CDU student teachers toast of their town 

Celebrating the launch of Growing Our Own at Santa Teresa: (from left) Claire Kilgariff, Therese Kersten, Dr Al Strangeways, Kirsten Braun, Professor Peter Kell, Marcus Williams, David Reilly, Anita Kuman Gorey, Professor Giselle Byrnes, Karina Cavanagh and Ali Gallio.

Four Charles Darwin University students were the toast of their town at the official opening of the Growing Our Own teacher education program at Ltyentye Apurte (Santa Teresa) last week.

Karina Gorey, Kirsten Braun, Marcus Williams and Anita Gorey are working towards a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning Pre-Service and Inservice, a fully accredited and nationally recognised teacher education program being delivered by CDU through the Growing Our Own program in partnership with the Catholic Education Office.

CDU Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty of Law, Education, Business and Arts Professor Giselle Byrnes said it was an important day in celebrating the achievements of Ltyentye Apurte School in growing the number of Indigenous teachers in community schools.

“The beauty of this program is that it is customised to meet the needs of the students, their community and the local school that they work in.

“Each student’s work is rigorously moderated against that of other students in the course and upon completion they will be able to apply for membership of the Northern Territory Teachers’ Registration Board.”

Professor Byrnes said the four students were trailblazers for CDU’s education program in Central Australia.

“It was reaffirming to hear each of them publically pledge to strive for excellence in the pursuit of learning and wisdom.

“This speaks volumes about their personal dedication and commitment but also reflects warmly on our staff, especially lecturer Dr Alison Strangeways, coordinator Therese Kersten and administration officer Amanda Sandery.”

CDU delivers Growing Our Own, funded by the Australian Government, to 10 students across the Territory in Bathurst Island, Wadeye and Santa Teresa.

“The program is truly challenging the frontiers of teacher education,” she said.

“It embodies the idea of two-way learning, which enables an exchange of knowledge and experience. While our students are learning from CDU academic staff, they also learn from the students in new and profound ways.”

Professor Byrnes said the future was bright for Growing Our Own.

“Not only do we have a strong partnership with the Catholic Education Office but the establishment of CDU’s Australian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges in Education with the Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education brings additional experience in pre-service teacher education.”