Proceedings 2011 - 2012
A bi-annual publication by The Teachersâ€™ Guild of New South Wales
Proceedings 2011 - 2012
A bi-annual publication by The Teachersâ€™ Guild of New South Wales
PROCEEDINGS 2011 - 2012
Introduction by the President ......................................................................................................................................... 4 Mrs Frances Fleeton Editorial ............................................................................................................................................................................. 5 Mrs Judith McMurrich The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales: A Brief History....................................................................................... 8 Mr Stuart Braga and Mr Alan Harper The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Annual Report, 2010 ............................................................................. 11 Mrs Frances Fleeton The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Annual Report, 2011 ............................................................................. 15 Mrs Frances Fleeton Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (APPLE) Reflection Report, 2011-2012.......................................... 20 Dr Frederick Osman Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (APPLE) Contributed Papers: Supporting transition: The role of stress and coping .................................................................................. 22 Erin Mackenzie Investigating interactions in a student-directed social networking learning environment ................... 35 Noelene Callaghan Neuroscience, Aspergers and Twice-Exceptionality: Teacher Professional Development needed! ..... 42 Nola Norris Understanding the Experiences of Second Career Beginning Teachers ................................................... 47 Meera Varadharajan Annual Dinner and presentation of Awards, 2011 .................................................................................................... 55 Mrs Frances Fleeton Annual Dinner and presentation of Awards, 2012 .................................................................................................... 56 Dr Frederick Osman The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Annual Dinner Address, 2012 ............................................................. 56 Mr Richard (‘Rick’) Stevens, FTGN, AFACEL, FCollP, FRGS
INTRODUCTION TO PROCEEDINGS 2011 – 2012 Mrs Frances Fleeton President, The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales As the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales celebrates its 120th year of operation let me commend our most recent Proceedings to you. Mrs Judith McMurrich, Chief Editor, is to be congratulated on a comprehensive bringing together of the major events that the Guild has engaged in during the last two years. The Guild continues to remain active through its Executive Council in bringing topical education issues to its members, while endeavouring to cater for younger members by providing opportunities for them to accrue hours of professional development that are meaningful and practical in nature. You will be provided with a well-rounded overview of what the Teachers’ Guild has been able to offer to both its members and other educationalists over the last two years as educational changes loom for all teachers at both primary and secondary levels. The Guild is greatly encouraged by the quality of those who have been nominated for our suite of awards and congratulate the winners, as they are launched into their careers as educators and lifelong learners. The research that is being undertaken can only enhance the pedagogy of educators, which ultimately will greatly benefit and improve the teaching and learning experiences of the students we engage with, in our classrooms. The greatest challenges for the Teachers’ Guild in the coming years will be to increase its membership base, ensure succession processes are in place for the Council Executive and to continue to offer meaningful and relevant education opportunities for member and colleagues, which address current and topical educational issues presented by people who have up-to-date data that is practical and useful in educational settings.
EDITORIAL Mrs Judith McMurrich Chief Editor ‘Proceedings’ and The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Council Member In this edition of ‘Proceedings’, the Annual Reports of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales have once again been included. These reports outline the achievements and ongoing work of the Guild from 2011 and 2012. Not only do these reports highlight the wonderful work this small organisation does in the life of independent schools in New South Wales, they also demonstrate the continuing changes occurring within the teaching profession and how the Guild is adapting its work to remain relevant. The Guild continues to strive to not only provide current professional development opportunities to teachers, but to also ensure that the teaching profession and all that teachers achieve, are celebrated and rewarded. Dr. Frederick Osman reported on the ‘Annual Presentation Poster Lecture Evening’ (APPLE), an initiative that has continued to grow in relevance and success. Now an annual Guild event, this evening provided a friendly, relaxed platform on which to showcase the research being undertaken in education in New South Wales, through poster displays. Many areas of education were discussed and research presented in this informal setting. It was a celebration of education and what could be achieved through action research, an area which The Teachers’ Guild has always strongly supported through its annual Research Award. Included in the APPLE Report are papers contributed by category winners. These contributions were made by Erin Mackenzie, Noelene Callaghan, Nola Norris and Meera Varadharajan. Erin Mackenzie’s paper discussed the importance of supporting students as they make the transition from primary to secondary schools. In her research, Ms Mackenzie explored what contributes to successful or unsuccessful transitioning and the role both students and teachers play in this. Noelene Callaghan’s research focused on the role Social Network Sites (SNS) play in classroom learning. Through her research, she explored whether learning outcomes are achieved and if there are educational benefits in using SNS within educational settings. Nola Norris researched Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and how students who are affected by these disorders learn. A primary focus of her research was the need to empower and train teachers in order to best meet the needs of these students in an educational setting. Finally, Meera Varadharajan looked at the experiences of second career beginning, teachers and the reasons behind the career change. She highlighted the different understanding and approaches these people bring to the teaching profession, opening the door to further exploration into this unique group of people. As always, the Annual Awards Dinners continued to be a highlight on the Guild calendar.
It is on this evening
that the Guild comes together to celebrate the achievements of the year and reward the various Award recipients. This celebration demonstrates the Guild’s passion for ensuring teachers are honoured and duly acknowledged for their contribution to the continual development of the teaching profession. In 2011, the Guild honoured Miss Phyllis Evans MBE. Miss Evans is the longest serving member of the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales, having joined the organisation in 1946. In her long and distinguished career, a deep commitment to the Guild was consistently intertwined with her other extensive professional commitments. Educated at Fort Street Girls’ High School and the University of Sydney, Miss Evans taught Latin in several Government and Independent Schools before being appointed as Headmistress of Ravenswood School for Girls at
Gordon in 1962. In that role, she served for twenty five years until her retirement, overseeing the school through a number of very significant changes. These included considerable growth of the school with associated building programs, the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme and the transfer of the school from the Methodist Church to the new Uniting Church in Australia. Miss Evans served as Secretary of the Guild 1949-1957, and as President 1967-1969, while her service as a Councillor lasted continuously from 1949-1978. When the Guild was involved in teacher training, she chaired the Teacher Training Committee (1969-1972) and was the foundation Chair of the Council of the Guild College (1973-1976). She was made a Life Member of the Guild in 1979, and has remained active in the association’s affairs ever since. In 1995, when the first of the current suite of Awards was initiated, the Council chose to name them in Miss Evans’ honour. Her contributions to her chosen profession extended beyond the Guild to the Australian College of Educators (of which she is a Fellow), the Association of Independent Schools, and a number of Heads’ associations and parliamentary and government advisory committees. In 1983, Miss Evans was created a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her lifetime of service to Education in Australia. In 2011, the Guild Council once again resolved to honour this committed professional and fine educator in the naming of its annual Awards. At the Annual Awards Dinner in 2011 the following Awards were presented: AWARD FOR TEACHERS IN THEIR EARLY YEARS OF TEACHING Junior School Division Winner Philippa Small (Arden Anglican School) Certificates of Excellence Rebecca Fischer (The Pittwater House Schools) Scott Maunder (Sydney Grammar School Preparatory School) Senior School Division Winner Alan Blake (Macarthur Anglican School) Certificates of Excellence Sarah Elliott (Red Bend Catholic College, Forbes) Karina Lemon (St Ursula’s College, Kingsgrove) Katie Patterson (Domremy College, Five Dock) Felicity Reynolds (Nowra Anglican College) THE GUILD SCHOLARSHIP Winner Jessica Wickenden THE RESEARCH AWARD Winner Erin Mackenzie (Meriden School) Highly Commended Lucy Macken (Kambala) Christine Grima-Farrell (Australian Catholic University) The Annual Awards Dinner of 2012 honoured Mr Richard (“Rick”) Stevens FTGN, AFACEL, FCollP, FRGS. Rick Stevens is a graduate of the former Guild Teachers’ College, and has thus been associated with the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales throughout his professional life. His teaching career was spent at Sydney Grammar School
Preparatory School (St Ives), where he served from 1968 until his retirement in 2002. For 19 of those years, Rick was Deputy Headmaster, as well as co-ordinating Mathematics. He is the author of a number of Mathematics textbooks. Rick has always been a committed professional, actively participating in a wide range of professional associations. He is a Life Member of the Australian College of Educators and of the Teachers’ Guild, in which he served as a Councillor, newsletter editor, Honorary Secretary and Vice President. Since 1992, he has served on the Council of Loquat Valley Anglican Preparatory School, and has chaired the Council since 1996. He is a Fellow of the College of Teachers, London, and of the Royal Geographic Society, London, and an Associate Fellow of the Australian Council for Educational Leadership. Those who encounter Rick professionally know him to be an energetic, generous and encouraging colleague, who gives far more than he could possibly gain from his various associations. His enthusiastic embrace of, and support for, new enterprises is both encouraging and inspirational. Rick is the model of a lifelong professional, for whom “retirement” is a word without meaning, and who continues to give generously of himself to education. At the Annual Awards Dinner in 2012 the following awards were presented: AWARD FOR TEACHERS IN THEIR EARLY YEARS OF TEACHING Junior Division Winner Olivia Peach (International Grammar School) Junior Division Certificates of Excellence Penny Bardsley-Smith (International Grammar School) Jessica Pearson (Abbotsleigh School) Senior School Division Winner Erin Vassarotti (De La Salle Catholic College, Caringbah) Senior School Division Certificates of Excellence Christopher Berry (St Mary’s Star of the Sea College) Thomas Cameron (The Scots College) Ian Finn (Arndell Anglican School) Jessica Hughes (Hennessy Catholic College, Young) THE RESEARCH AWARD Winner Noelene Callaghan Highly Commended Nola Norris Encouragement Award Clint Sheehan It is our sincere hope that this edition of Proceedings is informative and relevant to your context. I wish to thank Mrs Frances Fleeton, Mrs Deryn Smyth and Dr Frederick Osman for their valuable support and assistance in bringing this edition to you. The Guild strives to continually provide rich, topical information to its members with the main aim of demonstrating the changing face of education and the need for us as educators to remain abreast of current trends and changes to our profession.
THE TEACHERS’ GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES: A BRIEF HISTORY Originally composed by Mr Stuart Braga, May 1997 Former President, The Teacher’s Guild of New South Wales Revised by Alan Harper, 2012 Honorary Secretary, The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales The Teachers’ Guild, founded in 1891, is the oldest teachers’ organisation in New South Wales and, for well over a century, has had an abiding theme: a concern with the professional development of teachers. At the time of its foundation in 1891, a widely disparate group of practitioners laid claim to the title of teacher. There were many small private schools whose standards were low, and no registration of schools existed. The Teachers’ Guild was founded by a group of leading educators to redress this situation. For many years the key activity of the Guild was the operation of the Teachers’ Central Registry, which sought to place suitably qualified teachers in schools of which the Guild approved. The Guild was concerned with curriculum standards and for many years, prior to the establishment of education unions and Heads’ organisations, was represented on syllabus committees of subjects covered in the compulsory years of secondary education. An ongoing concern was the lack of training for independent school teachers. This became especially critical after World War II when the Guild established a Teacher Training Committee who established a diploma course providing a basic in-service qualification for those who would otherwise have been completely unqualified. During the 1970s the Guild Teachers’ College extended its operations in teacher training but the rationalisation of teacher training in the early 1980s led to its amalgamation with the Sydney College of Advanced Education (CAE). When Sydney CAE was subsumed into the University of Sydney, a “Guild Centre” continued for a time to offer professional development for teachers, but this too has now passed into history. In recent years the Guild has been chiefly concerned with in-service activities not otherwise provided by the many subject associations or other bodies such as universities or employer organisations. By contrast, the Teachers’ Guild is a body of teachers who seek to provide opportunities for professional development within their own profession. When it operated the Guild College, the Guild offered a range of awards for meritorious students. In 1996, the Council determined to renew its commitment to recognizing and rewarding the achievements of outstanding members of the profession. Initially, a prize was offered to a beginning secondary school teacher, and the following year, a similar prize was also offered to a beginning primary school teacher. Now known as the Early Career Educator Awards, these prizes have been offered annually ever since and been highly valued by the participants. In 2000, a Research Award was added to recognize colleagues whose research work had been of direct benefit to classroom teachers; and in 2001, the Guild reestablished its relationship with the University of Sydney by offering an annual scholarship to an outstanding student in the University’s Master of Teaching program. This suite of awards is now one of the Guild’s most distinctive and rewarding activities. Now in its second century, the Teachers’ Guild remains true to its proud history and original purpose: teachers seeking to promote better standards of teaching.
PRESIDENTS OF THE GUILD 1892 - 2012 1892-3
Miss D Whitehead
Professor W Scott
Miss D Whitehead
Professor MW MacCallum
Reverend CJ Prescott
Mrs M Stiles
Miss Dorothy Knox
Professor GA Wood
Miss Phyllis Evans
Miss Phyllis Evans
Miss Phyllis Evans
Reverend CJ Prescott
J Wilson Hogg
Reverend Dr Harper
Rex H Morgan
Professor TW David
Rex H Morgan
Rex H Morgan
Reverend CJ Prescott
AJ (Tony) Rae
AJ (Tony) Rae
Reverend P Stacy Waddy
Miss Jeanette Buckham
Dr T Visser
Reverend CJ Prescott
Dr T Visser
Professor J Mackie
Brother George (Died in office)
HS Dettmann (Acting)
Reverend W Lockington SJ
Reverend FT Perkins
Mrs Jan Nash
PR le Couteur
Mrs Helen Hughes
Mrs Helen Hughes
J Wilson Hogg
J Wilson Hogg
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Miss Dorothy Knox
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Miss Dorothy Knox
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Mrs Frances Fleeton
J Wilson Hogg
Mrs Frances Fleeton
J Wilson Hogg
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Miss Dorothy Knox
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Mrs Frances Fleeton
TEACHER’S GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES ANNUAL REPORT, 2010 Mrs Frances Fleeton President, The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Personal Statement It is my pleasure to present my report as President of the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales. 2010 was a successful year, due largely to a strong and capable Council, including an outstanding Secretary, without whom I could not have performed my role. I am willing to be elected again to be an office bearer in the new year and I hope that I can continue to count on the support of the members of the Council during the coming year to support the newly elected Office Bearers. I would like to encourage other Council members who may be willing, to consider taking on more significant roles of leadership of the Guild in 2011. Annual Report In 2010, the Teachers’ Guild celebrated its 118th year and continued to make a significant contribution to the professional development of teachers within the Independent sector. Council The Guild is led by its Council. In 2010, the Council comprised: 1.
