Issue 5
Monday, 24 April 2017
Charles Darwin University
Education lecturer Ben van Gelderen
Education lecturer Ben van Gelderen

Remote students on study tour to Timor-Leste

By Patrick Nelson

A group of Charles Darwin University students from several remote Indigenous communities arrived in Timor-Leste yesterday where they will observe the use of language and culture to better understand multilingual education.

Education lecturer Ben van Gelderen said the seven-day study tour would give students the opportunity to explore and analyse educational needs in a remote multilingual context.

“The intent is to observe classes and visit local primary schools to compare and contrast the use of language and culture to their own community settings in the Northern Territory,” Mr van Gelderen said.

“We will visit several schools ranging in style from single-room establishments to those that are relatively well-resourced, and the Baucau Teachers’ College, with whom CDU has worked in the past.

“The tour has been incorporated into the unit ‘researching classroom practice’, which asks students to reflect on their teaching practice and to develop a plan for ongoing professional development.

“Our students stand to benefit from visiting communities that are using various educational initiatives to rebuild their languages and culture after a period of significant disruption.”

Mr van Gelderen said the 10 students, who work as assistant teachers at schools in Santa Teresa, Wadeye, Daly River and Bathurst Island, were enrolled in the Bachelor of Education (Primary) via the Growing Our Own partnership with Catholic Education.

He said the trip had been funded with a grant from the Australian Government’s New Colombo Plan Mobility Program, which deepens Australia’s relationships with Indo Pacific nations by supporting undergraduates to study in the region.