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Inclusive Education: Integration and Inclusion of Indigenous Students

A seminar presentation on "Inclusive Education: Integration and Inclusion of Indigenous Students"
by

Paul Achmar

on 10 May 2010

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Transcript of Inclusive Education: Integration and Inclusion of Indigenous Students

Inclusive Education: Integration and Inclusion of Indigenous students Defining the Concepts Literature on Inclusive Education Indigenous Students and Inclusive Education Australian Curriculum Inclusion

Inclusive education can be understood as the "presence, participation, and achievement of all learners" (Opertti)

Inclusion involves the identification and minimising of barriers to learning and participation, and the maximising of resources to support learning participation (Petrou et al)

Inclusive education raises issues of cultural and social diversity (Opertti) Ignatian Pedagogy

Five main areas of focus:

1. Context of learning
A group of students in a learning situation is a complex social reality, and the Ignatian Pedagogy begins by insisting that it is crucial for the teacher to be as aware as possible of important aspects of this reality
Teachers must look at the overall context of each student's life: personal qualities; different stages of development; family, social and socio-economic situations; cultural context; school environment

2. Experience
No learning experience will be truly Ignatian if the imagination and feelings are not involved, i.e. if it purely cognitive or intellectual
A sense of "wonder"

3. Reflection
4. Action
5. Evaluation

Teacher is not just a lecturer giving out information, but a guide, helping the student to continous growth in understanding. Disequelibrium

A "disequilibrium in thinking" needs to occur in thinking about inclusive education (Ainscow)

A review of the system, organisation and provision of curriculum which will (at least) partly be governed by the difference of each personlity (Petrou et al)

We need to "de-centre" the Eurocentric foundations of our education system and promote more global perspectives (Baskin) Human Rights

Separate education systems are challenged from both a human rights and educational perspective, and rightfully so. (Ainscow)

Petrou et al agree: "the emphasis is on the needs and rights of humans... to be based on acceptance of all differences and the support of each otherness" (Petrou et al) Consideration of Context

"Despite the diversity of today's classrooms, rarely are the histories, values, beliefs and bodies of students taken into account as part of learning for all" (Baskin)

Ignatian Pedagogy Student Identity

A student needs to see him/her-self in the physical environment in which they are being educated (Baskin)

We must not fall into the trap of tokenistic practices!

Ignatian Pedagogy - context, reflection

The focus must be on the student at the centre, not solely on policy and curriculum. This is why it has failed in the past. (Lester)

Consider their "lifeworlds" when creating the "system"

There is an "urgent need for the wider community to get to know indigenous Australians, to learn about the shared history and to plan an inclusive future that respects and values Indigenous culture and heritage" (Irving) Multiple perspectives and Diversity

Indigenous students bring diversity and this benefits all learners.

Heterogenous learning environments provide better learning opportunities to socialy disadvantaged groups (Opertti)

Indigenous perspectives can help encourage the changing of students' viewpoints and combat the passivity commensurate with the acceptance of social norms" (Bethel)

Rattle the cage!! Limitations on students and institutions

Many people, including teachers, "may fail to see the reality of Indigenous culture as a living, vibrant and evolving force, and of Indigenous people as individuals" (Irving)

Many teachers and schools who were keen to get involved in Aboriginal education were not sure how, often owing to a lack of professional pre or post training opportunities (Lester)

School culture, financial limitations, deeply held beliefs...

"Deeply held beliefs within schools may prevent teh experimentation that is necessary in order to foster the development of more inclusive ways of working (Ainscow) Melbourne Declaration

Acknowledgement: Educational outcomes for Indigenous students and young people are substantially behind those of other students in key areas of enrolment, attendance, participatio, literacy, numeracy, retention and completion.

Australian schooling needs to engage Indigenous students, their families and communities in all aspects of schooling. ACARA document

Theoretically considers the context of the student (links with IP)

"(The curriculum) should reflect the diversity of knowledge, experience and cultural values of students"

HOWEVER...

Only on TWO occasions have Indigenous perspectives been mentioned:

1. English (in development of a course for students from diverse backgrounds with English as an Additional Language or Dialect - not in any of the advanced courses)

2. Ancient History

"This relegates Indigenous peoples and their knowledge to the category of historical artefacts in the History course" The Australian Curriculum

Greater consideration needed, taking into account:

the diversity of the Indigenous populations of Australia
the benefits of a holistic appraoch to education (beyond just curriculum and academia) Conclusion Inclusive education is a human right

Inclusive education must not be tokenistic

Indigenous Australians are a unique group of learners whose lifeworlds and cultures must be considered in curriculum planning and all educational practice Ignatian Charism as reflected in Ignatian Pedagogy

Indigenous Policy at a Jesuit educational institution

Awareness and responsiveness to the needs and diversity of Indigenous students
Recognise the unique cultural identity and context of each student
Involving Indigenous communities for a constructive relationship between them and the College
Programs for the wider student population include:

Indigenous Immersion experiences
Bathurst Island, Darwin, Moree, Bowraville, Bourke, Emerton

Indigenous Bursary program
Provide (currently) 20 Indigenous students with a bursary allowance to attend the College

Assimilation? Acceptance of Diversity?

Money! DISCUSSION QUESTION
What policies or programs have you come across within your own educational institution that address the issues of inclusive education for Indigenous students?

Have they been effective? What improvements would you recommend? DISCUSSION QUESTION

What issues of inclusive education have you experienced professionally, either personally or systematically?

Have you met resistance/been supported in any of your activities? DISCUSSION QUESTION
Are there any benefits at all of a nation-wide curriculum for Indigenous students?
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