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Vol. 9 Issue 7

August 2013 FREE

EducationSurvey $15,000+ worth of prizes details inside

the hard word nobel prize-winner’s vision for science education

hole in the wall offering hope to the forgotten




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2 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

Have you referred yet?

1 + 1= 5 $


Refer a friend to join and you’ll both have a reason to smile.

Pass on the good word about the benefits of being a member to a friend1, and if they join us before 31 August 20132 we’ll thank you with a $50 deposit into your Teachers Mutual Bank account. Plus if your friend starts transacting3 on their account4 within 28 days of joining, we’ll deposit $50 into their account to help get them started as well.

Refer a friend and start smiling today. Visit for more details. Conditions of offer: 1Your friend must be eligible to become a member of Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981 (TMB). 2The offer period runs from Tuesday, 30 April to Saturday, 31 August 2013 (inclusive) unless terminated earlier. The offer is open to persons who are or become members during the offer period. The offer is not available to directors of TMB, members of the Members Committee and staff (as well as their families), bodies corporate and existing members as at 29 April 2013 who resign and rejoin within the offer period. To be valid, a referral must be made by a person who is at the time an existing member of TMB. The referring member’s name and membership number must be provided to the prospective member so that we can process any payment to the referring member’s account. The referring member’s name and membership number must be provided to TMB on the online membership application form or on the Referral voucher by the prospective member at the time they make their application to join TMB during the offer period. Members who join during the offer period, then resign and rejoin are eligible only for one payment of $50 (and that is subject to them transacting as required under these conditions). There is no limit on the number of payments that may be paid to a referring member under this offer, but they cannot refer the same person more than once. 3A transaction is any deposit or withdrawal excluding the $10 transactions for the member’s shareholding. 4Your friend must open one of the following – S1 Everyday or Everyday direct account, S2 Bill paying account, S3 Online Savings account, S6 Reward Saver, S10 Cash Management account, S13 Online savings account, S25 Christmas Savings account, S55 Cash Management Account, S30 Deeming account or S99 Under 18 Saving account. Information about TMB products and services (including Conditions of Use) is available at Teachers Mutual Bank Limited ABN 30 087 650 459 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 238981 | 00584P-MEM-0713-MGM-AUSTEACH

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August 2013 • australian Teacher • 3

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Sitting through a PD session that goes too fast or slow for your needs Searching for a PD date that works for everyone Coordinating substitutes for teacher training days Worrying if your budget allows for the costs of travel Wondering whether strategies for classroom implementation will ever be addressed

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4 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013


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INBRIEF CANBERRA, July 17 - Many Australians think it takes a day for the Earth to orbit the sun, others believe humans lived at the same time as dinosaurs, according to a survey. It found the science literacy of young Australian adults has fallen in the last three years. Of the 1515 participants, 79 per cent said science education is very important or absolutely essential to the economy.

Chalk is cheap

It’s all scientific WELCOME back to Term 3 and to the August issue of Australian Teacher Magazine. In this month’s Cover Story (p.25) we talk to educational researcher, professor Sugata Mitra. His Hole in the Wall experiments showed that children can learn almost anything if you leave them with an internet-connected PC, regardless of language barriers and academic ability. Now the academic is inviting teachers to support his wish to create a School in the Cloud by setting up Self-Organised Learning Environments in their classroom. With National Science Week on the horizon, Nobel Prize winner professor Brian Schmidt outlines his vision for science education in this month’s Hard Word feature (p.20). Indeed, science features prominently, with articles on engaging classroom projects in our In the Classroom section (p.35-45) and a contribution from awardwinning South Australian teacher Anita Trenwith on the biennial Science at Sea cruise (p.52). jo earp EDITOR

Picture Focus Page 16

Science so important

Oz teacher arrested CEBU (Philippines), July 15 - An Australian teacher has been arrested in the Philippines for allegedly using a 14-year-old to recruit other boys for sex. The 45-year-old man, who has worked at schools in Australia, China and New Zealand, was arrested at a beach resort in Compostela town, north Cebu. He is expected be charged with abuse or violation of a child.

Child safety curriculum BRISBANE, July 12 - The final phase of the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum has been launched. The new curriculum is available for all Queensland students from Prep to Year 9. The third and final phase for Years 7 to 9 includes lessons about internet safety and the use of social media. Visit for details.

Independents initiative BRISBANE, July 11 - Schools across Queensland are being invited to take part in the second round of the State Government’s $21 million Independent Public Schools Initiative. Schools have until August 30 to lodge an application, with the results to be announced before the end of Term 4. The 34 successful applicants will join 26 schools already part of the initiative.

Aboriginal Ed Awards PERTH, July 10 - Teachers and principals working with Aboriginal students in Western Australia have been recognised at an annual awards ceremony. The WA Aboriginal Education Awards 2013 were held during NAIDOC week celebrations and covered five categories, including Outstanding Aboriginal Teacher and Outstanding School Initiative. Visit www. awards for a full list of winners. Email briefs to

Enrolments unaffected by NAPLAN rebecca vukovic THE publishing of NAPLAN results on the Federal Government’s My School website has had little effect on school enrolments, a report has found. The Grattan Institute report, The Myths of Markets in School Education suggests that schools are not feeling the pressure to lift their results in the high stakes tests. The report revealed at least 40 to 60 per cent of schools faced no or very limited competition of the sort that would increase performance. The independent body’s education program director, Dr Ben Jensen, above right, told Australian Teacher Magazine that despite this, NAPLAN remains very important. “I think it’s interesting that a lot of people have misused our findings to argue against NAPLAN and against My School,” he said. “I still very strongly believe that NAPLAN plays an important role and is an important reform and I think the increase in transparency in school education that has come

with My School is well overdue.” In November 2009, the Federal Government faced significant opposition from principals, teachers and parents over the publishing of NAPLAN results online, but refused to back down. The then Federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, said while she understood why publishing the information would make some principals and teachers uncomfortable, transparency was necessary to shine a light on what was

happening in Australian schools. Drawing on OECD data, the report revealed parents valued the school environment, discipline, reputation, subject choice, cost and family connections above academic achievements. “Families generally don’t move to high-performing schools nor leave low-performing ones. In general, good schools don’t grow and bad schools don’t shrink,” the report said. Another key finding suggested Australia has focussed on giving schools autonomy at the expense of giving school leaders the support to assist with improvements for students. Jensen analysed Year 9 NAPLAN results at schools in competition with one another and said that empowerment for school leaders requires more than just autonomy. “The world’s best systems have varying levels of autonomy, but they all articulate the best way to teach and learn, then they develop teachers and school leaders to carry it out,” he said.

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

6-18 20-24 25 29-31 35-45 47-49 51-54 55 56 57-62

Australian Teacher Magazine is published by Tempo Media Pty Ltd ACN 100 789 848

Managing Editor Grant Quarry Editor Jo Earp Journalists Rebecca Vukovic, Chelsea Attard Letters, Comments & Feedback In the Classroom, Special Report Technology PD/Around the Traps Noticeboard Advertising Sandra Colli Art & Design Jeremy Smart Contributors Linus Lane, Tim Carey, Paul Howard-Jones, Rebecca Andrews, Fiz Halsey, Anita Trenwith, Noelene Callaghan 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: We welcome contributions and story ideas. Articles should be no longer than 450 words, letters to the editor 350 words.

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August 2013 • australian Teacher

funding reform

Rudd and Shorten face roadblock

NEGOTIATIONS between Western Australia and Canberra over school funding reform are at a standstill, with State Premier Colin Barnett calling for the deadline to be put back by 12 months. Barnett has consistently refused to sign up to the funding plan, despite an improved offer of an extra $620 million from Julia Gillard before she was replaced by Kevin Rudd. Following agreement with the Independent Schools Council of Australia, Rudd held talks with Queensland Premier Campbell Newman in a bid to reach a deal similar to those signed with New South Wales, Tasmania South Australia and the ACT. The Prime Minister’s office confirmed WA was the only state not to have requested an extension to the negotiating deadline. New Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten, who was handed the portfolio after the resignation of Peter Garrett, told Australian Teacher Magazine he is still optimistic of getting all jurisdictions on board. “Maintaining the old broken schools funding system will see education in this country go backwards,” he said. “I’m optimistic that the principle of ensuring that schools have access to the funding they need to meet the needs of their students is one which all state and terri-

Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten arriving for negotiations.

Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has praised Kevin Rudd for listening to the state’s concerns and says he wants to achieve a deal.

tory jurisdictions can sign up to.” The Coalition has said, if elected, it will continue with the existing system “until such time as we are confident that any replacement is an actual improvement and is affordable”. It said it would only retain the Labor model if an “overwhelming majority” of states and territories sign up, but has not clarified what would constitute an overwhelming majority. Shadow Education Minister Christopher Pyne called the Fed-

eral Government proposals “a mirage” and added it was no longer a national funding model. “They have a different arrangement with every state and territory; they’re offering side deals and extra money all over the place,” Pyne told the ABC. So far NSW, the ACT, South Australia and Tasmania have signed up to the plan. Independent and Catholic schools in all jurisdictions are also covered by the legislation for the scheme. At the time of going to press, the

Federal Government said negotiations with Queensland and Victoria were going well. The Prime Minister has accused the NT Government of “stonewalling” on negotiations. “I don’t know what’s going on up here but in previous times if a Prime Minister of Australia came to Darwin and said ‘I want to invest $300 million in your schools’ they would take probably about 45 seconds to get an immediate and positive response,” Rudd said.


Ed survey 2013

It’s time for your voice to be heard AUSTRALIAN Teacher Magazine is proud to announce the launch of its EducationSurvey 2013. Over the next three months, we’ll be gathering the views of educators from every state and territory and school sector on a range of local, regional and national issues. Whatever your role in the school education sector, it’s a chance for you to have your voice heard. More than 3000 educators took part in 2012 and this year’s survey promises to be even bigger. We’d like to know your thoughts on the Federal Government’s school funding proposals and the effectiveness of NAPLAN testing. Other topics include the use of social media in the classroom, cyber bullying, performance pay, principal autonomy, and the role of professional associations. The annual survey is also a chance for readers to give their feedback on the print magazine, digital editions and our revamped website. As a thank you for taking part, you’ll automatically be entered into a draw to win some fantastic prizes for your nominated school, donated by our generous sponsors. It’s a total pool of more than $15,000 worth of prizes. Log on to au/survey before October 14 to make sure you have your say.


AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

Principal court case

INBRIEF McHale fire denial

Ten years to buckle up

MELBOURNE, July 10 - It could take more than a decade for every Victorian school bus to be fitted with seatbelts. The State Government has committed to fitting all new school buses with seatbelts, despite receiving advice that it should not. Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said 90 buses, of the total fleet of about 1600, would be replaced each year and conceded it could take years before every bus has seatbelts.

Teacher pinned by car PERTH, July 9 - A teacher at a West Australian school was badly injured after being pinned to a wall by her own car as it rolled out of control. Emergency crews found the woman pinned to a wall in the driveway of Bridgetown Primary School. After several hours, the woman was airlifted to Royal Perth Hospital with serious injuries.

Melanoma comic book SYDNEY, July 8 - Skinderella is one of five superheroes in a new educational comic book aimed at helping Australian families explain to kids why a family member is sick with skin cancer, and what lies ahead. In Medikidz Explain Advanced Melanoma, superheroes Chi, Gastro, Pump, Axon, Skinderella and a brain on legs will teach kids how melanoma develops. Email briefs to

THE former principal of a remote West Australian school has denied setting fire to it to cover his tracks after hundreds of frauds and thefts. John Michael McHale, 50, has pleaded guilty to 266 charges of theft and fraud, including using the Meekatharra School of the Air’s credit card to buy groceries. But he is fighting allegations he burned down the school, and its replacement in Geraldton, to destroy financial records that would have revealed his dishonesty. McHale, who was suspended from his job more than three years after the frauds began in early 2006, also rejected accusations he stole school equipment after several items were found in his home. He told the District Court in Perth he had nothing to do with two blazes at the Meekatharra school and a third fire at the Geraldton campus. While the first fire was discovered on a school day while he was present, the second occurred on a Sunday night when McHale claimed to be at home. He said he only learnt of the emergency when a man, whose identity he couldn’t recall, phoned him. McHale said he arrived at the school about 20 minutes later to find firefighters on the scene.

John Michael McHale told Perth District Court he had nothing to do with the fires. But the prosecution claims he was already there. It said he had smashed some windows with rocks and left a box of tissues on a chair inside one of the rooms as a second ignition point, but was interrupted by the firefighters. The court was told he approached them and blamed the damage on children. McHale denied that allegation. He was also accused of refusing access to a firefighter, telling him: “It’s the government’s. Let it burn”. The trial was continuing as Australian Teacher Magazine went to press.

Bihar tragedy

Mystery surrounds the lunch-related deaths of primary school youngsters TWENTY children have died and dozens more are sick after eating a free meal at a primary school in eastern India. “It is sad but true that 20 children died after eating their midday meal, which appears to be poisonous,” the Education Minister of Bihar State, PK Shahi, told AFP. He said 30 more children were still sick in hospital. Bihar state administrator Abhijit Sinha earlier said the children, who were all below the age of 10, had been served a meal of rice and lentils cooked at the school. Bihar state chief minister Nitish Kumar ordered an immediate investigation into the deaths. He said a team of forensic experts was on its way to the school to determine the cause of the deaths. Television footage showed sick children lying on wooden tables in a primitive state-run hospital. Anxious family members fanned the children in the oppressive monsoon heat. Sinha said that the tragedy had occurred in a state-run school in the village of Masrakh, in Bihar’s Saran district. The children were taken to hospitals in the state capital Patna and the town of Chhapra, 65 kilometres away. Free meals are offered to impoverished students in state-run


The children fell ill after eating a school lunch of rice and lentils. schools as part of the government welfare measures in many of India’s 29 states. Bihar is considered one of India’s poorest states and is also the most populous. Free lunches are hugely popular with poor families, and educators see the meals as a way of increasing school attendance. The midday meal scheme has been in place for decades. But children often suffer from food poisoning due to poor hygiene in school kitchens and the sometimes sub-standard quality of the food.



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August 2013 • australian Teacher • 9

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

SA child sex case

Officials face scrutiny

Orange 8 Chance and Data 1

EDUCATION department officials who bungled the handling of a school child sex abuse case in Adelaide are being asked to justify their actions. South Australian Education Minister Jennifer Rankine said employees identified in a report on the case will receive letters, prepared in conjunction with government lawyers, outlining concerns about their performance. Rankine said she hoped the process would be completed quickly with the department’s chief executive having the full range of options open to him, from warnings to asking people to step down. The action follows the release of a wideranging report into the handling of the abuse case at a local school in 2010, where the incident was kept secret from parents for two years. It found education officials were responsible for a string of failures including a decision not to inform parents, not obtaining proper legal advice and not properly monitoring the court proceedings. The report also criticised staff of then Education Minister and current Premier Jay Weatherill, who failed to tell him about the case. The government has pledged to implement all 43 recommendations from the inquiry, but the findings have prompted some parents to launch legal action.

Please DO NOT write on cards

11 Which week was the sunniest?

The students of 4E were studying climate change. They decided to record the daily weather conditions for the month of February in a table. MON TUE WED THU




Wk 1

12 Which week was the wettest? 13 Does this table tell you if the weather was windy?

14 Every day in February was listed in this table. Did these results occur during a leap year?

Wk 2 Wk 3

Solve the problems. Write all answers on your response sheet. 1 Jack noticed that the bee’s body is in three parts; a head, a thorax, and an abdomen. How many parts would that be altogether if there were six bees? 2 A bee is about 12 mm in length. If the three parts were even, how long would each part be?


12 10 Please DO NOT write on cards

Wk 4


8 6

4 8 Jack wants to fill some jars with honey. 3 Jack was poking at the hive with a stick 2 KEY: He was 460 g fills one honey jar. If there is 20 g and 17 bees flew from the hive. sunny cloudy rain storm & rain hot cold 0 of honey in the hive each day, how many stung 9 times. How many bees did not days will it take to fill a jar? sting him? Write True or False for questions 1 to 7. Write all answers your response sheet.9 Jack’s bees are making lots of honey. Jack sees 15 bees 4 A bee has four wings.on He bought 6 boxes with 72 empty jars fly past. How many wings would that be? 15 How many children wore raincoats? 1 The month of February started offHow withmany fine weather. per box. jars does Jack have?

A swarm of bees flew past Jack. He chased them until he found them living in a hive. He wanted to be a beekeeper. He loved honey. He bought 5 boxes to keep his bees in, a queen for each box and a swarm of bees. The bees flew around his property searching for nectar.

Shade each box as you complete

It was a miserable, wet day so all students in 3W came prepared, They either wore raincoats or brought an umbrella.

16 The week beelast hive are of February was not very sunny. 5 The honeycomb cells2in a 10 One box can produce 28 kg of honey 17 hexagonal shaped. How many were sides only does11 days in February that had rain. 3 There during winter, but the bees need half of one hexagon have? 4 Cloudy days were always cold. the honey to survive. How much honey 18 5 Storms always occurred can on cold Jackdays. take from five boxes in winter?19 6 Each box needs at least 50 000 bees. 6 Days always followed a storm. How many bees will Jack needofifrain he has 11 A jar of honey costs $5 to buy at the 6 boxes? 7 February was mostly a dry Jack produced 50 jars 20 farmers’

to sell at the market. He sold 39 jars. How many were there than stormy days? in a more sunny days 7 There are 14 grams of8 honey How much money did he make? tablespoon. It takes one tablespoon of cold days were there than hot days? 9 How many more honey to spread on a10 piece toast.days Jackthat12 for 45 days. Drones are Howofmany hadThe raindrone were lives hot days? and his wife each have 2 pieces of toast male bees. In a year, roughly how many with honey each day. How many grams of times would that drone be replaced? honey would they both use in a week? 13 There were 2000 drones in the hive. If 9 groups of 100 flew away from the hive, how many would be left in the hive? 14 Jack filled 4 jars with honey. Each jar contained 460 g of honey. How much less than 2 kg of honey did Jack use?

15 Single hives can contain 1 queen, 60 000 larvae of which 2000 hatch and are baby bees, 100 000 workers and 2000 drones. How many bees in a hive altogether? ©


What was the most popular colour raincoat?

How many children chose to use an umbrella?

How many more children preferred raincoats to umbrellas?

How many more children preferred yellow raincoats to pink? Michael decided to represent the information using his own table. What does this table tell you about the pink raincoats?


3 ©







Teachers 4 Teachers Publications Pty Ltd

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15



Royal Olive Green Teal Yellow Amber

1 T 2 T 18 parts 3 F 4 mm long 4 F 8 bees 5 F 60 wings 6 T 6 sides 7 T 300 000 bees8 5 392 g 9 2 10 1 23 days 11 week 3 432 jars 12 week 2 70 kg 13 no $195 14 no 8 times 15 24 children 1100 drones 16 yellow 160 g 17 10 children 104 001 bees 18 14 more 19 6 more 20 only girls wore

Orange Brown Crimson Pink Red Purple Violet Grey








the card


9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20

pink raincoats

SA Premier Jay Weatherill has come under fire. Premier Weatherill came in for more criticism from the opposition for taking annual leave a few days after the report’s release. Meanwhile, education department chief executive Keith Bartley has resigned in the wake of the damning report. Rankine said Bartley was held in high esteem by school leaders and teachers. He will be replaced by former assistant police commissioner Tony Harrison.

Teachers 4 Teachers Publications Pty Ltd © Teachers 4 Teachers Publications

Pty Ltd

© Teachers 4 Teachers Publications

Pty Ltd

court sentencing

Teacher gets five years for ‘serious breach of trust’ quarter temp.indd 1

Arts Centre Melbourne presents Perth Theatre Company 2/7/13 and Weeping Spoon Production’s

The Adventures of Alvin Sputnik: Deep Sea Explorer

A MELBOURNE teacher who bought lingerie and a sex toy for a teenaged student during a sexual relationship in the wake of hisAMcollapsed marriage has been jailed for 11:23:34 five years. The teacher had sex with the girl, almost 20 years his junior, on two occasions when he invited her to stay the night at his house to babysit his son. The 42-year-old man cannot be named to protect the victim’s identity. A jury found him guilty of three charges of sexual penetration of a child under 16. Victorian County Court Judge Howard Mason said the man’s offending occurred against the backdrop of an emotional marriage breakdown. But he said he exploited his close relationship with the girl and her family to commit the offending.

The man worked as a music teacher at a Melbourne school where the victim was a student and her mother also worked. He was regularly invited to the victim’s family’s social events and holidays. Judge Mason said the man became particularly close to the victim, describing him as her emotional crutch. The man committed the offending in the mid 2000s, shortly after breaking up with his first wife. Judge Mason noted that the man was held in high regard by his colleagues at the school, and had since remarried and was a loving father and husband. But, he said the breach of trust was serious and the impact on the victim substantial. The man must serve a minimum of three years in prison before he becomes eligible for parole.

results released Health report says third of WA students bullied in past year In a highly imaginative fusion of animation, mime, puppetry, projections, live and recorded music, master storyteller Tim Watts tells the tale of Alvin Sputnik, Deep Sea Explorer. The seas have risen, many have died and now science and humanity are turning to the oceans themselves. A last ditch effort to save the human race sees Alvin journey to the bottom of the ocean to find his lost love and a new place to call home. Audiences will love this tale of a solitary explorer with a heart as big as a whale. Winner Best Production, Theatre, 2011 Auckland Fringe Festival Winner Outstanding Solo Show, 2009 New York International Fringe Festival. Suitability: Years 7 – 10 Date/Time: 14 to 16 August, 10.30am & 12.30pm Duration: 50 minutes Cost: $14 Venue: Arts Centre Melbourne, State Theatre Rehearsal Room Bookings: or phone 03 9281 8582 Your school may also apply for subsidy online via our First Call Fund. Please visit

For more information about our Schools Program please visit

A CHINESE astronaut has delivered a live video class to schoolchildren. Wang Yaping demonstrated how objects behave in zero gravity. The lesson covered physics topics including Isaac Newton’s second law of motion, and the surface tension of water. More than 60 million students and teachers tuned in, the state-run China Daily said.

MORE than one third of children in Western Australia have been bullied in the past year, a new health report has revealed. The annual report into the Health and Wellbeing of Children in Western Australia asked parents and carers whether their child had been bullied in the last 12 months and whether their child had bullied others. According to the results, 35.6 per cent had been bullied in the last 12 months (up from 30.9 per cent in 2011) and 8.8 per cent had bullied other children. Participants were asked to rate how much their child looks forward to going to school each day. When it came to boys, 9.1 per cent answered either ‘almost never’ or ‘rarely’ and the options ‘often’ and ‘almost always’ had a combined total of 80.9 per cent. For girls, 2.9 per cent of respondents said they almost never or rarely looked forward to going to school each day, and the combined total for ‘often’ and ‘almost always’ was 91.7 per cent.

