Embedding WCE Activites within the School Community

WCE staff working in Yirrkala have built a strong partnership with the Yirrkala School and the Yirrkala Homelands School. This led to the formulation of a SLA between the WCE team and Yambirrpa Schools Council. The professional development and mentoring of Yolnu teachers as well as letting them leading the activities were seen as crucial for the initiative.

Yolnu teachers leading WCE activities

Four very dedicated Yolngu teachers from Yirrkala School started to embed WCE activities under the service agreement into the weekly school roster. It showed how important the WCE activities were to the community, even though there were difficulties in the process of moving teacher and class schedules around.

The Yirrkala School agreed to release Yalmay Yunupingu, a degree qualified Yolŋu teacher and Senior Linguist, to coordinate the WCE activities in Yirrkala for two days a week. This was supported by the NT Department of Education and was consistent with the WCE specific signed Memorandum of Understanding between CDU and NT DoE.

Yalmay Yunupingu working the her fellow teachers to implement WCE activities within the school schedule<br> Yalmay Yunupingu working the her fellow teachers to implement WCE activities within the school schedule

Embedding WCE Activites within the School Community

Embedding WCE Activites within the School Community

Professional development of Yolnu teachers

The service agreement enabled Banbapuy Whitehead, a degree qualified Yolŋu teacher to support the Yolŋu team teachers in their study as well as observe them in the classroom and provide mentoring to
build practical and technical skills in line with the bilingual program. The funds from the service agreement allowed Banbapuy to dedicate one day per week to professional and academic support for eight team
teachers working in the school and two staff members from the Famillies as First Teachers (FAFT) program as well.

Having a Yolŋu teacher work with the Yolŋu team teachers is a powerful model that strengthens each mentoring and tutoring session. This supports adds value to the tutoring sessions conducted by BIITE.
The Yolŋu teacher also observes the team teachers in the classroom and critiques them so she can then provide them with feedback and skill development.

Having Banbapuy dedicated each Tuesday to support and mentor the Yolŋu teachers represents a strong model for Yolŋu Team teachers – Yolŋu to Yolŋu. There is an urgent need for Yolŋu degree qualified
teachers in the school to maintain and promote the bilingual program inclusive of the workforce and professional development.

Other activities to help Yolnu Teachers

Other activities important to the community that were fully or partly funded by WCE service level agreement included:

  • five Yolŋu Homelands School teachers currently studying the Advanced Diploma course through BIITE undertook a research project on wellbeing as part of their studies
  • employment of Yolŋu people who are interested in teaching. There have been two young paddlers employed at the Yirrkala Homeland School and three young paddlers at the Yirrkala School
  • research projects for five homeland teachers working with the Yirrkala Homeland School studying towards their Advanced Diploma qualification. The stories are about their educational journey. These research projects were arranged to collect information for the WCE initiative to build knowledge about the educational journeys of  homeland teachers and understand the enablers and barriers for homeland teachers.

Yolnu teachers during professional development activities<br> Yolnu teachers during professional development activities

Embedding WCE Activites within the School Community

Embedding WCE Activites within the School Community

Space allocated by the Yirrkala School to WCE to conduct their activities<br> Space allocated by the Yirrkala School to WCE to conduct their activities

29 November 2017

Team Member Reflection: Terry Moore

Team Member Reflection: Terry Moore

​I joined the team in April 2016, just in time for the team meeting at Tennant Creek, where it was realised that the team needed someone to analyse the data that was being generated across the different communities.

Charles Darwin UniversityAustralian Centre for Indigenous Knowledges & EducationBatchelor InstituteNAILSMANTG

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