Rebecca Leahy

Biography

Aboriginal Education worker, Rebecca Leahy, has a long standing background in Community Services. She is based at one of the largest catholic primary schools in one of the lowest socio-economic areas on the Central Coast.
Rebecca supports Aboriginal students culturally and academically. Her primary focus is to assist students to improve their educational outcomes, monitor the progress of students, to work in partnership with teachers, parents and community to ensure that each student achieves his or her full potential.

Abstract

Personalised Learning Plans – Improving outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and families (Oral Paper Presentation)

In our workshop we will demonstrate successful strategies implemented in Personalised Learning Plans to create trust and strengthen the relationship between school and Aboriginal families. Acknowledging every child as individual gives parents a voice to support their child’s educational needs. Personalised Learning Plans identify the need to close the gap and maximise parent engagement.

These interviews involve working in genuine partnership with the child’s parents/carers, Aboriginal Education Worker, Office Representative, child and teacher. In these interactions, all stake holders have the opportunity to gain valuable information to support and nurture the child’s health and wellbeing as well as an opportunity to be actively engaged in the teaching and learning of the student to address identified gaps. It requires sound, precise information on student achievement and targeted attention to specific needs.

This holistic approach to the child’s individual learning needs is made possible by understanding the complexities of the family, their heritage and the family’s cultural values. When the teachers are able to implement culturally appropriate traditions, programs and Indigenous celebrations in a school community there is evidence to show that children feel valued and that they belong to an inclusive community. Children develop a sense of self-worth that impacts on their growth emotionally, spirituality and academically.

Evidence from these interactions tells us that when a child feels valued, loved and supported they become proud of their cultural identity, which reflects in their wellbeing and learning. Regular monitoring and reviewing of a student’s progress ensures successful outcomes for all.

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