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2 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2012

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INBRIEF NT scholarships boost

Chalk is cheap Burns’ haircut by kids Page 38

DARWIN, July 16 - Northern Territory Education Minister Chris Burns has highlighted the success of a scheme to train Indigenous teachers. He said 80 per cent of those who had completed their studies with the help of the More Indigenous Teachers scholarships were now in jobs in NT schools. There are 126 Indigenous teachers in Territory schools, including 40 in leadership positions.

Vaccination world first BRISBANE, July 12 - Australian schoolboys will be vaccinated against conditions such as genital warts, and some cancers, under a new immunisation program. In a world first, the Gardasil vaccine will be rolled out to boys aged 12 and 13 in schools nationally from semester one, 2013. Year 9 boys will undergo a two year catch-up program as well.

Blaze guts WA school PERTH, July 10 - Staff and students from Mount Lawley Primary School have been moved to a temporary site at Mount Lawley Senior High School. The primary school was gutted in a suspected arson attack. There will be staggered start and finish times for the two schools from the start of Term 3. The WA Government has committed to rebuilding the primary school by 2014.

QLD reporting change BRISBANE, July 9 - Queensland teachers are now required by law to report cases of suspected child abuse to their principals. School leaders must then report cases to police under changes to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006. Previous legislation required teachers to report suspected cases only when a school staff member was thought to have perpetrated the abuse.

Children held hostage PARIS (FRANCE), July 10 - An armed man who took several hostages at a school complex, including children, has released them all unhurt and been taken into custody. The drama began as parents dropped youngsters off at the complex, which includes nursery and primary schools, in Vitry-sur-Seine. Most hostages were freed fairly quickly but one parent was held for several hours. Email briefs to

Super science AS you will have already noticed by our front cover, this month’s Australian Teacher Magazine highlights some great classroom, school and community partnership science projects. Our In the Classroom section (p.35-44) features a mousetrap racers project in Perth, a program to encourage more girls to study physics and a National Science Week celebration focusing on flight and aerodynamics. The issue of teacher and principal pay continues to generate headlines. This month’s Feature Story (p.24) takes a look at the pay debate in Australia and overseas, bonus pay trials in Victoria, and suggestions on how we should be rewarding the best educators. Finally, our regular Innovation article (p.38) looks at the issue of youth suicide, and how schools are coming together to support students at risk. Principal Paul Desmond talks candidly about youth suicide and the early stages of a PD program involving staff at his school. jo earp EDITOR

New CEO is ready for the challenge SUPPORTING principals and providing a diverse range of professional learning opportunities are the two major issues facing Principals Australia Institute (PAI) over the coming year, new CEO Jim Davies has said. According to Davies, who succeeded Liz Furler last month, he brings a sense of “optimism and enthusiasm and engery,” with him to the role. “It’s a really huge opportunity to be involved in the leadership of this organisation ... to come into the job at this point in time, with a sense of real momentum behind the importance of the principalship,” Davies told Australian Teacher Magazine. “As a means of enhancing the professional practices of principals in all schools across the country, it’s really exciting.” Alongside his new role, Davies is completing a Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Flinders University, where he is also an adjunct professor in the School of Education, researching the expe-

riences of school leaders in nonmetropolitan areas. “What I’m particularly interested in is, what is the nature of, or the real core characteristics, of really successful school principals [particularly in] rural and remote settings,” he explains. His research is related to his desire for PAI to actively support principals in all contexts, from metro and remote schools to

those in the independent sector and religious schools. “A key issue is going to be how do we support the professional learning of principals in that diverse array of contexts to meet their particular needs So that’s one of the big challenges.” PAI is the peak professional body representing Catholic Secondary Principals Australia, Australian Primary Principals Association, Australian Secondary Principals Association and the Association of Heads of Independent Schools of Australia. Davies is a former president of the SA Secondary Principals Association who began his career as an agriculture teacher. He has 20 years experience in school leadership, including at Hallett Cove School, Port Lincoln High School, and the Australian Science and Mathematics School. Turn to p.18 to read Jim Davies’ Hard Word opinion piece on the topic of principal autonomy.

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‘No funding cuts’ THE Director-General of the New South Wales Education Department has denied money is being cut from disability services in the state’s schools. Dr Michele Bruniges said itinerant teachers had been taken out of schools, but each school in the state was getting base special needs funding for the first time. However, she added that some schools will lose resources if their enrolments or learning needs change. Her comments followed a rally by parents of special needs students and representatives of the Public Service Association (PSA) in Dulwich Hill. NSW PSA general secretary John Cahill said proposed cuts by the O’Farrell Government would mean less money to pay the wages of support staff who worked with children with disabilities. “More than $4 million in funding will be cut out of the system,” Cahill told reporters. “What that means is less services will be able to be provided to disadvantaged pupils in our schools.” He said the decision would affect 272 schools across NSW. “If anything, we need more people in the system to look after the kids, not less people; and this decision will mean less people.” Support workers had vastly improved the school experience for disabled students said

Dr Michele Bruniges said each school will get base special needs funding for the first time. Gemma Turner, whose child is a special needs student at Dulwich High School. “I can’t say enough about how wonderful they are,” she told AAP. Bruniges denied there had been a reduction in funding for students with a disability. “In fact this year ... we’ve put in an additional $69 million directly to schools for low support need students. We’ve taken out itinerants and put a school resource in by looking at every school’s enrolment and needs.”

August 2012 • australian Teacher


Poor quality housing turning some teachers off jobs in remote schools THERE are problems filling some teaching positions in rural and regional South Australia because of poor quality housing and accommodation offered by the State Government, according to the Australian Education Union. The SA branch’s vice president, David Smith, said places such as Port Augusta and Whyalla have a considerable shortage of rental accommodation. He added some people have been forced to live in caravan parks or house sit for friends just to keep a roof over their head. “The quality of the housing is absolutely abysmal in some cases,” Smith told Australian Teacher Magazine. “When people find out the housing is poor or hard to get they decide not to come, so it is a disincentive.” State Education Minister Grace Portolesi said the houses are expected to meet the standards endorsed by the Public Employee Housing Advisory Committee, but admitted that there are times when there are shortages. “Occasionally some teachers can be accommodated shortterm in caravan parks or hotels. “As of this year, I am advised there have been about six to eight people in this situation and the department pays for this temporary accommodation,” she said. Smith said the education

Grace Portolesi has urged any teachers experiencing problems with accommodation to contact the state education department. department often doesn’t hear of all the cases as teachers are afraid to speak up because of the possible community backlash. “One of the teachers I spoke to had to spend a few hundred dollars to have … the garbage and the rotting stuff cleared out of the backyard of the house she was offered. That’s just terrible,” Smith revealed. Portolesi has encouraged educators experiencing problems to contact her department so that the issue can be investigated.


hot news Class size waste AUSTRALIA has spent too much on reducing school class sizes and not enough on lifting teacher quality, according to the Federal Opposition. Opposition Education Spokesman Chris Pyne said the highest calibre candidates were not being attracted to the teaching profession. “We have in Australia a straightjacket over how teachers are remunerated, what career progression they can expect ...,” he said. He criticised Liberal and Labor state governments for their “obsession” with smaller class sizes. “There is no evidence that smaller class sizes somehow produce better student outcomes. In spite of Australia having small class sizes for 10 years ... their outcomes have gone backwards,” Pyne pointed out. Professor Barry McGaw, chairman of the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, said the standard of teaching needed to improve. He agreed money had been wasted on reducing class sizes. “It’s a very expensive thing to do. The range in which we’ve reduced it has almost no impact on student learning,” he told the ABC. Greens leader Christine Milne said Australia had slipped in education standards in the past decade because of a lack of investment in the sector. But she disagreed with Pyne on his criticism of class sizes. “As a former classroom teacher, I would say to you that class sizes matter ... as do the training and professional development opportunities for teachers,” she said.


australian Teacher • AUGUST 2012

tas schools push

INBRIEF Embrace Gonski

Tree-sit protest record

HOBART, July 10 - Anti-logging campaigner and high school teacher Miranda Gibson has set an Australian record for a tree-sit protest. The 31-year-old has been living on a suspended platform 60 metres up a eucalypt near the Styx Valley since December 14. Her efforts bettered the 208 days Manfred Stephens spent atop a tree near Cairns in 1995. The world record is thought to be 738 days.

Qld community cabinet BRISBANE, July 10 - The focus of a community cabinet forum in resources rich Queensland was not the carbon tax, but education. The 250-strong crowd at Redbank Plains State High School in Ipswich was packed with teachers and students. Most interest centred on the implementation of the Gonski recommendations, but Julia Gillard and Peter Garrett did not commit to a timeframe.

School fire deliberate SYDNEY, July 2 - A 12-year-old boy has been charged over a $500,000 school fire in the NSW city of Newcastle. Emergency crews were called to St Pius X High School on June 30, with two halls and an office found alight. The fire was eventually controlled but the structure has been damaged beyond repair. Police investigators suggested the fire was deliberately lit. Email briefs to

Gonski Bear visited students at Glenorchy Primary School. TASMANIAN students have received cuddles and high fives from a life size bear — the Gonski Bear — as part of the Australian Education Union (AEU) campaign on public school funding. Denison MP Andrew Wilkie accompanied the bear on a visit to Glenorchy Primary School to launch the AEU Tasmanian branch campaign ‘embrace Gonski now, delay would be unbearable.’ Campaign organiser, Harriet Binet said the bear was recruited to bring a creative and engaging element to the campaign. “The implementation of the [Gonski] review has been going on for almost two years and so we

decided it was time to get a little bit more creative,” she said. “The bear is going on school visits but the purpose is enable us to talk about the campaign and just to inform [the parents],” she said. Wilkie spent his time in a classroom speaking to the principal and staff about what additional funding would mean to the school. “He was there to hear what that school has achieved and really the point that we were making was that ... investment in public education does deliver results,” Binet explained. She said Gonski Bear had only done one classroom visit, and it is now on tour in the Hobart area.

assessment changes

LNP says national curriculum main reason for QCATs phase out by 2013 TEACHERS in Queensland will have fewer assessments to mark next year. The State Government has announced the Queensland Comparable Assessment Tasks (QCATs) will be completely phased out by 2013. Schools will still have the option to use them this year, but it will not be compulsory. State Education Minister JohnPaul Langbroek said cutting the assessment tool would deliver $3 million in savings this financial year. He said the introduction of the Australian Curriculum and a stronger assessment culture in schools meant the QCATs were unnecessary. The Queensland Teachers Union welcomed the LNP Government’s announcement to relieve teachers of “the burden” of QCATs. It said schools were now free to make a decision on this year’s assessments without needing approval from an external authority Meanwhile, a motion has been passed at the party’s annual state conference calling on Langbroek to remove “environmental propaganda material” from the curriculum. Senator Brett Mason said the curriculum appeared to have been hijacked by Labor values. He said when he grew up the three ‘Rs’ were reading, writing and arith-

Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek announced the end of QCATs. metic, and today it is “the republic, reconciliation and refugees”. The Noosa State Electorate Council asked LNP delegates to remove environmental propaganda, particularly “post-normal science about climate change”. LNP Noosa delegate Richard Pearson, who moved the motion, said the material was political, but one speaker argued it was dangerous to dismiss different points of view. Premier Campbell Newman said the LNP was a democratic organisation and its 14,000 members could put up whatever they wanted to be considered.

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2012

wa cabinet reshuffle

Tributes for Constable

HAVE YOU MOVED HOUSE OR CHANGED YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS RECENTLY? Whenever you change your contact details – whether it’s your home address or email address – it’s important not only to let your employer know, but let us know too. During the year you will receive important information from the Victorian Institute of Teaching, including your annual invoice. So it’s important to let us know when your contact details change. Go to Keep us updated – and we’ll keep you updated.

A CABINET reshuffle in Western Australia has seen Peter Collier appointed Education Minister, taking over the role from Liz Constable. Announcing the change, Premier Colin Barnett paid tribute to Constable for her enormous contribution to the state and dedication to the job. “[She] has presided over a period of significant reform, with the implementation of Independent Public Schools, the move of Year 7’s to high school, and a range of early childhood initiatives,” Barnett said in a statement. Constable said it had been an honour to have led a “revolution that has changed the face of education” in the state. “When the Premier asked me to take on the education portfolio in September 2008 there had been protracted and acrimonious EBA negotiation and teachers were probably the unhappiest they had ever been. “Add to that outcomes based education, the residualisation of primary schools because of the previous government’s decision about Year 7s and the problems created by WACOT, to name just a few of the issues I had to address. We had our work cut out for us in education,” Constable said. She highlighted some of the most notable

New WA Education Minister Peter Collier. successes during her time as Education Minister, including: negotiating two EBAs to establish WA teachers as the highest paid in the country; making pre-primary compulsory from next year and establishing the Teacher Registration Board to replace the “problem plagued” West Australian College of Teaching. Constable added that, given she will be retiring from parliament after almost 22 years she respected the decision to put together a new team to go to the next election and beyond.

new report

Non-performing schools let Indigenous down POOR-performing schools are the main reason Indigenous students don’t reach minimum education standards, according to a scathing report. The Centre of Independent Studies report said all states and territories will struggle to reach a COAG target of halving the gap in academic achievement by 2018. “Governments and education departments refuse to face the evidence that school ethos and classroom instruction are at the heart of education problems,” researchers Helen Hughes and Mark Hughes write. “Non-performing schools are the principal cause of Indigenous student failure.” Their report said Indigenous children have the same intellectual capabilities as non-Indigenous students but are betrayed by under-performing schools. The researchers found that many children

attended schools in low socio-economic areas which tended to have lower results overall and low expectations about the achievements of all students. As well, truancy was exacerbated by unemployment or welfare dependence, the report said, and students could not achieve well if they weren’t going to school. The report was also highly critical of programs which specifically target Indigenous students. It said most of the $360 million spent each year is wasted on “counterproductive ‘feel-good,’ ‘culturally appropriate’ programs that take time and attention from classroom instruction”. To boost underperforming schools, researchers recommended principals get autonomy of hiring, budgeting and managing schools and be held accountable for NAPLAN results.

US forum honour

NSW joins Center for Curriculum Redesign

THE Cairns to Karumba Bike Ride has raised $86,000 for charities, including the Cairns School of Distance Education. More than 250 people took part in this year’s event as riders, supporters and volunteers. The ride has raised more than $650,000 for school students over the past 14 years. Organisers hope this year’s total will eventually top $90,000.

NEW South Wales has joined a US-based international school curriculum forum. State Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said the education department had accepted an offer to join the Boston-based, notfor-profit Center for Curriculum Redesign. “This is a tremendous honour for NSW and testament to our decision to appoint an eminent educator, Dr Michele Bruniges, as the Director-General of [the DEC],” he said. “The centre creates a forum for conversations between experts ... to both ‘clean up’ curriculum and determine what must be added to meet 21st Century needs.” Piccoli explained other centre members include Harvard University, the OECD and the Finnish Board of Education. Founder of the centre, Charles Fadel, said there needs to be a global effort to work together and balance knowledge, skills, and character education to meet the challenges of this century.

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australian Teacher • August 2012

top end partnership

INBRIEF Indonesia boost

Drug education award

MELBOURNE, July 2 - Victoria has won a National Drug and Alcohol Excellence Award for its Drug Education in Schools curriculum. The Year 8 and 9 program is due to be rolled out to all secondary schools in the state later this year after trials at 21 schools. The program is a partnership between the DET, Edith Cowan University and Youth Research Centre.

Sri Lankan stars visit PERTH, July 2 - Students at a specialist sports school have been taking tips from the world’s tallest netballer. Darling Range Sports College played host to the Sri Lankan team, including 6ft 9in goal shooter Tharjini Sivalingam. Principal Peter Noack said having elite national teams using the facilities is a great opportunity for specialist netball students to learn.

Student teacher help CANBERRA, June 29 - Quentin Bryce has presented the eight recipients of this year’s Governor-General’s Indigenous Student Teacher Scholarships with their awards. They will each get up to $25,000 per year for up to four years to help them gain a teacher education degree. Education Minister Peter Garrett said he looked forward to them becoming outstanding teachers and role models. Email briefs to

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono’s visit included discussion on the student and teacher exchange program. INDONESIAN language classes will be rolled out across schools in Top End and a teacher and student exchange program to the country could resume. The NT Government announcement follows a meeting between Chief Minister Paul Henderson and Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in Darwin. Henderson said the planned agreement would see territory students learn Indonesian language and culture in Years 4 to 6. Negotiations will also take place to restart the Indonesian Teacher and Student Exchange Program which has not operated since travel warnings were issued by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in 2002.

Henderson said the aim was to ensure NT students were best placed to take advantage of business and industry opportunities with Indonesia. “Learning Indonesian will equip students with the skills to get a head start in a career in the Asian Century,” he said. Henderson added high school students will have the opportunity to take part in an exchange and teachers would be able to travel between the two countries to share language skills and culture. “This program means the Territory will be the only jurisdiction where students can study a language from primary school through to university with an exchange program,” he said.

ambitious Baillieu

Plans for Vic student performance to be in global top tier within a decade THE lowest-performing teachers could be fired and principals given the flexibility to award fixed five year contracts under “ambitious reforms” in Victoria. The State Government hopes its discussion paper will lead to improvements that will lift student performance into the global top tier within a decade. “Victoria’s future is linked closely to our education system. We are the best in Australia, but the best in the world are leaving us behind. This paper sets a bold new course to the top tier of world education systems,” Premier Ted Baillieu said. The global top tier at present includes Shanghai, Finland, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea. For Victorian students to catch up with their peers, the paper said 15-year-olds would need to progress an extra six months in their learning by Year 10. “If we invest in the right reforms to support quality teaching, 15-year-old Victorian students could bridge the gap within a decade,” the paper noted. The paper talks about “exiting the lowest performing 5 per cent of teachers (as occurs in many industries) and replacing them with more effective teachers,” a move it says could improve performance by an additional two months of learning.

