Education State
Principals Conference 2022

Understanding and responding to the cultural context of community: A case study examining the work of teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers, and teacher educators

Understanding and responding to the cultural context of community: A case study examining the work of teachers, school leaders, pre-service teachers, and teacher educators

Outline

This workshop will examine the approaches used by Yuille Park Community P-8 School to understand and be responsive to the socio-cultural context of its community.

Set in one of the state’s most disadvantaged communities, Yuille Park Community School has three campuses where students learn in multi-age groups. The Grevillea Campus includes an early learning centre and is inclusive of years P-8.

The school also includes the Yuille Young Parents campus and a flexible learning option catering for young people aged between 12 – 20.

Yuille Park is located in a community that experiences a complex web of disadvantage. While there is much known about the community and its history from a statistical perspective, understanding, respecting, and responding to the direct and diverse experiences of community members, including children, involves complex, relational approaches.

In this workshop we will share some of the approaches used by the school and in their partnership with the Master of Teaching (Secondary) program at Federation University. The school, and its partnership with the university, aims in ongoing ways, to create learning communities where assumptions are checked, life stories are valued, and proactive approaches linked to life-long learning, are fostered. The focus is on building a respectful, humble stance that supports teachers and pre-service teachers to understand the rich, multi-faceted lives of those who live largely in poverty so that educational outcomes can be improved.

Dr Amanda McGraw-Pleban
Senior Lecturer
, Federation University

Dr Amanda McGraw is a Senior Lecturer who has led the Master of Teaching (Secondary) program at Federation University Australia for 17 years. The program is known for its innovative school partnership practices. Her research interests include enhancing reading capabilities in English, dispositions for teaching, and teachers’ professional learning. For her work in teacher education, Amanda was awarded an Australian Government Higher Education Citation for her Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning. She taught English for nearly 20 and held numerous leadership positions. She was Deputy Principal responsible for teaching and learning in a three-campus government school. At this time the school was awarded a national government award for quality schooling for the establishment of a whole school approach to collaborative learning partnerships. Based on a seven year DET funded professional learning project focused on the teaching of reading in secondary schools, Amanda co-authored the text, Activating Reading Capabilities to be published in 2022. Amanda was awarded a life membership of the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English (VATE) in 2020 and is a member of VATE’s Council and Professional Learning and Research Committee.

Brett Shillito
Principal
, Yuille Park Community School

Brett Shilito is the Principal of Yuille Park Community School.