Led by Kenmore Park Anangu School, a group of 10 remote schools in South Australia are improving how students are engaging with culture and learning. Prior to this, high staff turnover and a Western-oriented curriculum made it hard to form genuine partnerships with the local community, and their students were becoming disengaged.
Together, with support from Schools Plus and SciDev, the schools are working together on an innovative Two-Way Science approach, purpose-built for remote Aboriginal schools. The program links the cultural knowledge of the local Indigenous community with Western science and the Australian curriculum to build cultural identity, teach science, reinforce literacy and numeracy and introduce technology.
Working with the co-author of the Two-way science approach, teachers are improving their cultural competency and learning to deliver the program in partnership with Anangu community members, Educators and Rangers.
Topics include weather, bushfoods, animal tracking, birdlife, and astronomy. At Yalata Anangu School, early years learnt about the watu (wombat); their habitat, tracks, and droppings, and used motion-sensor cameras to observe them in the wild.
All schools have reported an increase in community engagement, and thanks to their increased voice and influence, the Anangu community say they feel more empowered. Students are showing a stronger sense of cultural pride and are expanding their home language vocabulary.
The program is now in it’s third year. Multi-year support from Schools Plus has been fundamental to the growth and success of the program.