Staff at Singleton Heights Public School completed a three-hour training session in the 8 Ways pedagogy as part of their whole-school staff development. This was identified as being a key part of the 2015–2017 school plan, under the student welfare strategic direction.
Staff were surveyed regarding their past experience with 8 Ways, with results showing that 84% of staff had no prior training in 8 Ways pedagogy and 15% were currently using it in some form in their classroom.
At the beginning of the session, staff participated in an excellent activity that required them to ‘step forward’ when asked specific socio-economic and lifestyle questions. Questions included topics such as parental education levels, nutritional standards and participation in extra-curricular activities. This activity proved to be a great conversation starter for staff as it was a powerful visual representation of the gaps that can be found between students and what they bring to school life.
The training also included introducing staff to the elements of 8 Ways, recognising links to the Quality Teaching Framework, sharing statistics regarding educational and socio-economic gaps for Indigenous students, and programming with the 8 Ways pedagogy.
Following the three hours of intense training, 100% of participants felt more confident in utilising 8 Ways, with 82% of participants saying that they felt they now have a thorough understanding of how to include 8 Ways in their teaching programs. The survey also identified that staff expressed a desire for a continued focus on strengthening school and community links, in order to assist students in achieving their educational outcomes.
As a testament to the success of this training, staff nominated the presenters Lisa and Kathryn for an Excellence in Aboriginal Education award at the annual Singleton Learning Community Education Week Awards. Lisa and Kathryn were proud to accept this award, whilst acknowledging the comprehensive training and support they have received from the local AECG and the Singleton Learning Community.