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Volume 10

Issue 3

Australia’s largest independent magazine for the education sector ­– CAB audited


Bonus Schools Excursion Guide available

The changing face of education our nation’s ageing teacher workforce

April 2014

Research Conference 2014 Quality and Equity:

What does research tell us?

Adelaide Convention Centre | 3–5 August 2014 | Adelaide, Australia HOSTED BY Professor Geoff Masters AO, CEO, ACER This Conference addresses: • highly effective pedagogies • policies and practices that improve learning for all learners • the link between high expectations and high performance • what PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS, and NAPLAN data really tell us about learning outcomes Hear from Australian and international researchers including: Professor Petra Stanat, Director of the Institute for Educational Quality Improvement at Humboldt University of Berlin, whose research investigates the achievement of new immigrants in PISA testing and; Dr Sally Brinkman, Co-Director, Fraser Mustard Centre, Program Manager, Faculty Member, Telethon Institute for Child Health Research (Adelaide, SA), on the relationship between the Australian Early Development Index and later reading and numeracy skills of students. A highlight of Sunday’s program will be a conversation with Ms Julia Gillard, first woman Prime Minister of Australia. Enquiries: Margaret Taylor T: 03 9277 5403 E:

Australian Council for Educational Research

Looking for bullying prevention strategies?

This year’s HBE conference has a dedicated strand to support your school

Hawker Brownlow Education

Thinking & Learning


23–26 May 2014



Friendly Schools PLUS Conference Sessions Professor Donna Cross

Erin Erceg

Professor Donna Cross is the research

Erin Erceg, is the lead trainer and co-

director and co-author of Friendly Schools

author of Friendly Schools Plus. Having

PLUS . She has an international profile

spent 12 years with the Child Health

in school health promotion intervention

Promotion Research Centre at Edith

research. Her most significant research Research Director and Co-Author, Friendly Schools PLUS

relates to her work on aggression and bullying among young people in Australia.

Cowan University. Erin’s most significant Lead Trainer & Co-Author, Friendly Schools PLUS

roles relate to her work on research around aggression and bullying and cyber-bullying among young people.

SUNDAY 25 MAY 2014

MONDAY 26 MAY 2014

Keynote Session

Conference Sessions

Building a Friendly School – Creating a climate for student achievement

Friendly Schools Plus: The Research Behind Bullying Prevention

Conference Sessions

Building a Friendly School Culture – Enhancing Social and Emotional Learning

How to Engage Student Leadership & The Importance to School Culture

Creating a Friendly School – A Whole-school Approach to Bullying Prevention

Expectation = Outcomes: The Power of Positive Behavioural Expectations 14-022-03

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um need u n ti n o C t n e m p lo e v dership De a e L e th f o n o ti a re c The At AITSL, we want all school leaders to be the best they possibly can. That’s why the Leadership Development Continuum for Australian school leaders is being created.


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Leading teaching and learning Developing self and others Leading improvement, innovation and change Leading the management of the school Engaging and working with the community.

Deputy principals

Feedback from school leaders from all systems and sectors, school types and locations throughout Australia is vital in ensuring the Continuum is developed representing the diversity of the profession.

We encourage you to provide your voice to the development of a great tool that will resonate with the profession.

Campus principals

The survey… Who

School leaders – principals, assistant/deputy principals, campus principals




20 minutes


Open now – closing Friday, 11 April 2014


Visit AITSL’s website for information about the survey and the Leadership Development Continuum

The Leadership Development Continuum is an AITSL project supported by the Assessment Research Centre of the University of Melbourne.

In partnership with

For further information

Get the essentials for free AITSL’s new online Essential Guides provide practical strategies, real-life case studies and suggested questions to help school leaders and teachers experience highly effective professional learning in their schools. The series is closely aligned with the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the Australian Professional Standard for Principals. It explores the research underpinning the Australian Charter for the Professional Learning of Teachers and School Leaders. 7KHÀUVWWKUHHLVVXHVRIWKH(VVHQWLDO*XLGHVVHULHVDUHQRZ available online: 1. Leading Culture – expands on the critical role of school leaders in supporting adult learning and effective professional learning cultures. 2. (YDOXDWLRQ – supports educators to ensure that evaluation of professional learning gathers the most useful and reliable data, is timed appropriately and provides clear and useful results.


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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014


Chalk is cheap

Out and about IT seems crazy to think the school holidays are fast-approaching, but we certainly haven’t had any shortage of classroom projects and school programs to feature in the magazine this month. It seems as though teachers are only getting more and more creative with their approach to lessons. Our Special Report in April is on Indigenous education where we have featured some fantastic programs, including an exciting new Indigneous AFL program in South Australia and a Bush to Belly initiative in Western Australia. The April issue also comes with our annual Excursions Guide which is filled to the brim with exciting and creative places to take your students on excursions, camps or incursions. Several educators have given us the inside scoop on the best places to take your students to link the experience back to the curriculum and how to allow students to really challenge themselves while away from the classroom. Enjoy. rebecca vukovic EDITOR

Mum punches principal BRISBANE, March 18 – A mother has been banned from her son’s former school for one year for punching the principal in front of students and threatening to have him killed by her partner. The Gold Coast woman erupted during a meeting about issues with the student’s school laptop, calling the headmaster obscene names before the situation escalated.

Teenagers hospitalised

Residential internships PERTH, March 18 – A new generation of specialist teachers are starting their careers in the Pilbara through Murdoch University’s innovative internship program. Supported by $250,000 from Royalties for Regions, The Pilbara Cities Internship Program offers fully funded residential internships at Karratha and Hedland Senior High Schools to the university’s final year maths, science, English and design education students.

Canteens failing kids SYDNEY, Mar 19- Australia’s canteen guidelines are failing children because they do not limit the sugar content of food and drinks, according to University of Sydney nutrition expert Kieron Rooney. Foods need a ‘nutrient criteria’ which classifies food or drinks as green, amber or red. “Foods high in added sugar can still get a green light as long the kilojoules meet the criteria threshold,” he said.

‘Fix our school’ works MELBOURNE, March 19 - Students and staff at Coatesville Primary School are celebrating the announcement of a $7.8 million funding boost that will be used to rebuild its dilapidated facilities. The state government’s decision comes just weeks after the school launched its “Fix our School” campaign. Email briefs to

Bieber torture News brief page 7

PERTH, March 17 – A teenage boy has been discharged from hospital after being put on life support in an induced coma after taking hallucinogens with three other City Beach Residential College boarders. After one was found convulsing and the others highly distressed, the four were hospitalised. A 15-year-old non-boarder who allegedly sold them the drugs has been charged.

Gonski vans keep discussion going A CONVOY of bright green Gonski vans has targeted the Prime Minister’s electorate to rally support for the national school funding plan. Around 300 school principals and teachers met in Sydney for a New South Wales Teachers Federation meeting, passionately discussing securing a commitment to the Gonski reforms. The Federal Government has pledged $2.8 billion in extra money for schools in New South Wales, ACT, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria over the next four years, but this falls $7 billion short of the six-year deal promised by the previous Labor government. These jurisdictions, which signed up to the deal before the federal election, are required to roll out funding on a needs-based formula and promise to keep increasing their own portion of funding. The same requirements are not to be imposed on Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory, whose agreements with the Coalition still require fleshing out. The Australian Education Union

AEU president Angelo Gavrielatos and Bill Shorten at a Gonski rally. wants the Federal Government to commit to the full six-year, $10 billion school funding plan the former Labor Government had pledged. However the Federal Education Department is insisting that pumping extra cash into public schools won’t guarantee good student results. This followed a Senate committee in which Labor and the

Australian Greens grilled Education Department officials about the Abbott Government’s new school funding model, accusing them of backflipping and breaking promises on school funding reform at a parliamentary inquiry. The inquiry is examining how the money is being rolled out to the states and territories and how close it is to the recommendations of Gonski’s report. But Tony Cook, associate secretary at the department, insists state governments have and will continue to allocate money according to student needs. Cook backed the government’s claim that the amount of funding given to schools would not necessarily lead to better student results, saying that some countries were performing better than Australia academically, despite spending less public money on schools. Committee chair Labor Senator Jacinta Collins says the hearing is aimed at putting pressure on the government to clarify its plans.

index News Opinion Cover Story Special Report  In the Classroom Technology PD  Listings  Around the Traps In the Staffroom Careers

6-16 18-20 22-23 24-25 27-32 33-35 37-39 40 41 42 43-46

Australian Teacher Magazine is published by Tempo Media Pty Ltd ACN 100 789 848 Managing Editor Grant Quarry Editor Rebecca Vukovic Journalists Chelsea Attard, Sarah Duggan Intern Stephanie Tell Letters, Comments & Feedback In the Classroom, Special Report Technology PD/Around the Traps Noticeboard Advertising Sandra Colli, Jessica ZuccoloWolverson, Grace Halicki Art & Design Jeremy Smart Contributors Linus Lane, Dan Haesler, Noelene Callaghan, Anne Vize, Brooke Lumsden, Daniel Groenewald, Susan Kerr, Sara Donald, Pat McMahon, Darcy Moore, Ann Stanley, Lisa Vinnicombe. Tel: (03) 9421 4499 Fax: (03) 9421 1011 Postal: Locked Bag 2001, Clifton Hill, VIC 3068 Subscriptions: Schools across Australia are invited to subscribe to Australian Teacher Magazine. Request a subscription form Individual subscriptions are also available. Printed by: Rural Press NSW Distributed by: Speedy Print & Distribution Service Pty Ltd Disclaimer: The views in this newspaper do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Privacy Policy: To receive a copy of our privacy policy write to the address above. Contribution: Australian Teacher Magazine welcomes contributions and story ideas from readers. Articles should be no longer than 450 words, letters to the editor 350 words.

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April 2014 • australian Teacher


my School response

Must make time for development

INBRIEF NAPLAN benefits limited

A NEW Grattan Institute report has found that schools must make time in their day to assist teachers’ development or Australia will continue to slip in international school education rankings. ‘Making time for great teaching’ reported Australian school systems and schools are failing to allocate the time and resources needed to prioritise teaching and learning. Grattan School Education program director Ben Jensen says that the world’s highest performing school systems provide time for teachers to be mentored, research best practices, have their classes observed and receive productive feedback on their performance. “The world’s best systems are relentless about teacher development. We are committed to it in principle but struggle in practice. This report shows how schools can do it,” he said. The report examined the timetables and budgets of six diverse schools across the country in order to identify ways in which they can change their practices to allow time for teacher development. It recommended schools make this time by reducing teachers’ presence at meetings and assemblies, extra-curricular events and professional development days that do not enhance teaching.

THE Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority has loaded the 2013 data onto the My School website, with many key education stakeholders slamming the publication of the latest NAPLAN information. The head of the ACARA, Robert Randall, said parents now have information on which to base their assessments of schools. But key educators, politicians and independent education union members disagree. New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said that the website is a waste of money and should be scrapped, because it places unnecessary stress on students. He referred to one student vomiting on the morning of the NAPLAN test, saying the publication of data on the website, which includes students’ performance in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy tests, must be stopped. “Sometimes the negative consequences of the My School website outweigh any positives that it provides,” he said. Greens Education Spokesperson Penny Wright has initiated a senate inquiry into NAPLAN, after hearing evidence that the My School site is changing the nature of teaching in schools. She expressed the need to re-

Bieber torture harsh

WASHINGTON (US), March 12 - Tenino High School has been playing Justin Bieber’s hit single Baby on repeat over loud speakers as part of a charity drive. Organisers have vowed they will only stop playing the song once they reach their $500 fundraising target for orphans in Ghana. Students at the school have vented their frustration, likening the drive to torture.

Firearm false alarm

The latest NAPLAN data has been published on the My School website. think how the NAPLAN data is being used because the site is making teaching competitive rather than collaborative. “NAPLAN is a very narrow test and we’re using it to make very big decisions. It’s become a high-stakes test causing significant stress for students and teachers alike. “One survey of principals found 66 per cent believed NAPLAN testing had a negative impact on wellbeing,” she said. David Robertson, executive director of the Independent Schools Queensland, has warned of the dangers of using NAPLAN tests as the sole measure of a child’s ability

or to directly compare schools. “NAPLAN test results do not paint a complete picture of educational outcomes and experiences provided by independent schools,” he said. Robertson urged parents to remember that the NAPLAN exam does not account for students’ talents in other areas like creativity or social skills. President of the IEU, Chris Watt, has also spoken of the limited scope of NAPLAN results. “The IEU believes that there are more efficient and effective ways of doing diagnostic student assessments,” he said.


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SAO attendance push NATIONAL, March 14 – Around 350 School Attendance Officers (SAOs) will liaise with families to help kids access their education across 40 remote communities around the country. Worth $28.4 million, the two-year program, in which the officers collect truant students and take them to school, is part of the Commonwealth’s strategy to boost attendance in remote Indigenous communities. Email briefs to


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ADELAIDE, March 14 – A school lockdown was triggered when a member of the public spotted a uniformed Norwood Morialta High School student with what appeared to be a firearm. Other students were kept in their classrooms as police converged. After the police found the student identified with what was actually a toy gun, no charges were laid.

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014

INBRIEF Pyne’s paranoia: Wright curriculum revew

Royal commission

Church and police response checks

Darwin power outage

DARWIN, March 12 - A power outage has forced the Northern Territory Government to shut down schools and public sector offices across Darwin. The blackout occurred overnight, which saw the government mobilising emergency management protocols. Though teachers were asked to report to their schools, parents were asked to collect their children where possible.

SA funding concerns ADELAIDE, March 12 - Teachers have called on South Australian Liberal Opposition Leader Steven Marshall to support the former Federal Labor government’s six-year funding plan for education. As yet they have only promised to back the first four years of the deal. Australian Education Union federal president Angelo Gavrielatos said a failure to back the six-year deal would deny South Australian schools $300 million in future funding.

International Pi Day SYDNEY, March 14 - In celebration of International Pi Day — a day recognising Albert Einstein’s famous mathematical discovery — students attended the Australian Museum to learn more about the number. Amongst other fun things, they witnessed a Year 9 maths whiz recite as many digits of pi as he could muster. Email briefs to

MORE than $300,000 will be spent by the Australian Government to finish a review of the national curriculum before it is implemented. The reviewers, former teacher and Liberal staffer Kevin Donnelly and business professor Ken Wiltshire, are ploughing through more than 650 submissions per week, yet have not met with the expert body that has spent six years developing the curriculum. Australian Greens education spokesperson Penny Wright has slammed the review, saying it demonstrates how Education Minister Christopher Pyne is willing to push his political agenda at any cost. “This review is nothing more than an ideological exercise by the minister based on his own paranoia about a ‘left wing bias’ in schools,” Wright said. “How much money will Christopher Pyne spend just to hear what he wants to hear? “Several million dollars have been spent developing the current curriculum and more than 17,000 submissions were received during the consultation process. Each subject was developed over two or three years. “Now Mr Donnelly and Mr Wiltshire will have just 21 business days between the close of submissions and their draft report to look at the whole thing,” she said.

The government has spent over $300,000 reviewing the national curriculum. Pyne decided to initiate the review amid concerns the curriculum did not properly acknowledge the benefits of western civilisation nor emphasise the importance of Australian culture. ‘’What I want the curriculum to be is a robust and worthwhile document that embraces knowledge and doesn’t try and be all things to all people … I also want the curriculum to celebrate Australia, and for students, when

they have finished school, to know where we’ve come from as a nation,” he said. Later this year, a group of eminent higher education and school experts are also due to advise the government on ways to improve teacher education. “Lifting the quality, professionalism and status of the teaching profession is at the heart of the Government’s Students First platform,” Pyne has said.

THE Royal Commission into child sexual abuse continued to examine church and police responses to claims children were sexually abused at St Ann’s Special School in Adelaide. The school’s former bus driver, Brian Perkins, was arrested in 2001 on charges of sexually abusing intellectually disabled children at the school between 1986 and 1991. He was sentenced to 10 years in jail after pleading guilty to five offenses involving three students. A witness told how Perkins, who died in jail in 2009, sexually abused him regularly. The mother of another student, whose Down Syndrome son was secretly abused by Perkins, has said she questioned St Ann’s staff about why the school bus was frequently late in dropping off her son but was assured the vehicle had just broken down. More than 10 years later, her husband had to identify their son in pornographic photos, although she believed police had possession of the pictures since the allegations broke. The court heard that an assistant police commissioner at the time ordered detectives to stop investigating four pedophiles – one of which was Perkins. The hearing continued as Australian Teacher Magazine went to press.

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The Commonwealth Bank Foundation Teaching Awards recognise and reward teachers across Australia who are making an outstanding contribution to developing their students’ money management skills. A teacher who is running a financial literacy program or has a great idea for one, can apply to win one of 15 awards of $10,000 to put towards their financial learning program, plus $2,000 as a personal reward.



AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014

alcohol and drugs

Schools need support

Bring your classroom to life by sharing your adventures from an Earthwatch expedition “I wouldn't hesitate recommending an Earthwatch expedition to teachers. I believe that teachers who demonstrate that the world is an exciting place to explore set a great example for their students and encourage curiosity about their immediate environment and beyond.” Kerrina, NSW primary school teacher Find out more about Earthwatch’s research expeditions by phoning 03 9016 7590 or visiting

A NEW report from the Australian National Council on Drugs (ANCD) has shown that schools need more support from governments and communities to tackle students’ drug and alcohol problems. More than 200 secondary school principals were surveyed by the council about difficulties students encounter and what drug and alcohol education is being offered. Tellingly, alcohol and drug use were selected as the third and fifth most difficult problems for schools to deal with — along with issues like mental health and bullying. Gail Armstrong, principal of Alexandra Hills State High School near Brisbane, said it was a hidden problem. “A child might be particularly lethargic or unmotivated on Monday or looking as if they’ve got a bit of a headache,” she said. “We don’t know that that’s because they’ve been partying or binge drinking on the weekend.” Drugs and alcohol can seriously hinder a student’s ability to learn and engage at school. “Instead of getting out and playing sport or relaxing or studying, they’re either preparing for drinking or they’re drinking or they’re getting over it,” Armstrong said. “It puts a big hole in their week in terms

of the impact it would have on them if that’s what they’re doing.” A majority of principals told the ANCD that it was critical to have more trained personnel and funding available if schools were expected to shoulder more responsibility for dealing with these issues. “Schools need a far greater level of support from governments, communities and the drug and alcohol sector,” council chairman John Herron said.

strike action

Territory education in crisis: Shadow Minister PUBLIC school teachers have gone on strike across the Northern Territory, closing 24 schools, in the fourth strike since November. “Our teachers are on strike because they know our education system is in crisis,” Natasha Fyles, Shadow Minister for Education, said. Teachers have rejected an enterprise bargaining agreement that would see an increase of around $100 in their fortnightly pay; demanding better conditions in the face of sweeping cuts. The AEU NT branch says the only way it will accept the EBA is if the cuts to education were totally reversed. “We’ve continually called on the government to reverse the cuts, we’ve spoken about the measures we took to improve education, and that would continue,” said Fyles.


Chinese maths teachers in UK LONDON (UK), March 12 – England will bring in Chinese maths teachers in the hope of improving standards after disappointing PISA results. English-speaking teachers from cities such as Shanghai — who topped PISA — will work in specialist schools to showcase their teaching methods to local staff. Along with the US and Australia, Britain – who scored 26th in the rankings — were entirely outdone by Asian countries.

