$1.82m project to boost Indigenous teachers in remote communities 


A joint venture between Catholic Education NT and Charles Darwin University’s (CDU) School of Education is set to boost the number of Indigenous teachers working in the Territory’s remote communities.

Called Growing Our Own, the program involves offering CDU’s Bachelor of Teaching and Learning to teaching assistants who are working in Catholic community schools in five remote communities in the NT.

The Australian Government commissioned and funded the $1.82 million project in response to a primary goal of the NT Intervention to provide more Indigenous teachers in remote communities.

The program, launched Friday, 20 March at a ceremony on Nguiu, Bathurst Island, will run over two years.

Deputy Director of Teaching and Learning at the Catholic Education Office NT, Brenda Keenan said building a more sustainable school staff from within local Indigenous communities was an important goal.

“With ever-increasing enrolment of Indigenous students across our five Indigenous Catholic community schools, the ongoing challenge for Catholic Education, and indeed all education sectors in the NT, is to attract, develop and retain skilled, experienced teachers and leaders,” she said.

“Through Growing Our Own, local Indigenous teachers will be best placed to deliver and plan the curriculum around Indigenous languages and culture that best serve the needs of their students.”

Head of the School of Education at CDU, Professor Alison Elliott said the program has been tailored for assistant teachers and aims to blend the best of mainstream teacher education and locally relevant and culturally responsive knowledge and experience.

“These teachers are more likely to stay working at their local school than are non-resident teachers and thereby ensure the continuity in education delivery and the links with the community,” she said.

Professor Elliott said the teacher assistants would continue to work at their respective schools while they studied for a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning.

“They are guided and supported ‘in place’ by a CDU lecturer who works with them in a small group. They are also assigned an on-site, in-school mentor,” she said.