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Sharing insights at Blackburn ELS

How Teachers Can Best Utilise Multicultural Education Aides



29 Jan 2009



Approximately 40 teachers and support staff gathered at the Blackburn English Language School to discuss how they could best utilise the Multicultural Education Aides (MEAs) employed at the Blackburn English language School.

Blackburn English Language School


Presented by:

All Graduates


Who attended:

Approximately 40 teachers and support staff from Blackburn English Language School


Outcomes aimed for:

Some of the points teachers hoped to gain from the session:

      Strategies to better utilise MEAs time
      Increasing student independence
      Better understanding of roles and boundaries
      Gaining an understanding of what MEAs find challenging
      Planning for better collaboration with MEAs
      Understanding  the training needs of MEAs?
      Develop strategies to encourage student independence and decrease student reliance on MEAs


Some of the points covered during the session include:

·         Roles of MEAs
·         Roles of Interpreters
·         Roles and boundaries. What is included in the job description of an MEA at BELS?
·         Social and Cultural Issues when working with MEAs
·         Who are the MEAs at this school?


Questions raised included:

If MEAs are our colleagues, why is the title for today’s inservice: “How teachers can best “utilise” an MEA”  rather than “How teachers can best work with an MEA”.
Few if any MEAs have been educated in the Victorian Education System or indeed any other Australian Education System. How does this affect their understanding of the roles of their colleagues, the school, etc?
How do MEA’s educational experiences overseas influence their expectations of the Victorian Education System and its fundamental teaching philosophies?  Does this impede/assist them in their roles?
Are our expectations of MEAs realistic?


Suggestions were made as to how teachers could improve their working relations with MEAs including:
Joint planning time with the teacher and MEA.  This would allow a team approach, where appropriate. 

Both parties are then involved in the educational process and this allows both to contribute positively using their skills towards achieving the best possible learning outcomes for pupils and the school community.
Getting to know the MEAs, their personal educational backgrounds will assist working relations and help teachers identify the MEAs skills, strengths, and areas of expertise. 

It will also assist the MEA in identifying areas requiring further training and assist in their ongoing professional development.




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