Rural teachers in WA lead the way with new teaching methods
The Goomalling Primary School, on the Western Australia wheatbelt, celebrated 100 years of education in 2006. The school has 77 children from pre-primary to Grade 7 and its mission is to give 'every child every chance to shine'.
In recent years, Goomalling Primary has been on a self improvement journey and the next goal was to improve teaching and learning outcomes across all subjects. To do this, the school introduced a new program called the Explicit Teaching Program. Research showed that this program has best-practice assessment strategies in literacy and numeracy, as well as evidence-based practices to improve student learning outcomes.
Professional development for teachers to benefit children too
With a $5,484 grant from the Rural Education Australia Program (REAPing Rewards), specifically donated by The Yulgilbar Foundation, the school provided professional development for teachers and education assistants to deliver this new and improved way of learning.
The key aims of the program for Goomalling Primary are to:
- Improve teaching methods;
- Produce better academic outcomes for students; and
- Increase staff retention.
The Explicit Teaching practices are a dramatic shift in the way primary school children are taught, so it was critical that the teaching staff were well trained and felt supported in this new approach.
A key element to delivering this program is regular assessment and testing and providing constructive and explicit feedback to the students. The Goomalling Primary School is seeing strong results from students, and staff are gaining new skills and confidence in their teaching methods.
Investing in rural teachers
While most projects FRRR fund are about direct investment in resources or programs for students, we also recognise that it’s critical for teachers living and working in rural Australia to access the latest teaching methods and thinking.
This may be a small school, but the local community has high expectations. To ensure its long history continues, the school must continually evolve and support the professional development of its teachers.