Preaching positivity

University of Notre Dame Australia Professional Development Award winner Glenda Cain.
University of Notre Dame Australia Professional Development Award winner Glenda Cain.

Glenda Cain’s thesis shows pre-service teachers how to better their understanding of indigenous education while developing their own skills in areas like literacy.

Her research has won her praise, including as the recipient of the University of Notre Dame Australia Professional Development Award, as well as being able to set up programs with Clontarf Aboriginal College and a recreational reading program with the Department for Child Protection.

Dr Cain said she became interested in the topic after teaching in classrooms with indigenous students.

‘I became involved through my role at Notre Dame as the literacy coordinator in the School of Education with Clontarf Aboriginal College and the opportunity of seeing pre-service teachers working alongside the Aboriginal students inspired me to research the impact of this service-learning experience,’ she said.

‘It is essential that pre-service teachers engage with indigenous students so that they can be effective teachers and cater to the needs of all students because many pre-service teachers have had no contact with indigenous students and do not understand, or appreciate, the impact of past practices on indigenous people.

‘Positive, respectful relationships are at the heart of effective teaching for all students, but my research shows many pre-service teachers have misconceptions of indigenous students, and there can be a positive change in these perceptions through a service-learning experience.’