About the presentation
Many students living in remote areas of Australia fail to complete their studies due to a combination of multiple factors, such as: high teacher turnover, lack of effective teaching and learning strategies to support students’ attendance and retention, as well as lack of Indigenous aspirations being reflected in the school curriculum. Aiming to deliver practical support for students, school-based mentoring programs may hold the key to providing students with necessary goals and objectives, while also offering students opportunities to strengthen their unique cultural identities. The inclusion of cultural components in mentoring activities is a strategy that can be applied to help students develop self-esteem and confidence to realise their potential. These elements can impact positively on students’ motivation to learn and encourage them to develop greater expectations for their future. Although cultural activities have not been typically incorporated in school mentoring programs, developing students’ identity and culture has been shown to increase positive outcomes for Indigenous students, while giving them ownership of this process. Mentoring in schools can be a complex process, as it requires a lot of planning, working collaboratively with teachers and implementation with real commitment and integrity. This presentation draws on the experiences of community-based mentors engaged through the Whole of Community Engage initiative at Charles Darwin University. It explores how mentors can use their leadership abilities to inspire and build resiliency in youth. By developing strong foundations, where teachers and mentors work collaboratively, education becomes a life-long commitment for all involved. Students feel empowered to aim higher in their studies and ultimately make a difference in their own community by aspiring to become leaders themselves to support future generations.