You're in new country, Advice for non-Indigenous mentors trainers and teachers

Farmer, Rebekah and Fasoli, Lyn (2011) You're in new country, Advice for non-Indigenous mentors trainers and teachers. Charles Sturt University, Dubbo & online.

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Abstract

Developed by the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education (BIITE) in partnership with Charles Sturt University, this is one of a suite of resources for early childhood educators created through the national ‘Building Capacity for Early Childhood Education’ project, funded by the Department of Education Employment and Workplace Relations. The main audience for the resource is non-Indigenous early childhood educators, teachers and mentors who work with Indigenous people in remote community contexts. It has been produced by remote Indigenous early childhood educators with the support of the resource compilers, Rebekah Farmer and Lyn Fasoli (BIITE).

This is an important time in the development of remote Indigenous early childhood services as more and more non-Indigenous educators come to remote communities to work with Indigenous colleagues. Anyone familiar with Indigenous early childhood will know that a huge number of new early childhood projects are being ‘rolled out’ in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory with the aim of ‘closing the gap’ on Indigenous disadvantage. Non-Indigenous workers recruited to these projects and services, ideally, hold early childhood qualifications, however, due to a national shortage in early childhood graduates, some recruits may hold other or no job-specific qualifications. For many, it will be their first experience in a remote Indigenous community. As a result, many workers feel unprepared, flounder and often leave after only a few months,a situation that undermines rather than builds the capacity of local Indigenous staff. Making the decision
to work in a remote Indigenous community is the beginning of a learning journey that is full of rewards as well as challenges and is a journey that will be more successful if non-Indigenous workers are open to learning as well as sharing their skills and knowledge with others.

The messages, themes and advice contained in this booklet were generated through participatory action research undertaken over approximately 18 months involving the project team and Indigenous early childhood educators in the Northern Territory. The booklet primarily reflects the views of Indigenous early childhood educators who work and live in the Northern Territory community of Wadeye and is augmented by the views of Indigenous early childhood students studying at the Batchelor Institute. We have attempted to create a culturally informed resource, linked to existing relevant literature, in order to better inform and support non-Indigenous mentors, trainers and teachers in making the transition from a Western-focused early childhood setting to working in the intercultural context of a remote Indigenous community.

Indigenous early childhood educators have shared stories of their personal work experiences along with their formal and informal learning, highlighting the ways non-Indigenous people have supported and enabled them to succeed in the workplace and in their learning, while reflecting on some of the equally important things that non-Indigenous people struggle with when they begin to work in remote communities. This resource is their answer to the key question - “What is important for non – Indigenous people to learn to help them support your early childhood work and
learning?”

The resource provides localised views of some of the complex issues that can impact on early childhood workforce development and learning in some remote Indigenous communities. However, they are not a generic Indigenous view, as there is no such thing. As early childhood educators and researchers with specific expertise in working with Indigenous early childhood staff and students in the NT, we cannot emphasis enough that this resource is not a ‘one size fits all approach’. Every Indigenous community is different. Some communities may share these views while others will differ. The resource should not be used as a template or a rulebook. However, it can be the basis for cultural learning and a starting point for discussion with the Indigenous staff, families and communities. It is designed to support the development of non-Indigenous teachers, trainers and mentors in a remote Indigenous early childhood contexts by promoting critical
reflection. Some questions are provided at the end of each topic to guide reflection and action.

Item Type: Book
Field of Research: 13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130102 Early Childhood Education (excl. Maori)
16 Studies in Human Society > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169902 Studies of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Society
20 Language, Communication and Culture > 2002 Cultural Studies > 200209 Multicultural, Intercultural and Cross-cultural Studies
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Date Deposited: 09 Nov 2011 22:41
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2012 07:29
URI: http://eprints.batchelor.edu.au/id/eprint/277

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