The Aboriginal practical experience and its impact on pre-service teachers' decisions about living and working in remote Indigenous communities in Australia
Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia
Faculty of Education and Arts
School of Education / Fogarty Learning Centre
In June 2008, 10 pre-service teachers and 2 teacher educators from Edith Cowan University (ECU) participated in an existing community education program in rural and remote Indigenous communities in central Australia. From an intrepid start with a mountain of overloaded baggage and camping cutlery setting off the scanning machine at the airport, these educational risk takers trekked off into the desert. Our explorers joined 60 pre-service teachers and several teacher educators from the Victoria University (VU) Story Writing in Rural Locations (SWIRL) project. This project has been operating annually for 14 years in communities around Alice Springs, some up to 400 km of dirt track away. This paper reports the powerful effect of a short lived experience on pre-service teachers' attitudes and experience of living and teaching in a remote community. The experience described here represents the beginning of an authentic approach to giving experiences to pre-service teachers which may support them to consider teaching in remote Indigenous communities as part of their teaching career.