Department of Education

Aboriginal Education

Aboriginal Education

Classroom support

Classroom support

The roles AIEOs perform in classrooms vary according to the school context, such as the population of Aboriginal students, the amount of time the AIEO has available and the expectations of the school and the community.

The role of the AIEO in the classroom falls into three broad categories:

  • supporting the teaching and learning program
  • communication and cultural advice
  • behaviour and attendance

In each of these capacities, AIEOs provide a significant support to teachers.

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Supporting the teaching and learning program

The ways an AIEO might assist in the classroom include:

  • providing one-to-one support for individual students;
  • providing an Aboriginal perspective to lessons;
  • contributing to lesson planning followed by team teaching;
  • small group work; and
  • reading with students.

There are further strategies in the What Works and Walk Right In (p.66) websites to improve the outcomes of Aboriginal students.

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Communication and cultural advice

  • AIEOs can act as a bridge between the teacher, the students, the parents and the wider community.
  • AIEOs can make a significant contribution to lesson planning, including studies of the local area, Aboriginal Studies and incorporating Aboriginal perspectives across all curriculum areas.
  • AIEOs may be able to help students understand the messages the teacher is trying to give. Depending on the school location, not all the students in the class will be fluent in Standard Australian English – it may be a second or subsequent language to them.
  • AIEOs are usually familiar with the local community and can share their knowledge on issues in the community, family relationships and cultural events.
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Behaviour and attendance

  • Behaviour and attendance issues can best be resolved by the teacher, the student and the parent(s). At times, it may involve the principal or deputy principal. The AIEO may be able to assist in this process. The teacher has ultimate responsibility for behaviour management, and not the AIEO.
  • When students misbehave there are often motivating factors in the background. An AIEO may be able to gather information from the student or the family (such as events at home or in the community) that may assist in explaining why this is happening and help to prepare a plan and find a solution.
  • An AIEO can contribute to improving student attendance by being out in the community talking to parents and encouraging students to come to school.
  • An AIEO may provide background on why a child is not at school. An attendance officer may also be able to provide assistance.
  • A welcoming class will help a student to resettle if he or she has been out of the school for a period of time. Teachers may need to spend a greater amount of time and effort with the student to ease him/her back into the school routine. Teachers should avoid disciplining the student for being late; their attendance can be acknowledged and encouraged. The AIEO can assist in welcoming the student back into the classroom.
Classroom support

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