Mrs Leanne Claringbold
Mr Mark Connellan
Miss Amanda Feeney
Nagle Catholic College
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Arden Anglican School
Dr Frederick Osman
Trinity Grammar School
Mr Peter Green
Trinity Grammar School
Mrs Michele Hanwell-Short
Mr Alan Harper
Trinity Grammar School
Mrs Irene Holt
Santa Sabina College
Mrs Anne Johnstone
St Catherine’s School
Dr William Kneprath
Trinity Grammar School
Mrs Kerrie Lesko
Canberra Grammar School
Mrs Judith McMurrich
Hills Grammar School
Mrs Deryn Smyth
Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney (Vice-President)
Mrs Janelle Varlow
Bankstown Grammar School
In early February the Guild accepted the resignation of Sarah Loch from Council as she had begun significant further study and would be unable to assign time to assist the Guild during the year. At the Annual General Meeting this resignation was ratified along with those of Mr Jason Cheers and Mrs Mary Duma. Each one of these members of Council will be sorely missed, as their contributions throughout the years of their service have been valued. As has been Council’s custom in previous years, the Guild resolved to thank Mrs Rosie Stewart from Trinity Grammar School with a gift at Christmas. Mrs Stewart has voluntarily maintained the Guild’s website over the last four years and this has allowed us to exhibit up to date information about our planned professional development through this forum. Financial Accounts Our Treasurer, Mrs Irene Holt is to be congratulated on the management of the Guild’s accounts which have continued to show assets that we can draw on to enable the Guild to deliver our various programs. The Guild resolved to make no changes to our Accountant Mr Ian Kennedy nor our Auditor, Mr John F Shute for the year. Membership Membership has begun to decline as fewer new members are enlisted, despite numbers being relatively strong at the Guild functions. The Guild continues to provide a range of opportunities for educationalists across a broad range of institutions but our membership is not increasing. We value the continued support of our members and their ability to inform others about the Guild’s offerings each year, yet this has not translated into increases in our membership. We also bestowed on Mr Rex Morgan AM MBE, a former President of the Guild, the honour of Life Membership. In 2011, the Guild Council has resolved to make increasing membership a focal point and has determined to set upon a membership drive by sending flyers to many independent schools from the beginning of the year, advertising the Guild’s programs and outlining what the Guild can offer members. The membership fee has been increased to seventy dollars ($70) for 2011. For our functions, incentives will be offered for early bird registrations and group registration in an effort to entice more corporate groups attending. Additionally, the Guild intends to move to communicate more by email to our members to reduce costs and facilitate more effective communication, especially with our younger members. Programme for the year Each year the Council plans a varied programme to provide professionals in Independent schools with a wide choice of activities that reflect current educational issues. Each year the Guild evaluates what changes should be made to our current programs to further meet the needs of our audience. We planned to offer two professional development seminars during the year. The first of our Evening Seminars was held at Sydney University at the Grandstand on Tuesday 16 March and addressed “Mental Health Issues in our Schools”. Professor David Bennett, is an adolescent health physician working to improve the health and wellbeing of young people through responsive health care, collaborative research, professional and community education, networking and advocacy. David is Head of the NSW Centre for the Advancement of Adolescent Health, Chairman of the Board of Management of Ku-ring-gai Youth Development Service, and serves on a number of highlevel State and Commonwealth government policy committees. He is co-author with Professors Leanne Rowe and Bruce Tonge of I just want you to be happy: Preventing and tackling teenage depression, in addition to numerous other books, monographs, chapters and professional articles in the field of adolescent health. This seminar was well supported by nearly 50 participants attending. I would like to offer my thanks to the Conference Convenor, Dr 12
Frederick Osman, who worked tirelessly, to ensure the seminar was a success. The second Evening Seminar was planned with a focus to be on the impact of the digital revolution on assessment and examinations. Unfortunately, the topic was being addressed in many other ways and this resulted in our seminar being cancelled. The Orientation Program continues to fulfill a niche for teachers new to independent schools. It was held on Monday 10 May at Trinity Grammar School. While many schools and other professional organisations offer related programs, the Guild’s sessions have a specific focus on teachers who have recently accepted positions in independent schools and have little experience of the demands this may entail. The Council initiated a new session on “How to Survive” and introduced this as a Q&A session, which was received well. We are grateful that we have been able to call upon educationalists within the Council and within our membership who can offer their expertise to those new to independent schools. Thanks from the Guild must be extended to Mr Milton Cujes, Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School, for providing the venue for this programme. Dr Frederick Osman presented the Council with an exciting alternative to determine the recipient of our Research Award. The Guild is indebted to Dr Osman for showing insight in this matter and working with Council to develop the idea further. On Monday 26 July, the Guild presented the inaugural Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (APPLE) at Santa Sabina College, Strathfield. The new format gave presenters a chance to present their work to colleagues in the audience, allowed reflection about this research and provided the means for all who attended to liaise and confer about the work being presented. The Guild wishes to acknowledge the judging panel of Dr Anthony Loughland (Sydney University), Dr Lloyd Dawe (Consultant) and Mrs Michele Hanwell-Short (Meriden School) who willingly gave of their time and expertise to assess the presentations on the evening. The evening was highly successful with ten different research presentations being submitted for consideration. The Guild also wishes to thank the Principal of Santa Sabina College, Miss Kate Clancy for the use of the premises. The Guild was privileged to have sponsorship from the Coop Bookshop and Education Review. We owe a debt to Dr Osman for his organisation and time in developing this initiative with the Guild and providing an excellent opportunity for new research to be demonstrated to peers for review and recognition. The Annual Guild Awards Dinner was held on Saturday 4 September and was hosted by Trinity Grammar School once again. In 2010, the Awards evening honoured Mrs Jo Karaolis AM. In 1988, Mrs Karaolis was appointed Head of St Catherine’s School, Waverley. Among her achievements in those 15 years were the introduction of scholarships for Aboriginal girls, her design and implementation of a Year 7 course in Applied Psychology to give students the meta-skills to become aware learners, and her introduction of a scope and sequence of generic skills across the Primary and Secondary campuses. After she retired and most recently, Mrs Karaolis took up advocacy for students with disabilities, and was appointed Principal of St Lucy’s School at Wahroonga in 2003, a position she continues to hold 7 years later. Prior to the Awards evening, a large number of applications for each of the awards presented, had been thoroughly screened and interviews had taken place, to determine the awardees. I wish to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the Teachers’ Guild to all the people who generously gave of their time to ensure these processes were undertaken. The Junior Division winner was Melanie McPherson from Newington College and the Senior Division winner was John Clancy from St Jospeh’s College. The Guild takes pride in its ability to acknowledge the skills these early teachers have developed and wish them every success in the future. Once again, the Teachers’ Guild was supported by the University of Sydney’s Master of Teaching program in selecting a suitable candidate to award a scholarship in recognition of the high level of teacher training the University of Sydney provides. The winner in 2010 was Kimberley De Dekker. It was with great pleasure that both Mr Harper and I attended the Scholarship and Prize Ceremony at Sydney University when Kimberley De Dekker was presented with this Award by Her Excellency Professor Marie Bashir AC CVO on Wednesday July 28.
The Research Award was presented to Meera Varadharajan who undertook research to investigate and understand the experiences of second career beginning teachers in schools and the way these experiences impact on schools and classroom teaching. Special commendation was also given to Ruth Targett for her work on motivating middle school student perception of interest, choice and challenge in the classroom and Prue Salter for her work about developing self regulated learners in secondary schools. It was with great pleasure that the Guild acknowledged and celebrated not only the 60th year of Guild membership but also the 90th Birthday of Miss Phyllis Evans MBE. Miss Evans remains a member of the Teachers’ Guild, despite retiring some years ago as Principal at Ravenswood School. She is a stalwart supporter of the Guild and many of its Council members and we wish Miss Evans many more years of good health. To Mr Milton Cujes, Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School we extend our thanks for his continued support of the Teachers’ Guild and his readiness to allow the school to host our functions. As the year drew to a close, the final function was our annual Christmas Celebration, held on December 12. All Councillors were invited to the President’s home to celebrate another successful year with good food and excellent company as they cruised the Georges River. Proceedings of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales The Proceedings was collated throughout the year and has been the sole responsibility of Mrs Judith McMurrich. She has worked diligently to modify and prepare material for this publication which will be released early in 2011. I would like to thank Mrs McMurrich for her tireless efforts in the production of this publication, and also to acknowledge the efforts of Mrs Deryn Smyth who has spent time proof reading the documents prior to publishing. New Ventures Dr Fred Osman suggesting that the Guild engage in a joint venture with the Australian College of Educators and he has been instrumental in developing this new venture which became a reality in the form of the conference “Fresh Approach to Education” on 17 – 19 September. The Guild undertook to organise and coordinate a joint session to showcase the diversity of the teaching profession by engaging a group of inspirational young teachers who would present a 30 minute address.
This proved to be highly successful and the Guild wishes to
acknowledge both Dr Osman and Mrs Claringbold for their parts in this venture. It is the aim of the Teachers’ Guild to maintain a high degree of integrity and ensure that we develop programs that cater for the changing needs of both our present, but also, our future members. To this end, we have endeavoured throughout the year to seek accreditation from the NSW Institute of Teachers for our series of seminars and orientation program. To date this has been a frustrating process, but the Council will persist in its endeavours as the end result could benefit the Guild greatly and make our programs more appealing to teachers new to the profession. An offshoot of APPLE has been the suggestion of the Guild undertaking to organise a network for second-career teachers and Mrs Anne Johnstone, a second career teacher herself, has agreed to initiate this by hosting an inaugural breakfast early in the year to launch this network. 2011 promises to be a year of greater challenges and change as the National Curriculum becomes a reality for us working in schools, yet the information and resources that support this are limited. The Teachers’ Guild must keep in touch with current issues if we are to remain in the forefront of professional associations. For in God you have been enriched in every way – in all your speaking and in all your knowledge. 1 Corinthians 1: 5
TEACHER’S GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES ANNUAL REPORT, 2011 Mrs Frances Fleeton President, The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales Personal Statement It is my pleasure to present my report as President of the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales. 2011 was a successful year, due largely to a small band in our strong and capable Council, including an outstanding Secretary, Mr Alan Harper and Vice President, Dr Frederick Osman, without whom I could not have performed my role. I am willing to be elected again to be an office bearer in the new year and I hope that I can continue to count on the support of the members of the Council during the coming year to support the newly elected Office Bearers. I would like to encourage other Council members who may be willing, to consider taking on more significant roles of leadership of the Guild in 2012. Annual Report In 2011, the Teachers’ Guild celebrated its 119th year and continued to make a significant contribution to the professional development of teachers within the Independent sector. Council The Guild is led by its Council. In 2011, the Council comprised: 1.
Mrs Leanne Claringbold
Mr Mark Connellan
Miss Amanda Feeney
Nagle Catholic College
Mrs Frances Fleeton
Arden Anglican School (President)
Mr Peter Green
Trinity Grammar School
Mrs Michele Hanwell-Short
Mr Alan Harper
Trinity Grammar School (Secretary)
Mrs Irene Holt
Santa Sabina College (Treasurer – On Long Service Leave)
Mrs Anne Johnstone
St Catherine’s School (Maternity Leave from Term 2)
Dr William Kneprath
Trinity Grammar School
Miss Kerrie Lesko
Mr Colin May
Al Sadiq College
Mrs Judith McMurrich
St Andrew’s Primary School, Marayong
Dr Frederick Osman
Trinity Grammar School (Vice-President)
Mrs Deryn Smyth
Presbyterian Ladies College, Sydney (Vice-President)
In early February the Guild accepted the resignation from Council from Mrs Janelle Varlow, as she felt that she would be unable to assign time to assist the Guild during the year. At the Annual General Meeting her resignation was ratified. In July, we sadly received the resignation of Mrs Michele Hanwell-Short, as she was unable to give sufficient time to the Guild due to work commitments and health issues. In mid-November, we were also advised by Dr William Kneprath that he wished to cease his membership immediately from the Guild. Each one of these members of Council will be sorely missed as their contributions throughout the years of their service have been valued. Lastly in February, we have been notified by Mrs Anne Johnstone that she no longer feels that she has sufficient time to manage being an active part of Council due to her increased family responsibilities as well as her full time role at Deputy at St Catherine’s. It is with deep regret that we accept this resignation as Mrs Johnstone was an integral part of our Second Career Teacher group. As has been Council’s custom in previous years, the Guild resolved to thank Mrs Rosie Stewart from Trinity Grammar School with a gift at Christmas. Mrs Stewart has voluntarily maintained the Guild’s website over the last five years and this has allowed us to exhibit up to date information about our planned professional development through this forum. Financial Accounts Our Treasurer, Mrs Irene Holt who undertook Long Service leave throughout 2011, was ably assisted by our Secretary, Mr Alan Harper, who undertook the management of the Guild’s accounts and they have continued to show assets that we can draw on to enable the Guild to deliver our various programs. The Guild resolved to make no changes to our Accountant Mr Ian Kennedy nor our Auditor, Mr John F Shute for the year. Membership Membership has continued to stagnate as fewer new members are enlisted, despite numbers being relatively strong at the Guild functions. The Guild continues to provide a range of opportunities for educationalists across a broad range of institutions but our membership is not increasing. We value the continued support of our members and their ability to inform others about the Guild’s offerings each year, yet this has not translated into increases in our membership. In November, the Guild bestowed on Mrs Frances Fleeton, the current President of the Guild, the honour of Life Membership, which she humbly accepted. In 2012, the Guild Council will once again resolve to make increasing membership a focal point and has determined to set upon a membership drive by sending flyers to many independent schools from the beginning of the year, advertising the Guild’s programs and outlining what the Guild can offer members. The Teachers’ Guild will also engage in joint sponsorship with the Australian College of Educators in an effort to attract more members from a wider range of institutions and interests. The membership fee remains at seventy dollars ($70) for 2012. For our functions, incentives will be offered for early bird registrations and group registration in an effort to entice more corporate groups attending. Additionally, the Guild intends to continue to communicate more by email to our members to reduce costs and facilitate more effective communication, especially with our younger members. Programme for the year Each year the Council plans a varied programme to provide professionals in Independent schools with a wide choice of activities that reflect current educational issues. Each year the Guild evaluates what changes should be made to our current programs to further meet the needs of our audience.
We planned to offer two professional development seminars during the year. The first of our Evening Seminars was held at Sydney University at the Grandstand on Wednesday 2 March and focussed on “Where Are We At With the Australian Curriculum?”. Mr Robert Randall, General Manager of Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), is a well-respected and knowledgeable educator who spoke authoritatively about the state of the Australian Curriculum and ways in which educators could continue to be involved in the consultation process.
