Indigenous teachers look to accelerate literacy with CDU workshop 


More than 80 teachers from all over the Northern Territory as well as other areas of Australia descended on Charles Darwin University during 21 to 25 January for professional development training in literacy teaching.

CDU’s Gurinbey Indigenous Academic Support Unit Lecturers, Cynthia Coyne and Kathy Arbon welcomed 11 Indigenous educators who attended with the purpose of gaining valuable teaching tools and techniques aimed at accelerating literacy levels in Indigenous children at primary school.

Teaching Principal of Pigeon Hole Primary School, Anne Pollock travelled to Darwin to attend the intensive course with three other Indigenous staff members from her community: senior teacher Lana Quall, assistant teacher Davina Isaac, and ITAS tutor Rickieshar Isaac. Pigeon Hole Community is one of the more remote communities in the Northern Territory with around 150 residents. It is located on the Buntine Highway, about 400km south-west of Katherine.

Anne said: “The strategies taught in the workshop are valuable for Indigenous children to effectively learn English literacy. The theories and methods gained at the workshop will be put into practice at the Pigeon Hole School during 2008.”

Elaine Gory and Annette Williams, Aboriginal elders from the remote Ltyentye Apurte Community Education Centre in Santa Teresa, and Tisha Carter, assistant teacher from the Yarrenyty-Arltere Learning Centre (Larapinta Valley Town Camp) arrived from Central Australia to take part in the course.

Principal of Barunga Community Education Centre, Anita Painter travelled with teacher Jean Tiati and assistant teacher Tracy Camfoo. Anita, Jean and Tracy all said the program was challenging, enjoyable and they appreciated the opportunity to meet so many other teachers from across Australia.

Anita said: “The accelerated literacy is one of the programs designed for our kids and is a great program to take back to our school. We will use what we have been taught, and put this new program into practice at the Barunga Community Education Centre.”

Convened by the National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP), the course will provide Territory teachers with the skills to use Accelerated Literacy (AL), a teaching methodology designed to accelerate students’ reading, writing and comprehension skills.