Selective entry to the teaching profession and better undergraduate courses could add another two months and improving professional learning, feedback and leadership another three months. Merit-based pay and more PD for teachers are among the other suggestions. The paper — New directions for school leadership and the teaching profession — said five year contracts, instead of one year or ongoing contracts could appeal to younger teachers. Visit teachingprofession to download the full paper.

Ted Baillieu described the proposals as a “bold new course” for Victorian education.

NSW Regional Winners Announced Congratulations to all our NSW regional winners of the VET Trainer/Teacher Award.

The VET Trainer/Teacher Award recognises innovation and excellence by a Trainer/Teacher providing nationally recognised training to students at a Registered Training Organisation (RTO), or in partnership with an RTO, during the 2011 calendar year. The winners of the regional awards are now invited to attend an interview in Sydney where the finalists for the State Awards will be selected. The winner of the State Awards will be announced at the Training Awards Presentation Event which will be held at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre 28 August 2012. The winner of this award will go on to represent NSW at the Australian Training Awards to be held in Melbourne in November 2012. The Regional Winners of the VET Trainer/Teacher of the Year Award are: Central & Northern Sydney


North Coast

South Western Sydney

Western NSW

LEANNE CONNOR Employed by: Southern Cross Catholic Vocational College

MICHAEL DOHERTY Employed by: TAFE NSW - Illawarra Institute, Wollongong Campus

TOM MORIARTY Employed by: Newman Senior Technical College

RAYNA SHELLEY-ST JULIAN Employed by: James Meehan High School

IAN MANCHESTER Employed by: TAFE NSW - Western Institute, Orange College


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Southern Sydney

Western Sydney

DEAN GIBSON Employed by: TAFE NSW – Hunter Institute, Newcastle Campus

GRAEME WILTON Employed by: TAFE NSW - New England Institute, Tamworth Campus

EMILY NELSON Employed by: Hay War Memorial High School

MARTIN WHENLOCK Employed by: Vantage Automotive Pty Ltd

KATHRYN PYE Employed by: TAFE NSW – Western Sydney Institute, Nepean College

For more information on the NSW Training Awards visit or call 1800 306 999 or find us on Facebook at

August 2012 • australian Teacher


school budget fury

About saving money HUNDREDS of teachers have rallied in the heart of Sydney as part of their ongoing campaign against plans to give principals control of school budgets. Around 600 delegates from the NSW Teachers’ Federation annual conference slammed the planned Local Schools, Local Decisions reforms as a money-saving program. Directing their anger at Premier Barry O’Farrell they chanted “Putting students first, Barry you’re the worst.” The New South Wales Government has defended the reforms, saying school principals will have more autonomy and resources won’t suffer. Federation president Maurie Mulheron repeated calls for the State Government to guarantee class sizes, teachers’ positions and school budgets. “Rather than having a standing permanent teaching workforce ... they are attempting to casualise the workforce that will lead to a decline in quality,” he told reporters. “It is all about saving money.” Principal of Lane Cove Public School Gemma Ackroyd said the changes would see principals cop the blame for future problems. “I do not want to cop the blame when things start going wrong because I haven’t got enough money to pay for all the classroom teachers,” she told the rally.


Maurie Mulheron at the protest rally in Sydney. The rally came hot on the heels of industrial action and warnings teachers are likely to strike again as the campaign intensifies. O’Farrell has criticised the state’s industrial umpire for moving at a “glacial speed” when it came to enforcing fines against the federation for illegal strike action. He also took aim at the $10,000 fine the union will face for striking. “It is not surprising that they will continue to engage in this sort of bastardry,” O’Farrell commented.

Qld autonomy

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Push for 120 new independent public schools PUBLIC schools have been warned a Queensland government initiative to give them more autonomy will burden them with more paperwork. The Queensland Government wants to create 120 independent public schools over the next four years, starting with 30 next year. Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the scheme would give public schools more autonomy in many areas, including giving the principal the power to hire staff and control the school’s budget, the curriculum mix, business sponsorship and industry partnerships. “These independent public schools will be better placed to respond to the needs and aspirations of the school’s local community,” he told parliament. Expressions of interest close in Septem-

nsw arrest Police swoop on predatory teacher after tip-off from US A HIGH school teacher has been arrested in southern New South Wales for grooming a girl online following a tip-off from detectives in the United States. Undercover detectives posed as a 14-yearold girl during a number of online and phone conversations with the 45-year-old man in late June and early July. Police allege the conversations were sexually explicit. Officers raided a residence in Thurgoona, near Albury, and arrested the high school teacher. He has been charged with two counts of using a carriage service to procure a person under 16 and four counts of using a carriage service to transmit indecent communication to a person under 16. He was granted strict conditional bail to appear in Albury Local Court on August 31. Police said they will forensically examine computer equipment and digital storage devices seized from the home.

ber. Selected schools will get an extra $50,000 a year for administration. The Queensland Teachers Union has criticised the initiative, saying it will create more administration work. “The government is creating additional responsibilities for schools without the resources,” union president Kevin Bates said. Meanwhile, Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett announced a $2.4 million pilot program in the Northern Territory giving 20 schools more control over how they are run. He said empowering local schools by giving principals and communities more power would make a real difference to students. NT Education Minister Chris Burns said the funding would go a long way to support outreach programs and help disadvantaged students.

INBRIEF Dooley thanked for service ADELAIDE, June 29 - Allan Dooley has stepped down as presiding member of the SACE Board of South Australia. State Education Minister Grace Portolesi thanked him for his leadership of the board, which oversees the SACE qualification, over the past three years. Dooley was the director of Catholic Education SA for 15 years and had been a member of several education and youth taskforces before taking on the role.

NAIDOC Week celebrated CANBERRA, July 2 - Schools across Australia have celebrated NAIDOC Week. In the ACT, Education Minister Chris Bourke opened two art exhibitions showcasing the work of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. They included the annual P&C Council NAIDOC art show at Giralang Primary School. The theme of celebrations this year was Spirit of the Tent Embassy: 40 years on. More than 31 schools in the ACT staged events. Email briefs to

Mathematics & English Tuition

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leased until August 2015 with options beyond. This is a wonderful opportunity to maintain your teaching focus in an environment controlled by you. We’ve helped hundreds of students boost their confidence, increase their understanding and achieve outstanding results, through careful and focused attention – we’d like you to continue the trend. Financials provided are accountant prepared and certified. We’d prefer to meet face to face but happy to have an initial chat over the phone. We’re privately established and owned – not a franchisee of other tuition providers. We look forward to speaking with you and thank you for your consideration. This is a great opportunity for a Math & English teacher to form a team and operate for themselves.

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australian Teacher • August 2012

INBRIEF Chaplaincy battle fed govt acts

NT Family Activity Kits

Indie schools caned PERTH, June 25 – The Department of Education has confirmed several independent schools in Western Australia still use the cane. The Sydney Morning Herald reported some of the state’s non-government Christian schools, with the support of their school communities, had chosen to include the punishment in their behaviour management policies. Corporal punishment is prohibited in the state’s public schools.

No homework marking BRADFORD (UK), June 27 - A school in northern England has employed university students to mark student homework. According to The Yorkshire Post, King’s Science Academy in Bradford decided to free teachers from the task to give them more time to prepare lessons. Teachers now work a longer day, from 8am to 4.30pm, delivering an extra 10 lessons a week. Email briefs to

THE Federal Government has moved swiftly to secure the future of its National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program (NSCSWP). It follows a High Court ruling that payments to the chaplaincy scheme were invalid because they were not supported by the executive power of the Commonwealth. Labor rushed through a bill to validate payments. “[It] provides a legislative basis for the funding of a range of Government programs, including the NSCSWP, which provides support to more than 3500 schools,” Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett said. “The Government acted swiftly and decisively to protect the school chaplains and student welfare scheme because we know how important it is to schools, students and parents,” he added. Queensland father-of-six, Ron Williams, decided to launch a legal challenge to the school chaplaincy program in 2010. He gained the backing of teachers and P&Cs, and many of his supporters donated money to cover about a third of his legal costs. “It was quite incredible and heart-warming,” Williams said. “As I waited for that decision today ... I really felt the weight of all those people upon my psyche.”

Peter Garrett and Attorney-General Nicola Roxon face the media after the High Court ruling. The High Court ruled in a 6-1 majority that the way the program had been funded was invalid under scope of executive power in section 61 of the constitution. Williams also challenged it on the grounds of section 116 of the constitution, which bans religious tests for Commonwealth officers. The court unanimously dismissed that position. Williams said he and his lawyers had known from early on that aspect of the case was unlikely to go far because no law had been made to establish the program, but he believed the question still needed to be raised.


DARWIN, June 27 - Resource packs are being sent to thousands of parents in the Northern Territory to help them understand the literacy and numeracy progress of their children at school. The federally funded Family Activity Kits and Talking Albums help parents understand what their children can do, and the level they should be at for their age cohort.

MATTHEW Mitcham will be hoping to defend his Olympic 10m platform diving title at London 2012. The Australian is pictured on his way to gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. In the final round, Mitcham finished with a back two-and-a-half somersault with two-and-a-half twists. He was awarded the highest scoring dive in Olympic history to pip his Chinese rival Zhou Luxin to top spot. Mitcham was a World Junior Champion in trampoline before switching to diving. Turn to Page 40 to read how students at Victoria’s Invermay Primary School have been getting ready for London 2012 in the classroom ... and in the playground.


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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 2012 • australian Teacher

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australian Teacher • August 2012

vic pay dispute

INBRIEF Deal offers hope

NT schools awarded

DARWIN, June 25 - Four Northern Territory schools have been awarded $15,000 after winning School Improvement Awards. The annual awards celebrate improved education outcomes in low socio-economic status school communities. The winners were Woolianna School, Ngukurr School, Epenarra School and Murrupurtiyanuwu.

Teen internet habits WASHINGTON (US), June 25 - A survey focusing on the internet habits of US teenagers found 16 per cent had looked up school test answers on smartphones. It also revealed that 43 per cent had accessed simulated violence online, 36 per cent sexual topics and 32 per cent nude content or pornography. The McAfee survey was based on internet interviews with 1004 teens.

No to truancy scheme BRISBANE, June 18 - Queensland will withdraw from a Federal Government scheme that quarantines the welfare payments of parents of truant children. The former Labor Government in 2009 announced three communities — Logan, Doomadgee and Mornington Island — would take part in the scheme. Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said it had not been effective and the LNP Government preferred other programs. Email briefs to

VICTORIAN teachers are hoping a deal giving pay increases to public servants will pave the way for their own negotiations. About 36,000 workers covered by the public service agreement will get 2.77 per cent average increases over four years, plus a one-off $1500 bonus, under the agreement. Australian Education Union Victorian deputy president Meredith Peace said she was happy the Community and Public Sector Union was able to broker a deal for public servants. “It gives us some encouragement in terms of the government’s preparedness to do a deal with them. We’re calling on the government to come back to the negotiating table and offer public school teachers and principals a fair deal.” Thousands of teachers across the state will stage a second mass strike this term in their bid for better pay and conditions. Along with the strike, likely to be in the third last week of Term 3 in September, there will be rolling regional stoppages in Term 4, a ban on government MPs entering state schools and campaigning in five marginal coalition seats. Support staff such as integration aides may also join the 24-hour strike, in what would be their first industrial action.

Tas zoning

Govt wants school community input into school catchment areas issue PRINCIPALS in Tasmania are being asked to consult with their communities on the issue of school catchment areas. State Education Minister Nick McKim has urged schools and parents to get involved in the debate following the release of a draft discussion paper on zoning and transport. He said the draft paper followed recommendations from the School Viability Reference Group to review policies and guidelines on school boundaries, catchment areas, enrolment and attendance. “We want to hear what school

communities think on this issue,” McKim said. “That’s why the Education Department has asked principals to consult with their school communities in an open and transparent manner.” He added it was just the first stage of the consultation process.

NSW report Meredith Peace has called for a “fair deal” for Victorian eductors. The AEU wants the government to honour its election promise of making Victorian teachers the nation’s highest paid. It has called for a 30 per cent pay rise over three years for teachers and support staff and a reduction in the number of teachers on contracts. The government’s public sector wages policy is an annual 2.5 per cent increase, with any further increases offset by productivity gains. It has offered to make only the highest-performing teachers the best paid in the nation.

Primary students getting short changed on exercise MANY primary school students in New South Wales still aren’t getting enough exercise, according to a report by the state’s AuditorGeneral. Peter Achterstraat found about 30 per cent of government primary schools don’t provide the required two hours of planned physical activity each week. In addition, students at schools that set aside the time don’t actually end up engaging in two hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity. “Students are spending too

much time waiting their turn, setting up equipment or travelling to venues ...” Achterstraat said. “Less than 40 per cent of Year 4 students have mastered fundamental movement skills.” His report found the quality of physical activity instruction varied between schools and teachers. It recommended integrating it into other parts of the curriculum, such as maths and English, and increasing skills levels of primary teachers. Schools should also give information to parents on their child’s progress.

AUGUST 2012 • australian Teacher • 17

YMCA Camping

Do you remember your school camp? Camp is all about challenge, independence, making memories and lifeMPOHGSJFOET*UmTPGUFOUIFÙSTUUJNFBXBZGPSNBOZDIJMESFOBOEJTBOJODSFEJCMFPQQPSUVOJUZGPSUIFNUPHSPX  learn and think for themselves. At the YMCA we provide campers an opportunity to grow in body, mind and spirit in a fun, safe and professional environment. Now with 3 uniquely different camps in and around Sydney, the Y can meet all of your camping & accommodation needs.

3 locations - 3 unique experiences YMCA Camp Yarramundi: Sydney’s Premier Outdoor Education Venue: 1 hour from the CBD Located in the beautiful Hawkesbury Valley, Camp Yarramundi has long been a leader in quality, fully programmed outdoor adventure camps. Your school group will enjoy a camping experience they will OFWFSGPSHFU'VMMZRVBMJÙFETUBGGXJMMMFBEZPVSDBNQFSTUISPVHIBIVHFOVNCFSPGBEWFOUVSFBDUJWJUJFT Extensive pre-camp support provided. Check out our camper feedback at campyarramundi Sydney Olympic Park Lodge: Specialised Group Accommodation located on 52 picturesque acres. The ideal venue for schools participating in the extensive range of curriculum based programs within the Olympic Park Precinct. The Lodge is also a great venue for retreats and programs incorporating Olympic Park and Sydney surrounds. Eora Campus: Redfern Located at the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence A state of the art, secure group accommodation & sporting facility just minutes from the CBD. Whether you are looking for accommodation in the heart of the city, or a fully programmed Indigenous Camp Experience, Eora Campus is the perfect venue.

Book your YMCA Camping experience today! YMCA Camp Yarramundi Springwood Rd, Yarramundi NSW 2753 P 4776 1037 F 4776 1223

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Sydney Olympic Park Lodge 1 Jamieson St, Silverwater NSW 2128 P 9714 7345 F 9714 7323

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australian Teacher • August 2012

the hard word

Degrees of autonomy and empowerment

Jim Davies, CEO of the Principals Australia Institute DISCUSSION about ‘principal autonomy’ or ‘empowering principals’ commonly centres on the ability to hire and fire staff or management activities associated with resource allocation. Often accompanying these conversations is an exploration of what is meant by autonomy and empowerment, with a commonly held view that the principal is either empowered or disempowered; autonomous or not. The practicing principal is aware that what actually exists is degrees of autonomy and empowerment and that there is variability in their autonomous

capacity across the range of functions they undertake as they go about the leadership and management of their schools. The level of autonomy afforded to the principal is defined by the authority vested to the principal, the responsibility to enact leadership and management activities accordingly, and to accept the associated accountability. The recent development of the national professional standard for principals has provided our profession with a common language about leadership of schools and about the professional practices of school principals. The language within the standard will be the vehicle for principals to reflect on practice and, importantly, to self-direct and self-manage their professional learning. It provides the principal with the opportunity to more ably prioritise the nature and substance of their professional learning and to then make decisions about how they might engage with that learning priority.

The ‘autonomous’ and ‘empowered’ principal will seek out a range of alternative platforms to support their learning. Whilst there will always be uptake of more conventional platforms such as face-to-face conferences or seminars, more personalised access to learning will be more apparent. Principals will shape their learning within the context of their day to day activities. Action research, online programs, formal postgraduate programs, informal social media chatter, study tours, reading peer reviewed research, webinars, internet search engines, and videoconferencing are all current examples. Other platforms for learning will emerge, and most likely across national and international boundaries at an increasing rate. A significant priority for all principals will always be learning how to lead learning in their school. It is widely acknowledged that this priority demands development of knowledge and expertise about how learning is generated

Coming this November


and about deep pedagogical and content knowledge. For the principal it is also about leadership of teacher learning and the enactment of their teaching. Principals will be increasingly involved in the planning and support of each teacher’s professional learning program. Just as the professional standard for principals will be used to shape and guide personal learning for the principal, the professional standards for teachers will also be used as a shaping instrument for their professional learning and ongoing development. An implication of becoming increasingly autonomous is the responsibility that principals have to maintain their professional practice at the leading edge of the profession. Personalised professional learning will increasingly be deeply embedded in the daily work of principals. The language within the standard now provides a platform for principals to share their professional learning with


colleagues. Collaborating and sharing innovative professional practice and learning is an essential activity as the profession shapes itself and emerges to meet the ever changing needs of the students in our schools. Furthermore, sharing of their professional learning with colleague principals for peer review, critique and commentary provides an accountability platform that ultimately shapes the profession itself. Australia’s school principal profession will maintain itself at the leading edge of international practice through these mechanisms that have principals learning at the leading edge and collaborating across schools to ensure the spread and sustainability of that practice. Their leadership of their own professional learning is an imperative precursor to their leadership of their school community. Principals are embracing this move towards autonomy and it is enhancing and strengthening their profession.



