Training culturally conscious teachers at UWS

Date: 14/12/2009

A new initiative will ensure that pre-service teachers from the University of Western Sydney have a strong understanding of the cultures and communities they are likely to work in.

From 2010, students enrolled in the Master of Teaching (Primary) at UWS will take part in a subject titled 'Classrooms Without Borders'.

As part of the subject, students will be required to work predominantly with community agencies or not-for-profit organisations on projects that assist disadvantaged people or minority groups in Greater Western Sydney (GWS).

Dr Tania Ferfolja, from the UWS School of Education and Centre for Educational Research (CER), says effective learning is highly dependent on the development of trust and rapport between a teacher and student.

"Graduates of the UWS Masters program are likely to work in GWS, a culturally diverse region which is home to large numbers of migrants, refugees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people," says Dr Ferjolja.

"It is therefore important that they understand diversity and have the ability to cater for the unique cultural needs of their students."

UWS students will work within Indigenous, migrant and refugee communities on a variety of projects, including tutoring, mentoring or the development of learning resources.

With 400-500 students expected to take part each year, Dr Ferfolja says the program is set to make a significant impact on the local community.

"'Classrooms Without Borders' was developed due to the belief that it is important for education to reach beyond the classroom," says Dr Ferfolja.

"UWS students have the ability to provide a great service to the community. In return, they will benefit through the accrual of knowledge about culture, diversity, social justice and equity - which are all essential to becoming a good teacher."

The School of Education is hosting an information evening on Wednesday 16 December 2009, for community organisations and agencies to learn more about 'Classrooms Without Borders'.

WHAT: 'Classrooms Without Borders' Information Evening
WHEN: 4:30pm, December 16, 2009
WHERE: Building 23, Conference Room 2, UWS Bankstown Campus, Bullecourt Avenue, Milperra.
RSVP: Ms Vanessa Lane or phone 9772 6561

'Classrooms Without Borders' is supported by the School of Education and UWS Engagement.



Media Officer

Danielle Roddick
02 9678 7086, 0414 308 701