universities".
Josephine Ryan of the Australian Catholic University's Aquinas Campus, Ballarat, aims to consolidate in Aboriginal children their distinctive way of learning, and to ensure they are not contaminated contaminated,
v 1. made radioactive by the addition of small quantities of radioactive material.
2. made contaminated by adding infective or radiographic materials.
3. an infective surface or object. by Western ideas. How long before the Rainbow Serpent The Rainbow Serpent (also known as the Rainbow Snake) is a major mythological being for Aboriginal people across Australia, although the creation stories associated with it are best known from northern Australia. replaces the Cross in the Australian Catholic University The University was formed in 1991 by the amalgamation of four Catholic institutes of higher education in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory. , and before the names of culturally insensitive dead white males such as Thomas Aquinas are expunged?
The most remarkable article is by Paul Buckley, who interviewed five experienced non-Aboriginal teachers in Aboriginal schools in the Northern Territory This is a list preschools, primary schools and secondary schools public and private in Australia's Northern Territory.
Abbreviation: Community Education Centre (CEC) A
"The high attrition of graduates is a real concern ... most graduates seem to have very little sustainable skill due to scant attention being given to core curriculum of the system within which the graduate works ... many courses fail to meet the needs of the children the graduate is expected to teach ... [T]his can lead to a conflict situation when the community's aspiration of an English-only school is not reflected in the Batchelor College's philosophy of two-way schooling ... The Batchelor College and government political agenda are confusing for the educational stakeholders within a community. The teacher education courses do not attempt to teach ethics or professional standards. This can and has led to major conflict in a school situation between the rights of the child and expectations of the teacher. Batchelor College and places like that are great places for social justice, but they are not educational institutions ... Real hard core pedagogy, whether mainstream or Aboriginal, is sacrificed for the `social justice thing'. E.S.L. [English as a Second Language] strategies are not addressed, the promotion of good planning and evaluation technique is not taught and there is little or no reference to the Northern Territory core curriculum ... Some of the staff are far too removed from the actualities of the classroom ... Batchelor College and the courses undertaken need to engage in good sound pedagogy and stop playing political games. Batchelor College's glossy image hides ideological claptrap which is far removed from primary school needs. It affirms superior attitudes and pushes bright stars dependent upon their political correctness ... There is a greater input into the political rights of individuals rather than the responsibilities of the teacher, mechanics of teaching and duty of care ... This can be seen in issues such as punctuality, assuming a reasonable work load and absences ... [T]eacher education courses at Batchelor College encourage a dogmatic and self-righteous view of ideal models of teaching, whether or not they meet community aspirations for the school ... No liaison with the schools or the communities actually takes place ... In many cases students did not complete or attend practicums but were passed by the college. Tutors often do the work for the students and lecturers do not have recent primary school experience. They are selected to positions dependent upon their political correctness rather than primary school experience or effectiveness as teachers or role models ... Batchelor College operates on inverted racism. The [student] teachers are all politically correct, but largely lack skills to run a class without a great deal of additional support. I wouldn't really mind this but they are encouraged to believe that they are teachers in their own right, when really they are not all that well qualified ... There is enormous pressure placed upon supervising staff to pass student practicums with no regard to the actual performance ... This would not be tolerated if a non-Aboriginal student delivered the same standard ... Many of the staff of Batchelor College have not lived for any long period on communities and therefore have not had their political correctness tested every day. Their ideologies are never challenged by the realities of teaching in real time in a real school."
One well understands in the present political climate why the five interviewees wished to remain anonymous. Paul Buckley must be congratulated on writing the article and the editors on publishing it.
A response by Leon White For the football player of the same name see Leon White (football player). For the Star Wars villain, see Darth Vader.
Leon Allen White (born May 14 1957 in Lynwood, California) better known under his ring names Big Van Vader or Vader to Buckley was published in the next issue attacking Buckley's good faith. White suggested that critics, such as Buckley, of current orthodoxy in Aboriginal education wish to "return to times when racist, sexist, paternalistic pa·ter·nal·ism
A policy or practice of treating or governing people in a fatherly manner, especially by providing for their needs without giving them rights or responsibilities. , patronising and fascist behaviour was an unchecked element in the culture of schools and education providers".
The 1997 "Australian Reconciliation Convention", chaired by Dr. Ken Boston, the New South Wales New South Wales, state (1991 pop. 5,164,549), 309,443 sq mi (801,457 sq km), SE Australia. It is bounded on the E by the Pacific Ocean. Sydney is the capital. The other principal urban centers are Newcastle, Wagga Wagga, Lismore, Wollongong, and Broken Hill. Department of School Education's Director-General, called for "mandatory Aborigines and Torres Strait Islander Studies in all primary and secondary schools, and in post secondary institutions", and "mandatory cultural awareness training for practising teachers". Many who give their support to such courses have little idea of what these will be like. It is people like the contributors to "A.J.I.E." who will devise them. You have been warned.
PROFESSOR GEOFFREY PARTINGTON is a Faculty Member of the School of Education at the Flinders University of South Australia South Australia, state (1991 pop. 1,236,623), 380,070 sq mi (984,381 sq km), S central Australia. It is bounded on the S by the Indian Ocean. Kangaroo Island and many smaller islands off the south coast are included in the state. and is a commentator on social and political issues.