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XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 2012 • australian Teacher


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australian Teacher • August 2012


Caption competition

Last month’s caption winner

An insider’s view of teaching

Baillieu has lost touch with reality I MUST admit to raising my eyebrows when I read of the Baillieu Government’s announcements regarding teachers. Not only has this government reneged on its promise to make Victorian teachers the highest paid in the country, it now aims to impose a series of reforms that will make teaching in Victorian schools even harder and less attractive. Firstly, requiring teachers to complete professional development during their holidays. This will be as popular as Richard Dawkins at a church picnic. What is Ted thinking? Teachers deserve and need their holidays in order to recharge for the term ahead. What’s more, most teachers already work during their holidays, planning, marking, and developing curriculum. Maybe Ted needs to spend a week teaching 25 Year 9 students to gain an appreciation of why holidays are important and necessary. He wouldn’t last a day! Next we have performance linked pay. Clearly not all students have the potential to be A grade performers. Under this initiative who would choose to teach in disadvantaged and poorly performing schools? Clearly everyone will want to work in schools where the students are high achievers. Disadvantaged schools will not be able to attract good teachers. Further, it is more than teachers that determine student success. The impact of the home environment over their first five years is of huge significance. To add further fuel to the fire Ted suggests raising the entrance score for university. This is equally short-sighted. It will merely make it harder to get in, and create a shortage of teachers. Especially when considering the other planned reforms which will surely make teaching less attractive. This reform also assumes that only high scoring secondary school graduates will make quality teachers. How one dimensional. These suggestions disappoint me. The Baillieu government lacks real vision, and needs to get in touch with the real world of education, and out of the ivory tower. Hopefully more thought will be given to the potential consequences of these suggested reforms, and teachers in Victorian schools will feel affirmed and valued in their work.

And the winner is... Malcolm Kerr for this: “God Save The Queen was going well until the guard stood in front of the Autocue.” Best entries of the rest “The reading of “Fifty Shades Of Grey” may not have been appropriate after all!!!” - Michelle Gray Opposition Leader Tony Abbott’s been out and about visiting schools, and it looks like some young constituents have a few questions for him. So what’s happening in the picture? Come up with a truly witty caption and you’ll be in the running to win a sensational triple DVD prize pack including: The Women on the 6th Floor, Babies and The Wildest Dream. Email your entries to or leave a comment on the caption competition page at The closing date for entries is August 9, so don’t delay. Good luck!

“When Elton has been a queen as long as I have he can have his own party.” - Ross Magnuson “Singing is not your strong point Camilla. Change seats with Sir Elton or Sir Paul.” - Maree Beekman

Web (Comments)

Twitter (Tweets)

NSW: Teachers strike looms

@hrasvelgveritas: @OzTeacherMag work does not do cheese toasties on friday. this is what i have learned. it makes me sad.

Arthur That is just the point Barry. All we have left at our disposal is to inconvenience parents and raise awareness about what your short sighted changes will do to their child’s education in the future. If it is not about money, simply sign the charter and let’s get on with teaching kids. However, we won’t do it just for love!

FED: High Court challenge for school chaplains

Charles Molina Many chaplains would be severely affected if funding is discontinued.

FED: Poor schools linked to Indigenous failure

Roger Amey I don’t dispute the findings with regards outcomes for indigenous kids, I do however have problems with the recommendations, 1. There is an assumption that NAPLAN is in any way an effective tools for measuring the quality of teaching, if it is we should be able take any of the low performing kids in this report and put them into a high performing NAPLAN school and they will be OK. 2. What evidence is there that autonomy we resolve the issues identified. It is not until the associated social issues are addressed that real change can occur. M Clarke External testing. What a narrow tool with which to measure Aboriginal student achievement and improvement. We should look at external testing results as being more relevant when they explicitly recognise the importance of Aboriginal English conventions (not culture- language). Literacy or Numeracy - take a look at these tests through the eyes of an Aboriginal child in an Aboriginal community. I agree with the findings. I am worried about the recommendations as represented, I am also worried about governments who have, at decision-making levels, failed Aboriginal children for decades in health, child welfare, employment opportunities and general equity. Coordinated, cross sectoral, accountable responses to our failures are urgently required.

ATM July: Hard Word - Time to switch focus away from self-esteem?

@OzTeacherMag: @hrasvelgveritas We all agree that it’s appalling to be deprived of cheese toasties in winter! @hrasvelgveritas: @OzTeacherMag i KNOW! and i’d heard exciting stories of them, and then went to get one, and there were none. hopes raised! hopes dashed. @OzTeacherMag: @hrasvelgveritas Honestly, what is the world coming to, think of the children, etc @kynanr: just got that news we (NFPS) were successful in our School Specialization grant application - to be an ICT Specialist school #vicpln @OzTeacherMag: @kynanr Cool, congratulations. Exciting times ahead. @alanwedesweiler: @OzTeacherMag I learnt that the animatronic shark in the movie Jaws was nicknamed Bruce after Stephen Spielberg’s (the director) lawyer.

Anie1960 Thank goodness. We all have horrible days, we all get teased. We often have bosses that drive us mad. Not everyone can be the boss straight away. We all need to learn to take ourselves less seriously. Sometimes your self-esteem needs to be knocked about to make you more human. It gives you your story and helps you grow.

@OzTeacherMag: @alanwedesweiler That’s a great piece of knowledge right there. We’ll be dropping that one into conversation #youregonnaneedabiggerboat

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get involved Do you have a great school or classroom project you’d like to share with readers? It’s easy to get involved in the country’s largest independent education publication. We accept article submissions written by teachers, support staff, principals and education experts. It might be an exciting approach to a particular unit of study, a one-off lesson, school celebration or a story for one of our supplements. Our Special Report section in the September issue will focus on languages education, October’s theme is the arts, and we’ll feature PE and outdoor education in November. There’s also an opportunity to share your expertise through our classroom and ICT help desks, or you might want to submit an ICT product review. Send your details to and you could feature in a future issue of Australian Teacher Magazine.

@OzTeacherMag: Looking forward to lots more updates & insights from #ISTE12 today @EduSum: @OzTeacherMag: It’s been amazing…of course! @Ky_Maree: @OzTeacherMag Having an absolute blast!! @OzTeacherMag: @Ky_Maree @ EduSum - you lucky people. The sooner we install a teleporter at Ozteacher HQ the better. #wishfulthinking @ATOMQld: Check out this article from @OzTeacherMag about the ATOM QLD #Connect12 State Conference http:// @OzTeacherMag: Every Australian owns, on average, 70 Lego bricks. #WHWLTW @heyspan: @ObsidianCrane: Our family is above average :) RT@OzTeacherMag: Every Australian owns, on average, 70 Lego bricks. #WHWLTW” As are we @OzTeacherMag: @heyspan @ObsidianCrane I think a lot of families might be! 70 seems extremely low... @ObsidianCrane: @OzTeacherMag @heyspan it’s all those slackers with no Lego bringing the average down.

“We can continue as we are and subsidise inactivity to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars, or we can make a concerted effort to become more active.” – NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat says primary students aren’t getting enough exercise.

AUGUST 2012 • australian Teacher • 21

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australian Teacher • August 2012


solution to pay debate is complex THERE have been many suggestions for how to reward the best educators, including the Federal Government’s teacher bonus scheme. The evidence suggests one-off payments won’t have the desired effect and there are increasing calls to overhaul the entire pay structure instead, linking it to the new professional standards for teachers and principals. “If teachers’ performance pay is not aligned with ... professional standards it will be confusing in the workforce,” the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria noted in a submission to the Productivity Commission earlier this year. One approach has been to entice teachers into hard to staff subjects, or schools in disadvantaged communities, by offering extra financial incentives. The Australian Education Union does not support the introduction of different annual salaries based on subject area, student type and location. “The work, for example, of

teachers of maths, science, [LOTE] or in low socio-economic or rural and remote locations is of no more or less value or is more or less productive than that of their colleagues elsewhere,” it has said. Some experts and politicians have suggested we look to other countries for guidance. In Singapore, teachers are eligible for bonuses equivalent to between one and three month’s salary based on annual evaluations. In the Netherlands, performance-related bonuses can be awarded from individual school budgets. Greece and Ireland both offer reduced teaching hours according to experience or long service, and teachers in Portugal get reduced teaching time and possible salary increases for taking on tasks like training student teachers. In Finland — the country many education experts believe we should look to for inspiration — teachers can boost their annual salary by successfully completing PD activities, and taking on

additional responsibilities, such as homework clubs, can lead to annual and incidental payments. These examples suggest the solution is more complex than a one-off teacher bonus, which has prompted warnings of divided staffrooms where teachers compete rather than collaborate. Finding the right balance is a challenge, but looking at overall pay scales within the context of Australia’s national professional standards offers a promising starting point. ‘Pay structure overhaul’, P. 24

science stars shine NATIONAL Science Week is a chance to engage young minds and school communities, but it’s also a great opportunity to celebrate inspirational educators. Melbourne teacher Dr Eroia Barone-Nugent has been the driving force behind the successful Growing Tall Poppies in Science program, which encourages girls to study physics. Since the program was

launched at Santa Maria College four years ago the number of girls studying the subject has doubled. Barone-Nugent has worked to develop partnerships with outside organisations and local industry to increase the expertise available and the program’s impact, and identified funding opportunities to support the initiative. Applying for grants and seed funding can be a time-consuming process for teachers, but a successful application can kick-start a lasting project, whole-school approach, or fund a one-off event for students to enjoy. Almost 200 schools received a National Science Week grant this year, including Long Street Primary School in South Australia, where teachers Hannah Hurtado and Julie Stone have devised an exciting day of activities based around flight and aerodynamics. Finally, science teacher Nicola Kirby has ensured Year 7 students at St Stephen’s School in Perth take a hands-on approach to learning. Although not a Science

Week event, the mousetrap racers project is another fantastic example of how teachers are getting students switched on to the subject. ‘Tall Poppies ...’, Page 44

gonski bear grates THE Tasmanian branch of the Australian Education Union has said its Gonski Bear character is a creative way to campaign for public school funding. It may be a play on the word ‘unbearable’, but the cuddly character is also instantly appealing to children. As well as fitting the campaign slogan, the union has said Gonski Bear acts as an icebreaker with youngsters and allows time for conversations with parents. Taking a character out into the community to campaign is one thing, but seeing it in the classroom — even for a one-off launch — leaves a sour taste. ‘Embrace Gonski’, Page 8 Jo Earp






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featurestory australian Teacher • August 2012

Time for professional pay structure overhaul Should we be injecting more cash into teacher and principal salaries? JO EARP explores the pay debate. WITH salary negotiations stalling in several states and performance bonus trials in Victoria struggling to entice participants, pay continues to be a hot topic. In a competitive global marketplace how can we retain the best classroom practitioners and leaders while attracting top graduates to the teaching profession? Collective bargaining agreements apply to government school staff across the country. Agreements are made at a school and individual level in the independent sector and, along with the Catholic sector, these pay levels generally mirror government sector rates. With states and territories handling pay negotiations, the Federal Government has looked to one-off bonuses as a way of rewarding the best teachers. Its scaled-down $225 million four year scheme will see highly accomplished teachers eligible for a one-off bonus of $7500 and lead teachers a $10,000 payment. Teachers must be accredited to one of those two levels to be eligible for assessment against the National Professional Standards for Teachers. Assessments will include lesson observations, student results and parent feedback. The Federal Government envisages at least 8000 teachers will get the first round of bonuses, but rewarding individuals has been given short shrift by unions. They argue the scheme will pit professionals against each other instead of encouraging teamwork. The WA Government agrees. “Performance pay for teachers is likely to be divisive at a time when education is increasingly moving toward a multi-disciplinary team approach to meeting students’ needs,” it said in a submission to the Productivity Commission. The Independent Education Union of Australia is also concerned that bonus schemes may have attached caps or quotas. “Any scheme must be open to all ... not negatively impact on collaboration, and be not limited to subjects that are tested. “... international research reveals that quotas undermine

Pay negotiations in several states have stalled as teachers and principals campaign for better financial rewards. the collaborative approach which characterises teachers’ work. Teachers find themselves competing with colleagues which can lead to an unproductive work environment and adversarial relationships among staff.” Many academics are also skeptical, given the lack of international evidence that such schemes have an impact on either teacher quality or student achievement. Professor Stephen Dinham argues one-off bonuses, or paying teachers by results are both measures that are doomed to fail. Instead, the chair of teacher education and director of teaching and learning at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education wants policymakers to turn their attention to overhauling salary and career structures. He has proposed linking salary to the new national standards career stages of graduate, proficient, highly accomplished and lead teacher. And Dinham isn’t the only one calling for change to the profession’s pay structures. Submissions to the Productivity Commission’s School Workforce

Report included salary progression as a recurring theme. A teaching career can look like an attractive financial prospect for graduates, based purely on starting salary comparisons. Graduate Careers Australia’s annual Australian Graduate Survey, released in June this year, showed the median annual starting salary for graduates under 25 with an education degree getting their first full-time appointment in schools was $55,000. The only other degrees attracting a higher starting salary are: dentistry ($80,000); optometry ($70,000); earth sciences ($65,000); engineering ($60,000) and medicine ($58,500). Maths graduates also secure a starting salary of $55,000. Degrees lower down the list include: accounting ($47,000); economics and business ($47,000) and computer science ($51,000). Although pay levels for beginning teachers stack up well against other professions, the balance soon starts to shift. Teachers’ pay has not kept pace with many other professions. The

Australian Bureau for Statistics says average weekly earnings in the education sector are about 7 per cent above the average for all surveyed industries — that figure was 4 per cent in 1994. And latest figures from the OECD show Australian teachers tend to reach the top of the pay scale within six to nine years — the OECD average is 24 years. This means experienced teachers in Australia can find they hit a pay ceiling with a large chunk of their career still ahead of them, and may be tempted to look for greater rewards in other sectors. In Finland and South Korea, two countries often touted as world leaders in education, it takes 16 and 37 years respectively to reach the top of the teacher pay scale. Salary structures in Australia are also relatively flat; meaning the difference between salaries of first year teachers and those at the top of the pay scale is comparatively small. In Australia the ratio of salary at the top of the scale to starting salary is 1.39. In Finland it is 1.5-1.7 and in South Korea it is 2.78.

Paying teachers and principals one-off bonuses would not address these issues. There have been proposals to link Australian pay scales to beginning teacher salaries. One suggestion is that proficient teachers should receive 1.25 times the salary of graduates, accomplished teachers 2.0 and leading teachers 2.5 times. It’s estimated this would cost an addition $4-6 billion in salary costs per year. US education expert Brian Stecher is associate director of the Rand Corporation, a not-for-profit policy research institution. He says US research suggests paying cash incentives to encourage teachers to exert more effort or focus better won’t have the desired effect. “But if the reason to enact a bonus system is to try to retain experienced teachers who are otherwise drifting out of the system because they can earn more money elsewhere, then some form of a bonus might accomplish that goal — but some other change to the pay scale might accomplish it equally well,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “A possible solution [might be] having additional steps in the pay scale so that after a few more years a teacher can earn a greater salary, teachers don’t find themselves topping out after the eight or nine years — which is, as I understand it, what happens here. “If there is an imbalance between the demand for teachers and the supply, then upping the salary for everyone might attract more people into the profession.” Even AITSL — which has finalised the National Professional Standards for Teachers and Principals — warns that current pay systems do not encourage the best teachers to remain teaching. The Australian Education Union says it is those professional standards that have the potential to spark a renovation in remuneration and performance evaluation in schools. Nurturing that potential and coming up with a solution to the pay puzzle is likely to be a significant challenge.

Vic schools reluctant to sign up to Rewarding Teaching Excellence scheme VICTORIA has been busy trialling whole-school and individual teacher rewards. The target was to persuade 70 government schools to sign up to the $12 million Rewarding Teaching Excellence scheme, but only 49 have participated. The State Government says the shortfall has been largely due to the major changes a school would need to make to performance and development procedures to take part. For the individual scheme, schools get a bonus pool equivalent to 1.5 per cent of teaching staff base salaries. At least 80 per cent of the bonus pot

has to go to the top 30 per cent of teachers. The big question with all bonus pay schemes is how to determine if a teacher is one of the ‘top’ performers. In the Victorian trial, payments are based on a ‘balanced-scorecard’ assessment. Schools can come up with their own scorecard weightings, but classroom excellence has to account for at least 40 per cent, teaming and leadership 20 per cent and professional learning 10 per cent. Another stipulation is that at least three school leaders, including the principal, must be on the assessment panel. The Productivity Commission says

average bonuses have worked out at 4 per cent of salaries. For whole-school bonuses, performance is based on a weighted index that includes criteria such as student learning, engagement, wellbeing, pathways and transitions. Calculations are done by the state education department, and a different index is used for primary and secondary schools. Rewards are given to schools in the top 20 per cent, according to their year-on-year improvement, and paid in two instalments — half when the assessment is complete and half at the end of the following year, but only if the perform-

ance is sustained. Schools get 7.5 per cent of teacher base salaries in rewards to share among staff. Latest results show 21 teachers were paid bonuses in June 2011 under the individual reward scheme and four schools were given school bonuses. Independent Schools Victoria has also been trialling performance pay, including a scheme operating under National Partnership Agreement on Improving Teacher Quality. Candidates undergo classroom observations, complete reflective writing tasks, are the subject of student, peer and leader surveys and attend an interview. Schools have also been reluctant

Schools get a bonus pool based on a percentage of teacher base salaries. to sign up, with only two expressing an interest and one teacher going on to take part. Despite low levels of participation the Productivity Commission says the trials could provide useful insights but notes feedback from teachers suggest they’ve had little impact on teaching effort.

