Barriers to inclusion: Aboriginal pre-service teachers’ perspective on inclusive education practices in their remote Northern Territory schools

Bea Staley, Leonard Freeman, Bertram Tipungwuti, Kial King, Melanie Mullins, Edwina Portaminni, Rachel Puantulura, Marcus Williams, Nikita Jason, Anthony Busch

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Abstract

Inclusive practices can be interpreted broadly as the ways in which we ensure that all students have an equitable education to optimise student learning outcomes, achievement and attendance. In this paper, Aboriginal pre-service teachers, all currently working towards their teaching degrees and all working as Aboriginal teaching assistants in Northern Territory (NT) classrooms, share their perceptions regarding barriers to inclusion for students in their schools and communities. The reflections were drawn from their university assignments in a unit on inclusive education, which focused on teaching all students including those with additional needs. Pre-service teachers were asked to name barriers to learning for their school-aged students and make suggestions about changes that would help students in/from their communities engage more successfully with school. This paper is intended to privilege the voices of this cohort of pre-service teachers who have significant insight into their schools, given many of them are working in the schools that they themselves attended as students. Using their assignments in the inclusive education unit as a basis for understanding their experiences with exclusion, identified barriers are examined along with their proposed solutions. This work calls for greater cultural inclusion of local languages and traditions. Inclusive and equitable education requires partnership with families and community members so that the education delivered, truly caters for students’ diverse learning needs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-89
Number of pages12
JournalLearning Communities: International Journal of Learning in Social contexts
Issue number25
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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