PALS Project Grants
Applications for PALS Project Grants for 2012 have closed. The next round of grants will be available at the begining of 2013. To register your interest for PALS next year, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out more about completing a PALS project at your school.
PALS is closely aligned to Society and Environment syllabus, particularly in the outcome areas of Investigation, Communication and Participation, Culture, Time, Continuity and Change, and Active Citizenship.
It does this by encouraging schools to take Aboriginal Studies beyond the classroom and into the community. Face-to-face encounters and hands-on learning, in partnership with the Indigenous and broader community, creates an opportunity for all students involved to accept, learn and share with each other.
PALS also supports and promotes the five clusters of core shared values that underpin the Curriculum Framework by dispelling some of the myths, building a shared pride in Indigenous heritage, and helping to create an environment in which optimism, harmony and respect thrive.
As an example, Moerlina Primary School’s 2005 PALS project ‘Coonana Camps’ provided an opportunity for the school to promote key concepts and themes such as social justice, participation, human rights, cultural diversity and respect. Students from Moerlina worked in partnership with students from Tranby Primary School to produce a DVD on Local Community. Positive relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous students developed as they worked collaboratively on activities and shared information about lifestyles and environment.
Students were empowered to take the lead at every stage by contacting and interviewing community members to storyboard, film, edit, promote and launch the film. This approach supported the school’s use of student-centred learning. Moerlina’s PALS project was also a meaningful action-learning activity where students worked collaboratively though the inquiry process. Together students researched aspects of the local community, including facilities, businesses, culture and recreation to gain a better understanding of the environment they lived in.
Moerlina’s project won them a Highly Commended Award in the 2005 PALS Awards.
Links to other major learning areas
A PALS project can assist teachers in meeting learning outcomes in numerous learning areas.
For Moerlina PS, the primary learning focus was Society and the Environment, but English, Art and Technology skills were also practiced as part of the PALS project.
In other PALS examples, students developed and monitored the project budget, allowing teachers to incorporate Mathematics outcomes.
PALS encourages schools to consider looking beyond Society and the Environment as the exclusive learning area for Indigenous education. The Department of Education and Training’s Aboriginal Perspectives Across the Curriculum (APAC) initiative has developed more than 150 sample lesson plans that feature an Aboriginal context in all phases of schooling and in all learning areas.
Teaching APAC assists students to explore the viewpoint of Aboriginal people on a range of issues such as reconciliation, social justice and equality.
The APAC lesson plan ‘Environmental Walk’ is focused on the LOTE learning area but also incorporates aspects of Arts, English, Health and Physical Education, Mathematics, Science, and Society and Environment. A class studying the Environmental Walk lesson plan could build in a PALS project that investigates the cultural significance of a wetland in their local area, using Aboriginal words in context. This could give students their first real opportunity to interact with Indigenous people in a positive way and build better relationships.
PALS supporting Education for Sustainability
Education for Sustainability (EfS) is a WA Sustainability in Schools initiative (AuSSI-WA) aimed at integrating existing environmental and social education programs into a coordinated framework.
Most WA schools practice many elements of sustainability of EfS in the areas of utilities management, bushland and dune protection schemes, reconciliation and other social (student wellbeing) programs.
AuSSI-WA takes it to the ‘next level’ by encouraging the use of sustainability as a context for teaching and learning as part of a whole-school approach. Embedding sustainability within the culture of the school community is the overarching goal of this initiative. A PALS project could promote sustainability as it relates to Indigenous culture.