August 2013 • australian Teacher • 11


AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

rankings paper

Top five a long way off

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

EDUCATION policies including school autonomy and test-based accountability won’t address Australia’s slipping international rankings, according to academics. The University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education (MGSE) has released a paper on improving student outcomes. MGSE dean, professor Field Rickards, called for a focus on what happens in the classroom and empowering teachers. “We need to channel our resources to where they will make the biggest impact on learning outcomes — into teachers and teaching,” he said. The paper — Focusing on the learner: Charting a way forward for Australian education — makes several recommendations in the areas of pre-service education, professional development, professional leadership and professional governance. They include: introducing primary-level specialist teachers, particularly in maths and science; differentiating teacher pay according to levels of expertise; and more PD for school teachers based on interpreting assessment data, targeted instruction and collaboration. “Research on the need for quality teaching of mathematics and science in the primary years is compelling in terms of student attitudes and later accomplishment in the secondary years,” the paper said.

Professor Field Rickards said resources need to be channeled into teachers and teaching. “It is becoming untenable for generalist primary teachers to cover all aspects of the curriculum with expertise. We therefore recommend introducing specialisation into primary teaching.” The paper argued Australia is unlikely to reach its goal of being in the world’s top five for reading, science and maths by 2025 without major policy changes. Addressing what doesn’t work, it said “national testing has not yet driven any improvements in student learning” and added the focus on scores from tests like NAPLAN diverts attention away from measuring how much students’ learning has grown.

OECD report

BER lifted spending above average: Garrett PETER Garrett has said Labor’s BER program propped up education spending during the global financial crisis to ensure Australia now spends proportionally more than the international average. The former Federal Education Minister, who made the comments before resigning from the portfolio, said if it wasn’t for the Building the Education Revolution program “spending on schools would be lower than the then OECD average”. The latest OECD education report showed that in 2010 Australia spent 4.3 per cent of its GDP on school education. This moves the country into above OECD average spending. In 2005 Australia spent less than the average proportion of its GDP on schools. Australia topped the countries surveyed for the biggest education spending as a percentage of GDP after the global finan-


Greenwich push for changes SYDNEY, July 7 - Independent Sydney MP Alex Greenwich is pushing for changes to state laws that he says allow private schools to discriminate against gay students. Greenwich says the NSW AntiDiscrimination Act contains exemptions that mean private schools can refuse entry to or expel students based on their sexuality. He plans to introduce a private member’s bill into parliament. “Currently in NSW students can cruelly be expelled for being gay. This is wrong and my bill will end this,” he said.

Carr coy on uni funding plans CANBERRA, July 2 - Changes to the Federal Government’s university funding plans are possible but not a certainty, Higher Education Minister Kim Carr has said. Within hours of being handed the portfolio, Carr came under pressure to reverse measures in the May budget that would slice $2.3 billion in funding from universities to help pay for the school funding reforms. Email briefs to

cial crisis hit — lifting expenditure by more than double the average. The report showed that Australia spent more per student at all levels of education in 2010 than the OECD average — $9463 spent per primary, $10,350 per secondary and $15,142 per tertiary student. All the figures are in US dollars. Teacher salaries — $48,522 for primary and $49,144 for secondary — were above average and seventh highest among the 42 countries surveyed. The report said there were 23.5 students in the average Australian school class, which is above the OECD average. In school education, growth in spending outstripped the increase in student numbers between 2005 and 2010. But, at a tertiary level, funding growth and the increase in student numbers roughly kept pace.

national partnership Significant progress being made on improving teacher quality A REPORT on the National Partnership on Improving Teacher Quality has shown governments are meeting or making progress in all but one of 122 milestones. It is the second and final report on the $550 million initiative from the COAG Reform Council. Milestones were in the areas of: improved pay dispersion to reward quality teaching; improved reward structures for teachers and leaders working in disadvantaged, Indigenous, rural/remote and hard-tostaff schools; improved in-school support for teachers and school leaders; increased school-based decision making about recruitment, staffing mix and budget; continual improvement program for all teachers; and Indigenous teachers’ and school leaders’ community engagement. No progress was made on the milestone of a minimum of five additional Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AEIOs) to be appointed to government schools in WA.

12 - 14 March 2014

August 2013 • australian Teacher • 13

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

boarding school

INBRIEF Nigeria massacre

Claims clogging system

BRISBANE, July 1 - Queensland’s child protection system is being choked by laws that compel teachers and other public workers to report all cases of suspected abuse, an inquiry has found. Commissioner Tim Carmody said 80 per cent of about 120,000 reports made to the department in 2011-12 did not require intervention. He recommends a review of mandatory reporting laws.

Yunupingu farewelled SYDNEY, June 30 - Aboriginal elder, educator and singer Yunupingu has been farewelled at a state funeral in the heart of Arnhem Land. The 1992 Australian of the Year was the first Indigenous person from Arnhem Land to gain a university degree and the Northern Territory’s first Aboriginal school principal. The three-hour service included a tribute dance performed by Yunupingu’s six daughters.

Child thrown from ride BRISBANE, June 27 - A five-year-old who almost died when he was thrown from a show ride at a school fete near Toowoomba has left hospital. Patrick O’Sullivan suffered serious head injuries when he was thrown 10 metres from the Frisbee ride. His father Barry O’Sullivan Jnr said support from his school and general community had seen the family through. Email briefs to

Several deadly attacks have shaken northeast Nigeria in recent months. NIGERIA’S northeastern Yobe state has ordered the closure of all secondary schools after a massacre in which suspected Islamist extremists killed 42 people in an attack on a boarding school. State Governor Ibrahim Gaidam made the order to shut down schools until September, a government statement said. In the attack in the Mamudo district, the assailants — believed to be Boko Haram sect members — rounded up students and staff in a dormitory before throwing explosives inside and opening fire, Haliru Aliyu of Potiskum General Hospital said, quoting witnesses who escaped. It was the third school attack in the region in recent weeks,

including two in Yobe. Mamudo is around five kilometres from Potiskum, the commercial hub of Yobe. Aliyu said security personnel were combing the bushes around the school in search of students who were believed to have escaped with gun-related injuries. “So far six students have been found and are now in the hospital being treated for gunshot wounds,� he said. Violence linked to the Boko Haram insurgency has left 3600 people dead since 2009, including killings by the security forces. Boko Haram which means “western education is evil� has killed hundreds of students in attacks on schools in the tense region in recent months.

6th l annua

tribunal finding

NZ teacher allowed to continue after accidental pornography screening A TEACHER who accidentally played porn to a Year 12 class will be allowed to keep teaching. The unnamed teacher was censured by the NZ Teachers’ Disciplinary Tribunal for serious misconduct, but was not stripped of his registration. The tribunal said the teacher had been showing a PowerPoint presentation when the media player skipped to the next file in the library. The teacher realised the students were viewing pornographic material after a few seconds and disconnected the computer.

There were a small number of pornographic clips on the computer, which was provided by the school. The teacher accepted responsibility and offered his resignation. He has to inform any prospective employers of the incident.

photo sharing

Four arrested for circulating explicit photograph FOUR teenagers have been arrested over an explicit photograph of a student being circulated at a Melbourne school. Two current and two former students of the western suburbs school obtained the image of a 16-year-old female student and allegedly sent it to friends and other students at the school, police said. The female victim thought the image no longer existed until it was brought to her attention in mid-May. Three 17-year-old boys and a girl, 16, were arrested and interviewed

in relation to the offence of knowingly communicating a private activity on May 25 and released pending further inquiries. Following their investigation, police uncovered another two cases of explicit photo sharing, with the victims being two 14-year-old girls. More arrests are expected following further investigations, police said. Wyndham detective Senior Constable Steve Oakley said parents needed to be aware such incidents could be enormously damaging to young people’s lives.

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

INBRIEF It’s Oil over, Pete political career

Stars’ antics criminal?

BRISBANE, June 26 - Professional sports stars who fight on the field should face criminal charges in an era when organisations are striving to stop school bullying, a Gold Coast lawyer has said. Bruce Simmonds, who regularly acts for bullying victims, said any criminal proceedings would act as a deterrent for athletes who are also role models for children.

Swede students’ justice STOCKHOLM, June 25 - A court has ordered two secondary school students who defamed and insulted other teenagers on Instagram to pay damages of 15,000 Kronor (AUD$2,460) to each of the 38 plaintiffs. The two published photos of students in Gothenburg, accompanied by captions that were offensive and sexual in nature. Victims took to the streets to protest and one school had to be closed for the day.

ROCK STAR turned politician Peter Garrett has resigned his position as Federal Education Minister and will leave politics at the upcoming federal election. “I was a frontman who chose to be a team player and make a difference in politics. I do not, for one moment, regret that choice,” the former Midnight Oil singer said. Garrett said he had been privileged to serve as a cabinet minister for six years, participating in a number of reforms that only a Labor government could achieve. He said he was especially proud of Labor’s significant education reforms. In his valedictory address, Gar-

rett said he’d refused to exploit his rock star celebrity to promote personal or Labor causes. “If it can’t stand on its own public policy foundations then engaging in stunts isn’t really going to help in the long term.” Similarly, he said it often caused bemusement among the press gallery that he wouldn’t “jump up on my ministerial desk and do an air guitar” or quote his song lyrics in speeches. He added he hoped including civics and citizenship studies in the Australian Curriculum would teach young people to have the same faith and confidence in democracy he had.

School’s asbestos fears MELBOURNE, June 24 - A country Victorian school was shut down after a safety inspector found asbestos and other safety breaches on the campus. Peeling paint believed to be lead-based was among the safety concerns noted at Timboon P-12. Corangamite Shire Council said students were able to return to class after WorkSafe investigated and lifted its prohibition. Email briefs to

Peter Garrett refused to exploit his rock star celebrity during his political career.

THEY may have a combined age of 205, but Rolling Stones Mick Jagger, centre, Keith Richards, right, and Ronnie Wood can still rock it. The trio are pictured performing on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2013 — the first time the Stones have appeared at the world famous music festival. Jagger says he’s found his music career “intellectually undemanding” and sometimes wishes he had stuck to his original idea of becoming a teacher. “A schoolteacher would have been very gratifying, I’m sure,” the legendary frontman told the BBC. “Everyone wants to have done more things in their lives. It is a slightly intellectually undemanding thing to do, being a rock singer, but, you know, you make the best of it.” Chalk is Cheap, Page 6


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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2013

Christian tips

INBRIEF Avoiding doing it

Program’s funds boost

MELBOURNE, June 20 - The Victorian Coalition Government has announced a $1 million contribution to Teach For Australia. Minister responsible for the Teaching Profession Peter Hall said the program had recruited four groups of graduates from non-education backgrounds who had gone on to teach in high needs schools and the additional funding would provide for a fifth cohort of up to 40 graduates.

Mum subs in for exam PARIS (France), June 20 - A 52-year-old French woman faces prosecution on fraud charges after being caught trying to sit a baccalaureate English exam in place of her daughter. Wearing Converse trainers and low-waisted skinny jeans, the woman made it into the exam hall at a Paris high-school before an exam supervisor alerted the principal and police were called.

Ivory hunter confesses BRAZZAVILLE, June 18 - A Congolese teacher has confessed to killing eight elephants for their ivory and was arrested in possession of 25 kilograms of ivory. David Ntazam, who teaches French, geography and history, was arrested in the northwestern Congolese city of Souanke. He also had two automatic rifles typically used for poaching, conservation group WWF said. Email briefs to

TRY burping and blowing bubbles instead of sex, Christian students are being urged. Among a pamphlet entitled 101 Things To Do Instead Of Doing It, given to students at Caloundra Christian College in Queensland, were suggestions such as horse riding, eating something new, looking at clouds and seeing what you can make them into, and sharing a drink with two straws. Christian Schools Australia CEO Steve O’Doherty said he was surprised by the public attention the pamphlet received, as it’s hardly anything new that Christians preach abstinence. “Christian schools teach that the safest way of protecting yourself medically and emotionally is to wait until a stable, married relationship,” he told AAP. “It’s hardly front-page news that Christians have that perspective.” O’Doherty said that while abstinence was the preferred option for children and teenagers, Christian schools taught a healthy message about sex. “We teach kids about safe sex, we teach them about the dangers of sexually transmitted diseases and what you need to do to protect yourself against them,” he said. “But we tell the full story too — there are emotional dangers in committing yourself to a sexual relationship and the best way to

access granted

Civil rights ruling allows transgender six-year-old to use girls’ bathroom A SIX-year-old transgender girl will be able to return to school in Colorado after winning the right to use the girls’ bathroom. Coy Mathis’ parents filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division after she was denied access to the girls’ bathroom at Eagleside Elementary School in Colorado Springs. The Mathis family and its lawyers celebrated the civil rights ruling on the steps of the state capitol. “Her future will be better if we get to this place where this is nothing to be ashamed of,” Kathryn Mathis said.

Looking at clouds and seeing what shapes you can make was one of the suggestions on the pamphlet. protect yourself medically and emotionally is abstinence.” While the pamphlet, which was written by a third party brought in to help the school with its curriculum, carries some light suggestions, it also has a serious side, O’Doherty added. Among 33 actual reasons young people have given for abstaining are: “I’m only 14, I have the rest of my life” and “If I’m hurt too many times, I might miss out on something great because I’m so afraid of being hurt again.”

Coy Mathis outside the state capitol in Denver after the ruling. Coy has been diagnosed with gender identity disorder and was born a triplet with two sisters. She identified as a girl before she began attending elementary school.

British sentencing Teacher pays for abduction and sex with 15-year-old A BRITISH teacher has been sentenced to five years and six months in jail for having sex with a 15-year-old pupil and running off with her to France, sparking an international manhunt. Jeremy Forrest, a married 30-year-old maths teacher, was convicted of abducting the girl, and pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child. He was not originally charged with sex offences for legal reasons linked to his extradition from France, but he admitted the new charges when they were put

to him at Lewes Crown Court in southeast England. Judge Michael Lawson, sentencing Forrest to four-and-a-half years for the charges of sexual activity with a child and one year for the abduction charge, told him his behaviour had inflicted great damage. Prosecutors said Forrest “grossly abused” the trust placed in him as the girl’s teacher. The British press reported the girl, who is now 16, has vowed to wait for Forrest to serve his sentence so they can resume their relationship.


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August 2013 • australian Teacher • 21

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australian Teacher • August 2013


Caption competition


Last month’s caption winner

An insider’s view of teaching THERE are lots of ways for you to get involved in Australia’s leading education publication. Do you have a great school or classroom project you’d like to share with our readers? It might be an exciting approach to a particular curriculum subject or unit of study, a one-off lesson, school celebration, or a story for one of our supplements: Technology in Education; School Excursions; Healthy Schools; Postgrad; and Music in Education. We also have regular special reports highlighting: Early Years Education; Languages; The Arts; Sustainability; and PE & Outdoor Education. We accept article submissions and regular contributions, or email with a story suggestion and our editorial team will do the rest. Log on to and go to the Features menu to read the latest contributions. Whatever your role in school education, we’d love to hear from you. So, why not get involved?

Don’t focus on obvious leaders I HAVE recently been involved in a series of leadership initiatives for students at my school. One has been the excellent World Vision Global Leaders Convention, to which I took a group of senior students. The other involves leadership training and development for Year 8 students. Throughout the course of these events I was struck by a few thoughts. Firstly, that while the common perception is that teenagers lack motivation, enthusiasm, respect, and are generally disinterested and rude, the reality is far removed from the belief. In fact, my experience with teenagers has taught me the opposite. Teenagers are motivated, respectful, enthusiastic and engaged in broader issues. The key is in helping them tap into their inner resources and facilitate opportunities for them to get involved. Sure, there are teenagers who fit the common stereotype, those who grunt more than they speak, but I know far more who don’t. Maybe the view is more of a reflection on those who subscribe to it? Secondly, leaders come in many shapes and forms, with various skills and leadership attributes. Leadership is a bit of a buzz word, and it creates connotations of ‘type A’ personalities and competent public speakers oozing charisma and charm. This is a dangerous stereotype and one that our young leaders need to be warned against.This stereotype prevents many young people with great potential to lead from ever stepping out, simply because they believe they don’t fit the mould. There is no model or personality type for leaders. I know many leaders who are quietly spoken, thoughtful, calm, even introverted, and able to positively influence others. In many cases they don’t even see themselves as leaders. I was also struck by the thought that anyone can lead in a particular situation. I witnessed some of our young leaders step up at the Global Leaders Convention. While not occupying the ‘office’ of school captain, these young people chose to take a stand and lead their peers in the fight against poverty. As we think about leadership we need to broaden our perspective and focus not just on the obvious leaders, but also those with enormous untapped potential who may be harder to identify.

A Doyle, for this: Game of Thrones; Next Season Highlights …

WE’RE not the biggest cricket experts here at Oz Teacher HQ, but even we know this is cheating. Here’s English batsman Kevin Pietersen lining up a shot during a visit to Sacred Heart Primary School in Battersea, London. Interestingly, there were Australia-themed celebrations for KP’s visit. Come up with a witty caption to be in with a chance of winning this month’s DVD prize pack: Goddess, starring Ronan Keating and Magda Szubanski, and Midnight’s Children. Email entries to or head to and leave a comment on our caption competition page. Closing date is August 8. Good luck.

“So Priestess Bishop, after we have slain the Red Dragon of Gillard we reclaim the Throne for the Abbott. Then shortly after we stab the Abbott in the back and reinstate ourselves as the rightful and true heirs of the kingdom… You shall be seated there as The Queen, and I on your right as your Manservant of Education. Sounds like a plan no one has used yet - let’s go for it …”

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One third of WA children bullied last year

@OzTeacherMag: Tony Abbott doesn’t believe remaining states & territories will sign up to education funding reforms.

@OzTeacherMag: BREAKING: Bill Shorten is new (School) Education Minister in Rudd Cabinet. Kim Carr takes Higher Education portfolio

@heyspan: @OzTeacherMag Seriously what would he know! #clueless

@OzTeacherMag: QLD Premier says principles, not money, are behind his opposition to the federal government’s school funding reforms. http://www.

Stephen Breen - President Western Australian Primary Principals Association In reading the headline of this article one would expect a paragraph or two within the article but no! However I did read this within the article. ” Seasonally adjusted trends for the prevalence of children being bullied remained relatively stable from March 2002 to October 2008 and then showed a generally decreasing trend. Auto-regression analysis suggested that there was a statistically significant decreasing trend for all children and boys for the prevalence of bullying, however there was no significant change for girls over time. A bit sensationalist and very disappointing from an education magazine. Jo Earp - Editor of Australian Teacher Magazine Hi Stephen, Thanks for the feedback. The original story was supplied by AAP. We’ve now edited the article to include more information from the report.

Fitness Tests – for PE Teachers and Coaches

Joel Hash I wonder about fitness tests for PE teachers. Given their role in shaping the physical education and healthy living practices of students, they have a responsibility to at least be good role models. Many PE teachers are not fit enough to demand fitness of their students and hypocrisy should not be tolerated.

Garrett quits as Rudd returns

Tessa Morris Peter – Head up the Greens – they need a leader with policy and personality now Bob Brown has gone! Sharon Brookes What? Does a new labour leader mean a total change in ethos, policy and focus? Was Garrett (and all the others who have walked), a true believer in Labor Party policy? Or were they just there for their own self interest? Good riddance to anyone who doesn’t have a big picture perspective!

An intercultural approach to education

Karen So pleased to see this being embraced by schools in Australia. When I moved to Australia after completing my IB at the international school in Geneva, IB graduates were far and few between, and most prospective employers had never heard of it ... Post a web comment at

@OzTeacherMag: WA Premier wants a 12 month extension to deadline for singing up to Fed Govt school funding reforms. #Gonski http://www.ozteacher. @OzTeacherMag: @OzTeacherMag *signing* up. Although, if Barnett were to agree in the form of an operatic aria we don’t think Bill Shorten would mind. @DuncanLovelock:“@OzTeacherMag: BREAKING: Tasmania has signed on to the Federal Government’s school funding reforms. More to come ... #Gonski” Awesome @maclean_robyn: “@OzTeacherMag: Tasmania has signed on to the Federal Government’s school funding reforms. #Gonski” c’mon Vic!! @Vic_Premier It’s our turn! @OzTeacherMag: We said finally, but in breaking #WHWLTW news ... the average age of bee keepers in Australia is 58 and there’s a shortage of them. @robwoozle: @OzTeacherMag beekeepers...where do I apply?

@Michael_Jongen: @OzTeacherMag how lovely to be able to afford your principles even as you fail your principals! @OzTeacherMag: A six-year-old transgender girl will be able to return to school after winning the right to use the girls’ bathroom. http://www.ozteacher. @jellycrystals: @OzTeacherMag But she’s 6....How do you know? Very interesting. @OzTeacherMag: Christian schools defend abstinence http://www.ozteacher. @ObsidianCrane: @OzTeacherMag truth is there is nothing wrong with teaching abstinence, as long as that’s not all you teach. @TATE_tweets: Nice article in July’s @ OzTeacherMag on @JackHeathWriter ‘s #TATETassieTour, incl a cool photo of Jack w/ some fans from St Mary’s ...

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“I was a frontman who chose to be a team player and make a difference in politics. I do not, for one moment, regret that choice.” - Peter Garrett announcing his decision to resign from the role of Federal Education Minister.