NSW federation in turmoil SYDNEY, March 12 – The O’Farrell Government says that the New South Wales Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations must be reformed due to locked in factional infighting and recent allegations of bullying. Currently there are two people claiming to be president of the organisation. The government froze the federation’s annual funding last year and is now considering introducing legislation to force reform. Email briefs to

Labor says that if it wins the next state election it will commit to doing this, but would not give the union a written guarantee. Subsequently, the AEU NT will endorse a candidate for the seat of Blain in Palmerston, 20km outside of Darwin. AEU NT president Matthew Cranitch said, “We would endorse and support a candidate who has the same views as us for the need for education to be seen as an investment rather than a cost”. “We have no intention of being a political party.” Attorney-General John Elferink has accused the union of using these negotiations to secure more political power. Labor has called on the Australian Education Union and the Country Liberals government to end their stand-off.

strike planned Industrial action likely in WA as teachers protest funding cuts TEACHERS and their support staff are set to take industrial action following sector funding cuts made by the West Australian Government. Organised by the State School Teachers’ Union of Western Australia, United Voice and the Community and Public Sector Union, the rally will take place on April 1. The unions said that the protest will kick off at Perth’s central Langley Park and protestors will march up St Georges Terrace to Parliament House where the Premier will then be invited to address the crowd. In September last year more than 60 schools were shut so that about 15,000 irate teachers and parents could protest. “It is no accident that we have chosen April Fools’ day for this action,” United Voice secretary Carolyn Smith said. “The Premier is only fooling himself by claiming his cuts won’t hurt children’s education in this state.”

April 2014 • australian Teacher


APPA submission

Simpler curriculum call PRIMARY school principals are calling on the Australian Government to implement a simpler national curriculum with greater focus on literacy and numeracy. The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) feels the present curriculum is overcrowding learning in primary schools, stretching the expertise of teachers and demanding unreasonable time for schools to implement it. The Federal Government has commissioned a review of the national curriculum with a mandate to move to a more traditional system and free it from rigidity. In its submission to the review, the APPA says there should be less focus on teaching economics and business, with more on literacy, numeracy, science and social education. “If you can only work at a superficial level with the vast bulk of material, then standards will fall because kids won’t be able to apply their learning if they were able to on a much richer and deeper level,” APPA president Norm Hart said. “Kids shouldn’t just do sums and spelling all day, but a curriculum shouldn’t be so broad that it results in kids only having basic knowledge of several subjects … We’re not saying go back to basics, but give us the space to do the basics well.” APPA may have support from one of the

curriculum reviewers, Kevin Donnelly, who has been open about the need to look at teaching basics such as mathematics, science and English, before “edgy babble” subjects. Hart said there were some differences between what his members were asking for and Donnelly’s comments. “But do I hope that our submission is taken seriously… ” he said. “It’s been carefully considered.”

THE Northern Territory Government wants to overhaul the Education Act to give principals more autonomy. The current one-size-fits-all model in the “antiquated” 1979 Act doesn’t, according to Education Minister Peter Chandler, consider the huge range of communities in the Northern Territory; from Darwin’s urban centres to remote bush communities. Independent public schools have been flagged as a future option. Decentralised schooling would remove the multi-layered bureaucracy principals grapple with when managing partnership funding agreements with the Commonwealth, Chandler says. Chandler has not ruled out public-private partnerships (PPPs) in schools. “You may have a major player that wants to support a particular school … why shouldn’t they be allowed to do that?” he said. The government hopes to have the new Act ready to take effect by mid-2015.

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DETAILED personal information becomes available each time a child logs onto the internet at school, a forum has heard — and parents have no idea. Free web tools such as Google apps and Gmail, which are widely used in Australian schools, have agreed not to show advertising to in-school users of their online offerings. However Jeff Gould, president of US tech privacy advocacy body SafeGov, has told a forum in Sydney that children’s online activities during school hours could still be scanned for personal data. This could then be used and exploited to deliver them potentially troubling advertising. A survey of 1000 Australian parents showed most were clueless about the practice of ‘data mining’.

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Though many parents are tech savvy enough to warn their children not to provide personal information, Gould explained that data mining is more insidious. For example, a 13-year-old could log on at school and send an email about a topless picture. “And when they go outside school, or log into YouTube, or some other site that has nothing to do with Google, but where Google is selling an ad on that site, they will get an ad for nude webcams or sexy singles or whatever,” Gould said. He told the inaugural Child Online Safety and Protection forum, which focused on policies, programs and practices for protecting children’s privacy rights, that schools needed to insist that tech giants agree not to use products designed for inschool use to gather data.

INBRIEF Household objects beneficial MELBOURNE, March 3 – RMIT researchers have found that cheap objects such as crates and buckets encourage children to be more active than expensive play equipment. They found that introducing simple items such as these also improves creativity and boosts social and problem solving skills in children. In one study, students who played with everyday household objects took 13 more steps than those using a traditional playground.

Cranitch standing for Blain DARWIN, March 7 – The president of the Northern Territory branch of the Australian Education Union (AEU), Matthew Cranitch will stand for the upcoming Territory by-election in Blain. He will step down from his union role while campaigning. This comes at a time when the fourth teachers’ strike since November has seen teachers demanding improved resourcing in the wake of cuts. Email briefs to

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014

review begins

INBRIEF Teacher training

Just ‘bums on seats’

CANBERRA, Feb 28 – Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion denies claims his $28.4 million school truancy crackdown is just a ‘bums on seats’ exercise. The funds include $180 per child towards incidental costs like school uniforms, breakfast or lunches. Operating in 40 communities, early indications show mixed results for the program. The government claims 604 extra students are attending school compared to last year.

Horror Thai bus crash THAILAND, Feb 28 – Thirteen children and two teachers were killed on a school trip to the resort city of Pattaya when their double-decker bus was crashed into by an 18-wheel truck. Police said the brakes may have failed or the driver may have fallen asleep. The students were aged between 10 and 14 years old. More than 30 people were injured.

AN eight-member ministerial advisory group of education experts have begun their examination of teacher training and how it can be improved, with a goal to report to Education Minister Christopher Pyne by mid-year. The review will focus on pedagogical approaches, subject content and teachers’ professional experience. “There is absolutely no reason at all why Australia, as one of the wealthiest countries in the world … shouldn’t have the best teacher training in the world,” Pyne said. “I want [teachers] to have better experiences in the classroom rather than in universities and I want it to be less theoretical.”

Private schools to go TURKEY, March 1 – Turkey’s parliament has passed a bill to close down around 4000 private schools, many of which are run by influential Muslim cleric Fethullah Gulen. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he wanted to abolish an unfair education system that favoured kids of rich families from big cities. Email briefs to

Christopher Pyne has initiated an examination of teacher training.

Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor Greg Craven will chair the advisory group. He has previously spoken out against minimum entry requirements for student teachers, saying there is too much policy focus on entry scores at the expense of graduate skills. Pyne hopes to shift the focus to more practical aspects of teaching. “My instinct is that the more a teacher is in the classroom learning on the job about how to teach people how to count and to read, the better.” he said. He has urged the group to keep their focus on university teacher training courses as the Federal Government can have direct influence in this area. He has suggested that teaching standards are too low because very few people failed teaching degrees. But Greens Spokesperson for Schools, Senator Penny Wright is concerned the review panel is a way to blame teachers and shift the focus from the government’s poor policies. She believes the review should instead address boosting teacher salaries and improving professional support. However Pyne retorts that the Commonwealth has no influence in this area because it doesn’t directly employ teachers. For more, turn to The Hard Word on p. 18 for comments from Field Rickards.

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The 2014 Australian Football League season has kicked off with all team captains posing for a photograph at the new Adelaide Oval. Turn to page 24 to read about the Aboriginal AFL Academy that has been established in South Australia. Aboriginal students who excel in football will be able to develop their skills and complete their schooling at the specialised academy. The SA government will provide $50,000 funding a year to the program, which has an inaugural intake this year of 30 secondary students from Years 10, 11 and 12. South Australian Premier, Jay Weatherill says it is the first of its kind in the nation. Is your school using innovative design? Email with your pictures.


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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014

teacher training

INBRIEF Mature approach

Rowing coach sacking

BRISBANE, Feb 24 – Brisbane Boys’ College has fired rowing coach David Bellamy for using the term “wanga” – a slang term for penis — in a talk to about 50 students to deter them from inappropriate behaviour. Bellamy has spoken out against the decision, saying he wants his job back. However, principal Graeme McDonald suggested that the use of the word was a breach of their school standards.

Student faces action PERTH, Feb 25 – A primary school student who punched his teacher several times and tried to stab her in the leg with a pencil will face disciplinary action. He cannot be charged, however, because he is under 10-years-old. Police say the boy became aggressive towards a teacher at a Mullewa school after being removed from a classroom for being disruptive.

Sydney school brawl SYDNEY, Feb 25 – A high school student has been bashed with a metal pole during a brawl inside Cabramatta High School. An 18-year-old allegedly struck two teenage boys, aged 16 and 17, after an argument broke out. The third student then punched the man before other students intervened. Three of the men were taken to Liverpool Hospital for treatment. Email briefs to

TAKING 27-year-olds and turning them into teachers is proving a big success for the University of Melbourne. In 2008, professor Field Rickards, dean of University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education overhauled the processes so teaching is only offered at postgraduate level. This changed the studies into a clinical profession with a substantial practical component. The university now has partnerships with 46 schools where its student teachers spend two days a week from the start of their training, and Rickards says this approach strengthens the link between theory and practice. The average age of student teachers starting the course is 27 years, with many having spent time working after finishing their undergraduate degree. Their diverse backgrounds mean they approach the study differently and help each other learn. “It’s a much easier decision to make at the age of 27 than it is at the age of 17,” Rickards says. Two years after the change, an independent survey of the university’s graduate teachers found nine in 10 felt they’d been well prepared for their new jobs. His graduates are raved about by principals and attendance for his course is increasing.

program support

Gillard happy funding to continue for Global Partnership for Education FORMER Prime Minister Julia Gillard has praised the current government for maintaining funding for a program designed to educate children in the world’s poorest countries, saying she was pleased the financial support for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) was not cut. While Gillard will soon become chair of the GPE board, Education Department Secretary Lisa Paul said she wasn’t familiar with the program. Paul offered to find out whether anyone in her department had been asked about the merits of Australia giving more than $250

million dollars to the program. Liberal Senator Helen Kroger was astonished the Federal Education Department hadn’t been consulted before the money was allocated.

star benefactor This comes at a time when Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has announced the teacher education ministerial advisory group and Rickards will bring these experiences to the first meeting of the review. Citing a union survey showing more than four in five new teachers felt underprepared for the job, Pyne said new teachers don’t think their education has prepared them to deal with difficult parents and colleagues or for teaching students with disabilities, poor English skills or from Indigenous families.

Lucas commits millions to prestigious Chicago school FILMMAKER George Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson will donate $US25 million ($A27.7 million) to a prestigious private US school on Chicago’s south side. The Hyde Park School has around 1800 students up to Year 12. The grant from The George Lucas Family Foundation will pay for a new arts hall at the university’s Laboratory Schools. Opening in 2015, the 86,000square-foot building will be named after photographer, musician and social justice advocate Gordon Parks.

This follows the director’s 2012 announcement that he would donate the $4.05 billion he received from the sale of Lucasfilm Ltd. to Disney, to a foundation focused on education. Writing in a Giving Pledge letter in 2010 Lucas said: “I am dedicating the majority of my wealth to improving education. It is the key to the survival of the human race. We have to plan for our collective future — and the first step begins with the social, emotional, and intellectual tools we provide to our children.”

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • April 2014

Nigeria tragedy

INBRIEF Extremists attack

More than attendance

CANBERRA, Feb 20 – Indigenous leader Dr Tom Calma has warned the Abbott Government that improving Indigenous education outcomes will rely on more than just attendance. The Prime Minister has proposed a new Close the Gap target to improve Indigenous student attendance, however Calma believes more focus should be on reading programs, bilingual lessons, addressing overcrowded homes and health issues.

No sugary ACT drinks CANBERRA, Feb 21 – The ACT Government has moved to ban sugary drinks in territory schools by the end of the year. Replaced with water refill stations, vending machines will be emptied of soft drinks, fruit juices and full-fat flavoured milks by the end of first term. Canteens will phase them out by the end of 2014.

Errant archer disarmed SYDNEY, Feb 23 – A schoolboy will appear at Coffs Harbour Children’s Court next month after a teacher and police disarmed him of a bow and arrows in a Woolgoolga school playground. The 16-year-old tried to grab his hidden weapons when he was confronted by the teacher, who successfully wrestled the bow free. Police charged the boy with several offences. Email briefs to

SUSPECTED Boko Haram extremists have attacked a boarding school in northeast Nigeria, shooting and hacking 43 students to death. Yunusa Ahmed, who lives in the state capital Damaturu, has said that most of the students of the Federal Government College in Buni Yadi, Yobe, along with others in nearby boarding schools and hostels, have vacated and moved back to their homes after news of the attack. Ahmed’s son has been studying at the city’s Government Secondary School but has now moved back home along with two classmates. “They went to school today [Wednesday] but returned after classes ended because they are too afraid to sleep in the school for fear of a Boko Haram attack,” Ahmed said. Boko Haram, which translates roughly from Hausa as “Western education is sin”, condemns the so-called Western curriculum and has burnt hundreds of schools in its four-and-a-half year battle to form an Islamic state in the north. The attack was the fourth such raid on schools in Yobe state by Boko Haram in the past year. Last June Boko Haram extremists opened fire on a dormitory at GSS Damaturu school, kill-

In the past year Boko Haram have carried out four brutal raids on schools in Nigeria’s Yobe state. ing seven students and a teacher. A student at the school, who gave his name only as Mubarak, has described how students fled their dorms in fear of further attacks. “We are afraid of a repeat of the horrifying incident of last year,” Mubarak said. In September insurgents clothed in military uniform shot down 40 students at an agriculture college in Gujba. A teacher at The Federal Government College, a girls’ school in Yobe, has said that the school has been shut indefinitely after concerned parents took their daughters home, fearing it could be the next target.

department strength

Piccoli praises public school system following tragic Sydney student death NEW South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has praised the strength of the public school system following the tragic death of a student. An eight-year-old girl died in hospital after a tree branch fell on her during lunchtime at her primary school playground in Sydney’s northwest. Emergency services were called to Pitt Town Public School after the gum tree branch fell on the three children and teacher. The Grade 4 girl went into cardiac arrest as she was pinned under the branch. She was rushed to Westmead Children’s Hospital in a critical condition but died shortly after. The teacher in his 50s suffered head injuries and a five-year-old kindergarten student and her seven-year-old brother were also hurt. Piccoli later referred to the incident when stressing the importance of maintaining a public school model in the state. “It’s powerful to be part of a system and the incident last week in Pitt Town Public School is an example of the strength of a system,” he told reporters in Sydney. “We were able to bring resources and support to where a tragic incident occurred. That’s the power of a system.” A spokesman for the minister later explained the minister was

Adrian Piccoli praised the strength of the public school system in the aftermath of a student’s death. referring to the resources available to the Education Department which allowed it to support the school in the aftermath of the girl’s death. Being part of a public system gives schools the ability to provide “ongoing resources and support to assist the school in a difficult time”, the spokesman said. “On Monday morning, every teacher had a back-up teacher (available),” he said. “If they needed to go and see a counsellor, again, that was made available by the department.”


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australian Teacher • April 2014

the hard word

Bringing teachers back into the high regard they deserve

Field Rickards, dean of education at the University of Melbourne It is old news that Australia has been slipping downwards in the OECD’s Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) over the last 12 years. Typically, a variety of reasons are offered — from geography and economics through to demography and culture. Those factors may well play a role, but I believe that a significant part of the explanation for Australia’s declining educational performance is that we have not prepared teachers to meet the

individual needs of learners in an increasingly complex world. Traditionally, we have prepared them to deliver curriculum, to manage their class and to meet the majority’s needs. The declining PISA results include students across the range of abilities and in particular our most able. The challenge for teachers is to teach students across the ability range. Teacher preparation has traditionally not equipped teachers to do this. Stanford professor Linda Darling-Hammond — a recent visiting fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE) — noted in a publication in 1999 that the single biggest controllable factor on student outcomes is the quality of the teacher in the classroom. This has been echoed by others including professor John Hattie and even influential global marketing firm McKinsey. Despite this evidence, high entry scores into teaching courses in Australia are not the norm. The profession is not universally held in the highest esteem and

professional structures and salaries do not encourage our best teachers to stay in the classroom as a career. Teaching is the most challenging and important profession. As University of Melbourne vice chancellor, Glyn Davis said in his 2007 Australia Day address: “Teaching is the preparation of the next generation to take on the burden of self-government. Through education we transmit to those who follow, the knowledge, the virtues, the values necessary to preserve and carry forward our democratic society.” Teacher education is increasingly criticised for being out-of-date, out of touch with the ‘real world’ and too focused on theory. Something needs to change. We need an excellent teacher in every classroom. At the MGSE, we realised this in 2008, and we launched our Master of Teaching degree as part of the new Melbourne Curriculum. Central to our philosophy is the understanding that teaching is a clinical practice profession and that teachers must have the


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professional capabilities to evaluate the impact they are having on each child. Our students are on average 27 years of age. They already hold a university degree and, importantly, they’ve done a lot of living. As graduates, we seek to build on their disciplinary knowledge and develop them with the expertise to gather evidence and use clinical judgement to identify an appropriate learning strategy for every pupil in their classroom. Clinical judgement is only possible if it’s underpinned by a well-defined body of knowledge, keen powers of observation and highly-developed analytical skills. Moreover, we believe that universities and schools must work closely together toward this vision of clinical teaching. We have established unique partnerships with schools, early childhood networks and the university, and built a bridge that links the theory and the practice. The MTeach is a paradigm shift that we hope will make a fundamental change to the professional training of educators

in Australia. We are continually evaluating and honing the program to ensure we’re sending exemplary teachers out to develop the next generation. A recent development gives me optimism that the downward PISA trend can be reversed — the establishment of the Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group by the Minister for Education, Christopher Pyne. This is an important chance to achieve one of Minister Pyne’s stated aims of improving teacher quality, and I am pleased to be involved. The Carnegie Corporation in 2002 got it right. Teaching is an ‘academically taught clinical practice profession’. Teacher training institutes need to adopt the core principles of clinical teaching which focus on individual learner needs and develop evidence-based practice through collaborative partnerships with ‘teaching’ schools and early childhood services. I am confident that adoption of this framework will, in time, bring teachers back into the high regard they deserve.

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australian Teacher • April 2014


Caption competition

Last month’s caption winner

An insider’s view of teaching

You can lead a horse to water... You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. If I had a dollar for every time a teacher quoted this old saying I would be a wealthy man, and enjoying retirement on an isolated beach in some far flung corner of the world. But, reality bites and there is no sand between my toes. It is an interesting concept when you think about it in an educational context. Basically the way it is used by most teachers implies that there are some students who, despite every effort on behalf of teachers and schools, refuse to engage in their education. When I was young, inexperienced, idealistic, probably naïve, I would have strongly disagreed with this statement. Fresh out of uni I believed that no student existed who could not be taught given the right motivation, stimulating teaching, and engaging material. As I progressed in my career though, I have found myself tending to agree with the statement. My experience suggests that, sadly, there are some students who refuse to learn, who refuse to engage, and who deliberately decide to take no responsibility for their part of the educational process. The other side of the equation is that we can spend so much time trying to engage with the disengaged, that those who are ready to learn can be neglected. I have worked with “disengaged” students in special programs, in hands on contexts, pulling out every trick I know to engage, entertain, and motivate. I know many other educators who have done the same. Pleasingly, for some students we see success, and a turnaround in their attitude towards education. Unfortunately though, I still come across students who just don’t change. The reality is that education is a two-way street, that even the very best teachers require reciprocal commitment from students. For too long we have taught students about their right to a good education. They all know their rights, but for many a sense of responsibility is lacking. It is time now for students to hear a message that reinforces their responsibility in the education process.

And the winner is ... Jennifer Smith for this:

“I wonder if I can get his credit card details to put in my itunes account?” The best of the rest: “Sshh!…I put these on so I wouldn’t have to listen to you!” – Damien Morgan

FEDERAL Education Minister Christopher Pyne looks more like a DJ than a politician in this photo. What do you think? Come up with a truly witty caption to be in with a chance to win this month’s DVD prize pack including: Australian drama Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries: Under The Mistletoe and British naturalist David Attenborough’s Natural History Museum Alive. Email entries to or leave a comment on the page at Closing date is April 10.