He openly invited us to take part in this and encouraged us to be proactive in its
implementation. This seminar was well supported by nearly 50 participants attending. The second Evening Seminar was planned with a focus on “Where is Education Heading in Australia?” This was held on Monday 31 October, at the same venue. The seminar was excellent and featured Mr Mark Scott, Managing Director of the ABC and Jane Caro, author and social commentator. The attendance was disappointing, although those who were able to attend benefitted from an outstanding evening at which our presenters complemented each other in their view of where education may be heading. I would like to offer my thanks to the Conference Convenor, Dr Frederick Osman, who worked tirelessly, to ensure the seminars were a success. As a follow up to our Research Award winner from 2010 and her interest in how second career teachers’ manage once they have been employed in schools, The Guild introduced a Breakfast Seminar, where second career teachers were invited to hear from our Research Award Winner, Meera Varadharajan, about her research and how their experiences as new teachers impacted their students. This was held at St Catherine’s School on Monday 28 March, attended by more than 10 teachers and ably hosted by Mrs Anne Johnstone, herself a second career teacher. The Survival Guide to Teachers New to Independent Schools continues to fulfil a niche for teachers new to independent schools. It was held on Monday 2 May at Trinity Grammar School. While many schools and other professional organisations offer related programs, the Guild’s sessions have a specific focus on teachers who have recently accepted positions in independent schools and have little experience of the demands this may entail. While the attendance was poor those who did attend gained much from the presentations, which focussed on the core business of teachers new to Independent schools. We are grateful that we have been able to call upon educationalists within the Council and within our membership who can offer their expertise to those new to independent schools. Thanks from the Guild must be extended to Mr Milton Cujes, Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School, for providing the venue for this programme, once again. On Monday 25 July, the Guild presented the Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening (APPLE) at Trinity Grammar School. The format gave presenters a chance to present their work to colleagues in the audience, allowed reflection about this research and provided the means for all who attended to liaise and confer about the work being presented.
The Guild wishes to acknowledge the judging panel of Dr Anthony Loughland (Sydney
University), Meera Varadharajan (Winner, 2010), Mr Stuart Braga (Retired) and Mrs Michele Hanwell-Short (Meriden School) who willingly gave of their time and expertise to assess the presentations on the evening. The evening was highly successful with eight different research presentations being submitted for consideration. The Guild also wishes to thank the Principal of Trinity Grammar School, Mr Milton Cujes for the use of the premises. The Guild was privileged to have sponsorship from the Coop Bookshop and Education Review. We owe a debt to Dr Osman for his organisation and time in developing this initiative with the Guild and providing an excellent opportunity for new research to be demonstrated to peers for review and recognition. The Annual Guild Awards Dinner was held on Saturday 3 September and was hosted by Trinity Grammar School once again. In 2011, the Awards evening honoured Miss Phyllis Evans MBE. Miss Evans is the longest serving member of the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales, having joined the organisation in 1946. In her long and distinguished career, a deep commitment to the Guild was consistently intertwined with her other heavy professional commitments. She was appointed as Headmistress of Ravenswood School for Girls at Gordon in
1962. In that role, she served for 25 years until her retirement, overseeing the school through a number of very significant changes. These included considerable growth of the school with associated building programs, the introduction of the Wyndham Scheme and the transfer of the school from the Methodist Church to the new Uniting Church in Australia. Miss Evans served as Secretary of the Guild 1949-1957, and as President 1967-1969, while her service as a Councillor lasted continuously from 1949-1978. When the Guild was involved in teacher training, she chaired the Teacher Training Committee (1969-1972) and was the foundation Chair of the Council of the Guild College (1973-1976). She was made a Life Member of the Guild in 1979, and has remained active in the association’s affairs ever since. Her contributions to her chosen profession extended beyond the Guild to the Australian College of Educators (of which she is a Fellow), the Association of Independent Schools, and a number of Heads’ associations and parliamentary and government advisory committees. In 1983 Miss Evans was created a Member of the British Empire (MBE) in recognition of her lifetime of service to Education in Australia. Prior to the Awards evening, a number of applications for each of the awards presented, had been thoroughly screened and interviews had taken place, to determine the awardees. I wish to express my sincere thanks on behalf of the Teachers’ Guild to all the people who generously gave of their time to ensure these processes were undertaken. The Junior Division winner was Philippa Small from Arden Anglican School and the Senior Division winner was Alan Blake from Macarthur Anglican School. The Guild takes pride in its ability to acknowledge the skills these early teachers have developed and wish them every success in the future. Once again, the Teachers’ Guild was supported by the University of Sydney’s Master of Teaching program in selecting a suitable candidate to award a scholarship in recognition of the high level of teacher training the University of Sydney provides. The winner in 2011 was Jessica Wickenden. It was with great pleasure that both Mr Harper and I attended the Scholarship and Prize Ceremony at Sydney University when Jessica Wickenden was presented with this Award on Tuesday 26 July. The Research Award was presented to Erin Mackenzie of Meriden School, whose research was entitled “Perceptions of Primary to Secondary School Transitions: Challenge or Threat”. The Guild also commends highly, Lucy Macken of Kambala for her research “Lending Learning a helping Hand” and Christine Grima-Parrell from the Australian Catholic University, whose research was entitled “Identifying factors that bridge the research to practice gap in inclusive education: An analysis of six research to practice case studies”. As the year drew to a close, the final function was our annual Christmas Celebration, held on December 13. All Councillors were invited to the President’s home to celebrate another successful year with good food and excellent company as they cruised the Georges River. Proceedings of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales The Proceedings was collated throughout the year and has been the sole responsibility of Mrs Judith McMurrich. She has worked diligently to modify and prepare material for this publication, which was released early in 2011. I would like to thank Mrs McMurrich for her tireless efforts in the production of this publication, and also to acknowledge the efforts of Mrs Deryn Smyth who has spent time proof reading the documents prior to publishing. New Ventures It is the aim of the Teachers’ Guild to maintain a high degree of integrity and ensure that we develop programs that cater for the changing needs of both our present, but also, our future members. To this end, we have endeavoured throughout the year to seek accreditation from the NSW Institute of Teachers for our series of seminars and orientation program. To date this has been a frustrating process and unfortunately, the final decision from the Institute of Teachers’ is that they are unable to provide our programs with their accreditation, although the Guild’s offerings could still be counted as hours of professional development.
Another initiative that the Guild trialled late in the year was to provide the opportunity for our members and interested others to have tours of premises that our members could use in the future. The first of these tours was held on Monday 14 November at the Australian National Maritime Museum, and our host was Mrs Lauris Harper. Although a small band of supporters attended, the tour was very informative and most useful, and we will pursue other connections for future visits to facilities in 2012. Additionally, as the Guild endeavours to be more visible in the educational sector, the Guild Council resolved to purchase a pull – up banner which can be displayed at Guild events. My thanks to Dr Osman for initiating this purchase and we look forward to seeing this in action at upcoming events. The Guild Council is looking ahead to our organisation’s 120th Anniversary in 2012. One of our Life Members, Mr Rick Stevens, has very graciously volunteered to update aspects of our history by collating information about Life Members, Presidents, Secretaries and others significant in the life of the Guild over the years. Some of this was done for the centenary celebration in 1992, and the publication of Beverley Fletcher’s excellent history of the Guild. Rick will update that information, but also add some other categories, acknowledging significant people in our past. Naturally, we will seek assistance for Rick from our other members throughout the year. As mentioned last year, 2012 – our 120th Anniversary year - promises to be a year of challenges and change as the National Curriculum becomes a greater reality for us working in schools, yet the information and resources that support continue to be limited. The Teachers’ Guild must keep in touch with current issues if we are to remain in the forefront of professional associations. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world. - Albert Einstein
ANNUAL POSTER LECTURE EVENING (APPLE) REFLECTION REPORT, 2011 - 2012 Dr Frederick Osman 2011 - 2012 APPLE Convenor and Vice-President of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales held its second and third Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evenings on Monday 25 July 2011 and Monday 23 July 2012, respectively, at Trinity Grammar School, Dining Hall, from 6.00 to 8.00pm. The purpose of the Annual Poster Presentation Lecture Evening is to: • • • •
Give presenters a chance to present their research work to a learned audience in the friendly environment of a school setting. Allow for reflection of the presenters’ proposed research and progress achievements. Recognise a research-based contribution to improve classroom practices. Give the presenters the opportunity to liaise with other presenters, students, academics, staff, visitors and past students.
These awards were created to encourage excellence in research work, and all nominees who participated in these awards had an opportunity to compete for the $1000 Guild Research Award Prize, $500 COOP Bookshop prize and special certificate recognising the nominee’s high standing. The Guild seeks to promote its core values and to assist the teaching profession by a range of activities and APPLE is one of its new activities which recognizes a Researchbased contribution to improve classroom practices. This new format and approach to presenting current research to peers in education highlights the positive work being done to ensure education continues to move forward into the future. Each presenter had one poster board (2.1 metres high by 1.2 metres wide) to present their research work. The poster presentation session was designed to be a powerful alternative presentation using stimulating layout and interactive discussion. The presenters were given five minute introductions to “sell” their posters to the audience. The five minute introductions gave a much higher profile to the posters, intended to “break the ice” for further discussions during the poster sessions. I would like to thank our judging panels for their time and dedication in judging the posters. In 2011, the judging panel consisted of: • • • •
Dr Anthony Loughland – University of Sydney Mr Stuart Braga Mrs Meera Varadharajan – University of Technology Sydney Ms Michele Hanwell-Short (Chair of judging panel) – Meriden School
In 2012, the judging panel consisted of: • • • •
Dr Norman McCulla, Macquarie University Mr Stuart Braga Ms Erin Mackenzie, Meriden School Ms Michele Hanwell--Short (Chair of judging panel), Meriden School
The judges ranked the candidates according to: − −
Content and scientific quality Clarity and presentation skills
The 2011 winners for the following categories were: Guild Research Award Winner Erin Mackenzie, Meriden School Highly Commended Award Lucy Macken, Kambala Highly Commended Award Christine Grima-Farrell, Australian Catholic University. The 2012 winners for the following categories were: Guild Research Award Winner Noelene Callaghan, Macquarie University Highly Commended Award Nola Norris, University of Wollongong Encouragement Award Clint Sheehan, Australian Catholic University It was wonderful to see so much diversity and such talented educators presenting at APPLE in 2011 and 2012. The Guild would like to acknowledge the wonderful posters from the participants and wish them all the very best for the future. The poster summaries and some contributed papers of the presenters are included in this Proceedings. I would like to thank our sponsor, the COOP bookshop, for contributing towards the prizes of this event. To Mr Milton Cujes, Headmaster of Trinity Grammar School we extend our thanks for his continued support of the Teachersâ€™ Guild and his readiness to allow the school to host our functions.
POSTER PRESENTATIONS, 2011 SUPPORTING TRANSITION: THE ROLE OF STRESS AND COPING Erin Mackenzie, Meriden School / Macquarie University Transition: What are the issues? The schooling environment The environment of secondary school is incredibly different to that of primary school. There is greater emphasis placed on evaluation of students and grading is stricter and more formalised (Benner & Graham, 2009; Anderson, et al., 2000; Wigfield, et al., 1991). Secondary school is also larger, far more competitive (Demetriou, Goalen & Rudduck, 2000) and tends to value ability rather than effort (Jackson & Warin, 2000). This coupled with the decreased focus on individual students, “produces experiences of fragmentation and isolation” (Howard & Johnson, 2004, p. 1) in many students. A recent study found that the transition into a larger school produces decreased feelings of belonging (Benner & Graham, 2009). This is potentially amplified by the movement away from the “seemingly familiar and safe environment of the primary school” (Pratt & George, 2005, p.16) that is typified by attention given to individual students on a regular basis (Tonkin & Watt, 2003). Merely ‘keeping up’ with schoolwork is considered a major challenge for students moving from primary to secondary school (Howard & Johnson, 2004). Pressure to achieve academically comes from a variety of sources, including parents, teachers, peers and even anxiety regarding future social and economic status (Walkerdine, et al., 2001). This aspect of transition is problematic because: “…part of the endless grading and sorting of human beings that inevitably lead to success and privilege for some and failure and low status for others” (Howard & Johnson, 2004, p.6). A drop in school performance can lead to a decrease in self-worth, and put a heavy strain on coping mechanisms (Longaretti, 2006), which in itself is a significant issue for students at such a young age. At the same time, students are forced to adapt to different teacher expectations and teaching styles (Pratt & George, 2005; Crockett, et al., 1989), again placing further demands on their ability to cope with change. Peer influences during transition Adolescence is a time when students perceive social acceptance to be paramount (Gerner & Wilson, 2005). This is greatly intensified during primary to secondary transition, when the formation of new social groups is at its peak. In their study of approximately 200 English students, Chedzoy and Burden (2005) found that students identify ‘fitting in’ and making friends as being of utmost importance during the transition period. Similar findings have been made by Australian researchers (Howard & Johnson, 2004), who have concluded that the key transition challenges are making friends, ‘fitting in’ and dealing with bullying. If these are the key concerns that students have during the primary to secondary transition, then it follows that students will tend towards behaviours and attitudes that they perceive to increase the likelihood of a positive outcome - that is, enabling them to belong to a social group. Indeed, there is heightened concern with image and status during the transition period (Pratt & George, 2005). This is likely to be further amplified by students being displaced from the top of the social hierarchy in primary school to the bottom in secondary school: “From being the oldest, most responsible, best known and most demonstrably able – both academically and physically – these children became the youngest, least knowing and least known members of the community in which they find themselves.” (Summerfield, 1986, p.11)
Additionally, student’s self-concept plunges over this period (Tonkin & Watt, 2003). In turn, this would serve to augment the need for students to find their place within new social groups. In a recent study of approximately 500 early adolescent girls, it was found that peer relationships were more influential on their self-concept than academic achievement (Roeser, et al. 2008). Furthermore, supportive friendship groups during the transition period “…function as protective factors as they enhance the adaptability of a person” (Longaretti, 2006). Peer influences have the capacity to shape the way in which adolescents perceive themselves, and this is intensified during the primary to secondary school transition. While these issues are extremely significant, it is important to remember that transition is a necessary part of the journey through schooling. As a result, it has an effect on all students to a varying degree (Anderson, Jacobs, Schramm & Splittgerber, 2000). For some students, transition experiences are very negative and have lasting ramifications on their academic performance and overall wellbeing. However, for the majority of students, negative effects are relatively short term (Anderson, Jacobs, Schramm & Splittgerber, 2000). It is for this reason that transition research has focused on the identification of factors that may improve transition outcomes and facilitate positive transition experiences. Perceptions of stress The primary to secondary school transition is considered a stressful life event because of the environmental, social and pubertal changes that occur concurrently. It is therefore useful to consider psychological theories on stress response as a theoretical basis for investigating transition issues, which offer explanations and insights into perceptions of stressful life events. One such theory is Lazarus’ cognitive-transactional stress theory, which describes the individual’s appraisal of a stressful situation as being the main factor in the actual stress associated with the event (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). The cognitive-transactional theory considers the appraisal of the situation – as a challenge or threat or loss – as being the most influential component of the stress associated with the situation (Lazarus & Folkman, 1984). There are specific situational responses elicited, depending on the perception of the event. For example, if a situation was perceived as being threatening or damaging, psychological stress would follow as a result of anxiety about harm or loss. If the same situation was appraised as an opportunity for growth, then a positive and well-balanced emotional response would follow. In terms of primary to secondary transitions, if a student were to perceive transition as a challenge, or an opportunity to master the situation, then emotions such as eagerness, happiness and excitement would result (Sirsch, 2003). Conversely, those students who feel anxious or fearful of the transition would appraise it as an anticipated harm or loss. An important study by Sirsch (2003) has approached primary to secondary school transition using the cognitive-transactional theory with Austrian schoolchildren. Findings from this study indicate that the predominant attitude towards transition from primary to secondary school is positive (challenging). Furthermore, personal factors (e.g. social anxiety and self-concept) were predictors of perceiving the transition as a threat. As educators, we should surely strive to not only reduce perceptions of threat, but to increase feelings of challenge. While we cannot necessarily remove the stress of the situation, we can aim to redirect our students’ perceptions of transition to be challenging – that is, an opportunity to improve and master the challenge of high school. The importance of transition programs and strategies will be discussed below. Facilitating positive transitions This section will address some of the strategies that teachers and schools can employ to support students through the transition to secondary school. It will also identify some of the personal protective factors that individual students may have – and how these can be reinforced.
