Project lead: Queensland Department of Education and Training, Darling Downs South West
Project funding: $24,750 Round 3 2014
A two day conference and forum were conducted on 7-8 May 2014 for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers within the Darling Downs South West Education Region and final year teacher education students from the University of Southern Queensland. The conference and forum were designed to empower Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teachers to establish, maintain and sustain culturally supportive networks and promote leadership opportunities and pathways through a variety of means including culturally motivated speakers, workshops and yarning circles.
Other project aims were to:
- support graduating teachers through a network with cultural foundations and assist in their retention in their early years of teaching through mentoring and online forums;
- increase teacher capacity by assisting with curriculum, connecting theory to practice and pedagogical frameworks through a culturally supportive approach; and
- establish concrete data regarding the retention of teachers in the classroom.
There was a high level of involvement of Indigenous staff and presenters. The forum was evaluated highly on a range of measures by the 25 participants (22 teachers and three RATEP students).
Project outcomes include:
- establishment of an Indigenous Curriculum Reference Group with seven forum participants engaging in regional directions;
- creation of a community across three regions;
- an Assistant Regional Director taking carriage of Indigenous education initiatives and regional accountability;
- development of Indigenous Teacher Pedagogical Framework and Indigenous Teachers Resilience Framework. This framework was well-received at the 2015 #OurMobTeach conference;
- developing a OnePortal site for an online forum and information sharing for participants; and
- sharing of program successes through local newspaper, regional newsletters, OnePortal, regional yarning circles and executive meetings.
The project outcomes should ensure its sustainability through increased capacity and reduced isolation of participants and a high degree of buy in at the regional level.
Establishment of the OnePortal website (for internal use within the Department of Education, Training and Employment).
MATSITI evaluation conclusions
There is a commitment on the part of participants and project owners to continue to grow and conduct the Indigenous Teacher Forum in different regions annually.
The project demonstrates the importance of careful planning, involvement of Indigenous educators at different career stages and commitment at higher levels of the organisation in achieving stated aims which in this case were the retention and development of Indigenous teachers.
Project contact: Kellianne Anderson, Principal Project Officer (Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives into Schools), QLD Dept of Education and Training