AUGUST 2012 • australian Teacher • 25

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earlyyearseducation classroom projects


curriculum ideas

Youngsters at The Hills Montessori School are exploring the natural world and animal classification in botany and zoology lessons.

special report August 2012 May 2012

Take Two What is one of the best early years classroom projects you’ve seen? Negotiated curriculum that gives agency and voice to young children as decision makers enabling curriculum decisions that address individual learning needs and interests.

Hands-on foundations MARIA Montessori’s education philosophy and teaching methods have been used around the world for more than 100 years. With a focus on independent learning through a hands-on practical curriculum — two buzz areas in 21st Century education — it appears as though the Italian was way ahead of her time. Principal Cathy France worked in mainstream schools for 10 years before joining The Hills Montessori School in South Australia’s Adelaide Hills. “For me, personally, when I first came to this school, I felt like I’d come home. I felt like a lot of the things about the Montessori philosophy were things that I believed

[and], to me, it was so wonderful to be in an environment where other people also believed the same thing. “I think that today, after 19 years, that still resonates with me. I work in a place where everybody is on the same page, and it makes for a very harmonious workplace and a very harmonious school.” The Hills Montessori School has multi-age classes: a 0-3 infant program; Cycle 1 classes (3-6 years); Cycle 2 (6-9) Cycle 3 (9-12); and it opened a middle school for 12- to 15-year-olds last year. France tells Australian Teacher Magazine the emphasis on handson education begins in the early years. “We believe that the first six

years of a child’s life are the most important learning years and you really need to lay the foundation. “We have a part of the curriculum called the Practical Life Curriculum, which is about teaching life skills to children so that they can be independent. “In our pre-school that might be learning to sweep the floor, clean the window or the dishes. When they have their morning snack they’ll be taught to lay a placemat and get their knife and fork and a plate, cut their fruit up or juice it, peel it or whatever, then pack everything away. “We have some Montessori materials called dressing frames, and so one [activity] might be learning to

use zips, or use buttons ... those types of things so that children can become independent at dressing themselves.” This is just a small part of the Montessori curriculum, which has been officially recognised by ACARA as an alternative to the Australian Curriculum. France says Cycle 1 classes have been focussing on botany and zoology, and that visitors are often surprised at the level early years students are working at. “[They’re] looking at the fungi kingdom, leaves and parts of plants, flowers and fruits ... and they’re using all of the correct terminology. When people see that, they’re quite amazed.”

How important is it for schools to collaborate with non-school early childhood educators? Partnerships between families and educators forged across settings enhance continuity of children’s learning and development ... and can assist both settings in adjusting to assist the child in the transition. Early childhood services are able to gain greater understanding of curriculum progression, content development and assessment and moderation processes. The Transition Statement summarises the child’s progress during the Kindergarten year. It gives insights into the child’s strategies for learning and provides a voice for families and children as they enter schooling. Schools are able to see the benefit of developing genuine partnerships with families, learn from child-focused and responsive pedagogical approaches and recognise the importance of children’s agency in learning. Kim Walters president Early Childhood Teachers’ Association

Our October Special Report focuses on The Arts. If your school or class is involved in an exciting project, email the details to classroom@ozteacher. and you could feature in the magazine.

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EarlyYearsEducation INBRIEF Meridan program lifts literacy levels


australian Teacher • August 2012

award winner

Fluffy visitor drops in

HALLS GAP – Youngsters at Halls Gap Primary School in Victoria have been paid a special visit at their school recently. Upon hearing that the students were exploring farms and farm life, a class helper kindly brought in her resident lamb to meet the class. Each student was able to feed the lamb and learn about how to care for baby farm animals.

Aranda’s turned Italian CANBERRA – Aranda Primary School’s preschool students have been journeying around the world without even leaving their classrooms. They have been learning about food from places like Malaysia, England and the US. According to the newsletter they were so delighted with their studies that they opened up their own Italian restaurant serving spaghetti, pizza and gelato.

The importance of play BROKEN HILL – Two teachers from New South Wales’ Alma Public School are better equipped to implement the Early Years Learning Framework in their preschool program after attending a conference recently. They learned about the importance of instilling a sense of belonging in young students, and developing their attitude to learning by allowing them to be taught through play. Email briefs to

THREE years ago, an analysis of school data at Queensland’s Meridan State College revealed that their young students were not reaching literacy targets. The examination of their diagnostic net data, NAPLAN data and internal monitoring data revealed that the rapid growth of the school and significant changes to teaching staff were the reasons for this. In 2010, the school created a literacy vision and framework based on research and best practice in an attempt to improve these levels. To ensure consistent implementation of these key strategies, they provided professional development for teachers in effective literacy frameworks. Today, Meridan State College’s early years program is an award winner — with its submission recognised at the Queensland Government’s 2011 Showcase Awards for Excellence. Deputy principal Lisa Cutter says that the staff involved in the showcase submission were thrilled with the result because it recognised their hard work in the classroom. “It’s just great to see our kids getting good outcomes and being set up as successful learners,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine.

Queensland school Meridan State College won a Showcase Award for their outstanding early years program. The school’s submission, Lifting Literacy Learning in the Early Years, reflected on the literacy vision to improve oral language skills and phonological awareness. “Literacy unlocks all those doors to all the other key learning areas as well. It’s great for our kids that they do see themselves as readers and writers so early and they’re so keen to explore,” Cutter says. The results recorded in the submission were collected over

a period of two years. The data provided measurable evidence of improved literacy outcomes for their P-3 students in the 2010 Year 2 Net data, 2010 Yearr 3 NAPLAN data, school based reading level data and school based support program data. “We wanted to have something tangible to show that we were making progress,” Cutter says. “We had the targets around reading levels so it made sense to track them.”

According to Cutter, knowing the learners and setting individual learning goals and group learning goals is a huge part of their successful program. With the implementation of the Australian Curriculum this year also, Cutter says her school is really well placed to manage the changes. “I think that we’ve got to a stage where we’ve found that we’ve got really good programs in place for our reading, and I think that we’ve got to a stage where our level of success is where we’re meant to be at. But I think we’ve got to a stage where we’re translating into writing as well,” she says. The school has also committed $20,000 per year to fund a literacy intervention program that will employ a teacher aid to provide one-to-one reading sessions for students not meeting expected targets. “We’re seeing the students translating a lot of those skills that they pick up from reading and moving it across to writing and really seeing themselves as writers and independent writers much earlier.” Cutter says that they will continue to collect data to measure the growth and improvement of their students.

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EarlyYearsEducation 29

early years

Experiential learning

August 2012 • australian Teacher

classroom novices

Local community inquiry unit sees kids visit their parents in workplace

Helping them feel at home

PREP students at Scotch Oakburn College in Launceston have been busy visiting the children’s ward at the hospital, a Centrelink call centre and even a local brewery. Head of junior school, Lachie Wright, says the trips to workplaces of parents is part of their local community inquiry unit. Wright recalls that when teachers discussed the workforce with the young students, they often were unsure of what their parents actually did. “Some of them could tell you the name of the work but had no idea obviously of what the work was,” he says.

SETTLING youngsters into the classroom environment and developing strong partnerships between staff and parents is an important aspect of early years education. In Tasmania, the Launching into Learning (LiL) program is helping schools build these relationships in the first four years of a child’s life. Rokeby Primary School in Hobart was one of the first to implement the initiative and acted as a best practice hub for other schools in the area. Acting principal Tracey Johnston says the school runs a variety of programs, including two playgroups aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework, to get parents and children working together on early literacy and numeracy activities. “We also run a kinder gym for all the gross motor sort of activities, and music sessions,” Johnston tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Each of the sessions is run by a qualified teacher, so our music teacher runs the music session, our PE teacher runs the kinder gym and we also employ a LiL teacher. “The other thing we have is a session for children who’ll be coming into Kindergarten next year

Most parents across the three Prep classes were happy to be involved. “There’s quite a sprinkling of workplaces that they’ve been visiting ...” Wright says. He explains students learned a lot about the community by seeing the way that lots of local businesses depend on each other. Like when the students visited a gourmet kitchen where they got to see the way local produce was bought from local growers and distributed to businesses in the area. “The hands-on experiential nature of the learning is just so good. And that is the sort of learning that we’re trying to generate...”

Preps visited the dentist to learn more about parent workplaces.

The Launch into Learning program in action at Rokeby Primary School. and that’s ... so that the children can get to know their teacher, the room and little things like where the toilets are and so on.” Johnston says one of the major aims of the program is to build trust with parents. “Often the last opinion parents have of a primary school is when they were children themselves, so it’s really to build that trust and a sense of empowerment about their child’s education.” She adds it’s also giving parents a head start in how to help their

child’s learning at home. Johnston says the early indications are that, as a general rule, the program is helping children get ahead in their education. Bridget Neville is acting assistant principal at Rokeby Primary School and works in Prep and Kindergarten classrooms. She says students who have been through LiL pick up skills like writing their name and early reading strategies. “They’re far more confident when they’re coming into the classroom.”

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30 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • August 2012

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Promethean Education News Issue 3, July 2012

Leading the way with Technology Australia’s first Mobile Interactive Classroom hits the road �e Fun Music Company Promethean joins ACCE on the 2012 ISTE Study Tour Unforgettable – Collaboration at the heart of our new Activtable ActivInspire Tips and Tricks Term 2 Promethean User Groups

Leading the way with Technology d

australian Teacher • xxxxxxxxxxxx 2012

Australia’s first Mobile Interactive Classroom hits the road The Promethean Mobile Classroom is a custombuilt, interactive classroom on wheels, staffed by specialist Promethean trainers. The Mobile Classroom brings professional development, training resources and technology directly to schools and teachers in both metropolitan and country areas. �e Promethean Mobile Classroom made its maiden tour through Queensland during Term 2 this year. �e interactive classroom on wheels hit the ground running in Townsville on 16 April 2012. �e route for Term 2 included stops at more than 30 schools from Cairns to the Gold Coast and as far West as Longreach with a total distance travelled of about 6,000km. At each stop, face to face training was provided for teachers to provide the opportunity to learn new skills and improve existing ones. Teacher’s and principals were also introduced to new methods of teaching to leverage modern interactive technology designed to engage students, boost collaboration and improve critical thinking skills. Albany Creek State School in Brisbane, hosted the Promethean Mobile Classroom in June. Students from Year 5 and 6 were invited to participate in a special course on board the Promethean Mobile Classroom designed specifically for students. During each session, students learned how to prepare for an interactive

The Fun Music Company Ages 5-10

Bring your primary music lessons to life with the Fun Music Company’s new interactive resources designed to assist teachers with the delivery of general introductory music lessons. �e Fun Music Company has created a set of 14 interactive whiteboard lessons including easy and fun songs for children to sing and interact with. �e program contains quality music and sound effects, designed by a team of music education professionals to help children gain a thorough understanding of what music is, what makes sounds, pitch dynamics and much more. Make your lower primary music lessons fun with these step-by-step programmed lessons, ready to teach, straight from download. publishers/the-fun-music-company/


whiteboard lesson and how to assist the teacher during the lesson. �e course was designed to work together with the schools Ambassador leadership program.

�e Promethean Mobile Classroom has generated widespread interest as it travelled through Queensland in Term 2. �e tour in Queensland will continue in Term 3.

Albany Creek State School Principal, Paul Kingston, explained how important it is to empower students with the latest technology and leadership skills. He said, “Students are clever, perceptive and very willing to help. Students in our Ambassador program help set up equipment for teachers to use during lessons”. He believes that curriculum comes first and that technology should not be a barrier, “We’ve chosen Promethean technology because it can assist in the delivery of the curriculum and engage students in their learning.”

Promethean is committed to transforming education and the way we learn. �e PMC results to date embody Promethean’s genuine commitment to transform education and revolutionise the way the world learns.

Siobhan Charmley, a Year 12 student from Emmaus College in Rockhampton said that she could ace her next science project if she gets her head around a new piece of interactive technology she says is the future of education. Siobhan was one of twenty Year 12 Emmaus College students who also had a first-hand insight into the latest interactive technology on board the Promethean Mobile Classroom. Emmaus College Assistant Principal, Simon Warren said the school was in the process of a $12 million building and technology upgrade, and that new interactive technology and devices would be a great investment as part of the upgrade.

Promethean joins ACCE on the 2012 ISTE Study Tour In June/July this year a group of 25 educators from across Australia travelled to Canada and the United States of America on the 2012 ACCE ISTE Study Tour. �e study tour group comprised a very broad section of educators - primary, secondary and tertiary classroom teachers, ICT coordinators, private consultants and regional office managers. All government, catholic and independent sectors were represented on the tour. On the tour, participants were given the opportunity to visit schools, major organisations and key sights across Vancouver, Seattle and San Francisco culminating in San Diego for the ISTE 2012 conference.

All this new knowledge was matched with hands on school visits so study group educators were then able to experience networking at America’s largest IT education event ISTE.

During this tour participants were able to network and build friendships with like minded educators across Australia. �e tour offered all the opportunity to further their knowledge and build connections not just within the group but with schools, teachers and corporations from across the globe. Participants were able to gain first hand information from not only Promethean but companies such as Google, Oracle, Intel, Microsoft and Cisco.

In our next issue of Activteacher we will be spotlighting the Promethean day at San Francisco zoo where group educators were able to experience our Learner Response Devices in an unique setting. Also over the next few months we will be continuing to add videos and snippets from the tour at our Spark Journeys blog so head over there and join in the learning from ACCE study tour 2012.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX 2012 • australian Teacher

Unforgettable – Collaboration at the heart of our new ActivTable


The Activtable is currently setting a new standard for interactive technology. The Activtable is speciďŹ cally designed to facilitate collaboration in the classroom environment.

Up until now table technology has been a standard computer interface laid horizontally. ďż˝e Activtable allows up to six students to log onto the table at once and participate simultaneously in activities. Many of the activities on the Activtable have been speciďŹ cally designed to drive consensus decision making amongst the students, as this is one of the key features of collaboration and one of the hardest to teach currently. As multiple students can ‘log onto’ the Activtable it is possible for the teacher to gain transparency and assessment around  " what contribution each student made whilst completing ) '%$$#!! %!#!&"$$!  the collaborative activity. It is features such as these that '!!"# $!  #  $%*$  %$! set our Activtable ahead of the crowd in interactive table &%+% %'$#   %#!# # technology.


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Above all, it is intuitive, and makes learning fun! {2MOUXU`M`Q`^MZ_U`U[Z_R^[Y`QMOTQ^#XQPMO`UbU`UQ_`[ 

 engaging    student-led projects, while empowering teachers to  %'(%%$    %!&$ $%'$"*$  %#%'%$ %!%%!!#%' ďż˝e Promethean ActivTable has been designed to: #   "#!$!' %'%$("!(# %#$%!-# %% dierentiate $%#&%!  * #   and maintain control in the instruction  '#!  %%%&$"!#% %$%  %&#*$$$&$!& %!  #%%  % %' classroom  !&#$$%& %$%!%#!( #  (% &$'%'%$%%#'#%'%* ! $ $&$$!   {/^QM`QMPeZMYUOO[XXMN[^M`UbQXQM^ZUZSQZbU^[ZYQZ` to drive student engagement and creativity




{1ZTMZOQ`TQUZ`Q^MO`UbQOXM__^[[YNe\^[bUPUZSMZ environment for small group learning, in addition to existing whole class and personalised learning solutions

{1ZMNXQ`QMOTQ^_`[\Q^_[ZMXU_QUZ_`^aO`U[ZR[^_YMXX groups based on students’ level of comprehension and learning styles

{<^[Y[`Q\^[NXQY#_[XbUZSMO`UbU`UQ_"PU_Oa__U[ZMZP consensus decision making

{9QQ`MOOQ__UNUXU`e_`MZPM^P_Ne\^[bUPUZSQM_eMOOQ__ for chairs and wheelchairs.

{?a\\[^`\QQ^#`[#\QQ^XQM^ZUZSMZP_[OUMXO[SZU`UbQ development

�e ActivTable is launched with over 40 activities, most of which are linked to curriculum learning objectives and initially designed for students aged 4 to 11.

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ActivInspire Tips and Tricks


Partner Asian Vertical TextCompany Support Name (not logo) 0000 Street Address St., Suite 0000 ActivInspire 1.6 provides an easy-to-use equation editor Asian Language Teachers will be delighted to hear a City, State 00000 Phone number to formulate and insert equations within a ďŹ&#x201A;ipchart. new vertical text box feature supporting Japanese, ďż˝e editor provides all the building blocks required SimpliďŹ ed Chinese and Traditional Chinese is available to compose, edit and display equations. You can type in ActivInspire 1.6 (Windows Users). Teachers using symbols or use commonly used mathematical equations. their Asian language OS may utilise vertical text from Access the Equation Editor via the â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Insertâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; button in the the Tools Menu or by adding the button to the Main Main Menu. Toolbox. Equation Editor

##! *!&#!' $ %$!%!'('!$ !%'%

Importing questions from Excel Another exciting feature for teachers using LRS in the classroom is the ability to import questions sets from Excel into the ActivInspire Question Manager reducing time spent creating quizzes.

