Home' Independence : Independence Vol 40 No 2 Oct 2015 Contents 20 INDEPENDENCE VOL 40 NO 2 OCTOBER 2015
experiencing firsthand what no textbook
or video clip could convey. At the other
end are young Indigenous boys and girls
who indisputably know that there are a
whole bunch of young and gentle souls
from a place called Radford – somewhere
‘out there’ – who seem to genuinely
care and who, better still, keep coming
back to spend time with them. This is a
much welcomed certainty in their lives
and an important constant. Each return
grows trust and deepens the relationship
between Radford and the communities.
Over 200 Radfordians have now attended
pre-schools, primary and central
schools serving the Gamilaraay people.
Over the course of these visitations
there has been a growing maturity in
the relationship between those with
significant privilege and those without.
A greater understanding of the particular
needs of schools with a high percentage
of Indigenous children, as well as an
empathy with Aboriginal culture and
history, are simultaneously nurtured.
After spending extended time in
schools in the Gamilaraay region, our
students’ service learning philosophies
usually evolve from the simplistic
and egocentric ‘I want to make a
difference’ to a more complex, practical
and wider-reaching grasp of what is
required in authentic and sustainable
service practice. As one student wrote:
There exist immensely complex
problems that we cannot pretend to
fully understand. Not understanding is
no excuse for not trying. I dream of a
straightforward fix. Unfortunately, it is
far too late to be so simple.
Wrestling with the complexities of
how best to address the inequities in
educational opportunity in our country,
the students come to a realisation that
they can only effectively do so after
having had some real experiences
working, playing, listening to and
living alongside all stakeholders.
It is my dream that those who participate
in a G-Trip will one day return to finish
the work that has been started.
DIRECTOR OF SERVICE LEARNING,
ACHIEVING SUCCESSFUL OUTCOMES FOR INDIGENOUS STUDENTS
The Australian Indigenous Education Foundation this year released its AIEF Compendium
of best practice for achieving successful outcomes with Indigenous students in Australian
boarding schools. The Compendium is a collation of qualitative data and examples of
practice drawn from the experiences of those working with Indigenous students.
AIEF has identified the most important drivers of a successful Indigenous
education program as:
1 LEADERSHIP COMMITMENT
A genuine and personal commitment from
the school leadership to the program.
Indigenous education programs must be
resourced sufficiently and effectively to
ensure success and sustainability.
3 ATTRIBUTES OF STUDENTS
To ensure that students most likely to
succeed receive the opportunities available
in scholarship programs, focus on students
who demonstrate enthusiasm, aspirations
and a positive attitude to learning, and
who have parental support.
4 SCHOOL STRUCTURES AND
These need to be student-centred,
carefully conceived and implemented to
ensure the right staff are in the right roles
and have the resources needed to do
their jobs effectively.
AIEF has established an online community for practitioners in Indigenous education. For
more information about AIEF and the Compendium visit www.aief.com.au; to engage in the
online community, visit compendium.aief.com.au.
Relationships with Indigenous students,
their families, their communities, with
the broader school community, with
external organisations and other schools
are critical and far-reaching. At the heart
of these partnerships and relationships is
effective communication that is regular,
respectful, open and inclusive.
6 WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT
A school environment that is supportive
and welcoming is one that is genuine,
authentic and entrenched, rather than
7 LEARNING AND TRANSITION SUPPORT
Where needed, additional support
for Indigenous students needs to be
targeted, responsive to students’ needs
and focused on ensuring that all students
complete Year 12 and successfully
transition to a sustainable career or
RADFORD’S ‘G-Trip’ students help
out in schools in northern NSW.
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