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Improving outcomes for indigenous students

In a report by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations called ‘School and community: working together, some fundamentals have been identified If outcomes for Indigenous students are to be improve.

1. They must be given respect
Self-respect and respect from others is more basic to learning than any other factor. Concern about ‘self-esteem’, ‘self-confidence’ and ‘pride’ is no accident. They are the starting points for becoming an effective learner — more fundamental than literacy and numeracy skills.

2. Their cultures and the relevant implications of those cultures must be respected
Aspects of students’ cultures must be recognised, supported and integrated in the processes of education, not just for their own success, but for the general quality of Australian preschools and schools.

3. They must be taught well
Good relationships, trust, flexibility, individual concern and problem-solving, perseverance and careful investigation of ‘best’ teaching strategies and possibilities, knowledge of students’ backgrounds: this is what good teaching is.
This is what teachers can do.

4. They must participate consistently.
The business of improving outcomes is a shared task. Regular attendance and consistent engagement are key ingredients by which improved outcomes will be achieved. Support and encouragement from people who work in schools, from parents and carers and from other members of communities, are essential for this to occur.

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