Poster Presentation Lowitja Institute International Indigenous Health and Wellbeing Conference 2016

The interaction of Arrernte and western systems of education (#203)

Theresa P Alice 1
  1. Urremerne homeland, Amoonguna, NT, Australia

My name is Theresa Penangke Alice and I am an Arrernte descendant from Amoonguna community, east of Alice Springs in central Australia. My education started at Ltyentye Apurte community school in Santa Teresa in the 1970s, which is located south-east of Alice Springs. For my further education I was sent away to the girls' boarding school in Ballarat, Victoria. There I finished year 11 and decided to come home for family and cultural reasons. I began to study education in 1982 and received Diploma of teaching in 1984, with the qualification that I received, I then went back home to teach in the community school in Santa Teresa, teaching the Arrernte children in the classroom. In 1988 I then furthered by qualifications and applied to study for my Batchelor of Education, and received my Degree in Education from Batchelor College and Deakin University in 1989. Then in 2012 I applied to become a Master of Education student at Charles Darwin University. I just finished my Masters by Research in 2016.

I have been in the classrooms since 1982 until 2010. The central knowledge of my learning and teaching would be in both English and Arrernte education. I learnt about the two systems of education as I went through them realising the two different meanings and concepts for teaching and learning. The Western way of teaching is taught in the classrooms, face to face with teacher in the front, one teacher to about 30 students. The Western way of teaching is for the purpose of learning to go into the work field, learning to read time, learning to be in the same place and do the same thing every day.

The Arrernte education is taught from the cultural curriculum, by the Elders, who have for years passed on this curriculum from generation to generation and have handed it down to this generation. In this presentation I am going to talk about the interaction of both of these systems of education.