Teaching Tip Why not have a self paced question set running as students are entering the classroom/ settling for the lesson. This ensures students are instantly engaged and provides teachers with the opportunity to assess studentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; prior understanding. 3

Term 2 User Groups Promethean User Group meetings are after school ‘learning hubs’ giving teachers the opportunity to come together in an informal, supportive environment. �e meetings are open to all teachers, irrespective of the brand of interactive whiteboard used, and provide the

opportunity to trial new technology, as well as exchange information and network with their colleagues. User Group meetings are usually held after school and are FREE to attend and free to host. A qualified Promethean trainer with extensive teaching

experience will facilitate the two-hour hands on sessions, which are held throughout Australia. Light afternoon refreshments, tea and coffee are provided. For more information on Promethean professional development, training and User Groups, contact your Australian Promethean reseller.





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24 July 26 July 1 August 2 August 14 August 28 August

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St Francis deSales School, Woolooware Belmont Christian College, Belmont St Francis of Assisi Primary School St Patricks Primary School, Guildford St Ignatius College, Riverview International Grammar School, Sydney

Empowered Learning NSW Empowered Learning NSW Empowered Learning NSW Empowered Learning NSW Empowered Learning NSW Empowered Learning NSW

Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland Queensland

Gold Coast Brisbane South Brisbane North Brisbane Central Peninsular Gladstone Rockhampton Yeppoon Cairns Townsville Mackay Sunshine Coast Hervey Bay Bundaberg Toowoomba

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intheclassroom innovation




August 2012


l nationace

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Local comp entries lifting work standards Tim’s Tales: it’s cool to be into control Youth suicide - it’s time we tackled it One Direction for cake decorating

mouse trap racers rule rebecca vukoviC THERE have been a lot of mousetraps going off in the Year 7 science classroom at St Stephen’s School in Perth lately. But it isn’t because they are being overrun by vermin. They’re using the mousetraps to build racers during their lessons on forces and simple machines as part of the new Australian Curriculum. “We thought that it would be good for them to do a handson experience of putting their knowledge of forces and simple machines into practise,” science teacher Nicola Kirby says. To build the racers the students were required to use a variety of parts, like axles, levers and wheels.

To make the racer move, students wound a string around the axle and set off the mousetrap, which released the pulling force and allowed the wheels to turn. “Of course, when you’re on the carpet or lino you’ve got friction there as well,” Kirby explains. “You’ve got friction between all the joints too, so it does slow down after a while, but it does go a long way.” Before designing and building their racers, students used iPads to research different racers and get ideas for their own. Working in groups of three, they liaised with the woodwork department to gather the correct equipment. “We went to the woodwork shop to actually make the mouse trap

racers, but once they got their specific design and the correct dimensions they started making mouse trap racers,” Kirby says. The students also sourced materials from home, like old CDs to use as wheels. They worked on them for two weeks before coming together as a class to test how far they would travel. “Some of them actually travelled over 11 metres, so that was pretty awesome. I think the lowest one was about five metres, so they did really well,” Kirby shares. She adds that a lot of students were surprised by the outcome especially because they didn’t know anything about the mousetrap racers before the project. After completing their experi-

ments the students were required to evaluate and discuss the forces involved, including inertia and friction. They also included diagrams to support their written work. Kirby explains the students had to write all their information up in a scientific document, which meant that they were involved in the hands-on experience of making the mousetrap racers but they were also learning about how to present scientific data in a logical fashion as well. “They’re only Year 7s so they did really well … it was quite difficult for them to do and quite challenging working in a team and making sure that they worked together on it, they did me proud.”

Invermay Primary’s loving Olympics fever

“The only thing that interferes with my learning is my education.” - Albert Einstein

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intheclassroom INBRIEF top of the class Katrinaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s textiles and technology


australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ August 2012

The joy of gymnastics MELBOURNE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; Gymnastics has been a focus for all students at Valkstone Primary School involved in the Tri-Skills physical education program. The youngsters have been taught skills, like landing safely and doing cartwheels. The newsletter reports students have enjoyed using gymnastics equipment like the vault and trampoline.

Opus Concert winner PERTH â&#x20AC;&#x201C; The annual Opus Concert has showcased the musical talents of 250 public school students. A combined brass ensemble, junior jazz band and Year 4 and 5 choir were among this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highlights. Schools taking part in the event at Perth Concert Hall included Shenton College, Kelmscott Senior High, Perth Modern and John Curtin College of the Arts.

French role-play fun MELBOURNE â&#x20AC;&#x201C; French lessons at Sacre Coeur have been busy for Year 5 and 6 students who recently performed the role-plays they have been working on. The girls created scenarios where they bought items at a market. They worked with vocabulary and sentence structures, as well as acknowledging cultural aspects of French conversations.

Rebecca Vukovic ONE Melbourne secondary teacher knows the way to get her students working to their best ability. Katrina Wheaton Penniall, coordinator for the arts and technology department at Caroline Chisholm Catholic College, says that entering their assessment work in local competitions encourages them to work to a higher standard. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It definitely inspires them to do their best. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve noticed that the standard of work has risen dramatically,â&#x20AC;? she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really good for the morale in the classroom as well, because the students can learn a lot from each other.â&#x20AC;? Wheaton Penniallâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s passion to inspire students to be proactive in the community is the reason she was named Secondary Teacher of the Year by the Design and Technology Association of Victoria this year. She was nominated for her achievements with technology, particularly for her encourage-

Katrina Wheaton Penniall is passionate about promoting technology education. ment of students to enter competitions like Wool4Skool, the Cultural Diversity Quest Awards and The Australian Academy of Design Fashion Competition. Wheaton Penniall was instrumental in entering her students in a national wool design competition, where one student won the main prize. As a result, she was asked to do consultancy work for the Woolmark Company. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been fairly proactive in

promoting technology education,â&#x20AC;? she says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just something that Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m very passionate about.â&#x20AC;? When her efforts were recognised at the associationâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s annual conference, Wheaton Penniall says it came as a total surprise. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was obviously really happy and surprised that I had won this award,â&#x20AC;? she explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I was actually nominated by a colleague, and so I just thought that it was just such a lovely

thing that she had done that for me â&#x20AC;Ś I felt quite moved by that.â&#x20AC;? Wheaton Penniall says that textiles has always been a passion of hers, and she was largely inspired by her textiles teacher at high school. It led her to do a fashion design course at RMIT, before she embarked on a journey to live abroad. It was during her time overseas that Wheaton Penniall decided she wanted to become a teacher. And, she says it was the best decision she has ever made. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I love teaching, I really enjoy it. I just know that this is what Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m meant to do.â&#x20AC;? Wheaton Penniall says that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a combination of her love of teaching and her love of textiles that makes her job so exciting. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Seeing the kids engaged with [textiles] and love it also, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s really encouraging,â&#x20AC;? she reflects. Do you know any exceptional teachers? Email the details to and weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be in touch.

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intheclassroom 37


Schools get access to top scientists NEW South Wales staff and students have been working with some of Australia’s top scientists. Corrimal High School was one of 40 schools invited to take part in the Extreme Science Experience in Sydney at the end of Term 2. Acting head science teacher Tanya Sullivan and six Year 10 students attended the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering event. They took part in workshops, spoke to innovative award winners and enjoyed a range of hands-on activities. “The students were very excited and it was a real privilege for them to get to meet and learn from Australia’s top innovators,” Sullivan says.

Tim’s Tales

August 2012 • australian Teacher

Send your letters and email to

vControl is not a dirty word

IT’S not very fashionable these days to admit that you’re “into control”. People who get to be known as control freaks tend to be avoided. It’s a shame really because control is an essential part of living. In fact, in order to survive and grow in this world, people need to be able to control in quite fundamental ways. We need to be able to control our body

temperature as well as other things such as the amount of oxygen in our blood. Control at more abstract levels is just as important. In lots of ways, contented people are the ones who are “in control” more often than not. People who achieve goals and generally make things happen the way they want tend to be pretty happy with their lot. It’s probably fair to say that we are, in fact, designed to control. People differ in what they control and how energetically they control it but the fact that we all control is a constant. This raises a certain paradox, because other people are part of the environments we like to control and those other people are also designed to control. When we try and control other people the most common outcomes is that we

Harmonious classrooms are places where everyone can control the things that are important to them.

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interfere with their ability to control. Just as being in control leads to contentment, being prevented from controlling leads to discontent and despair. When you talk to people who are depressed or anxious it is usually fairly straightforward to identify areas in their lives that are not being controlled as they would like. Harmonious classrooms, therefore, are those places where everyone can control the things that are important to them and no-one interferes unnecessarily in the controlling that other people are doing. Thinking about behaviour and social interactions through a control lens provides a new perspective on how to consider disruptive behaviour. The disruptive behaviour can be seen as a way of the disrupter trying to regain control of something that is not in the state they would like. By thinking about behaviour as part of the process of control you might develop new ways of approaching difficulties when they arise in class. Thinking about your students as controllers (just like you) and helping them identify the important things to control and the most effective ways of controlling them will enable everyone in the classroom to have a better time. Tim Carey is an associate professor at Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs.

FREMANTLE – The cardiology unit at Fremantle Hospital was paid a visit by two Year 8 boys from Christian Brothers College. The boys were dressed in proper scrubbing suits and were allowed to observe a procedure. They also examined electrical impulses in the patient’s heart. The newsletter reports the boys now feel even stronger about a future career as a doctor.

Our memory lane trip SADDLEWORTH – Youngsters at South Australia’s Saddleworth Primary School have been sharing information about themselves and their families as part of their society and environment work. Students brought in clothes and toys from their early childhood to share with the class. The newsletter reports “it is amazing to think that the big students in our class were so little once”.

Teeth sunk into Titanic PERTH – Studying the infamous story of the Titanic and the events leading up to its fatal voyage has been a focus for students in Room 11 at Arbor Grove Primary School. They have been making their own colourful dioramas to depict the historic moment from 1912 when the ship hit the iceberg and sunk. Email briefs to

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Burnsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; haircut by kids DARWIN - Year 5 and 6 students at Milner Primary School have been let loose on the locks of NT Education Minister Chris Burns. The haircut was part of a Canandian performance artwork called Haircuts by Children that will form part of this yearâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Darwin Festival. Students will get training before making their styling debut at the August event.

Poetry the wheel deal CANBERRA - National Literacy and Numeracy Week activities kicked off early with the Dorothy Mackellar Poetry Awards. Students from all school age groups were invited to submit entries on the theme of Wheels and Wings and Marvellous Things. Winners will be announced at the end of August. National Literacy and Numeracy Week officially begins on August 27.

So thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s when I use it! HOBART â&#x20AC;&#x201C; A visit from a CSRIO scientist has answered the old â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;but when will we ever use that?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; question for Clarence High School students. As part of the Mathematicians in Schools program, mathematical modeller Claire Trenham explained to classes how she uses high school maths in her work. Trenham is working with students throughout 2012, sharing data and giving presentations.

Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s time to talk about youth suicide SUICIDE is the leading cause of death among young people. The widely held view among psychologists is that discussing suicide actually encourages it, but a growing school of thought says that talking openly might be the solution. Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) is an initiative of Canadian company Living Works. Paul Desmond, principal of Saint Francis Xavier College in Victoria, is in the early stages of implementing ASIST at his school. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I have very serious concerns Australia-wide with youth suicide; I think it is a national tragedy that is not being addressed, possibly because no one knows how to address it,â&#x20AC;? he explains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I could stand still and hope and pray that it doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t visit our school, or I could be proactive and look for a program before weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re dealing with something after the tragedy.â&#x20AC;? With help from Windermere Child and Family Services in Narre Warren, Desmond hopes ASIST will enable teachers to indentify and support young people at risk of suicide.

Paul Desmond believes youth suicide is â&#x20AC;&#x153;a national tragedy that is not being addressedâ&#x20AC;?. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Our kids are talking about suicide. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re talking about others who they know have suicided. And yet Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m telling my teachers, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it. Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t talk to them about it, because youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re not an expert.â&#x20AC;&#x2122; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Some of the schools in this region have very close experiences with young people taking their own lives.

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve lost some former students at this school, and I know the impact of that. It can destroy a school community; it really goes to the core of what teaching is about, and that is preparing young people for the rest of their lives.â&#x20AC;? Those trained in ASIST procedures would learn how to recognise when someone is at risk

of suicide, and then how to connect with them, increase their immediate safety, and link them with professional help. Saint Francis recently held a PD day for its teachers and representatives from nearby schools outlining the details of the program, and Desmond says the response has been positive. Initially heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like the deputy principals and house coordinators trained, and the aim is to eventually get all staff trained if the program proves successful. Desmond is moving cautiously. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s so early you could even describe it as the exploratory stages,â&#x20AC;? he says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;There is that school of thought among psychologists that you never discuss suicide with young people. And that makes me very nervous; Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to be so confident before I move forward with this.â&#x20AC;? Is your school using innovative methods in the classroom? Email

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intheclassroom 39 INBRIEF One creative crew

art and history

cake decorating

Students capture various time frames through their own classroom window

Students at Maribyrnong Primary School recreate the view from their classroom window over different time periods. IT’S not every day that your teacher encourages you to stare out the classroom window. But that’s exactly what Year 5 and 6 students at Canberra’s Maribyrnong Primary School have been required to do for their latest art project, which has them recreating scenes from different time periods from the perspective of their classroom window. Their teacher, Jonathan Holden says that he gave the students boundaries by choosing the six time frames for them to select — which included the dinosaur age, Aboriginal time, early European settlers, early Canberra, present time and the future. He got the idea from Jeannie

August 2012 • australian Teacher

Baker’s wordless books called Window and Belonging that display a change in landscape over a 20 to 30 year time period. The students also had the help of a local artist, Nicola Toms, who helped them to sketch the existing playground before modifying it using their imagination, and some of the research they did online. Students used paints and pastels, as well as tissue paper to add texture to their designs. Holden says that students learned about composition and perspective by being involved in the project. “It also brought about an awareness that landscape changes over time,” he says.

Students’ prison visit

ENGAGEMENT, birthday and One Direction themed cakes have been whipped up by students at a Queensland school for a cake decorating project. With the assistance of Sandra Clark from the Queensland Cake Decorators’ Association, the Year 10 textiles and food design class at Ferny Grove State High School spent a term planning and then creating their masterpieces. “The brief that I gave them was that it had to be a formal cake, it had to be a fruit cake so that it had longevity, it didn’t go off, and that it had to use royal icing and some sort of piping,” home economics teacher Kaye Williams explains. “And so they were all very different, and they could choose a theme that they wanted ... one did a One Direction cake for herself because she was really into One Direction! So it allows them that flexibility to choose something that they want.” Williams says the outside assistance from Clark was also beneficial for her students. “It just helps to make that connection with the wider community ... She’s come now for a couple of years, and she’s been wonderful with that.” The students celebrated the completion of the project by putting the cakes on display for

HOBART - The Year 11 legal studies class from Guildford Young College made an eye-opening trip to the Ron Barwick Minimum Security Prison. Students spoke to two inmates, and discussed human rights issues with the prison guards. They also learned about the Pups in Prison Program, where inmates train assistance dogs for people with disabilities.

Kids’ tasting forum BRISBANE - The inaugural Student Tasting Forum has been held at Belmont State School, allowing a select group of students to have a say in selecting the dishes that will go on the tuckshop menu in Term 3. Soft beef taco wraps and honey soy chicken nibbles got the thumbs up, with students invited to score each dish out of 10.

Explosion of success The cake decorating project has given students the chance to connect with their local community. the school community. “We had quite a good roll up actually for that ... They couldn’t believe what they’d made,” Williams says. “It’s interesting, they start off and they’ve got these grand ideas, but I don’t think they realise how long it all takes!”

HOBART - Teamwork volcanoes have been the focus of a Year 3 discussion at Sacred Heart College. After doing a critical analysis of Youtube clips that depicted animals working together, students compared how their findings related to their school environment, deciding it was like a volcano because everyone worked together to achieve an explosion of success. Email briefs to


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intheclassroom australian Teacher • August 2012

INBRIEF Into the Olympics London 2012

Rigby’s big music run

BRISBANE – The school community at Hilder Road State School has teacher Kevin Rigby running laps of the oval to raise money for music bursaries. Music students have been collecting sponsors for the event, and raffle tickets are also on sale. Anyone willing to make an upfront donation of $100 or more will get to pick Rigby’s running outfit.

Terra Australis shock CANBERRA – For their inquiry units, Year 3/4 students from Aranda Primary School have been looking at the discovery of Australia. They studied the life of convicts, including the hard labour they underwent and the kind of punishment they received. The school newsletter reports that students were amazed to learn that Australia was known as Terra Australis.

Environmental promise BRISBANE – Students at Nashville State School have participated in a variety of activities to celebrate Environment Week. These included tallying the amount of fruit they consume during the week, class emu parades, and a litter free lunch box day. Each student also wrote an environmental promise to add a promise tree, which is now on display in school. Email briefs to

Grade 3 to 6 students have designed their perfect Olympic village. OLYMPIC-fever has hit Victoria’s Invermay Primary School. Paul Borchers’ students have been busy designing the ultimate Olympic Village, researching the different sports and watching video footage of past Games. The Grade 3 to 6 students have been so engaged they’ve even taken to doing the long jump and other events during recess. “It started in our literacy block, with writing — making stories pretty much about the perfect athletes’ village, then that linked into maths where we talked about mapping and designing and creating,” Borchers recalls.

