Innovative NT educator gains Churchill Fellowship 

CDU Early Childhood lecturer Christine Tayler has been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to further develop her innovative educational tools

A Charles Darwin University researcher has been awarded a 2011 Churchill Fellowship for her innovative work to support Indigenous educators in their training while working with young children in remote Australia.

Three years ago CDU Early Childhood lecturer Christine Tayler developed an electronic learning tool to adapt mainstream text-based education material to assist Indigenous people in remote areas of the Northern Territory with their studies in vocational training.

Called e-learning, the tool was visually orientated with a large component of story-telling that draws on family and community to appeal to the learning styles of Indigenous people.

“With a variety of languages spoken in communities, various levels of English and limited formal training, text-based resources are inappropriate for many Indigenous people,” Ms Tayler said.

“A culturally appropriate approach was essential for successful learning outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators in remote communities.”

She has continued to develop her innovative educational tools to include workbooks to assist Indigenous educators to gain their qualifications in Certificate III in Early Childhood through CDU.

“The resources include film clips, picture-based workbooks and supporting activities, to demonstrate the elements and performance criteria for the Certificate III in Children’s Services,” she said.

“This combination of media assists educators to acquire the skills and knowledge to enhance children’s development within the early childhood context.”

Ms Tayler said The Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation Churchill Fellowship to study initiatives that support Indigenous educators in their work with children from birth to age five in remote Australia will allow her to travel to the USA, Canada and New Zealand.

“The award will help me to further develop the multimedia resource to give a deeper cultural focus for Indigenous Australians by obtaining further media and researching the methods employed by other training services to deliver culturally appropriate education,” she said.

Ms Tayler will begin her exploration of native cultures in western countries, focusing on adult education in early childhood in March 2012.