Issue 14
Monday, 15 August 2016
Charles Darwin University
Tiwi student Tammy Kerinaiwa and CDU GOO coordinator Ben Van Gelderen with GOO staff and students
Tiwi student Tammy Kerinaiwa and CDU GOO coordinator Ben Van Gelderen with GOO staff and students

Remote student teachers visit campus, urban schools

By Leanne Miles

A group of Charles Darwin University students from Indigenous communities across the Northern Territory has visited Darwin as part of a program aimed at growing the number of Indigenous teachers in community schools.

The Bachelor of Education (Primary) students are taking part in a fully accredited and nationally recognised teacher education program being delivered by CDU through the Growing Our Own (GOO) program in partnership with the Catholic Education Office.

During the visit the 17 students from Bathurst Island, Daly River, Katherine, Santa Teresa and Wadeye undertook an intensive unit and visited urban schools.

Tiwi student Tammy Kerinaiwa, who is in her second year of study, said she wanted to formalise her qualifications as a teacher after being inspired by her auntie and grandfather.

“Growing up with my auntie who was a Tiwi principal, I had always wanted to become a teacher,” she said. “When I become a qualified teacher I will be able to pass my knowledge on and also encourage the next generation of teachers in our community.”

CDU GOO coordinator Ben Van Gelderen said the program was customised to meet the needs of the students, and their communities and schools.

“The program is set up around the idea of two-way learning and knowledge exchange,” he said. “While the Indigenous students are working as assistant teachers and studying, they learn from the mainstream teachers and CDU lecturers and, in turn, they learn from the students about Indigenous ways of learning and living together .”

Ms Kerinaiwa said that having local people teach in communities provided an opportunity for Indigenous knowledge to be incorporated into the curriculum.

Now in its eighth year, the Australian Government funded program has celebrated the graduation of 21 students, who have since taken up teaching positions at remote Indigenous schools.

During the program each student's work is moderated rigorously against that of other students in the course and on completion they can apply for membership of the Northern Territory Teachers' Registration Board.