Aboriginal Task Centre Kit
Dominic was head of mathematics at Leichhardt when he sent this enthusiastic letter detailing the success of the kit in his school.
Leichhardt High School, New South Wales
I am writing to inform you of the success we have had in trialing the
Aboriginal Task Centre Kit at our school. Leichhardt High School is a
coeducational comprehensive school located about 8 km from the Sydney city
centre. It has a student population of about 650 of which 5 to 10 students
in each year describe themselves as Aboriginal.
The Aboriginal students at the school were targeted for a homework
program to run on a Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. The program
specifically targeted Mathematics because this was an area where it was
felt that Aboriginal students were underachieving. I had viewed some of
the tasks from the Aboriginal task kit on the Internet and felt that these
would be appropriate to improve the attitudes of the kids involved.
One Year 7 student had spent long periods out of her Mathematics class
(through use of the Glasser Time Out system) and she had a
passive/aggressive approach in the classroom which was not benefiting her
learning. She has refused to answer very simple questions in Mathematics
even though it was clear she knew the answers. Her attitude became very
frustrating to other students (creating great social difficulty) and
teachers. Through her efforts in the homework program (she attempted or
completed 45 of the tasks), she underwent an enormous turnaround in class
- she became an enthusiastic contributor to class investigation and
discussion and social interaction with peers improved dramatically. The
change in her was astonishing - classes are graded at the Year 8 level and
whereas her achievements (or lack of ) would have graded her in the lowest
class, by the end of the year she was unlucky to miss out on being graded
in the 2nd class (out of 4 classes).
Other students in the program also developed a greater interest in the
subject directly attributable to the tasks and in one case this has
dramatically affected truancy (and a realisation that the truancy was
probably Mathematics related!).
We are using the tasks again this year with the same program and we
hope to greatly increase their use in normal Mathematics