“Then obviously into art as well where they had to design and create from there. The whole term was based around the Olympics for my class, in terms of the integrated studies topics.” The students have also been tweeting about their work. “We have ‘Twitter Reporters’... It’s their job to come to us, take a photo of a moment in class and share it with the school and wider community.” How is your school celebrating London 2012? Email classroom@ with the details.

male role models

Dads drop in on prep class en masse to help out with construction work A MACHINE building class has given Tassie Prep students the chance to get inventive while bonding with male role models. During a unit on inventing, the Launceston Christian School class built vehicles out of cardboard boxes, tubes, egg cartons and tape. They were assisted by a group of fathers who came in to help out with construction. “It was really, really brilliant for all of the children to have male figures in the room for such a good solid chunk of time ... We do a have a few male teachers, but most of the male teachers, the numbers are in the secondary area,” explains Prep teacher Sarah Heys. Heys says many students were able to link the planning phase of the project to real world events, like watching their families have houses built. “They could say, ‘oh yes, that’s right then, my mum and dad made plans’ ... so they could link that to their own life, which really made sense to them when we were doing it in class.” Parental involvement also led to better behaviour from some students. “A few of them, their behaviour improved noticeably in the time their dad was there, because their

dad was watching them and they wanted to show all off the good things they could do. “Within a classroom of 20 odd students it can be tricky for all of them to be engaged 100 per cent of the time, and for this it was everyone busy for the entire block, so it was just brilliant, it was really fun.”

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intheclassroom 41 INBRIEF Sky the limit at Long Street national


weeK 2012

engineering task

Big pipeline task for young brains

GIFTED maths and science students have gathered at the University of Southern Queensland for a seven day engineering camp. The Year 11 and 12 students took part in hands-on activities, listened to talks by experts in the field and took part in a challenge. They worked in teams to design a water pipeline from Condamine to Toowoomba, focusing on the hydraulics, surveying, power and structure needs. Each group created a multimedia presentation and came up with supporting arguments for why their design should be chosen, then presented the results to a panel of university engineers, industry experts and local council representatives. Students from high schools in Roma, Miles, Chincilla, Dalby, Oaky, Pittsworth and Toowoomba took part in the camp during the Term 2 holidays.


Rock climbing success

Long Street Primary School students will focus on aerodynamics and flight in challenges and activities during National Science Week. A FUN day of activities on the theme of flight and aerodynamics awaits staff and students at South Australia’s Long Street Primary School this term. Thanks to a grant from the Australian Science Teachers Association, the whole school will be involved in the National Science Week event. “We’ve got [members of ] the Whyalla archery club coming in to demonstrate the aerodynamics of arrows and how they move,” junior primary science teacher

Hannah Hurtado tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “We’ve also invited Whyalla Model Aero Sports Incorporated, and they’re going to bring in their small helicopters and planes and show students how they can use electronics to move them around the gym.” After the introductory demonstrations, each class will have the chance to visit five activity stations where they will be asked to complete a different task. Challenges include making and





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testing their own kites, water rockets, catapults, slingshots and paper planes. “After each activity there’ll be an explanation about how it links to flight and pointers to people who have jobs now working with these types of things,” Hurtado explains. “At the end of the day we’ll have a presentation in the gym where students can share the things they’ve made and summarise what they’ve learned.” Hurtado and primary science teacher Julie Stone applied for the National Science Week grant and have linked the activities to the new Australian Curriculum. The differentiated activities cover Year 2, 4 and 7 achievement standards around changes to objects, and the effect of forces on objects. Other successful grant applicants in South Australia include Coromandel Valley Primary School, which is staging a renewable energy race day. This year’s National Science Week runs from August 11 to 19, visit to find out more. Turn to p.44 to read about a project encouraging girls to study physics.

NARACOORTE - Outdoor education students from Naracoorte High School in South Australia ventured to Victoria’s Mount Arapiles this term for a day of rock climbing. They spent several weeks honing their skills on the school’s rock climbing wall before the trip. Writing in the school newsletter, outdoor education teacher Nick Lang says the Year 11 activity was a great success.

St Mary’s Brain Bee BROOME - St Mary’s College student Abbey Ford has won a place in the national Brain Bee finals after taking out first place in the state competition. College spokesperson Jennifer Cambridge says the Year 10’s success at the event, which tests neuroscience knowledge and understanding, has inspired the entire school. The finals will be held in January in Melbourne.

Zoo benefits from kids MOUNT BARKER - Animals at Monarto Zoo are enjoying playing with educational toys made by students at Mount Barker High School. Mitchell Class worked in teams to create papier-mâché balls and feeding posts. The school is also in the process of setting up a link with a remote rural school in Africa. Email briefs to

intheclassroom INBRIEF The joy of reading


australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ AugusT 2012

Literacy reminder

Fish go under the knife MOUNT GAMBIER - Something fishy has been going on in science classes at Grant High School. Year 9 students have been dissecting fish as part of their work exploring body systems and organs. The school newsletter reports the precision with which some of the youngsters used a scalpel suggests there may be a few future surgeons amongst them.

Flood inspired works BRISBANE - Artwork by students affected by the 2011 floods has gone on display at Queensland Museum. The 17 drawings were created by youngsters at Goodna State School and give their perspective of the floods that hit their community. Although the exhibition ended on July 15, the drawings have now been added to the collection of the State Library of Queensland.

An Olympics flavour CLARE VALLEY - The Olympic Games has been the theme for integrated learning at Clare High School. Writing in the school newsletter, Middle School assistant principal Tamara Buddle says Year 7 and 8 students took part in Olympic-themed activities during the final fortnight of Term 2. The topic culminated with oral presentations. Email briefs to

Year 7 students at Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Loughlin Catholic College recreate their favourite book characters out of confectionery. WHEN students at Darwinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Loughlin Catholic College read books in their English classes, they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t required to write reports on them. In fact, they arenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t required to do much more than simply enjoy them. This idea came from their teacher and deputy principal, Kerryn Katal, who believes that the joy of reading is often lost as students grow older. â&#x20AC;&#x153;If you do read a book in sec-

ondary youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to do a book report on it, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to do this and youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got to do that, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve tried to keep it to a minimum so they can understand that reading can be enjoyable,â&#x20AC;? Katal says. Instead of studying Australian author SA Wakefieldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bottersnikes and Gumbles in great detail, Year 7s recreated their favourite characters using confectionery. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We did it to add a new dimension, and a flavoursome one. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We said it would be great to make these imaginary creatures from lollies. The question asked at the end was, â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;Are we allowed to eat them?â&#x20AC;&#x2122; They did enjoy it,â&#x20AC;? she laughs. Katal, who takes the group for one lesson a week, uses excessive voices and expression to encourage students to develop their imaginations. She says that using food to encourage reading really worked because her students associated a positive experience with their library lessons. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Now Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m into the second of the four books in the series. But I wont read them the other two, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be left for the students to choose to read themselves and hopefully some of them will choose to pick it up and read the rest of the series.â&#x20AC;?

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â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s linked to lots of Key Learning Areas ... the children are writing reflective diaries and they wrote letters introducing themselves to their buddies,â&#x20AC;? Dockrill says. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Really, the purpose is to promote the power of music and social engagement, to stimulate older people and for them to engage with young people.â&#x20AC;? A local musician works with students and residents, who get together for two hours a week to play percussive and tuned instruments, share stories and sing. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been just amazing for the children. This is great platform for community development,â&#x20AC;? Dockrill says.


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weeK 2012

INBRIEF Tall Poppies join forces for future science retention

GEMS program launch

DARWIN - A new girls’ academy has been launched at Sanderson Middle School. Northern Territory Chief Minister Paul Henderson and his Education Minister Chris Burns visited the school to open the Girls Engagement Mentoring and Support (GEMS) program. Burns said the aim of GEMS and the equivalent Clontarf Boys Academy program is to re-engage students and increase graduation rates.

Storm’s silver lining BUNBURY – Storm damage has led to students at Bunbury Senior High School learning more about Indigenous culture. The school relocated several year groups after classrooms were damaged by bad weather. Principal Craige Petit said nearby Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School was delighted to help, and its teachers have been giving lessons on local traditions and the Noongar language.

Canteens expo event CANBERRA – School canteens in the ACT have been praised for their work in promoting healthy eating habits to students. The inaugural ACT School Canteens Expo was a chance for canteen managers and staff to share their ideas and experiences. The event is part of the Healthy Food@School Project, which will involve 15 schools across the Territory over the next 12 months.

Thrill seekers aplenty MELBOURNE – Year 9 Outdoor Education students at Fountain Gate Secondary College have been involved in a number of adventurous activities. They went rock climbing in the city where they learned to belay and look after the person climbing. They tried go-karting and students learned the basic skills of driving, before undertaking a laser-tag challenge.

Into painting portraits HOBART - Year 9 and 10 students at St Aloysius Catholic College have been creating portrait paintings by accurately drawing the image of the person, taking time to portray the angle and expression of the subject correctly. The newsletter reports that although it was the first time many of the students had tackled this kind of task, they rose to the challenge.

Pumpkin soup poetry CLARE VALLEY - Vineyard Lutheran School has been growing vegetables, thanks to the Year 5 students who have been planting, cultivating and caring for them. They have been selling their produce to families at the school, but spared three pumpkins to try themselves by making pumpkin soup.

Crystal clear science MELBOURNE – A scientist from Monash University has visited Year 3 students at Seabrook Primary School to teach them about the process of growing colourful crystals from salt, water and ammonia. They also spent time brainstorming the different states of matter, and assessing the physical properties of crystals, like their shape and colour. Email briefs to

AS schools prepare to celebrate National Science Week, DR EROIA BARONE-NUGENT, pictured, tells Australian Teacher Magazine about the success of a project to increase the number of girls studying physics.

Tap here for an extended version of this story » The Growing Tall Poppies in Science program (GTP) has succeeded in doubling the number of girls studying physics at Victoria’s Santa Maria College. The retention rate at the college for girls, in Northcote, has

Santa Maria College students prepare samples as part of the partnership project. increased from below the state average to well above since the introduction of the program in 2008 — from 40 per cent to over 90 per cent, indicating both higher participation and retention. Enrolments in Unit 3 (Year 12) physics have increased from a 2002-2008 average of six students to 9.25 in 2009-2012, and 13 are enrolled in 2012, the highest number for Santa Maria College. This increase is statistically significant based on the Fisher’s Test. This partnership between the college and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science (CXS) has reformatted

learning physics from the ‘what’ to the ‘why’ by engaging students with current research questions to contextualise the physical sciences as important enabling sciences, and so see why they should stick with these studies. Students work with young scientists who mentor rather than take the classical (didactic) teacher role. The scientists help the students to formulate their own questions, follow their own ideas to construct investigations and collect firsthand data. More than 300 students have been involved in the past four years.

newspapersineducation s-press in class

Children and adolescent asylum seekers in Australia THERE’S been no shortage of asylum seeker news of late, with boat after boat capsizing en-route to Christmas Island putting debates surrounding human rights and the treatment of refugees top of the political agenda once again. In the August issue of S-press we take a youth orientated look at the asylum debate, examining what happens to children and adolescents when they arrive on Australian shores seeking asylum, and whether or not Immigration Minister Chris Bowen is upholding his end of the bargain when it comes to the rights of the child. Throwing in her two cents worth on the issue is Sophie Peer, formerly campaign coordinator for Amnesty International Australia and communications manager for the Refugee Council of Australia. Peer now works for community group Chilout and is strongly opposed to mandatory and indefinite detention of minors. Having visited children in detention at Leonora, she tells us how children are affected by even short periods in these camps. A spokesperson from the Department of Immigration and Citizenship sheds some light on Australia’s current policy and promises made to keep children out of detention at all costs. We also ask current school students, the voice of our future, what they think Australia should do when kids their own age come to our country hoping for a better life. This S-press feature is a great resource to use in class either to introduce the topic and prompt further discussion.

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

Reviewers - we want you! Do you have a student who fancies him or herself as a budding young film buff? 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.

A central scientific aim of CXS is to develop new forms of X-ray structural analysis for single biomolecules using data obtained by scattering extremely high-intensity coherent X-ray laser pulses from single bio-molecules, because the important bio-molecules (e.g. membrane proteins) do not crystallise. The key to solving protein structure of single bio-molecules is subject to a number of constraints in the same way Sudoku puzzles are solved. Year 10 students connect the solution of Sudoku to solving protein shape via a new board game — The Sudoku Blaster! It employs an iterative approach by repeatedly imposing the constraint on a Sudoku. This GTP program interrelates how systems with constraints can solve complex shapes, be they Sudoku puzzles or protein molecules. Thus science, maths and technology are interwoven. Through the GTP program we hope to see sustained increases in numbers of girls sticking with physics to Year 12 and beyond. Dr Eroia Barone-Nugent is the GTP partnership and outreach leader, a science teacher and Head of Partnerships Development at Santa Maria College.

S-press Reach for the stars

In this month’s S-press sports section we talk to 16-year-old golfer Viraat Badhwar who’s just come home from the Toyota World Junior Championships in Japan having won both team and individual events. Viraat talks about the sacrifices his parents have made to help him achieve his goals, the importance of teamwork, sportsmanship and having a clear strategy in place when going up against international competitors of such a high calibre. With a career as a pro golfer on the cards, the Year 12 student tells us about his post-high school plans which include travelling the world competing in big name tournaments, and attending university in the US.

Face of the future We catch up with Year 12 student Marshall Tearle, who’s been in the media after creating a talking robot head for his SACE project. The innovative project has been deemed quite an achievement for someone Marshall’s age and attracted attention from Channel Ten’s Scope, and Totally Wild, to name a few. S-press talks to the South Australian teenager about how he became involved in mechatronics, his work on the project, what his dream job would be and what his post Year 12 plans involve.

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

ICT in Education innovation





August 2012 national news

Henley High School student Marshall Tearle created a robotic head for his Year 12 SACE research project.

WA’s whiteboard push

The most common theme for ICT questions from staff is around technical support. Teachers are becoming more reliant on ICT, which is great, but that means when it doesn’t work it can be quite stressful. To prevent ‘learnt helplessness’, I encourage staff to try and solve ICT problems themselves before they ask me to help. Google it, YouTube it, ask someone, then, if all else fails, come to me. My piece of ICT advice to teachers is to live in the world you are preparing students for. You can’t empower students to be successful in a world you’re not a part of. Get onto Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest etc and get involved. You can never do enough PD to keep up with the constant change in ICT, but if you live with it and depend on it as a part of your everyday life, the PD becomes automatic. Richard Lambert, assistant principal/ICT coordinator at Kalinda Primary School, VIC

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

THE latest schools to benefit from a Western Australian Government initiative to install interactive whiteboards in classrooms have been announced. Former State Education Minister Liz Constable revealed 124 schools were successful in the second round of funding applications. Westfield Park Primary School principal Steve Soames says interactive whiteboards appeal to the whole class. “In areas such as numeracy and literacy, often there are different routes to an answer and students are happy to use the whiteboards to show how they came to their conclusions.” Schools have been invited to make submissions for a third and final round of funding.

a head for robotics rebecca vukovic HOW many Year 12 students would have had their SACE research project viewed by more than 200,000 people on the internet? Marshall Tearle from Henley High School in South Australia has done just that and delighted people across the world with his creation of a robotic head that can be programmed to make a series of facial expressions and even talk, by moving its mouth in sync with voice sounds. For their compulsory research projects, students are required to select a topic of their own personal interest to investigate. Fred Jarratt is the SOSE coordinator at Henley, and he also works as the research project teacher. But he hasn’t been teaching Marshal the technology aspects of his project.

Rather, his role is to ensure that students are completing the written sections of the course to demonstrate that they have met the performance standards at the highest level. “It is a challenging process to work largely independently,” Jarratt says. “The sheer diversity of topics in a class means that no teacher can possibly have the knowledge that students are used to in other subject areas so the students are required to develop their own knowledge of the topic they are investigating.” Jarratt says that the outcome of the 18 week research project can be almost anything, although most students don’t go far beyond using the internet and Microsoft office programs. “Marshall’s work is an exception to some degree. Although having

said that, another student was trying to design an iPhone application,” Jarratt says. He adds that students have 1:1 access to laptops so all of them are familiar with the software to produce the written components of the task. Every subject at the school is encouraged to embed technology in their classes so that students learn to use it in different contexts. “Additionally students have access to video cameras, sound editing and movie editing software, smartboards and a full suite of Adobe software on their laptops,” Jarratt explains. Jarratt says that Marshall’s project was a success because he is passionate and interested in it. “It is a really good example of the positive aspect of the research project, where a student does have a passion or an interest and what can be done,” he says.

would you believe it School put up on eBay A CASH-strapped high school near Philadelphia has been put up for auction on eBay. The Learning Center in Langhorne was described as “slightly-used, but extremely successful” in the posting, which has now been removed on the order of school district officials. The news website reports the list price of $599,995 equated to the amount cut from next year’s school budget. Former student Casey Young and his dad were behind the auction. Principal JoAnn Holland said she hoped the whacky idea would lead to interest from a wealthy benefactor. The winning bidder was promised the chance to name the school, a free large pizza and the satisfaction of “delivering an education to a group of kids who could really use it.”


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ICT in Education 46 INBRIEF Looming obselescence of ICT devices Digital media fun and infrastructure spells big trouble australian Teacher • AUGUST 2012

technology funding

Holiday Tech camp

Impact of iPad tested

CANBERRA – The five ACT high schools that make up the Belconnen Network are testing the impact that iPads have on teaching and learning. One Year 7 class from each school is taking part in the study, with each group to complete a common unit of work where the iPads will be used to create the main piece of assessment for the unit.

Focus on innovation SYDNEY - The International Conference of the Learning Sciences was held at the University of Sydney in July. It focused on innovative learning experiences like interactive worktables and learning on mobile devices. Speakers included the University of Tokyo’s Naomi Miyaki, who develops educational robots, Pierre Dillenbourg from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology and Manu Kapur from Singapore’s National Institute of Education.

Environmental insight CANBERRA - Maribyrnong Primary School’s Year 5/6 science club has participated in an international video conference to celebrate World Environment Day. Students joined a panel of experts for a live link up with schools and scientists in America to discuss issues like solar energy. Email briefs to

STUDENTS and teachers have devoted part of their school holidays to a Holiday Tech Camp at Darwin’s Nightcliff Education Precinct.

