ERIC Number: ED336224
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Australian Aboriginal Education at the Fulcrum of Forces of Change: Remote Queensland Communities.
Baker, Victoria J.
Schools in Australian Aboriginal communities are pulled between an educational model that stresses cultural pride and preservation and one that emphasizes uniformity of education to prepare Aboriginal students for a place in the dominant society. The tension between these objectives is seen in these case studies of schools in two remote Queensland Aboriginal communities. Lying 30 miles off the mainland, Palm Island served as an Aboriginal penal colony in the early 1900s. Community problems include high rates of violent crime, alcoholism, and family abuse; inadequate housing; and a 90% unemployment rate. Yarrabah is a remote coastal community with similar problems. Public schools in these two communities have modern facilities, and are making efforts to involve students in learning. However, teachers (virtually all white) are assigned to these schools and experience alienation and culture shock. Few stay more than the required 2 years. Community values are often at odds with academic competitiveness and success, and community and family problems have negative effects on student behavior and achievement. Common student problems are poor attendance, dropping out, low achievement, inappropriate classroom behavior, and hearing problems. St. Michael's, a private Catholic school on Palm Island, follows a different model from state schools and has a community school board, some black teachers, and black teacher aides that serve as community liaisons. The teachers are dedicated and work hard at bridging the gap between school and community. While some progress has been made in making school attractive to students, the forces militating against the success of the school are overwhelming. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Isolation (Geographic)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Comparative and International Education Society (Pittsburgh, PA, March 14-17, 1991).