August 2013 • australian Teacher • 23

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australian Teacher • August 2013


Coalition clear as mud on funding THE school funding reform picture has become a little clearer in terms of the Federal Government’s negotiations with states and territories, but confusion reigns on exactly where the Coalition stands. As this edition went to press, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Federal Education Minister Bill Shorten were still locked in negotiations with Victoria, Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. With the first two showing signs of a possible compromise, piece by piece, it appears the school funding jigsaw is slowly coming together. But, there have been mixed messages from Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and his Education Spokesman Christopher Pyne over the fate of the reforms in the event of a Coalition election victory. “If a majority, if an overwhelming majority of [states and territories] have agreed to it, then we‘ve said that we won’t create more uncertainty,” Pyne

said in a television interview. “If not we will persist with the current model which is fair, which is equitable, which means that money gets to where it’s needed, which is based on objective data and it rewards private investment.” Within 48 hours, Abbott was telling reporters it was impossible to have national change “unless all states are on board”. The following day, Abbott side-stepped questions he was at odds with Pyne, saying “Now, at the moment, not only has the Government not got all of the states, it hasn’t even got a majority of the states, and frankly, it’s highly unlikely to get any more of the states because there isn’t the money and there aren’t the changes on offer that the states are demanding.” Move forward another 24 hours and the Opposition Leader told reporters “We always said it had to be an overwhelming majority.” Australian Teacher Magazine requested further clarification from Pyne on what would

constitute an “overwhelming majority”.’ Is it six out of eight? Seven out of eight? Or does the figure depend on which states and territories sign up? Unfortunately, Pyne’s office did not provide a response before this edition went to print. The Coalition has previously criticised Labor for creating financial uncertainty for schools, leaving them unable to plan for the future, but it also needs to make its own position crystal clear. ‘Rudd and Shorten ...,’ Page 7

Schmidt point taken SCHOOLS across Australia are preparing to take part in National Science Week. The theme for this year’s celebrations, from August 10 to 18, is A Century of Australian Science, inspired by Canberra’s centenary. As ever, the Australian Science Teachers Association is providing ideas and support to educators

and grants for schools to hold events. This month’s issue has some great examples of exciting science projects that are already enthusing students, including rooftop beekeeping in Tasmania, cheesemaking in Queensland and asteroid spotting in Western Australia. It’s obvious there are lots of teachers out there with a real passion for the subject, who are providing exciting learning opportunities for students. But, we need more of them. Our Hard Word contributor, professor Brian Schmidt, says he’s disappointed that when he visits Australian schools, by Year 7, students typically describe science as “boring and painful”. Two key messages from Schmidt are let’s make curriculum content fun and relevant, and let’s stop asking secondary teachers to instruct outside their area of study. “It is difficult to be both competent and passionate about a subject which is not your own,

no matter how good a teacher you are,” he says. “This feature of the Australian secondary education system needs to be addressed with the greatest possible urgency. It is grossly unfair to students and teachers alike.” The Nobel Prize winner makes a compelling argument. ‘The Hard Word,’ Page 20

Rolt of enlightening WE’VE said on many occasions that teacher librarians are a vital part of schools. Jae Rolt has been recognised for her work at Cessnock West Public School by being voted Australia’s favourite librarian. It’s refreshing to hear Rolt say that working in the school library is exactly where she’s always wanted to be. And, it’s clear from our Top of the Class photo that she certainly brings a sense of fun to the role. ‘Rolt award ...,’ Page 36

Congratulations to the 2013 Regional VET Trainer/Teacher winners! Central Coast Shawn Jeffrey TAFE NSW - Hunter Institute

Central & Northern Sydney Alyssa Mathers The International Academy of Equine Education

North Coast & Mid North Coast Linda Johnston TAFE NSW - North Coast Institute

Riverina Wayne Jenkins TAFE NSW - Riverina Institute

Southern Sydney Mark Hawkins TAFE NSW - Sydney Institute

New England Kerrie Honeyman TAFE NSW - New England Institute

Hunter Kathy Ingham TAFE NSW - Hunter Institute

South Western Sydney Katrina Hood METS Training Solutions

Western NSW Anne Fisher Trangie Central School

Illawarra & South East NSW Nicole Reay Bowral High School

Western Sydney Tamsin Rossiter TAFE NSW - Western Sydney Institute Principal Partner

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August 2013 • australian Teacher

Don’t make learning happen, let it happen Sugata Mitra followed on from Bill Clinton and Bono in winning the TED Prize. JO EARP talks to him about his Hole in the Wall experiments, which shone new light on how children teach themselves and others.

Sugata Mitra/NIIT Ltd, India/Newcastle University, UK

ALMOST 15 years ago, professor Sugata Mitra carved out a hole in a boundary wall dividing his office from a bordering urban slum in Kalkaji, south Delhi. The academic and his colleagues embedded an internet-enabled PC and touchpad into the stone for anyone to use, switched it on and observed what happened. “I had no expectation,” Mitra tells Australian Teacher Magazine, recalling the launch of the first Hole in the Wall experiment. “I just wanted to see what would happen.” It wasn’t long before the PC, running Windows 95 and Internet Explorer and left logged on to the English language search engine Alta Vista, attracted curious youngsters from the nearby slums. “I had to go away from Delhi on that day towards the evening,” Mitra says. “Next morning I saw the headline in the Times of India ‘Rajinder ban gaya netizen’ (Rajinder becomes a Netizen). I thought ‘Well, good for him!’. “Rajinder is a big boy now and wants to go to a university, but doesn’t have money. I will contact him when I am in India next and give him what he needs. I owe him. We all owe him, big time.” The team repeated the first Hole in the Wall experiment by installing a learning station kiosk in a remote village in northern India, where the local children didn’t have access to an English teacher. This time they also installed a hidden camera to monitor exactly what was happening. When Mitra returned to the site three months later the youngsters told him that they needed a faster processor and better mouse. And, because he’d given them a computer that only operated in English, they were teaching themselves the language and had already learned 200 or so words. Video footage from the camera showed that children who had never used a PC or seen the internet before were not only teaching themselves how to operate the system and browse the web with-

Hundreds of learning stations have now been set up across India, Cambodia and several African countries. in a matter of minutes, but also self-instructing in small groups. This was a completely different kind of ‘alternative’ education — what Mitra termed Minimally Invasive Education. It was a levelling of the playing field. Children were making a choice to go to the kiosks, learning through self-instruction and importantly in groups, regardless of any language barriers or their own academic ability. The success of Hole in the Wall education inspired Vikas Swarup to write his book Q&A, which in turn inspired the Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire. Although the Kalkaji experiment was in January, 1999, Mitra tells me the seeds of the idea were actually planted decades earlier. “[It is 1969], my friend Gora takes me to the Odeon in Delhi to see Arthur C Clarke and Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. “A black monolith is found in

primordial Africa. It is featureless and seems to do nothing at all; newly emerged Homo sapiens crowd around it, touching and wondering. “Millennia later, they discover that the monolith is sending out a radio signal to the Moon. Curiosity drives the human race to the Moon where they discover an identical monolith, only this time it is sending its signal towards Jupiter. “The human race is driven to invent technologies to reach Jupiter. All humanity is desperate to learn more about them. We love puzzles.” Mitra says although Arthur C Clarke’s monoliths were passive devices that did nothing, things happened around them simply because they were there. “How can a block of stone, neither proactive nor reactive, cause so much activity? The answer to this question was to give us a new view of education, 30 years later.”

The academic moves the story forward to 1987, when he spent nearly a year’s salary, 50,000 Rupees, (AUD$920) on a 10Mbdrive PC. “My son, Shounak, is six and I need to protect my PC from him. He agrees not to touch it. But, can he watch? ‘Sure’, I say. Let’s see what sense he makes of DOS commands. “We often forget that children learn by looking more often than adults do. This is because, most of the time, they are not allowed to get their hands on things. “They can’t drive cars, they must not touch whiskey bottles, they should not turn on the gas; the list is endless. However, they can look, and they can remember. “A month later, I have lost a spreadsheet file. I search directory after directory scrolling up and down the file lists. A small voice from the back says, ‘If you do dir/w/p all the files will show side

by side and they won’t vanish off the screen’. I gulp. “After this, I let him work on the PC for one hour every day. After the first couple of days, I let him be alone with the PC. He is ... more careful with the machine than I am. We underestimate children. “Two months later he is playing Moonbugs, SimCity and Flight Simulator. Six months later, he does things with DOS that I never thought were possible.” Today, learning stations have been installed in hundreds of locations across India, Cambodia and several African countries. And, this method of learning — now termed a Self-Organised Learning Environment (SOLE) — is being used around the world. Earlier this year, Mitra was awarded the $1million TED Prize in recognition of his “innovative and bold efforts towards advancing learning for children”. Accepting the award, the academic invited people to help him build a School in the Cloud. “It’s not about making learning happen, it’s about letting it happen,” Mitra told the audience. “It’ll be a school where children go on intellectual adventures, driven by the big questions which their mediators put in.” Mitra, a professor of educational technology at Newcastle University in the UK and chief scientist emeritus at NIIT, wants teachers and parents to create their own SOLEs and share their discoveries. “If you would please, please do it ... and send me the data. Then I’ll put it all together, move it into the School of the Clouds, and create the future of learning.” I ask Mitra, what has given him the most pleasure about the Hole in the Wall project? “I did not do it for pleasure,” he reflects. “I did it to find out how children learn. I know a bit more about that than I did before — this is satisfying.” Teachers can visit pages/sole_toolkit_ to download a SOLE toolkit.

Skimming the surface of Hole in the Wall success

“I started with alphabets and now I can frame sentences, point out noun, pronoun, tense etc. I also like Math and can solve basic equations,” – Tamanna. “I love playing the egg game. It helps me revise the numbers I learn at school. I have learnt counting till 100. I have also uploaded my picture!” – Ashiya

“My family is not well off. I never thought I would get to use a computer like this. I was in fact scared of using the computer at first. But once I started exploring the Learning Station, there was no turning back.” – Zainab

“I am learning here every day so that I am not behind my other counterparts who attend school. Even if I am not in school, I will be as good in studies as they are with the help of my Learning Station here.” – Dipesh

ion Limited

“I had never even seen a computer closely before I started using the Learning Station. It is a beautiful opportunity for children like us who do not have access to such things. We hear from other children in our class about computers and internet but very rarely do children like us get a chance to experience it firsthand.” – Suresh

Hole-in-the-Wall Educat

Hole in the Wall kiosks have given youngsters in remote and disadvantaged communities access to a world of learning opportunities. Here are some of their comments:

“Had I still been at home I would have been doing chores and housework. I would not have even got a glimpse of a computer. Thanks to the Learning Station, I am learning something which is of such great importance in today’s world.” – Ali Visit for more stories.

“We often forget that children learn

by looking more often than adults do.”

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early years classroom projects


special report

curriculum ideas

Year 1s at Brookman Primary School have taken part in the Bush School program.

Baby steps

Benefits of Bush School rebecca vukovic INDIGENOUS youngsters have the chance to embrace their rich culture and learn through handson activities when they take part in the Bush School program. The project is developed and run by associate professor Libby Lee-Hammond and her Murdoch University School of Education colleague Libby Jackson-Barrett. When Perth’s Brookman Primary School was approached to be involved, they were excited to be able to give their Indigenous students the chance to learn and build on their personal and social skills. Year 1 teacher, Elaine Stevens says the sessions have assisted her Indigenous students with recalling information, drawing on life experience and sharing their knowledge when they return to school. “We have graphed boomerang throwing, written recounts that

August 2013 May 2012

have described in detail the bush area the students have been in, discussed what flora can and can’t be eaten, and why and also created posters to remind us of environmental issues,” she says. During her initial conversations with the Bush School facilitators, Stevens says she was advised not to discuss when each session would be, as this encouraged non-attenders to arrive at school with the anticipation that they may be going to Bush School on that day. “However, as attendance really wasn’t an issue with our students they were aware that Thursday morning was Bush School,” she shares. “They arrived early and as we had been supplied with wellington boots and socks for the sessions, all students independently organised themselves ready to board the bus that had been provided for our transport throughout the program.” Their involvement has been

well supported by parents at the school, and Stevens says even non-Indigenous parents have commented that they would like their students to be involved. She says that is something she will be endeavouring to undertake next term. “It will be amazing to watch the interactions of all our students next term at Bush School, as we plan to involve them all and empower our Indigenous students to peer-peer teach all they have learned.” Not all learning happens in the classroom, and Lee-Hammond says that running around the bush isn’t something that the students in her program get to do very often. “Even though they live in a place with lots of beautiful parks and things, they might not get those opportunities to be taken to places like that. It’s very common now for kids to stay at home and play on PlayStation,” she says.


As an Indigenous Australian herself, Jackson-Barrett agrees, and says that schools understand that Indigenous people have this affinity with country but they don’t know how to make that connection for them or with them. “This is my backyard so I see the potential,” she says. “You can see they walk ten foot tall because they’re learning, they’re out in the country, they have the sun on their back, sometimes we might get a little bit wet, but that’s OK too.” According to Stevens, every one of the students involved in the Bush School program have empowered themselves with the knowledge of their culture, and have really benefited from learning from the elders, in particular Uncle Len. “The students embrace all that he has to say and in turn pass this information onto their peers, when they return to school,” she says.

KINDERGARTEN students at Stanwell Park Public School helped bath a baby as part of their This Is Me unit of work. Teacher and assistant principal Kim Holloway says six-month-old Anwen was bathed in the classroom by big sister Gwenna, who is in Kindergarten, and her mum Bethan. “The students were more than happy to help with the bathing and watch her splash in the bath,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Quite a few of them got wet but loved it.” Holloway explains the unit of work includes discussions on characteristics we all share, similarities and differences, and becoming more aware of children from around the world. “We also look at groups we belong to, such as family, friendship or sporting groups within the community. The baby being bathed was looking at events and stages in their life and how they have grown and changed. “Each student in the class brought in a number of photos depicting them over the last few years. Students and teachers alike enjoyed the competition — Guess this baby.” Students at the school in Wollongong, New South Wales, will be writing reports on the baby visit before presenting a speech to the class on their family heritage and culture.


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early years education INBRIEF Music crucial in early childhood years


australian Teacher • August 2013

curriculum resource

Prep teacher initiative BRISBANE - Queensland Premier Campbell Newman has announced 2250 more teacher aide hours every week for another 384 Prep classes in 69 state schools. The $6 million price tag was funded into the recent state budget announcement. It also forms part of the of the Newman Government’s $54 million Prep teacher aide initiative.

The Happiness Box fun MELBOURNE - Girls at Sacre Coeur have been treated to an exciting music excursion to The Happiness Box, a special performance by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The youngsters in Prep, Year 1 and Year 2 listened to the tale narrated by Steven Curry and performed by the orchestra. The school newsletter reports students got a wonderful view of all the instruments.

Year 1s’ backyard blitz RAVENSTHORPE - While studying ‘What’s in my backyard?’, Year 1 students at Ravensthorpe District High School went for a search around the school taking photos of things they might have also found in their backyards at home. The students learned about the difference between living and non-living things while taking part in the activity. Email briefs to


beat on a drum or to the shimmery shake of a tambourine. We use the percussion instruments to enhance their creativity and imagination. We also like to take the instruments outside in the garden to make music outside. We can be really loud and incorporate large movement with the instruments outside. We even take the iPod and dock to add recorded music with our percussion instruments! Add scarves and streamers and some classical music under a tree and see what the children do.

Q. Could you please help me with a few suggestions for interesting and beneficial ways we can use music in our early childhood curriculum? A. There are many benefits to including an active music program in an early childhood curriculum. An active music program is one that involves melody, movement, rhythm and speech. It involves the whole child and is enthusiastic, motivated and inspiring. Music can bring joy, fun and a richness and fullness to any early childhood curriculum. Some of our favourite music experiences are: • Singing. We use singing all day, particularly simple songs such as nursery rhymes and songs with repetition during children’s play. For example “This is the way we roll/flatten/pinch the dough” can be sung to Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush while children are playing with play dough. We use singing in teacher-led group times and always try to use singing and music that reflects the children’s interests. We also encourage children to write their own versions of songs and put them into an extended version of their favourite song.

Researchers have found that the years from birth to six may be the most crucial for music development. (Scott Kassner 1992). • Singing and playing musical games. Circle games such as ‘Hokey Pokey’ or ‘Ring-a-ringa-Rosie’ provide opportunities for children to participate in group activities, cooperate with peers and take turns. They also develop important listening skills. We also use lots of recorded music, with some of our favourites including Gary and Carol Crees, Peter Combe, Aunty Wendy and Jingle Jam. Children love to move and dance. • Un-tuned percussive instruments provide children with a way

to explore and create in their own way. Using tapping sticks, homemade shakers, bells and maracas allows the children to physically engage with musical concepts such as beat, rhythm, tempo and pitch. We make up games like “Who can play the fastest/loudest/quietest” or the children sing their favourite songs while playing the percussive instruments. Percussive instruments are a valuable tool for the children to explore different ways they can move their bodies to music. They respond to the strong





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Music should be included in every early childhood curriculum, as research has shown that it promotes and develops many skills. It also provides children with pure enjoyment, freedom to create and imagine with their peers in a nurturing and learning environment. You don’t need to be a music expert or even play a musical instrument to implement a successful music program. Educators just need to be brave, enthusiastic and enjoy themselves because then the children will do the same. Rebecca Andrews is principal of Botany’s John Brotchie Nursery School and Fiz Halsey is a music educator at the school.

early years education 31

early years

August 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ australian Teacher

neita award winner

Star Steiner shines across the ages

GETTING to know the interests and strengths of individual students is one of the keys to creating a successful learning environment, according to award-winning educator Marlene Steiner. â&#x20AC;&#x153;[You need to] find out what theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re interested in and their passions and build on those,â&#x20AC;? she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Steiner is educational leader and early childhood teacher at Alpine View Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Centre, in Bright, north-eastern Victoria. At the end of last term, she was named a nationwide winner at the National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA), in recognition of her leadership achievements. Steiner says it was humbling to realise she was one of only 12 winners, selected from more than 1300 nominations. She adds the awards are a great way to draw attention to the work being done by teachers across the age ranges. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was very affirming for the fact that now as educators, particularly with all the changes that have been happening in Early Childhood, that there is recognition and we are all teaching as a team from 0 to 18. That was extremely gratifying.â&#x20AC;? Steiner has been in the profession for 34 years. She says in the past, in some parts of Australia,

Marlene Steiner has won national praise for her creativity and leadership in Early Years Education. kindergartens could often be isolated from local primary schools, but today itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a close connection and two-way relationship. The introduction of an Early Years Learning Framework has been another important turning point, she adds. The Alpine View Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Centre incorporates a childcare component, kindergarten, playgroup, toy library and maternal health facility. Steiner leads 20 to 25 educators and says a big part of her role is to support colleagues in the area of

professional development and to, ultimately, create leaders. In the classroom, she has won praise for creating an exciting and challenging learning environment for her students. Steiner has introduced collaborative learning journals and individual learning plans. â&#x20AC;&#x153;When the Early Years Framework was introduced across Australia there was a big push for documenting childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s learning ... I worked with my colleagues to look at a different way of presenting this,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We grabbed onto the word col-


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laborators, because I think thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a really important part of it. You donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t cut off home from the centre. So, by just turning the words around to a collaborative learning journal and sending them home on a regular basis, we found that parents started to actually write in them, make comments about ... their childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s learning ...â&#x20AC;? To make the learning statements even more user-friendly for parents, Steiner uses I Can Monster cards . â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s proven to be a really good way of communicating with families.â&#x20AC;?

dance unit

Boys engaged by Movement of Life USING the life cycle of the frog and the caterpillar as a stimulus, youngsters at Brisbane Boys College have created and performed individual dances in front of their peers. Jenny McGrathâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Year 2 dance and drama class used fabric and music to explore the dance elements of time, levels and direction in their assessment task. She says that literacy and numeracy skills were also built into the dance unit, titled â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;The Movement of Lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We found some poetry that was on using the Incy Wincy Caterpillar and read that book of Eric Carleâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s The Very Hungry Caterpillar,â&#x20AC;? she shares. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Then they used that poem to come up with some freeze frames.â&#x20AC;? Playing an instrumental piece of music for them, McGrath says the students used the fabric to display the four different stages of the life cycle: the egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and the butterfly. She says that the boys loved performing in front of their peers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They love dance and drama because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so engaging for them. Particularly boys, and young children, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re still very playbased and they learn without realising theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re learning,â&#x20AC;? McGrath says.

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intheclassroom innovation



communication The students are gently stirring the diced curd to release the whey, in order to achieve the correct moisture balance in the final cheese.

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August 2013


Rolt voted Australia’s favourite librarian Tim’s Tales: ‘what’s in it for me?’ behaviour McBurnie not afraid to give things a go Calm Benson helping with better behaviour

wheying up the science rebecca vukovic THEY have no doubt seen it on supermarket shelves and have eaten it in their sandwiches, but a group of Year 9 students have now learned how to make their own cheese. The investigative science class at Queensland’s Grace Lutheran College undertook a new context for learning by making some Camembert cheese. Helen Barry, one of the science teachers running the unit, says that before the students took part, she and her colleague Peter Smith did the course as well with the Royal National Association. “We thought we’d go along and see how viable the whole thing is and, I must admit, we were a bit curious how it would work

with this Year 9 group,” she says. “It’s really quite fine skills that they had to demonstrate and pretty tight procedurally to get the whole process ... right.” In the class, each group of three students made two cheeses from four litres of rich Maleny Dairies milk, becoming immersed in the process of temperature control, measuring and mixing specific amounts of solutions, maintaining hygiene, and timing of a complex series of events. The cheese took six or so weeks to mature and then 12 of the 30 cheeses created were entered into the RNA Student Cheese competition to be judged by experts. Smith says the competition was a great motivator and helped the students to focus their efforts. “We could only take four stu-

dents along to the actual presentation day ... and it was really good for them to see what a whole bunch of other schools have done and to see what they had produced,” he says. This is the first year that the school has run the course and Barry says the school has invested in some specialist equipment because it intends to run this program for years to come. “Mostly we just had to purchase a large number of plastic crates and Tupperware containers,” she says. “There wasn’t a lot of particularly specialist materials required, but definitely there was some significant financial outlay from a school perspective, but we felt it was a long-term investment and a program we want to continue running at the school.”

A Robot?

Both teachers agree the real benefit of the program was the way it showed students how science related to the real world and they were able to use a real practical application. Throughout the term that students spent working on the unit, Smith says that they really enjoyed the experience. “Seeing the end result when they unwrapped their cheeses after they matured and tasting them in class, that was a really good experience for them,” he recalls. “[It was] really rewarding to see what they had done six weeks before had finally turned into a cheese that was worth eating ... it was a really good experience for them to see that long process through.”

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intheclassroom INBRIEF top of the class Rolt award glowing endorsement 36

australian Teacher • August 2013

Nannestad dishes dirt

BENDIGO - Katrina Nannestad, author of the Red Dirt Diary series, has visited the Year 9 Writers’ Workshop class at Catholic College Bendigo and used a mixture of humour and visual aids to help inspire students with their writing. Nannestad talked about how difficult it is to be published and how important it is not to give up.

Hands on with reptiles WANGARATTA - Year 7 science classes from Galen Catholic College have visited the Kyabram Fauna Park to observe first-hand and understand classification and relationships within ecosystems. Students at the Victorian school participated in a session on reptiles and were given the opportunity to handle a number of lizards as well as a spritely python.

After school snappers HOBART - Students in the After School Photography group at Dominic College have ventured into the night to shoot the Tasman Bridge outlook, the Domain and Salamanca around the lawns and Princes Wharf. Students snapped some great photos, including beautiful ‘light painting’ shots as well as some dark, almost spooky works.