Tap here for an extended version of this story » Pamela McGowan, senior teacher at the remote Angurugu School on Groote Eylandt, travelled to Darwin for three days to assist students working on digital media projects and see what she could take back to her own students. “One of the things that we’re really passionate about as a school

is going global and using technology as a driver to not only what we create, but also checking out what other students in other schools are doing,” McGowan explains. Students explored different technologies and programs, like iPads, Garage Band and stop motion animation as they worked toward creating short videos. “I was just really impressed by the work that the students produced, and how quickly they were able to take a lot of this stuff on board. “It was a week of my holidays that I gave up, but I’d do it again quite willingly if there was another one on!”

AN audit report warns student learning goals in Victorian secondary schools are at risk due to “the looming mass obsolescence” of ICT devices and infrastructure. The state’s acting auditor-general Dr Peter Frost pointed to a lack of funding to address the inevitable ageing of school ICT ‘assets’ such as laptops. His report Obsolescence of Frontline ICT: Police and Schools has called on the Victorian education department to give schools greater guidance on managing technology assets. “Secondary school student learning goals that depend on ICT assets are at risk, due to insufficient oversight by DEECD, despite it knowing that schools do not routinely take into account the life cycle costs of ICT assets,” the report said. The audit said the bulk purchasing of devices under the National Secondary School Computer Fund more than 115,000 student devices will become obsolete during 2013-2016. Frost said latest education department estimates were that 32,000 devices need to be replaced each year. However, the department has only been able to fund 8750 new devices in the last four years

through a $7 million annual ICT grant to schools. “This leaves a funding liability for the majority (73 per cent) of school computers. To date, DEECD has not developed a comprehensive action plan or strategy to address this significant funding shortfall,” Frost noted. The report also highlighted that only 36 per cent of schools had a current and completed eLearning plan and 12 per cent lacking a plan altogether. To read the full report, visit and click on reports and publications.

Dr Peter Frost called for greater guidance for schools.

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ICT in Education 47

August 2012 • australian Teacher

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Handy users guide to RSS

CHROMA KEY STUDENT BACKDROP KIT With most schools now owning digital video cameras, teachers are quickly discovering the power of video to engage students and enrich learning. Chroma Key technology (where a coloured background is removed from video footage and replaced with a different image) has long been a favourite of movie studios and is now within the reach of any school. The Student Basic Studio Kit ($449 from includes a green chroma key backdrop, stand, two soft light boxes, a key light and a storage bag. All you need to provide is a video camera (cameraphones work fine) and editing software that supports chroma key. Anything a student can imagine can now be brought to life. This kit is a powerful tool for unlocking creativity. Paul Fuller

In this month’s ICT help desk, Darcy Moore takes you through all you need to know about R.eally S.imple S.yndication. RSS feeds are a staple in the online world for anyone trying to manage ‘infowhelm’. The best way to read all the updates from your favourite blogs, news, music and video sites is to have a ‘feed’ directly to your ‘reader’ rather than visiting each site, one-by-one, to see if it has new content available. This is known as R.eally S.imple S.yndication, or RSS. Effectively, you visit one site, your RSS feeds the reader page, rather than hundreds. This allows you to manage time much more effectively while still feeling up-to-date with the latest teaching ideas, current affairs, music or whatever. It is possible to have a reader on your phone, tablet, PC, Mac, or any internet connected device.

There are many options, but it is best to start simply and build your expertise, managing RSS feeds with a few basic tools. So, how can you subscribe to RSS feeds? Easy. If you have a Google account already, just login and find the drop down menu that says ‘reader’. If not, Google ‘Google Reader’ and sign-up. You do not need a Gmail account and can use any email address. You are now ready to start surfing the web and adding feeds to your reader. Simply click on the orange icon and ‘add to Google Reader’. If you need more help to get you started http://support. py?hl=en&answer=113517 and

a video explanation http://www. GwSY&feature=player_embedded will be very useful. When you are effectively using Google Reader for RSS feeds try the ‘Reeder’ app for iPad, iPhone and Mac It allows you to easily email links to colleagues or share them via Twitter or Facebook. The important thing to remember about RSS feeds is that you can easily get carried away and it can be overwhelming. So, go into your reader and cull some feeds. This will make everything manageable.

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Mohammed Azim receives his award.

ACT Association for the Teaching of English (ACTATE)

PD comp winners’ bonus PROFESSIONAL development courses, conferences and workshops are vital for teachers. But it’s not always cheap, particularly when it comes to multi-day conferences that require attendees to pay expenses like accommodation. So winning PD competitions and grants is a boon for teachers keen to extend their professional learning. In some cases teachers are asked to write proposals stating how they plan to use their financial windfall — other times, the cash comes as a shock. “[It] was a surprise, because I really hadn’t even seen that in the competition notes. It was a bit of a bonus!” Kathy Templeman, head of special education at Bundaberg North State Primary School in Queensland, laughs.

Templeman and her students won the 2011 Australian Recycled Cartonboard National Schools Competition. As well as a $10,000 prize for the school, Templeman received an unexpected $2500 PD grant. First up was an Association of Special Education Leaders event. Templeman attends the conference most years, and says the money eased the financial burden. “It’s three days away [from home]and I live in Bundaberg. Staying down in Brisbane can cost a lot of money ... It’s certainly an opportunity that we wouldn’t normally have, to have that much money to go to a conference.” The school spent a large chuck of the $10,000 prize on iPads, so Templeman used the conference

to learn about the best ways for her special education students to make use of the technology. “It really helped to build my knowledge of how to work more effectively with them in the classroom,” she explains. Mohammed Azim, senior coordinator and head of the English faculty at Victoria’s Darul Ulum College, was asked to put in a grant proposal stipulating how he planned to spend the $5000 he recieved for winning the Innovation category at ASG (Australian Scholarships Group) National Excellence in Teaching Awards. Azim will put $1000 towards gaining a counselling qualification, since his school currently doesn’t have one. “I have been working in this area for a long

time and believe that with more research knowledge out there, I will be well placed to work even better with the students in school and in my community.” “I have done a lot of courses and training but want to attain formal recognition as an adolescent counsellor as well,” he explains. He’ll use the rest of the money to fund several projects for his students, including the publication of a student writing anthology called Ripples. “Most of the initiatives that I had in mind cannot be directly realised through school funding,” he explains. “Since many initiatives are discussed and finalised with students, I believe these special funds allocated by the ASG will be right to use for these purposes.”

The ACT Association for the Teaching of English is a professional association promoting dialogue and the exchange of ideas on curriculum, pedagogy and assessment for secondary English teachers. ACTATE offers professional learning and advocacy for members on issues related to English teaching, hosts a range of professional learning opportunities and an annual national conference hosted by a state/territory association. It also acts as an advocate and advisor by keeping members informed of curriculum issues, current theory and ideas related to English teaching . The association contributes responses to the government and media at local and national levels through AATE and publishes a journal, ACTivATE, featuring articles by ACT and interstate teachers and academics. ACTATE cooperates as appropriate with other professional associations, in particular the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) and the Council of ACT Education Associations (COACTEA) and through it, with the Australian Joint Council of Professional Teaching Associations (AJCPTA). Visit www. for more. Michelle Morthorpe President, ACTATE

Do you have a story to tell Professional Development? Email

Welcome incoming students with a live music performance at orientation! Looking for ways to excite and engage your incoming students? We have a variety of exciting groups available for incursions to educate (and entertain) your students. Live Music Packages are one-hour interactive performance incursions that demonstrate to students the awesome power of live music. Give your incoming students an orientation to remember! For more information, or to book a performance in your school, visit or call 1300 663 608.

Musica Viva is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the Arts and Education department of every State and Territory in Australia.

professionaldevelopment INBRIEF First exciting chapter of Page’s career


australian Teacher • August 2012

Global ed project

France trip beckons

A trip to France is on the cards for language teachers in September, courtesy of the Teachers of French Association and the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia. The course will focus on improving methodological expertise in teaching French and understanding the cultural differences underpinning the two education systems.

Into New Directions New Directions is the theme for the Geography Teachers’ Association of Victoria Annual Conference. The event is being held in partnership with the Global Education Project and the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association – Melbourne Local Council in August and includes Fieldwork Tuesday, which offers teachers opportunities to explore fieldwork options across Victoria.

Different generations The South Australian Primary School Counselling Association’s State Conference will be held in mid-August. The theme is ‘understanding the generations at school’. The event will address how students, teachers and parents approach the world in a very different ways. Email briefs to

A GLOBAL Education scholarship has given teaching student Aranni Page a flying start to her classroom career. The fourth-year primary teaching student at Charles Sturt University is the 2012 recipient of the Global Education Project NSW and the Professional Teachers’ Council NSW Youth Internship. Funded by AusAID, the prize gives her the opportunity to implement her sustainable schools plan at schools in Asia, and attend professional development events during the year. Page’s project proposal focuses on ways to make students more aware of the impact they have on the planet. “I originality developed it in response to an assessment for Education For Sustainability, one of the classes that I did at the end of last year,” she explains. The plan includes getting students to calculate their environmental footprints, create community kitchen gardens, install solar panels, and more. Page will develop the project further before heading overseas, and will document her progress through a blog on the Global Education website. Her interest in sustainability and the environment was sparked

Youth Internship winner Aranni Page is off to a flying start in teaching. when she started going along to meetings of the Bathurst Climate Change Action Network with her landlord and landlady. “When they found out I was doing teaching, it was really good because they started giving me ideas for the classroom, to do with the kids, and [everything] came out of that.”

The second part of her internship has Page attending professional development events, including a recent two day conference for the Global Education Project in Sydney. “We looked at mapping the new curriculum and how that fits in with the principles of Global Education,” Page explains.

“I wanted it to go on for another few days, I was taking just absolutely everything in and some of the resources they gave me, it’s just fantastic. “It’s going to make my job when I come out as a beginning teacher so much easier. “I think it’s unfortunate too that this kind of thing isn’t already in our degree, because a lot of the Global Education resources and people that present them are just absolutely fantastic, so it’s really, really valuable that I’m getting to do it.” Page says the opportunity to network with qualified teachers, particular those in the early years of their careers, was also useful. The internship runs until May 2013, and Page will be doing some of her degree part-time while she juggles the added workload. She’s also hoping to head to the Northern Territory next year to do the teaching prac she’s missed out on this year. “I’m really excited — I’m wishing for it to all go a bit quicker so I can start looking at going to Asia and having all of those projects developed!” Are you a pre-service teacher with a story to share? Email us at


GUIDES As well as S-press, at various times throughout the year we also produce a range of guide magazine supplements distributed inside your copy of S-press. The aim of the guides is to provide up-to-date, practical information for life after Year 12.


R E B CTO O IN T U O Get Ready is a fabulous, one-stop ‘how to’ guide on everything Years 11 and 12 students will need to know in order to safely, smartly and successfully negotiate life after high school. With everything from how to organise a credit card (and using it responsibly) to finding a suitable place to live, to buying your first car, and dealing with changing university courses, it’s here in this pocketsize, easy-to-read treasure trove of information.

professionaldevelopment 51

English and maths

August 2012 • australian Teacher

Illustration process

TEAM:P joins forces to venture out on Australian Curriculum Roadshow

Blackwood workshop fun

TWO Victorian associations are gearing up for a roadshow that will give primary teachers in regional Victoria the rare opportunity to get professional development training close to home. TEAM:P (Teaching English and Maths Primary) is a partnership between the Mathematical Association of Victoria and the Victorian Association for the Teaching of English (VATE). Together they are running the Australian Curriculum Roadshow, which will be making stops in Swan Hill, Moe, Melton and more from late July until September. “Because primary teachers generally teach all subjects, we felt it was important to have something where they could access English and Maths together,” Cathy Snowdon, Professional Officer at VATE, explains. “We organised [the roadshow] because teachers were wanting to have a better idea of what was happening with the Australian Curriculum and how it would affect them and their teaching. “And also because we feel that, although we can reach members in the CBD areas, the city areas, the regional areas don’t get outside PD much, it’s quite expensive.” Participants can choose from

SKETCHING cute critters, touring a notorious prison and ghost spotting — just a regular professional development day for some WA teachers. Among the group from Mindarie Primary School was Year 3 teacher Sue Fuller, who relished the opportunity to do a workshop with illustrator Freya Blackwood at the Literature Centre in Fremantle. “I love art, and I feel totally in awe of anybody who can actually draw!” Fuller tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “It was just fascinating to see the other side of it; when you look through a book, you don’t always think of the illustrator, you think of the author.” Blackwood showed off her work and explained the process she goes through when creating her drawings. Fuller has already taken those observations back to the classroom and put them into practice with her students. “When I came back to school, I unfortunately spent heaps of money, and bought several of her books, and read some to the kids. “The kids were absolutely fascinated with the fact that little lines could come together to make a picture ... I said ‘all right, would you like to have a go?’

VATE Professional Officer Cathy Snowdon. two or three hour sessions that will give an overview of AusVELS (the F-10 curriculum that will be implemented in government and Catholic schools from 2013), plus an English and a Maths workshop. “AusVELS is really just the Australian curriculum transported into a Victorian portal. “There are some things that are fundamentally the same, and there are a few differences ... “What we do with teachers is basically explore those differences, but also we try to alleviate and demystify the curriculum — a lot of it is what they’re actually doing already.”

Fuller’s students show off their Freya Blackwood inspired drawings. “You know what children are like at that age, they use one straight line. So they were there experimenting; they drew some animals. So they got something out of it as well, it was really great.” The second half of the PD day took a darker turn with teachers touring the grounds of the old Fremantle Prison. The tour included a look at the processing room and the whipping post. “It was quite eerie,” Fuller says. Fuller says Fremantle Prison gave her some great ideas for

the history component of the Australian Curriculum. “I probably wouldn’t do the Fremantle prison with Year 3s! I think Year 6s and 7s would really get a lot out of it.” The day even wrapped up with a ghost story about a female inmate who committed suicide in the prison. “Apparently you can see her face in the window, but I’m afraid I’m not a big believer in ghosts, so I couldn’t see it really — it looked just like a dirty window to me!”

Showcasing the latest resources to all educators

Sat 8 & Sun 9 September 2012

10 am - 3 pm [Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre Queensland’s premier education industry event will feature: s Exhibitors showcasing the latest resources for all levels of education. Get new ideas for your career, students and workplace. s Seminars & Workshops

A great opportunity for professional development

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xx australian teacher 52 M = cost for members of host association, NM = cost for non-members.

NATIONAL GOETHE-INSTITUT AUSTRALIEN National Conference for Teachers of German

September 14-16; Bayview Eden Melbourne; M $485 SC $525; joanna. jamroz@melbourne.


September 30 - October 3; Sebel Albert Park Melbourne; M $725 NM $860; mail@thefullpretzel.

HISTORY TEACHERS’ ASSOC OF AUSTRALIA National Conference, My History, Your History, Our History October 2-4; Perth College, Mt Lawley; M $340 NM $380; www.

AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL FOR COMPUTERS IN EDUCATION National Conference October 2-5; Wesley College, South Perth; Earlybird M $490 NM $590; http://acec2012.

KODÁLY MUSIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA National Conference, TIME: The Importance of Music Education

October 2-5; Prince Alfred College, Kent Town, SA; M $540 NM $620; Events.html

BUSINESS EDUCATORS AUSTRALASIA Biennial Conference 2012 October 4-5; Sydney Masonic Centre; M $349 NM $439; www.bea.asn. au/events/conferences


Nov 9-10; University of Sydney; Earlybird registration $300, full registration $350; www. html

APPLIED LINGUISTICS ASSOC OF AUSTRALIA National Conference, Evolving Paradigms: Language and Applied Linguistics in a Changing World

November 12-14; School of Education, Curtin University; M $550 NM $660; promaco@

Submit your free noticeboard listing by emailing

xxxxxxxxx August 2012

ACT PRIMARY ENGLISH TECAHING ASSOC Explicit teaching strategies for factual multimodal texts

August 6, 9am-3pm; Yarralumla Primary School; M $160 NM $215; Register


August 11, 9am-3pm; Northside Infants Grammar School; M $60, NM $70; susanc@

Christmas and celebrations

October 27, 9am-3pm; Northside Infants Grammar School; M $60, NM $70; susanc@


August 17, 8:15am12:30pm; ACU Signadou campus, Watson; M $30 NM $50; veronique.

NSW PRIMARY TEACHERS NETWORK Primary Science Inquiry Based Learning August 1, 4pm-6pm, Sydney College of the Arts; M $20 NM $40,

Integrating Primary History and Drama

September 5, 4pm-6pm; Sydney College of the Arts; M $20, NM $40;

ICT EDUCATORS OF NSW ICT Workshop sessions

August 6, 4pm-9pm; Epping Boys High School, M $30, NM $45; Glenda.

LEGAL STUDIES ASSOCIATION OF NSW Lessons from HSC marking – deconstructing the content August 6, 4.30pm-6pm; Rydges Parramatta; M Free NM $100; lsansw@

EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATORS COUNCIL Gardening and Cooking with K–2, Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden and beyond

August 8, 4.30pm-6pm; Vaucluse Public School, M $45, NM $65; sdziems@


General Courses

Growing our leaders

August 11, 9:30am-4pm Burwood Girls High School; M $150 NM $180;

July 27-28; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre; M $295 NM $406;

HSC Solutions Workshop

PD day


QUEENLAND ASSOC OF MATHEMATICS TEACHERS Implementing the Australian Curriculum

November 24, 10am-3pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; profofficer@mansw.nsw.

Aug 18, 9.30am-12pm; Beverly Hills North Public School, M $22 NM $38.50; shreela.pradhan@ptc.