“Newman: MY financial advisers say I can give $131 million – so there ” Girl: ” excuse me a moment, I’m talking…. …well… my sources tell me you should be doing better! “ - Dara “Little girl: La, la, la, la, la, not listening!” – Kathy Patsialaridis

Paul Saxby Here we go… more unpaid overtime for student teachers who will have to turn up to work more often and expected to be professionally dressed and on time and having spent hours preparing for lessons after working part time jobs while getting paid zero dollars for their internships… it’s hard enough for them under the present regime trying to meet increasingly unrealistic expectations set by administrators who haven’t been in a classroom for decades… oh yeah just like Christopher Pyne and Peter Craven, funny that Tammy Estcourt The first year of teacher training could be being employed as ES staff in schools; in classrooms, paid work and 1 week each school holidays is Uni time. This way the student teacher gets to see a real classroom work all year, they will see bad lessons, they will see good sessions. They will see how children progress throughout the the year and they will possibly know if teaching is really for them. They will actually see how a real school runs. Anything has got to be better than 4 years at Uni where you only go to “real school” for a few months. Not reality of real teaching at all. Louise Oliver As a fourth year student teacher, I take offence at Mr Pyne’s comment about

Older teachers offer great deal WE’RE all getting older, there’s no doubt about it. As evidenced in this month’s Cover Story (p.22-23) the teaching profession is set to experience a rapid turnover of staff over the coming years, as more teachers reach their retirement age. While there is lots of negative rethoric being thrown around, it was heart warming to speak with Victorian principal Helen Jackson who is 82 years of age and still incredibly active in her school community. Her story provided a great contrast to the doom and gloom that surrounds this issue. With the New South Wales government announcing reforms of $155 million to give greater support to new teachers, attracting the best and brightest to the profession is definitely on the agenda. It would be wrong however, to discount the fact that older teachers bring a wealth of experience to the profession. Rebecca Vukovic Editor

Twitter (Tweets)

Web (Comments) Pyne wants more practical teacher training


teachers teaching students ‘how to count and to read’. We do so much more than that (which sounds very much like the old behaviourist style of teaching where students were supposedly empty vessels waiting to be filled with facts), such as teaching inquiry based learning, meta-cognitive learning (that’s learning about how we learn, for you Mr Pyne) and being taught to question the status quo and make the world a better place for people of all cultures, gender and beliefs. We need the theory that is taught at university as it helps to form our teaching pedagogy when we are in the classroom ...

Opting out of the nation’s education system

schools are missing out on some amazing students. A lot of gifted & talented kids are being schooled at home due to lack of support in main stream schools. Michelle There are two very concerning issues regarding schools. Firstly, the parent is always responsible for their child’s education regardless of school choice. If there is an issue or the school fails to educate your child, then the UN is your only recourse. Secondly, the education departments and schools have their own medical classifications. This means that if you have a child with medical issues, the school can override medical professionals ...

Alicia Sanders The most disturbing part of our education system is falling apart is the fact that it seems like the only ones who are worried about it are usual people. People who are not in charge and cannot possibly do anything about it. I do not understand why our authorities remain so ignorant; why they don’t see that the longer they keep themselves from solving educational problems the worse it is going to become eventually. No one is talking of big changes; just one step at a time could help a lot.

David Zyngier I do stand by my comments about socialising with similar people is not the same as being in a multi cultural context.I also said that homeschooling is the most expensive boarding school in Australia costing the foregone wages of at least one person (median wage in Australia is $55K) and that HS is not a possibility for many people from indigenous, NESB migrant and working class families – HS is typically the province of the middle class who can better afford the luxury of having one parent at home full-time ...

Jackie Mc There’s also not a great deal of support and understanding for gifted & talented children or children with a high IQ. The

Gerowyn Jensen As an addition I have the greatest respect for anyone who has the courage to be a teacher in a school, you are amazing.

Post a web comment at

@OzTeacherMag: Our March Cover Story investigates why more parents are deciding to home-school their children. What do you think?http://www.ozteacher. … @ObsidianCrane: @OzTeacherMag if I was still stuck in Bowen we would have home schooled our girls. Better than an unsupportive school environment. @OzTeacherMag: Barnett doesn’t think teachers want a strike, is he right? http:// … @mgraffin: @OzTeacherMag he is dead wrong. i’m deeply unhappy with impact of cuts on my work as relief teacher ... basically, there isn’t any! @OzTeacherMag: We learned this new app will allow you to read novels in under 90 minutes. news...#WHWLTW @Dot_Hep: @OzTeacherMag but why would you want to read a novel in under 90mins? @OzTeacherMag: Pumping extra cash into public schools won’t guarantee good student results, the Federal Education Dept insists. … @missvivisection: @OzTeacherMag but it couldn’t hurt, could it? Follow us on Twitter @ozteachermag

“Instead of getting out and playing sport or relaxing or studying, [students] are either preparing for drinking or they’re drinking ...” - Queensland principal Gail Armstrong wants more support to tackle student drinking problems











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coverstory australian Teacher • April 2014

Active Jackson about people

Introduction THE workforce in Australia is ageing, with more people than ever continuing to work well beyond the average age of retirement. Teachers and principals are no exception. In fact, in every state around the country, at least 40 per cent of school teachers are now aged 45 years of age or older. So what does this mean for the profession? It is argued that with a rapid number of teachers set to retire over the coming years, there is going to be a shortage of teachers in the profession. Angelo Gavrielatos, federal president of the Australian Education Union, says that there is already a shortage of teachers in some subject areas and geographical locations. It has also been said that teachers are remaining in the profession longer than they wish to, simply because they do not have enough superannuation to retire. First State Super, a fund that represents 150,000 educators in Australia clears up the numbers. Geoff Lawley says that anyone can make a significant difference to the quality of their retirement, as long as they actively work to put away as much as they can. Of course, the message is to start as early as possible. But not all older teachers are in the profession because they are worried about the money in their bank accounts. One enthusiastic Victorian principal, Helen Jackson is not only 82-years-old, she’s still working fulltime and is actively involved in her school. And while there has been a huge focus on the ageing teacher population, there are still many young people choosing teaching as their career. Robyn Ewing from the University of Sydney believes much can be done to ensure that undergraduates and early career teachers are well supported in the industry. She suggests giving them permanency and moving away from temporary and casual contracts. REBECCA VUKOVIC EDITOR

Tristan Velasco

WHILE many of her peers were leaving their fulltime working lives and settling into retirement 20 years ago, the thought did not even cross Helen Jackson’s mind. In fact, the Victorian principal wasn’t even aware that 55 was the average age to retire. She was too consumed by the daily running of her school, Pascoe Vale Girls College, where she has been working for the past 34 years. Now a sprightly 82-year-old, Jackson is still working full-time as principal at the college, and says that she couldn’t imagine not spending her days surrounded by her students and staff. “I never thought of an early retirement because I have my health and strength which I’ve been very blessed with to be honest,” Jackson says. “Then my interest has always been working with people, my staff and children and young teachers and with parents and listening to their dreams for their children.” Jackson starting teaching in 1951 and has spent six decades working to get the best from her students. Her work ethic is remarkable, but she says it’s something that runs in the family. “I come from a family of workers,” Jackson shares. “Only my sister retired from being a nurse in a school, but I mean she had followed through and had all her own children and there were 70 odd children she fostered.

Undergraduate viewpoint With emphasis being place on the ageing teacher workforce in Australia, we decided to gauge what university students have on their mind. We spoke to Mia McPhillips who is in her second year of a Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood and Primary) course at Australian Catholic University. Why did you decide to study teaching in the first place? Teaching is a career that allows me to make a difference. The incredible joy of guiding children with knowledge and watching them discover with both curiosity and creativity, has a very powerful impact. In addition to this, I benefit as a lifelong learner in an environment that supports interpersonal interactions. What do you think of Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s review of initial teacher education courses? I do believe the review of initial teacher training courses is important as the degree does require a high level of dedication, knowledge and consistency. We need great teachers if we expect the children to achieve great results and great learning. Have you ever thought about your superannuation or what you plan do upon retirement? As a second year student I have only a minimal focus on my superannuation, however it is extremely important. I hope to be able to live comfortably, with the support of superannuation,upon my retirement in many years to come.

“I never thought of an early retirement because I have my health ...”

Helen Jackson is the principal of Pascoe Vale Girls College, Victoria “Two brothers have PhDs and they’re either giving lectures or one’s running a parish, and then one runs his own business — he’s retired but he still thinks he’s 21.” The daily running of a school can be difficult for anyone, but Jackson tries to maintain a close relationship with all 1300 students and 80-plus teachers. “I am very active. I like to know everything that’s happening, I suppose it’s a nosy part of me. “I love to know what is going on in the school and how children are going — whether they’re Year 7 or Year 12. It makes no difference to me. I’m always asking, ‘How are you going?’ ‘Are you happy?’ ‘Are

you having trouble?’ ‘Have you spoken to your teachers?’ So I like to be able to go out and about.” Consistently trying to innovate and improve the schooling experience for her girls is also very important to Jackson. “I take each new year as though I’ve never taught before or been involved in the leadership before. I ask, ‘how can school be better for girls and for women?’ Having enough superannuation to retire is a consideration for everyone, but it is argued that teachers remain working longer than most others because they don’t have enough money in the bank to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. This is another thing Jackson shrugs off, money has never been all that important to her. “I’m not a big spender, I buy things and I travelled a lot before I came to Australia but I think [life is] not about things that money can buy. “It’s people more than things that make life exciting and interesting,” she says.

Workforce mix so important “THERE’S no doubt that the profession is rapidly ageing and the average age of the profession continues to grow,” Angelo Gavrielatos, federal president of the Australian Education Union, tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “This brings with it some significant challenges in terms of workforce planning.” Gavrielatos predicts there will be a significant turnover of teachers over the next period, meaning the government needs to act now to ensure there is a steady supply of teachers to meet the needs of students around the country. “There will be an ongoing, significant turnover of teachers over the next few years because of the ageing profile of the profession. “What we therefore must ensure, what governments must then ensure, is the proper preparation of teachers whilst at university and the proper mentoring induction and mentoring and support once they enter the profession.” According to Gavrielatos, sophisticated workforce planning is needed to ensure there isn’t an increase in the staff shortages, particularly in certain subject areas and geographical locations. “What concerns me is that it is our schools serving the most disadvantaged communities that first experience and most acutely experience teacher shortages,” he says. At a time when older teachers are moving towards their retirement

“There will be an ongoing ... turnover of teachers over the next few years.”

Federal president of the Australian Education Union, Angelo Gavrielatos age, the focus is shifted to teacher training. In February, Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced a far-reaching review into teacher training by appointing an eight-member ministerial advisory group to report on how education degrees at universities can better prepare new teachers. While Gavrielatos agrees there is a need to increase the standards and rigour associated with initial teacher education courses, he has his concerns as well. “We’re very concerned about the Pyne review, because it may have the effect of lowering entry standards and indeed the person who is chosen to chair this review, Greg

Craven, is the vice chancellor of the university with amongst the lowest entry levels when it comes to teacher education.” Despite this, Gavrielatos maintains that older and more experienced teachers are indeed assets to have in the classroom. “There’s no doubt that new teachers bring an enthusiasm to our schools and our classrooms,” he says. “But experience matters and what we always believe is we should have a mix of teachers in all schools, a mix of experienced teachers and newer teachers in each school.” Gavrielatos also acknowledges some of his members are concerned at their level of superannuation, particularly those nearing retirement. “I think that reflects changing patterns of behavior which largely emerged with the global financial crisis and the impact that had on people’s superannuation in 2008/9/10 — so people I believe stayed on a bit longer than what they traditionally used to do so.”

coverstory 23

Young need full-time chance STUDENTS in undergraduate teaching courses and early career teachers are a precious commodity these days. In her experience working in the Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney, professor Robyn Ewing says she is concerned that many early career teachers are only getting casual and temporary contracts and as a result don’t stay in the profession. The acting pro-dean of the faculty says there are many reasons for this. “Sometimes it’s because the teachers in schools have been seconded to do something or they’re on long service leave or they’re on leave without pay or whatever. “There are a lot of reasons why a teacher doesn’t have to give up permanency when they have some of these leave situations,” she says. “Sometimes it’s a cost thing, because it’s cheaper to give people temporary or casual contracts rather than to take them on permanently. So there are a whole lot of reasons. I suppose it’s partly the

“We’re all being encouraged to think about working for a much longer time.”

Professor Robyn Ewing from the University of Sydney. way the whole workforce is moving in a sense. It can be harder to get permanent positions.” According to Ewing this is a worrying fact because she believes there is a need for young teachers to have the opportunity to work full-time in school contexts. “[I know of] one young teacher who took four years to get permanency out at Broken Hill. “It’s hard to even get a loan for a house or anything like that. So my concern is that a lot of young teachers won’t be able to stay on those kinds of temporary and casual arrangements — they’ll look for other sorts of employment and then we’ll lose a whole lot of

quality teachers for the future.” In response to the launch of Education Minister Christopher Pyne’s teacher training review, Ewing admits there are some students who are worried about what this could mean for them and their university studies. “Some of them are certainly worried about the future but certainly, those people who really want to teach will still come into teacher education, thankfully,” Ewing says. “And I suppose the other perception is people come into the profession as a second or third option. “Well, there are an awful lot of people who come into teacher education with really exceptional histories in their school and university record.” On the question of whether there is too much emphasis placed on young teachers which undermines the wealth of experience of older teachers, Ewing is clear. “It’s not just about age, we’re all being encouraged to think about working for a much longer time. “So what we want is a vibrant, enthusiastic profession that is continuing to renew and learn. “There are some fantastic experienced teachers who want to keep teaching and we also need to learn from their wisdom as well. “An early career teacher who is well mentored is three times more likely to stay in the profession so it doesn’t just stand here at university.”

April 2014 • australian Teacher

The numbers Using Census data from 2011 provided by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, we compiled the average age of teachers. While these numbers weren’t all that surprising, when compared to the mean age of teachers, we couldn’t believe what we found. For example, the most common age for a teacher to be in South Australia is 57, however that number is 30 for the Northen Territory. new south wales Average Age

Mean Age

43 54


victoria Average Age

Mean Age

43 54

Percentage aged 45+


queensland Average Age

Mean Age

42 42

Percentage aged 45+


south australia Average Age

Mean Age

Super future if you prepare 44 57 FOR any teacher considering their retirement, there is no doubt that superannuation will be playing on their mind. First State Super is an Australian fund that has 776,000 members, of which 150,000 are employees in the department of education. Through their comprehensive website, attendance at conferences and regular seminars, First State Super work to educate people about managing their money now, to ensure they can enjoy a comfortable retirement later on. According to Geoff Lawley of First State Super, the numbers can be daunting but the key is think about superannuation early. “We have to keep working to convince people that this regular contribution throughout their lifetime, just a few percent of their salary can make the world of difference to their comfort level as they get older and the flexibility and the ability to stop when they want to,” he says. But how much super is needed for this comfortable retirement? Using figures compiled by The Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia from December 31, 2013, Lawley says that in today’s terminology, a retired couple would need $57,000 a year and a single would need $42,000 to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. “You need a capital sum of $410,000 roughly for the single person and $510,000 for the couple. Now that assumes some receipt of

Percentage aged 45+

Percentage aged 45+


western australia Average Age

Mean Age

43 55

Percentage aged 45+


tasmania Average Age

Mean Age

44 54 Teachers must manage their money now to enjoy a comfortable retirement. some age … and that will enable you to maintain that level of income for about 20 years,” he explains. For younger teachers, the numbers get a little more frightening. In 10 years time, when the $500,000 superannuation is indexed, the capital sum is closer to $700,000. In 20 years, it becomes $1 million and in 30 years it is closer to $1.2 million. But Lawley insists there is no need to worry. “Even at 55 someone who could be not in great shape can accumulate quite a substantial amount of money in that last decade as they really focus on it. “There are lots of things we can

do, a lot of strategies we can use and it’s a matter of getting those individuals focused on being aware of the numbers involved,” he says. “It’s really a challenge but we work on a very positive sense and try to encourage people to put money in when they can.”

“Just a few percent of their salary can make the world of difference ...”

Percentage aged 45+


northern territory Average Age

Mean Age

42 30

Percentage aged 45+


australian capital territory Average Age

Mean Age

42 32

Percentage aged 45+


Indigenous Ed. classroom projects


special report

curriculum ideas

April 2014 May 2012

The Bush to Belly program teaches students in the Kimberley region life skills related to food.

from Bush to belly Brooke Lumsden BUTCHERING is probably not the kind of thing that springs to mind when thinking about classroom activities, but when Nicholas Try, principal of Yiyili Community School in the Kimberley region, saw a practical opportunity for his students, he took it. Beginning as the brainchild of one of his teachers, Sarah Blazely, the initial idea was to start a project where she could utilise the community and students’ knowledge of bush tucker and the bush and combine it with more westernised, Australian-style cooking, recipes and ingredients. Aptly named ‘Bush to Belly Food Co.’, the program started with students visiting a cattle station where the process from slaugh-

tering to butchering took place. “Their first activity was getting a cow and going through the whole process of selecting, slaughtering, butchering, processing and cooking,” Try explains. Students then returned to school where they labelled the cuts and prepared the meat for different meals such as burgers and lasagne. Try says he saw that this program had the ability to really get students involved, active, and participating in something that they felt ownership of, but also something they had skills and proficiency in. “It was also a way to provide students with transferable skills, skills that they could take into town and immediately find work, whether in a kitchen, cafe or

1st - 2nd May 2014, Sydney

something similar,” he explains. From there, the school formalised a relationship with Anthony MacGillivray from Hamilton District Skills College in Victoria, who began training the Yiyili students in barista skills and principles of cookery, spurring another exciting idea for the students. “We decided to provide the mobile espresso coffee service for the Gibb River Bike Ride Challenge,” Try explains. “This is a non-competitive bike ride where up to 200 riders ride the Gibb River Road and raise money for the Royal Flying Doctor Service. This proved to be a fantastic success.” Try says the students learnt everything from espresso service and running a small cafe, money handling, small business skills, and customer service. “The stu-

Brooke Lumsden is a preservice teacher and publisher of Bright Kids, an Australian Curriculum iPad resource.

Learning Stone big commitment FOR students and staff at Elisabeth Murdoch College in Victoria, the unveiling of a large rock named ‘The Learning Stone’ was a powerful and moving event. The flat stone, which sits in a courtyard at the heart of the school, symbolises their recognition of Indigenous education and the school’s determination to initiate a transformative cultural change. Assistant principal Judy Curson, who is driving the initiative, says the stone is just one step in the school’s new action plan. “We want to engage our Indigenous students more in their education and also ... their families, but also raise awareness and understanding and tolerance of nonIndigenous students,” she says. The stone’s unveiling ceremony featured the raising of the Aboriginal flag and an emotional speech from the local mayor. “I was in tears, we had tears everywhere, but it was lovely and our kids were really, really moved by it ... it turned into this lovely community engagement-type situation,” Curson reflects. “The idea is that Indigenous students, or any students for that matter, can go to the learning stone to do some individual reflection, go and speak with somebody if they were resolving a conflict ... it’s a new place to meet, reflect and focus their energies,” Curson says.

Elisabeth Murdoch College is committed to Indigenous education.


