"Debates focusing on the achievement gap, where in 2014 only 59% of Indigenous students complete Year 12 or equivalent compared with 85% of their non-Indigenous counterparts, tend to place an emphasis on contextual factors such as the role of poverty or socioeconomic status as an explanation of lower educational achievement.
In the wider public, this can spiral quickly into blaming students and families, or gives schools and teachers permission to find some comfort in the status quo.
Focusing on the opportunity to learn gap removes the emphasis from locating “the problem” in the person (or family or culture), and turns our attention to the accumulated differences in access to key educational resources."
- McKinley, E. (1994), The Conversation, "Stop focusing on 'the problem' in Indigenous education, and start looking at learning opportunities." Retrieved from tinyurl.com/jstlp9kp on 27 February 2017
TeachMeet events in Australia are popular, which a significant number occurring each term across the country. The Central Coast branch, TMCoast, organise two events each year, typically in Term One and Term Three. The next #TMCoast event is being held on Thursday, 16th March 2017 (Week Eight of Term One) in the Aboriginal Resource Room at Henry Kendall High School beginning at 5pm. A networking dinner (#TMEat) will be held afterwards, at Central Coast Leagues Club.
This event will be slightly different to a normal TeachMeet event. In respect to the local Aboriginal community and the Cooinda Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), whose meeting place we are fortunate enough to be able to utilise for this event, we will be entering the room after being welcomed to the site by a member of the local Indigenous community through a smoking ceremony. The evening will then move to the Heritage Listed room, recognised as being of cultural significance by the NSW Department of Education and will include a Welcome to Country and a talk from a local Elder. As part of traditional cultural practices and protocols, rather than a series of short talks, we will be engaging in a yarn; sharing practices that celebrate and highlight Aboriginality in education, culture, that have provided benefit to the learning of Aboriginal students. We welcome anyone to attend who can share their own stories of or those who want to listen and learn and ask questions.
It is an event that I excited to be able to attend as it is an opportunity to engage more authentically with Indigenous culture. If you have ever been curious about Indigenous culture or about Aboriginality in education, then I would encourage you to come along. The image above is a link to the registration page. It is a free event, and will be followed by a meal at Central Coast Leagues Club for those interested.