A Study of Patterns of Participation of Arnhem Land Aboriginal Students in a Non-Aboriginal Urban Secondary School
Ashton-Hay, Sally (1996) A Study of Patterns of Participation of Arnhem Land Aboriginal Students in a Non-Aboriginal Urban Secondary School. TESOL in Context, 6(2), pp. 26-32.
Aboriginal students are identified as one of the groups most at risk in Australia today. They have low levels of achievement and school retention coupled with high levels of failure, absenteeism and behaviour problems. All available statistics support this perspective (National Review 1994 in Groome 1995:70). DEET (1991:165)also recognises the need for further research and material and curriculum preparation for the specific English language educational needs of Aboriginal learners. Although our education system is largely failing Aboriginal learners, this project documents evidence of success. It is a study of four Aboriginal girls from a remote area of Arnhem Land who are learning ESL in a non-Aboriginal urban private secondary school on the Gold Coast. Even though the school accepts some international enrolments, staff have little experience or understanding of Aboriginal learners in this situation, including the researcher. The purpose of the study was to identify patterns of participation reflected by Aboriginal students in a non-Aboriginal learning environment. Although this report is condensed, the discussion of data is designed to assist ESL and mainstream teachers to meet the needs of similar students in such learning contexts.
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