IF the measurement of any great teacher is their enthusiasm for education, then Jae Rolt is one of the world’s best. The teacher librarian from Cessnock West Public School in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, was named Australia’s favourite librarian this year in an Australian Library Information Association competition. Rolt was one of 438 nominations for the award, and scored almost 10 per cent of the more than 14,000 votes cast in the competition. Rolt says she was absolutely astounded by the level of support she received. “I was blown away just to be nominated for the award,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Then when I saw the votes coming in and the comments from some of my current students and past students and past parents, I was in awe.” Rolt could gauge how she was going in the competition in the weeks leading up to the finish, but a week out from the end, the votes were hidden and she

been my passion. What I didn’t realise was that not every child had all of their books in alphabetical order, and not every child kept a borrowing card when someone borrowed one of their books,” she laughs. At present in her tenth year in the role, Rolt says that she’s learned the key to engaging and connecting with students, and it’s a simple secret. “I can tell you I can honestly

Bonus content » Australia’s favourite librarian, Cessnock West Public School’s Jae Rolt, plays dress ups with her mother Judy Cooper in the school library. could no longer see where she was placed. “At that point I think I was coming about seventh which astounded me as it was ... so in that last seven days, I obviously took over a little bit,” she laughs. But Rolt admits that she didn’t care much for the votes, it was the lovely comments she received that made her day. “The comments that people

were leaving about how much I had touched their lives and especially from parents, what a good job they thought I was doing teaching their children – that was really nice,” she says. Having always wanted to be a teacher, Rolt says working in the school library is exactly where she wants to be. “From as young as I can remember teaching has always

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intheclassroom 37


Green Qld schools recognised in awards QUEENSLAND schools taking steps toward sustainability have been recognised as part of the 2013 Premierâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sustainability Awards. Bulimba State School won the school category with its large area dedicated to edible gardens and outdoor learning classrooms which involve students in practical tasks and making decisions which impact the school environment. The school was awarded $2500 for their efforts. Finalist Hermit Park State School was recognised for efforts to combine traditional learning with environmental activities. Students are involved in brewing their own lemongrass tea, collecting honey from native bees, collecting eggs from the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s hens, and harvesting schoolgrown vegetables. Boronia Heights State Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s student leadership initiatives Eco Captains, Power Rangers and Earth Keepers earned the school its place as a finalist. Children of all ages are empowered to take ownership of local initiatives to reduce the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s carbon footprint. As part of Earth Keepers, students work with mentors from the local council, environment centre and eco festival to introduce a culture of sustainable living into the school community.

Timâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Tales

August 2013

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Rewarding classroom experiences Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

THE other morning as we were standing in the supermarket queue after doing the weekly grocery shopping, my six-year-old son said to me quite unexpectedly, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Dad, do you think I could have a treat because Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been so good while weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been shopping?â&#x20AC;?. This surprised me for a couple of reasons. My wife and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use the word â&#x20AC;&#x153;goodâ&#x20AC;? with our son; we thank

him for being helpful, or kind, or considerate, or for thinking about other people but, as far as I can remember, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve never told him heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;goodâ&#x20AC;?. Also, my wife and I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t use a system of linking â&#x20AC;&#x153;goodâ&#x20AC;? behaviour with treats and other rewards. It was interesting to me, therefore, that my son had begun to develop a value system that involved a rule of â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;If Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m good I should get a rewardâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m sure this is not one of the explicit objectives of positive reinforcement programs but it seems to be one of the learnings that can occur nevertheless. There are no doubt certain advantages to people in social groups having internalised rules relating to â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;good behaviour equals rewardsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. There are, however, likely to be some disadvantages as well. Does it encour-

Do rewards programs encourage a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in it for me?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; attitude?

age a â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in it for me?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; attitude? Could it lead to discouragement and withdrawal if students who have developed this rule arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t rewarded as they expect to be? Would a society of people who produced â&#x20AC;&#x153;goodâ&#x20AC;? behaviour only for the rewards it would bring them be a great society to live in? Is that the best we can hope for in terms of human development? Whatever your attitude towards the relationship between good behaviour and rewards it may be useful to consider the variety of things that students might be learning through the classroom practices we introduce them to. Some might not see it as a teacherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s role to teach about values, but if students are going to be learning about values in our classrooms anyway it could be useful to think about the values weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like them to learn and then to devise ways we could help them experience those values in the day-to-day running of the classroom. Sometimes incidental learning can be the most powerful learning of all so thinking of ways to make incidental learning not so incidental could help make the classroom experience a more rewarding time for all. Dr Tim Carey is an associate professor at Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs


australian Teacher

INBRIEF Why Wheatlandâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best WONDAI - Youngsters at Wheatland State School have been engaging with their persuasive writing unit by writing articles on why their school is the best school. Some of their strongest arguments included the great teachers, friendly students, great subjects, the wildlife, and the safe environment. They also designed a poster to advertise their great school.

Different flag design ADELAIDE - Following their study of emblems and symbols, the Year 3/4 students at Marion Primary School showed their creative ideas of how the Australian flag would be different if they had designed it. They also worked on a class presentation, where the students displayed a sense of curiosity and imagination in their investigations.

Abela visit inspiring ALBANY - Year 5 and 6 students at WAâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s St Josephâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s College Albany have been treated to an interactive writerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s workshop with author Deborah Abela. As the writer of the Max Remy Superspy series, Jasper Zammit (Soccer Legend) series, Ghost Club series and more, Abela is passionate about writing and the students really benefited from her experience. Email briefs to

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Our Mission The mission of Camp Coolamatong is to provide an exciting and safe camping experience that equips, inspires, and nurtures students through school camping programs that are tailored to meet the needs of each individual group - and through this experience, demonstrate the hope of the Christian faith. Who we are Camp Coolamatong is managed by Scripture Union Victoria, a Christian-based family and youth community development organisation. The staďŹ&#x20AC; at Camp Coolamatong are committed to providing the opportunity for children, young people and families to experience a truly memorable camp in a wonderful and peaceful location. Camp Coolamatong is accredited under the Australian Camps Association Accreditation Program. All activities are led according to documented written procedures. Individual written risk assessments have been completed for all activities and are available to user groups upon request. Camp Coolamatong provides an extensive range of resources that ensures all groups are supported as they prepare to come to camp.


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intheclassroom australian Teacher • August 2013



McBurnie’s secret is to work smarter

Mock trial big success LAURIETON – Camden Haven High School students have taken part in the New South Wales Law Society Mock Trial Competition against schools on the north coast. While experiencing roles such as a barrister, solicitor, magistrate’s clerk and witness, the Camden Haven Law Enforcers team received accolades and practical advice from local legal professionals at the competition.

rebecca vukovic WHEN Kelly McBurnie’s Prep students arrive in her classroom at the beginning of the school year, they are at very different stages of their learning journeys. With a large percentage of the student population at St John’s Anglican College in Queensland of Asian and Indian backgrounds, she says that a lot of her teaching is very ESL-based. To cater for the different needs of students, McBurnie assigns individual learning plans for each of the students in her class and the results are impressive. “I think it ultimately benefits the children with individualised programs and the results really speak for themselves. My kids are just flying both academically and socially because they’re getting that individual attention to their particular area of need,” she shares. To stay abreast of the current research and tools in the education space, McBurnie says she turns to online resources, including blogs from overseas.

Had a Pharoah-ld time MELBOURNE - Year 7 students at Keilor Downs College have visited the Melbourne Museum and IMAX Theatre to watch the 3D feature Secrets of the Mummies. The movie is about Ramses the Great, the afterlife, mummification, Egyptian Gods and burial customs and the various places where the pharaohs have been discovered.

Pedal Prix pros flying COOMANDOOK – Students from South Australia’s Coomandook Area School were delighted with the weather conditions for their Pedal Prix. One of their bikes, Flo Rider, not only had great overall results but also was the top placed bike for the Murray Bridge and Coorong areas in all categories, and was the third-placed public school in category two.

Kelly McBurnie’s prep program has students reaping the rewards. “I like to keep up-to-date with what’s happening so I keep current by looking at what’s trending and that sort of thing,” she says. “I always try something new and I’m open to new experiences, new ideas. So I’ll trial something and it either works or it doesn’t — at least I’ve experimented with it and I think that’s part of the innovation, giving things a go and not being afraid.” McBurnie, who is at present studying a Master of Early

Childhood at Griffith University, highlights communication with parents as being an important aspect of her teaching. She uses online portfolios of each of her students which allows her to store and email results directly to parents with photographic evidence attached. “The parents are so enthusiastic and so eager, once they’ve seen the progress that they’ve made they like to build on it and they want their children to

do better than they did when they went to school. “I just work with them so much and that’s why the communication is so important, to keep parents involved.” McBurnie’s unique approach to teaching was recognised when she was honoured with a National Excellence in Teaching Award for Innovation. She says that she was flattered and excited to be named a winner, given the calibre of other educators who were nominated, but says the key to being productive in the limited time she has is to utilise her time well, not overdo the hours. “I certainly don’t spend hours and hours outside school [working] because I’ve got two young children of my own, I still like going to the gym every day and all those things,” she says. “I think it’s about working smarter rather than harder.” Is your school using innovative methods in the classroom? Email

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intheclassroom 39 INBRIEF It’s all better with Benson

TAS support

Detainees settle in to college life STUDENTS at Hobart’s Claremont College have been helping integrate 75 boys aged between 14 and 18 from the nearby Pontville immigration detention centre. Tasmanian Education Minister Nick McKim said the 75 takes the total now attending Claremont to 270. “All of the feedback and advice I have is that it’s been a very positive process and that it’s been entirely handled appropriately,” he said. McKim added detainees are risk-assessed before attending college and there have been no reports of incidents. Student mentors describe the detainees as polite, grateful – and obsessed with sport. “They’re really humble and just really genuine and lovely, warm-hearted, cute little boys,” one student said.

August 2013

australian Teacher

Canine in class

Holocaust reflections

LAKE Illawarra High School teacher Martin Moore was looking for alternate ways to improve behaviour, attendance and support the learning of students with emotional disturbances and intellectual disabilities in his classes. “I’d done a bit of research on the prison dog program and the affect the dogs had had on the prisoners – and it struck me that if it works with the really marginalised people in our society, it might work with my students,” he says. Following a conversation with work colleague, support teacher Ryan Olender, who’s also a volunteer at Assistance Dogs Australia (ADA), the head teacher support boldly launched into previously unchartered territory. Enter Benson, a two-year-old Golden Labrador who since the start of the year has had a dramatic effect on Moore’s students’ behaviour. The hard work of Moore, Olender and ADA, plus a supportive school executive has seen Benson spread welcome calmness across the four classrooms he visits. “A good example is, with our ED (emotionally disturbed) students, he identifies with students who have a higher stress level. So, he’ll have a walk around, and then

choose whoever he decides upon and sits beside them, sits across their feet, and there’s an instant reaction from the student. “It’s a comfort having that touch that he provides and certainly something we can’t provide.” The success of the program is obvious, particularly with attendance rates up. “We’ve just gathered some data on seven students – so from last year these seven kids had 178 negative incidents between them for all of 2012. “This year, for the first six months of this year, that number’s down to 52.

“In a nutshell, when he’s in the room, everything’s better.” Benson has helped students develop empathy and care, especially among each other, Moore says, and the students help each other to train him. “We visit the assistance dogs once a fortnight and take some kids with us for a bit of volunteer work. “It’s about trying to repay them (ADA), but also for the kids to see that this is where he’s from, these are the people who trained him and it‘s important that we continue their good work.”

MELBOURNE - Box Hill Senior Secondary College Year 11s visited the Jewish Holocaust Museum, Elsternwick and heard first-hand accounts from two survivors of the Nazi death camps. They also heard other inspirational stories which evoked feelings of sympathy, anger and sorrow and the museum demonstrated that it is the younger generation’s responsibility to ensure that this kind of genocide never occurs again.

Racing car calculations DARWIN - Year 7 maths students at O’Loughlin Catholic College have been investigating probability using toys car races to calculate the sample space of two dice. They used the sample spaces to determine the probability of each of the 12 cars winning the race.

Student takes control ADELAIDE - Most students would dream of taking control of their school for a day, but the SRC president from St Aloysius College has been able to do just that when she experienced life as a principal for a day. The Year 12 student welcomed new students for Reception and their families, attended a site meeting for the new Year 12 Centre and addressed the primary assembly. Golden Labrador Benson has had a dramatic effect on student behaviour.

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intheclassroom INBRIEF Road Train strikes a chord 40

australian Teacher • August 2013

safety message

Women in technology

ADELAIDE - Seven Year 9 girls from Aberfoyle Park High School travelled to Adelaide University to take part in a special program called Young Women in Technology. One of the main focuses of the day was the many degrees you can choose and the Year 11 and 12 requirements for those degrees. The girls also designed a basic computer game and built a DC motor.

Bushfires comparison HOBART - As part of their SOSE unit, Year 3s at The Hutchins School have been learning all about the disastrous 1967 Hobart bushfires. Comparing the city’s recent 2013 bushfires, the boys found similarities in how the fires were dealt with and looked at the changes in technology, equipment, safety gear and communication techniques.

CONFRONTING footage of road crash carnage, heart-wrenching images of grieving families and friends, and testimonies about the devastating consequences of bad decisions regarding alcohol and driving are just some of the ways the road safety message is delivered. The Sydney Theatre Company and NRMA Motoring and Services, however, have joined forces to try and reach the country’s youth in a new and innovative way. Touring country New South Wales, the play Road Train uses a quality script, engaging humour

and wonderful acting to deliver strong messages about responsibilities on the road, the importance of making informed decisions around driving and cars, and having the self-belief and courage to stick up for yourself when under pressure. “The play just involves so much, so many little stories and so many little messages, and it had so much humour in it,” Rachel McGann, a teacher at Melrose High School in the ACT says. NRMA media adviser Lisa Cable, says the organisation wanted to focus on smaller groups in situa-

Tumut’s blood donors TUMUT - Twenty five students, two staff and an ex-student from Tumut High School have donated blood to the Red Cross. All donors were provided with delicious milkshakes and snacks by the Tumut Red Cross volunteers after making the donation. The school is proud of its caring group, on whom the whole community depends for lifesaving blood and blood products. Email briefs to

Three actors take on the roles of about 20 characters in Road Train.


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tions that they could quite feasibly find themselves in. “Normally what we [would have done] is organise ACER Arena (in Sydney) ... brought the students in and done a really traumatic, chaotic crash scenario and then the repercussions …,” Cable says. “We’ve done that for the past few years with Westmead Hospital, (in two sessions) but we thought this year that we would try something that was a little more intimate ...” The play toured eight schools in places such as Cessnock, Lismore, Cowra, Dapto and Canberra. Three actors took on the roles of about 20 different characters and McGann says the play really struck a chord with her students. “I think because it’s a case study in a play that the kids could really identify with,” she says. “We deliver a really good Road Ready program, but the case study ... is from 1995. And when they watch the video of that, the clothes and cars, the footage, everything in it is so outdated; the kids are so focussed on ‘This is so daggy and old, Miss’, it then it sort of loses its effect.” After each performance, the actors conducted a Q&A session with the audience and follow-up educational material was sent out to the teachers involved.


How’s stat for a Maths Day focus TEACHERS, students and communities are invited to celebrate National Maths Day as a part of National Science Week. If you didn’t know, 2013 is the International Year of Statistics so the theme for this year’s National Maths Day is statistics. The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) is

Bonus content » organising the August 16 event. It has a prepared a range of activities suitable for students from the early years right through to junior secondary, including a look at where we get our food from and how far it travels. The activities will be available on the website in late July.

etition for The comp filmmakers, g in d all bud and game animators makers! This year’s theme is

Connect Visit to view the categories, register and watch entries by previous winners and finalists.





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intheclassroom INBRIEF Footprint artworks taking pride of Living sculptures place in Territory ministerial offices 42

australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ August 2013

recycled art

Middle years

Much to learn at lunch

SHEPPARTON - Students in Shepparton High Schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Year 10 girls class, Cinderella Storms the Palace, have been enjoying the program Lunch with the Girls, developed by the Beacon Foundation. The day involved them being mentored by five professional women from local organisations MB&M Accounting, Goulburn Valley Water and the Shepparton City Council.

Behind the scenes tour MELBOURNE - Year 8 Staughton College media students have visited the Channel Nine studios in the Docklands precinct. They were greeted by news producer Gemma Thomas and TV icon and news presenter Peter Hitchener. Students were shown behind the scenes in the editing labs, at the news desk, and the Kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; WB set.

Help for less fortunate CANBERRA - Barnardos Australia and OfficeMax have announced the latest round of Max e Grants. More than $138,000 has been awarded through 136 grants to help make school more inclusive for less fortunate children throughout Australia and New Zealand. Education providers nominate children for assistance, and small grants of up to $5000 are available. Email briefs to

Students travelled 400kms to see their artwork on display in Darwin. FOR Nganmarriyanga School teacher Joe Hewett, engaging middle years boys at his remote Northern Territory school can be a welcome challenge. As part of his richly varied program at the school, situated 400kms south-west of Darwin, this year he has included a project called Footprints. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our art teacher here, Michelle Hawkins, was keen to do some art with the kids that would engage some of their cultural values and some of the local community members â&#x20AC;Ś,â&#x20AC;? Hewett says. Hawkins worked with local man John Paul Wodidj, to put together the project, where the boys made lino prints of the footprints of

local animals and birds, â&#x20AC;&#x153;as if they were tracking them,â&#x20AC;? he says. The results were so impressive that the artwork was requested to be hung in the offices of NT Education Minister Peter Chandler and Minister for Arts and Museums Matt Conlan. Hewett took the boys to see their work on display during a recent excursion to Darwin. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was really great,â&#x20AC;? he says, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You could see such pride in their faces, the fact that this was so important to them. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Minister made a big deal of it and hosted the boys for morning tea. He was a very gracious host for the boys and showed his gratitude. It was fantastic.â&#x20AC;?

YOUNGSTERS at Gulfview Heights Primary School have been bringing rundown household items back to life by designing their own living sculptures. Using high heel shoes, hang bags, hollowed basketballs and even an abandoned toilet, the students spent time planting and using rocks to decorate their sculptures. Year 2/3 teacher at the South Australian school, Jenny Kingston, says students were very enthusiastic. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They collaborated really well and they got along, they shared and they had lots of conversations.â&#x20AC;?

The task formed part of the general capabilities requirement of the Australian Curriculum, and Kingston adds that sculpture is also one of the visual design areas â&#x20AC;&#x201C; so it ticked a lot of boxes. Jolanda Majstrenkoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Year 5/6 class also took part and she says that her students, too, were surprised with what they could produce. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We glue gunned lots of bright, blingy-typical art craft type pop poms on them,â&#x20AC;? she laughs. Her class sourced plant donations from the local community, and she even brought in cuttings from her own garden.

Students used everything from basketballs and shoes to an abandoned toilet.

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Back to basics for Cottage hampers WITH a long and proud history of aligning themselves with the Sisters of Charity, Melbourne’s St Columba’s College have been busy gathering household items to donate to the Sister Francesca Healy Cottage. The Cottage offers an environment where people experiencing homelessness can prepare for medical treatment or recover from illness. The high school students compiled hampers including tea, coffee, milo and biscuits as well as socks and beanies. Teacher Joan Dillon says the girls aimed to collect goods that would be of use. “Our latest batch of hampers include the kinds of simple essentials you’d have in your basic kitchen,” Dillon says. “They’ll be really handy for patients who might be moving on from The Cottage and into a new home ...” she adds.

August 2013

australian Teacher

INBRIEF Tale of Birtus and the bees

rooftop hives

Hunt for bush tucker

YOU’RE probably already aware of the plight of the humble bee and how a phenomenon called ‘colony collapse disorder’ is decimating honey bee populations across the planet, but did you know that a global army of bee loving city-slickers is boldly mobilising in response? Rooftop hives are becoming a welcome part of urban landscapes across Europe, North America and Asia. And in Tasmania, as part of the Young Adult Migrant English program at the Bathurst Street campus of TasTAFE, teacher Magda Birtus and her students have set

up their own as an ambitious Environmental Science project. “I was visiting my brother-inlaw in Merimbula and he’s got bee hives and I thought ‘Ah, that would be a good project to do…’ because it encompasses so many areas of the curriculum,” Birtus tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “So, I went back to Hobart and told my colleagues that it was what I had in mind, and they said ‘They’ll never allow it’. But I told my boss and she took it upstairs and they did!” The project kicked off halfway through last year and has encom-

passed a range of learning areas, including language, environmental studies, botany, biology and mathematics. The Tasmanian Beekeepers Association provided a mentor, who worked with the class of about 20 students all of last year and Birtus purchased materials as she needed them. The class studied pollination and bee physiology, bee society, colony collapse disorder (where bees are simply disappearing from hives never to be seen again), bees’ importance to human survival with their vital role in the food supply chain, food security and more. Students learned how to build their hive and in February, after the school holidays, they harvested their first crop of honey – 25 kilos of the sweet sticky stuff. Birtus is hoping in future that some of her students might be inspired to continue beekeeping. Building on the success of the program, she has also secured more funding. “We’ve got a grant from TasTAFE now to help us produce a film. It’ll be kind of a drama about the plight of the bees, it’ll be cut with little bits of information about bee-keeping – so over the next two terms we’ll be working on that.”


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Year 9 Binge Busters PORTLAND - Portland Secondary College students have experienced a Binge Busters workshop as part of Drug Action Week. Year 9 form groups rotated around five different topic stations: what is a standard drink?; alcohol and the law; looking after your mates; energy drinks; and statistics, facts and misconceptions about alcohol and young people.

Showing some muscle TWEED HEADS - Five Year 11s from Banora Point High School visited the Health & Exercise Science Lab at the Gold Coast Campus in Southport. They tested the core group of muscles, learning specific anatomical terms and muscles, and completing sub-maximal VO2 tests. It was a great day full of practical learning. Email briefs to

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DARWIN - Senior Secondary students from Maningrida College have been to Gocharama Creek and Maningrida Beach looking for bush tucker in two habitats; fresh water and estuarine (salt water). They learned that during Gudjewk (wet season) bush tucker is hard to find and the fleshy stems of the Yakallabiya were eaten by people in the past when they were thirsty.

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intheclassroom 44 INBRIEF Hands-on science



weeK 2013

australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ August 2013

in their element

Steinerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sculpture tips BENDIGO - Artist Jenny Steiner has visited Catholic College Bendigo to speak with VCE studio arts students about her current sculpture work, commissioned by the Sacred Heart Cathedral, that represents the beloved St Mary of the Cross MacKillop. Steiner talked with students about artistic practice and methodology.

Frothing up the funds HOBART - Teaching staff at Sacred Heart College, in the Hobart suburb of New Town, have been ordering their cappuccinos, lattes and espressos thanks to the schoolâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Coffee Club. Run by VET hospitality teacher, Mrs McInnes, students have been making coffee on Monday and Friday mornings and raising money for an end of year excursion.

