Teachers’ Professional Development and the Availability of Indigenous Education Officers: Influences on Indigenous Teaching and Learning

Year: 2018

Author: Yeung, Alex, Craven, Rhonda, Mooney, Janet

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The study examined the influence of teachers’ professional development in Indigenous education on their teaching of Indigenous Australian students. Teacher and teaching outcomes were assessed in terms of psychological and behavioural aspects. Structural equation modelling found that teachers’ professional development predicted teachers’ self-concept in teaching Indigenous students. That is, the more frequently teachers are engaged in professional development, the higher self-concept they will have in teaching Indigenous children. Professional development also predicted a range of Indigenous teaching strategies, supporting the significance of teachers’ professional development to enable them to teach Indigenous students effectively, although no significant student engagement was found. However, a surprising finding was that the availability of an Aboriginal Education Officer (AEO) in the setting showed a negative prediction of students’ engagement. An even more interesting finding is that the effectiveness of an AEO in Indigenous students’ learning seems to depend on whether teachers actively attend professional development programs or not. These findings have practical implications for teacher education and systemic support for effective Indigenous education.