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Category: Interviews »

Subject: Education »

Nuangwang Boonyanate describes the diversity of Victoria and its education system responses

Nuangwang Boonyanate and Mara Moustafine.



Date Added:

07 April 2009


source not available


mov (Quicktime);

File size:

10.3 MB






I started my teaching in a school in the western suburbs, Flemington high school then and again, I wasn’t aware of these until I was told quite a number of times by my students to say, “Oh at lunchtime or recess meet me – Miss we play ‘Spot the Skip’ in the playground.” And then Flemington, you know that majority of the students probably are from non-Anglo background. But then a school in the neighbouring area or the suburb next to Flemington that’s not the case. So you – that’s only spots only that the diversity is very visible.


When I got the job at Flemington, many of my friends were saying, “You didn’t accept the job did you?” Not sure what they meant by that, but then later on realised that if you can teach at Flemington Secondary, you can teach anywhere, it’s very difficult, it’s also challenging and rewarding. I had a number of classes but the ones that really challenged me and perhaps made me want to apply for the job and stay were classes, Year 11, 12, with newly arrived students, mainly from Cambodia, Laos, some Malaysian students who worked against all kinds of odds, but now the story is more familiar now and similar to many of the students who are now, from say the Horn of Africa.


The majority have interrupted schooling, very low literacy in first language to begin with. Many are independent of parents or carers so it’s all very much by themselves. And the school ethos is seeing the student population try to address it – the way that they see us as, appropriate or effective at the time by having huge number of English as second language teachers and classrooms. They have really progressive – what program call, language across the curriculum where teacher in different subject area mathematics, maths and science approach their subject content and the way they teach inclusively, they take into account of the student needs and background but at the same time it’s still very much now that I look back, one-sided in terms of here we are, the end of the year exams, are Year 12, it’s still very much – I think at the time was HSC where 90% if not 100% is on the – in the end of year examination so teachers are very much pressured in terms – how do we make these students do what the mainstream students can do? And so therefore, the ethos is – we recognise what they need but the way we teach has to be this.


So that different learning styles though sometimes acknowledged, not apply the needs in terms of the students personal needs, sometimes learning needs, may not be able to take into consideration.


End transcript