I am writing this whilst returning on a College bus with 18 amazing young people, 2 former students (as leaders), a one stop fix it man (nothing's too much trouble for Greg Warren our bus driver) and our trip mother ever resourceful, passionate class teacher Jan Strauch.
Over the past 6 years it has been my privilege to accompany Jan and her Year 10 Our World elective classes to Central Australia. The major focus of these trips and the associated studies is to provide students with an understanding of indigenous culture as well as an opportunity to experience some of the challenges facing remote communities.
Being able to spend time in remote community schools working with the aboriginal students highlights the benefits that education has for all Australian children.
My own perspective from being able to revisit the community at Alcoota in the central desert 200km north east of Alice Springs is one of positive change and gradual improvement for the students. When we visit each year we see the children happily attending school encouraged by their families and the school program being strongly supported by the elders of the community. The result being improved levels of literacy and numeracy as well as confidence.
For our students the impact is powerful. Having first hand exposure to interact within the classroom and community is one of the most effective authentic learning experiences that I have seen. We can learn so much about ourselves from living with and understanding the lives and cultures of others.
I also appreciate being able to enjoy the opportunity to share this time with our wonderful students. To get to know them and see the incredible warmth and strong relationships that develop as part of these trips. I am extremely proud of the Our World program that is offered at our Senior School in Central Australia as well as Vietnam and East Timor.
Rich authentic learning that is truly life changing for everyone involved.