University of Tasmania

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Raising the education bar for Indigenous students in rural and remote Australian communities: Voices from key stakeholders and newly qualified teachers

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 15:08 authored by Bronwyn ReynoldsBronwyn Reynolds
There is a critical need to address education attainment for young Indigenous students in rural and remote locations of Australia. In these communities national literacy and numeracy benchmarks are much lower (Harrison, 2008), and the profound implication results in limited life-long opportunities (Jorgensen, 2012). To raise the ‘education bar’ for these students it is imperative that newly qualified teachers working in these locations have rich knowledge banks and specific sets of skills. The perceptions, beliefs and experiences of Indigenous education in these rural and remote areas were captured in this study which involved 26 participants. Thirteen were recent graduates from the same Bachelor of Education degree course in one Australian university, currently teaching Indigenous students in rural and remote community schools in Western Australia. The remaining thirteen involved other key stakeholders in Indigenous education in Australia, including local and national Indigenous academics, policy-makers and leaders in the field. The aim of this research was to build a holistic picture of the reported major factors that constitute high quality education for these Indigenous students. The study was qualitative and employed an in-depth structured questionnaire. The findings between the newly qualified teachers and the key stakeholders were congruent and indicate that these teachers need to raise their education expectations for Indigenous students, particularly in the areas of literacy and mathematics. The need to recognise when some areas of learning may be best taught more explicitly, rather than a reliance on inquiry based methods, was identified. Cultural and contextual knowledge and understandings, including sensitivities and diversity, living conditions, and absenteeism were also highlighted. Great importance was also placed on celebrating the children’s learning and engagement at school, the need to value and implement a differentiated curriculum and establish strong relationships with the students.


Publication title

International Journal of Innovative Interdisciplinary Research






Faculty of Education


Australian Multicultural Interaction Institute

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2013 Australian Multicultural Interaction Institute.

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education not elsewhere classified