Factors external to the student Transition programs have been implemented in primary and secondary schools to support students as they navigate the changes between the two schooling types (NTCOGSO, 2005). These programs vary in their content and delivery from school to school. Programming for transition programs must meet the specific needs of students at a particular school, but may focus on aspects such as increasing familiarity with the secondary school, teaching study and organisation strategies and supporting formation of new social groups. Given that many of the problematic aspects of transition stem from the differences that exist between the primary and secondary school environment (for example, increased focus on grading (Benner & Graham, 2009), increased size (Demetriou, Goalen & Rudduck, 2000), different teaching styles and school organisation (NTCOGSO, 2005)), there may be some benefit in reducing some of these differences. Having an older sibling at the secondary school has been found to be a protective factor in supporting primary to secondary transition (Rice, 1997). This may be due to the experience and information that they can provide to the younger sibling (Anderson, Jacobs, Schramm & Splittgerber, 2000). This suggests that fostering relationships between students in the transition period and older students (e.g. in the form of peer support that continues from Year 6 to Year 7) may be a useful strategy to support transition. This social support has the potential to be beneficial to students who are experiencing a flux in friendship groups, and older students can also be a source of information about the school, assessment procedures and other topics of concern to students during transition. Social support is an important factor in coping for adolescents (Frydenberg, 2008). While friendship groups are particularly dynamic in the first years of secondary school, there are some strategies that teachers can employ to foster development of peer relationships. Students who are seen by their peers to be supported by their teacher are more accepted by their peers (Hughes, Cavell & Willson, 2001). Employing cooperative learning activities invite peer groups to be responsible for how members of the group are treated â€“ that is, students learn socially responsible behaviour by sharing their knowledge and helping one another (Watkins & Wentzel, 2002). Behavioural standards should be consistently referred to in the classroom to model appropriate ways in which to treat peers. Access to positive peer relationships during transition is paramount and should be a priority for all teachers. Another distinct change from primary to secondary school that students are confronted with is having less personal relationships with teachers (Mizelle, 1995). This is a distinct social discontinuity that stems from having one main teacher in primary school and moving to a range of subject specific teachers in secondary school. Teachers being accessible to students in secondary school is considered to support transition (Anderson, Jacobs, Schramm & Splittgerber, 2000). This teacher availability can be further complemented by getting to know individual students and their needs during the early years of secondary school. Furthermore, it has been found that social support from teachers significantly increases feelings of happiness in adolescents (Natvig, Albrektsen & Qvarnstrom, 2003). Personal protective factors Anderson and colleagues (2000) argue that it is necessary for students to be prepared for secondary school if they are going to navigate the transition successfully. Their concept of preparedness includes the following: -
being academically ready for the next school level â€“ both in terms of knowledge and skills; having effective coping mechanisms for dealing with academic and social issues; ability to conform to adult standards of behaviour; and being able to stay on-task independently.
It follows that transition programs should assist students in developing their preparedness for secondary schools. Coping in particular is of great importance, as coping skills are required in all phases of life, and positive coping strategies are likely to increase the likelihood of success in navigating future negative events (Frydenberg, 2008). While there are structured programs that can be implemented to improve coping (e.g. Best of Coping (Frydenberg & Brandon, 2002)), informal instruction that includes student evaluation of coping strategies has the potential to
improve resilience. For example, discussion surrounding the effectiveness of worry or self-blame may assist students in being aware of, and reducing their use of these non-productive coping strategies. Transition programs can be strengthened by incorporating discussion of productive and non-productive coping strategies. Finally, self-esteem is of vital importance during the transition to secondary school. Transition is “a period where an individual’s sense of worth and competence are particularly vulnerable” (Jindal-Snape & Miller, 2008, p. 226), resulting in significant research interest in the impact of primary to secondary school transition on self-esteem (for example, Jindal-Snape & Miller, 2008; Tonkin & Watt, 2003; Zanobini & Usai, 2002; Wigfield, Eccles, Iver, Reuman, & Midgley, 1991). Such studies have indicated that student’s self-esteem drops across the transition period. Selfesteem is seen as an important buffer that can enable people to withstand difficulties and hardships (Mruk, 1999), and therefore plays a vital role in a student’s ability to navigate the transition period successfully. Furthermore, low self-esteem is linked to many mental illnesses, such as depression (Pelkonen, Marttunen, Kaprio, & Huurre , 2008), anxiety (Greenberg, et al., 1992) and eating disorders (Button, Sonuga-Barke, & Davies, 1996). Self-esteem is tested during primary to secondary school transition because there are concurrent and significant changes to environment, responses required and relationships (Jindal-Snape & Miller, 2008). It is imperative that students’ positive beliefs about themselves and their abilities are fostered by schools, teachers and transition programs. Self-worth is highly dependent on the relationships that we have with others and their expectations (Jindal-Snape & Miller, 2008). As teachers, we can influence the self-worth of students by setting achievable and transparent expectations, and by being aware that new student-teacher relationships are a source of uncertainty for students. Self-competence may be challenged by the discontinuities between the primary and secondary school environments (Jindal-Snape & Miller, 2008), and transition programs have the potential to reduce some of these differences. References Anderson, L., Jacobs, J., Schramm, S. & Splittgerber, F. (2000) School transitions: Beginning of the end or a new beginning? International Journal of Educational Research, 33, 325-339. Benner, A. & Graham, S. (2009) The transition to high school as a developmental process among multiethnic urban youth. Child Development, 80 (2), 356–376 Chedzoy, S. & Burden, R. (2005) Making the move: Assessing student attitudes to primary-secondary school transfer. Research in Education, 74, 22-35. Crockett, L., Petersen, A., Graber, J., Schulenberg, J. & Ebata, A. (1989) School transition and adjustment during early adolescence. Journal of Early Adolescence, 9 (3), 181-210 Demetriou, H., Goalen, P. & Rudduck, J. (2000) Academic performance, transfer, transition and friendship: listening to the student voice. International Journal of Educational Research, 33(4), 425-441. Frydenberg, E. & Brandon, C. (2002). The Best of coping: Developing coping skills for adolescence instructor’s manual. South Melbourne: Oz Child. Frydenberg, E. (2008). Adolescent Coping: Advances in theory, research and practice. London: Routledge Gerner, B. & Wilson, P. (2005) The relationship between friendship factors and adolescent girls’ body image concern, body dissatisfaction, and restrained eating. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 37, 313-320. Howard, S. & Johnson, B. (2004) Transition from primary to secondary school : Possibilities and paradoxes. AARE 2004 Conference Papers: Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, 28 November - 2 December 2004. Melbourne : Australian Association for Research in Education Hughes, J., Cavell ,T. & Willson, V. (2001) Further support for the developmental significance of the quality of the teacher– student relationship. Journal of School Psychology, 39, 289–301. Jackson, C. & Warin, J.(2000) The importance of gender as an aspect of identity at key transition points in compulsory education. British Educational Research Journal, 26(3), 375-391.
Jindal-Snape, D. & Miller, D. (2008) A challenge of living? Understanding the psycho-social processes of the child during primary-secondary transition through resilience and self-esteem theories. Educational Psychology Review, 20, 217-236. Lazarus, R. & Folkman, S. (1984) Stress, appraisal and coping. New York: Springer. Longaretti, L. (2006) School transition: Aspirations and inspirations. AARE 2006 Conference Papers: Conference of the Australian Association for Research in Education, December 2006. Melbourne : Australian Association for Research in Education Mizelle, N. B. (1995). Transition from middle school to high school: The student perspective. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, San Francisco. Mruk, C. J (1999) Self-Esteem: Research, Theory and Practice. London: Springer Publishing Company. Natvig, G., Albrektsen, G. & Qvarnstrøm, U. (2003) Associations between psychosocial factors and happiness among school adolescents. International Journal of Nursing Practice, 9, 166-175. Northern Territory Council of Government School Organisations (NTCOGSO) (2005). A review of middle schooling concepts and approaches. Available URL: http://www.ntcogso.org.au/topics/pdf's/A%20Review%20Of%20Middle%20School%20Concepts%20&%20Approaches. pdf accessed 20/10/2010) Pelkonen, M., Marttunen, M., Kaprio, J., & Huurre , T. (2008). Adolescent risk factors for episodic and persistent depression in adulthood: A 16-year prospective follow-up study of adolescents. Journal of Affective Disorders , 106, 123-131. Pratt, S. & George, R. (2005) Transferring friendships: Girls’ and boys’ friendships in the transition from primary to secondary school. Children & Society, 19, 16-26. Rice, J. (1997). Explaining the negative impact of the transition from middle to high school on student performance in mathematics and science: An examination of school discontinuity and student background variables. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Chicago. Roeser, R., Galloway, M., Casey-Cannon, S. Watson, C., Keller, L. & Tan, E. (2008) Identity representations in patterns of school achievement and well-being among early adolescent girls variable- and person-centered approaches. The Journal of Early Adolescence, 28(1), 115-152. Sirsch, U. (2003) The impending transition from primary to secondary school: Challenge or threat? International Journal of Behavioral Development, 27(5), 385-395 Summerfield, M. (1986) ‘Academic performance after transfer’, in M. Youngman (ed.) Mid-schooling Transfer: Problems and Proposals, Windsor: NFER-Nelson. Tonkin, S. & Watt, H. (2003) Self-concept over the transition from primary to secondary school: A case study on a program for girls. Issues in Educational Research, 13(2), 27-54. Walkerdine, V., Lucey, H. & Melody, J. (2001) Growing up girl: psychosocial explorations of gender and class. London: Palgrave Watkins, D. & Wentzel, K. (2002) Peer relationships and collaborative learning as contexts for academic enablers. School Psychology Review, 33, 366-371. Wigfield, A., Eccles, J., Iver, D., Reuman, D. & Midgley, C. (1991) Transitions during early adolescence: Changes in children’s domain-specific self-perceptions and general self-esteem across the transition to junior high school. Developmental Psychology, 27, 552-565. Zanobini, M., & Usai, M. (2002). Domain-specific self-concept and achievement motivation in the transition from primary to low middle school. Educational Psychology , 22, 203-217.
RECOGNISING THE NEOMILLENNIAL LEARNER. CAN A ‘BLENDED LEARNING’ APPROACH, WITH AN IB INQUIRY BASED LEARNING PROGRAMME, MOTIVATE STUDENTS AND EXTEND LEARNING BEYOND THE CLASSROOM? Jonathan Butcher, Trinity Grammar School Vygotsky explored the child’s desire and motivation to learn, considering the role of structured play. He believed social interaction led to the development of cognition; “learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment and in cooperation with his peers” (1978, p.90). It is Vygotsky’s reference to ‘his environment’ that is of significant interest. The learners’ environment changed significantly in the 1980s – ‘A New World Dawns” (Time Magazine Jan. 03, 1983). The ‘neomillennial’ learner is born. This ethnographic study attempts to explore the learner’s environment in all its total complexity. Schenck (undated) provides an insightful neuroeducational account of the accommodation of new information. He explains patterns are processed through a structure called amygdale (an ‘emotional filter’), where the information is examined for personal significance. This personal significance is called salience. The term ‘blended learning’ has gained interest in recent years, suggesting educators combine the various pedagogical approached with neomillennial learning, in authentic settings. The author explores Siemens’ (2004) learning theory of connectivism within the IB PYP conceptual framework, to facilitating authentic experiences within the learners’ progressive digital environment, creating a high salient experience to motivate the neomillennial learner. The work of the Hungarian psychologist Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi helps understand the intrinsic motivation condition of ‘flow’ when one experiences the feeling of being ‘in the zone’. Data will be collected through participant observation, semi-structured interviews and questionnaires, providing an insightful understanding of the students’ motivation and learning experience. This research presents the possibility of exploiting new eLearning technology to facilitate novel play, preparing students for a modern world, rather than one of the past.
CURRICULUM FRAMEWORK FOR INTERNATIONAL PRIMARY EDUCATION USING AN INQUIRY METHODOLOGY Nadia McCallum, Carolyn Rhodes and Sue Floro, Trinity Grammar School Trinity Grammar School is an independent boysâ€™ school in Sydneyâ€™s inner western suburbs. The clientele is comprised of predominantly well-educated professional parents who value education and have high expectations of both their sons and the school. In addition to this we are an IB World School, offering the Primary Years Programme, a curriculum framework for international primary education using an inquiry methodology. Standardised and teacher developed assessment as well as classroom observations suggest that the cohort is significantly above average in ability and performance, particularly in numeracy. This raises the question as to whether the content we deliver and our assessment practices specifically meet the needs of our students or demonstrate the extent of their knowledge and understanding as effectively as they should. The transdisciplinary nature and inquiry based pedagogy required of a PYP school, also means that we need to reevaluate the way Mathematics is delivered in our context. This will also involve changing the mental models staff bring to the planning and facilitation of mathematical learning. We propose to use an Action Research model to determine the effectiveness of our current practices and shape a plan for the future. This particular research approach is reflective of inquiry and facilitates the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data. It will also allow for reflective practice to shape the direction of the research. The aims of the research are to: deliver a rigorous Mathematics curriculum that meets the needs of all students, develop assessment tools that provide measures of learning gain for each student, authentically integrate Mathematics into a transdisciplinary based curriculum and identify areas of need regarding the resourcing for Mathematics in the school.
