An Evidence Base of Practices

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The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) is a federation of associations of teachers of mathematics from all Australian States and Territories. It also conducts and supports a variety of projects and activities, like the Make it Count: Numeracy, Mathematics and Indigenous Learners project. The four-year Make it Count project is developing an evidence base of practices to improve Indigenous students’ learning in mathematics and numeracy. It is: documenting and sharing effective models of teacher professional development, whole school change and community engagement in relation to mathematics and numeracy; developing whole school approaches to mathematics and numeracy that result in markedly improved achievement by Indigenous students; building and participating in networks and professional learning communities; a catalyst and support for action by others and is influencing others on mathematics and numeracy learning of Indigenous students; and running until the end of 2012. Make it Count is building learning communities: within schools; within Clusters, and across Clusters; between practitioners and researchers; between Indigenous communities, schools and academics; at a national level (Network NING), includes analysis of NAPLAN data, attitudinal surveys, teacher/school/Cluster generated data, student work samples; Critical friend/s (academic with expertise in mathematics or Indigenous education) working closely with Clusters in …

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Indigenous Safe Sleeping

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Our report entitled, Indigenous Safe Sleeping, is prepared for SIDS and Kids Queensland. It ascertains safe sleeping practices and knowledge in three different Indigenous communities in Queensland: (urban) Logan, (rural) Cherbourg and (remote) Ngurupai. The report is presented in seven sections. Section 1 introduces the report. It presents information on sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), which shows that the 2009-2010 rates of SUDI were higher than any other reporting period, and that Indigenous infants died suddenly and unexpectedly at 6.8 times the rate of non-Indigenous infants. It also introduces the main tasks of the project, which are: to establish the current knowledge of safe sleeping practices and risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS); to ascertain the appropriateness of the current safe sleeping resources for families and health communities; and to make recommendations for safe sleeping strategies and services to close the gap on current knowledge, resources and access. Section 2 presents a background to understanding the project. It presents information on infant safe care, and the complex set of factors that can increase the risk of SIDS. It introduces Queensland Health’s six minimum standards and the SIDS and Kids Queensland safe sleeping message. It concludes with an overview …

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Influential Work on Race Matters

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In what is an influential work on race matters, van Dijk (1987, pp. 7-11) conducted a series of interviews in Amsterdam and California in which he examined ‘the everyday reproduction of racism within the White majority group’. Van Dijk (1987, pp. 7-11) was interested in ‘how White people think and talk about ethnic minority groups, and how they persuasively communicate their ethnic attitudes to other members of their own group’. Data for the research were gathered from ‘white’ people, whose prejudices were viewed as ‘representative of white raced discourse’ and white ethnic prejudice in general.  Van Dijk (1997) made a number of findings. For instance, he found that, [e]ach time in-group members are confronted with (information about) new, salient out-groups, they need not figure out again what properties of such a group are relevant and about which characteristics opinions should be formed. They have acquired an abstract group evaluation schema, which only needs to be specified with new data for a new group. With a minimum of information, group members are thus able to form relevant and effective belief and opinion systems about the out-group (van Dijk, 1987, p. 203). So, ethnic prejudice was not ‘purely personal or individual’, but …

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Image from, 2014
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Indigenous Tuition Assistance Scheme

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​A key federal funding program to help undergraduate indigenous students with their studies has been disbanded without consultation or notice. The 20-year-old Indigenous Tuition Assistance Scheme will be rolled into the broader Indigenous Advancement Strategy — Children and Schooling with all funding allocations turned into competitive grants. Universities have not yet formally been told of the impending change. A meeting of the Innovative Research Universities Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Network was told of the changes to the scheme on Monday. “I’m aghast at the program being discontinued and the complete absence of consultation,” said Leanne Holt, co-chair the ATSIN. Mrs Holt, Director, The Wollotuka Institute at the University of Newcastle, said universities now had one month to come up with a proposal for which they had no criteria. She said Newcastle, which has one of the largest number of indigenous students enrolled, last year received nearly $1 million under ITAS which was used to provide one-on-one tutoring for undergraduate students. Funding under ITAS was allocated according to the number of indigenous students enrolled.    Read the full story here:  

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Indigenous Literacy Day

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Thought I’d share a home pic of a couple of great readers in recognition of Indigenous Literacy Day. Indigenous Literacy Day was launched in 2012 by the Indigenous Literacy Foundation (ILF) at St Peter Claver College, Queensland, where we were conducting evaluation research on behalf of the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers’ Inc in the Make It Count project. We were lucky to attend the day, along with children’s author Andy Griffiths, who helped launch celebrations at the College, together with Children’s Laureates Alison Lester and Boori Monty Pryor, who joined guests, students, parents and community Elders for the breakfast ceremony. The Launch began with a Welcome to Country by Purga Elder Aunty Sheryl Thompson and a performance by the college Aboriginal Students Dance Troupe. It was a great morning, and a great feeling to be part of a movement to improve literacy levels for Indigenous kids in remote and isolated regions, like Boigu Island in the Torres Strait, the northernmost point of Australia, which is where the home picture below was taken. You can #getcaughtreading too: …@MickOLoughlin  P.S. Lion King II; what a great read!

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Women’s Health Week

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“If a woman is in good health, her family, community and the society around her also benefit.”Dr Jean Hailes The health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women is affected by a complex range of socioeconomic and environmental factors. Indigenous women are more likely than non-Indigenous women to be unemployed, to have carer responsibilities for children other than their own, to receive welfare payments and to have finished school at an earlier age (Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, 2004). Indigenous women are also more likely to be a victim of violence and to live in communities where violence is prevalent. Nevertheless, four in ten Indigenous women reported their health as excellent or very good in 2004-05. Holistic health approaches, including those that encompass spirituality and connections to family, community and country, and the sharing of Indigenous women’s knowledge, skills and networks have been identified as important components in addressing the health disadvantages experienced by many Indigenous women (Thomson, 2006). Information for this article is drawn from a range of ABS data sources including the 2004-05 National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Survey (NATSIHS), the 2004-05 National Health Survey (NHS), the 2002 National Aboriginal and …

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