Project lead: University of Tasmania
Project funding: $45,455 Round 4 2015
This project conducted by the University of Tasmania’s (UTAS) Tasmanian Institute of Learning and Teaching (TILT) aimed to encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students to consider teaching as a career by inviting them and parents or caregivers to a two day workshop which would affirm their cultural identity, immerse them in aspects of university life and provide them with detailed information about studying teaching and working as a teacher.
The program anticipated 40 student participants, with final numbers comprising 30 students, six AIEWs and four parents or carers. The project involved participants meeting other students and addresses by lecturers and students. Ongoing reinforcement was maintained through contact with the Pathway Planners and a Facebook page.
According to the project owners there are only 14 Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander teachers of 2,000 teachers employed by the Department of Education in Tasmania. It further states that 2.5% of students enrolled in Bachelor of Education: Early Childhood; Primary; and Health/PE are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.
Two separate Tunapri Teaching workshops for students and parents were delivered: the first in November 2014 for years 8 – 10 and the second in May 2015 for years 11 and 12. A further outcome was the production of a pathways booklet, Tracks Into Teaching, for distribution to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in years 9 to 12. This resource will also be available for future students via the Tunapri Facebook site. This site provides access to role models, information and inspirational readings. It also provides a ready mechanism to advise of upcoming events such as the UTAS scholarships and enrolments days.
Media coverage in local newspapers, Koori Mail, on the UTAS website and through the Tunapri Facebook page has enabled broad promotion of events associated with the project. These have also been shared on the MATSITI website. Presentations were made at the following conferences: MATSITI in Adelaide on 30 September 2015, NATSIEC in Melbourne on 11 November, 2015 and International Humanities and Arts in Hawaii 9-12 January, 2016.
The goals of the project were met and surpassed culminating in the establishment of a strong collaborative relationship between TILT and the Faculty of Education which has assisted in developing an alternative pathway into teaching through the delivery of the Associate Degree in Education Support commencing in 2016 along with the provision of 20 HECS scholarships for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people.
Future plans include to:
- continue the strong cultural element within the program with involvement of Elders and community members;
- conduct at least two sessions annually;
- provide an annual recall day for Year 12 students to complete UTAS applications for enrolment and scholarships; and
- maintain contact with students and continue to provide information relevant to teaching via the Tunapri Facebook site.
Booklet: Tracks Into Teaching
MATSITI evaluation conclusions
Feedback on the program was positive. Its strengths include involvement of parents or carers, Elders and community members, and affirmation of identity. It is a practical program which will help to inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students about undertaking tertiary education. Its aim to encourage and inspire these students appears to have been fulfilled.
The development of a new pathway into teaching and the provision of scholarships are bonuses.
This project has exceeded its aims through productive collaboration between different areas of UTAS.
Project contact: Clair Andersen, Aboriginal Higher Education Advisor, University of Tasmania