LENDING LEARNING A HELPING HAND Lucy Macken, Kambala There is a growing body of research to suggest that we can use our hands to help us learn. This study investigates whether the instruction to gesture enhances learning through its cognitive effects, by drawing on the evidence-base of Cognitive Load Theory. Currently, Cognitive Load Theory does not incorporate the potential role haptic (kinaesthetic, tactile or proprioceptive) perception in cognitive processing; this study proposes an expansion of the theory to include considerations of embodied cognition, specifically, the instruction to gesture. Forty-two university-educated adults were either instructed to gesture, or not gesture, as they learnt novel, paperbased materials about the structure and function of the human heart. Subjective ratings were used to measure levels of intrinsic, extraneous and germane cognitive load, respectively. Participants who were instructed to gesture performed better on knowledge tests of terminology and comprehension, however, the instruction to gesture had no effect on subjective ratings of cognitive load. Participants reactions to using or not using their hands while learning were collected and analysed thematically, in order to provide a source of qualitative information regarding the impact of gesture on learning. This study contributes to the research base supporting the development of meaningful ways the instruction to gesture may be included in the educational setting to enhance student learning.
IDENTIFYING FACTORS THAT BRIDGE THE RESEARCH TO PRACTICE GAP IN INCLUSIVE EDUCATION: AN ANALYSIS OF SIX RESEARCH TO PRACTICE CASE STUDIES Christine Grima-Farrell, Australian Catholic University Advances in research on evidence-based practices for educating students with disabilities have generated a strong knowledge base that can underpin efforts to make classrooms more inclusive. Despite these advances, there remains a significant gap between our accumulated knowledge about effective educational practices and the extent to which they are utilized. This inability to bridge the research to practice gap, has an adverse effect on the progress of inclusion in schools and the ability of individual teachers to respond to the needs of all students. This project aims to build on prior knowledge and promote greater comprehension of the factors that both enable and interfere with the successful translation of research to practice (RTP) in inclusive education. The investigation examines six case studies of the application of various research-based practices in diverse educational settings. It employs an ex post facto analysis of the experience of six graduate educators who developed and implemented an applied intervention in an inclusive education setting. The experience involved identifying and implementing an approach that had the potential to directly address student and teacher needs. The cases provide accounts of a range of trajectories in terms of the sustainability and scalability of research-based practice in classroom environments. The implications of this study are three fold. It firstly explores and applies the existing literature on RTP as a framework to investigate the diverse cases. Secondly, it identifies and explains factors that contribute to the status of research based projects in practical applications. This includes the explanation of factors that contribute to both the success and difficulty in sustaining and scaling research-based innovation. Thirdly, this research expands upon RTP knowledge through validating and building upon these assertions to enhance the use of effective educational practices that address the diverse needs of our students.
APPLYING SLOWNESS TO ICT INTEGRATED LEARNING: A VISION FOR THE ‘LONG NOW’ Miriam Tanti, Australian Catholic University This research study developed from the technologically saturated environment in which we all live, which has resulted in ICT rich education being placed high on the political and educational agendas. This in turn resulted in almost instantaneous increase in access to ICT for many schools and classrooms. However, the rationale behind such access appears to be driven by a growing desire to maintain high levels of economic growth and ensure we produce a population who can continue to contribute to this growth. As a result, the Digital Education Revolution neglected time spent on small scale experimentation, so that people could observe what happens and reflect on how the bigger picture is changing and will continue to change for the longer term. Therefore, it appears that the rapid technological change appears to be driving the cult of speed and breeding a culture of fast knowledge. The aim of this research proposal involves developing an understanding of the following: Since there appears to be a strong association between ICT and fast knowledge, a review of the technological practices in education and document/policy analysis, will be conducted to examine the nature and extent of this association. In particular: −
What is the connection between ICT and fast knowledge and why does such a relationship exist?
What valuable things, if any, are we losing because of this association with speed and consequently the loss of slow?
What are the implications of applying a slow pedagogy to inform ICT rich educative practice?
It is hypothesized that if we could shift the focus of the existing educational paradigm that centres technology, the economy and politics to a slower educational paradigm - one that values people, culture, philosophy and time, education could provide an environment “where students have time to discuss, argue, reflect upon knowledge and ideas, and so come to understand themselves and the culture they will inherit” (Holt, 2004, p. 1). This research project will explore the intertwined connections between technology and accelerated cycles of change and how the concept of slow could alter such cycles.
L2 NATIVE SPEAKER TEACHERS’ PERSPECTIVES Ingrid Weiss, University of Technology Australia is a multicultural nation which is awakening to the phenomenon of the ‘global village.’ Linguists and economists have suggested that the monolingual English speaker in future generations will be at a competitive disadvantage compared to those who speak a second or third language. Australia is currently aiming to adopt language teaching models from overseas which introduce second and third languages in the primary grades via the use of foreign native speakers. In 2009, only one government elementary school in NSW featured a bilingual / immersion language program staffed with L2 native speakers who taught in classrooms 50% of each day across all curriculum areas. However, by mid-2009 the government had sought expressions of interest for other schools to develop similar bilingual programs and made a four year funding commitment to sponsor four schools willing to undertake bilingual education. Additionally, many schools in Sydney’s metropolitan area are adopting the use of L2 Native speakers in the primary school classrooms. This research aims to investigate the L2 native speakers’ experiences working collegially within Australian primary schools with monolingual Australian teachers. In seeking to capture the variations between the L2 native-speaking teachers’ experiences from different cultures as they adjust/adapt in their roles in an unfamiliar education system, a positive outcome would be to provide a more detailed picture of learning to be an L2 teacher/teacher assistant in an Australian Context, developing crosscultural pedagogical understanding and influencing Australian school staffing allocation. A phenomenographical approach will be used in the data-generation process to determine the variations of L2 experience according to personal, cultural, school, social and environmental factors. Narrative Inquiry will be used to explicate the school setting and individual teacher background.
FOSTERING ‘CREATIVITY’ IN PRESERVICE PRIMARY ART TEACHERS Bronwen Wade-Leeuwen, Macquarie University The Australian National Professional Standards for Teachers (2010) expects graduates to ‘Develop critical and creative thinking and resources to engage students and draw on local, national and global content through virtual and/or real environments for their programs’ (p14). This research on ‘Creativity’ investigates the perspectives of final year preservice primary art teachers who are participating in a Sydney university arts-based program. It joins a growing body of participatory action research inquiry in the wider field of educational practice and adopts several contemporary theoretical frameworks that challenge traditional art-based programs. This poster illustrates how ‘Creativity’ can be fostered using crosscultural material practices. This study draws upon the theories of Torrance, (1974) ‘Creativity’ tendencies; Eisner’s ‘Typology of Creativity’ (1972); aspects from the Reggio Emilia Philosophy (Edwards et al. 1993); Brook’s (2002) Vygotskian social constructionist perspective and Moku ink-splash (2005) drawing methods. The example in this poster highlights Shanghai’s contemporary artist, Professor Wang Tainde who uses his native language to discuss how he develops ‘Creativity’ in his artwork “Gushan”. This 3-D artwork then became the stimulus for engaging participant’s imagination while generating in them a sense of freedom to venture beyond the known (Edwards, 1998, p.71). This was done by engaging the participant’s sensory exploration, action and play. In conclusion, this research demonstrates how preservice primary art teachers can foster their own ‘Creativity’ through more time and focus on “hands-on” approaches to material art practice. The implication for future cross-cultural studies into ‘Creativity’ in arts-based programs requires open minds and a risk-taking attitudes nevertheless have the potential to open new creative spaces.
POSTER PRESENTATIONS, 2012 ITELL: DIGITAL STORYTELLING IN THE NATIONAL YEAR OF READING Suzana Sukovic, St. Vincent’s College, Potts Point The project iTell has been conceptualised within the framework of the National Year of Reading 2012, aiming to promote reading and literacy in a school context while contributing to the wider national initiative. The project has been envisaged as an opportunity to explore reading and writing in our increasingly technological environment. The importance of a traditional and digital literacy for a successful participation in the contemporary society has been well recognised. iTell aims to explore areas where different literacies meet and blend, hence a focus on issues of transliteracy. The project will also contribute to discussions about the value of technology in learning, which has been often promoted or disputed with little research-based evidence. iTell involves work with students during a period of two terms when they will develop their digital stories as a response to fictional and historical texts. Research aims are focused on investigating the following areas: •
any development of students’ transliteracy skills during the project
students’ engagement and learning during the project
any effect of the project on students’ literacy skills.
Research methodology has been developed in the framework of action research and uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative research methods. Student-participants range from Year 8 to Year 10, including a group of GAT and high-achieving students, Indigenous students and any student who wished to participate and provided teachers’ written recommendations. Digital storytelling has been offered as an extracurricular activity in the library. iTell has been developed at the Learning Resource Centre at St Vincent’s College, Potts Point with a view of collaborating and sharing data with other schools.
INVESTIGATING INTERACTIONS IN A STUDENT-DIRECTED SOCIAL NETWORKING LEARNING ENVIRONMENT Noelene Callaghan, Macquarie University This paper identifies the way in which Social Networking Sites (SNS’s), in particular Ning, can contribute to the teaching and learning of secondary students via a multiple case research study. SNS’s are recognised at enabling its users to identify, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information within a classroom context as they provide opportunities for learning that transcend traditional education. Learning through SNS’s was found to enhance in one of the two participating classrooms based on an existing classroom climate that was regarded as strong and manageable. This permitted an enhancement of engagement, self-directed learning, connectivity and social rapport between secondary teachers and their students as well as the attainment of learning outcomes. This also led to the observation of social and learning behaviours through contributions posted online by students. Keywords: social networking sites, SNS, e-learning, technological tools, technology, Web 2.0, online spaces, Australian secondary schools, engagement, self directed learning, Ning, classroom climate Introduction Technologies are a fundamental part of learning in today’s classrooms and social media are vastly changing the lives of teenagers and young adults, particularly as the number of students who access the Internet via their DER laptop or mobile phone has considerably increased (ABS, 2009). Ning is recognised as being dedicated to supporting collaboration and learning in Education safely and meaningfully. The Ning Network, which has been the focus of benchmark studies for Arnold & Paulus (2010), Barbour & Plough (2009) and for the ‘Horizon Project, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011’ (Johnson et al, 2011), is also used in this study. The purpose of this study was to examine how SNS’s may enhance the learning processes in an Australian high school teaching and learning environment and investigated whether SNS’s can be used to pedagogically enhance curriculum in terms of the types of content that can be learned as well as positively enhance the learning behaviours of students enrolled in and completing Stage 5 Commerce in Human Society and Its Environment (HSIE) in a NSW secondary school. Literature review Defining social networking sites SNS’s are considered to be sophisticated web-based services that allow individuals to construct a profile, form a list of users with whom they share a connection, and view and traverse information with others (Boyd & Ellison, 2007). They are no longer regarded as simply as a communication tool that “allows one to make new friends, renew or maintain old acquaintances, establish romantic relationships, and network amongst business peers” (Beckenham, 2008, p. 2). They can be used for a large range of age groups and can productively connect a diverse group of students whilst creating multiliteracies and developing cognitive capabilities (Healy, 2007). Boyd & Ellison (2007) emphasise that SNS’s are part of a larger suite of Internet technologies that collectively fall under the Web 2.0 header, along with blogs and wikis. In their normal context, categories of affordances associated with SNS’s include: Connectivity and Social Rapport, Collaborative Information Discovery and Sharing, Content Creation, Knowledge and Information Aggregation, and Content Modification (Burden & Atkinson, 2008). Overall, Web 2.0 tools encompass a variety of meanings that include an increased emphasis on user generated content, data and content sharing and collaborative effort (Albion, 2008).
Educational Use of Social Networking Sites SNS’s create synergistic opportunities of learning by supporting all levels of cognitive abilities, peer-based learning and the creation of new media literacy (Beckenham, 2008). This permits taxonomies such as that by Anderson & Krathwohl (aka the new Blooms) (Wilson, 2006) to be of reference within the classroom. International reports such as The Horizon Project have paid particular attention to how SNS’s have enhanced student engagement in the classroom through the identification of new and emerging technologies outlining “their potential relevance to teaching, learning, and creative inquiry” (Johnson et al, 2011, p. 11). Congruent findings are also reported by McLoughlin & Lee (2008), Beckenham (2008) and Ito et al (2008) whom found strong student engagement occurring through the use of SNS’s in the classroom. Transferability of skill refers to a student’s ability to make links using the same skills and conceptual thinking when using two or more different technologies. This then permits the categories of affordances (identified earlier) to be transferred into the classroom allowing educators to modify specific tools on the SNS enabling the creation of specific and content rich lessons for their students (Murray, 2008). This may also contribute to an improvement in literacy and numeracy as well as preparing them as citizens in a global world (Murray, 2008). Furthermore SNS’s enable self-regulated learning (Vie, 2008) as students are empowered by being responsible for their own learning (McLoughlin & Lee, 2007) whilst exposing them to deeper learning and developing higher cognitive skills (Lynch et al, 2009). Methodology Context This collective case study investigated SNS use in two Stage 5 Commerce classrooms, in one girls only catholic school within the Diocese of Parramatta, Sydney. The two classes were guided through a five-lesson module of work on Employment Issues constructed in Ning. Participants A total of 48 Year 10 (Stage 5) Commerce students from this school participated in the research study (24 students in each of the two classes). All students were issued with an individual laptop which was used in all five 60 minute periods daily. Design Two Ning Plus versions of the Ning Network were used to conduct this research. Ning enables all registered students to work in a safe and predator free environment by requiring teachers to pay a monthly subscription. Ning also provides definitive spaces between educators and their students permitting strict professional classroom boundaries that cannot be crossed. Identical SNS tools and lesson material specific to ‘Stage 5 Commerce: Employment Issues’ were created on both Ning Networks. Explicit instructions detailing class work for each lesson was specified on Ning and comprised of the tools that would be used. Both Ning Networks contained five lessons with four consisting of class work and one consisting of the e-portfolio assessment task. The range of tools were selected to accommodate the varying ICT and cognitive abilities of students and to support existing claims such as that by Hansford & Adlington (2008) and was designed in consideration of Anderson & Krathwohl’s Taxonomy, as this taxonomy can be used to categorise levels of learning. The Stage 5 Commerce topic, ‘Employment Issues’, was selected as it is often thought to be the least naturally engaging experienced by students. Implementation Both Ning Networks were accessed over five consecutive 60 minute lessons spreading over three weeks during Term One. Students logged onto Ning via a link that was emailed to their student email with ease. Three classroom teachers and the researcher all took part in observing students.