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REFLECT SHIFT TRANSFORM The First Asia Pacific Congress on Creating Inclusive Schools

dents found it was hard work but very rewarding,” he says. A commercial coffee machine was also set up in the school’s instructional kitchen, with the view to providing café style service to the busloads of tourists that visit the Laari Aboriginal art gallery, which is attached to the school. Try explains that the project has enabled students to think about career paths in catering, cooking, hospitality and customer service. “Their confidence with dealing with customers, communicating, establishing needs and doing so efficiently has greatly improved and has been a highlight,” he says.

culture change

Indigenous Education 25 INBRIEF Aboriginal AFL Academy launched

early years

April 2014 â&#x20AC;˘ australian Teacher

innovative program

Year 12 graduates up

AN exciting and innovative new Indigenous AFL program has been launched in South Australia, which aims to provide an elite training environment for Indigenous students who demonstrate a commitment to achieving excellence in both sport and education. A joint initiative between the Port Adelaide Football Club and the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy (SAASTA) the Aboriginal AFL Academy is the first of its kind in the national game. The academy builds on Port Adelaideâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s already highly successful Aboriginal Power Cup which is in its seventh year this year and involves more than 300 Aboriginal students across more than 30 schools. South Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s executive director of Aboriginal Education David Rathman, says the program provides an opportunity for success, which is critical in building a culture of success for young Aboriginal people. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to increase the number of young Aboriginal people, particularly those playing football, who can actually obtain some long term benefits from understanding that there is a limited football life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll need to ensure that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got something beyond that, thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s got some future for

South Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Aboriginal AFL Academy is the first of its kind in the game. them and allow them to participate in the community as well as gain employment, maybe go on to further education and higher education, but certainly to encourage them to see schooling as an important long term commitment, as opposed to the short life that sport can provide for them.â&#x20AC;? The academy will include a squad of 30 players who will spend one day each week at Portâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s home, Alberton, completing a Cert III in Sport and Recreation. The students will receive tuition from a range of experts, including

lecturers from TAFE SA, as well as Port Adelaide and SAASTA staff, but importantly, be mentored by Port players and SAASTA mentors. In order to be considered eligible for the Academy, participants must be enrolled to complete their SACE at a South Australian school, maintain a minimum 80 per cent attendance rate across all subjects throughout the school year, achieve academic success in all subjects (C grade or better) and adhere at all times to the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s behaviour management code.

VICTORIA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Victorian Education Minister Martin Dixon has presented graduating Year 12 Koori students students with certificates at the Victorian Aboriginal Education Associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s graduate luncheon. Last year 384 Victorian Koori students graduated, up from 257 in 2010. Increasing from 22 per cent in 2008, 40 percent of Aboriginal young people entered university from Year 12.

Last year, almost 70 per cent of Aboriginal students in South Australia stayed on to Year 12, which is the highest retention rate in the nation. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We put that down to the fact that we have a concerted effort, with the support of our colleagues in secondary schools, to try and maintain those students in schooling,â&#x20AC;? Rathman says. And according to Rathman, SAASTA has played a significant role in this effort. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In terms of the SACE (South Australian Certificate of Education), weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried to increase the number of students completing the VET elements of the SACE, so getting students to complete Certificate IIIs while theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re at school. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Part of thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been backed up by a program we call Keeping Them On Track, and this program aims to monitor the progress of students, so with the support of our colleagues in schools who ensure weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re giving intensive support to those students as they go through the system. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Keeping them On Track is a very strong, important part of that support structure. The Aboriginal AFL Academy team is set to compete in the South Australian mid-week public secondary school competition.

Sistaspeak workshop NEWCASTLE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; One of many Indigenous programs at New South Walesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Irrawang High School, Sistaspeak is a workshop program that inspires and motivates Aboriginal women in Years 7-10 about the importance of education, and raises their awareness about the diverse career paths available to them. It also explores culture and leadership.

Young Nooky inspires NOWRA â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Rapper Young Nooky (AKA Corey Webster) took time out of his music career to inspire Aboriginal students at his former school, New South Walesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Nowra High School. Year 12 student Jenayha Helmons helped organise the workshop day as part of an Aboriginal studies major. Email briefs to

mentoring program

Strong Girls giving support where itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s needed FOR Indigenous boarding students uprooted from their families and close-knit communities across the Top End, school can take some getting used to. Staff at Kormilda College in the Northern Territory noticed two years ago that while support and mentoring was available for male students through the Clontarf Foundation, there was nothing similar for Indigenous girls. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more to this story

Responding to this need, the school launched Strong Girls, a program designed to promote healthy life skills and a positive mindset, provide students with support and most importantly, a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;someone to talk toâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hard,â&#x20AC;? Strong Girls mentor and restorative officer Monique Gorham says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I mean these kids ... sometimes itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s their first time away from home, and just having that sistertype, mother-type aunty-type figure [is important].â&#x20AC;? Through the program, Gorham

says girls have access to a room where they can hang out during their breaks in a supportive environment. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think what appeals to them is, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re very shy around the nonIndigenous students, so they feel more at ease with their own, I guess. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think what they like about it is theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re away from everyone else, they can be themselves, they can talk in their language, they can pretty much just relax.â&#x20AC;? Gorham says that while Indigenous girls rarely open up to men,

her role as a go-to woman for any problems is vital. The Strong Girls also participate in various group activities, like mountain biking, rock climbing and overnight camps in Litchfield National Park. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Sport is such a drawcard for them, they love it,â&#x20AC;? Gorham says. Gorham says the program has achieved a lot with limited funds. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve seen a lot of positive improvement with the girls, from getting to class on time to staying in class ..., when theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got that support you do see an improvement.

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Kormilda Collegeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Strong Girls program for young Indigenous women has been a great success.

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intheclassroom innovation



communication Dixon College students have built video projectors using a Raspberry Pi.

April 2014


MLC’s Moran quietly achieving big things Haesler’s engaging School of Thought Petriella’s fun festival inspires kids to dream

video wall recycling gold Rebecca Vukovic VIDEO projectors are commonly used in schools nowadays, but one group of senior students have been learning to build these devices from scratch with the help of the Raspberry Pi. The potential of this cheap and tiny computer has been explored extensively for several years now, but Andrew Moss from Dixon College in the ACT believes what his students are doing is a world first. “I think the students really get into the idea that they are the first in the world that have tried this out and if they succeed then they are the first in the world to have succeeded in doing it, so that really is a big motivation for them,” the robotics and engineering teacher says.

Year 11 and 12 students, along with the help of Canberra Institute of Technology TAFE students, have been working on the video wall made up of recycled electronics. “We wanted to have large video screens around the school and we can’t afford to buy them. So I came across this technology … we can basically have a screen on the wall that is totally scalable, so it can be 40 inches in diameter diagonally, or it could be 80 or 360 just by adding more screens to it,” Moss explains. Like most schools, the college upgrades their computer equipment regularly and Moss began to notice there was a good deal of it ending up at the refuge tip. “The 17 inch monitors we had here for a number of years have now been upgraded to 19 inch or

21 inch, so we have about 300 monitors that were going to go to landfill. “I decided that instead of sending them to landfill, we could reuse them. We’ve managed to source some old networking equipment that was being thrown away, so we’re using that in the video wall as well, and even the backing mounting board and all the materials like the screen and stuff were all parts of computers.” The video wall can screen any type of video, and Moss envisages the school using the wall for assemblies and presentations, as well as for art installations around the school. “We certainly need to have installation screens regularly throughout the school and there’s been some interest in us using

these Raspberry Pi video walls to provide installation screens,” he says. “The drama people are putting on some plays and they would like some video installations on the stage so they can show mood lighting through these screens, so there’s a lot of different aspects and we’re just finding out what the installations can do.” Moss says this kind of project really inspires students to think beyond the regular pressures of assignments and exams and to make this kind of learning important. “It’s really what I look for in projects, rather than just having assignments and the same kind of tasks, the students really think they’re breaking ground with it,” he says.

Fun teaching gross and fine motor skills Community garden project lifts Pimpama “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” B.B. King

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intheclassroom 28 australian Teacher • April 2014

INBRIEF Khan poetry workshop WOLLONGONG – In order to nurture creativity, 20 students at Dapto High School scrawled their heartfelt words on window panes as part of a guerrilla poetry workshop with New South Wales Poetry Slam champion Zohab Zee Khan. Guided by Khan and his high-impact poetry performances, students used their own experiences to write and perform their poems.

Funky watercolours ADELAIDE – Visual arts students in Year 3 at St Aloysius College have used bright watercolour paints to create a scene from Waltzing Matilda. They then made a digital copy of their painting and uploaded the picture to BeFunky, a free online photo editing program and collage maker.

Those Coota cattle kids COOTAMUNDRA – Supervised by their agriculture teacher, New South Wale’s Cootamundra High School’s show team has participated in the Canberra Show contest involving handling cattle on stage. Students in the team learned about taking care of an animal, and grew confidence from performing publically. Looking after their cattle included cleaning their beds out and polishing their halters.

‘Minute to win it’ fun MELBOURNE - Grade 6 students at Mt Eliza Primary School have participated in 12 “Minute to win it” rotations. The rotations varied from solving puzzles to bouncing ping-pong balls into buckets. The school newsletter said the aim of the day was to build teamwork amongst the students, and the most successful teams were those that worked together.

top of the class

Quiet achiever’s big impression Daniel Groenewald IN a culture that is increasingly seduced by bold headlines, bright colours and spectacle, it is easy to gloss over the contribution of the quiet achiever. Occasionally a spirit of quiet determination breaks through the cacophony. In this case, it is a young English and literature teacher, Tamsin Moran, who is quietly changing the world, one student at a time, at Methodist Ladies’ College in Perth. Moran didn’t always think she would be a teacher. She graduated from Perth’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College in 2004 with a TER of 99.95 and elected to study law at The University of Melbourne. But after 12 months of “tedious” study, Moran dropped out and discovered she enjoyed teaching. “It was through volunteering at a homework club and running workshops for the United Nations Youth Association,” Moran says, “that I realised my love for helping others to learn.” Moran went on to complete an arts degree, majoring in

Warners Bay program NEWCASTLE – Warners Bay Primary School has developed its 1:1 program as part of NSW Education’s Bring Your Own Device policy. The policy encourages schools to allow students to incorporate technology into their day-to-day learning. The laptops are rented by families and the program supports teachers in customising the curriculum for students.

Maths Challenge fun BRISBANE – Ten mathematicians from St Pius’ Catholic School’ maths challenge team have attended the All Hallows’ Gregory Terrace Maths Challenge. The Year 6 and 7 students showcased their mathematical flair while joining together to solve complex problems. They competed with and against the city’s best maths students, with more than 50 teams involved. Email briefs to

English literary studies, doing honours in French and picking up Mandarin along the way. She enrolled in a Master of Teaching, completed a Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages and returned to her hometown, Perth, in 2013 to take up a position at Methodist Ladies’ College. Although Moran is clearly academically gifted, it’s her work ethic that is most remarkable. She treats teaching as a pas-

School of Thought

sion and a profession. It’s not an 8.00am to 4.00pm job for her. She spends her holidays taking courses to improve her subject knowledge and is always devouring new novels, cinema and theatre at weekends. Moran is a meticulous planner and her lessons are peppered with resources she’s spent many hours tailoring. Students look forward to her classes; a carefully designed challenge often waits for them at the beginning of each lesson.

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Gallup Student PollXxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx results make for engaging reading

Jingili garden wonders DARWIN - Transition students have visited the school garden at Jingili School, and were fascinated by what they saw and smelled. Many children tried their hand at making worm tea and then watering the plants, whilst others planted turmeric. A produce stall sells pesto made by the kitchen garden classes, as well as limes, bananas and goat’s milk soap.

Tamsin Moran treats teaching as a passion and a profession.

February’s School of Thought questioned whether we really understand engagement in schools. This month I wanted to continue with that theme and share with you some of the findings from Gallup’s inaugural Student Poll in Australia. Last year, Gallup surveyed 7000 students in Years 5 to 12 in 36 schools across six states and found that only 51 per cent of students were “hopeful”, that is students who “possess numerous ideas and abundant energy for the future.” The survey found that students become less engaged as they progress through school and only 1 in 3 believe they will find a good job when they leave school. It’s not only hope that students appear to lack, but also self-efficacy. According to the survey, less that one-infour Year 12 students felt, “they can find lots of ways around any problem”. Overall, the survey says that 72 per cent of Year 5 students are engaged in school compared to 49 per cent in Year 12, although there is a slight spike in Year 11 with 54 per cent engaged. These findings can either be ignored or can be used to provoke debate in your school, target areas for profes-

sional development and focus the leadership team’s strategic plan. Consider these questions: • If you don’t have hope why bother engaging? What’s the point? • Why have nearly 30 per cent of kids switched off school before turning 12? • Should we be concerned that our Yr 12 students say they can’t problemsolve in an age where they will inherit significant economic and environmental problems and challenges not of their making? • What does your school do to instill hope in your community? Is that part of your role? Why? Why not? • Why don’t students feel like we build on their strengths? I bet the words ‘individual’, ‘personalised’ or ‘strengthsbased’ feature somewhere on your

school’s website or promotional material. Interestingly, those students who do believe that their school “is committed to building the strengths of each student” are significantly more hopeful, more engaged and have higher wellbeing. Engagement is a very complex concept, and there is no easy solution, but when the survey also shows that only 33 per cent of students said they had received recognition or praise for doing good schoolwork, perhaps there are some simple steps we can start to take. Dan Haesler is a consultant, writer and international keynote speaker. Read his blog at or follow him on Twitter at @danhaesler

A quarter of Year 12 students felt they are not good at problem solving.

Naturally her colleagues also appreciate that she shares her thoroughly prepared resources, which lighten the load and brighten student experience. Moran enjoys the social dynamic of teaching. She is an introvert and finds the daily grind taxing. “Spending so much time with people can sometimes sap my energy,” she says. “I need space to recharge later.” Burnout is a potential Achilles heel of passionate, graduate teachers but Moran takes an intelligent, strategic approach. “I learn something every day … the small gains that students make each lesson … encourage me to keep going,” she says. Daniel Groenewald is a senior English and literature teacher at Methodist Ladies College, Perth and is an educational consultant. Do you know any exceptional teachers? Email classroom@ with the details.

vic program

Seventy take big steps for positive behaviour SEVENTY schools across Victoria are on the road to creating safe and supportive school environments, addressing bullying and improving behaviour through a highly successful positive behaviours program. US anti-bullying expert and University of Connecticut professor George Sugai launched the program at the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SWPBS) workshop for the 70 Victorian schools. Minister for Education Martin Dixon said the SWPBS program was an important platform for safe, supportive and inclusive school environments. “We know that students and teachers perform best when they are in positive school environments, and that’s why this program is so important,” Dixon said. Sixteen ‘mentor’ schools that are already running SWPBS will support the 70 schools starting the two-year program. Mentor and mentee schools have received $20,000 and $4500 respectively.

intheclassroom 29


Creative thinking and learning festival Brooke Lumsden WHEN teacher and creative arts enthusiast, Serena Petriella, took part in a literacy festival at a previous school, it sparked an idea that eventually saw an inspiring week-long event come together which had teachers and students breaking out hidden talents, and working and learning in new and exciting ways. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I loved the idea of a festival in a school and over time I thought â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t it be great to have a festival focused on creativity and creative thinking and learning?â&#x20AC;&#x2122;â&#x20AC;? Petriella says. She approached her principal at Daceyville Public School in New South Wales, Nicole Molloy, who loved the idea, and encouraged Petriella to put her plan into action. She then started advertising and building excitement â&#x20AC;&#x201D; telling students at assembly, sending out newsletters, displaying posters, and having a festival iPad app created. Gaining the financial support of the P&C, Petriella began mapping the week out. Teacher, community and professional-run workshops were

Festival organiser Serena Petriella, right, with Tiane Williams, middle, who ran a singing workshop. put together, with Petriella managing to get some well known creatives on board. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Obviously these people are passionate about the industry that theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in and they wanted to share it, and a lot of people like working with kids because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fun and kids are always so open and enthusiastic,â&#x20AC;? she explains. Intertwined with the festival itself was the dream to create a learning space dedicated to creativity. To achieve this, a dancea-thon fundraiser was held,

which surpassed its original goal of $5000. The festival closed with a concert evening, showcasing the creative ability of students to the school community. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We had a lot of kids who got to shine in areas that either they hadnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the opportunity to before, or they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know they would shine â&#x20AC;&#x201D; or we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know!â&#x20AC;? Petriella explains. She says there were plenty of examples across the school, and watching some of the older kids

sing on stage was amazing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;To get up in front of an audience with a singer they know of, whose music they listen to, and then there they are singing with them, with a crowd cheering them on â&#x20AC;&#x201D; they were really special moments for the kids...â&#x20AC;? With learning now taking place in the revitalised creativity centre, students are continuing to benefit from the original idea of creative inspiration. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The festival was about inspiring and encouraging kids to have a dream, and to follow it â&#x20AC;&#x201D; take risks, be creative, and create your life the way you want it to be,â&#x20AC;? Petriella says. Brooke Lumsden is a preservice teacher and publisher of Bright Kids, an Australian Curriculum iPad resource. Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s more to this story

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April 2014


australian Teacher

INBRIEF Random kindness acts ADELAIDE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Year 2s at Tanunda Lutheran School are learning how to use a camera to capture special moments. After brainstorming ideas, they chose to photograph various random acts of kindness. The students thoughtfully and creatively planned and delivered their photos and acts of kindness, and many came back with big smiles, very excited about their photographs.

CFA visit delights kids PAKENHAM - Beaconhills College students were delighted at the chance to see a real fire truck in action when a crew from the CFA visited the school. The date coincided with the anniversary of the Victorian Black Saturday bushfires and the visiting crew included a former Beaconhills student Scott Huijbregsen.

Support-a-Reader help PERTH â&#x20AC;&#x201C; With the help of volunteer parents, Our Ladyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Assumption Primary School is running an initiative called Support-a-Reader. An intervention program, it gives students who need additional help with their reading the opportunity to read regularly on a one-to-one basis with a supportive adult. Email briefs to


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intheclassroom 30 australian Teacher • April 2014

INBRIEF A year-long movie journey ist project

Dickson flying higher

CANBERRA – Dickson College will compete in the UAV (unmanned aerial vehicles) Outback Challenge in Queensland in July. The 2013 challenge was a high school only event, during which the partnership between the school’s UAV team and world leading aircraft manufacturer Northrop Grumman was announced. Northrop Grumman will help financially develop the school’s technological program.

Singleton’s nude food ROCKINGHAM – Keeping up an annual tradition, Western Australia’s Singleton Primary School participated in this year’s Clean Up Australia Day. Along with participating in the day’s school events, they also recently introduced a “nude food Wednesday” program, where students are encouraged to bring healthy food without packaging in their lunch boxes to reduce waste.

In Year 8 information software and technology (IST), students are to demonstrate the mastery of particular technological skills. Rather than ask students to create numerous mini-pieces of work or repetitive assignments, I have used Project Based Learning pedagogies to achieve such mastery. This year at Rooty Hill High School in New South Wales, students are creating a project on a technological invention that was created in Japan. In addition to attaining the necessary skills as

set in the syllabus, this task also attains the cross capability of the Australian Curriculum Learning Across the Capabilities (LAC) of Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia. The project enables students to complete a portfolio that is scaffolded and directs students in terms of their research and project planning. The project is broken down into four components that are due throughout the year. Students begin by working on their design

Cricketers in Ceduna CEDUNA – Primary age students at South Australia’s Ceduna Area School have tried their hand at cricket at a Milo in2cricket session. The program introduces the game to children aged five to 10 years. All of them practised their cricket skills, including batting and bowling, and took part in mini games.

Italy 16-day study tour JINDABYNE – Twenty-nine students, five staff members and a number of parents from New South Wales’ Monaro and Bombala High Schools will participate in a 16-day study tour of Italy that includes Pompeii, the Bay of Naples, Rome and the Western Front. The trip aspired to combine travel and fun with schoolwork and is specifically directed towards the HSC’s Modern History course.

Brush stroke brilliance ADELAIDE – Led by their visual arts teacher, students at Prospect Primary School have constructed a wonderful visual art piece made up of individual, differently coloured brush strokes. Each stroke represents a student’s mark on creativity within his or her world. The artwork is hanging in the school’s front foyer on display.

