Participants' Stories six
Rebecca - Undergraduate Student - Indigenous student
"The Koori Centre is a service which I cannot go without. This is a place where I can be with my people and feel safe, and not miss my family so much, as I am with other Aboriginal students. Indigenous students can join Klub Koori, for social and peer support."
Robert - Mature Age Student - Student on a low Income
I can structure my day so I have lunch at home and then go to uni in the afternoon.
Sally - Lecturer - Teacher of Indigenous students
One major factor which affects the learning of some Indigenous students is their domestic lives. Many students have very wide family and community networks and responsibilities, so are probably more often affected by their domestic situations than other students. Students' learning is likely to be affected by absences caused by family tragedies and the need to attend funerals; moving house; illness, or caring responsibilities. As a teacher we have to be aware of the students' personal lives and be reasonably accommodating with extensions etc. Also be willing to listen to students' issues outside of teaching; be a sounding board but not a saviour. Advice for teachers of Indigenous students is available at the Koori Centre.
Sandra - Teaching Staff - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
It was sort of like having a bi-lingual class as most of the class could speak English. I gave her the examples in English and would suggest we do the same thing in her native language, and together try to translate the meaning. Her English command wasn't complete so I took time out to explain things.
Sergei - Undergraduate Student - Non-English speaking background
"I wanted to immerse myself in Australian culture because I lacked general knowledge about Australia. This isn't always formal process. It is as simple as watching the footy or cricket with some mates, renting out a Monty Python DVD or reading old newspapers. I came across interesting news from twenty years ago that my parents hadn't mentioned. "
Seth - Undergraduate Student - Student with a Disability
In lectures I give myself 'breaks' if I feel I'm not taking in the information properly and copy a friend's notes if I've missed out on some important information.
Silvana - Post-Graduate Student - Student on a low Income
I am studying with a number of mature age postgraduate students on low incomes. This provides a greater sense of community. Having a common room with a microwave offers people a place to meet and chat. The Postgraduate Association is invaluable in fostering a sense of community.
Susanna - Undergraduate Student - Student on a low Income
Most of my units had photocopied readers costing around $13 so I was really fortunate. The Union has some fantastic facilities and I found some workplaces include study leave or have available creches. Don't forget there are some scholarships available for low income workers and there is a women's postgraduate scholarship group.
Taylor - Teaching Staff - Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
So for example I see a real benefit in across-the-board mentoring programs that everyone is welcome to join. Of course these might complement mentoring programs for particular groups of students, but these students should also be warmly encouraged to join the larger programs. I think it's really important that every student have the opportunity to be part of the whole community.
Wesley - Lecturer - Teacher of Indigenous students
"Indigenous students may have a slightly unusual education background, they are likely to be mature age students, which also affects their confidence and sense of belonging in the university. Maybe they've come in via the Cadigal program. Or students may feel out of place because they may be the first member of their family to attend university so do not have people around them at home who understand how a university works.
As teachers we should be aware of the inclusiveness of the curriculum: try not to normalize/universalize Anglo-Australian culture and values. We need to value different perspectives, but not single out Indigenous students, or expect them to be representatives of all Aboriginal people when discussions turn to Indigenous topics."