Two way teaching and learning key to educational equity

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Monday, 8 Aug 2011


For immediate release: Monday 8 August 2011

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ educational outcomes will only be improved when teaching and learning become part of an equal and genuine cultural exchange, according to a new book published by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

In Two Way Teaching and Learning: Towards culturally reflective and relevant education, co-editors Hannah Rachel Bell, ACER Principal Research Fellow Dr Nola Purdie and ACER Indigenous Liaison Officer Gina Milgate highlight the overriding need for Australian people and educational systems to better engage with communities and elders in order to address the underlying issues that face Indigenous people from socially and culturally diverse backgrounds.

Speaking ahead of the launch, Indigenous affairs policy consultant and former teacher Bell said Two Way Teaching and Learning addresses the interface where two cultures meet – in the classroom, the school and the community.

“Educators belong to one of the few professions where cultures and communities can potentially mix and mingle in a shared vision for the future,” she said.

“To change the standard of education for Indigenous students we need to overhaul curricula and teaching from woe to go with an approach built on the premise that two cultural knowledge systems can and do coexist.”

According to the editors, ‘two way’ teaching and learning involves a partner relationship between two cultures that have much to learn from each other. It takes place in a neutral, negotiated space in which neither culture presumes superiority or dominance.

“For many non-Indigenous educators the prospect of the National Curriculum with its demand for embedded Indigenous perspectives is extremely daunting,” said Bell. “Two Way Teaching and Learning offers advice and hands-on strategies to redress some of the issues in education for Indigenous children.”

Two Way Teaching and Learning is a collection of 14 chapters by 24 contributing authors, all of whom are highly experienced practitioners drawn from academia, the teaching profession and the community. The book focuses on policy issues, strategies to improve outcomes for Indigenous students, and ways in which people of different cultures can learn from each other.

The official launch of Two Way Teaching and Learning occurred at ACER Research Conference 2011, Indigenous Education: Pathways to success, at the Darwin Convention Centre at 6.30pm on Sunday 7 August 2011.

Two Way Teaching and Learning is published by ACER Press (2011). Print copies can be purchased from the ACER Online Shop at  or by contacting customer service on 1800 338 402 or via email on


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