THE Victorian Space Science Education Centre in Strathmore might be a two-and-three-quarter hour journey across Melbourne from Elisabeth Murdoch College in Langwarrin, but students in Michelle Willsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Year 12 chemistry class say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;well worth the tripâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The reason we do it each year is because itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s such a fantastic opportunity,â&#x20AC;? Wills tells Australian Teacher Magazine. The centre not only provides secondary students with hands-on experience in an industry standard laboratory, it also gives them the opportunity to view an excit-

ing potential career. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an excellent facility [and] weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve taken our Year 12 chemistry students there for a number of years. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They have instruments available to students that are used in industry ... Gas Liquid Chromatography, UV Spectroscopy and an Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy instrument,â&#x20AC;? Wills adds. With guidance from two university postgraduate researchers, college students were able to calibrate the instruments, analyse samples, prepare and use standard solutions and operate the instruments.

Mental illness insight CANBERRA - Students in the Year 12 abnormal psychology class at The Canberra College were visited during Term 2 by speakers from Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT), as part of their investigations of living with mental illness. MIEACTâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s aim is to reduce stigmatisation and to educate students and members of the community about mental illness. Email briefs to

Students from Elisabeth Murdoch College raved about the Victorian Space Science Education Centre.

asteroid spotting

Young astronomers getting Harvard recognition for science observations

Former Mount Lawley SHS students and their teacher Richard Meagher. HIGH school students are getting credit at Harvard University for astronomical observations theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re making using the same tools used by professional astronomers. The Mount Lawley Senior High School senior science students have taken part in the University of Western Australia SPIRIT program that has them controlling a robotic telescope. Teacher Richard Meagher says his involvement stemmed from his personal interest in astronomy and the fact his Year 12 physics students had to do an investigation as part of their course. Students can control the tele-

scope from the comfort of their own homes and submit their data to experts, including those at the Minor Planet Centre observatory at Harvard University. â&#x20AC;&#x153;They can sit at home, they can book their time, they can make their observations, they can take images, they can then process images on the machines,â&#x20AC;? Meagher explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The oneâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s who got the accreditation, they felt quite special because theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re high school kids, and this observatory now has their name on some plaque somewhere to say that they were the ones who got accredited.â&#x20AC;?

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weeK 2013

intheclassroom 45

August 2013

australian Teacher

neuroscience insight

INBRIEF Challenge of brain scan to lesson plan Khoza’s Out of Africa

CAN insights from neuroscience help teachers to teach and students to learn more effectively? Dr Paul A Howard-Jones has some answers. GENUINE dialogue between cognitive neuroscience and education is increasing our knowledge about the brain. We expect this will contribute to better educational outcomes, but there are many challenges in moving from brain scan to lesson plan. One thing appears clear: a simple transmission model in which neuroscientists advise educators on their practice should never be expected to work. Since neuroscience cannot provide instant solutions for the classroom, neuroscientific and educational research is needed to bridge the gap between laboratory and classroom. To emphasise the key role of educational values and thinking in the design and execution of such a venture, my colleagues and I at the University of Bristol have found ourselves using the term ‘neuroeducational research’ to describe this enterprise. Neuroeducational research involves more than a brief flirtation, though. It’s a more serious and long-term relationship in which neuroscientific and educational researchers co-construct

Research showing why we like video games is informing our understanding of learning. concepts based on a shared understanding of learning, attention, reward and so on, and on a shared understanding of the value of the evidence that can inform our understanding about learning. In contrast, brief flirtations between education and neuroscience may, instead, spawn neuromyths, often due to a lack of attention to psychological concepts. An example is when synaptic connections in the brain are used to explain how we form connections between ideas. This conflation of brain and mind allows some educational practices to gain an apparently neuroscientific flavour.

In reality, however, association between ideas is a well-studied psychological concept, but is currently impossible to study at the level of the synapse. A good example of interdisciplinary work that is informing our understanding of learning involves research showing why we like video games. Neuroimaging shows that video games stimulate our brain’s reward system. My research with colleagues at the University of Bristol has investigated reward uncertainty — a feature of video games — and the effects of reward predictability and unpredictability in educational

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2012 THE senior years of high school are often characterised by big decisions for students. These are the years when they need to think carefully about subject choices, tertiary study, apprenticeships and possible career paths. To help make these decisions easier S-press magazine features five careers-based guides throughout the school year, providing readers with up-to-date information and advice. The current edition includes this year’s My Open Day guide, which features insightful interviews with university and TAFE students about life on campus, as well as articles suggesting the best way to tackle tertiary open days, such as what kind of questions to ask, and how to go about choosing the best place to study. The upcoming edition of S-press will feature our Get Ready Guide, with informative articles about everything from buying a car to getting a credit card, moving out and finding a job. Other handy S-press guides include Dream Jobs, featuring Q&A interviews with people who’ve landed themselves in some amazing careers, the TAFE and College Guide explains exactly how these institutions differ from universities, and the Change of Preference Guide 2013, which includes key dates and important information regarding change of preference periods in each state and territory.

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 calling on fledgling writers to submit reviews of new release DVDs and CDs for its LOUD 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.

games. We found, first, that students preferred educational tasks when they were embedded in a gaming context involving uncertain rewards and, in a second classroom study, that reward uncertainty encouraged open motivational talk about learning of the type found in sport. The dialogue between neuroscience and education is still in its infancy but already suggests the need for a new field of enquiry that is both scientifically and educationally grounded. A psychological understanding of learning will be crucial in linking neural processes to learning achieved in a classroom, but educational thinking needs to be involved at every stage, from developing useful questions, to executing the research and communicating its findings.

Bonus content » Dr Paul A Howard-Jones is Reader in Neuroscience and Education in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol in the UK. He is speaking at the 2013 ACER Research Conference, How the Brain Learns: What lessons are there for teaching?, Aug 4-6.

S-press Heroes honoured

The current edition of S-press features more inspiring stories from Aussie teenagers. Journalists spoke to Brock Downey, one of the Noosa District State High School students responsible for saving the life of a pony from drowning and who were subsequently awarded for their efforts by the RSPCA. Canterbury Girls’ Secondary College student Caitlin Vippond told us about her experience starring in touring musical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, and a Queanbeyan High School prefect speaks about her plans to establish a mental health facility for young adults in her area.

Sports stars aplenty The S-press sports section is always packed with role models. The current edition features an interview with international star Elysse Perry, who speaks about juggling elite sporting careers in both soccer and cricket with study and her social life. Maribyrnong College’s netball gun Libby Birch tells readers she has determination and supportive teammates to thank for her recent recognition as Victorian netball player of the year, and Casaurina Senior College’s Tom O’Neill-Thorne explains just how at just 16, he got to be the youngest member of the Under 23s Men’s Wheelchair Basketball squad.

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

HOBART - Guilford Young College students recently experienced the beautiful story-telling and musical talent of South African former political refugee Valanga Khoza. Valanga’s performance, Out of Africa, captured in music and song the memories and experiences of his youth and challenged racism and discrimination.

SuperChallenge event GLADSTONE – Queensland’s Toolooa State High School has held its annual SuperChallenge event, attracting more than 300 primary school students to their school. Schools from across the district nominate teams of Year 5, 6 and 7 students to compete in a full day of activities in one of nine different curriculum areas.

MPs drop in for visit ADELAIDE – Student leaders from the Hindsmarsh electorate have come together to raise issues with Federal MPs Penny Wong and Steve Georganas. They discussed the National Education Improvement plan and Wong engaged students with some of her family story and pathway into politics.

Cybersafety chat helps PALMERSTON - Mark Anderson from Cybersmart has delivered a presentation on cybersafety to Years 4, 5 and 6 students at Durack School. Children were informed about safe passwords and told that hackers have a program that can identify a password within three minutes if it is a word found in the dictionary.

Special Chinatown trip MELBOURNE - As part of this term’s integrate topic of Self in the Community Year 9s at Ringwood Secondary College have been to Chinatown to experience and learn more about multicultural Australia. At the Chinese Museum on Little Bourke Street, students learnt about the history of the Chinese in Australia, their ancient culture and present-day life and their many beliefs.

Food techies on fire GOSFORD - Year 8 Technology students at Henry Kendall High School have been busy finishing off their projects for their first unit of Technology Mandatory. The students have been working with wood, metal, textiles, mixed media and food. Students working with food have been designing and making themed recipe books which are aimed at encouraging adolescents to cook healthy meals.

Speed Careers winner SALE - Year 10 students at Maffra Secondary College have participated in a Speed Careers exercise, based on the speed dating format. Student groups of 5 or 6 were assigned a business with which to start. Each business had 5-7 minutes to speak with the students and when this time was up, a bell was rung and the students were directed to the next group and the process started again. Email briefs to

NEW Where learning never stops.

technology •





Tell us about a school project. Next year marks our centenary. Formerly the Abattoirs School, Pooraka Primary School was once a rural school attached to the local abattoirs and serviced the families of the workers. As part of our work with the history component of the Australian Curriculum, we are working on the rich history of our local community and the school. We will present the history of the school using augmented reality and interactive whiteboard activities to share all the knowledge the students have gained, particularly interviews with former students and teachers. It’s a really exciting project! Is there a tech gadget that you couldn’t do without in the classroom? At the moment, I find it hard to do without my iPad. I use it to record students’ grades, seating plans, pick random students, and make observations, as well as looking for useful lesson plans and resources. I love using iDoceo, a teacher’s planner app. Sally Clarke ICT coordinator Pooraka Primary School South Australia

Australia is facing a shortage of qualified workers in ICTrelated professions.

august 2013 Flickr/GokuPhoto


Into digital careers jo earp A MULTI-million dollar program encouraging school students to consider careers in ICT will be rolled out across the country after a successful pilot. It’s hoped the Digital Careers program will raise the profile of ICT-related courses and boost the number of youngsters enrolling at both school and tertiary level. The national initiative, targeting teachers and students in Years 5 to 10, follows a Queensland pilot called Group X which succeeded in increasing enrolments by 50 per cent across the state. Digital Careers brings together National ICT Australia (NICTA), the Australian Information Industries Association, Australian Computer Society (ACS), Australian Council of Deans of ICT, federal and state governments, universities and industry representatives. NICTA, which is coordinating

the rollout, says the program is in response to a “worrying shortage” of high school students choosing to study ICT-related courses in science, technology, engineering and maths, or STEM subjects. There are concerns that some school students and their parents view ICT careers as insecure, poorly paid and boring. Simon Kaplan, NICTA’s director of skills and industry transformation, says the Digital Careers program will see initiatives already enjoying success — such as First Lego League, Robocup, EXITE camps for girls in technology and the Young Explorers ICT program — scaled up. “We need to take the many successful educational programs that have been rolled out on a small scale around Australia, and amplify them,” Kaplan says. The Federal Government has announced funding of $6.5 million over four years and NICTA

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says matching contributions will come from industry, universities and state governments. Outgoing Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy announced the rollout. “Our children are digital natives. ICT is shaping every aspect of their lives — the way they connect, learn and play. Despite this, too few young Australians are choosing ICT careers,” he said. Alan Patterson, CEO of the ACS, says the shortage of skilled ICT professionals is a critical issue for Australia. “Inspiring and motivating school children to pursue a career in ICT goes to the heart of ensuring we have the skills in the future to take full advantage of the digital age,” he says. Digital Careers will initially be expanded to New South Wales and the ACT, with all states and territories expected to follow.

national news Screen use impact study SCHOOLS in Western Australia are participating in a study assessing the impact of screen-based technologies on the mental health of primary and secondary-aged students. The three year study is being carried out by researchers from The University of Western Australia and will look at the impact of mobile phones, the internet, video games, computers, iPads, iPods, and television. “Parents and schools find it hard to gauge when a child’s screen use is becoming a problem,” lead investigator professor Steve Houghton says. “We’re not saying all screen use is bad because there are many good things about modern technology. “But, for some young people, it becomes their reality and they can spend so much time on screen that it can impact on their health and wellbeing.” Houghton says understanding the links between use of these technologies and mental health, given the pervasiveness in young people’s lives, and developing guidelines for use, is crucial. “We’ve already had a fantastic response from schools to the study, as many teachers and parents are recognising that screen use has changed the nature of childhood and adolescence in many ways.” Researchers will use the data to model a 10-year growth curve. Participating country schools are in York, Yanchep, Katanning, Manjimup, East Manjimup and Margaret River. City schools are in Balga, Clarkson, Greenwood, West Greenwood, Duncraig, Claremont and Peppermint Grove.

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Technology 48 INBRIEF Photoshop babes australian Teacher • August 2013

early introduction

Laptops a pat on back PALM ISLAND - School students in a remote Indigenous community have been given laptops as part of their involvement in the Cathy Freeman Foundation. Over 150 Palm Island youngsters in pre-Prep to Year 12 are taking part in the foundation’s Starting Block Program. They were presented with laptops last term in recognition of their academic achievement.

WA tech investment PERTH - Interactive whiteboards are being installed at 176 public schools in Western Australia in the final stage of a $4 million technology investment program. State Education Minister Peter Collier says it brings the number of schools equipped with the technology to 300. Schools were invited to apply to take part in the final round of the program earlier this year.

Testimonies a big help MELBOURNE - One thousand video testimonies made by members of the public are being used to promote classroom discussions about belonging, diversity and discrimination. Developed by Museum Victoria, the Talking Difference in Schools pilot program will tour schools in Brimbank, Casey, Melton and Hume over the next two years. Email briefs to

WHEN it comes to trying something new and potentially complicated in the classroom, Brett Kent has some advice for teachers. “Basically my tip for [teachers] is always, show [students what] is needed and them let them run with it. Let their imagination drive them.” The Computer Coordinator and ICT Mentor at Hilltop Road Public School in NSW has students as young as Year 3s using Adobe Photoshop in various projects. Kent says this is quite unusual. “Most people wouldn’t introduce using full-blown Photoshop till at least Year 9,” he says. One project Kent had his Year 5 and 6s work on was using Photoshop to create their own avatar as part of a unit on digital citizenship. “So what they did was they actually got a combination of features of their own face, images they could find online, all sorts of different graphics and images, and then they cut them apart and layered them back together and blended them all ... to create their own digital identity.” While Kent may be throwing his primary school students into the proverbial deep end, it appears

they take to these projects like fish to water. “I think that the kids are engaging with it [Adobe Photoshop] because of its complexity and because they can do so much ... there’s absolutely no limit to what they can do, if they can come up with the idea, I can show them how it’s done.”

Brett Kent’s students enjoy the complexity of Adobe Photoshop.

online pedagogy

CEP eLearning program opening up world of science for rural students ONLINE classes are expanding science subject options for primary and secondary students across rural Victoria. The Country Education Project (CEP) eLearning initiative builds on a successful eBiology program delivered by science teacher Andrew Douch. “In 2010 I ran an online biology class for students from three different schools in Shepparton ... [who] met with me online in the evenings a couple of nights a week, and we did the entire year that way,” Douch explains. Not only did students benefit from increased science provision, the delivery method also resulted in them performing better than their predicted study scores. Douch carried out another project with 27 biology students from across the state in 2011 and it produced similar results. “It’s the only example we know of, of an online model where students not only get provision of a subject but also there’s evidence that they perform really well and it improves student outcomes.” This time around Douch will be acting as a mentor and facilitator, passing on his expertise to the teachers involved. “There’s a biology group and a physics group [at high school

Rural students will be keeping in touch via web conferencing technology, podcasts and videos. level], and a group of primary school teachers that are all running an online class basically structured around the model that I was using back in 2011.” The projects will use podcasts, video and web conferencing technology. “This is what’s really exciting, that in many ways this kind of technology is the great leveller ... between rural schools and urban schools,” Douch reflects. “Really, there’s no reason why students in a remote area in Victoria can’t be taught by the most experienced teachers in the state who may in fact be located in the city. In a sense [location] really doesn’t matter anymore. I think that’s really exciting.”

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Technology 49


help desk

To BYOD or not to BYOD? noelene callaghan

Pinterest Getting students excited about completing an assessment task can be tricky. Using an app such as Pinterest could be a great way to start students on their way to creating a unique piece of work particularly if your group of students are creative and are always keen to work on the presentation (and not the content) of their assessment task. Pinterest permits students to collect images and an overview of information that can be copied and pasted into word documents, powerpoint presentations and more whilst keeping a link for future referencing. This free app is also available via the internet (, so if you don’t have sufficient iPads or tablets, students can still create a free account and use this fabulous tool. Noelene Callaghan Rooty Hill High School, NSW

August 2013 • australian Teacher

THE shift in overall educational budgets and the way schools disperse their funds is creating a new dilemma for schools in terms of trying to determine their new technological direction. Should our school use a BYOD solution and, if so, which device will work in our school? BYOD in education refers to students bringing their own device to school to use. Be it a laptop, iPad, tablet or mobile device. Using a BYOD option will enable schools to disseminate their funds to other areas accordingly and better prepare them for tertiary education, where students already use their own devices. As computer coordinators may be aware, it is not as simple as purchasing any device from the local store or supplier and walking into your school and logging onto the wireless network. Many schools are finding that although local stores are willing to provide students and their families substantial discounts at the checkouts, few devices actually consistently work in the classroom. Another constraint is the recent Federal Government announcement that the Education Tax

Refund has been scrapped. With this in mind, should our school continue to proceed with using the BYOD model and what else must we consider? Constraints of the school network: Although the device may work at a student’s house it may not necessarily connect to the school’s wifi. Some schools have experienced that in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Tablet, a few tablets will connect to the school wifi whilst others do not. Computer coordinators cannot explain the random activity and say they are currently spending more time working on network connectivity issues. Other schools are concerned opening the school network may

It’s not as simple as students buying a device and hooking it up to the school wifi.

lead to security and virus threats. Devices available: All mobile technology – laptops, tablets and mobile phones – provides students with different capabilities, resulting in very different learning outcomes. Teaching limitations: Schools must consider the necessary training teachers must undertake in order to use the device to its full capability. The device should not be a tool that is occasionally used, but a resource that supplements and facilitates learning in every lesson. Should tablets or mobile phones be the preferred BYOD, the teacher’s expertise in using these tools educationally is of critical consideration. Citizens of the future: The skillset our students will need once they graduate school is no longer clear or simple to predict. The world in which they live will also determine what skills they are to learn at school. So, the question remains: Will their lives be controlled by today’s mobile devices or by a product that hasn’t been invented yet? Noelene Callaghan is an ICT teacher at Rooty Hill High School, NSW, and a Highly Accomplished ICT Educator (PLANE).

screen shots Science Fun - Explore the The ScIslands, part of the Questacon site. cfm - American Physical Society site Physics Central videos#?category=6 - Sick Science videos – 60 short fun experiments.

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Engage with the evaluation of the implementation of the Standards The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers are being used by the profession and the broader education community across Australia. We now need to ensure the Standards provide a powerful platform for supporting and improving the work of teachers and school leaders, and have commenced the evaluation of the Standards. The evaluation is a three year long partnership with educators to ensure the effective use and implementation of the Standards, with the aim of continuously improving the quality of education across the nation to ensure the best outcomes for all young Australians. AITSL is working in partnership with the University of Melbourne and their partner, the Australian College of Educators, to undertake the long term process and impact evaluation. AITSL is delighted to be working with a high calibre team in educational research and evaluation, Professor John Hattie, Professor Stephen Dinham, Professor Robert Lingard and Associate Professor Janet Clinton.

Evaluation of the Standards MAY 2013 – DEC 2015

This is not an evaluation of the content of the Standards.

The purpose of the evaluation is to determine the

usefulness, effectiveness of implementation, and impact of the Standards on improving teaching quality.

How do you use the Australian Standards? ƒ

In your university course as an undergraduate student?


For your teacher registration?


To plan the professional learning activities in your school?


As a basis for classroom observations and feedback with colleagues?


To plan your performance and development goals?


To apply for national certification as an exemplary teacher?

It’s important that views of the profession are captured. We encourage all educators across Australia to participate in the online national survey which will be launched shortly.

To be involved visit: activities/projects/EAPST

professional development conferences



noticeboard Students at St Catherine’s School have created tutorial videos used in PD for staff.

August 2013

Association focus The Agricultural Teachers’ Association of South Australia

Tech savvy mentors CHELSEA ATTARD SINCE education has become a space of dynamic technological changes, teachers will usually identify as being part of one of two groups — the tech savvy or the technophobes. For those in the latter group, it can be tempting to put mastery of the latest gadget into the too hard basket and leave it for a staff member with ‘ICT’ in their job title. But St Catherine’s School in Waverley, New South Wales has turned to its students to create authentic and accessible technology-based PD, for tech savvy and technophobic teachers alike. The Sydney school has produced a series of instructional videos created solely by their students. The videos cover a range of top-

ics, including how to use Google, Jing and the Wayback Machine, as well as the school’s telecommunications system Lync. These videos are available via the school’s portal and on YouTube. Paul Carnemolla, head of information at the school says there are many advantages of having students lead professional learning for staff. “Well, firstly students tend to pick up aspects of technology quite quickly, but it also gives a certain authenticity,” Carnemolla tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “... Students are the ones that we’re ultimately here for, and if students find this sort of technology sufficiently valuable to create an instructional video for the use of others, it immediately raises in

the teacher’s mind, ‘OK this is a tool that we’re going to use, it’s not just something that the hierarchy here are saying’.” The videos were created following a PD session run by Alan November at the school, which student leaders were invited to attend. “[We wanted to] have some sort of legacy beyond Alan’s PD. As you know PD sometimes is a one-day one-hit and then people forget about it within a week. “But what I wanted to do is sustain the ideas both within the student community, and within the teacher community,” Carnemolla explains. “So the students that I invited on that day became a group that we called the ICT student leaders, and they’ve served as an ongoing refer-

ence group for anything related to ICT, online learning etc. [Also] ... a number of them created tutorial videos around some of the information literacy ideas that Alan November presented.” It was November himself who championed the idea when a question was raised at EduTECH about engaging technology-shy teachers in professional learning. He told delegates while it might be easy for teachers to make excuses such as ‘well, I’m just not tech-savvy like my colleagues’, when you have students doing the teaching the thinking suddenly becomes, ‘well, if my students can do it, so can I’. Carnemolla agrees. “The more you can get the students involved in the professional learning process the better,” he says.

