In the remote township of 150 people, only 15 adults can read and write English.
But the students are now making small but significant gains after the West Australian Government’s Aboriginal literacy strategy, rolled out to 42 remote schools in 2006, made it compulsory for teachers to devote the first two hours of every school day to guided reading, guided writing and word games.
The school’s students have begun borrowing regularly from the library, and all are ready for the new national literacy and numeracy tests this month. “Their progress really has been incredible,” said principal Mitchell Drage, a Pinikura-Thudgara man and one of the few indigenous school principals in Australia.
The story in today’s Australian that I quote above is one that shows that the future for indigenous young Australians has to be predicated on an understanding of both spoken and written English. I for one am very pleased to see that there are strategies that can cut through the bullshit “cultural sensitivities” that saw so many indigenous children attend school in name only. Let’s just hope that such progress leads to even better education outcomes for these and other children living in the remote settlements of this country.
A good news story for once.