Taste-tester discoveries

Students at Rooty Hill High School have created colourful and engaging promotional posters to publicise their movies.

Noelene Callaghan is an ICT teacher at Rooty Hill High School and a Counsellor of The Teachers Guild of New South Wales.

learning resource

ecosystem project

STUDENTS at Hallett Cove East Primary School are building an understanding of Japanese culture in their Japanese language classes. As detailed in their school newsletter, students across all year levels absorb different aspects of Japanese culture through practising origami, hearing old Japanese folktales, participating in ‘chopstick races’ and making and eating onigiri rice balls. Students also participate in festival activities, like the Hina Matsuri Festival (Girls Day), Kodomo no Hi (Children’s Day Festival), and Tsukimi (Moon Viewing Festival). As an extension of this program, a Year 7 team from Hallett Cove East will compete in the Hiragana Competition — a school aged Japanese design contest. As well as these cultural activities, students participate in more traditional learning activities, including songs, role playing and language games.

Chicken coop fun


AS a unique way to complete science outcomes on ecosystems and sustainability, Northern Territory teacher, Emma Cooper, supervised Year 5-7 students St Joseph’s Catholic College to build a chicken coop. “I wasn’t too keen on it, I don’t really like chickens”, she laughs. “But [the students] were really excited. A lot of them were running home … and doing some extra research, bringing things in to school … and fighting over who got to name [the chickens].” Apart from assistance from parents salvaging wire fencing and metal doors, the work has been entirely directed by the students

Pre-primary teachers at Western Australia’s Gingin District High School have been focused on developing and strengthening students’ gross and fine motor skills. During outside play time, we set up and group the students in a variety of fun and engaging activities. These vary from squeezing a squirting bottle to strengthen their fingers at a target in the shape of the letter they are learning, finding their way through an obstacle course and using beanbags to develop co-ordination and balance.

Year 11 story tellers

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Primary focus on Japanese culture

Gingin District High School program focused on gross and fine motor skills

BRISBANE – Hospitality and food technology students at Saint Eugene College are developing their culinary knowledge. The Year 8 students made macaroni cheese and taste-tested peanut butters, yoghurts and biscuits to check their fat, salt and kilojoule contents. They also discovered that the branded diet biscuits had more calories.

PERTH – Year 11 English students at Newman College have visited both of their junior school campuses to read storybooks to younger children. The high school students had previously spent time in class choosing suitable books and reading them to the appropriate age group as an assessment task. The Year 3s apparently loved hearing older students read to them.

portfolio. This provides them with a chance to complete sufficient research on their chosen technology and design their work as well as plan their work. As they work on their portfolio, students begin completing the practical component of the subject. Students begin by creating a short movie using Microsoft Movie Maker about that piece of technology. Students are encouraged to be as creative as possible and can use any story plot as long as it meets the brief. Once the movie is completed, students are to create a promotional poster for their movie using Adobe Photoshop. After that, students create a website using Adobe Dreamweaver which is also aimed at promoting their movie. The students’ poster and movie are embedded into the website. In addition to these tasks, students are to document their progress using blogs. This enables the teacher to learn of their journey and any obstacles or successes that they have endured throughout the year.

language classes

Pre-primary students are involved in activities to develop their gross and fine motor skills.

Embedded in these activities are body management, motor sequencing, motor planning, bilateral integration, postural control, hand strengthening and finger isolation exercises, auditory sequencing and auditory memory. Developing strength and flexibility in these areas is essential to students’ developing the motor planning, upper body control and refined fine motor skills necessary to have an effective and efficient pencil grip to become proficient writers and competent learners. The outdoor program is run on four days of the week and incorporates fun and exciting activities that promote and develop the children’s fine and gross motor skills. Other examples of activities include: wet sponge relays, pegging washing on the line, sequencing activities with balls, beanbags, hoops and hoppers, scooters boards, balancing on beams, lines, wheelbarrow races, knee walking and carpentry. The students love the music and movement associated with the activities and get excited about participating. They develop the ability to work co-operatively with others to follow instructions and thoroughly enjoy the experience. The program has been planned in collaboration with teachers Kate Watson and Helen Jupp. Susan Kerr is an early childhood teacher in the Pre-Primary class at Gingin District High School, WA.

St Joseph’s Catholic College students have built a chicken pen as part of their unit on ecosystems. themselves. “They had to think about the factors on their little ecosystem so they had to think what the design would be and how to keep snakes out,” Cooper explains. “And then look at which materials were bestsuited, which were available, if they were cheaper, if we could get them recycled ...” As well as covering science units for the year levels directly involved, the benefits of the project will extend to the broader school. “The Year 1s are currently writing picture book stories about it,” she says. “The idea is that it links with our other units as well and that other grades will definitely be part of it too.”

intheclassroom 31 New TAC program INBRIEF Storm Surfers’ litter battle

enviro warriors

April 2014

known for the wave Shipsterns. We’re probably one of the closest schools to ‘Shippys’ so, [the program is] sort of building all of that into one big thing.” Although students in the program enjoy tackling Shippys, they are also taught to appreciate the environment that facilitates their favourite sport. “Part of the actual Storm Surfer creed, is if you see the litter you do something about it, you pick it up. “On a few of our trips we’ve tidied a few areas up along the way but, we hope to make it an annual thing, going up the north

Shane Humphreys, president of Surfrider Tasmania (left), with the Storm Surfers and their surf coach Craig Rappl (right).

coast and getting the beaches tidy. “There’s just a sense of responsibility and understanding of what it is to be in and around the ocean, and that includes the coastline, and that includes the terrestrial fringe,” Butler says. After taking part in beach cleanups with the Storm Surfers, the advanced skills teacher says he has noticed students take a different approach to litter in general. “... these boys either say something and do something about it, or they make sure that their own areas are clean ... respecting the environment I suppose underpins the whole Storm Surfer creed.” After a successful pilot year, Butler says he and Rappl are putting the feelers out for new members, and hoping to recruit a few girls as well as beginner surfers. “We have two different tiers running, this year we have more of a ‘learn to surf’ aspect to the program. Learn to surf would be something that [we’ve introduced] to build up the support for the Storm Surfers, and [recruit students] from the junior grades.” As reigning state under-16 champions, Butler says there are plans to encourage Storm Surfer students to do some more competitive surfing, as well as more beach clean-up efforts this year.

Creative thinking

sustainability focus

Pimpama students hungry to learn more in community garden project

Pimpama State SC students have designed a community garden. Stephanie Tell IN an effort to engage with their local community, Queensland’s Pimpama State Secondary College students have been working with local designer Tristan Schultz to design and build a community garden and market stall. Funded by the state’s Artist in Residence program, the project is supervised by Adam Jefford, the school’s head of creative industries — a brief which covers design technology, visual art and business enterprise. Students will soon be growing their own fruit and vegetables and nurturing fish in an aquaponics system. “We’ve got some native bees coming in as well to help propagate the plants,” Jefford says. “[The students are] really excited

australian Teacher

road education

raising awareness

SORRELL School on the southeast coast of Tasmania may be home to surfing pedigree, but staff there are determined to produce more than just good surfers. Warwick Butler coordinator of the Sorrell Storm Surfing Program, with colleague and surf coach Craig Rappl, are turning out young surfers with an environmental conscience. Butler says the school’s surf program was initiated last year on a needs basis. “Sorrell School’s surrounded by three or four pretty good surf beaches ... this region’s well

about the idea of growing their own food and seeing it through to their plate from a garden.” This project is of great relevance to the students given the isolated nature of their community — which is simultaneously in the fastest growing area of Queensland. “We want the students to start thinking about food miles,” he says, “and how far food has to travel to come to them.” As well as addressing the geography curriculum, the project also connects to the technology syllabus. “[It connects] around the design process and thinking about an end need: engaging with the users of the product that you’re designing,” Jefford says. “And we’re arguing that it also fulfils the aspirations of the arts, around critical and creative thinking and problem solving as well.”

A NEW initiative run by Independence Australia in partnership with the Transport Accident Commission (TAC), gives secondary school students the chance to hear an open and honest account of a traumatic accident and living with a spinal cord injury. When Julie Kent was 19-yearsold, a car accident caused her to become a quadriplegic. She was returning home from a late night at the pub when she lost control of her car, which then hit a tree. This was followed by seven weeks in intensive care and months in rehabilitation. Julie shares her story with secondary school classes to compel students to consider the implications of drink driving. In Victoria, 15-24-year-olds are the highest risk group of sustaining severe spinal injuries.

MELBOURNE - Cheltenham Primary School has hosted its Internet Safety Day as a part of the school’s ICT cyber safety program. A range of activities from interactive webinars, quizzes and scenarios were implemented in classrooms to stimulate conversation and to reinforce safe behaviours when using ICT communication methods.

Presentation’s impact BAIRNSDALE - All students in Years 7 to 11, as well as VCAL students at Nagle College have attended a presentation by Motivational Media, entitled “Impact”. The presentation focused on the impact of students’ decisions on their lives and the lives of others, but also how students can play an important role in impacting the decisions of others.

Eels’ bullying message ALICE SPRINGS – Four players from the Parramatta Eels rugby team have visited Northern Territory’s Larapinta Primary School to meet with Year 5 and 6 students. They used a hand as a symbol to imprint five important messages about how to tackle bullying: stand strong, stay calm, respond confidently, walk away and report.

June design challenge

Our energy audit

IN order to investigate the differences between non-renewable and renewable resources, Cedar College teacher Andrew Mooney’s Year 7 geography class has audited the school’s use of energy. “They had to rank each area out of 10, whether it was a high priority or a low priority, and work out which areas were the most significant and put that onto a pie-graph,” the South Australian educator explains. “So it was a good way for them to kind of be creative and to have their own little twist on the information, but they had to stick to the criteria of the audit.” When the students commented

Internet Safety Day

on waste they found around the gym, it was cleared the next day. “Part of the audits found a gas tank,” he adds. “One of them was slightly leaky and not actually caged or locked away... (so) we could monitor that and it got fixed within a week … just practical ways that we could make a small difference. Mooney hopes to develop the program with Years 8 and 9 as well. “Obviously [sustainability] is a very topical thing at the moment … so, our job as geography teachers is to make [students] aware of that, and once they’re aware of it, to equip them to have the confidence to ... make a difference.”

MELBOURNE - The So You Think You Can Design challenge returns for its second year this year during the Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Victoria conference at Swinburne University in June. The competition challenges Year 10-12 secondary students to develop a prototype product during an intensive 2-day period.

Global art initiative CANBERRA - Australian students will participate in a global art initiative for World Kids Colouring Day in May. For the seventh year, children are invited to participate in a colouring campaign to help vulnerable children. They will sell their artworks to raise funds for Save the Children Australia. This year’s colouring theme is ‘picture stories — colourful trips around the world’.

Fun aquatics activities ADELAIDE – Blackwood Primary School’s Year 6s and 7s participated in activities provided by the Aquatics Program at Port Noarlunga beach. These included fishing, snorkeling, wind surfing, kayaking, surfing and sailing. In kayaking, students enjoyed learning how to paddle, as well as the technique of getting out of your boat quickly and safely if you ‘capsize’.

Orphans’ fundraising CANBERRA – Senior school students at Gold Creek School who are part of the Our World Challenge Team are fundraising for an expedition in support of orphanages in Vietnam and Cambodia. Part of this effort is through a fantastic portrait fundraiser in the senior campus library. Cedar College Year 7s enjoyed auditing their school’s use of energy.

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intheclassroom 32 australian Teacher • April 2014

INBRIEF Poetry really is music to their ears resource idea

The Heights of history ADELAIDE – Year 6 history students at The Heights School have learned about the history of their school from an ex-student and two staff members, one who has worked at the school since 1978. Students marvelled that teachers used to use typewriters to write the school newsletter, and heard that the Channel 7 helicopter once landed on the school oval.

Transition made easier BATHURST – Transitioning to high school isn’t easy, which is why Year 6s at New South Wales’ Mulyan Public School and Cowra Public School are participating in a year-long, one hour a week transition to high school program at Cowra High. The program helps student settle into their new school environment while learning science, food technology, drama and art.

Treats for turning up MELBOURNE – Victorian schools are combatting truancy with reward schemes. Students at Lyndale Greens Primary School who miss less than four days in a semester go on a treat excursion — and there has been a 10 per cent attendance improvement. Meanwhile, Ferntree Gully North Primary students who are absent less than four days a year are invited to a special principal’s breakfast.

Bowen Road’s big tick HOBART – Bowen Road Primary School has earned a tick of approval from the Tasmanian Department of Health after winning the Move Well Eat Well Award. Reasons for the win include its health-conscious canteen, phys ed each day and a shift to better lunches. One of their major initiatives has been to encourage water as the drink of choice.

Primary kung fu kids SYDNEY – Primary age students at Lansvale Public School have begun a new fitness program with weekly kung fu classes. Chinese language teacher Yanxia Zheng organised the eight-week program with the Shaolin Kungfu Meditation Temple of Australia. The program will help children to be fit and healthy, as well as teaching them dedication and persistence.

Two incursions already MELBOURNE - Year 9 students at Fountain Gate Secondary College have already enjoyed two incursions this year focussing on team building and leadership skills. The first was a Positive Music Session where students learnt different rhythms on a variety of drums and percussion instruments and the second involved activities including The Giant Ball and The Fireman’s Mat.

Students’ media visits LILYDALE - Students from VCE Unit 1 Media at Lilydale High School have toured the SYN (Student Youth Network) Radio Studio at RMIT, Carlton, and participated in a radio production workshop. Students also visited The Australian Centre for the Moving Image to view the Screen Worlds exhibition. Email briefs to

Daniel Groenewald STUDENTS love poetry. After all, it appeals to their interests: love, death, angst, awe, beauty, tragedy and crazy freaks; cool words, raw emotion, interior excursions; hyperbole, rhythm, rhyme, metaphor and alliteration. The thing is, students don’t call it poetry, they call it music. Pop, hip-hop, rap, roots, R’n’B, indie, grunge and ska. So why not cut your losses and start with their poetry? The key to teaching poetry is to work from the inside out — from the world of students to your world — albeit, a world infused by the curriculum. So don’t start your unit with Wilfred Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est; end with it. But don’t drop the important skills and concepts either. Set the agenda, make it academically rigorous, but do it in a way that speaks to student interest first. Begin with a recap of what they know and what interests them. Ask them to bring in their favourite song or lyrics. Get them to describe the main idea, some interesting uses of language, and why it appealed to them. Ask them to consider a range of ways the song could be interpreted. Display the students’ texts on classroom walls (or in a digital space) and recap basic poetic terminology: diction,

Australian singer Guy Sebastian’s hit song Battle Scars is a great example of modern day poetry. metaphor, persona and rhyme. Now that we’ve created some engagement with the subject area, let’s begin a unit. The unit is called “Battle Scars: an exploration of the language of war”. It’s called Battle Scars after Guy Sebastian’s pop classic featuring the rapping of Lupe Fiasco. Ask students to decode the title. Why place the words battle and scars alongside one another in a love song? Ask students to explain a little a bit about the purpose of popular music and its target audience. Play the song and its music video and explore its lyrics. Look

at the main idea and how it is expressed but then choose one or two verses to tackle. Look at the following lines rapped by Fiasco: “Never let a wound ruin me/ But I feel like ruin’s wooing me/Arrow holes, they never close from Cupid on a shooting spree”. Consider what the writer is trying to say about his state of mind. Which nouns suggest love is like war? How is allusion to myth incorporated into the song? How has rhyme been used in the excerpt? Once you’ve created an interest in language and your students are comfortable decoding a range of

newspapersineducation s-press in class MARCH/APR

Relationships so important

Volume 12

IL 2014

Issue 01


RELATIONSHIPS with family and friends are vital protective resources for disadvantaged teenagers, according to a recently published wellbeing report. S-press’ March/April edition explores the findings of the Youth Connections — Subjective Wellbeing Report, written by RMIT’s Dr Adrian Tomyn. The report looks at how ‘at risk’ teenagers have responded to a range of questions about their state of wellbeing. Tomyn explains ‘at risk’ as young people experiencing a disability, or those with carer responsibilities, those with socialisation of behavioural issues, drug and alcohol problems or inadequate family support. The most significant finding from the report, is that while scoring lower than the average teen in two wellbeing domains, ‘Money’ and ‘Achieving in Life’, the scores for ‘Relationships’ remain close across all demographics. Tomyn tells S-press this result is encouraging. “I think relationships ... are I guess what we call protective resources, or buffers, to our wellbeing that we can have.” Tomyn tells readers that just having someone to confide in and someone to assist with problem solving can be the difference between maintaining your wellbeing in a crisis and doing a lot worse. S-press reporters also hit the streets to see what the average teenager thought were the keys to their happiness and wellbeing in life. THE CIRC











Work experience opportunity S-press is always keen to recruit hard-working and enthusiastic work experience students. If any of your students harbour journalistic or professional writing aspirations, send them our way! S-press provides a safe, fun, friendly and valuable placement that will give students practical insight into the journalism industry and clippings for their portfolio.

Reviewers - we want you! Do you have a film buff in your class? S-press is always after fledgling writers to submit reviews of new release DVDs and CDs for its entertainment section. DVD and album reviews should be no longer than 150 words; singles: 50 words. You can download instructions on how to make review-writing for S-press a classroom activity at

Get your students in S-press! S-press reporters get many of their stories from online school newsletters and from teachers getting in contact with story ideas. If your school newsletter isn’t being published on the school website — get it up there! If you have a story idea, email us at

How are you using S-press? We want to hear about it. As well as referring to this column (left), you can visit and download NIE factsheets covering a range of topics. Once you’ve completed an activity get in touch through and tell us about it — you can even include a photo.

texts, assess their understanding. Get them to annotate a one pop song and one classic poem and provide them with the option of using ICTs to demonstrate this understanding. Add performance to your assessment. Allow students to work in pairs and perform a classic poem for the enjoyment and education of the class. They’ll amaze you with their dramatic and insightful presentations. Daniel Groenewald is a senior English and literature teacher at Methodist Ladies College, Perth and is an educational consultant.

S-press Big-hitting Barrie

S-press’ sports section covers the fantastic achievements of Australia’s young, up-and-coming athletes. The March/April edition features 18-year-old baseballer Jack Barrie who’s tipped to be a big-hitter in the US major leagues in years to come. In the pool, 15-year-old Kasey Reynolds has earned multiple medals at the Special Olympics Asia Pacific Games. A Student at Leeming Senior High School in WA, Reynolds’ achievement is in spite of suffering with Coffin-Lowry Syndrome, Autism and Joint Hyper-Mobility Syndrome.

Dream Jobs Guide The S-press feature this edition is all about achieving your dreams. The Dream Jobs Guide 2014 features interviews with eight people who have done just that and are succeeding in some pretty competitive fields. S-press reporters spoke to a pilot with Virgin Airlines, a chef at Neil Perry’s restaurant The Spice Temple and a Park Ranger from Litchfield National Park. There’s also advice from an RSPCA inspector, a DJ and entrepreneur, a sports editor at The Australian and a tank commander in the Army. The interviewees tell readers how and when they decided what their dream job was, and the steps it took to secure work in their field.

S-press newspaper is a bi-monthly national student publication distributed to secondary schools. For more information, go to

technology innovation





The most exciting development in ICT in our school this year... has been the incredible gains in the development of our 100 per cent online curriculum, as well really considering the design of our curriculum and the most effective ways to deliver online resources for our students. In addition we had a clear goal to “Transform learning with the iPad”. This meant providing lots of creative professional development to all staff, in particular our “app + app = outcome” professional learning workshop was very effective. I like learning off other amazing educators through twitter or blogs... But in particular, I love the creative potential in using technology and setting students a task that gives them opportunities to inquire and be curious about concepts and then create and make with the information. Hayley Schirmer eLearning coordinator Albert Park College, Vic

Do you have a story to tell ICT in Education? Email

The new digital photography course at Lake Munmorah High School is taught by an enthusiastic new teacher, Rory Davis.