The Agricultural Teachers’ Association of South Australia (ATASA) was incorporated in 1981. The ATASA executive provides an organisation through which information, ideas and resources relating to agricultural education may be disseminated, and acts on behalf of the members in expressing publicly the consensus attitudes and opinions of the members. ATASA also publishes newsletters relating to agricultural education and conducts activities aiding the professional development of members. In recent years ATASA has continued in this role organising professional development for members through biennial three-day conferences with the next being held in the Barossa in 2013. ATASA has been a conduit for agriculture industry/services/universities for careers in agriculture and TAFE/private provider support for VET Primary Production Pathways ATASA has representation on the Animal Ethic Committee; Royal Agricultural Society. We provide mentoring for less experienced teachers; have displays at machinery field days and provide prizes at Adelaide Show. Philip Roberts president, ATASA

Do you have a story to tell Professional Development? Email


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professionaldevelopment australian Teacher • August 2013

maths conference

very special cruise

Our curriculum in a changing world

Destination Alaska for Science at Sea

MATHEMATICS educators will gather in Western Australia in August, to explore the theme, the Australian Mathematics Curriculum in a changing world. The Mathematical Association of Western Australia’s state conference in Dunsborough, will run from August 16-18 and vice president Rom Cirillo says he’s expecting a good turnout. “Last year ... there were more than 130 names on the attendance list,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Cirillo says Dr Paul Swan from Edith Cowan University will make the keynote presentation. “His main area of interest is using rich tasks in the classroom.” Delegates will also have the opportunity to attend sessions on proficiencies in the Australian Curriculum, teaching pedagogies, and using rich tasks in the mathematics classroom.


demonstrate the function of the baleen in the whale and ice cream cakes to replicate glacier action. On Day 6 [I took a flight] over Ketchikan and then over the Misty Fjords. The scenery was breathtaking, and included snow capped mountain peaks as far as the eye could see, scattered with mountain goats and black bear. The last day was at sea and provided a chance for participants to share information and network with each other.

SCIENCE at Sea is a biennial cruise from Vancouver, Canada, to Glacier Bay in Alaska. Educator Anita Trenwith was among the passengers who set sail at the end of June. THE week-long Science at Sea cruise, run by Spangler Science, visits ports at Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and includes onboard presentations while at sea. First run in 2009, this was the third Science at Sea cruise along the inside passage of Alaska and the first one attended by Aussies. Before leaving port, the mindset was set by visiting Science World in Vancouver, not unlike Questacon in Canberra. The formal part of the cruise was kicked off with a riveting, laugh-a-lot presentation in the Pan Pacific hotel. There was certainly no falling asleep in this session as Steve [Spangler] had everyone listening to anecdotes about science jokes in class, watching his entertaining demonstrations using polymers, inertia and electricity and getting everyone blowing up wind tubes using Bernoulli’s Principle. Our first day at sea consisted of

Bonus content »

Anita Trenwith’s journey included a float plane trip over Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords. information about the Pacific Northwest Coast and PowerPoint presentations about geology, tectonic plates, ocean productivity and glaciers. On Day 3 we headed to Mendenhall Glacier ... before a once-in-a-lifetime whale watching experience at Auke Bay ... the highlight of the trip so far.

Two days later, the boat cruised into Glacier Bay, with 3.2 million acres of wilderness. Local rangers boarded the ship and shared ideas on how to utilise Glacier Bay in the classroom without the expense of a field trip. We used bubble guns to replicate whales bubble net feeding, marshmallows and water to

Science at Sea now caters for a variety of people interested in attending, not just science teachers. The focus at times leans towards culture and history, but the opportunity to experience the geology and biology of the region caters for all levels and the Spangler Team are eager to make sure that you have a good time and stay in touch after the event is over. Anita Trenwith is an SA science teacher and winner of the 2012 PM’s Prize for Excellence in Science in Secondary Teaching Award.

Curriculum Leader Training Program 2013

9 9 9 9 9 9 9

Links science with literacy and numeracy Inquiry based learning Student planned investigations Embedded assessments Integrated Indigenous Perspectives Supplementary resources Professional Learning Program

Orange, NSW

Mon 12 and Tues 13 August

Parramatta, NSW

Thurs 15 and Fri 16 August

Bendigo, VIC

Mon 9 and Tues 10 September

Wagga Wagga, NSW Thurs 12 and Fri 13 September Launceston, TAS

Thurs 17 and Fri 18 October

Melbourne, VIC

Thurs 31 October and Fri 1 November

2 Day Workshop: Continuing Professional Development Perth, WA

Thurs 1 and Fri 2 August

Adelaide, SA

Thurs 22 and Fri 23 August

Melbourne, VIC

Thurs 29 and Fri 30 August

Sydney, NSW

Thurs 24 and Fri 25 October

pd 53

August 2013 • australian Teacher

Symposium’s synergy

Tim Medwin has organised a unique symposium for Health and PE teachers across Tasmania. IT’S not often professional development is referred to as ‘pretty out there’, but this is how curriculum teacher leader Tim Medwin describes the upcoming HPE professional learning symposium. On September 5, HPE teachers and human movement students from across Tasmania will gather together with six synergy organisations to discuss the Australian Curriculum. According to Medwin, who is running the event, organisations will each give a 20 minute presentation articulating what must, should and could be taught under the new curriculum. The audience will then break down into 10 reference groups led by high profile facilitators, to discuss the validity and implications of what they have heard. Medwin says these responses will then be fed back live to representatives from each synergy organisation, who will be allowed a further five minutes to respond. The invited synergy organisations hadn’t confirmed their attendance at the time of this interview, but they include the Drug Education Network, Department of Health and Human Services [Population Health

and Wellbeing, and Population Health Equity] The Premier’s Physical Activity Council, and The McGrath Foundation. Some facilitators who will be attending include softball player and Olympic silver medallist Natalie Titcume, Australian of the Year finalist Andrew Hughes and Melbourne Football Club’s Colin Garland. Medwin says he’s not the only one excited about the fresh approach to teacher PD. “I presented informally, this idea to [The University of Queensland] and everybody thought it was very innovative ... from a health and phys ed perspective I don’t believe that this has been tried anywhere.” Medwin is aiming to have up to 100 schools represented on the day. “I want [to give] the synergy organisations ... an opportunity to feed forward quality information to 100 schools. “I want to give the teachers in those schools and fourth year behaviour management students an opportunity to reflect on what’s being said, and input into shaping that explicit content that they need to teach. And I want to give the facilitators the opportunity to work with a range of health and phys ed teachers,” Medwin says.

term 3 expo

Range of resources, workshops and seminars sure to delight Brisbane QUEDREX delegates EDUCATORS heading to this year’s Queensland Education Resources Expo (QUEDREX) will be offered something a little bit different, according to the event’s manager Renee Gardner. “It’s a trade show for education professionals, so it’s a little bit different to the conferences that are being held. It’s free admission and it’s open to all levels of education so, it [has] a broad focus.” The expo will run over the weekend of August 24 and 25 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. A range of exhibitors will host seminars and workshops throughout the two days. “We also have guest speakers, so there [will be] associations that come and speak about things like professional development,” Gardner says. “We’ve got The Joint Council of the Queensland Teachers’ Associations doing a session [on] navigating the professional development maze.” Gardner says there’s a broad range of information and resources for delegates. “We’ve got specific subject information so for example science and maths exhibitors and resources. We’ve got information for special education ... we’ve got technol-

QUEDREX delegates will converge in Brisbane. ogy ... outside of school activities, publishers, postgraduate options, and things like office supplies and stationery.” Visit for more information about the event. Australian Teacher Magazine is the Official Expo Guide Partner for QUEDREX. The guide will be available in print for Queensland readers as an insert in our August issue, and as a digital download for iOS and Android devices.

Professional Learning Workshop Programme Term 3, 2013

curriculum content

Working with challenging children

Dr Bill Rogers. Friday 26 July, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Fostering students thinking in mathematics using proficiency strands Michael Ymer. Monday 29 July, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Creating resilient learners

Andrew Fuller. Monday 5 August, 9.30am – 3.30pm

The road to good writing

Vikki Petraitis. Friday 16 August, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Differentiation: the challenge in catering for different of abilities

Rob Vingerhoets. Monday 19 August, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Improving teaching and learning through classroom observation

Julie Landvogt. Thursday 22 August, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Leading a team

Karen Stammers & Yvonne Willich Monday 26 August, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Reviewing or establishing your individual needs program

Anna Bennett. Monday 2 September, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Teaching social competencies

Helen McGrath. Friday 6 September, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Designing a GREAT inquiry-based unit with and for your students – and how contemporary collaborative planning really works! (P-6)

Kath Murdoch. Friday 6 September, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Comprehension: developing thoughtful literacy (2-8) David Hornsby. Tuesday 10 September, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Headstart VCE Revision Program

23-27 September For the VCAA November VCE examinations in Accounting, Biology, Business Management, Chemistry, Economics, Further Mathematics, Legal Studies, Mathematical Methods, Physics, Psychology, Specialist Mathematics For more information and bookings 9524 6222 All workshops are held at the Australian Institute of Management, 181 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda For further information or to book online visit: t: (03) 9524 6222 e:



pdevents australian Teacher • August 2013

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

NATIONAL Primary English Teaching Assoc Aus Teaching English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes

August 1, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Debney Meadows Primary School, Flemington, VIC; M $160, NM $215; info@

Global education in the primary English classroom 5-6

August 14, 4:00pm6:30pm; Castle Hill Public School, Castle Hill, NSW; M $80, NM $105; info@petaa.

PETAA One Day QLD Conference

August 17, 9:00am4:00pm; Mercure Hotel Brisbane, QLD; M $265, NM $295;

Focusing on spoken language to improve reading comprehension

August 24, 4:00pm6:30pm; Wiley Park Public School, Denman Ave, Wiley Park; M $80, NM $105;

Oracy learning experiences to enhance literacy skills

August 27, 4:00pm6:30pm; Regents Park Christian School, Regents Park, NSW; M $80, NM $105;

Teaching English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes

September 17, 9:00am3:00pm; Marian Centre,Our Lady of the Sacred Heart College, Alice Springs; M $160, NM $215; info@

Oracy learning experiences to enhance literacy skills

September 18, 9:00am3:00pm; Larrakeyah Primary School, 3 Packard St, Larrakeyah Darwin; M $160, NM $215; info@

Middle Years of Schooling Assoc Semester 2 International Travelling Scholars from Canada

Aug 1; Christian Brothers College, Adelaide; Aug 3; Hampton Senior High School, Perth; Aug 7; Brighton Grammar School, Melbourne; Aug 9; Ravenswood Girls School, Sydney; M $171, NM $215; mysa@

kodaly music education institute of australia Listening Fun and Games/ Exploring Cultures Through Songs and Games August 7, 4:15pm- 7:15pm; Radford College Junior School, 1 College St, Bruce, ACT; M $40, NM $50; info@

KMEIA Queensland Early Childhood Conference

September 21-22; Brisbane venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Big Kodaly Day

November 16; Kilvington Grammar School, 2 Leila sA science teachers association Working with the Achievement Standards: Assessment that drives learning in science

Rd, Ormond, VIC; Cost TBA;

Music Helps Learning

November 2, Time TBA; South Australian Venue TBA; Cost TBA; info@

KMEIA Queensland AGM

Nov 19, 6:00pm- 8:30pm; Merthyr Rd Uniting Church, New Farm; Cost TBA; www.

AUSTRALIAN LITERACY EDUCATORS’ ASSOC Bringing Non-Fiction Writing to Life in Your Classroom

August 8, 9:00am- 3:30pm; Tattersall’s Park Function Centre, Goodwood Road, Glenorchy; M $50, NM $150; jillian.armstrong@

Teaching Reading Strategies

August 10, time TBA; Tasmanian Venue TBA; M $80, NM $120; victoria. cochrane@education.tas.

Engaging Readers

August 15, 4:00pm6:00pm; St Patrick’s Primary, Blacktown, NSW; M/NM $35; dgurka@parra.

The Conditions for Learning Revisited

August 21, 3:45pm5:15pm; Tattersall’s Park Function Centre, Glenorchy, Tasmania; M free, NM $30; jennie.amos@education.

The Power and Passion of Poetry

Computelec & Expanding Learning Horizons ELH SchoolTech 2013 Aug 18-20; Mantra Erksine Beach Resort, Lorne; Cost $895 each inc GST (1-2 delegates), $695 each inc GST (3 or more delegates);; Join us this August for the education sector’s definitive event of the year! This three-day conference is recognised as the number one event in the Education IT industry and a unique opportunity for schools to share experiences and benchmark their performance against others. For the first time, this year’s conference will bring together the ELH and SchoolTech streams, helping drive deeper collaboration between educators and their IT colleagues to fuel greater innovation in

National Conference: Revisit, Reimagine, Reveal - Creating Tomorrow October 2-4; National Convention Centre, Canberra; Cost TBA;

AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS OF MEDIA Media Exam Conference For Teachers

August 24, 10:00am12:00pm; Our Lady of Good Counsel, Forestville; M $12, NM $40; KATHRYN.

Sep 10, 9-4pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester St, Carlton; M $140, NM $185;

Using Drama and Literature to Enhance Children’s Writing

October 31, 9:00am4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester St, Carlton; M $140, NM $185; atom@

August 26, 9:00am3:00pm; Venue TBA; M $50, NM $150; jillian. armstrong@education.tas.

Online Reading Assessment- What do young children attend to when reading online text

August 29, 3:30pm5:30pm; Corrimal library, Wollongong; M $10, NM $30;

Drama, Literature and Critical Literacy

November 14, Corrimal library, Wollongong; M $10, NM $30; jessicam@uow.

AusTRalian Council for Educational Leaders Wellbeing for Leadership: Sydney Workshops

August 9, October 23 and November 12, 9:00am5:00pm; University of Technology, Sydney; M/NM $480;

Financial Management For Schools

September 2, Victoria University City Convention Centre, Level 12, 300 Flinders St, Melbourne; September 3, Rendezvous Hotel Brisbane Anzac Square, 255 Ann St, Brisbane; September 5, Rydges South Park, 1 South Terrace, Adelaide; September 11, Rendezvous Studio Hotel Perth Central 24 Mount Street, Perth; All events M $440, NM $480;

Headstart: Narrative

Headstart: Unit 1

November 14, 9:00am4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester St, Carlton; M $140, NM $185; atom@


September 27-29, Time TBA; Darwin Convention Centre; Cost TBA; http:// page532.asp

Australian School Library Association National conference: The Curriculum Experience: Connect, Integrate, Lead

Sep 28-Oct 1; Hotel Grand Chancellor Hobart, Tasmania; early bird before June 30 M $550, NM $660 or standard price M $715, NM $935;

AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY FOR MUSIC EDUCATION National Conference: Redefining the musical landscape: Inspired learning and innovation in music education September 29 - October 1, Time TBA; Hotel Realm, Canberra; Cost TBA; http://www.asme2013.

Australian Assoc of Special Education 2013 National Conference

September 29 – October 1;

Australian education. An excellent line up of influential keynote speakers from across the globe is confirmed with more to be announced shortly: George Siemens, Associate Director Technology Enhanced Knowledge Research Institute, Alberta, Canada Sylvia Martinez, President at Generation Yes, Los Angeles, United States George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning, Parkland School Division, Alberta, Canada

Hilton Hotel Adelaide; Cost TBA;

NSW economics and business EDUCATORS NSW Legal Update Conference

August 2, 8:55am 3:30pm; NSW Parliament House Theatrette Macquarie Street, Sydney; M $55, NM $77; admin@

Teaching Year 12 HSC Business Studies, Economics or Legal Studies for the first time in Term 4, 2013/2014? August 19, 4.00pm 6.45pm; Sydney College of the Arts, Balmain Road, Rozelle; M $44, NM $66;

history teachers association of nsw Cities of Vesuvius Workshop

August 3, 8:30am- 3:00pm; St Marys Snr High School, 48 Kalang Ave St Marys; M $75, NM $125; htansw@

Headstart to Extension History

November 30, Time TBA; Macquarie University venue; Cost TBA; htansw@

The Association of Independent Schools New South Wales Go Google - Explore Google’s Free Tools

August 6, 9:00am- 3:30pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405;

Planning and Programming for the New Science and Technology Syllabus: K-6 October 23, 8:30am 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $130, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

The Mathematical Association of NSW Engaging with the new syllabus

Aug 26, 9.30am - 3:30pm;

Interchange Consultancy Group Queensland Education Resources Expo (QUEDREX) Aug 24-25; Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Merivale St, South Brisbane QLD; Cost Free;; Educators will not want to miss Queensland Education Resources Expo (QUEDREX), the largest education trade show in the state! Whether you are involved in early childhood, through to school level or higher education, QUEDREX will showcase innovative ideas, products & services to enhance your career and workplace. Discover, test and purchase resources for your educational institutions and build on professional development with colleagues.

Wagga Wagga RSL Club, Cnr Kincaid and Dobbs Streets, Wagga Wagga; September 2, 9.30am 3:30pm; Catholic Schools Office, 841 Hunter Street, Newcastle; September 9, 9:30am 3:30pm; Bathurst RSL Club, 114 Rankin St, Bathurst; M $110, NM $160; admin@

AUSTRALIAN ASSOCiation FOR ENVIRONMENTAL EDUCATION (NSW) 31st NSW Environmental Education Conference September 1, Time TBA; Venue TBA, Cost TBA;

SCIENCE TEACHERS’ ASSOCiation OF NSW Inquiry Science: Bedding down the NSW Syllabus

September 21 -22; University Of New South Wales, High St, Kensington; M/NM Cost TBA; office@

English Teachers Association of NSW Annual Conference: Innovation November 22-23; University of NSW, Kensington; Cost TBA; admin@englishteacher.

QLD Home economics institute australia queensland State conference: Food! Nutrition! Futures! An education perspective

August 2-3; Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, South Brisbane; M $535, NM $690; heiaq2013@expertevents.

australian council for health, physical education and recreation, qld Brisbane Conference August 15-16, 8:30am4:30pm; Riverglenn Conference Centre, Indooroopilly; M $264, NM $393.80; events@

At the event, visitors will have access to: • A large variety of suppliers showcasing the latest educational resources; • Seminars focusing on key issues for educators in 2013; • Interactive displays and hands-on workshops; • A free expo guide; • Exclusive offers and competitions; • A certificate of attendance (upon request) as a record of professional development. To obtain your free tickets to the expo you must register online.

2013 Awards Evening

September 12, 5:30pm8:30pm; Clovely Estate Winery Cellar Door; M $35, NM $50; events@

Women in Sport Breakfast October 16, 7:00am9:30am; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, South Bank Precinct; M/NM $49.50;

The Joint Council of Queensland Teachers’ Association The Ros Korkatsis JCQTA Annual Forum and AGM

August 24, 8:30am11:30am; Brisbane Convention Centre; M/NM free;


October 23, Time TBA; Brisbane venue TBA; M free (not available for nonmembers); registrations@

Business educators’ association of queensland PD Day December 3, 8:00am2:45pm; Easts Leagues Club, 40 Main Ave, Coorparoo; M $110, NM $132; accounts@beaq.

SA History teachers’ association of sa State Conference “History: Then and Now.”

August 2, 8:30am- 4:30pm; Art Gallery of SA, North Terrace, Adelaide; .M $125, NM $165; Paul.Foley@

mathematical assocIATION of south australia Implications of the Australian Curriculum for 10A & Senior Years

August 16, 12:30pm3:30pm; Otherway Centre, 80 Payneham Road, Stepney; M $60, NM $85; masamail@internode.

August 23, 9:00am3:00pm; Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; M $95, NM $150; office@

Science Investigations in a Primary Classroom September 13, 9:00am3:00pm; Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; M $95, NM $150; office@

Early Career Teachers Conference

September 30, 8:30am4:00pm; Immanuel College; M $115, NM $165;

Inquiry-based Learning; How it Works in the Science Classroom

November 1, 9:00am3:00pm; Education Development Centre, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; M $95, NM $150; office@

SA english teachers association Exam Preparation Evening August 27, 7:00pm9:00pm; Unley High School, Kitchener St, Netherby; M/NM $7.50;

VIC INdependent schools victoria Teaching Traumatised Children

August 1, 9:30am- 4:00pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.

Literacy Coordinators’ Network

August 13, 9:30am3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.vic.

Building Vocabulary for Primary School Students August 16, 9:30am3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.vic.

Exploring Comprehension Conversations August 23, 9:30am3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.vic.

Discovering and Implementing CLIL in Languages Classrooms

September 5, 9:30am3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.vic.

The Influence of the European Forest Schools in the Australian Context Sep 6, 9:30am- 3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; independentschools.

Digital Game-Based Learning in English, History and the Australian Curriculum

September 12, 9:00am3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $72, NM $135; enquiries@ independentschools.vic.

Ict in education victoria Games-based Vocabulary Learning

August 5, 9:30am- 3:30pm; Statewide Resources Centre,150 Palmerston Street, Carlton; M $189, NM $230; ictev@ictev.vic.

ICT Leadership for Digital Learning August 23, 8:45am4:30pm; Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Steet, Carlton; M $260, NM $320; ictev@ictev.vic.

ICTEV Inclusion and learning: Special Needs education study tour

September 12, 10:00am5:00pm; Victorian Deaf Education Institute, 597 St Kilda Road, Melbourne; M $189, NM $230; ictev@ictev.vic.

VICTORIAN OrffSchulwerk Association Early Childhood Conference of the Performing Arts (ECCPA)

August 17-18; Genazzano FCJ College, Cotham Road, Kew, Victoria; Cost TBA;

design and technology teacher’s assocation of victoria VCE PD&T Exam Preparation

September 3, 10:00am3:00pm; Statewide Resource Centre, 150 Palmerston Street, Carlton; M $160, NM $260; admin@

Modern Love: Professional Learning Day for Teachers November 1, 10:00am4:00pm; Bendigo Art Gallery, 42 View Street, Bendigo; M $60, NM $65;

Art Education Victoria State Conference 2013

November 15-16; National Gallery of Victoria, Southbank & Melbourne High School, South Yarra; Cost TBA; enquiries@aev.

WA geographical association of western australia 2013 GAWA Annual Conference

August 16-17; Esplanade River Suites, South Perth; M options $180-$380, NM add 25% to all packages; gawaadmin@westnet.

mathematical association of western Australia State Conference 2013

August 16-18; The Abbey Beach Resort, Busselton; Cost TBA; office@mawainc.

Secondary Convention 2013

November 25-26; Esplanade Hotel, Marine Terrace, Fremantle; Cost TBA; office@mawainc.

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 Our new look website also includes free PD listings (, giving readers even more information about events. Get in touch to find out how to promote your event through our site.

around the traps 55

August 2013 • australian Teacher

Heartbreak inspires heywarD

Author gray eyes net gains

SHE knew it was going to be a confronting experience, but nothing could have prepared Year 3 teacher Pip Heyward for a visit to the slums of East Africa. The opportunity to spend three weeks travelling the region came up last year, and the teacher at Sacred Heart Primary School in Broken Hill says it was too good an offer to refuse. She visited a number of schools with other educators from the WilcanniaForbes diocese. After witnessing the terrible conditions of the schools she visited, she knew she had to do something to help. Although she considers herself to be a runner, Heyward says that her decision to take part in The Age’s Run Melbourne half marathon was a significant challenge to take up. “I thought that [the schools] would most need volunteers to go over there, but what they really need is money before anything else,” Heyward shares. “I just cannot explain to anyone how truly heartbreaking it all was, unless you are there and unless you saw what I saw, and smelt with what I smelt ... you can’t really get that full effect until you experience it.”

