Bridging the educational gap : Indigenous and non-Indigenous beliefs, attitudes and practices in a remote Australian school
Warren, Elizabeth, Cooper, Thomas J., & Baturo, Annette R. (2008) Bridging the educational gap : Indigenous and non-Indigenous beliefs, attitudes and practices in a remote Australian school. Educational Practice and Theory, 30(1), pp. 41-56.
Indigenous education remains of grave concern within Australian society (Fitzgerald, 2002). Systems are currently making limited educational impact in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities (Department of Education, Training and Employment, 2002). In particular, Indigenous students' beliefs about the relevance of education, attitudes towards school, behaviour in school and attendance at school are affecting their educational performance (Bourke, Rigby & Burdon, 2000; Cataldi & Partington, 1998; Ministerial Committee on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), 2002).
This chapter reports on the success of a 3-year longitudinal professional learning project in a remote Australian school. Using mathematics as the vehicle, this project set out to improve Indigenous students' learning outcomes by enhancing their beliefs, attitudes and practices and thus to begin to bridge the current educational gap between them and non-Indigenous students. The chapter reviews the literature relevant to the relationship between beliefs, attitudes, practices and performance, outlines the project generally and, for the particular school Albertown (Pseudonym), describes findings with regard to beliefs and attitudes, and discusses the implications for future intervention projects.
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