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Teacher-student connection

Karen Petherick
St Brigid’s School
Nerang Cluster


Finding 4.1: Connections 
Recognise that learning happens most effectively when relationships between learners and teachers are positive, and when connections between family and school are mutually supportive.


Cluster Question

How can teachers improve mathematics outcomes for Indigenous learners?


Peter, a Year 7 Aboriginal boy, was a quiet member of the class. His literacy skills were still developing so any mathematics that relied on the written word was difficult for him to access effectively. He never volunteered answers or questions in the whole class setting and was reluctant to discuss his work one on one.

What happened?

The school undertook training in cultural awareness to assist staff to make better connections with the Indigenous children in the school. Early sessions were fairly general and were intended to develop in the staff an understanding that Aboriginal children in urban schools do have cultural connections
and backgrounds that need to be considered if schools are to effectively meet their learning needs. As the project progressed there was more and more focus on creating effective relationships with children in the classroom so that the children felt secure enough to take risks and to show what they know and can do.

Parallel to the cultural effectiveness training undertaken by the teachers was access to mathematics professional learning. This included input sessions and a process of action learning. Teachers selected one aspect of their mathematics teaching to focus on, then progressively made changes in their teaching to make it more effective in that area.


The cultural effectiveness training made me consider Peter’s classroom behaviour through the lens of his cultural background...

Teacher-student connection

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