The 2013 Kate Mullin Teacher Award was awarded to Adriano Truscott (pictured) of Wiluna Remote Community School. The award was for excellence in improving language and literacy of Aboriginal EAL/D students and was open to all teachers and educators in WA.
The criteria were developed and the submissions were judged in conjunction with WATESOL – in the persons of Sophia Sabatier, Patsy Konigsberg and Belinda Stewart. Indeed the award ceremony was held as part of the WATESOL annual conference & AGM at the Institute for Professional Learning in October 2013. Also part of the ceremony were Ken Mullin, chairperson of the Kate Mullin Association (KMA), Michael and Julie Jacobs of the Lindsay Cozens Trust who kindly sponsored the award, and Sophia Sabatier of the KMA who headed the judging panel. Unfortunately Adriano couldn’t make it in person to the event, but was available on Skype as the photographs show.
Adriano was nominated for the Award by his Principal, Arama Mataira and the School Council chairperson, Gail Alison. His nomination addressed the four major criteria to an extremely high standard:
• Improved student outcomes in language and literacy. Adriano has mentored, coached and facilitated the learning of the school staff in the areas of EAL/D pedagogy and two-way learning. He has aligned these two pedagogies with the content of the Wiluna Literacy strategy. From Kindy to Year 12, he has developed a range of multi-age lesson plans, rubrics and resources. His Principal believes that the school is leading the way in the region in their use of the EAL/D progress map and that students have benefitted enormously from this coherent and targeted approach to language learning.
• Links with Aboriginal families and community to improve student engagement. Adriano constantly sits and talks with students and their families within the community – both during and after school. He is involved in the team that is developing awareness of working in the ‘Between World’. This team comprises some teachers and Martu people from the region and they have worked to understand a new way of working two-way at Wiluna school. The community considers this to be a key element of success at their school.
• Awareness, recognition and valuing of home language/dialect and culture. This is evident in Adriano’s work, both at Wiluna, and before he went to Wiluna in the “Tracks to Two-Way” learning project. He was also one of the five authors of the “Understanding Stories My Way: Aboriginal-English speaking students’ (Mis)understanding of school literacy materials in Standard Australian English (SAE)” publication. He now models this and shares this knowledge with the staff on an on-going basis, ensuring that the understandings that the teachers bring to the classroom are broader and inclusive of Aboriginal ways for thinking and learning.
• Development of rapport with students. Adriano’s Principal affirms that he has taken the ‘shame’ out of the classroom. Recently, he included two students in the staff curriculum planning session and they contributed openly and actively to this session.
Wiluna Remote Community school has seen clear improvement in the students’ literacy in, and language use of, SAE since Adriano’s arrival and it is for this reason, and for all those mentioned previously, that he is the recipient of this important award.