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A shift in pedagogy at Orange Public School

Orange Public School (OPS) explored Aboriginal pedagogies as its Make It Count project and found ways to engage meaningfully with the Aboriginal community and constructed an effective approach to teaching and learning. The focus was to be on teacher engagement as well as student engagement.

The pedagogy devised by OPS is responsive to the context, learning needs and learning styles of the school’s Aboriginal students. It was formulated through:

  1. careful listening to Aboriginal parents and community leaders
  2. intersection with the research and challenging questions of Dr Tyson Yunkaporta
  3. staff collaboration and creativity and
  4. readiness to refine the original model through critique and constant modification.

The new pedagogy, known as “Yuranha Winhanganha” (meaning “Growing Knowledge”), is both a result of, and a vehicle for, enhanced community engagement. Its effectiveness has been due to a paradigm shift in teachers’ thinking and willingness from staff across the experience spectrum to adapt their practice.

There has been an increase in the number of students officially identifying as Aboriginal since the beginning of the project. This indicates a significant shift in school values and attitudes towards culture and community, a key factor for success in Aboriginal student engagement.

The table below reveals Year 5 NAPLAN data for the school's Aboriginal students. The schools believes that the results reflect their new ways of teaching mathematics.


In the video below, teachers describe how they use the 8ways and the impact it has had in their thinking, in the classroom, school and community.