Davis appy snapper Sara Donald FIRST impressions count when you’re starting out, and Rory Davis has certainly made his mark as a first-year art teacher at Lake Munmorah High School on the New South Wales’ Central Coast. While at university, Davis specialised in traditional photography, ceramics and print making. Now, he teaches two senior classes of photography which run on a 3 + 3 College model. Students do three HSC subjects in their first senior year and three HSC subjects in their second senior year. “It’s very effective for practical subjects because … they really can immerse themselves in this subject,” he says of the system. “I have eight hours a week face-toface time and we work on a practical project together.” Davis says there is a lot of performance pressure working in

such a fast-paced learning environment and expectations are high. So far this year, students have covered topics including portrait, landscape and experimental photography. Given he is only 24-years-old, Davis has found it relatively easy to keep up with certain technological components of the job such as using camera apps and smart phones. “But a lot of the stuff to do with the video editing software … Adobe Illustrator and things like that I’ve really had to brush up on because I wasn’t really familiar with them at all,” he explains. “I’m a bit self-taught.” The students download editing software apps onto their phones and the school also has a MacBook Pro which the students use for basic editing. Davis himself uses Adobe Photoshop C S6 on his computer in the classroom to edit the students’ photos.

He has also rolled out a WordPress marking system in his classes, in which his students upload all their work onto the blogging site. “It’s been really effective, I’ve saved a lot of money photocopying, and it’s also a lot easier for me, marking-wise, to stay on top of it.” Davis’ first practicum experiences in the classroom have taught him valuable lessons, particularly about managing behaviour. “Sometimes I wish I could block Facebook on their phones — it’s just like a constant distraction,” he laughs. “It’s an ever-present kind of thing to deal with, but it’s just something you have to keep on top of.” Sara Donald is a learning and support teacher at Lake Munmorah High School. Rory Davis’s blog can be found at

April 2014 national news Bathurst’s bicentenary IN preparation for Bathurst’s bicentenary celebrations, the Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum and author Paul Stafford have coordinated a video conferencing program that shares Bathurst’s history with primary and secondary schools across New South Wales. The three-week history module is, however, first being tested with five primary schools. The session starts in 1814, and each school is assigned roles; either as free settlers, Indigenous people, soldiers or convicts. They will then learn about the lifestyle of their group via video conferencing. Stafford said that video conferencing was a fantastic way to be able to connect with a whole range of schools at once, especially isolated ones.

International news Brazil distance education THE rural Brazilian state of Amazonas faces enormous problems regarding educational access because of its size and geographical characteristics — particularly its isolated riverside areas. As such, the Amazonas Media Center program uses digital technology to expand coverage to rural areas by conducting interactive classes through satellite television. These are taught remotely by teachers and beamed to students in schools. One lesson is shared simultaneously by several schools, while each class is mediated by an onsite tutor, who coordinates questions and answers and can provide further elucidations. The program aims to replicate the traditional classroom experience while combatting the challenges of distance education.

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Technology 34 INBRIEF So many microcontrollers australian Teacher • April 2014

design and tech

Mining/energy comp

ADELAIDE – The inaugural Dirt TV competition is a student mining and energy video competition. It will award prizes to South Australian high school students who use their creativity and research skills to produce a short video clip illustrating “what mining or oil and gas mean to me”. Topics can include anything from the use of mined materials to corporate social responsibility.

Byford state of the art PERTH – Byford Secondary College is a new, high-tech independent public school. It has fully integrated e-learning, utilising wireless internet and interactive displays in classrooms paired to student and teacher devices. The only physical books will be in the library, as all textbooks will be uploaded onto iBook.

PAT MCMAHON AFTER 41 years teaching design and technology at Diamond Valley College in Melbourne, I am continuing my journey and passion for creating new and higher order thinking and challenging models for students. Since my article in last year’s Term 2 Technology in Education magazine, I’m as keen as ever, and over 10 years have had close to 3000 Year 7 to 10 students build their own microcontrollers.

I have developed a Mindmap to keep track of these models, to share with others. These include infrared controlled tanks, robots, hovercraft, bouncing musical balls, flashing photo frames and more. Some build basketball backboards that count on a seven segment display, the number of goals shot. In looking for new low cost challenges for my students within a budget, I have developed an infrared remote controlled 3x3x3 LED flashing cube. I have developed

Unley’s apps effective ADELAIDE – Unley High School students and teachers are trialling a suite of apps that function as an electronic planner to replace the traditional school diary. The App4 Students and App4 Teacher components include various similar and differing features, which the school newsletter says have so far proved very effective. The App4 Parents is next. Diamond Valley College students get busy soldering components.

Email briefs to

my own all-in-one, infrared controlled Picaxe 14M2 Microcontroller to drive the various arrays. Students help manufacture and develop the printed circuit boards (PCBs). They then drill them, solder on the components and test them. Students use their iPads to compile the processes with photos and documentation for their final evaluation. They then program them in BASIC using the software Programming Editor or in flow chart form Logicator, which is free to download from the Picaxe site in the UK. Students then construct their 3x3x3 LED scaffold. Some of their designs have the LED’s turning on and off with the various remote buttons, running around clockwise, anticlockwise, in waves up, down, left and right. Since last year I have also run a number of workshops for the Design and Technology Teachers Association of Victoria (DATTA Vic) sharing my skills at their annual May conference, their end of year Hands On conference at Boxhill Institute, as well as at workshops run at Diamond Valley College.


Prep blog allows fascinating insight Amanda Nichols ORCHARD Grove Primary School’s blog for Prep parents, teachers and students, The Prep Playground gives the school community a fascinating insight into the Prep classrooms. We blog two to three times a week, uploading photos, video and audio of the Prep students at work and play, and provide an educational context for each activity. Celebrations and special events such as the annual Fathers’ Day Breakfast are also documented in photos and text on the blog. Feedback from parents has been extremely positive, and they enjoy reading our posts and using them as a conversation starter to discuss their child’s day. It is also fabulous for grandparents and extended family, especially those not living locally, to engage with and feel part of their Prep student’s exciting first year at school.

Pat McMahon is facilities manager and technology teacher at Diamond Valley College, Victoria.



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Technology 35


help desk

Superb virtual excursions Darcy Moore

WWF Together This World Wildlife Fund app won a Design Award from Apple in 2013. With more than a million downloads, it was also amongst the top apps of the year. The WWF quite justifiably claim that you can “… experience the world’s most amazing animals in one app”. Endangered species are featured, including pandas and rhinos, but you can also learn about the “perseverance of Monarch Butterflies.” The most appealing feature is that you can learn to fold origami versions of some animals. (Well, you can, my tiger was a disaster!) There is great interactivity and many possibilities for upper primary students in particular. Be warned; there are links to the gift shop. Simon McKenzie Aquinas College, Queensland

April 2014 • australian Teacher

Q. I’m keen for my students to take part in virtual excursions but I don’t know where to start. Have you any ideas of some interesting places to explore? A. EXCURSIONS are a highlight of any school year. Our school has many, some venturing as far away as our sister school in South Korea or the Great Barrier Reef. The annual peer support camp for Year 7 and our Year 9 ski trip to the Snowy Mountains are school traditions that many parents and even grandparents have enjoyed too. Of course, we also take our students on many day trips to educational venues across all year groups. But, there are many other options for getting out of the classroom into stimulating spaces besides the formally organised excursion. Teachers have the opportunity to take their classes virtually anywhere or, put another way, anywhere virtual, as many excursions can be facilitated online. Virtual excursions are formally organised by the New South Wales Department of Education by the Distance and Rural Technologies (DART) unit (http://bit. ly/1cmMWhP). These video conferencing ex-

cursions (also for non-NSW DEC schools) bring students and teachers face-to-face with experts across the globe. They enrich and supplement curriculum across all stages and key learning areas. There are also opportunities for students to experience, via the DART Connections website, the animals at Taronga Zoo, as well as a session called FANGS! Dinosaur Slam. To learn more about writing narratives is another opportunity on the schedule, and there’s also yoga sessions for teachers. One challenge for schools using DART for virtual excursions is that they are required to pay some providers by credit card. Not all teachers and schools have this access but more information can be found ( It is also possible to explore mu-

seums, botanical gardens, galleries, aquariums, universities and much more via a number of providers including Virtual Excursions Australia ( and The Google Cultural Institute ( plus others like Field of Mars (http://bit. ly/1eJVzSq). The walls of your classroom can be flattened in many ways using social media to connect with experts. Virtual excursions have the potential, especially for more remote communities, to enable students and their teachers to explore the best of what our culture has to offer. Darcy Moore is an educator, blogger and photographer in NSW. Read his blog at or follow him on Twitter at @Darcy1968.

Virtual excursions are organised by the NSW Department of Education.

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professional development conferences



noticeboard Like-minded educators in South Australia have launched a new association.

April 2014

Association focus DATTA Vic

teachers helping teachers chelsea attard RESPONDING to a need for shared expertise between teachers, a small group of South Australian educators have launched ASRT (Australian Secondary Research Teachers). Chris McGuire, one of the association’s founding members, says the group was borne out of the idea that every teacher of The Research Project in South Australia (a compulsory SACE subject) should have a chance to hear, see and share the best practices, innovative approaches, and success stories of the research process, and other research undertakings in South Australian secondary schooling. “This should be regardless of these teachers’ own setting, their location, and the size of their teaching team, and this is simply

best delivered, by teachers helping teachers,” McGuire says. Working together with fellow passionate teachers, McGuire says it didn’t take long to expand the group to between 10 and 15 like-minded educators. The new association hosted their inaugural conference in February. Dr Neil McGoran, CEO of the SACE Board of South Australia opened it, with keynote presentations also delivered by professor Martin Westwell of Flinders Centre for Science Education in the 21st Century, and Stephen Inglis, another founding member of ASRT. “We had very good support with 200 odd teachers and great keynote speakers, followed up by lots of just bread and butter teachers sharing some insights that were lapped up by everyone who attended,” Inglis says.

According to McGuire, over half of the delegates submitted expressions of interest and many were asking about membership fees and future events. But in the meantime, the new association must complete some final administrative steps, such as electing office bearers. “But that’s pretty typical of any professional association around the country; not terribly onerous, when you consider the great value that it’s going to generate,” McGuire says. “Once the web presence is created [and] we’ve got some channels to distribute material, we’ll be looking straight ahead to our next event. It’s going to be a really strong association.” Inglis says it’s important to take a ground-up approach when setting out to establish a successful teacher association.

“...we’ve started at a base level, basically we’ve offered something for nothing, but we’ve clearly hit the mark so, it’s at that sort of, let it grow organic level,” he explains. “Therefore you’re going to be clearly meeting [members’] needs ... and trying to offer some lofty conferences and things, and actually grow it from the ground up...” McGuire, who has a heavy involvement in various professional teacher associations, says it’s important to have a love of learning, and really honour the principles of lifelong learning. The founding members of ASRT are Meredie Howley, Stephen Inglis, Chris McGuire, Lisa Pope, Heather DeBlasio, Alison Mclean, Rachel Aldrich, Tracey Dorian, and Jasmin Parasiers [pictured], as well as Robert Buxton, Nathan Doble, and Virginia Grantham.

THE Design and Technology Teachers’ Association of Victoria (DATTA Vic) supports teachers in the areas of design and technology — wood, metal, plastics and textiles, and those teaching systems engineering. We promote the teaching of the design process — enabling students to be innovative as they investigate, design, make and evaluate products and solutions. Currently, the extensive professional learning activities and resources that DATTA Vic offers are mainly for secondary technology teachers. However, with the implementation of the Australian Technologies curriculum, we are developing programs and resources with an integrated primary focus. DATTA Vic has been working with the inspirational Leyla Acaroglu (Eco Innovators) to develop an extensive range of on-line resources for sustainable design. We also run very successful student learning programs and challenges. The first of this year’s two major DATTA Vic conferences will be held in the exciting new Advanced Manufacturing and Design Centre at Swinburne University in June. Our December conference will have a very hands-on focus. For more information, visit or contact us at Jill Livett president, DATTA Vic

Do you have a story to tell Professional Development? Email

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professionaldevelopment INBRIEF Value of locally generated knowledge 38

australian Teacher • April 2014

teaching stories

History syllabus help

Ann Stanley

The Association of Independent Schools of New South Wales is offering a self-paced module aimed at helping primary teachers familiarise themselves with the state’s history K-10 syllabus. Available from November this year, History Syllabus Familiarisation: K-6 is a 90-minute module that includes multimedia and interactive learning experiences. It is free to use.

SCHOOLS are full of teacher talk: often disjointed conversations that express viewpoints, connect us, and help us understand our own experiences. Sometimes this story-telling leads to collaboration that brings about change for students; more often it is one-sided, rushed and unsatisfying. We get stuck in the complications, deprived of the chance to explore possible resolutions by lack of time and poor listening. We thereby embed in our minds limited ideas of what is possible. What if we were authors of our teaching stories in a more deliberate way, telling them fully from complication to resolution, to listeners who did not judge, offer advice or interrupt? What would we learn? At my school, we tried it. We set aside professional development time, organised ourselves into groups and told our stories. The stories were of classroom management difficulties, disengaged students, learning from feedback, and trying to meet students’ diverse needs. As nearly all of our stories fell into these categories we were

Creativity workshop Unlocking Your Creativity is a two-hour professional development workshop run by Polygot Theatre, designed for teachers of all grades and subjects at schools throughout Victoria. Through hands-on creative activity and improvisational techniques, teachers will learn a range of useful ways to expand the possibilities of their practice.

Understanding ASD On July 21, Independent Schools Queensland is running an event titled Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for Secondary School Teachers Part 1: Understanding ASD and functional strategies for behaviour success. It explores the complexities of autism and how it may impact on students. The second part to the program, Scaffolding success, is on September 12. Email briefs to

Storytelling is an effective form of professional development. able to formulate a pedagogical vision that said we were going to work together on four things: classroom management, student engagement, feedback and differentiation. We have 24,000 words written down that tell of the educational issues that concern us, how we have responded to them, what has worked and what has not worked. As novices and experts we have reflected together, producing a body of knowledge that is a record of our professional development.

The benefit of this was not just the gaining of knowledge. The benefit was that now that our stories were written down and circulated, we knew what we were capable of enacting as a staff. Knowledge without action is useless and many great ideas from expert-led PD sessions are lost because teachers are not able to enact them, through lack of experience, readiness or time. With the story-telling approach, the knowledge is necessarily at the teacher’s readiness level, since the teacher identifies the problem

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Ann Stanley is currently on leave from Koonung Secondary College where she is a leading teacher (differentiation and engagement). She runs Warrandyte Education Services.

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and explores it, in the presence of different viewpoints. Possibly a greater benefit is that we trust each other more. We have been courageous enough to speak and write about our challenges and humble enough to admit that we often fall short. Dedicated leaders were needed to make this work, as well as protocols for communicating, and a format for writing. Even then not every teacher accepted the idea or understood it. Nevertheless, this locally generated knowledge is worth pursuing and circulating. It is as valid as knowledge generated by research and is particularly powerful if it is informed by that research through professional reading and discussion. The beauty of it is that teachers freely engage with the theory at their own level of development in the context of real problems of practice. And perhaps they learn more from being listened to and writing their thoughts than from listening to and reading the thoughts of others.


Important fact: Teachers Planners with resources’ that meet the New National Curriculum for years K-8, are available on our website with Animal Fact sheets and information sheets on various aspects of Farming to help teachers implement a program using the Old Macdonald’s Farms live animal concept.


professionaldevelopment 39

digital citizenship

Making iPad use valuable

TEACHERS are being asked more and more to incorporate the use of iPads in their classes, and with increasingly younger students. But simply using iPads for the sake of using them doesn’t make for a valuable learning experience. In response, the Association of Independent Schools South Australia is hosting professional development to discuss this further. AISSA’s educational consultants Monica Williams and Barbara Murray will be presenting iPads and Digital Citizenship in Early Childhood on April 9. “Monica’s role is digital technology and learning and my role is early childhood,” Murray explains. “We [also] have a teacher who’ll be coming in presenting some of her work which has been really very effective ... she is an early learning centre director who’s going to be giving some examples of her work with young children ...” Williams says there are two philosophical approaches that underpin the workshop. The first is digital citizenship, seeing young people as fundamentally, critically important citizens in our society with rights, including the right to understand complex issues. “Our intention is very much to provide educators in the early

AISSA is hosting PD to help teachers incorporate iPads into their classes. years, [with students three years of age up to seven] with strategies to rethink the way they engage young people in complex issues in our society in a meaningful way, so they can make sense of the world and actually contribute and have a voice,” Williams says. The other philosophy, according to Williams, is that the exciting new technologies now available, provide the opportunities to rethink, and reshape pedagogies. “In doing this, we are really mindful that this new pedagogy [acts] to deeply embed higherorder thinking skills and complex tasks and collaboration.” Murray says there is some re-

sistance to the use of iPads from early learning educators, anxious about the technology interfering with hard-won pedagogical understandings of the importance of play for the brain’s development. However, the workshop won’t interfere with such understandings. “We wouldn’t be encouraging teachers necessarily to be using iPads more, but to be really strategic and intentional in the use of digital technology, and make that use ubiquitous ...” Williams explains. Murray and Williams are expecting a good turnout, after last year’s technology themed workshop was significantly oversubscribed.

April 2014 • australian Teacher

working together

Free online course helping teachers to connect with parents and carers AN online professional development tool has been launched to help primary school teachers engage with parents and carers. Connecting with Families: Conversations that Make a Difference is a two-module course launched by KidsMatter, and is free for educators to use. Education and training consultant Chris Daicos says the course was launched following research which shows when teachers and caregivers work together it makes a difference to children’s mental health, learning and their developmental needs. “I teach in pre-service, and we do very little about really engaging with parents,” Daicos tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “So it’s a great resource for [teachers] to add to their repertoire of skills around engaging parents more effectively.” “It’s based around two modules, so the first module is around building those partnerships and connecting with families, and how to do that,” Daicos says. The second module looks at, how to handle conflict coming from parents, if it arises. “... Despite all our good intentions, sometimes parents and family members, caregivers come into ... a school with a particular

Connecting with families: Conversations that make a difference is a free resource for teachers. issue, and so the second module looks at ‘how do I have that difficult conversation with a parent?’” Daicos says “So [the resource provides] a real framework around dealing with anger or frustration, or how to manage conflict more effectively.” Daicos says the online learning format is useful as many teachers find it increasingly difficult to get away to attend PD. She says teachers can also set up an online community at their school and share their learning, and they can practice skills and then come back to the module at their leisure.

The human faces of science Adelaide, 6-9 July 2014 Renowned keynote speakers, quality professional program and outstanding social activities CONASTA 63’s list of outstanding Keynote Speakers includes Australia’s Chief Scientist Professor Ian Chubb AC, the 2011 Nobel Laureate in Physics Professor Brian Schmidt AC FRS, 2011 PM’s Award winner for University Teacher of the Year Professor Roy Tasker, and Professor Tanya Monro, a Prime Minister’s Prize winner in Physical Sciences and South Australian Scientist of the Year. A broad selection of workshops is on offer, covering Primary and Secondary Science teaching and Lab Tech skills and practice. Delegates can visit some of South Australia’s well-known science and education facilities, such as the Adelaide Botanic Gardens, RiAus, the Adelaide Wind Tunnel, Adelaide Zoo, Artlab and the Forensic Science Centre. Develop national networks of like-minded colleagues and enjoy taking part in social events such as the Happy Hour drinks and cocktail events, breakfasts, dinners and post-conference tours.

Register now for earlybird discounts! Full program and registration details at


pdevents australian Teacher • April 2014

M = cost for members of host association, NM = cost for Non-Members.

