VCAL Year 11 & 12
Kicking off the new VCAL program at Worawa has been exciting! Students have embraced the Worawa VCAL model of learning. This is based on three important themes: Self, Community and Work. It also encourages self-esteem, confidence and the 4 Worawa Rs: Respect, Responsibility, Relationships and Rigour.
Students’ first major project this term was entitled ‘Finding My Voice.’ We have studied 2 pivotal events in Aboriginal history; the Freedom Riders and Charles Perkins as well as Vincent Lingiari and the Wave Hill ‘walk off.’ This project has culminated in students contacting local government about the renaming of Picanniny Creek in Healesville. Students are learning to find their own voices on issues that matter to them and their home communities. They are learning to consult with Elders and decision-makers in the community.
The term has also been spent organising structured workplace learning for all students based on their career interests and getting them out into workplaces so they understand workplace protocols. There are a number of work experiences and events organised for 2018 to provide this real-life learning to students. To support the transition to independent adult living in the future, next term students are participating in a week of driving lessons with the opportunity to gain their Learner Permit. Throughout 2018 students will also work towards achieving their Certificate II in Business as well as gain a number of useful hospitality skills. They will use these skills to run a microbusiness or microenterprise at school.
Worawa has strong business and community partnerships to support students now and in the future. This term VCAL students have been to Koori Court at Melbourne’s County Court, as well as RMIT, a university based in Melbourne with a global reputation for excellence and a wonderful Aboriginal support unit. Students have worked with Melbourne University to understand more about careers in science and archaeology and at school have begun a Big Sister program aimed at teaching them conflict management and resilience skills so that they can support younger students in the school community.
Every Monday the VCAL girls work with Barkinji Warrior and Jui Jitsu champion, Shantelle Thompson, to learn self-defence and fitness skills. Some students have also had the opportunity to work with the esteemed author Anita Heiss this term to produce a book of writing that will be launched in September. It has been an amazing term with great things to come!
Culture Day Term 1
Each term the College holds a Culture Day which is entirely organised by the student body. It is a day of cultural celebration with bush tucker, dance and song. The girls plan the program and cook and serve the food.
Indigenous Literacy Project – Writing Workshop
A group of very privileged Worawa students spent five days creating their own stories, guided by Dr Anita Heiss and Shelley Ware from the Indigenous Literacy Project. This project works across Australia, particularly with regional and remote communities, to encourage young Indigenous people to share their stories, to read and write. The Project provides books to communities and runs workshops for student writers. The stories and art produced are published in beautiful books which are distributed throughout the country.
Anita Heiss, of the Wiradjuri nation, is an author, poet and presenter. She has written over 20 books, many of which have won major awards. She writes in every style, fiction and non-fiction. Anita is very proud to help teach young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls to write and describe the world we live in and the experiences we have had. Shelley Ware is a presenter on the NITV-SBS football program Marngrook, and a speaker at many important events, especially encouraging opportunities and confidence for young indigenous women. She is also a primary school teacher in Melbourne. Her people are from South Australia and Western Australia.
Over the week, we wrote four or five pieces of writing each and selected personal photos and artworks – BUT not just to keep for ourselves. A book, which we have named Deadly Sisters, will be launched on September 5, at Federation Square, right in the centre of Melbourne. Each of us has four pages in the book, which will have our stories and our pictures. We will each be given 10 copies of the book to keep and share with family and friends, and the school will receive many copies. But that’s not all – copies of our book will go out to communities all over Australia for the children to read and enjoy, and to inspire them to tell their stories too.
We want to keep all our stories as a surprise for you until the book is published, but we can tell you that we wrote about many, many different things – including friendship, the Dreaming Trail, fantasy, family. We used all five senses to inspire our ideas and used our emotions when we were talking and writing about our personal sacred places. Sometimes it was hard to get ideas started and to believe in ourselves, but we did it and in a few months’ time we will be genuine published authors, with our stories being read by literally hundreds of other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and boys. We are the Deadly Sisters!
The textile class has begun by learning about the two major types of fibres, protein (animal) fibres and cellulose (plant) fibres. We have learned about how we need to prepare fabric for dyeing and using mordants to make colour ‘bite’ the fabric. We have prepared a range of fabrics and fibres by pre-mordanting in alum, copper and iron. We have made these mordants ourselves by leaving metal scraps in vinegar to develop.We have begun dyeing various fabrics in indigo, native cherry, eucalyptus nicholi, and Californian logwood.
