feature-dots feature-dots

National Excellence in Teaching Award – NT recipient – Alicia Giles

National Excellence in Teaching Award – NT recipient – Alicia Giles

Catholic Education NT congratulates Alicia Giles, Acting Curriculum Coordinator at Xavier Catholic College as the proud and well deserving recipient of a 2021 National Excellence in Teaching Award (NEITA). This award honours exemplary teaching practice in Australia and New Zealand. Leash was the only award recipient for the Northern Territory.

Alicia (Leash) is an outstanding teacher who has gone above and beyond for her students.  She won the Northern Territory NEITA award for her work in developing a culturally responsive, Tiwi contextualised Systematic Synthetic Phonics Reading Program which has made a significant difference to Xavier student’s reading progress since its inception.

Alicia’s practice and leadership is both exemplary and innovative and her work embodies the ideals of The Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Declaration; supporting Aboriginal learners to reach their potential, especially those who are at risk of educational disadvantage. She has introduced her own version of Synthetic Systematic Phonics into Xavier Catholic College including the innovative creation of a Tiwi Alphabetic Code Chart, a series of phonic activities based on this chart, and a set of 30 Tiwi Readers, decodable texts that are set on the Tiwi Islands, in community. Alicia has also created authentic and reliable assessment instruments for measuring student growth in reading which includes a triangulation of phoneme knowledge, blending abilities and reading and comprehending text.  Alicia painstakingly wrote every Tiwi reader which students are loving reading. The characters and settings are ones the students know and love!

Students’ levels of reading and comprehension have improved significantly in the past 8 months since Alicia created and embedded the program into  the Literacy classes at Xavier. All Literacy teachers from Years 7-9 are teaching SSP and using the Tiwi Decodable Readers. Students who attend school regularly are showing substantial growth in their reading levels; on average, two levels of XRA growth in under one year.

Besides the phenomenal work that has gone into the creation of this reading program, Alicia has upskilled the Assistant Tiwi Teachers in SSP and how to use the Tiwi Readers. This has been a key part of Xavier’s strategic focus, to build the capacity of Tiwi staff . In working with Tiwi Assistant Teachers, Alicia has shown highly developed cultural competency skills as well as the ability to teach the art and science of reading to Aboriginal Assistant Teachers; the local teachers in the community.

Back to News