Data Sources Data was collected using multiple collection tools, such as Observation Reports from Classroom Teachers, Observation Reports by the Researcher, capturing student contributions to Ning and via Student Feedback Surveys. Results Overall Student Activity and Behaviour Both initially and throughout the study, teacher observations indicated that students were excited to be using Ning. Students did not encounter any problems locating the Ning Network, creating an account or navigating around the SNS. Immediately, students showed signs of past SNS use. This was reinforced by the responses to the Student Feedback Survey, as 91% of students stated that they have used a SNS in the past with 77% disclosing that they found Ning easy to use due to the likeness of similar functionalities on Facebook. Class 2 was observed at completing more class work than Class 1. Class 1 limited their activity to Chat and Forum Discussions, whereas it was observed that Class 2 was engaged with the conceptual challenges posed within the module by participating in Forum Discussions and Blog entries. A total of 2,359 contributions were made by all students. Of all students, 69% logged onto Ning outside of class time to complete lesson work with 67% and 71% of students from Class 1 and Class 2, respectively, accessing the SNS after hours. All three observers identified the main differences between the two classes as tabled below: Table 1: Key Difference in Class Activity
Transferability of Skills In the Student Feedback Survey, 77% of students reported that Ning looked like and resembled the more popular social media sites and enabled them to navigate around the site with minimal implication. Additionally, 91% of students reported having a current and active SNS account comprising of Facebook (90%), Tumbir (52%) and Twitter (42%). There were no major differences between Class 1 and Class 2 in their ability to transfer these skills into the classroom as all students were observed at using Ning without any complications and without needing additional verbal instructions from their teacher. Student Engagement In Chat and Forum Discussions, student engagement was easier to observe as 1,238 Chat messages (1,103 for Class 1, 135 for Class 2) and 458 Forum Discussions (210 for Class 1, 248 for Class 2) were posted in total. Additionally, at least 85% of total students remained on task each lesson as reported by all observers. Thus, students overall, regardless of the activity they were involved in, showed continuous signs of engagement. More importantly, teacher and adviser observers reported that they strongly disagreed that students were disengaged, disaffected or alienated when using Ning.
Self Directed Learning Students in Class 1 limited their online activity to Chat and to at least one Forum Discussion (out of 13). Forum Discussions were selected based on ‘ease’ and although responses were related to the question, they were brief and typically consisted of ‘copy and pasted’ answers found in Google search, Yahoo Answers and the textbooks CD ROM. Class 2 students demonstrated proficient self-directed learning. At the commencement of all five lessons, students arrived in class, logged onto Ning and began completing their work without the intervention of Teacher 2. Teacher 2 also reported that she often felt redundant as students took control of their learning immediately. These students were observed by the researcher to follow the lesson instructions and complete all tasks sequentially, resulting in completing more class work, making more connections between tasks and producing better researched and articulated responses than students in Class 1. In lesson four, Class 2 students began using Chat to ask their peers questions about how to complete certain tasks and began using the Forum Discussion to compare and clarify their responses against their peers’ postings. In the final lesson, Teacher 2 commented that all students completed the eportfolio assessment task autonomously. Connectivity In this study, the term ‘connectivity’ is used to refer to the connections that a student makes between various pieces of their own work and the work of others that is posted in different areas on Ning, such as on two different discussion threads or in at least two different tools. As a result of the inactivity as recorded in the contributions in Class 1, it could not be determined if connections between work were made. Whereas, in Class 2, 65% of students were observed to make connections between the different tools on Ning as they linked ideas, drew on content, evaluated and created new information in their Forum Discussions and Blogs. Connectivity consistently grew over the five lessons in Class 2 and by the final lesson connectivity was immense and easily observable in the e-portfolio assessment task. In Class 2, there were 15 (out of 18) students who incorporated work that they completed during the first four lessons into their e-portfolio assessment task. Levels of Cognition There was great variance in the way students accessed information. Students in Class 1 displayed extremely social behaviours resulting in one third of participants restricting their time to converse in Chat in all five lessons. The majority (96%) of students did not extend past Forum Discussions and the level of these responses in this tool was considered inadequate. As students (except one) did not complete their Blog or e-portfolio assessment task, activity in the lower order levels as presented by Anderson & Krathwohl’s Taxonomy could only be observed. Contrastingly in Class 2, 71% of students used all tools in Ning. Students developed their learning and created connections between the different tools on Ning. In reference to Anderson & Krathwohl’s Taxonomy, 92% of students were observed in applying higher order thinking skills of ‘evaluate’, and 71% demonstrating ‘create’. Further, it was observed by the researcher when marking the e-portfolio assessment tasks that 100% of Class 2 students attained all marking criteria outcomes. A comparison of the two classes tabled and graphed below depicts the number of students successful in attaining each taxonomy level. Table: Cognition Levels in Class 1 and Class 2
Social Rapport In this study, social rapport refers to the strength of relationships between students. Developing and maintaining social rapport appeared to be the key focus of this class as gift giving was a prominent activity for all Class 1 students. So prominent was this, that competition quickly arose between students as to whom received the most gifts. On the other hand, Class 2 reported that they viewed Ning more as a ‘learning’ resource. Observations by teachers and the researcher concur that students extended themselves past Chat and Forum Discussions and completed ample amounts of work in any one period. Interestingly, students in Class 2 spent less time establishing their friendship network, but overall, invited more friends to their Profile Pages. Most importantly, none of the observers reported any incidences of misuse of the SNS tool and no reports of foul play, cyber bullying or intimidation were reported. Additionally, no reports of such instances were identified in any of the student contributions. Teacher-Student Relationships It was observed by the adviser that students in Class 1 did not appear to have a well-established relationship with Teacher 1. Students in Class 1 did not complete sufficient amounts of class work and it was unclear if students experienced any difficulties as there were no verbal discussions between the students and Teacher 1 regarding the tasks in the module. Opposite observations were found in regards to Class 2 by the adviser. Teacher 2 proved to be very nurturing and spent a great deal of time discussing class content with her students as a group and in one-on-one situations. The adviser further added that Teacher 2 used (traditional) structures in her classroom whilst using Ning, permitting her students to trust her and openly share their class work with her as well as their peers. In one lesson, the adviser also reported that there were up to six instances where students asked the teacher to check their work before it was posted online. Online Teacher Intervention Online teacher intervention refers to the online presence of the teacher in a virtual classroom context. This study found that the two teachers displayed extremely differently behaviours in class when online, again leading to two contrasting outcomes. Teacher 1 did not log onto Ning. Moreover, he did not have a Ning account, resulting in students having to self-navigate around the SNS without any online teacher intervention. Teacher 2 logged onto Ning and ensured that all students in Class 2 were also logged on before proceeding to actively use Ning herself. Teacher 2 also connected her laptop to the classroom projector and displayed her work to her students. She too, participated in traditional SNS behaviours of Chatting, sending invitations and gift giving. According to Teacher 2, students were forthcoming with information and deliberated about the content of their responses before posting them online. Teacher 2 reported that students felt privileged when they received such a gift and responded by calling out or making an announcement on their Profile Page (as observed by the adviser and researcher). Such activities also prompted other students to complete their work in an attempt to captivate their teacher’s attention. Discussion This study elucidates that the use of SNS’s in high school classes may lead to varying learning outcomes that may not depend on the SNS itself. Factors such as teacher-student relationships, social rapport and online teacher intervention facilitated a positive classroom climate which enhanced overall student engagement. It was found that when students made larger volumes of non-social contributions, students were more likely to display behaviours of connectivity and demonstrate higher order thinking skills. SNS’s enabled self-directed learning. Students in Class 2 were able to log onto Ning and immediately attend to all of the tasks, as instructed, without any teacher intervention. These students systematically followed all instructions and were able to work collaboratively online when required. Such behaviours were observed when students used the Chat tool asking each other for assistance. It was also observed that those students who displayed higher engagement levels took ownership of their own learning and made more connections between posted data. Students who logged onto Ning outside school hours also took ownership of their learning as more than half worked ahead on their module
tasks. SNS’s promoted motivation and engagement. These were observed as 85% of students overall remained on task during each lesson and classroom observers reported that they strongly disagreed that students were disengaged. Over 2,000 contributions were posted online during the course of the module indicating that students were motivated to collaborate in a digital framework. However, Teacher 1 claimed that although the number of contributions was not as high as Class 2, Class 1 students still completed more work whilst using Ning than in a traditional classroom setting. Therefore, regardless of how established or structured the classroom climate is prior to SNS integration, the level of engagement overall was found to have increased. Students were able to transfer their skills of using social media personally into an educational context effortlessly. As a result, students were able to access and use Ning’s tools immediately after log-on. In regards to the overall experiences of students with Ning, no differences between classes were identified which enabled students to take immediate ownership of their online space. SNS’s also promoted social rapport. Students were able to communicate using more social modes that they enjoy, such as using Net Lingo. Interestingly, this was restricted to Chat suggesting that students acknowledged that colloquialisms were appropriate in some, but not other contexts, such as the e-portfolio assessment. Gift giving was also a prominent activity between students in both classes, however, in Class 1 the amount of class time used to distribute gifts and send friendship invitations inhibited students from completing their work. Conclusion It was found in this study that SNS’s contributed to the enhancement of classroom learning. It was also found that in order for integration and maximisation of learning to occur, an established classroom climate where studentteacher relationships are positive is of benefit. Collectively these factors contributed to a learning environment where students can be more engaged and more committed to their own learning whilst attaining learning outcomes. This permitted an observation of learning and contribution levels in each class and allowed the identification of students’ cognitive capabilities in their application to each of Ning’s tools. More importantly, this study provides teachers with a level of confidence that anti-social behaviours, such as cyber bullying and intimidation will not occur as they were obsolete throughout the course of the study. References Albion, P. R. (2008). Web 2.0 in teacher education : two imperatives for action. Journal, 25(3-4), 181-198. Retrieved from http://www.informaworld.com.simsrad.net.ocs.mq.edu.au/smpp/content~content=a906683599~db=all. doi:10.1080/07380560802368173 Arnold, N., Paulus, T. (2010). Using a social networking site for experiential learning: Appropriating, lurking, modeling and community building. Internet and Higher Education, 13, 188-196. Australian Bureau of Statistics (2011) 3201.0 - Population by Age and Sex, Australian States and Territories, Jun 2010 . Retrieved March 3, 2011 from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/3201.0 Australian Bureau of Statistics (2009). 8146.0 - Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2008-09. Retrieved May 2, 2011. from http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/8146.0. Barbour, M., Plough, C. (2009) Social Networking in Cyberschooling: Helping to Make Online Learning Less Isolating. TechTrends, 53(4), 56-60. Beckenham, A. (2008). Face off online: Pedagogy and engagement in social network sites., University of Canberra, Australia. Boyd, D., Ellison, N. (2008). Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication, 13, 210-230. Burden, K., Atkinson, S. (2008). Evaluating pedagogical ‘affordances’ of media sharing Web 2.0 technologies: A case study. Paper presented at the Computers in the Schools Melbourne. Churches, A. (2009). Bloom's Digital Taxonomy. Retrieved May 22, 2011, from http://www.scribd.com/doc/13442504/BloomsDigital-Taxonomy-v30 Connell, J. (2009). Good and Bad eLearning; How do we tell one from the other? Professional Educator, 8(3), 10-13.
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NEUROSCIENCE, ASPERGERS AND TWICE-EXCEPTIONALITY: TEACHER PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT NEEDED! Nola Norris, The University of Wollongong Introduction Recently, a research article about perceptions of parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) was published. The study took place in Ontario, Canada, where most students with ASD are included in mainstream classes and concluded, ‘Lack of teacher knowledge about the nature of ASD … [has] been found to be [a] major contributor to parents dissatisfaction’ (Starr & Foy, 2012, p. 208). The Educational Problem During my years in a K-12 independent school with a strong focus on academics, I became interested in the conundrum of gifted students with Asperger syndrome (AS) who frequently have learning difficulties (Norris & Dixon, 2011). Several things emerged: • • •
There was a far greater concentration of students with AS in the school than the population statistics would suggest. Many mainstream teachers felt at a loss to understand how their students with AS learn. Students with AS have considerable accomplishments in the form of special interests, but they appear to learn these independently.
Research Question This raised the question for me: How do gifted people with Aspergers think and learn? Many people with AS become high achievers in their careers so a related question is: Do our gifted students with Aspergers learn despite or because of school? Literature Review A review of the research literature showed no studies investigating the experiences of people with AS and their thinking and learning. However, there is a wealth of neuroscience research on autism and Aspergers—such as Harris et al. (2006)—which uses newer brain imaging techniques on which we can now base teachers’ understanding of autism and thinking and learning processes. On the other hand, of the small number of qualitative studies which investigated the experience of people with AS, none addressed thinking and learning (Boucher, 2007; Carrington, Papinczak, & Templeton, 2003; Griffith, Totsika, Nash, & Hastings, 2011; Humphrey & Lewis, 2008; Hurlbutt & Chalmers, 2002; Müller, Schuler, & Yates, 2008). The research study To answer my research question, ‘How do gifted people with Aspergers think and learn?’ I am analysing transcripts of semi-structured interviews I conducted with gifted young people and adults with AS and their ‘key informants’ (someone who knows them well, e.g. a parent, spouse, teacher) using qualitative methodology (grounded theory and hermeneutical phenomenology). Discussion (background to findings) Early results from my first cases are particularly interesting in the area of memory. A widely accepted model of memory divides long-term declarative (i.e. conscious) memory into episodic and semantic (Tulving, 1985, 1989). People with Aspergers have intact, and possibly superior, semantic memory (memory for rote-learned facts, events and concepts) (Boucher, 2007; Williams, 2010) while episodic memory is significantly impaired (Bowler, Gardiner,
& Berthollier, 2004). This is demonstrated by brain imaging studies showing impairment in patterns of activity and connectivity during cognitive tasks (Tanweer, Rathbone, & Souchay, 2010). Episodic memory is autobiographical. It is episodic in that heavily edited snippets (or episodes) are encoded in memory for meaning and significance. Episodic memory is central to efficient learning as it is experience that brings personal relevance to learning. On the other hand, the semantic memory system is about ‘cold, hard facts’. Emotion is increasingly being recognised as a fundamental component of efficient learning (Immordino-Yang & Damasio, 2007) as memories ‘tagged’ with emotions are encoded and retrieved efficiently. For example, the previous generation used to say, “Everyone can remember where they were when they first heard of JFK’s assassination.” Episodic autobiographical memories include emotional, location and temporal contextual information. Temporal (that is, time) contextual memory is demonstrably impaired in AS. Indeed, people with AS are said to ‘live as if time doesn’t exist’ (Zukauskas, Silton, & Assumpcao Francisco Baptista, 2009, p. 106). Findings In place of neurotypical-style episodic memory, my research participants describe a very different memory system which they refer to using the metaphor of a video camera recording every detail of their life. Recovering memories involves a lengthy process of playing back through the recording. Without being encoded for salience, every memory has equal significance. People with AS tend to recount their personal memories without using emotive language, giving factual accounts as they would when recounting a science experiment. They describe their autobiographical memory in linear terms. However, episodic memory is not linear, it is a mental re-experiencing based on personal meaning and salience. Episodic remembering is error-prone and almost instantaneous in the recovery of contextual information (emotion, location, time) as people with neurotypical minds ‘mentally timetravel’ back to the remembered episode (Tanweer, et al., 2010). Their descriptions are based on their reexperiencing of the event in the present moment. While people with AS describe important autobiographical memories in linear and factual terms with minimal interpretation, people with neurotypical minds mentally re-live events in their imagination, a process in which almost instantaneous recovery of contextual details occurs. Conclusion Teachers will benefit from understanding the significant differences between the thinking and learning of their students with AS and their neurotypical students. It is important to develop further understanding of these differences based on the first-hand accounts of gifted people with Asperger syndrome interpreted in the light of current evidence from neuroscience (Gardiner, 2008). One interpretation is that people with AS appear to be using superior semantic memory to compensate for impaired episodic memory thus giving their autobiographical memories a semantic-memory flavour: fact-based, literal, devoid of interpretation, equally salient. With one exception (Boucher, 2007), previous studies have not investigated how people with AS describe the way their memory functions and this study uses the experiences of people with AS to illuminate this important aspect of learning in order to support teachers providing mainstream education to students with Asperger syndrome. Given that active learning strategies recruit episodic as well as semantic memory, teacher professional development is urgently needed to provide a new framework for understanding and valuing the different way students with AS think and learn. In conclusion, it should be noted that while this article is about memory, there are other points of difference between the thinking and learning of people with AS and neurotypical individuals. In AS, there is strong evidence to support impaired executive function, weak central coherence (a style of processing information which focuses on detail without context), impaired theory of mind (ability to imagine another person’s thoughts and feelings) and poor functional connection of the emotion-processing network all of which have implications for the way students with Aspergers think and learn.