During Term 1 students have expanded their scientific understanding through an updated curriculum which encompasses all areas of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) as well as firmly placing Aboriginal knowledge within the scientific field through an in-depth study of the Seasonal Calendars produced by Aboriginal communities and Elders in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO. The students at Worawa are taking on the role of scientist as they conduct research, fieldwork and test out different technologies to create their own Seasonal Calendar for Worawa! In Term 2 we will delve even further into the current and cutting-edge industry as students participate in a solar panel research project with the CSIRO, develop a website and phone app with staff and students from Melbourne University and design the casing for personal electronic devices using 3D printing technology. We feel it is important to provide our students with the skills and knowledge to engage with the industries and careers of the future and aim to do this through the hands-on experiences provided in our STEM program.
In literacy class, students have been examining the features of both narratives and persuasive texts. Students studied Oliver Twist and discussed the Orientation, Complication and Resolution of a narrative.
Students are now studying a persuasive letter written by Oliver to the head of the board, appealing for better food, better sleeping conditions and the opportunity to receive an education. They are learning about building an argument and expressing an opinion.
In addition, students have been learning a range of new words to express feelings, a favourite of these was describing the angry behaviour as ‘going postal’. We have begun now to study a list of new words to describe our strengths, such as ‘intelligent’, ‘conscientious’, and ‘reliable’.
This list will continue to expand as we discover more of our strengths!
Worawa enjoys a strong tradition of high quality, skilful and beautiful Visual Art. Our experienced Art Teacher who has had international and national exhibitions highlighting talented student work is a mark of this success. He ensures that process, technique and medium are presented and researched by the students, so they have the tools to develop as unique artists while honouring tradition.
Using short exercises students develop skills and competencies. Our students bring with them a range of traditions and particular styles of Art. These are encouraged and incorporated into the program while experimentation and development are equally valued. This term the students have worked with pattern and repeating of the theme to create art. This was a three process technique that has delivered interesting and complex artworks. Visual Art at Worawa is both unique and best practice. We are justly proud of our student’s creations.
In dance this term we have been very fortunate to have the Footsteps Company with us again. In this class, we use a variety of exercises and movements that most girls conquer with some effort. This term was about ‘tasting’ the modern dance classes so we programmed all students to have classes. Next term, Dance with being a part of the Creative Arts Elective.
Some of our girls shared dances they dance at home (where it was ‘right’ to do so). They also taught one another the ‘North Wind Dance’ Lungurrma. This lovely dance is a popular one amongst the girls and it is a dance that most can learn and enjoy. It has been wonderful to see the girls dancing together to that song. Next term there will be a time made for girls to share the traditional dance on a regular basis.
Aboriginal people have used theatre and theatrical methods to tell their stories for millennia. We start from that premise. This term we have learned all about mime and story-telling. We also learn about body language and how we are always communicating. The theatre is a time where young girls can have fun learning about different ways to communicate. Older students also learn to tell stories in many interesting ways. Once again, there is a focus on Indigenous ways and knowledge. Next term we will be performing stories and poems. More mature students have been learning about creating the story using mime technique. They were challenged to tell some of their own stories using mime alone. It was very challenging, but all girls managed to take part and were extremely proud of their results.
Theatre/Drama Education is a huge opportunity to express concerns and stories. It is a time in high school where students learn about their own worth and the worth of their stories.
We are looking forward to bringing these stories to life next term.
From the start of 2018, a ‘Homework Support Group’ has been running during the last period of the day, on both Monday and Thursday. The work reflects what is being done in class, where the homework group, supports students to master Literacy and Numeracy skills by allowing more practice and one on one or small group support.
Along with our regular classroom teachers, six volunteers assist the students in Literacy and Numeracy. Students have reported that they have enjoyed more ‘intense’ support, particularly interacting with the volunteers.
Students also appreciated being able to read one on one and to other students and the wide variety of activities. Many mentioned that they had learned Mathematics through playing games and they were practising talking together and learning to problem solve at their own pace.
The Creative Arts at Worawa
The Arts at Worawa frequently take centre stage. As a College who believes Culture should be central to everything we do, we understand that for Aboriginal people the Arts are more important than a mere subject. Singing, dancing, miming, painting, drawing – all of the arts are integral to our traditional way of life. Now, in 2018 the Arts remain important in our expression of who we are and where we are going. At School this term there have been some new artists demonstrating that they are the up and coming great artists of our time.
Our College enjoyed a whole school excursion to the Kilsyth Basketball Stadium to cheer on two of our three basketball teams, the Kookaburras and the Eagles, who made it to the grand final of the Kilsyth Basketball Association. Despite a stirling effort and the loudest cheer squad ever, neither team took home the pennant, but lots of resolve to try harder next season.
Our Lady Eaglehawks football teams will take to the footy ground next term and girls will undergo a Basic Umpire Training certificate course conducted by AFL Victoria.
Many students play in one of the three College netball teams. Some girls play football, basketball and netball!.
Our school is preparing for our annual Reconciliation Sports Carnival which will be held on Tuesday 22 May.