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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Utopia - Are We There Yet?: A Case Study of Professional Development for Indigenous Teachers in Remote Central Australia

Ruth Gledhill, Robyn Freeman.

Contexts for teaching Indigenous students in Australia's Northern Territory are many and varied. They present some interesting challenges for both teachers and students because the Northern Territory has 59% of Australia's Indigenous language speakers and Indigenous students make up approximately 34% of the total student population. Many of these students speak an Indigenous language and begin learning English only on entry to school which also presents them with a new culture and an entirely new set of behavioural expectations. Teachers may have little or no training in how to deal with these issues and many non-Indigenous staff leave after a relatively short time. At Utopia this challenge is being met by empowering Indigenous staff members to provide continuity of educational programs through on-going professional development and support. This workshop presents their story as case study within a general overview of the Northern Territory teaching contexts. Participants will gain an insight into life and education for Indigenous Australian children and the people who teach them.


Ruth Gledhill  (Australia)
Project Manager
Curriculum Services Branch
Northern Territory Department of Employment, Education and Training

I have worksed in the field of Indigenous Education since coming to the NT in 1984 in a variety of contexts ranging from remote communities to urban centers. I currently facilitate professional development for teaches of Indigenous and non-Indigenous ESL students.

Robyn Freeman

  • Professional Development for Indigenous Teachers
  • Remote Central Australia

(60 min Workshop, English)