Bibliography Boucher, J. (2007). Memory and generativity in very high functioning autism. Autism, 11(3), 255-264. Bowler, D. M., Gardiner, J. M. & Berthollier, N. (2004). Source memory in adolescents and adults with Asperger's Syndrome. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 34(5), 533-542. Carrington, S., Papinczak, T. & Templeton, E. (2003). A phenomenological study: The social world of five adolescents who have Asperger's Syndrome. Australian Journal of Learning Disabilities, 8(3), 15-20. Gardiner, J. M. (2008). Concepts and theories of memory. In J. Boucher & D. Bowler (Eds.), Memory in Autism: Theory and Evidence (pp. 3-20). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Griffith, G. M., Totsika, V., Nash, S. & Hastings, R. P. (2011). 'I just don't fit anywhere': support experiences and future support needs of individuals with Asperger syndrome in middle adulthood. Autism, 15(3), 1-19. Harris, G. J., Chabris, C. F., Clark, J., Urban, T., Aharon, I., Steele, S., .Tager-Flusberg, H. (2006). Brain activation during semantic processing in autism spectrum disorders via functional magnetic resonance imaging. Brain and Cognition, 61(1), 54-68. Humphrey, N. & Lewis, S. (2008). 'Make me normal': The views and experiences of pupils on the autistic spectrum in mainstream secondary schools. Autism, 12(1), 23-46. Hurlbutt, K. & Chalmers, L. (2002). Adults with autism speak out: Perceptions of their life experience. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 17(2), 103. Immordino-Yang, M. H. & Damasio, A. (2007). We feel, therefore we learn: The relevance of affective and social neuroscience to education. Mind, Brain, and Education, 1(1), 3-10. M端ller, E., Schuler, A. & Yates, G. B. (2008). Social challenges and supports from the perspective of individuals with Asperger syndrome and other autism spectrum disabilities. Autism, 12(2), 173-190. Norris, N. & Dixon, R. (2011). Twice exceptional: Gifted students with Asperger syndrome. Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, 20(2), 34-45. Starr, E. M. & Foy, J. B. (2012). In parents' voices. Remedial and Special Education, 33(4), 207-216. doi: 10.1177/0741932510383161 Tanweer, T., Rathbone, C. J. & Souchay, C. (2010). Autobiographical memory, autonoetic consciousness, and identity in Asperger syndrome. Neuropsychologia, 48(4), 900-908. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropsychologia.2009.11.007 Tulving, E. (1985). Memory and consciousness. Canadian Psychology, 26(1), 1-12. Tulving, E. (1989). Remembering and knowing the past. American Scientist, 77(4), 361-367. Williams, D. (2010). Theory of own mind in autism. Autism, 14(5), 474-494. Zukauskas, P. R., Silton, N. & Assumpcao Francisco Baptista, J. (2009). Temporality and Asperger's syndrome. Journal of Phenomenological Psychology, 40(1), 85-106.
INTERSECTION: FACTORS AFFECTING THE FORMATION OF E-LEARNING PEDAGOGY BY EARLY CAREER TEACHERS IN THE HISTORY CLASSROOM Clint Sheehan, Australian Catholic University Keywords: ICT, pedagogy, e-learning Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is increasingly viewed as a powerful aid that offers new and unique ways for teaching and learning to occur (Roschelle, Pea, Hoadley, Gordin and Means 2000). Teachers are currently facilitators of dynamic learning in a technologically rich space. The Australian National Curriculum (2011) has further promoted increased integration of ICT in the 21st century classroom (Board of Studies, 2011) and increased demands on early career teachers to successfully design and implement effective e-learning pedagogy. This paper reports on emerging trends from a study of 113 pre-service teachers surveyed at the completion of their final ten week internship as part of a Bachelor of Teaching / Bachelor of Arts degree. The survey instrument utilised a five point Likert scale with participants responding to sixty-four statements. The preliminary data forms part of a PhD thesis that intends to contribute to the body of knowledge on pedagogical reasoning, an area identified as needed further research especially in the History classroom, (Becta, 2004 and Romeo, 2003). Factors affect teachers’ formation of pedagogy in the classroom. This includes access to appropriate learning software and websites, levels of student engagement with technology, peer and colleague influences, government policy frameworks and syllabus documents. Internal factors that can enable or disable e-learning pedagogy include teacher self-efficacy with technology in the classroom, previous experience, and teachers’ own teaching philosophy. The paper reports on the factors that influence and limit early career teachers’ experiences and formation of elearning pedagogy in the classroom. References Board of Studies NSW. (2011) History K-10 Draft Syllabus. Board of Studies, Sydney, Australia. Cox, M., Webb, M., Abbott, C., Blakeley, B., Beauchamp, T., & Rhodes, V. (2004) ICT and Pedagogy: A review of the research literature. British Educational Communications and Technology Agency (BECTA) London. Creswell, J. W., (2009). Educational Research: Planning, conducting and evaluating quantitative and qualitative research. (3rd Ed.) Upper Saddler River, New Jersey: Pearson. Romeo, G. (2003). ICT in History Education: A Brief Overview. National Centre for History Education – Commonwealth History Project. Roschelle J., Pea R., Hoadley, C., Gordin D. & Means B. (2000) Changing How and What Children Learn in School with Computer Based Technologies. The Future of Children, Children and Computer Technology. Vol 10, No. 2 pp76103.
USING BIBLIOTHERAPY TO ADDRESS MATHS ANXIETY IN PRE-SERVICE PRIMARY TEACHERS Sue Wilson, Australian Catholic University Mathematics (Maths) is important in a changing, economically and technologically competitive world. However, the impacts of maths instruction produce for many an enduring state of maths anxiety. Maths anxiety leads to avoidance of maths, limiting opportunities for people to pursue and achieve goals, and reach their full potential. Researchers have identified high levels of maths anxiety in pre-service primary teachers (PST) that affect their future teaching of maths making them less likely to engage with maths, and impacting on their students. Hence, maths anxiety can be perpetuated in classrooms. Teacher education is a crucial site for research to break this cycle. Negotiating this issue and promoting positive change for future teachers has the potential to transform learning and teaching beyond that of the PST to their future students. Bibliotherapy has shown potential in addressing maths anxiety in primary PST allowing them to reflect on their school experiences and reconstruct their assessment of their capacity to learn and teach maths. The purpose of this research is to explore the use of bibliotherapy as a tool for reflecting on PST affective responses to maths and enhancing their engagement with maths. First year PST are surveyed to assess their level of maths anxiety and encouraged to examine their images of themselves as learners and doers of maths through critical incident methodology and bibliotherapy. Methods include a combination of quantitative (pre- and post â€“ survey â€“ using the Revised Mathematics Anxiety Rating Scale) and qualitative (critical incident analysis, interviews, bibliotherapy, written reflections and journals and semi-structured interviews). Supporting PST to develop reflective and metacognitive skills enables them to take these skills into the classroom, and monitor their practice. The existence of well-prepared teachers in schools who are comfortable with teaching maths is a key factor in engaging students and enhancing their learning.
UNDERSTANDING THE EXPERIENCES OF SECOND CAREER BEGINNING TEACHERS Meera Varadharajan, University of Technology This paper seeks to understand the school experiences of second career beginning teachers. The paper is part of a doctorate study undertaken in an Australian University. A qualitative, phenomenological and interpretative approach is used to understand teachers’ experiences and how they make meaning of those experiences and of themselves as a human being. The focus of study is therefore on understanding and interpreting the thick and meaningful descriptions of stories as told by the teachers and how they see themselves as a second career beginning teacher as well as a human being after having been in another profession. Individual interviews were conducted with seven teachers working in different schools in NSW who were in their first few years of teaching. The paper highlights some of the key findings that came out of the research and which will have implications for all the stakeholders including teachers, students, school and tertiary institutions and the education department. Introduction Career change teachers are those individuals who have entered teaching later in life. They have pursued a different career or line of profession before making the decision to leave that profession and become a teacher. The current research has used Eifler & Pothoff’s study to define a second career teacher as someone well over 25, possessing substantial life experience resulting from previous careers and raising children, which enables them to bring important assets, such as maturity and expertise to teaching (1998, p193). Many nations currently face a shrinking teaching workforce challenged by the system of ‘revolving door’ with as many teachers leaving the profession as entering. A world-wide shortage of about 18 million teachers is projected by the United Nations News Centre with a critical shortage in the Sub-Saharan Africa and Arab states (Brindley & Parker, 2010). Concerns about teachers leaving the profession at a substantial rate have led governments and educational institutions across the globe to think of innovative and alternate ways of filling the gap to attract more teachers. Countries such as Australia, the U.S., U.K., Germany, Norway and other European countries report difficulties in recruiting and retaining quality teachers (Johnson & Birkeland, 2003; OECD 2011; Ramsay, 2000; Watt et al, 2012; Williams & Forgasz 2009). Mature age individuals wanting a change from their existing career became an attractive option to employers viewing them as “well-suited to the shifting demands of the contemporary workplace” (Serow & Forrest, p556, 1994) as well as able to “contribute positively to changing the culture of the schools” (Richardson & Watt, 2005, p476). Career changers also became potentially attractive to address teacher shortages in subject specific areas such as mathematics, science and technology (Grier & Johnston, 2009; Halladay, 2008; Marinell, 2008). Recruiting maths and engineering professionals who have worked in these disciplines makes good sense especially to help bridge the gap in student thinking and learning about what is taught in schools and what Science or Mathematics means and does as a working profession, thus making it more relevant. This has led to a significant increase in the number of mature age professionals entering the teaching profession. A 2008 Australian state-wide survey of about 1500 beginning teachers show that teachers are increasingly matureaged when they join the profession with thirty-five percent of teachers over 30 years and above (New Educators Survey, 2008). More recently, the 2011 school staffing survey report conducted by ACER and commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Education states that career changes to teaching are becoming more common with “a sizeable proportion of early career teachers are aged over 40 -13% primary and 17% secondary” (McKenzie et al, 2011). The same has been true in the Unites States also with increasing number of adults entering teaching from another line of work (Haggard et al, 2006).
The increase in the number of career change teachers has sparked an interest in the research community and qualitative studies have been conducted over the years to better understand this particular group of teachers. Studies undertaken on second career beginning teachers here in Australia and overseas have been broadly in the areas of understanding the characteristic profiles of second career beginning teachers and where they come from; reasons and motives for entering the teaching profession; influences of prior career on their current teaching role and tertiary experiences of second career beginning teachers. However, many of the studies focus on career change teacher candidates and implications for teacher education programs, rather than on the actual school experiences of career change teachers which largely remains unexplored. It is also worth noting that considerable research has been conducted on the teaching experiences of first career beginning teachers and on understanding their various school experiences including challenges and opportunities faced by this ‘traditional’ group of teachers. Second career (or non-traditional) teachers enter teaching later in life having worked elsewhere in a different career or careers. Their prior life and career experiences largely shape and influence their experiences and thinking as a classroom teacher (Powell, 1992, Mayotte, 2003). Younger or first career teachers usually come straight into teaching after completing school and tertiary education. Their thinking and philosophy as teachers are usually shaped by their own schooling and tertiary education experiences. By understanding the actual school experiences of second career beginning teachers, the current research study proposes to shed light on this increasing group of teachers and what is it like for them to be a career change teacher. The research study will also make scholarly contributions in the field of human science research and in the way humans understand and make meaning of their experiences. Research context The overall aim of the study is to understand the lived experiences of second career beginning teachers working in schools in NSW using a hermeneutic phenomenological approach as the core research methodology (Van Manen, 1992). The following research questions are used to guide the study: −
What is the nature and essence of experiences of a group of second career beginning teachers in schools?
What kinds of influences do second career beginning teachers’ past experiences have on their current roles as teachers?
