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Stride Series - Most Signficant Change Stories

Most Significant Change Story – Wurrumiyanga, Tiwi Islands, Term 3 2020 

Interviewee: Joann - Classroom Teacher

Interviewer: Dotty - Programs Coordinator

The Cathy Freeman Foundation are lucky enough to work closely with Joann, who is a classroom teacher and liaison in Wurrumiyanga. Originally from Bermagui, she recognises the need for the work CFF do having experienced similar school attendance challenges there. Key programs we have delivered with Joann include Back to School Marches, outdoor events, hands on activities in the classroom, and prizes and awards- which she particularly finds highly effective.

Joann is great at providing feedback so we can create a better experience for students. She noted that some of the activities were too advanced in terms of literacy, and therefore some students weren’t able to complete the work and ultimately feel a sense of pride. In response to this, Joann and the CFF team used the workbook to identify specific themes and topics from which we designed more engaging activities to be inclusive of all students. This has resulted in engaging classes, which are incentivising students to attend school and stay in class.


Joann believes it is important that we continue to create moments like these in the school environment where students can focus on whole person development e.g. being a leader, having and being a good role model, teamwork, and feeling like a superhero. We couldn’t do this without the CFF content, which provides Indigenous specific education and language. And of course, the key part to all of this is the role that the CFF team play. As local people, they have a stronger connection to the students and capacity to plan more relevant activities based on that knowledge. Being involved in this experience provides a learning opportunity for teachers to better understand how to work with the CFF team and get the most out of their students.


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The Cathy Freeman Foundation acknowledges and pays our respects to the past, present and emerging traditional custodians of the land on which we work and live.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander users are advised that this website may contain images and voices of people who have died.

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