Solid Pathways – Critical and Creative Thinkers is a program for high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The focus of the program is on critical and creative thinking to develop and extend academic performance, empowering students with a lifelong ability to be successful in their school education, tertiary studies and future career paths. Critical and Creative Thinkers provides opportunities for students to work collaboratively, developing their capacity for teamwork, leadership and setting and achieving goals.
Students participate in weekly online lessons that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum. As part of Critical and Creative Thinkers, students learn that the enduring knowledge and practices of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have been developed using critical and creative thinking skills. During sessions, students connect with other high achieving students from schools across Metropolitan, South East, North Coast, Darling Downs South West, Far North Queensland and Central Queensland regions.
A key component of the Critical and Creative Thinkers program is the special STEM camp experiences offered to students. Camps feature environmental activities, in which students learn about the ecosystems and resources of the environment from traditional owners, and how critical and creative thinking has led to environmentally sustainable land management practices that highlight the knowledges, technologies and processes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Since 2012, in collaboration with the University of Queensland (UQ) and their UQ Critical Thinking Project, up to 300 high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders from Year 4, along with parents and teachers, attend a university experience day to help students discover and cultivate their academic capabilities and enhance aspirations of tertiary pathways. More than 40 UQ disciplines from every faculty have taken part in the initiative, offering hands-on learning activities for the students.
Critical and Creative Thinkers aims
To help students achieve by:
- increasing their ability to analyse and evaluate information
- enhancing their clarity of thought and expression
- improving writing and communication skills
- building understanding of relationships between evidence and hypotheses
- applying standards of evidence to detect fallacies in reasoning
- increasing their ability to make reasoned judgements
- engaging them in autonomous problem solving
- developing a range of personal and interpersonal qualities, including confidence, autonomy and ethical awareness
- providing culturally responsive learning contexts.
To provide state school staff with:
- professional development in critical and creative thinking and pedagogies that continue to lift the academic performance of high achieving Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
- professional development that will build teachers’ cultural capability, specifically in engaging Indigenous students in learning by meaningfully incorporating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, a cross-curriculum priority in the Australian Curriculum, in teaching and learning.
To be eligible for Critical and Creative Thinkers, students must:
- attend a Queensland state school in Years 4-7 and identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander
- be in the upper two bands in Reading and Numeracy (as a new Year 4 student)
- be in the upper band in Reading and/or Numeracy (as a new Year 5, 6 or 7 student).
For more details contact the Solid Pathways team.