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Essay: Disadvantages indigenous people continuously experience in education

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  • Subject area(s): Education essays
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  • Published: 14 July 2019*
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  • Words: 1,402 (approx)
  • Number of pages: 6 (approx)

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Since the beginning of time, indigenous and Torres strait islanders have suffered a huge gap in the educational system. Despite the rectifying attempts to close this gap, indigenous students continue to fall behind in comparison to non-indigenous students. This is apparent in all levels of the students schooling, from early childhood to secondary education. Similarly, an ongoing debate continues to spur on the topic of multiculturalism and racism in education. This article discusses the literature on the continuous disadvantages indigenous people continuously experience such as school failure to meet the needs of the indigenous community, the ineffectiveness of culturally responsive schooling (CRS), the importance of cultural awareness, the ineffectiveness of multicultural education in classrooms and …. CONT.
P1 – Understanding the factors that affect ATSI’s academic success
Based on the ideologies of Darwinism and the twin European policy agendas of civilizing the indigenous population, the history of indigenous education has constantly been one full of marginalization, limited access and discrimination (Insert citation). From the years 1914 to the 1970’s, western education and culture was used to exclude and negate the culture, languages, knowledge and identity of indigenous children and elders. The children were taught to disregard what they knew about their aboriginal culture and begin adapting to the western culture and education (Insert Citation). Young indigenous students were “completely brainwashed to think only like a white person, they didn’t know anything about their culture” (Insert quote).
This has highly impacted the education system in today’s society, further creating a gap between indigenous students and non-indigenous students. The disadvantages that aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders experience have doubled in recent years. It is believed that a curriculum should be developed with refined management strategies to not only justify the exclusion of these students but rather elucidate factors that will promote their academic success (Insert citation here). Research should be founded to be able to determine the minor and major challenges they experience in their transition in schooling, there attitudes towards schooling, and new programs that work to close the gap in their schooling. In today’s era of teaching, the importance of ensuring equity for aboriginal students is exceptionally clear. An important factor to consider is the vast increase in aboriginal and Torres strait islander peoples. In 2006, the ATSI population in Australia was 500,000, the latest census was in 2016 which states that there were 786,689 that identified as aboriginal or Torres strait islander (Insert citation here). This was a 17.4% increase from 2011. These statistics display a high increase through the years and only shows that it will continue to grow over time. It was estimated that there will be over a million aboriginal and Torres strait islanders by 2031. The current issues indigenous students face in the education system are; the white dominant culture values and practices, the lack of aboriginal culture and language in the classroom and the struggles to keep up with the current curriculum. These can all be maintained through the use of a variety of new strategies that will target in aiding areas of need and closing the gap for these students. This will be further discussed in the review.
P2 – cultural awareness for indigenous students
According to Garcia’s teaching theories and knowledge on education, “teaching is a scholarly pursuit” (Insert citation), whereby not only traditional academic knowledge is taught, but also the inclusion of cultural awareness. Cultural awareness supports the notion that, education that is being taught to indigenous students should reinforce or relate to their culture, language and practices (insert citation).
This is believed to be done through recognizing the existing racism or barrier between indigenous and non-indigenous students and diminishing it. Cultural bias is another issue that is sought to be diminished in the educational system as racism or biasness has a profound influence on a child in their developing stages in schooling. In the book “Anti-bias curriculum: tools for empowering young children” it is stated that a curriculum like this can be used to help young children develop anti-bias attitudes, learn to think critically and get involved or speak up when something is unfair. In an article written by Klenowski (insert citation), it is argued that assessment practices that favor western knowledge over cultural knowledge prolong inequity for indigenous students. She believes that ‘teachers need to adopt a culturally responsive pedagogy to open up the curriculum and allow for different ways of knowing and being” (Insert citation). This is vital, as having educators that can challenge and eliminate institutional racism, will work into creating a bettering environment in schooling for indigenous students.
P3 – cultural responsive teaching and benefits for students
According to author Ladson-Billings, culturally responsive teaching is a pedagogy that integrates the importance of cultural content in education (citation). It acknowledges the legitimacy of cultural heritage between the variety of different ethnic groups. It also interconnects home experiences and school experiences throughout academic teachings (citation). Culturally responsive teaching also educates students on how to commend and be aware of each other’s cultural heritages. This reform, to an extent has been viewed as a representation of the restructuring goals of multicultural education. With each ratified multicultural notion taught by educators, a potential to meet a non-segregated democratic citizenry becomes attainable (Reference). Adopting culturally responsive teaching in the classroom has proven to strengthen relationships between students in the classroom, aid the indigenous students when learning about concepts and create a bias-free environment allowing students from all cultures and heritages feel welcomed and belonged, decreasing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students. This integration is believed to be the most important factor that works effectively with students as they feel they are properly cared and catered for in the classroom. However, disregarding cultural responsive teaching will have negative affect on aboriginal and Torres strait islander students as they will feel alienated in comparison to the other non-indigenous students that will actually have an advantage in the learning process. Failure to adopt this in the schooling system, not only disregards the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous students, but is failing the needs of indigenous communities. One factor that is repeatedly seen in the classroom that is highly negative on indigenous schooling is when a teacher compensates their negative behavior, or failure to comply with “cultural deprivations” and blaming this behaviors on the culture of the student. CRT confront issues like this, and practices the correct approach in more regenerative aspects or reform (citation). Effective teaching methods that have worked in the classroom are; giving students time to reflect, making learning meaningful, provision of feedback and creating high expectations of the students abilities.
P4 –the current educational system and Benefits of cultural responsive teaching
As previously explained, culturally responsive teaching has many benefits for not only the students but on the student’s education system. In the current Australian indigenous education system, many failures spur and the system is explained to be quite ineffective. According to a journal article titled ‘motivation and engagement if indigenous students’ (Insert citation), the system is ineffective due to “aboriginal and Torres Strait islander children lagging behind their non-indigenous peers across their education trajectory, from early childhood education, to post school education” (insert citation). One teaching strategy that is believed to lessen this burden, is the integration of indigenous pedagogies, teachings and ways of being throughout the classroom. Culturally responsive teaching is considered to be a fundamental practice to ‘close the gap’ and improve the academic outcomes for indigenous students who believe to be marginalised or treated incorrectly within the classroom. Through the use of culturally responsive teaching, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders are able to learn more and benefit through the newly integrated teaching practices. It ensures that a teacher is able to cater for all needs in the classroom rather than just focus on teaching the lesson in one form and at one level. In the journal article by Munns, Craven (cite) and Martin, an aboriginal teacher that has worked with indigenous children explains the concepts worked in her class. These concepts were the use of clear instructions in a supportive and caring manner which allowed for students to better understand the curriculum. She also explains that the teacher should have the ability to target the strengths of her students and adapt her teaching to specially cater for the weaknesses of the student through the use of clear explanations, the use of examples, supporting content and the use of culturally responsive teaching methods.

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