Shaun Hart and Jo-Anne Kelly were part of the team promoting a positive atmosphere for Aboriginal learning through TAFE.
Shaun Hart and Jo-Anne Kelly were part of the team promoting a positive atmosphere for Aboriginal learning through TAFE.

Kooris taking on TAFE



INNOVATION and flexibility are the keys to success in Aboriginal education, according to TAFE'S Aboriginal Development manager, Ms Jo-Anne Kelly.

Ms Kelly was one of the guest speakers at the Coffs Harbour Education Campus yesterday for an Aboriginal Cultural Expo, the theme of which was 'Pathways to Careers ? Finding Your Feet in Education'.

She was joined on the podium by St George football star, Nathan Blacklock (see story page 32), Senator Aden Ridgeway, and ex-CHEC student Fiona Webb.

All of them spoke about the importance of motivation and focus to get where you want to go.

Senator Ridgeway said he'd learnt in the 'schoolyard of life', not having been a very focused student when he was at school.

He told the audience of young and older Aboriginal students the future was about 'making sure we can have dreams, being Aboriginal and being proud'.

"We can walk and chew gum at the same time," Senator Ridgeway said.

Nathan Blacklock told an admiring audience: 'Never let your fears get in the way of your dreams'.

TAFE has been working on engaging Aboriginal students for a number of years now.

"We have a trend happening where we are getting large numbers of 15-19 year olds coming to TAFE instead of school," Ms Kelly said.

"Teaching styles is one area we are focusing on to engage Aboriginal students.

"We are running one-day courses for teachers and administrative staff to alert them to the need for cultural sensitivity."

TAFE has also been developing courses, specifically catering to Aboriginal needs, in conjunction with communities.

"Our Aboriginal arts and cultural practice courses link in with communities and help support cultural revival," she said.

Other courses include:

'Indigenous Land Management', which looks at the regeneration of native plants, identification of sacred sites and bushtucker.

'Managing our Mob', which works with Aboriginal community organisations, assisting with the roles and responsibilities of directors and board members.

"We try to be as innovative as possible because things change every day and what works in one community doesn't work in another."



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