In-depth, one-on-one interviews with seven second career teachers were conducted in 2010. This was followed by an email interview a year later with five participants to provide them the opportunity to share their stories in their school experiences since the first interview. The first interview format was open-ended, informal and flexible in nature. However, there existed a broad umbrella of structure and context with questions formatted around the teacher’s life history, his/her past and current experiences and what this meant to them at the present time. Participants’ perspectives both from a second career and a beginning teacher angle were sought. Data analysis process through meaningful interpretation resulted in the development of emergent themes and findings. Summary of Research Findings Motivations for change Teachers in my research state both personal and intellectual fulfilment (intrinsic), as well as pragmatic and extrinsic reasons, such as stability and life style choices as reasons for changing profession to become a teacher. The results are consistent with previous findings on what motivates mature age workers to consider teaching as a second career. While it is true that for most career changers, teaching represents a ‘calling’ (Manuel & Hughes,
2006) or to ‘make a contribution to society’ (Salyer, 2003, p19), external factors such as stress in previous profession and changes in personal and family circumstances also lead to a shift in their thinking regarding changing their profession to become a teacher. In their quest for perhaps a balance between work and family, individuals entering the profession later also search for meaning in their lives and what makes them happy and satisfied as a human being while making a difference to others’ lives. School and the classroom as a workplace Teachers generally viewed the school in terms of being an ‘institution’ with rules and regulations and thus different from other workplaces. One teacher describes the two as “two different worlds altogether”. Teachers’ viewed the classroom in terms of its spatial and audio-sensory qualities such as the amount of space and level of noise. These aspects may be particularly relevant to someone coming from a different career and environment with different working conditions and different spatial and noise levels. One teacher who was in the banking sector mentions how difficult it is to get used to the noise environment in a school with kids talking and squabbling and her feelings express shock and frustration. “You are sharing your own personal space with so many. There is so much of noise everywhere. It is just constant”. Having come from the construction industry, another teacher describes his feelings about the classroom when he first walked in and his surprise at the size. “I thought it would be much bigger, it is actually quite small”. However, for another second career teacher, he quite enjoys the dynamics of the classroom including the noise and chatter. Teachers’ also felt they have the freedom and flexibility to ‘run your own day’. Teachers’ context and their role in their prior career play a significant part in their school experiences and how they view the school and classroom as a workplace. Staff relationships Majority of the career changers tended to think that teachers had a different mindset that is removed from the commercial or corporate world thinking. They felt this to be odd. For example, two of them mentioned this with respect to the language and tone used by teachers (“talking loudly to everyone, lecturing, acting like children sometimes”). Second career teachers also felt the need to constantly resist the temptation and urge to say ‘this is not how it is done in the real world’. However, teachers also mentioned the collegiality and sense of comradeship to be much better as compared to their previous work environment but that the dynamics of the staffroom was no different than any other work environment. The type of conversations they had with other staff was influenced by their age, experience and the role and position that they were in their prior profession. Teachers felt they had the ability and confidence to converse with the wider staff community in their school. As a second career beginning teacher, they had mixed feelings of isolation and confidence. This was aptly summarised by one teacher who said she felt like a ‘newby, but with status and confidence’. Drawing on prior experience with students Content The teachers expressed a clear willingness to pass on the experience and knowledge gained in their prior lives and professions to their students. This could be either transferring or transforming subject matter expertise or a combination of both in the classroom. Emphasising the need to link classroom work with real world also means that some teachers saw the need to develop the ‘whole’ child going beyond one mode of knowing and way of teaching. The literature on second career teachers talks about this where teachers’ beliefs and experiences have a mission or purpose to make meaning in the lives of students (Tigchelaar et al, 2008, p1547).
Five teachers clearly identified using their prior skills (from workplace and previous school) in their teaching. Usually this would consist of providing real-life concrete examples to explain a concept. These teachers tend to talk about their previous work in many different ways so as to make the course content more engaging and interesting. The majority of the teachers interviewed for this study were keen to share information with students about their actual work and what they did in their previous jobs, particularly in ways that they felt would help the students to understand the content better. Even if their previous job did not directly relate to the teaching content, these teachers were still keen to share the outside world or as they call it the ‘real-world’ perspective with their students indicating through their conversations that there is so much more outside the realms of the classroom. This could be in the form of using ‘throw-away lines’ to provide context and meaning in the subject matter or sharing their worldly experiences and knowledge with their students thus leading to a discussion based scenario where both students and the teacher share healthy exchange of ideas and opinions. Perhaps this demonstrates the breadth of experience brought in by second career teachers who are keen to use the classroom to give meaning to the students and themselves. They are willing and able to work innovatively to solve student issues. Classroom management Teachers’ responses demonstrate that as second career beginning teachers, they may have different strategies to deal with classroom management than other beginning teachers. Such strategies include respecting students and treating them like adults, drawing upon prior experiences whether it is to do with their previous career, life experiences, experiences when they were in school as well as drawing from their own self experience such as having a ‘thicker skin’ and having a positive and optimistic attitude in general. Teachers also reflected and learnt from their own recent past experiences such as practicum or from their early days of teaching. Having experience and maturity provided for a more relaxed and realistic perspective on student behaviour and though they were challenged by the students, they felt that this would improve with time. How teachers see themselves now and in the future? Teachers’ descriptions of their school experiences also provided insight into how they viewed their self now after having changed professions to become a teacher. Teachers talk of the human qualities they have developed as a teacher allowing them to look and understand themselves and others in a more meaningful way than before. Together, their experience also allows them to ‘see’ those changes in themselves now as a teacher as compared to their previous self. They learn more about themselves through how they live now and through their experiences. There is a mindful awareness and authenticity of the changes that have taken place in themselves and how this is different to the past in their previous lives. This awareness in turn is reflected in their everyday teaching as they go about their business with the students in many different ways. It is reflected in the confidence and creativeness they portray as a classroom teacher. Their authenticity is revealed in their various pedagogical approaches to student teaching and learning. Research Implications and Recommendations The above findings present interesting and significant implications for the teaching profession in general. Second career teachers belong to a pool of teachers who come into the profession with experience, flexibility and creativity and wanting to make a difference in the lives of students. They are keen to pass on their work ethic and values to students together with having a ‘perspective and being able to look at the bigger picture in the overall scheme of things’. Their experience and sense of perspectivity enables them to understand and teach students of what lies after and beyond school. At the same time, coming into the teaching profession for the first time and from a different work environment can present unique challenges that need to be understood. While their strengths and prior experiences need to be acknowledged and recognised by senior school management, the support that they
may require particularly during their first few years of teaching also needs to be taken into account. Understanding career changersâ€™ motivations, as well as their aspirations and beliefs, will enable stakeholders to recruit and retain this committed and engaged group of teachers in the profession. Together with the availability of quality mentoring, consultation with colleagues and support from peers can form the essential requirements to the successful integration and feeling of â€˜belongingâ€™ by teachers into the school communities. Conclusion This research opens the door to understanding that unique group of teachers who have come into the teaching profession as a mature age individual with life and other experiences. While the research has only told the stories of seven career change teachers, the reasons behind their decision to join the profession and their display of genuineness, care and compassion for their students lead us to think that their contribution as a teacher is worth further exploration and understanding.
APPLE 2011 PHOTO GALLERY
APPLE 2011 PHOTO GALLERY
APPLE 2012 PHOTO GALLERY
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2011 TEACHERS’ GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES ANNUAL DINNER AND PRESENTATION OF AWARDS Introduction by Mrs Frances Fleeton, President of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales It has been almost 120 years since the Teachers’ Guild first began as a professional organisation that trained teachers for independent schools and the Teachers’ Guild continues to prosper as a meaningful professional organisation that provides educationalists within independent schools a variety of opportunities to professionally develop. At this evening, we come together to celebrate the work of distinguished educators. Some of whom have been fulfilling this role for a long period of time and continue to achieve best practice through current research, while others are only new to the profession. They are all to be congratulated on their achievements to date and we will later acknowledge the outstanding qualities which they possess. Our suite of Awards aims to acknowledge and to recognise the outstanding contributions to our profession that these individuals have made. I wish to acknowledge our honoured Life Members and would like to formally welcome our Guest of Honour – Miss Phyllis Evans MBE – whom we honour as an accomplished and gifted educator. It would be remiss of me if I did not acknowledge the members of the Guild Council who have worked tirelessly to read through all the submissions for these awards, who have interviewed those shortlisted and those who have been instrumental in the evolution of this evening. To these people I extend my sincere thanks. The members of the current Council are heartened by the quality of the nominations we received for each of our Awards and most particularly by the Award Winners. For those of us who have been teaching for many years, I am reassured by these vibrant, creative, well-informed, well-trained and passionate teachers who will educate our Nation’s youth education for the future is in very good hands. Each year, the Guild Council looks forward to this event which affirms the belief that there are talented educators in our schools who we are able to applaud for the excellent work that they do. We are also able to celebrate that fact that learning is a lifelong process in which many teachers engage once they are settled into the profession. The Guild takes pleasure in making these awards each year at this Dinner and wishes to thank, in particular, Dr William Kneprath for his generous donation and the sponsorship by both Education Review and the University Co-op Bookshop.
2012 TEACHERS’ GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES ANNUAL DINNER AND PRESENTATION OF AWARDS Introduction by Dr Frederick Osman, Vice-President of The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales The Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales held its Annual Dinner and Presentation of Awards on Saturday September 1st 2012 at Trinity Grammar School, Dining Hall. More than 45 guests gathered to celebrate the presentation of this year’s award that included the Presentation for Excellence in Teaching and Certificates of Excellence were presented to a number of outstanding young colleagues. The Teachers’ Guild’s Research Award was also presented on the evening. These Awards honoured Mr Rick Stevens, who was in attendance to present the Awards. The Council also had a pleasure in presenting Life Membership to Mr Alan Murray Harper in recognition of his outstanding commitment and contribution to the Teachers’ Guild of New South Wales. This report also includes Mr Rick Stevens’ address and photographs taken on the evening. Congratulations to all award recipients.
2012 TEACHERS’ GUILD OF NEW SOUTH WALES ANNUAL AWARDS DINNER ADDRESS Given by Mr Richard (‘Rick’) Stevens, FTGN, AFACEL, FCollP, FRGS Mrs Fleeton, Councillors, Fellows, Members and guests, I must say I was truly surprised to receive the invitation to present this year’s awards. I do not in any way rank myself among those who have gone before me but am most grateful for the confidence place in me by the Council and, Mrs Fleeton, for your very generous and undeserved words of introduction. After a long career in education there is a temptation to say a lot and ramble on but I am aware that the main reason we are here is to celebrate excellence and not listen to me. I shall, therefore, limit myself to a few thoughts and, hopefully, not wander along. I owe the Teachers’ Guild of NSW a great deal. First, because I was most fortunate to have completed my initial teacher training through the Guild College. It was a wonderful system where I was employed as a full time student teacher gaining experience in all aspects of school life and learning the craft from experienced professionals and mentors. They modelled all that good teachers should be – knowledgeable, patient, organised, passionate, and who really enjoyed what they did. I am still in contact with one of those teachers and count it a great privilege to be able to reminisce about our times together and discuss current issues in education. At the end of most days – which were always full on, active, challenging and tiring, I would head off to the city for my lectures; the theory presented by academics and the curriculum and practice by highly experienced men and women who were engaged in full-time teaching themselves and not remote from the real day to day and long-term classroom experience. I often wonder if this form of teacher training should be re-explored; it has much to commend it. Only yesterday, a final year Bachelor of Education student said to me that she thought an apprenticeship style of training would be far more beneficial. It was during this time that I was saved from the clutches of the then Principal of the Guild College who had taken an intense dislike to me. Many years later I found that my rescuer had been Miss Phyliss Evans, then Chairman of
the Teacher Training Committee. I still don’t understand why she thought I was worth saving but I owe her a deep sense of gratitude for considerably lengthening my career and for her long-standing friendship. Second, the Guild has provided over the years a collegiality I’ve seldom found elsewhere; an organisation where teachers at all levels of training, experience and seniority have, and continue to meet as equals, and I have always been grateful for the advice, support and opportunities given so freely by so many people. If you are not a member, may I encourage you to join up and experience what so many of us have had the privilege of enjoying. As someone now not engaged in full-time teaching, I want to convey my sympathy to all of you who are currently caught up in a system that has made teachers slaves to and victims of an overemphasis on outcomes, the meaningless paperwork that goes with it and overworked phrases such as rich tasks. A recent issue of Education Today, journal of The College of Teachers in the United Kingdom, includes an article in which it is said: The whole panoply of mechanisms of delivery flimisly disguised as learner-centredness and personalisation…. is a parochial perception of pedagogy… a set of skills, such as anyone who acquires them, can teach, is a patently monocular and improverished notion of teaching. It takes no account ….of all of the spur-of-the-moment, not-to-be-predicted, instinctive decisions that are about responding to pupils’ needs and which several writers have compared to a performance art. I feel sorry for those of you who want to tell it like it is to parents, but reporting entices you to tick the middle box and select a letter A to E that really does not accurately describe your assessment. I am very grateful that I am not organising an excursion, which requires a mountain of paperwork and you to foresee every possible risk or event. Perhaps fortune telling should be a compulsory course during training? Finally, I think it is deplorable that the profession is subject to mounting pressure from parents who expect teachers to do everything, and be available at the drop of a hat, personally and electronically. I believe systems and schools need to be much tougher about this. For a humorous, yet sobering and frighteningly realistic view of this problem, download James Valentine’s column in the Sydney Morning Herald of 18th February this year. What advice then, may I humbly offer, especially to those new, or relatively new, to the profession? First, continue to appreciate and hold onto the notion that teaching is a calling where you can make a very real impact on young lives. In her address to the Guild at a function last year, Jane Caro, the well-known media personality, said that the real hope for the future was in teachers being a beacon of light to pupils. In today’s society where there is such an over-representation of family dysfunction, consumerism and pressure to have what everyone else has, bullying of all kinds, and pressures to achieve at high levels in everything, teachers may indeed be many students’ only place of refuge, their only steady moral beacon, their only place where common sense prevails. It is an awesome and onerous responsibility but a truly grand one. Therefore, and second, hold on to what you know is right and good. It will need you to make some tough calls and to make a stand but the end result will be worth it. It may need you to be sometimes hard-headed but it was Sir Humphrey Appleby in the Yes Prime Minister series who said: Better to be hard-headed than mindless. Third, stand up proudly for the profession. There are plenty of critics out there and they need to understand what teaching is really about.
Let me quote to you from a story in which a teacher was being put down for what she made as a salary: You want to know what I make, she said. I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could. I make them wonder. I make them question. I make them apologize and mean it. I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions. I make them read, read, read, I make them write and show all their working in maths. I make their classroom a place where they feel safe. And I make them understand that if they use their God-given gifts properly, work hard, and follow their hearts, then they can succeed. In my role as a tertiary adviser, I am greatly encouraged by the wonderful talent that is passing through teacher training and this evening we are seeing more examples of exceptional Early-Career Educators and the Research Award winner. My hope is that when the time comes for you to finally clean the whiteboard or turn off the Smartboard for the last time, you will be honoured by statements from former pupils such as those quoted by Wendy Harmer writing earlier this year in a local newspaper about the retirement of a very long-serving teacher. Here are a few: You made us feel we were clever and important. You had a smile that made us feel happy and safe to enter the classroom. You always encouraged children to get involved and feel they could do it. Most importantly, you taught us how to be good people. Let me conclude by returning to where I began by thanking many colleagues over the years for their wonderful friendship, support and expertise and by again expressing my gratitude to the Guild. I wish The Teachersâ€™ Guild of NSW many, many more years of success; may it continue to flourish for another 120 years and at that time may it be celebrated by another group of passionate educators as we are tonight.
2012 ANNUAL DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
2012 ANNUAL DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
2012 ANNUAL DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
2012 ANNUAL DINNER PHOTO GALLERY
The Teachersâ€™ Guild of New South Wales
Published on Jul 14, 2013