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Momma, Tell Me a Story...

The recording of a culture’s history is directly linked to its stories, whether orally handed down generation to generation, described in pictures on cave walls or animals hides, or in written accounts. By today’s standards, the written word of a culture’s story plays a vital role in the preservation of that culture, past and present.


A child’s learning to read those stories takes on a new dimension in the Cairns School of Distance Education. Mothers of children in isolated locations become home tutors for their children. Facilitated by a HF school radio, class lessons are conducted by a teacher and ‘class’ of long distance children, each, in turn, calling in on the radio mike to share ideas during the course of the daily lesson. This process is supplemented by companion videos and texts which students access to enhance the skills they are learning, i.e., word decoding, story elements, and phonics skills, to name a few. Obviously, to learn in this manner requires excellent listening skills and limited distractions.

“Smelly Feat” a delightful story by Paul Jennings, was today’s literacy lesson at the Pinnacle Springs Station. Ten year old Laura was excited to share it! It is the story of a quick thinking young boy who uses his smelly feet as a defense in saving an endangered sea turtle threatened by bullies. The SDE students make predictions, read the story, view the video, all the while identifying what brings a story together to communicate its message.

Although there are similarities in the techniques used by public schools and long distance education students to learn the stories, Outback education has its own brand of unique challenges to overcome. But it is this unique blending of the pioneer spirit coupled with an isolated environment which enhances the ability of the stories to be read and shared.

Suggested learning activities: Provide several students with short range radios or walkie talkies, sending each on his own to an isolated location, i.e., lunch room, empty classroom, hallway, etc. Conduct a lesson in reading or literacy posing questions to each ‘long distance’ student via the radios. Students may respond in turn, ending each transmission with the teacher’s name to indicate they are finished speaking.



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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 6, 2001 12:12 PM.

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