NATIONAL AUSTRALIAN LITERACY EDUCATORS’ ASSOC Mem Fox presents: Are we the reason children fail to learn to read? March 29; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville, NSW; M/NM $65; office@

Visual grammar and multimodal texts (P-7)

April 5, 8:30am – 12:00pm; St. James Catholic Primary School, 92 Kirkland Avenue Coorparoo, QLD; M $100, NM $140; admin@meanjin.

“I’m not a maths teacher, I am teacher of children using literature to teach mathematics”

early childhood teachers association Annual Conference June 28; Brisbane venue TBA; Cost TBA; info@ecta.

Australian Science Teachers Association CONASTA 63

July 6- July 9; University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA; M $680, NM $920; conasta@asta.

australian teacher education association Conference 2014: Teacher Education: An Audit July 6 - 9; Venue TBA, Cost TBA; pauline.taylor1@jcu.

Applied Linguistics Association of Australia International Applied Linguistics Association Conference

May 17, 9:00am – 12:00pm; Notre Dame University, Fremantle, WA; M $25, NM $35;

August 10 - 15; Brisbane’s Convention Centre, Merivale St, South Brisbane; M $750, NM $850;

‘What if they brought their own technology?’

Australian Association of Special Education 2014 AASE National Conference

June 14; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville, NSW; M/NM $40; office@alea.

Multimodality and the English Curriculum responding, creating and assessing

August 21, 3:30pm – 6:00pm; St Monica’s Primary, 10 Daking St, North Parramatta, NSW; M/ NM $40; kferrari@parra.

Using Grammar as a Tool to Improve Writing

August 23; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville, NSW; M/NM $40; office@

Primary english teaching association PETAA NSW Syllabus Full Day Conference Coffs Harbour

April 5, 9:00am - 3:00pm; Pacific Bay Resort, Coffs Harbour, NSW; M 170, NM $225;

AusTRalian Council for Educational Leaders Reflect, Shift, Transform - The first Asia Pacfic Congress on Creating Inclusive Schools May 1-2; Sydney venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Canberra workshop: Putting faces on the data with Lyn Sharratt May 21, 9:00am-4:00pm; Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching & Learning, 51 Freemantle Dr, Stirling, ACT; M $340, NM $370;

VIC ACELNET 4 – Profit in education – Who profits? July 23, 5:30pm-7:00pm; Frank Tate Room, Level 9, 100 Leicester Street, Parkville, VIC; M free, NM $20; conference@acel.

2014 ACEL National Conference: Passion and Purpose - Setting the learning agenda October 1-4; Melbourne venue TBA; Cost TBA;

September 18-19; Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, Manly, NSW; M $695, NM $755; aase@gemspl.

Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia: KMEIA Kodály National Conference September 29 - October 2; Ascham School,188 New South Head Rd, Edgecliff, NSW; M $595, NM $675 (early bird options available); info@kodaly.

history teachers association of Aus 2014 HTAA National Conference

September 30 - October 2; Brisbane Grammar School, Spring Hill; M $599, NM $799; s.burvill-shaw@

Australian Computers in Education Conference: Now It’s Personal

September 30 - October 4; Adelaide Convention Centre, North Terrace, Adelaide; Cost TBA;

NSW The Mathematical Association of NSW Primary One Day Conference

March 29; Bankstown Sports Club, 8 Greenfield Parade, Bankstown; Cost TBA; admin@mansw.nsw.

Mathematics Extension 2 Course

April 29, May 6, 13, 20, 27, June 3, 10, 5:00pm7:30pm; Rooty Hill High School, N Parade, Rooty Hill; M $380, NM $553;

The Association of Independent Schools New South Wales Beyond behaviour management April 7, 8:30am – 3:30pm;

AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $430, NM $580; admin@

Critical and creative thinking as a general capability

May 19, 8:30am – 3:00pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; No cost; admin@aisnsw.

Teaching excellence in the multi stage and multi ability classroom

May 30, 9:00am – 3:30pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $430, NM $580; admin@

Supporting positive practice

June 19, 9:00am – 3:00pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Inquiry: a toolkit for deep learning

July 18, 9:00am – 3:30pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Authentic assessment

July 31, 8:30am – 3:00pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Strategic assessment for student improvement

August 19, 8:30am – 3:00pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290;

Thinking routines: establishing patterns of thinking in 7-12

August 28, 8:30am – 4:00pm; Roseville College, 27 Bancroft Avenue, Roseville; M $215, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

Resilient kids: a curriculum-based approach

September 5, 8:30am – 3:30pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290;

school library association of new south wales Mantle Conference: School Libraries: Engaging The Nation May 9; Newcastle City Hall, 290 King Street, NSW; Cost TBA; kerry.gittins@

Music Teachers’ Association of QLD Taubman for Strings Workshop

May 10-11; Theme and Variations Piano Services, 60 Commercial Rd, Newstead; M $160, NM $175;

Careers advisers association nsw and act New Careers Advisers Training Day

May 23, 9:00am- 5:00pm; Dockside, Darling Harbour, Sydney; M/NM $95;

CAAs Annual Conference

October 24, 9:00am5:00pm; Dockside, Balcony Level, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney; Cost TBA; admin@

English Teachers Association of NSW 2014 Extension1: Comedy

May 24; University of Sydney, Eastern Avenue Lecture Theatre, Sydney; M $180, NM $295; admin@

Special Education Principals’ and Leaders’ Association NSW 2014 SEPLA Special Education Conference

May 29-30; Novotel Parramatta, 350 Church St, Parramatta; M $450, NM $500; sepla@gemspl.

NT australian assoc for the teaching of english and the australian literacy educators assoc Darwin national conference

July 9 - 12; Darwin Convention Centre, Stokes Hill Road, Darwin; M $795, NM $900; aate@aate.

QLD INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND Mentoring and Coaching in a School

April 1, 9:00am-4:00pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M $80 (not available to non-members); office@isq.

Supporting Indigenous and Special Assistance Schools May 5 - 6; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; Cost TBA; office@

Transition of Year 7 into Secondary School

May 8, 8:30am - 3:30pm; Ipswich Girls Grammar School, Queen Victoria Parade, East Ipswich; Cost TBA;

Understanding Copyright Licenses for Schools

June 5, 9:00am-3:30pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M $50, NM $75; office@isq.qld.

Business educators’ association of qLD BEAQ State Conference

August 1-2; Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Cnr Merivale Street and Glenelg St, South Brisbane; Cost TBA;

AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS OF MEDIA QLD Digital storytelling workshop

October 26, 9:00am11:30am; Brisbane State High School, 150 Vulture Street, South Brisbane; M $30, NM $40; atomqld1@

SA sA science teachers association Year 7 Science Series: Chemical Sciences

March 28, 9:00am-3:00pm; Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; M $85, NM $130;

association of independent schools of south austalia iPads & Digital Citizenship in Early Childhood

April 9, 9:00am-3:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members); crosss@ais.

Intentional Teaching

May 15, 9:00am-3:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members); crosss@ais.

Early childhood implementation group (Term 2)

May 21, 4:00pm-5:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members); crosss@ais.

Developing engaging & inviting learning environments

June 23, 9:00am-3:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members); crosss@ais.

Supporting children to make successful transitions

September 26, 9:00am3:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members);

ACHPER Queensland 2014 Brisbane Conference August 14-15; Riverglenn Conference Centre, 70 Kate Street, Indooroopilly; M $277, NM $413; plo@

kodaly music educational institute of australia (South australia) SA: Term 2 Workshop May 24; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; musicullity@dodo.

4 to 6

April 29, 9:30am- 3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Effectively Embedding Feedback into the Classroom

May 2, 9:30am- 3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Health and Physical Education in the Australian Curriculum May 6, 9:30am-3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Demystifying VCAL

May 12, 9:00am-4:00pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Appy days in the Languages Classroom

May 16, 9:00am-3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Embedding ICT in a Transdisciplinary Unit of Inquiry

May 28, 9:00am-3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Maintaining an Internet Presence and Writing Effectively for the Web

May 29, 9:30am-3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $350 (not available to non-members);

Numeracy / Mathematics Coordinators’ Network

August 9; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; musicullity@dodo.

September 11, 9:30am3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

SA: Term 4 Workshop

Governance Workshop

SA: Term 3 Workshop

November 1; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; musicullity@

TAS Mathematical Association of Tasmania Mathematical Association of Tasmania (MAT) Annual Conference

May 23 - 24; Police Academy, South Arm Road, Rokeby; Cost TBA; louise. hodgson@catholic.tas.

VIC INdependent schools victoria How to Write an Individualised Education Program April 4, 9:30am- 3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Exploring, Reading and Writing Poetry in Years

October 11, 10:00am4:00pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M free (not available to nonmembers); enquiries@

Great Partnerships; The How to Guide for Arts and Education Partnerships November 6, 9:30am3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Creative Arts Photographic and Film Media Programs in Middle and Senior Years November 25, 9:30am3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

Digital learning and teaching victoria (formerly Ict in education viCtoria) Clone of Clone of Clone of Clone of Flipping Your Classroom

April 14, 9:30am- 3:30pm; Statewide Resources Centre, 150 Palmerston

Street, Carlton; ictev@ictev.

the mathematical association of victoria Meet the Examiners Burwood Further and Specialist Mathematics

April 23; 5:00pm-7:00pm; PLC, 141 Burwood Hwy, Burwood; M $68, NM $84;

Meet the Examiners South East Victoria Mathematical Methods April 23, 5:00pm-7:00pm; Dandenong High School, 92-106 Princes Hwy, Dandenong; M $68, NM $84;

kodaly music educational institute of australia (vic) Autumn Seminar 2014 May 2-3; Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, 387 Bell Street, Preston; M $350, NM $410; vic@

Victorian Music Teachers’ Association Diploma Masterclass II: Presented By Tamara Smolyar May 4 Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria Primary Science Teachers Workshops 2014: Focus on forces

May 5, 4:30pm – 5:30pm; STAV House, 5 Munro Street, Coburg; M/NM $30;

Physics Workshops 2014: Interactions: Making sense of Newton’s laws of motion

May 30, November 14, 9:30am – 4:00pm; STAV House, 5 Munro Street, Coburg; M $100, NM $120;

Physics Workshops 2014: Modelling electricity: from batteries to power stations June 27, October 17, 9:30am – 4:00pm; STAV House, 5 Munro Street, Coburg; M $100, NM $120;

Primary Science Teachers Workshops 2014: Focus on sustainability July 28, 4:30pm – 5:30pm; STAV House, 5 Munro Street, Coburg; M/NM $30;

drama victoria Flipping Your Classroom

April 14, 4:30pm-6:30pm; Statewide Resources Centre, 150 Palmerston Street, Carlton; M/NM $50;

Primary performing arts day

May 14, 10:00am-4:00pm; Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street, Melbourne; M $165, NM $198; admin@

Exploring the middle years August 8, 10:00am4:00pm; Location TBA; M $110, NM $143; admin@

Principals’ Assoc of Specialist Schools Victoria 2014 PASS Conference

May 15-16; Yarra Valley Lodge, 2 Heritage Avenue, Chirnside Park; M/NM $400; pass@gemspl.

Australian Teachers of Media Victoria VCE Media Unit 2 – New and returning teachers

May 22, 9:00am-4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; M $150, NM $200; atom@

Media Exam Revision Conference for Teachers

September 1, 9:00am4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; M $150, NM $200;

Headstart: Narrative

October 30, 9:00am4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; M $150, NM $200;

Art Education Victoria InSEA2014 World Congress: Diversity through Art - Change, Continuity, Context

July 7-11; Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Brunton Ave, East Melbourne, Cost TBA

Association of French Teachers in Victoria AFTV/FATFA conference July 25- 26; University of Melbourne, Parkville; M $360, NM $410; conference2014@aftv.vic.

victorian commercial teachers association Comview - VCTA’s annual conference November 24 - 25; Victoria University, 300 Flinders St, Melbourne; Cost TBA;

WA Assoc of independent schools western australia Briefing the Board Conference

March 29, 8:30am5:00pm; St Mary’s Anglican Girls School, Elliott Road, Karrinyup; M/NM $285;

20 Hooks for Mathematics

April 3, 9:00am- 3:00pm; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor) Suite 5, 41 Walters Drive, Osborne Park; Cost TBA; khumphreys@ais.

How Language Works: Success in literacy and learning

May 12; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor),Suite 5, 41 Walters Drive, Osborne Park; M/NM $500;

Writing Effective Documented Plans

May 28; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor),Suite 5, 41 Walters Drive, Osborne Park; M/NM $70; tdick@ais.

kodaly music educational institute of australia (WA) Australian Kodály Certificate Teacher Training Course Level 1 April 13 - 17, 8:30am 4:30pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Australian Kodály Certificate Teacher Training Course Level 1

July 14 - 18, 8:30am 4:30pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Australian Teacher Magazine is proud to support state, territory and national education sector associations. Workshops, professional development sessions and conferences can be listed free of charge in the printed magazine and digital editions. Submit your noticeboard listing by sending details of the event, including dates, venue, time, cost and contact email address to Each month we also feature event previews, reviews and association news. If you have a story for our Professional Development section, email and the team will be in touch.

around the traps 41

Ware gets a kick out of kids YOU could forgive Kew Primary School students and staff for wanting to keep teacher Shelley Ware all for themselves, but each AFL season they have to share the warm and charismatic charmer with the rest of the nation. As a presenter on NITV’s Marngrook Footy Show in Melbourne for the past six years, Ware has played a key role in the show’s ongoing ratings success, and this year has received due recognition with a nomination for ‘Most Popular TV Presenter’ for the 2014 TV Week Logie Awards. But it’s away from the bright lights of television that Ware’s best work is done. The South Australian expat conducts an intervention reading program on Mondays and Tuesdays at Kew and on Wednesdays she teaches Grade 6. “I just love children and the fact that you can be part of their licence to the future and help them be the person that they want to be when they’re older,” she says. “I love helping children and just pushing them to be their best, really.” And Marngrook is another way

April 2014 • australian Teacher

grieve loves his duel life Sarah Duggan

Marrngrook Footy Show’s Shelley Ware has been nominated for a TV Week Logie Award. that she can help young people, to show them that they can be whatever they want to be. “Indigenous kids can see that I’m there and that if I can do it, they can do it too,” she says. Lately her TV work and presenting skills have come in handy with her Year 6 students. “We’ve just had a leadership day and we’ve been talking about public speaking, in different groups talking about the different parts of being a leader. “I’ve brought in a script to talk about how I take the three main

points off that and focus on them, how I deal with nerves, and because the TV show’s real life experience that they can relate to, they’re quite engaged.” Balancing a busy home life with a son and husband, three days a week teaching at school with Thursday and Fridays spent working on Maarngrook, Ware has a full life, but wouldn’t swap it. “I love meeting new people and that every week there’s something different,” she says.

WHEN Burnie High School art teacher Patrick Grieve discovered his own work had caught the attention of one of Australia’s largest art collectors, there was more than one reason for his surprise. The book The Land and it’s Psyche: Macquarie Group Collection, which features four of Grieve’s works, was published in 2012, yet he only discovered the great news late last year. “A friend of mine was looking through the book and found my images there ... it was a buzz, it was a really fantastic feeling to see my work in print,” Grieve tells Australian Teacher Magazine. So why didn’t he get the heads up? “In the art world, unless you own the actual reproduction rights yourself, your work can appear in all sorts of publications,” he explains. Splitting his time between teaching and working as a professional artist, Grieve draws inspiration from the natural beauty of his surroundings on the North West coast of Tasmania. His works, which he describes as being expressive interpretations of the landscape, reflect the

Patrick Grieve has had some of his works published in a book.

rich colours and patterns of the agricultural belt in which he lives. “The paintings really respond to that sense of place, the crops, the patterns, the mark-making,” he says. For Grieve, teaching and working as a professional artist go hand-in-hand. “I think it shows the students that the people are actually in the classroom because they’re passionate about what they’re teaching,” he shares. Grieve believes his time in the classroom is all about passing on skills and a passion for art, rather than promoting his own work. But that’s not to say the students do not take an interest. “They do get a buzz, they quite like looking up my work and talking about it,” he says. “They know that I exhibit, they read it in the local papers and the media, but I am there at that moment in time to be the person to instruct them and give them skills.”

Linus enjoys life in fast lane AUSTRALIAN Teacher Magazine’s resident cartoonist, Linus Lane, is as busy as they come. Working part time as a media teacher at Croydon Community College, Lane also works as a stand-up comedian and television producer. But his latest gig is producing a comedy show for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. The show, hilariously titled Kim Kardashian is Bad (For the Environment) will be a free event taking place over five nights in April that raises funds for The Wilderness Society. His partner, Pam Rana will be

performing the show that aims to be an educational tool for raising environmental awareness. While the true art of any performance is to make it all look easy, Lane explains that a lot of work has gone into producing the upcoming show. “There’s a number of components,” he begins. “Organising fliers and posters and just the technology side of it, particularly because it’s a media presentation, organising the projectors, sound systems, and computers to make sure it’s all ready to go … “The Melbourne Comedy Festival makes sure that it’s not easy to

put a show on and I think they do that to deter any would be or tryhard comedians from getting involved. If you can get through all the paperwork and all the online links and all the forms and interviews, then you must be a very dedicated comedian,” he laughs. Lane began pursuing his comedy interests a few years ago by enrolling in a comedy course, which then gave him the encouragement to take his show around the various comedy nights in Melbourne. More recently, Lane has been producing a five-minute comedy TV show for Channel 31 called Crack up Lab.

Pam Rana and Linus Lane have rne been preparing for the Melbou . International Comedy Festival

“Demonstrating to the students that I am someone who follows my passions, and showing them how I’ve gone about getting projects on

TV and putting on comedy shows hopefully is inspiring for them because they may have similar interests themselves,” he says.


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inthestaffroom australian Teacher • April 2014

trivia What is the world’s largest coral reef system?

one point

Despite its name, the killer whale is actually a type of what? How many legs does a scorpion have?

Which band popularised the traditional folk song The House of the Rising Sun?

Which actor/director helmed 2007 biographical nature survival film, Into The Wild?

What is Australia’s national floral emblem?

What phylum (family) of invertebrate animals do both the crab and wasp belong to?

Which 1984 film adaptation of Bernard Malamud’s 1952 baseball novel starred Robert Redford?

Who is best known for his Life series on the BBC and widely considered the face and voice of natural history docos?

In Chinese astrology, what does 2014 mark the year of?

What is the part of a plant that creates food?

What is the collective name for a group of owls?





5 7 9 11 14 17 18


In which country can the Cuquenan Falls be found?

three points

How many primary and secondary tectonic plates are there on Earth?


ACROSS The _ were the first people to reach New Zealand, followed by the early European settlers. (5) Situated on the Waikato River is the city of _. (8) In 1840 the British Crown and Maori signed the Treaty of_, making New Zealand a British colony. (8) Richie McCaw is the present captain of Kiwi rugby team, the All _. (6) Meaning literally “be well/healthy” is the Maori greeting ‘kia _’. (3) Hollywood star of The Piano and Jurassic Park, Sam _. (5) Nobel Prize Winner, Ernest _ is known as the father of nuclear physics for his orbital theory of the atom. (10) Greenpeace vessel blown up in Auckland Harbour by operatives of the French intelligence service (DGSE) in 1985, killing one of the activists was called _ Warrior (7) Beautiful 2002 movie starring Keisha CastleHughes, _ Rider. (5)

Found in Papua New Guinea, what is the common name for the world’s largest butterfly?

