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Knowledge making by pre-service teachers on a professional placement experience in a remote Australian indigenous community
conference contributionposted on 2013-01-01, 00:00 authored by Glenn AuldGlenn Auld, Claire CharlesClaire Charles, Julie Dyer, Gary LevyGary Levy, Alan Marshall
This paper reports on the preliminary investigations of an emerging program of research in which the authors are engaged. The program aims to generate new understandings for effective teacher education drawing on data from non-Indigenous pre-service teachers who undertook a teaching placement in remote Indigenous schools in Australia. The overall goals of this research gather around the notion of ‘building belonging’. The initial stage of this project sought to enable pre-service teachers to increase their awareness of the places and institutional practices operating within and between remote Indigenous communities and themselves. The twelve participants were interviewed while on three-week placements around Katherine and in Maningrida in the Northern Territory, Australia, during 2012. The paper elaborates various ways in which the remote placement experience began to challenge, positively disrupt, question and even (re) shape their professional learning and identities. Existing literature reporting on the experiences of largely white, middle class pre-service teachers in unfamiliar cultural contexts draws attention to themes of disruption, and the potential for meaningful and transformative professional learning experiences in such contexts (eg Gannon, 2010; Marble, 2012; Phillips, 2011; Ryan & Healy, 2009). Drawing on some of these insights from the literature, our preliminary reading of the data reveal the variety of ways and differing extents to which participants experienced disruptive, or potentially transformative professional learning moments during the placement. We conclude the paper by pointing towards some key areas for further investigation, in order to progress our research program around building belonging between pre-service teachers and remote Indigenous communities.