Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Paradigm Shift pt.1 - Motivations

In the discussion on how we support Aboriginal students, our first Paradigm Shift is in how we understand their motivations to study.

When we understand that one of the most significant motivators to return to Year 11 & 12 is closely tied to the contribution they wish to make to their Community, our whole teaching design and language of success changes!

I find it interesting when our Indigenous students struggle at school but apologize for bad behaviour always say they want to carry on at school to 'make a difference' in their community!

It is this motivation which appears to be greater for Indigenous students than that of non-Indigenous students.

No matter what we may think would be a successful outcome for a kid, when we celebrate their achievements as they work closer to their motivations to study we begin to see a difference for the way students are supported!

What motivations have you noticed in your students? I hope to continue this discussion in future posts!

Monday, 11 July 2011

A Paradigm Shift

In our school we haved a strong number of students completing younger years (Years 8-10) thanks to a great team and a strong Accelerated Literacy program.
But, until recently, despite these strengths we continued to see high levels of student non-completions and low retention rates in Years 11 & 12.  We were facing:
  • Significantly low retention rates
  • Low attendance
  • Low numbers of students graduating and
  • Extremely low numbers of students transitioning into meaningful work post Year 12
Before 2009 the number of Indigenous students leaving Year 9 and graduating from Year 12 was 2.2% of the class.We had to consider the possibility that the barriers to successful outcomes for Indigenous Students were embedded in our model of education for Years 11 & 12, given that these issues were specific to the Senior years and not Middle school classes for Aboriginal students (our ‘L’ Classes). More to the point, we had to consider if the barrier lay with us, the educators.
Over the coming posts I will examine the aspects of change necessary to not just accommodate Indigenous students in the class, but to transform their experience in Senior School so that they experience the benefits of schooling for their real lives!