THROUGHOUT the four decades that Ian Gray worked as a teacher, he felt a desire to capture and document the things he was doing in the classroom with students. While working full-time, Gray wrote three books and contributed to countless other pubications. His work spans various topics, including violence in the media, reluctant readers, senior modern history, and economics. “You start to compile what you’ve created over time with the students, then you start thinking this may benefit other people,” Gray shares. “I’d always been a member and I’m still a member of the Queensland History Teachers’ Association and I joined that because I like the idea of everybody sharing what they’re doing.” Gray says that sharing ideas with people really is his motivation behind writing, but he thinks that the idea of writing a book isn’t as appealing as it once was. “The concept of a book is a bit old fashioned. I think the last book I contributed to was in ‘96 or something. More recently, I’ve published through SlideShare on the internet and that’s been much more a place I’m wanting to publish in the future.”

New South Wales teacher Pip Heyward is training for a half marathon to raise money for students in East Africa. Although she visited a number of schools, Heyward chose to fundraise for one in particular. When she visited the students there, she learned that her group were the first ever visitors to the school and the students were amazed to have them there. “I was with people that were from varied age groups and anyone who was over 40, they clapped when they told them their name and how old they were. “In Eastern Africa, people over

40 – most of them have died so they thought it was kind of amazing that they were standing there,” she explains. Heyward is aiming to raise $2000 to spend on school uniforms and textbooks for the African students. To train for the big event, Heyward hits the track every day doing shorter runs during the week, and a long run on weekends. “I’m ready to go, so I’ll keep doing a big run once a week and hopefully that will prepare me,” she says.

Ian Gray writes to share his ideas with others.

Gray gave up his full-time role at Queensland’s Somerville House at the end of last year and is currently working as an eLearning consultant. After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, the educator says that his ability to hold down a fulltime job is limited. At the moment, Gray is attempting to create a self-paced Year 10 history course that’s interesting based on the National Curriculum. He’s also working on a set of activities for students, but says he won’t be going down the traditional path with this either. “I won’t publish them in a book, I’ll probably work with the History Teachers’ Association to put them on their website because that is where writing has evolved,” he says.

Foot’s high hopes for medal SADLY, not all of us can be world class sports stars and teachers at the same time – but Tasmanian rower Alistair Foot somehow juggles commitments to both as he busily prepares with his lightweight fours teammates for the World Rowing Championships in South Korea in August. Training in Frankston, about 45 minutes from Hobart, Foot says he loves representing his country and thrives on the camaraderie of his close-knit team. “I really enjoy the way you work with others in a group to achieve the same goal,” he says. “You’ve got different personalities and it’s

just the processes you have to go through to get a result.” But equally, the 26-year-old enjoys the 15 hours he puts in each week at the Fahan School. “At the end of last year I was originally going to not work at all, but Fahan have been really accommodating,” he says. “They were happy with last year, where I came in and took on a maternity leave position. They just said ‘Can we involve you somehow, can we keep you involved’, and offered me a position with the multi-lit program. “It’s sort of a guided learning thing, so you are just taking kids

that have gone from the junior to the senior school out for 15 minutes of reading practice. “... because I haven’t taught for very long it keeps me constantly learning and up-to-date. It’s such a great school.” Foot says the highlight of his rowing career was “probably winning the World Championship in 2007 in the Lightweight 8”, and while his fours team snagged a bronze medal at the World Rowing Cup in Sydney in March, he is hoping the team takes another step at the worlds. “We’ve made a lot of gains since then and are hoping to push on

w bronzeFoot, second right, with his fello in March. ney winning teammates from Syd

and get an even better result in South Korea.” And in terms of longevity in the sport, Foot’s in no hurry to retire.

“You can keep going until your mid-to late 30s and 40s. Anthony Edwards was in the four last year and he turned 40 in December.”


inthestaffroom australian Teacher • August 2013

trivia Which group topped the charts in Triple J’s Hottest 100 of the last 20 years?

one point

Which singer released the album Music in the year 2000?

Diesel and Dust, and 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 are albums by which band? In which decade did the Live Aid concerts take place? Crotchets,final110_BTSfinal.pdf quavers and semibreves are all types of what?



10:41 AM

How many strings does a standard ukulele have?

Which US city is known by the nickname ‘Music City’?

Is the lowest female singing voice soprano, mezzosoprano or contralto?

Finish this Shakespeare quote: “If music be the food of love ...”

Who did Marilyn Monroe famously sing Happy Birthday Mr President to?

The Mashed Potato was a dance craze popular in which decade?

Legally Blonde the Musical is based on a film starring which actress?

John Coltrane is famous for playing which instrument?

Who is the lead singer of the Pretenders?


three points

La Scala is a world-renowned opera house in which city?




2 Former Australian cricket captain, Allan _. (6) 4 Newfoundland and _ is the easternmost province of Canada. (8) 7 Indie folk band from Melbourne, name sounds like they’re sled-pullers from Canada. (5) 8 The American Eskimo Dog is a breed of dog originating in _. (7) 9 Massive hit for US band Devo in 1980, _ It. (4) 13 Star of the 1974-75 cartoon show, Captain Horatio _wash - sailed the high seas in his ship called the Black Pig. (3) 15 Academy Award winning 1973 prison film starring Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman, _. (9) 16 Gang of Disney criminals who constantly try to rob Scrooge McDuck, the _ Boys. (6) 17 AFL club based in Melbourne with one premiership from 1954, the Western _. (8)

1 Miranda Kerr’s pet dog is a Yorkshire Terrier called _. (7) 2 Young actress from Eight Mile and Sin City who died in December 2009, _ Murphy. (8) 3 Director Lars von Trier is widely regarded in film circles to be a great _. (4) 5 Favourite greeting and farewell for ZsaZsa Gabor-type person, ‘_ chow, darling’. (4) 6 The smallest breed of dog is the _ from the state of the same name in Mexico. (9) 8 If you were bussing across America you’d likely be travelling on _ Lines. (9) 10 Retired English international wicketkeeper, known for his abilities as an artist, Jack _. (7) 11 An international brand of contemporary, casual footwear for men, women and children Hush _. 12 Sherlock Holmes book, _ Of the Baskervilles (5) 14 Movie from 1981 starring Peter and Jane Fonda and Katharine Hepburn, On _ Pond.

turn to page 58 for all solutions and answers

skill level: medium

pixel puzzler We’ve been playing with the zoom again. All you have to do is name the object.

five points

careers career news


professional learning


retirements 59

CTLs in Tasmania provide support for teachers and school leaders.

first year out 60

tassie teachers leading chelsea attard In an effort to smooth the transition between high school and college for Tasmanian students, a team of eight Curriculum Teacher Leaders (CTLs) has been formed. The team is charged with the responsibility of providing high quality curriculum implementation and support for teachers, school leaders and other parties. Dr Christopher Riley was recruited as one of the eight CTLs when the role was established at the beginning of this year. “In Tasmania Year 11 and 12 are [part of] a separate college system, so students leave [Year 10] and go to a separate school, called a college,” Riley tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “A lot of the transition work is

actually making sure that college teachers understand really well, what is being taught in high schools, and how it’s being taught. “[Also] that the students understand from high school what sorts of things are available at college, and how they’ll be taught at college,” he adds. Riley says with the rollout of the Australian Curriculum, which in most cases only shapes learning for students up to Year 10, an important part of the CTL’s role is making sure college teachers are aware of the new curriculum, its structure and the changes it brings within subject areas. The Curriculum Teacher Leaders are each based in a college and are strategically spread around the state.

Some six months into the position, Riley is enjoying the mixture of planning and practical support that fills his days. “[It’s] a mixture of strategic planning and work at the strategic and systematic level, but also a really strong focus on practical help out there in the classrooms. “So we’re out on the road a lot, we’re expected to be out working with teachers,” he explains. With each CTL working within a specific subject area, Riley chose to take on languages. “I’m really passionate about languages,” he says. “And with the Australian Curriculum focussed on Asia and inter-cultural understanding, I thought this is a great opportunity to actually make the most of those opportunities in the [cur-

riculum] for Tasmanian students,” Riley says. The other CTL subject areas include English, maths, science, humanities, arts, health and PE, and technologies. Prior to taking on the exciting new department role, Riley worked as a teacher-librarian and immediately preceding his career move managed the state-wide flexible learning network for Year 11 and 12 students. He says he expects this new role might lead him anywhere. “... Hopefully it would lead career-wise back into the school, it might lead to other curriculum roles, but because it has such a strong developmental focus, in schools working with teachers, then it could certainly lead into a leadership role in the school.”

learning 62

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

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careers australian Teacher • August 2013

Retirement Judith Robinson retired from her role as school officer at Perth’s Rosalie Primary School at the end of Term 2. Writing in the school newsletter, principal Su Wilson says despite having teaching qualifications Robinson chose to work in school administration and has had a significant impact. “She represents the heart and soul of Rosalie and all that it’s become,” Wilson adds.

Awards Nominations for the NT Teaching in the Territory Excellence Awards close on August 6. The categories are for: Primary Teacher, Secondary Teacher, Early Childhood Teacher, Primary Principal, Secondary Principal and Support Staff, and Excellence in Teaching or Leadership in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education. Nominate at

Awards Education department officers in Queensland have been recognised for their achievements. The DETE Staff Excellence Awards are in honour of those who have made a significant impact on the lives of students, community members and work colleagues. The recipients include school and TAFE educators. Visit staff-awards/ for a list of the winners.

act award-winners

Mat adding gloss to Hughes CANBERRA’S Hughes Primary School is celebrating a double success at the 2013 ACT Public Education Excellence Awards. Mat McRae was named New Educator of the Year and his colleague, Samantha Thornton, picked up the prize for Primary Teacher of the Year. “[It’s] really exciting for Hughes — it puts the school on the map a bit, and Sam’s a phenomenal teacher,” McRae tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “I felt really privileged and a bit shocked to be honest. I feel really lucky that I’m working with such supportive people at Hughes Primary School.” McRae is in his third year of teaching, but this is his first year at Hughes. “Straight away I was taken in and really looked after. I get a lot of leadership opportunities here, and I like to take on different things. “I have such a great leader in Kate Smith, my principal. She really believes in her staff and believes in me as a new educator to drive different things, and lets me run with ideas.” McRae spent the first two years of his career teaching upper primary classes before moving to Year 1 in 2013. “It’s a big switch but I’m loving it ... the kids make



Mat McRae is presented with his award by ACT education Deputy DirectorGeneral Leanne Cover. your day really fun,” he enthuses. “I think I got nominated [for the award] for my ability to build kids’ self-esteem and image and build confidence in them.” McRae is involved in a range of extracurricular activities, including the school’s lunchtime hiphop club, and enjoys helping to organise school events. The Public Education Excellence Awards recognises outstanding school leaders, teachers, support staff and school volunteers.

The other award winners were: Principal of the Year - Murray Bruce (Gordon Primary School); Early Childhood Teacher of the Year Karen Wilson (Ainslie School); Secondary Teacher of the Year - Prue Gill (Lanyon High School); Teaching/ Leadership in Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Education - Mark Bishop (Dickson College); Education Support of the Year - Lauren Harman (Education & Training Directorate); and School Hero of the Year - Libby Bailey (Ainslie School).

Appointment Sally McCutcheon has been appointed acting assistant principal of Tasmania’s Scottsdale High School following the retirement of Chris Bell. McCutcheon’s teaching career includes a stint overseas in England. She has also taught English and held leadership and school improvement roles in both Victorian country schools and schools in metropolitan Melbourne.

Retirement Media teacher Lynne Malone will be retiring from St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School in Western Australia at the end of the year. Malone told the Western Suburbs Weekly she first started at the school as a 12-year-old and later returned as a parent and then staff member. Malone works at the school’s Karrinyup campus and says it will always be a part of her life, even after she retires.

Retirement Staff and students at St Paul’s Catholic School in Bridgewater, Tasmania, have farewelled Sister Fina. According to the school newsletter, she accepted the offer, a “well earned retirement”, at the end of Term 2. It says Sr Fina has made many wonderful contributions to the school and community. Colleagues at St Paul’s have wished her health and new adventures for the future.


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careers 59

August 2013 • australian Teacher

library legend

Brockmann books break

SHE has spent in excess of two decades cataloguing and covering books in a school library, but Erika Brockmann’s story may just be the longest and most powerful to come out of Nambucca Heads High School. The library assistant at the New South Wales school retired from her post last term after 19 years in the role. Even more impressively, she has held a position with the Department of Education for the past 48 years, which she believes makes her the longest serving ancillary staff member to be employed by the department. Before taking on her role as a library assistant though, Brockmann worked as a finance officer in schools for 30 years. Looking back on her time in finance, Brockmann reflects on her distinct way of balancing the books, a method that didn’t always impress the auditors who came to check on her. “We had cash books, you know, hand-written cash books,” she reflects. “I don’t know if they still exist but I had a special one with columns and I wrote my receipts on the left-hand side in blue, and on the right-hand side in red. “So at any time I could look at

Erika Brockmann at a special morning tea celebrating her retirement. how much money was in each department and things. “It was quite a good cashbook. The auditors came and looked at it and some of them liked it and some of them didn’t because it was different to other people who had two cashbooks,” she laughs. When she landed the job at Nambucca Heads High School, Brockmann was transferred into the library to work as a librarian assistant. She says that it was a role she loved dearly, and above everything else, she will miss the con-

versations she had with students every day. She adds that she would love to go back there to volunteer her time and help out around the school. But at the moment, her primary concern is caring for her husband who has been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and has been placed in an old age home. “I just liked working and I miss it,” she says. “I would love to be back there. I’ll miss the kids — I always got on well with kids,” she says.

first year out WITH extensive experience tutoring the Australian Girls Choir, Jacqui Micallef was thrilled to land a position at Victoria’s New Gisborne Primary School, as the school’s only music teacher. While she spent the first term finding her feet, Micallef says that as the year goes on she’s becoming more confident and loving the experience. I started doing a performing arts and music course [at university] and then after a while, I realised I preferred to be teaching about it instead of actually doing it myself. So I transferred to a music and education course instead. I’ve been in the Australian Girls Choir since I was five years old and now I actually work for them as a performing arts teacher — so that was also an influence in changing my perspective. Music and performing have always been what I’ve enjoyed and what I like doing so it was a natural path to teach music. University was interesting. I think the more that I’m in the school now, the more I realise that uni doesn’t really prepare you for teaching. I guess the only part that does is the prac side. I was lucky I had really good placements when I was at uni, especially my last year placement ... I was at Malvern Central School and I was in a Year 1 class for the whole year, and it was just really fantastic.

[This year] has been a lot of fun, and its been a lot of learning as well. The kids at this school are really lovely and enthusiastic and passionate about learning in general. Being a specialist teacher, obviously I’m planning for every class that I teach, so it’s not really your one grade every day. This term is so much easier than first term. Everything became a bit more natural and I was able to trust my instincts a bit more and be a bit more flexible with what I was doing and I’ve gotten to know all the kids better as well. I enjoy working with younger kids better. I remember my time at high school and there were so many other things going on as well with adolescence, growing up and friendships and all that other kind of stuff, and I thought that was too much. And with music especially, you want to get in early and make those kinds of changes or have those kinds of influences earlier before they get to secondary school.

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careerslearning australian Teacher • August 2013

INBRIEF Switch help for transition teachers WA program

Life beyond the range

PRE-SERVICE teachers have headed to rural and remote schools in Queensland after being awarded a $1500 professional learning grant. The State Government’s Beyond the Range program is aimed at helping third and final year students gain experience in outback communities. Applications for the next round of grants open in August. Visit for more.

Arts Minister’s Awards THE 2014 South Australian Education Arts Ministers’ Awards assist teachers to undertake professional learning. One $5000 award is given each year, through the Carclew organisation, in three categories: Primary Arts Education, Secondary Arts Education, and Artist Working in Schools. Nominations for the 2014 awards close at Monday, July 29. Visit for more.

Open Unis’ eLearning OPEN Universities Australia offers an online Graduate Certificate in eLearning from the University of New England. The course is made up of four units: Creating Accessible eLearning Environments, eLearning Communities, Issues in Learning with ICT, and Principles and Practices of eLearning. For details log on to Email briefs to

A TRAINING program to help hundreds of teachers in Western Australia prepare for the shift of Year 7 to secondary school kicks off this semester. The State Government’s $22.4 million Switch program offers three training options for public school teachers, depending on existing skills and content knowledge. Educators with little knowledge in a subject area can take a graduate certificate in maths, design and technology, science or special education. The first intake will start at Edith Cowan University on July 29 and a second will be available in Semester One next year. Participants will need to complete four units, either full or parttime through face-to-face or online study, or a mix of both. Short courses will also be offered, although there are no further details on providers. For teachers who want to build their subject knowledge for Year 7 to 9, tailored training is expected to be offered from the start of 2014. As with the graduate certificate option, all course costs and teacher relief will be funded by the government. The third option is school-based professional learning, aimed at

WA Education Minister Peter Collier visiting Year 7 science students at Ballajura Community College, where he launched the Switch program. teachers who know the content but are making the switch from a primary to secondary environment. In this case, schools can apply for funding to design and deliver training to support staff switching from primary to secondary, and existing secondary teachers involved in the move. The WA education department says around 525 primary and secondary teachers will benefit from the Switch program. Permanent

pre-service help

Extensive sex ed resource PRE-SERVICE teachers will be more prepared than ever to teach sexuality education lessons, thanks to a resource developed by two Deakin University academics. Dr Deb Ollis and associate professor Lyn Harrison will be able to give educators a ready-made resource with which to build a sexuality education program in their schools and ensure they are equipped with the knowledge, skill and confidence to integrate sexuality education into health education programs. Ollis explains that research in this area showed that teachers lacked confidence and comfort to teach sexuality education, even though the current curriculum context both in Victoria and at a national level requires teachers to teach sexuality education. The resource, titled Sexuality Education Matters, covers the breadth of sexuality education and other universities can select from it certain aspects that would suit their program. “It’s designed for pre-service teacher education programs [in primary, secondary, upper secondary] and it covers everything from STIs to issues around pornography, ... around gender and power, issues around reproduction,” Ollis explains. “It’s designed as a very extensive resource and it’s had readings and assessments designed to support I guess the Australian curriculum in its focus.”

She adds that in most pre-service teacher education courses, students would be lucky to do one three hour class that covers sexuality education. That was part of the motivation behind her decision to offer an elective unit at Deakin University called Teaching Sexuality Education in the Middle Years. “We recently went through an accreditation process and have now required all of our Bachelor of Health and Phys Ed students to

undertake these extensive studies in sexuality education,” she says. “So they will basically be the first cohort of students who are actually prepared with extensive studies in sexuality education.” Ollis says the benefit of this unit is that students can do it intensively over seven days, before they have their assessments. Throughout the course, they are encouraged to find their own positioning to issues that are potentially sensitive.

Dr Deb Ollis from Deakin University’s School of Education.

and fixed-term teachers are eligible to apply. State Education Minister Peter Collier says it will help counter “the expected oversupply of primary teachers and shortage of secondary teachers when Year 7 students move to secondary schools in 2015”. Collier says secondary teachers specialising in maths, science, design and technology and special education will be in demand,

and there will also be a need for English, society and environment, PE and language teachers. The education department says it is continuing to analyse enrolment figures and the exact number of teachers required “may fluctuate”. “However, based on current projections, about 1000 more secondary school teachers are likely to be required and around 500 fewer primary school teachers needed when Year 7s move to secondary schools in 2015,” a department spokesperson tells Australian Teacher Magazine. The university training is for a postgraduate qualification in one of the secondary specialisations, but short courses will not lead to a formal qualification. The education department says it will be up to schools, in partnership with individual staff, to determine what kind of training support is needed. “The advantage of this program is that training will be developed for each teacher based on their qualifications, skills and previous experiences,” Collier says. Education officials add the initiative is part of a package of measures to support the Year 7 move. Expressions of interest for the Switch program are now open.

school bonus

Qualified archaeologist Grimsey is Grand Avenue’s own Indiana Jones HAVING a visiting expert in the classroom is incredibly beneficial for students, but one Queensland class has a specialist with them every day. Prior to beginning her teaching career, Year 5 teacher at Grand Avenue State School Amy Grimsey trained as an archaeologist specialising in Australian history. Despite studying archaeology at university, Grimsey never worked in the profession because of how competitive it was. “Unless you went on to do honours and doctorates, you just couldn’t get work inside Australia,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “It’s so competitive and so I trained in it and I still dabble in it and volunteer.” Her volunteer work has taken her on digs to Mt Isa in north Queensland where she did some work on bifacial stone tools and got to take a closer look at Indigenous histories. “That was really exciting actually,” she says. “I was surprised how you could get really into it and get excited about stone tools and it was fascinating to see how they developed their technology out there.” Grimsey has also been out to a small town outside Charters Towers where she investigated some of the Gold Rush Civilisations and post-colonial histories. She says that she was inspired by the fantastic history teacher she had in high school, and she now tries to share her love of Australian

Before becoming a teacher, Amy Grimsey trained as an archaeologist. history with her own students. “I think sometimes the kids think I’m a bit crazy because I get right into it,” Grimsey laughs. “And I said, ‘it’s so exciting to be able to teach you this because I’m actually an archaeologist’. “And then we had to have a conversation about what’s an archaeologist, and how do you become an archaeologist — it was really good because I can use all of those skills that I did at a university level but then bring it back to the kids’ level.”

August 2013 • australian Teacher • 61

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careersleadership australian Teacher • August 2013

INBRIEF Canadian schools insight technology focus

Wood pulls up stumps Earlier this year, principal Cameron Wood retired after a two year stint at Queensland’s Hambledon State School. His retirement allowed the principal position to undergo a merit selection process for the appointment of a new leader. From the beginning of Term 3, Meaghan Rodgers has been appointed to the post.

Coburn staff changes Victoria’s Coburn Primary School has undergone a number of staff changes since the beginning of Term 3. Principal Rhonda Knight has taken a period of extended leave and will retire at the beginning of 2014. In her absence, Gail Crane will be acting principal in Term 3 and 4, supported by Faye Martin, Samantha Lloyd and Emma Hampton.

Blackley recognised Having worked in music programs at various schools across the ACT over many decades, Naida Elizabeth Blackley has been recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. She received a Medal (OAM) in the General Division for her work as principal of the Instrumental Music Program in the ACT Education and Training Directorate since 2006. The award recognised her services as a leader in music education. Email briefs to

TECHNOLOGY is one way for school leaders here to develop links with their overseas counterparts, but there’s nothing like a study tour to witness a different education system first-hand. “You can ask the secondary questions and delve deeper into what the system is about. It’s not only observations but it’s the interaction with people that is so important,” Victorian Principals Association (VPA) president Gabrielle Leigh tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Leigh joined association members on a study tour of Finland in 2012, China the year before, and a Term 2 trip to Canada in 2013. “We were really interested in [Canada] ... as a high performing system, and also they had a very interesting Kindergarten program where they are investing heavily in Early Years; also the School Board system that people have been talking about here,” Leigh explains. The 20-strong group of principals and assistant principals had a chance to visit schools and professional associations in Ontario, British Colombia and Alberta. Leigh says making contacts with professional associations from overseas is just as important as seeing educators in action.

