Great LOTE Collaboration for a Small Rural Community

IMG_6448Offering students with  a breadth of learning opportunities in a small rural school is often challenging, especially when one is looking for the expertise to offer something like a language.

How do you entice a teacher into the country for a half day of teaching? – which in our small rural school is what we were looking for.

At Katamatite Primary School we realised that we would not be able to provide a language program and our students were going to miss out – unless we thought a bit differently and creatively to ensure that our students were provided with the language program they so much wanted.  

It is not possible without collaborating with other rural schools to provide a worthwhile and rewarding challenge / teaching experience. We also had a PolyCom unit within our school we began to consider how we could utilise a partnership with another rural school through the use our PolyCom equipment as a way to provide the language program our community wanted.

We heard that within Bright College they had a talented Japanese teacher who was keen to teach Japanese to rural students in other schools through the use technology.

All of a sudden students at K.P.S had an engaging, enthusiastic and knowledgeable Japanese teacher.

IMG_6451Every Wednesday morning, students are now eager to shuffle into the Japanese room and work with Sensai Keiko, who provides an engaging lesson through PolyCom. enjoying the fact that she is an hour and a half away in the mountains.

Of course, the students took to this new way of learning naturally. While the teachers, at first were a little apprehensive, sharing this is too different, what do I do? – they are now enjoying the guidance provided by Sensai and engaging with students as they learn along side them over the airways.

The PolyCom lessons are also supplemented through the use of web2.0 technologies such as google Docs, quizlet, kahoot thus enabling students to practice their language in a fun, engaging way.

In reflecting on how we made this work, there are a number of things we, as a staff identified:

  • A philosophy that focuses on education and learning opportunities for students;
  • Having a mindset that recognises education extends beyond our school grounds and includes more than the students at our school;
  • Teachers willing to take risks, try new approaches to teaching and learning and being flexible to accommodate every students learning.
  • The willingness of rural schools to work together for the benefit of students and ensuring ongoing organization and communication between the schools and teachers.
  • Ongoing planning, reflection, feedback and the ability to adapt to make sure the learning is engaging and relevant to the students.

IMG_6452The benefits and growth for all participants have been immense, especially when we examine them in relation to providing 21st Century learning opportunities in which creativity, co-operative work, connectedness to the world and adaptability are key features.

If you would like to know more about how Katamatite Primary School and Bright College developed this partnership please contact  contact Jason Whiteley at Katamatite Primary School whiteley.jason.mr@edumail.vic.gov.au or Kelli Jacobsen at Bright College jacobsen.kelli.k@edumail.vic.gov.au