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  What Works - The Work Program

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Indigenous workers in the school

It's great to have them, but Indigenous education is everybody's business.

It makes a lot of sense to have Indigenous workers in the school. Their presence can take many forms — teachers, tutors, other education workers, support staff, mentors, speakers, performers. In itself it shows students that education is not the province of one group or another. And Indigenous adults can operate as role models, and important sources of information and advice.

But you do need to think about how Indigenous workers can be most effective, and the personal and professional support they may require. Please do not assume that their role is confined to student welfare, getting kids to school and so on. Their confidence and effectiveness can be increased dramatically by providing them with professional development related to the actual nature of their work — good for the school, good for them and very good for your students.

An important issue in some locations, though, is the stress felt by some Indigenous workers arising from the presumption that they, personally, will take on the whole weight of looking after a school's Indigenous students, keeping up community contact and, in some cases, responsibility for much larger issues of interracial relations. And that is neither reasonable nor fair. These matters are everybody's responsibility..



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