Monday, 8 Aug 2011

Australia can achieve sustainable education outcomes for Indigenous students through changes in attitudes and teaching practices, Charles Sturt University’s Foundation Chair of Indigenous Studies Professor Jeannie Herbert will tell the Australian Council for Educational Research annual conference on Monday 8 August 2011.

Speaking ahead of the conference, Professor Herbert said that all Australians needed to make a concerted effort to create more positive attitudes toward education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.

“We need to overcome the long-term, compounding effects of what has been persistently perceived as ‘Indigenous failure’ in education,” she said.

“The picture presented has been one of doom and gloom, but there are firm foundations in place to construct a different picture, a paradigm for a better future built on a strong foundation of sustainable education outcomes for the descendants of this nation’s First Peoples,” she said.

Professor Herbert will present research into the educational success of Indigenous Australian students. She will identify effective teaching practices that build relationships, engagement and personal agency, cater for the specific learning needs of individual students, and support students to become highly motivated, autonomous learners.

“Many Indigenous students are achieving educational success. The education system needs to build on the strategies that work for Indigenous students, and to create more positive mind-sets in both teachers and learners,” Professor Herbert said.

She will also discuss the capacity of the Australian educational system to live up to its promise of quality education for all students.

“When this nation can transition its peoples into a harmonious, democratic society where all people are treated with respect regardless of their cultural values and beliefs, then Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students will achieve their rights and ensure that their success is a matter of their own choice,” Professor Herbert said.

“This is a transition that has the power to change this nation’s history,” she said.

The ACER Research Conference 2011, on the theme Indigenous Education: Pathways to success, takes place in Darwin from 7 to 9 August.

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