2 3 6 7 8 10 12 13 15 16

A traditional Maori greeting involving pressing noses and foreheads together is a _. (5) Confronting movie from 1994, Once Were _. (8) New Zealand is one of only three countries that have two official national _. (7) If you’re heading off bushwalking in New Zealand, locals say you’re going ‘_’. (8) New Zealand’s capital, _, is the southernmost capital city in the world. (10) In 2000 Team New Zealand successfully defended the America’s Cup yachting trophy in _. (8) Popular Kiwi band from the ‘70s and ‘80s, _ Enz. (5) The first man to scale Mt Everest was Sir Edmund _. (7) Dutch explorer Abel _ discovered New Zealand in 1642. (6) Amazing young singer with worldwide hit, Royals, _. (5) Ex-pat Kiwi starring in upcoming Bible epic, Noah, Russell _. (5)

turn to page 41 for all solutions and answers

skill level: Hard

famous landmark Designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, I am 46 metres high.

five points

careers career news




retirements 44

Paul Goodchild has taken a role as coordinator of brass at Sydney’s The Scots College.

First Year Out 46

SSO star trumpets change chelsea attard WITH 35 years as a musician in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and a wealth of experience under his belt, Paul Goodchild is going back to school. The associate principal trumpet of the SSO has taken a role working two days a week at Sydney’s The Scots College and he’s looking forward to jazzing up the brass department. Goodchild spoke to Australian Teacher Magazine just one week into his new job as coordinator of brass and says he has “hit the ground running”. “I’ve been contacting all the parents of all the students and letting them know that the brass department is once again, at the forefront of music education and I’m

expecting their sons to be fully involved. “There’s a whole new group of teachers, lots of ideas coming in, we’ll be starting chamber music next term ...” he says. Goodchild says he previously worked in a school setting during the 1990s and has also lectured at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and fulfilled various mentoring roles during his time as a leading musician. “With the orchestra, we also do a lot of mentoring and occasional one-to-one teaching of our sinfonia students ... and that is an orchestra made up of tertiary students, and young professionals who are just trying to make it in to the professional game, and seeking orchestral experience. “Our job as orchestral musicians

of the Sydney Symphony is to mentor them when they come together for rehearsals and concerts,” he says. Goodchild says one aspect of school life that is different to what he’s been used to in his other roles, is competition. “I suppose, coming from a nonschool background like the SSO, coming to a large private school you’ve got other things to contend with, like sport, and other communities within the school, that you have to negotiate around to try and ... find rehearsal times.” But on the whole, Goodchild says his first week at school has been very enjoyable. “The hours are long, the boys are all excellent, the parents are all extremely supportive, which

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makes the job a lot easier,” he says. “[We’ve] also got a headmaster here who is right behind music and the arts, he’s right in the music department, with all the new innovations that we want to instil here ...” Looking forward to the rest of 2014, Goodchild has a lot planned for the school. “This year I’m wanting [the students] to enjoy their music more than anything else, to want to participate in all the things that we’re going to make available for them. “We’re looking at expanding the wind symphony, and also the brass ensemble within the department, and also trumpet ensembles, giving them the whole experience of chamber music which they haven’t had before.”

Leadership 46

Learning Do you have a story to tell Careers? Email the details to To place an ad, contact


careers australian Teacher • April 2014

Appointment Following the retirement of Sue Kitzelman from the position of head of early years at Hillcrest Christian College in Victoria, Joy Geyer has expressed her excitement at having been appointed to the role. Geyer has been teaching at Caningeraba State School in New South Wales for the past 15 years. The school newsletter says she has a passion for curriculum and will continue Hillcrest’s strong, stable leadership.

Retirement Former students and colleagues have celebrated the career of inspirational teacher Judy Morison at a special dinner. Morison has spent over 25 years at Henty Public School in two stints before announcing her retirement at the end of last year. After supporting her students through both good and bad times, Morison is jetting off to Europe with her husband to kick-start her retired life.

Language program

Authentic resources enrich Sarah Duggan FOR many teachers, the thought of sacrificing your Christmas holidays to embark on a three-and-a half week intensive study program in a foreign country would not rouse much enthusiasm. Yet, for Jennifer Jurman-Hilton, Indonesian language teacher at Illawarra Sports High School in New South Wales, the decision was an easy one. “It became a crunch decision ... I just thought, ‘I need authentic resources, I really want to be the best teacher that I can be’,”she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. A recipient of a National Asian Languages and Studies in School Program (NALSSP) scholarship, Jurman-Hilton was offered the opportunity to participate in an in-country language program in Lombok, Indonesia. It was an experience she says that proved invaluable in terms of enriching both her knowledge of the language and her understanding of the Indonesian way of life. “You come back with a whole new enthusiasm and passion for your subject area, and your students pick up on that and they really thrive on that. “It has genuinely made such a difference to be able to go back

Jennifer Jurman-Hilton took part in an intensive study program in Indonesia. But that’s not to say there wasn’t time to relax and absorb the intricacies of the culture. Indonesian dance workshops, excursions to local villages, basket making and traditional cooking classes broke up the intensity of the coursework and gave JurmanHilton the opportunity to create valuable classroom resources. “The kids are creating iBooks with my photos and films ... I love the fact that kids are now saying Indonesian is my favourite language,” she says.

Cultural barrier breakers

first year out

After 33 years with the Department of Education, principal Wendy Carmarco has announced her retirement from Wallan Secondary College in Victoria, which will commence from May 1. In her address to students, the founding principal said her decision had been in the planning stages for quite a while. She expressed her pride in the successful and vibrant school she’ll be handing on to the next leader.

Heather Norton has been appointed as principal of Firbank Grammar School in Victoria, following the retirement of Dr Anne Sarros last year. Norton comes to Firbank from The Scots School in Albury, where she was principal from 2008-2013. She has held various senior positions in independent schools in New South Wales and says she is looking forward to guiding Firbank towards an exciting future.


into the classroom with authentic resources and stories — the kids are loving it,” she says. And it’s not called an intensive language program for nothing. “The study was rigorous, it was really difficult, we had assignments due every Thursday, and had an oral presentation and test every Friday. “In a way it was good because it kept us so busy, that we didn’t have time to sit back and think ‘oh our Christmas holidays back home’,” she reflects.



Nominations are now open for the 2014 SA Excellence in Public Education Awards. This year, nominations are open to all Department of Education employees. The award celebrates the professional achievements and dedication of those in the fields of public education, child support and protection, who make a real difference for their students and school communities. Nominations close April 10.

Appointment Allan Shaw, currently deputy principal and head of senior school at Radford College in Canberra, has been appointed as principal of The Knox School in Victoria. Shaw is due to take up the position from July and will replace Suzanne McChesney. The schools chairman David Abraham praised Shaw and says that his personal values align strongly with the values taught and practised at The Knox School.

asian literacy

Mooroolbark College are gearing up for another visit to their sister school in China this May. FOR students and staff at Mooroolbark College in Victoria, a close bond forged with its Chinese sister-school is helping to break down euro-centric boundaries and paving the way for Asian literacy in the classroom. The schools’ relationship with Wujiang Senior Middle School in Shanghai is the culmination of three study tours, the first of which saw three teachers spend two weeks in China, where they discussed educational philosophies, teaching and learning ideas, and compared educational systems with their Chinese colleagues. As the schools acting Asian literacy coordinator, Robyn Cooper has helped to build the sisterschool relationship from the

ground up and says the Chinese educational system bears an unexpected likeness to our own. “There’s a lot more similarities than what we anticipated and I think it’s really easy to focus on the differences between the two countries, but there’s actually a lot of similarities,” she says. “They have passionate teachers, who both want to encourage the students to get the best out of their education but want to improve and sort of learn from each other at the same time.” As part of their trip, Cooper and 15 of her Mooroolbark colleagues learned about expanding Asian literacy and enhancing global communities in the Asia-pacific region. For Cooper, this is a key aim of

the school’s cultural initiative; to break down the unforseen cultural barriers in order to gain an understanding of the way in which each of our Asian neighbours approach education. And indeed our proximity to Asia only stresses the importance of her cause. “If we look at the way that the workforce is changing in the next 10, 20 years, we’re going to end up with people working a 24 hour day though emails, phone calls ... and a lot of that will be through partnerships with Asia,” she says. In May this year, Mooroolbark College will send two staff and 12 students to Beijing and Shanghai before the students undertake classes at their sister-school.

BECOMING a teacher was something Molly-Rose Clifton-Williamson was simply meant to do. After a positive week of work experience at a local primary school, she was hooked on the idea of seeing light bulbs switch on when her students finally get a concept, learn a new word, or learn a new skill. She landed a position this year at a Victorian primary school and couldn’t be happier. WHEN it came to picking Year 10 work experience I was sold on the idea I would be a famous singer. I did work experience anyway, picking three random jobs. I chose to work at a family law firm, a recording studio, and my old primary school. The primary school was my last part of work experience, and I can honestly say I knew from then on I was going to be a teacher. I was lucky enough to have a very diverse range of placements over the duration of my degree at Victoria University. I observed teachers I will remember forever, and was lucky enough to work with students that have shaped the teacher I am today. I have worked in two Catholic schools, an alternative VCAL-based high school, a mainstream school, and an Aboriginal community school. This year I am working at St Albans Heights Primary School in a Year 1/2 class. It is a wonderful school with a high volume of EAL students. I am learning so much from all my students. My school’s staff, students and families have been very welcoming and nurturing to me as graduate teacher.

We are in an open plan classroom so we share our space with another 1/2 class. My students are a diverse range of amazing young people. Like any class all my students have very different, amazing personalities. As different as they all are they are so supportive and caring of one another, they often refer to our class as a family and some even call me their ‘School Mum’. I would have to say my first day was probably my biggest highlight! Finally beginning teaching after spending all holidays wondering what they were going to be like and how the days at my school would run was a day I will never forget. I feel like every day I am learning something new alongside with the kids, I look forward to this every day. I feel very lucky to be where I am and to have the class I have. It shows that if you work hard enough you can get what you really want. So at this point, I’m looking forward to facing the challenge of writing reports and getting my VIT registration completed.

EVEN MORE PD LISTINGS ONLINE Find a professional development event at


careers australian Teacher • April 2014

new principal

INBRIEF Leggatt loving leadership position

Lofts’ five-week epic

ULLADULLA - After receiving a New South Wales Premier’s Teaching Scholarship, Ulladulla High Schools’ principal Denise Lofts has participated in a five-week educational tour. Lofts attended conferences, residencies and visited leading universities in Indonesia, China and the US. She says she was given a great insight into what school leaders can do to build entrepreneurial, creative and Asia-literate students.

Hart slams curriculum CANBERRA - President of The Australian Primary Principals Association, Norm Hart, says that the Australian curriculum is overcrowded and that this is reducing the ability of primary schools to focus on core subjects like literacy and numeracy. He says greater effort is now required to limit the excessive volume of material that is placing pressure on teachers and students.

Effectiveness assessed LEETON - Lilian Dowell, acting director for the New South Wales Department of Education, has met with principals from Gralee School and Leeton Public School in New South Wales in order to assess the effectiveness of the Local Schools Local Decisions program. Dowell says that now principals have a lot more decision-making power, things seem to be going smoothly. Email briefs to

LITTLE more than two years ago, Robyn Leggatt had written off the idea of ever working as a principal. “I probably made a decision that I didn’t really want to be [one], because I thought that it would take me away from being involved with the kids, and I think that’s where my strengths lie,” Leggatt says. But this year she finds herself principal of Swansea High School in New South Wales and Leggatt says both the appointment and the job have been a surprise. Leggatt’s journey to the principal’s chair began when she applied for a relieving principal position in Term 2, 2012. “I thought ‘oh well, I’ll just throw my hat in the ring’ not really expecting to get it, and then I got the relieving role and I absolutely loved the role and the job and the school, which surprised me, I have to say.” Leggatt says taking on the relieving role to begin with was the perfect way to experience a new leadership position. “I was keen to do a relieving position, to see whether it was what I wanted, you know? I’d pretty much made the decision that it wasn’t and I though ‘well, OK, I’ll go and see’, and it gave me the choice. “But I found when I got into

Robyn Leggatt, principal at Swansea High school in New South Wales, says credibility is key to establishing yourself in a new leadership role. the position I really enjoyed it, and because I am a really visible principal and I get out and about, I haven’t lost that contact with the kids, which was the thing I was most concerned about,” she adds. Although the nature of relieving roles can be temporary, Leggatt hit the ground running going in to the job. “... I didn’t come into the role

postgrad insight

treating it as a relieving role because you couldn’t just let the school stand still ... you don’t go into a job thinking, I’m just going to keep the seat warm, and so I started getting things happening when I arrived.” Taking on the role officially this year, Leggatt says when establishing yourself in a new leadership position, it’s important to develop credibility.

“I think if you come into the school ... and you start doing things, unless you do them well and [the staff] see value in it and they see that they work, you can very quickly fall over. “So, you’ve got to make sure that you get everything right, that you listen to people, you don’t jump in and change things for the sake of changing them, that you assess the situation and put things in place that you think get the biggest impact early in the piece.” While Leggatt says her role and responsibilities haven’t really changed in the transiton from relieving principal to principal, she’s looking forward to achieving some new goals this year. “Well, we’re involved in a Healthy Schools Healthy Futures project ... and I guess the thing that I’m most looking forward to is creating an authentic partnership between student, staff and parents, so that everyone gets a voice in what happens in the school. [In this process] students feel empowered and more in control of their own destiny and their own education, and therefore are more likely to buy in. “So we’ve got a lot of projects going on around how we can do that, and also that allows the staff to be involved in that decision-making as well. So it’s a true consultative model, that’s my goal.”

WA diploma

Study has immense rewards

Educational Leadership course about developing leadership skills together

Lisa Vinnicombe

Those who enrol in The University of Western Australia’s Diploma of Educational Leadership need not fear having to fly solo through their studies. The course, which aims to develop participants’ capabilities in all matters of educational leadership and management, is all about creating connections. “An important aim of the course is ... developing an educational leadership community, a cohort to learn and develop leadership skills together,” professor Simon Clarke explains. The diploma is delivered in collaboration with the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia, which runs the first unit of study. This allows participants to gain an understanding of the systematic side of educational leadership outside the university before they undertake the remaining three units on campus. “One of the great strengths of this course is there is an appropriately rigorous academic side to it, but it’s also very closely related to practice ... many of the assignments involved are action-learning projects and relate to what they learn in the classroom.” Feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive. “Many find the course does assist them in bringing about school improvement in their own settings,” Clarke says.

FOR a couple of years now, I have been working on a PhD in education. I study off-campus and try to maintain a healthy balance between full time teaching, being at university, and having time to enjoy life. It is certainly a challenge but one which is well worth the effort. In terms of professional learning, studying at the postgraduate level is immensely rewarding. In order to be accepted into the PhD program, I first had to complete a masters degree by research. I chose to do a case study and focused on two schools which had started to implement restorative practices across the whole school. This process was an excellent introduction into the research process and had a very strong focus on becoming accomplished at writing and presenting in an academic style. My current topic is all about change in schools — in particular, how teachers are impacted by mandated pedagogical change. It’s a case study and 10 teachers have agreed to participate in this research. Change is a fascinating topic — it drives some teachers crazy and often seems relentless. Nonetheless, the challenge of keeping abreast with new developments is very real and for teachers, change has become a

significant aspect of their daily lives. A side benefit of studying has been that I have been able to attend and present at two conferences, one local and one international. Overall, the most significant benefits of pursuing study at this level that I could identify at this point are firstly, a significantly greater understanding of where education sits in the political and social arena in Australia and internationally, and secondly, what

an increasingly important role education and schools play in our society today. It is on this last point that I am most convinced: how our young people receive and utilise their education will have an extraordinarily important impact on shaping the future of our society. Lisa Vinnicombe is an English teacher and Years 9 and 10 leader at Newcomb Secondary College, Victoria.

Lisa Vinnicombe has found studying at the postgraduate level immensely rewarding.

Simon Clarke from The University of Western Australia. The diploma is available strictly on a part-time basis, which allows maximum flexibility for busy educators to juggle their work and study commitments. It involves a total of four days of face-to-face contact at the end of school holidays and provides support in the meantime through a learning management system. “Because of the flexibility in the way it is delivered, it does enable participants from regional parts of the state to become involved.” And its popularity is holding. “We’re getting continuous cohorts coming in and those cohorts are of a reasonable size. The current cohort is about 20,” Clarke says.

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Our Presenters Dr Robert Marzano Dr Robert Marzano is co-founder er and CEO of Marzano Research Laboratory in Englewood, Colorado. A leading researcher in education, he is a speaker, trainer and author of more than 30 books and 150 articles on topics such as instruction, assessment, writing and implementing standards, cognition, effective leadership and school intervention.

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Phil Warrick

Dr Janelle Wills

Whether you are a leader at the regional, school, or classroom level, you will be more effective when you clarify the work that needs to be done and create the conditions that allow others to succeed in their specific roles. This institute will expand your capacity for leadership and help you contribute to creating reliable systems that drive best practices in every classroom.

Becoming a ReďŹ&#x201A;ective Teacher BRISBANE

Jan Hoegh

Just as successful athletes must identify personal strengths and weaknesses, set goals and engage in focused practice to meet their goals, so must teachers. This session combines a model of effective instruction with goal setting, focused practice, focused feedback, and observations and discussions to improve your instructional practice.

Formative Assessment in



The Art & Science of Teaching BRISBANE

Jan Hoegh

Teachers regularly make important evaluations about student achievement. How do they know if such decisions are based on sound assessment results? Attendees will learn research-based practices for using quality formative classroom assessments aligned to solid grading practices.

High Reliability Schools 28th & 29th



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multiple speakers

Dr Marzanoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s vision for education is simple: the vast majority of schools can be highly effective in promoting student learning. To show how, he created the High Reliability Schools (HRS) framework. This framework, based on 40 years of educational research, defines five progressive levels of performance that a school must master to become high reliability: a school where all students learn the content and skills they need for success in university, careers and beyond.

The Art & Science of Teaching Multiple Dates

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Great teachers are made, not born. Even small improvements in teacher effectiveness can impact student achievement. This interactive, engaging workshop introduces and explains the instructional framework that is The Art & Science of Teaching. Participants learn the 10 design questions to ask when planning a unit of instruction, the three segments of each lesson to prepare and the 41 elements of effective teaching to master, with specific attention to engagement. ADELAIDE

Thursday 8 & Friday 9 May

Phil Warrick & Janelle Wills


Monday 12 & Tuesday 13 May

Phil Warrick & Janelle Wills


Monday 19 & Tuesday 20 May

Jan Hoegh & Janelle Wills


Friday 16 & Saturday 17 May

Phil Warrick & Janelle Wills


Tues 20 & Wed 21 May

Phil Warrick


Monday 2 & Tuesday 3 June

Jan Hoegh & Janelle Wills


Tuesday 10 June

Jan Hoegh & Janelle Wills

Dr Janelle Wills is the director of The Marzano Institute Australia. Janelle is the lead training associate for High Reliability Schools, The Art & Science of Teaching and other Marzano topics. Personally trained by Robert Marzano, Janelle specialises in long-term school improvement efforts. She has over 30 years of teaching and e leadership experience across the three sectors of schooling.

Dr Phil Warrick Dr Phil Warrick, EdD, is associate e vice president of Marzano Research Laboratory. He was an awardwinning administrator for nearly 12 years, most recently as principal of Round Rock High School, which serves approximately 3000 students. Phil has been an adjunct professor of Peru State College since 2005. Dr Warrick is part of the Australia-based Marzano Research Laboratory team, working exclusively with Hawker Brownlow Professional Learning Solutions.

Jan Hoegh Jan Hoegh is associate vice president of the Marzano Research Laboratory. She has been a classroom teacher, building-level leader, professional development specialist, high school principal and curriculum coordinator during her 27 years in education. Jan also served as assistant director of statewide assessment for the Nebraska Department of Education.

Gavin Grift Gavin Grift is currently director of professional learning for Hawker Brownlow Professional Learning Solutions (HBPLS). With experience as a teacher, assistant principal and educational coach, Gavin connects with audiences on topics ranging from cognitive coaching and quality teacher practice to PLCs, collaboration and learningcentred leadership. FL1283

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Australian Teacher Magazine (April 2014)