VPA members visiting Ontario were impressed with an Early Years initiative. “If people come to Victoria I very much try and do the same. All the associations in the three places we visited were very welcoming... and had a number of principals come in and spend some time with us.” Organising study tours is a big task and she has rich praise for “wonderful” VPA life members Terry Condon, who organised the Canadian trip, and Aileen Hall, the China study tour. “They are really putting back into professional learning for others.”

Since returning from Canada, the leaders have shared key findings with a presentation to 230 colleagues at a statewide forum. “They talked about the Early Years initiative in Ontario ... about the School Boards and also about putting money into special needs teachers,” Leigh says. The VPA also established a relationship with an academic with expertise in School Boards, for help in addressing some of the governance questions affecting Victorian schools.

leadership awards

Study scholarships for ACT principals OUTSTANDING principals working in the Australian Capital Territory public school system have been awarded Territory Government scholarships. The funding will enable them to undertake further study both here and overseas. Sue Norton of Fraser Primary School, Stromlo High School’s Dr Michael Kindler, Kerrie Heath, a senior manager of disability education in the education department, Jennie Lindsay of Malkara School, The Woden School’s Ian Copland, and Neville Bonner Primary School principal Fran Dawning are the six recipients. Norton and Heath will use the money to travel to Harvard University while Kindler will be exploring Australia’s education links with Asia. Lindsay will head off to the UK, while Dawning will attend the University of Chicago. And, Copland will be studying in Western Australia. ACT Education Minister Joy Burch announced the scholarships. “I congratulate these outstanding principals whose scholarship programs will immensely enrich both their professional development and the ACT public school system.”

Just on Principal

Hall enjoying life at ‘unique’ Erindale College

PERFORMING the role of principal in an Australian school requires a unique range of skills, strengths and abilities, but to helm Erindale College in the ACT is another kind of task altogether. Built in 1980, the Erindale Education and Recreation Complex, which includes Erindale College, was designed by education aristocrat Hedley Beare to be the crux of the local community. “Erindale College is a unique college in the country,” principal Michael Hall tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “It was built as part of a very dynamic new approach to mass education and was built as the

centre of a community hub. That hub includes a 500-seat performing arts theatre, an active leisure centre with approximately 2000 paying members, and an indoor heated swimming pool complex which is open to public users but also educates about 1800 learn-to-swim students. It also has a fully functioning sports facility of tennis courts, playing fields, an evening college that operates with about 300 to 400 adult learners during the school year, a public library that is shared as the college library, and a training restaurant for hospitality vocational education students. “We have about 550 to 600 students enrolled in our day programs of Years 11 and 12. My job is to manage all of that,” Hall, who’s now been at the school for seven years, says. Assured leadership is essential for the success of the complex. “It’s diverse, but that’s what attracted me to this place — the potential to integrate all that in a truly community setting,” Hall recalls. “What I have got is a very, very strong, committed and sophisticated team of management. “I have four people acting at deputy principal level, and I use that term explicitly because two are deputy principals of a traditional high school backing — one looks after students, one looks after the curriculum side of things. “The other two — one is actually a full-time business and facilities

and at the same time try and play the educational leader role, which is my favoured role.” Amongst other things, Hall is also co-president of the ACT Principals Association and on the na-

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The Erindale Education and Recreation Complex is a community hub. manager responsible for the day to day maintenance and running of the facility, through to finance and policy management within the complex. “[And] the final one is the deputy principal, who is operating our new (opening in 2014) trades training centre complex, which we are

the lead college for.” There’s also an executive team of 10 in the day college, a general manager of the active leisure centre, a library manager and a theatre manager. “So, if you like, it’s a bit of a corporate organisation to boot — and I try to play a role in all of that …

tional executive of the Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA). The ASPA board of directors is looking at designing a new paradigm for leading education in the 21st Century, for leading secondary schools in the Asian century, for leading teaching and learning with digital and learning technologies a key part, and learning when the Australian Curriculum is potentially constraining. “If you look at it as a closed box rather than an open set of opportunities, then you start to take into account what is it that young people need to graduate from secondary school with to be successful and how do you go about unleashing all of their talents. “ You’ve got to be mindful of that, and if you’re going to wrap that up and drive it through with your colleagues and with the community and with the students a package that works. “And that’s really tough work and that’s the thing that I’m both enjoying and am daunted by in my current position.”

August 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ 63

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Top of the class

Rolt literally the nation’s favourite librarian rebecca vukovic IF the measuring stick of any great teacher is their enthusiasm for education, then Jae Rolt is one of the world’s best. The teacher librarian from Cessnock West Public School, in the Hunter Region of New South Wales, was named Australia’s favourite librarian this year in an Australian Library Information Association competition. Rolt was one of 438 nominees for the award, and scored almost 10 per cent of the more than 14,000 votes cast in the competition. Despite her clear win, Rolt says she was absolutely astounded by the level of support she received. “I was blown away just to be nominated for the award,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Then when I saw the votes coming in and the comments from some of my current students and past students and past parents, I was in awe.” Rolt could keep an eye on how she was going in the competition in the weeks leading up to the finish, but a week out from the end, the votes were hidden and she could no longer see where she was placed. “At that point I think I was coming about seventh which astounded me as it was ... so in that last seven days, I obviously took over a little bit,” she laughs.

Australia’s favourite librarian Jae Rolt is ably assisted by her mother Judy Cooper one day a week in the school library. But Rolt admits that she hasn’t cared so much for the votes, it was the lovely comments she ‘s received that have really made her day. “The comments that people were leaving about how much I had touched their lives and espe-

“I not only get to teach children all day, everyday, but I also get to immerse them in great literature at the same time,” Rolt says.

cially from parents, what a good job they thought I was doing teaching their children — that was really nice,” she says. Having wanted to be a teacher from a young age, Rolt says working in the school library is exactly where she wants to be. “From as young as I can remember, teaching has always been my passion. What I didn’t realise was that not every child had all of their books in alphabetical order, and not every child kept a borrowing card when someone borrowed one of their books,” she laughs. “I guess it was just that natural progression from having my own childhood library, and just combining my two loves of literature and teaching and putting them together in a great role. “I not only get to teach children all day, everyday, but I also get to immerse them in great literature at the same time,” she shares. At present in her tenth year in the profession, Rolt says that she’s


learned the key to engaging and connecting with students — and it’s a simple secret. “First of all I learn all their names,” she shares. “I can tell you, I can honestly name the first and last name of every child in the school because I think your name is very important, and it’s no good saying ‘hey you, come over here to me’. So I take the time to learn all of their names.” She adds that she also sees it as important to listen to the children about the books they like to read and she does her best to ensure that she can get a book into the library if a student has specially requested it. “I do my utmost to get that book in so they can read it and if a child does recommend a certain book, I always make sure that they’re the first one to borrow it,” she says. During the school’s annual book fair, Rolt arranges for all the students and teachers to dress up to bring life to the library. The enthusiasm Rolt brings to

her role was well and truly recognised with the favourite librarian award. But despite the support she’s received from students, it was in fact her retired mum who nominated her for the prize. “My mum works with me one day a week, so while I’m her daughter, she also works with me as a colleague,” Rolt explains. “What she put in her nomination was my story telling ability and the way I just make a story absolutely come to life and how I just capture the hearts of the children when I’m reading a story.” While ALIA doesn’t actually let nominees know who put them up for the award, Rolt says her mother couldn’t resist sharing the news with her. After being named the national winner of the competition, Rolt says she was overwhelmed with support from the school. “I can almost say that 90 per cent of the kids came up during the day to give me a hug, shake my hand, say congratulations and it actually continued for a whole week,” she says. “My principal acknowledged the award at the whole school assembly where we had some parents there and the kids did three cheers for me. “Now I’ve always been part of the group three cheering somebody else, I’ve never been that person up on stage getting the cheers before and it brought me to tears.”

Rolt loves getting into the spirit of dress up days in the library.

intheclassroombonus australian Teacher • August 2013

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student activities

How’s stat for a National Maths Day focus Kate Manuel and toby spencer Teachers, students, schools and communities are invited to celebrate National Maths Day on August 16, as a part of National Science Week. If you didn’t know, 2013 is the International Year of Statistics, so on National Maths Day, students and teachers are invited to use statistics to better understand their world. Some people think that mathematics isn’t used much in the ‘real world’ and that statistics is a particularly ‘dry’ topic. However, the reality is that mathematics in various forms is widely used, by many people, every day, and statistics in particular helps us to understand and interpret the world in which we live. The Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT), the organiser of National Maths Day, has a prepared a range of activities — suited for all year levels, from the early years right through to junior secondary — that will ask students to look at the world and their place in it. There are lots of activities based around two main themes: Your place in the world relates to families (heritage, language spoken, time in Australia) and food

Junior secondary classes can analyse average global temperatures.

Students can explore where our food comes from and how far it travels.

(what we eat, how much, sources of food). The activities are developed from a personal perspective for the early years leading to the global for the secondary years. About your world has a scientific focus, relating to weather and probability, and sustainability of food resources. The time frames start with a single day for the early years, progressing to weeks months and years for primary students and then to hundreds of years for secondary classes. Information and downloadable worksheets are broadly based, so teachers are welcome to take

tures and analyse the trends. What about data on Australian agricultural exports and the comparison to what Australians actually use? The results might surprise you! Mathematics in the form of statistics is everywhere. People have to use and interpret statistics every day: in newspapers, on food packaging, on utility bills, when making purchasing decisions… the list is endless! Being statistically literate is a vital skill for all students, not just to be an informed consumer, but in order to understand the world in which we live and how it works.

and use ideas and activities as suit them and their students. For example, early years’ students might like to gather data about their family origins, or choose appropriate clothing for the different seasons. Middle primary students could look at where we get our food from and how far it travels. Upper primary students might interpret minimum and maximum temperatures and daily rainfall to help them make a weather forecast. Junior secondary classes could look at average global tempera-

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Use some statistics on National Maths Day to learn more about the world in which we live—there’s nothing ‘dry’ about that! So put the date in your diary and start planning your lessons. There are some great cross-curricular opportunities! The activities will be available on the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers’ website ( in late July. Kate Manuel, is manager national projects at AAMT and Toby Spencer is the association’s publications and promotions officer.

intheclassroombonus australian Teacher • August 2013

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neuroscience insight

Making move from brain scan to lesson plan CAN insights from neuroscience help teachers to teach and students to learn? Dr Paul A HowardJones has some answers. Genuine dialogue between cognitive neuroscience and education is increasing our knowledge about the brain. We expect this will contribute to better educational outcomes, but there are many challenges in moving from brain scan to lesson plan. One thing appears clear: a simple transmission model in which neuroscientists advise educators on their practice should never be expected to work. Since neuroscience cannot provide instant solutions for the classroom, neuroscientific and educational research is needed to bridge the gap between laboratory and classroom. To emphasise the key role of educational values and thinking in the design and execution of such a venture, my colleagues and I at the University of Bristol have found ourselves using the term ‘neuroeducational research’ to describe this enterprise. It involves more than a brief flirtation, though. It’s a more serious and long-term relationship in which neuroscientific and educational researchers co-construct concepts based on a shared under-

Research on video games is informing our understanding of learning. standing of ‘learning,’ ‘attention,’ ‘reward’ and the like, and on a shared understanding of the value of the types of evidence that can inform our understanding about learning. In contrast to such authentic interdisciplinary work, brief flirtations between education and neuroscience may, instead, spawn neuromyths, often due to a lack of attention to psychological concepts. A common example is when synaptic connections in the brain are used to explain how we form connections between ideas. This conflation of brain and mind allows some educational practices to gain an apparently neuroscientific fla-

vour. In reality, however, association between ideas is a well-studied psychological concept, but is currently impossible to study at the level of the synapse. A good example of interdisciplinary work that is informing our understanding of learning involves research showing why we like video games. Neuroimaging shows that video games stimulate our brain’s reward system. My research with colleagues at the University of Bristol has investigated reward uncertainty, a feature of video games, and the effects of reward predictability and unpredictability in educational games. We found, first, that students pre-

ferred educational tasks when they were embedded in a gaming context involving uncertain rewards and, in a second classroom study, that reward uncertainty encouraged open motivational talk about learning of the type found in sport. A further study comparing the physiological response of adults carrying out a learning task with and without chance-based uncertainty showed reward uncertainty heightened the emotional response in support of increased learning. The dialogue between neuroscience and education is still in its infancy but already suggests the need for a new field of enquiry that is both scientifically and educationally grounded. A psychological understanding of learning will be crucial in linking neural processes to learning achieved in a classroom, but educational thinking needs to be involved at every stage, from developing useful questions, to executing the research and communicating its findings. Dr Paul A Howard-Jones, of the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol, UK, is speaking at the 2013 ACER Research Conference, ‘How the Brain Learns: What lessons are there for teaching?’ Aug 4-6.


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BUSTING SOME NEUROMYTHS It’s important that we develop forums to scrutinise and clearly communicate messages combining scientific and educational understanding to teachers because, in their absence, neuromyths can flourish. In 2009, we surveyed 158 graduate trainees about to enter secondary schools. 82 per cent considered teaching children in their preferred learning style could improve learning outcomes, an approach commonly justified in terms of brain function – Greg Krätzig and Katherine Arbuthnott in Perceptual learning style and learning proficiency: A test of the hypothesis found the learning style approach is not helpful. 65 per cent considered that coordination exercises could improve integration of left-right hemispheric function. 20 per cent thought their brain would shrink if they drank fewer than eight glasses of water a day. None of these ideas is supported by what we know from scientific studies.

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pdbonus australian Teacher • August 2013

alaska cruise

Science at Sea sets sail for awe and wonder ANITA TRENWITH SCIENCE at Sea is a biennial cruise from Vancouver, Canada, to Glacier Bay in Alaska. Educator Anita Trenwith was among the passengers who set sail at the end of June. THE week-long Science at Sea cruise, run by Spangler Science, visits ports at Juneau, Ketchikan and Skagway and includes onboard presentations while at sea. First run in 2009, this was the third Science at Sea cruise along the inside passage of Alaska and the first one attended by Aussies. Day 0, Vancouver: The science mindset was set by visiting Science World in Vancouver, which is not unlike Questacon in Canberra. The displays were larger than life, interactive and contained clear explanations. Vancouver itself was very scenic with the magnificent harbour back dropped by snow-capped peaks in the distance. Day 1, Boarding the boat: The formal part of the cruise was kicked off with a riveting, laugha-minute presentation in the Pan Pacific hotel. Science toy giveaways for everyone were scattered throughout the morning just like the Ellen or Oprah shows. There was certainly no falling asleep in this session as Steve had everyone listening to anecdotes about science jokes in class, watching his entertaining demonstrations

Passengers on the Science at Sea cruise stood silently waiting to hear the sound of Marjorie Glacier calving. using polymers, inertia and electricity and everyone blowing up wind tubes using Bernoulli’s Principle. All too soon it was time to leave and board the ship. Day 2: The first day at sea consisted of absorbing information about the Pacific Northwest Coast and some PowerPoint presentations about geology, tectonic

Anita Trenwith visited Science World in Vancouver as part of her trip.

The float plane was a chance to view Ketchikan and the Misty Fjords.

plates, ocean productivity and glaciers by local John Scheerens. Day 3, Juneau: After touring the town, which contained an astonishing number of jewellery stores, and gazing in awe at the steep slopes that in winter have sported avalanches, it was time to head to Mendenhall Glacier. A short walk showcasing the amazing collection of mosses growing everywhere led to the glacier. It was surprisingly warm and the temptation to test the water was overwhelming. Despite the warm weather the water was ice cold and after less than a minute it was clear remaining too long would lead to frostbitten toes. The afternoon was filled with a once in a lifetime whale watching experience at Auke Bay. A group of 12 humpback whales were bubble net feeding, pec flapping, spy hopping and even breaching all in close proximity to the boat. This was the highlight of the trip so far. Day 4, Skagway: A relaxing train ride to White Pass included a commentary with information about how the Klondike gold rush in 1898 lured many to cross the steep and dangerous path on foot. The return trip down provided the opportunity for some of the more weary to nap, followed by another chance to buy whale pendant necklaces, with another 40 or so jewellery stores in the township. Day 5: The boat cruised into Glacier Bay with 3.2 million acres of wilderness. Local rangers boarded the ship and shared ideas on how to utilise Glacier Bay in the classroom without the expense of a field trip. We were encoraged to use bubble guns to replicate whales bubble net feeding, marshmallows and water to demonstrate the function of the baleen in the whale and ice cream cakes to replicate glacier action. The boat soon arrived at Marjorie Glacier, the park’s largest and most active tide water glacier.

Again the weather was spectacular, despite the ship an hour ahead having to bypass the glacier due to the dense fog. The view was magnificent and over 2000 passengers stood quietly waiting to hear the glacier calving. The sound of the ice cracking was similar to thunder as huge chunks fell into the water. Viewing Marjorie Glacier certainly gave an insight to the glaciers that once covered areas near Adelaide, such as Hallett Cove. Day 6, Ketchikan: The schedule

included a visit to Saxman village and though the lure of learning about totem poles and local Tlingit culture was great, the desire to go up in a float plane took priority. Flying over Ketchikan and then over the Misty Fjords the scenery was breathtaking. Snow capped mountain peaks as far as the eye could see were scattered with mountain goats and black bear. The plane landed in a secluded valley providing an opportunity for all six of us passengers to stretch our legs before the return trip. The weather was unusually cooperative with another bright sunny day, certainly not living up to Ketcikan’s reputation as the Rain Capital of Alaska. Day 7: The last day was at sea and provided a chance for participants to share information and network with each other. This was followed by a focus on climate change and a documentary called Chasing Ice. That night was the final dinner together on the boat and a chance to say farewells. Science at Sea now caters for a variety of people interested in attending not just science teachers. The focus at times leans towards culture and history, but the opportunity to experience the geology and biology of the region caters for all levels and the Spangler Team are eager to make sure that you have a good time and stay in touch after the event is over. Anita Trenwith is an SA science teacher and winner of the 2012 Prime Minister’s Prize for Excellence in Science in Secondary Teaching Award.

The biennial Science at Sea cruise goes from Vancouver to Glacier Bay, Alaska.

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careersleadershipbonus australian Teacher • August 2013

Just on Principal

Hall enjoying life at ‘unique’ Erindale College grant quarry BEING a principal in an Australian school requires a unique range of skills, strengths and abilities, but to lead Erindale College in the ACT is another kind of task altogether. Built in 1980, the Erindale Education and Recreation Complex was designed by education architect Hedley Beare to be the crux of the local community. “Erindale College is a unique college in the country,” principal Michael Hall tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “It was built as part of a very dynamic new approach to mass education and was built as the centre of a community hub.” That ‘community hub’ includes a 500-seat performing arts theatre, an active leisure centre with approximately 2000 paying members, and an indoor heated swimming pool complex, which is open to public users, but also educates 1800 or so learn-to-swim students. It also has a fully functioning sports facility of tennis courts, playing fields and indoor arenas, an evening college that operates with about 300 to 400 adult learners during the school year, a public library that is shared as the college library, and a training restaurant for hospitality vocational education students. “We also have a partnership with community groups that use the facilities weekends, night times, and it has the rest of a normal set of school facilities,” Hall says. “We have about 550 to 600 students enrolled in our day programs of Years 11 and 12. “My job is to manage all of that.” Quality, assured leadership is essential for the collective success of the complex. “It’s diverse, but that’s what attracted me to this place — the potential to integrate all that in a truly community setting,” Hall says. “What I have got is a very, very strong, committed and sophisticated team of management. “I have four people acting at

deputy principal level — and I use that term explicitly because two are deputy principals of a traditional high school backing — one looks after students, one looks after the curriculum side of things. “The other two — one is actually a full-time business and facilities manager, responsible for the day to day maintenance and running of the facility, through to finance and policy management within the complex. That person has a background in project management and school building management, as well as a finance background. “[And] the final one is the deputy principal who is operating our new (opening in 2014) trades training centre complex, which we are the lead college for.” Below that is an executive team of 10 in the day college, a general manager under that, who looks after the active leisure centre and a couple of hundred people who work there, a library manager and a theatre manager. “So, if you like, it’s a bit of a corporate organisation to boot — and I try to play a role in all of that, but respect their expertise and at the same time try and play the educational leader role, which is my favoured role.”

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The complex is considered a shining beacon on the ACT educational landscape, and while Hall has been crucial in ensuring the complex’s success he says understanding what leadership is in an educational context, is important. “I guess I get my satisfaction and put my emphasis into assisting other leaders building their capacity to lead those essential activities that we all make a difference to everyday student work. “There’s a need for strong relationships as well as a strong understanding of what’s the shared vision, the mission that we all collectively put together and how do we go about strategically planning and pushing and working towards that vision, as well as having that leadership structure as well as the methodology,” Hall says. “Plan and act and reflect and replan and what’s the research saying along the way, as well. “If I had to put my finger on one thing, it’s probably the people-relationship element, because it’s people that deliver and it’s people we’re doing things with and for and the people who are enacting that vision.” Along with his role as principal at Erindale College, Hall is, amongst other things, co-president of the ACT Principals Association and on the national executive of the Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA). The ASPA board of directors is looking at designing a new paradigm for leading education in the 21st Century, for leading secondary schools in the Asian century, for leading teaching and learning with digital and learning technologies a key part, and learning when the Australian Curriculum is potentially constraining. “If you look at it as a closed box rather than an open set of opportunities, then you start to take into account what is it that young people need to graduate from secondary school with to be successful and how do you go about unleashing all of their talents. “ You’ve got to be mindful of that, and if you’re going to wrap that up and drive it through with

your colleagues and with the community and with the students a package that works. “And that’s really tough work and that’s the thing that I’m both enjoying and am daunted by in my current position.” As we set forth into a dynamic and unpredictable global future, Hall believes there’s much work to be done in education. “It’s about ‘How do you get people to move from an approach to education defined by the factory

model?’ if you like — everyone comes in at five and goes out at 18 and you get stamped every year based on whether you’re good, bad or indifferent or an A, B, C, D. “I guess it’s very much a case of trying to predict what a future is for education for the kids I’m looking after in the two years I have them, and I want them to walk out of here and be successful in that world — knowing that the world is hard to define because of change.”


Australian Teacher Magazine (August 2013)