Story Writing in Remote Locations: Building Sustainable and Respectful Partnerships in Remote Educational Settings

By Lawrence Mahon, Marcelle Cacciattolo, Jo An M. Zimmermann, John Martino and Kristy Davidson.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Research indicates that staffing teachers in remote and rural parts of Australia is a steadily increasing issue which impacts on the quality of education offered for remote indigenous settings. Anecdotal evidence, as mentioned in The Collins Review (1999), suggests that teachers in remote central Australian schools stay on average seven months or less. Such a review demonstrates that many teachers in remote areas are ill equipped to deal with the challenges that they face. This in turn impacts upon the quality of schooling offered to indigenous young people which affects both their academic and social success.
Story Writing in Remote Locations (SWIRL) is one program that provides preservice teachers with a range of opportunities to experience and teach in remote indigenous settings. Offered by Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia, the SWIRL program provides preservice teachers, staff, community members and indigenous participants with an alternative approach to dealing with engagement in literacy and ICT learning. Most importantly the SWIRL program offers an opportunity to develop sustainable partnerships that nurture innovative teaching and learning practices from a community connected point of view.

Keywords: Literacy Learning, Teacher Retention, Story Writing, Remote Locations

The International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 6, pp.171-178. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 551.758KB).

Lawrence Mahon

Coordinator, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University, Victoria, Australia

Lawry Mahon is a lecturer in Education at Victoria University, and has specialized in the areas of literacy engagement and enhancement, through the use of emerging technologies. He also has a strong interest in Indigenous issues from a social justice perspective, having coordinated the B.Ed (Nyerna Staudies) program at Victoria University for the past four years. He instigated the Story Writing In Remote Locations program (SWIRL) during a visit to a remote Aboriginal community 11 years ago, and, with colleagues, continues to develop its framework. SWIRL’s success has led to national and international success where the program is now being incorporated into a number of Western Australian and Queensland schools and universities.

Dr. Marcelle Cacciattolo

Coordinator, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr Marcelle Cacciattolo is a sociologist and an experienced lecturer in the School of Education. She teaches ina diverse range of pre-service teacher education courses, conducts a range of research projects and supervises a variety of postgraduate research students. Marcelle’s other major responsibility involves the coordination of the School of Education’s community partnership program. Marcelle’s particular research interests are cross-disciplinary involving health sciences and education-based research. Her research focuses are linked to the following themes- well being, inclusive education, social justice and a desire to address community issues.

Dr. Jo An M. Zimmermann

Lecturer in Recreational Studies, Human Movement, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas, USA

Dr. Jo An M. Zimmermann, CPRP, has a BS in Recreation and Park Administration from Western Illinois University, an MBA from Olivet Nazarene University and a PhD in Parks, Recreation and Tourism Management from Clemson University all in the United States. She was a lecturer at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia from 2003-2007. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Texas State University - San Marcos, Texas USA. Her professional experience includes training and developing training materials as well as recreation program development and management.

Dr. John Martino

Coordinator Diploma of Education, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Victoria University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Dr John Martino has taught and conducted research for 20 years in schools and at university. He currently coordinates the Graduate Diploma in Secondary Education at Victoria University, Melbourne. His current research interests include the use of new forms of social technology in the generation of social capital in disadvantaged communities and groups. With Lawry Mahon he has also investigated the issue of Teacher preparation for work in remote and isolated communities. His broader research program incorporates work on the relationship between new forms of pedagogy and the creation of human capital.

Kristy Davidson

Research Officer, Education, Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Kristy Davidson is a research officer in the School of Education at Victoria University. Her research areas include social justice, social diversity, wellbeing, and communication practices. Kristy is currently completing a PhD in communication focussing on the representation of a minority group in contemporary fiction. She has also worked on a number of research projects related to refugee relocation, community building and the role of ICT for young people.

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