We have had a great response to the release last year of the Introduction to Stronger Smarter online module. Feedback has been very positive and people are reporting that they are able to take ideas from the module straight into the classroom.
Cavelle Monck started a new job this year as a Deputy Principal and Music Specialist in a school with a high Aboriginal population. She wanted to be sure she had the skills to develop solid relationships with the students and the wider community. Cavelle reported:
I have already used a lot of the strategies and understandings I worked through in the module to assist me in my role. The key for me was telling my students that I had high expectations of their learning and that I was prepared to give them the scaffolding and the resources to help them achieve. This has started some fascinating conversations with the students and it has been so exciting to see them thinking about themselves differently.
The other key understanding was letting my Aboriginal students “find their way” in my classroom and observe the way they interacted with others. In the past I would have thought they were avoiding work but in actual fact it is a far more complex set of behaviours that actually enhance their learning. By letting them set the pace, wander around and help others, I have found my students are settling to work more quickly and without any fuss.
I am just loving working with my students and their families and I know this a direct result of beginning with the Stronger Smarter online module.
The module is proving popular with pre-service students as well. Kim Bury is studying for her Bachelor of Education at Griffith University, and undertook the online module to further define and redefine her attitudes, beliefs and level of commitment to Indigenous and at-risk students. Kim says:
Undertaking the online module has opened my eyes to the complexities, difficulties, and assumptions Indigenous and low-socio economic children experience in the school environment. The module has made me aware of my own prejudices, biases, and cultural expectations and I have been able to reflect on my pracs and classroom work and think about how I can adopt the meta-strategies into my prac teaching and beyond.
By having the next wave of teachers using the meta-strategies and language of Stronger Smarter, we can begin to collectively work towards having stronger and smarter kids in our schools. The flow-on effect can potentially be enormous and I look forward to my ‘Stronger, Smarter’ classroom.
Stronger Smarter Leadership Program participants are engaging with the module to revisit and reflect on the Stronger Smarter philosophy and ideas. John Bray, the Director of the West Arnhem College in the Northern Territory wrote:
This is a good reflection tool as it not only challenges me in my learning journey but also enables me to look at others to enable a greater understanding, hence creating the “how we work together” aspect to organisational culture.