Mossman teacher recognised in national awards


Sharon Case, Head of teaching and learning at Mossman State School, has been awarded a Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award for her work in co-creating the first Indigenous languages program that aligns with the Australian Curriculum.

Ms Case is amongst just 12 other inspiring teachers and school leaders from across the country in 2020 to be recognised for their exceptional work.

In 2018, Mossman State School, in consultation with elders and leaders of the five local Aboriginal clans, introduced a Kuku Yalanji language program giving students the opportunity to learn the ancient language.

Ms Case, along with community elders, was instrumental in developing the program.

“Half of our total enrolment identifies as Indigenous at Mossman State School, and we saw a unique opportunity to work with our broader community to develop a language program to address reconciliatory, righteous and respectful practices,” Ms Case said.

“We’re now attracting significant interest in the initiative from other schools within Queensland and throughout Australia and we’re sharing the program across the country.

“In designing the program, we have been mindful of developing a program that can be adapted to be used with any Indigenous Language, so long as it is culturally appropriate. I’m very proud of what we have been able to achieve here,” she said.

Before the program was introduced, the language was in danger of being lost, with Indigenous elders being the only fluent speakers in the community.

Now, overseen by a community-created group, all Mossman students from Prep to Year 6 learn the language.

Attendance, behaviour and achievement have improved, and enrolments have grown, as the Indigenous community embraces the respect shown for their language. A greater understanding of Indigenous culture has also been developed across the school and the community.

As a 2020 Commonwealth Bank Teaching Award Winner, Ms Case will receive a Teaching Fellowship valued at $45,000.

This will include $10,000 for her own professional development and $25,000 to implement a strategic project that drives long-term, measurable benefits for the school.

Later this year, the 2020 Teaching Fellows will also be given the opportunity to travel internationally and tour a high-performing education system.

Now in its fourth year, the Commonwealth Bank Teaching Awards are run in partnership with national charity Schools Plus and have evolved to be one of Australia’s most prestigious prizes with a focus on educators working in disadvantaged communities.

Nathan Barker, Head of Community Investment at Commonwealth Bank, said, “We are delighted to play a part in identifying and awarding 12 inspirational teachers and school leaders each year who have made a positive and tangible impact on their schools and communities.

“These awards not only honour their incredible work in engaging young minds to learn, but also recognise a dedication to teaching in areas that need it most,” he said.

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