Cultural focus a learning experience

ON the same day Prime Minister Tony Abbott labelled the failure to properly educate Aboriginal children a form of neglect, teachers at Canobolas Rural Technology High School were working with Aboriginal students to improve literacy and numeracy, and enhance their learning experience.

A quarter of the school’s students are Aboriginal and principal Chad Bliss said the recently-completed Aboriginal Education Consultative Group principal’s report outlined key areas where staff could focus on Aboriginal students.

“We have implemented programs to improve literacy and numeracy, target educational strategies to individual needs and increase parent participation in school activities,” he said.

Yesterday Mr Abbott said the federal government was committed to closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous school attendance within five years, citing the high school years as the time  when Aboriginal students become less engaged with their learning environment.


Mr Bliss said programs for Aboriginal students at Canobolas were culturally sensitive and encouraged students to remain in school.

Aboriginal Education head teacher Tim Bennett says the didge class for students from years 7 to 10, where they make didgeridoos and boomerangs,  isstructured to include literacy and numeracy tasks.

“They have to research their heritage and implement their literacy and numeracy studies as they measure and make their didgeridoo, for example,” he said.

Other programs include one-to-one reading sessions, Aboriginal language classes and an Aboriginal garden.

Mr Bliss said there was also an emphasis on providing opportunities for after school, such as traineeships, cadetships and university camps.

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