The Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities program has seen positive engagement with the schools, teachers and communities in using traditional ecological knowledge and western science to deliver Two-way science programs.

Outcomes

All participating schools are teaching and assessing science.
Indigenous staff and Elders have major roles in the planning and delivery of Two-way science in all schools.

 

Case Study: Wiluna Remote Community School 

Wiluna Remote Community School is a school in the Goldfields region of Western Australia on the edge of the Western Desert. The school identified a need to create a learning program to maximise the unique cultural background of students and their families. The Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities program has been working with the school since 2016 to develop this concept into an integrated Two-way science learning program. In the adult learning program, Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities coordinators facilitate trips on On Country with teachers and Elders to give teachers context of local culture and Martu ecological knowledge. Teachers and Elders work together to connect Martu knowledge to the Western Australian Curriculum and design Two-way science inquiry activities.

In the student learning program, students go On Country with Martu Elders and undertake hands-on cultural and science activities. The program is connected to learning before and afterwards in the classroom. This method of On Country inquiry based learning has seen increased attendance and engagement with students as well as stronger relationships between the community and the school which is crucial to the success of students. The program has fostered sustainable collaborative parnterships with the Wiluna Martu Rangers, local Indigenous organisations and scientists in the area resulting in regular coordinated field trips where rangers and scientists work together to teach students. Using the traditional knowledge model provided by the Science Pathways for Indigenous Communities program, the school also took over the former TAFE site in 2017 and repurposed it as a Training Centre. This facility allows upper secondary students to work with Martu Rangers to facilitate intergenerational transfer of knowledge through Certificate I and II that correspond to On Country oriented employment. This multi-generational training program, has seen an increase in attendance, engagement and achievement in school students who previously were disengaged from schooling. 

This approach has been recognised nationally with Wiluna Remote Community School winning the 2017 Indigenous STEM Awards School Award and the 2018 WA Premier’s Excellence in Aboriginal Education Award.

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