Aboriginal educators: Voices in our schools

Year: 1997

Author: Howard, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on an ethnographic study undertaken in a rural community in New South Wales. The study investigated the expressed beliefs of Aboriginal parents, Aboriginal Educators, Aboriginal children and their teachers towards the learning and teaching of mathematics in Years 5 and 6 of primary school. The researcher lived in the community for a year of the study negotiating appropriate protocols and consulting with various groups before interviewing participants. Where permission was given interviews were audio taped, transcribed and through analysis seventeen categories for classifying participant comments emerged.

This paper reports specifically on the views expressed by Aboriginal Educators related to the categories of Learning, Teaching, Context and Family Concerns in the context of Aboriginal children's school achievement. Among several stated issues those of teacher - student relationship, teacher consistency, expectations and learning styles emerge as factors influencing Aboriginal children's learning. Though the comments were in the context of the learning and teaching of mathematics they have significant implications for educators, parents and the community in the overall learning of many Aboriginal children.