STUDENT WELFARE AND PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT ASSOCS Obesity and Depression: Successful Strategies for Schools

August 19, 9am-4pm; Sydney College of the Arts, M $105, NM $140,

PRIMARY ASSOCIATION FOR MATHEMATICS Numeracy and Literacy in a Visual Age Aug 23, 4.30pm-6.30pm; Venue TBA; M $30, NM $40; annthomas@mansw.

Annual Conference

Sep 14-16; Novotel, Brighton-le-Sands; Cost TBA; admin@mansw.nsw.

KODALY MUSIC EDUCATION INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (NSW) Interactive Whiteboard in the Music Classroom Aug 28, 4.30pm-6pm; Tara School, North Parramatta; M $45, NM $60; jsamild@ascham.

ACHPER NSW K-6 PDHPE and Sport Conference 2012

September 5; Niagara Park Public School; M/NM $150;

ORFF-SCHULWERK ASSOCIATION How to Introduce Meaningful Movement Into Your Classroom

Sep 15, 8:30-1:30pm; Redeemer Baptist School; M $90 NM $110; moorem2@ozemail.

QLD INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND Innovation Forum 2012: DARE TO ... Be Still July 26-27, 8am-4:30pm; Brisbane Convention Centre; M $638 NM $671; registration@aisq.qld.


November 28; The Bardon Conference Venue; M $110, NM $132; www.

August 25, 9am-3pm; Somerville House, South Brisbane; M $55 NM $99;

HOME ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (QLD) INC. Pre Conference Seminar, Nutrition, sustainability and technology: What is the link?

Aug 10, 4.30pm–6.30pm; Dianna Plaza Hotel; cost TBA;

State conference: The Australian Curriculum and Home Economics

Aug 11, 8.45am–4.30pm, Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, SouthBank, lidia@

The differentiated classroom

August 15, St Teresa’s Catholic College September 6, Northside Christian College All 3:30pm-5:30pm; M $50, NM $70.00, zzdmcman@westnet.

The creative classroom September 3, Kepnock State High School October 16, Trinity Lutheran College All 3:30pm-5:30pm; M $50, NM $70.00, zzdmcman@westnet.

World Food Day event

Oct 13, 12.30pm–6pm St James College; cost TBA;


Oct 15, 2.30pm–4.30pm, Kepnock State High School M $25, NM $ 35; zzdmcman@westnet.


October 24, Clairvaux Mackillop College November 1, Ipswich State High School Both 3.30pm–5.30pm, M $50, NM $70; zzdmcman@westnet.

PRIMARY ENGLISH TEACHING ASSOC AUS Exploring how visual texts work: a multimodal approach

August 15-16, 9am-3pm; Kirwan State School; M $160 NM $215; www.


September 26-27; Griffith University Gold Coast Campus, Building G30; M $60, NM $335;

MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF QLD Piano Fesitval with Christopher Norton

September 27; MTAQ Inc Auditorium, Taringa September 28; Kerry’s Keyboards, Warana Cost $65; mtaq@mtaq.

Language Teachers’ Forum

Oct10, 4:30pm-6pm; Griffith University, S02_7.07, South Bank Campus; Free; www. event/language-teachersforum-october

QUEENSLAND ART TEACHERS’ ASSOC Visual Art Workshop: Printmaking featuring Woodblocks from India Nov 1, 4pm-6:30pm; University of Southern Queensland, Faculty of Education, Springfield Campus; $44;

SA SCHOOL LIBRARY ASSOCIATION OF SA Navigating the Digital Shift: Transliteracy, Transparency and Curation

August 1, 9am-3:30pm; Adelaide Convention Centre; M/NM $275;

PRIMARY ENGLIGH TEACHING ASSOC AUS Redefining texts: interpreting/creating multimodal texts

August 2, 9am-3pm; East Adelaide Primary School; M $160, NM $215 CoursesStore

SA SECONDARY PRINCIPALS’ ASSOC SA Education Leaders Conference

August 8-10; The Westpac Centre, Adelaide; M $550;


Aug 11, 8:30am-4pm; Marden Senior College; M $60, NM $80;

SA PRIMARY SCHOOL COUNSELLING ASSOC State Conference: Understanding the generations at school

August 13, 9am-3.30pm;

Education Development Centre, Hindmarsh; M $120 NM $160;

COUNCIL OF AUS SECONDARY TOURISM TEACHERS 2012 Tourism Skills Seminars - Focus on Application of Skills

Aug 14, 4:30pm-6pm; Pembroke School, Kensington; Cost TBA;


August 16, Things with Strings September 27, ECPA highlights October 18, Christmas November 15, Favorites All 4:15pm-5:30-pm; South Hobart Primary School; free; sdhyland@

SCIENCE TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION VICTORIA Primary Conference: Rising to the Heights of the Australian Curriculum

HOME ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF AUS (TAS) ICT in the home economics classroom

VCE Unit 4 Forum

Oct 20 and Nov 10; Riverside High School, Launceston; M $50, NM $65;

August 20, 9am-3:15pm; Melbourne Museum; M $85 NM $125; events@ September 9; University of Melbourne; cost TBA; educationofficer@vaps.


August 18; Education Development Centre, Hindmarsh; Cost TBA;


Oct 16, 4.30pm-6pm; VicHealth Seminar Room 1, Carlton South; Free;




July 26-27; Melbourne Museum; M $85.00 NM $125.00; events@

August 18; 9am-1pm; Venue TBA, Cost TBA;


August 18, 9am -3:30pm; Education Building, Flinders University; M $60 NM $85; bbloffwitch@

MODERN LANGUAGE TEACHERS ASSOCIAITON OF SA MLTASA Conference September 1, 9am-4pm; EDC, Milner Street, Hindmarsh; president@

HOME ECONOMICS INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA (SA) INC Resource Sharing & Speed Mentoring day

Sep 22, 8.30am-12.30pm; Education Development Centre, Hindmarsh; Free;


Second Tuesday of every month unless in school holidays, All 3:45pm; Nixon St Primary School, Devonport; free; elizabeth. green@education.tas.

North Tasmania Meetings

August 14, Grade 5/6 ideas September 24, Christmas carols and ideas October 16, Ukeliteracy November 19, Celebration and favourites All 4pm-5pm; Scotch Oakburn Juniour Campus, Launceston; kim.allen@

Southern Tasmania Meetings

VISUAL COMMUNICATION VIC Annual Conference: Ready, Set ..

July 27-28; Swinburne University of Technology, Prahran; M $305 NM $395;

VIC ASSOC FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH http://registrations.vate.

The Australian Curriculum: English

July 30, 4pm-6pm; Boardroom, Gippsland Regional Office, DEECD, Moe; M $80, NM $100

Literature Network – meeting 3

Aug 2, 5pm-6.30pm, VATE Conference Room, Collingwood; M/NM $15

Middle Years Regional Conference

Aug 6, 9am-3.30pm, Queenscliff; M from $145 NM $325

TEAM:P Australian Curriculum Roadshow

Aug 21, 22; September 11, 12,18, 19; Time TBA; various venues; M/NM from $33; www.teamp.vic.

Solutions Network: Prepare underperforming VCE students for the exam September 5, 5pm-7pm; VATE Conference Room, Collingwood; $15

VIC PRINCIPALS ASSOC & VIC ASSOC OF STATE SECONDARY PRINCIPALS Dealing with the media with Anna Malbon July 31, 9:30am-11:30am; cost TBA; venue TBA;


Aug 10-11, 9.30am-5pm; State Library of Victoria; M $330 NM $450

ACHPER WA Primary Dance Workshop August 6; King Street Arts Centre, Perth; M $165 NM $240; www.achperwa.

Annual State Conference

Nov 26-27; Edith Cowan University; Cost TBA; www.

PRIMARY ENGLISH TEACHING ASSOC AUS Exploring how visual texts work: a multimodal approach August 6, The Boulevard Centre, Floreat August 7, Burswood on Swan, Burswood Both days 9am-3pm; M $160, NM $215; www.

GEOGRAPHICAL ASSOC OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA Geography in Action 3: 2B Course Study and Planning August 8, 4:30pm-7pm; Schools of Isolated & Distance Education, Leederville; M $25, NM $55; gawa/PROFESSIONAL_ LEARNING.htm

THE WA ASSOCIATION OF TEACHER ASSISTANTS Conference: love2read August 10-12; Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle; Member only event, $250;

MATHEMATICAL ASSOC OF WESTERN AUSTRALIA State Conference: Pathways to the Future. August 17-19; Abbey Beach Resort, Busselton; M $650 NM $760; office@

Years 7 & 8 National Curriculum Mathematics

Sep 17; 9am-3:30pm; The Mathematical Assoc of WA, Mirrabooka; M/NM $294;

Secondary Convention Nov 26-27; Esplanade Hotel, 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 Each month we also feature event previews, reviews and association news. If you have a story for our Professional Development section, email and the team will be in touch.

Register at Sat 8 & Sun 9 September 2012 10am-3pm Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre FREE ENTRY

A great opportunity for professional development

around the traps 53

August 2012 • australian Teacher

Hamer’s a thrilling odyssey

Molina’s Short film inspiring

BEING able to showcase his acrobatic skills on Australian television is a dream come true for David Hamer. After all, he has spent the past 20 years intensively training for a moment like this. Despite winning many national titles, he considers his involvement in this year’s Australia’s Got Talent series to be his biggest feat to date. “You’re on TV doing the sport that you love and have dedicated 20 years of your life to, so it’s been really interesting,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Hamer is an English teacher at Queensland’s Redbank Plains State High School. But, when the bell rings at the end of the day, he has four to five hours of training ahead of him. “We’re doing about 30 hours a week. It’s not easy. I’ve had to basically sacrifice having a social life and really focus.” Hamer showed an aptitude for gymnastics at a young age and his mother encouraged him to give it a go. He says he fell in love with gymnastics before challenging himself further with acrobatics, a more visually spectacular sport where you work in teams. Training under three-times World Champion gymnast Yuriy Stepchenkov, the 13 acrobats

ENCOURAGING her students to enjoy reading was the the prime motivation behind Vanessa Molino’s decision to enter her short film in a Hume City Council storytelling competition, where she was highly commended for her efforts. The English and humanities teacher at Melbourne’s Mill Park Secondary College says she made the film because she knew that her students didn’t enjoy reading and she thought it could change their attitude. “I thought I’d give it a go and maybe inspire the kids, well, my Year 9 students, to write one up themselves. They like watching them and reading them and they like the stories,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. The competition, for 16- to 25-year-olds, was to produce a story for Responsible Gambling Week based on the theme ‘Don’t let gambling take over’. Molino wrote her story from the perspective of a small girl who is being interviewed by a counsellor. The girl brought along her photos to share and help reflect on her parents’ relationship. “I knew I wanted to do it from a little girl’s point of view, and then what I did was, I used my own

Acrobatics group, Odyssey, are starring on Australia’s Got Talent. who make up the Odyssey team have been training since November for Australia’s Got Talent. Hamer doesn’t let nerves get the better of him on stage. “You’re more nervous being backstage than you are when you’re on the stage. I mean, we rehearse these skills thousands of times, there’s no reason why we should miss anything in the routine itself.” Being the eldest member of the group, at 35 years of age, Hamer

tries to encourage everyone to try their best. “The reality is that we don’t need much motivating … but at the same time, as one of the senior members of the team we try and sort of encourage everyone to try their best,” he says. Hamer is grateful for the support he has received from the school community. The winner of AGT was still being decided when Australian Teacher Magazine went to print.

Vanessa Molino inspires her students by making flash fiction story films. personal family photos to inspire me,” she shares. An added incentive to entering the competition was the prize money on offer to the best entry. Molino was hoping to win so that she could put it toward buying new computers for her students to make their own flash fiction story films, instead of them using her personal computer. But, she is definitely proud of her entry and was excited to be invited along to the awards ceremony. “When I see it in front of me I’m proud,” she says. “A lot of the time I notice that our kids aren’t proud of what they do and I want to show them that you can do this too, all you need to do is put in the effort.”

Ollie riding the writing wave SELF-CONFESSED nerd Oliver Phommavanh gave himself five years to pursue writing, and if it didn’t work out he could always go back to full-time teaching. He says he loves teaching, and still works as a casual relief teacher at Sydney’s Lansvale Public School. But he’s riding the writing wave to see how far it takes him. “I guess having that security and having the knowledge that I could go back gave me that motivation to just stop and see if I could get a start in writing children’s books,” he explains. “I guess being a teacher is great if you’re a writer ... because you

really get to have a sense of what it is like to be in a classroom.” Phommavanh decided he wanted to become a stand-up comedian in high school and chased his dream during university, doing open mic nights and gigs at comedy clubs whenever possible. Nowadays, he has a much different audience to test his jokes on. He says that he draws on things his favourite authors Paul Jennings and Morris Gleitzman have done in the past. An author of three books, Phommavanh travels around the country sharing his stories with school children, who love learning from

the man whose life is reflected in many of the books’ characters. Thai-riffic draws on his experience with embarrassing parents who are culturally different. In his second novel, Con-nerd, the main character is much like Phommavanh, who was forced into tutoring classes because his mum wanted him to get into a selective school to become a doctor. His third and most recent book, Punchlines draws on themes of love, acceptance and a drive for popularity. Phommavanh says he can relate to all of his characters and loves that he is following his dream.

Oliver Phommavanh uses his teaching experience to help him write books.

REWARD YOUR SCHOOL 5% Reward Dollars

Every time your school or a member of your school community buys from Schools Direct 5% is given to your school to use. Start rewarding your school now! To find out more call 1300 118 350 or simply visit


inthestaffroom australian Teacher • August 2012

trivia Who won the women’s singles at the 2012 French Open to complete a career grand slam?

Name the three US states starting with the letter C (1 point for each).

Which artist had an ‘80s hit with 99 Red Balloons? What are barbels, roach and darters? How many in a baker’s dozen, also known as a long dozen? Comedy duo Flight of the Conchords hail from which country?

one point

three points

On a standard dartboard, which number is opposite 11?

What is a funambulist more commonly known as?

Name the five founding members of the Jackson 5 (1 point for each).

Which NBA team does LeBron James play for?

Port-of-Spain is the capital of which republic?

Who won this year’s Miles Franklin Literary Award for All That I Am?

The opera Carmen is by which French composer?

The Cox Plate is held at which racetrack each year?

Who played Atticus Finch in the 1962 film version of To Kill a Mockingbird?





1 Literary term for the second most important character in a text. (13) 4 The 2010 film Tangled is loosely based on the fairytale _. (8) 5 The title of The Rolling Stones’ first single, a cover of the Chuck Barry song, _ On. (4) 7 The brother of video game character Mario. (5) 10 Vatican City, San Marino and _ are the only countries to be totally surrounded by one other country. (7) 11 US Vice President Joe _. (5) 12 The Russian city of Saint Petersburg, pictured, was once called _. (9) 15 Cricket playing Aussie twins Mark and Steve _. (5) 16 A white coloured species of whale. (6) 17 Small flute with an Italian name. (7)

1 Peter _ plays Tyrion Lannister in Game Of Thrones. (8) 2 The official currency of China, the _. (8) 3 Antonis _ is the new Prime Minister of Greece. (7) 6 The study of map making is called _. (11) 7 R’n’B artist who won five Grammy awards in 1998, _ Hill. (6) 8 Supermodel Miranda Kerr is married to actor _ Bloom. (7) 9 Australian media company that recently announced 1900 job losses. (7) 12 The _ Inquiry is a public investigation of the circumstances behind the News Limited phone hacking scandal. (7) 13 The first city to have a population of one million in 133 BC. (4) 14 First century Iceni queen who led a British uprising against the Roman Empire. (7)

turn to page 56 for all solutions and answers

skill level: MEDIUM

picture puzzler We’ve been playing with the photo zoom — all you have to do is guess what it is.

five points

careers career news




retirements 57

Cheryl Chipper, left, has won a WA Aboriginal Education Award.


chipper’s work recognised AFTER 11 often difficult years as an Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer, Cheryl Chipper is grateful to have had her work recognised with a WA Aboriginal Education Award. “I’m the longest serving AIEA here at the school, and I tell you, it’s been really trying ... it’s a very, very hard thing. But to finally get recognition has been fantastic,” she says. Chipper works at Central Midlands Senior High School and has received the Ben Drayton Award for WA Outstanding Aboriginal and Islander Education Officer 2012. Her efforts resulted in the school’s first-ever 100 per cent graduation rate for Indigenous students in 2011. “We focused on a group of

mainly boys, about four or five boys in a particular year, nurturing them throughout their five years of school and seeing them graduate, because we haven’t got a high graduation rate, especially for young males. It was a huge thing for this school, and for this town, actually.” The perfect graduation rate has boosted the self esteem of the successful students, as well as proving inspirational for younger kids at the school. “They’re absolutely proud, absolutely. It [gives the younger ones something to aspire to] because they look back on these kids and these boys are now like young role models. Chipper admits the job can be emotionally draining. “The prob-

lems you face with the kids, they have so many problems and you work through that with them. “It’s just the love of them wanting to come to school. And I think that’s the major issue; when they’re wanting to come to school, you do that, you put everything aside and you nurture them.”

Read about the other winners » Outside of the school, Chipper is the chairperson of the Central Midlands Aboriginal Progress Association, a member of the Yuat Community Action Group, and an Aboriginal health advocate. He award includes a $2500 prize for professional development

expenses. Chipper hopes to go and work with kids up in the Kimberley, where she has family — if her students let her go. “I mentioned the other day to the kids, ... ‘I’m not going to be here forever, I’m thinking about moving on’. And they were like, ‘no, you can’t leave us!’ “So I think I’m committed here for the next couple of years, anyway!” The other WA Aboriginal Education Award winners were: Cheryl Bettridge (Yule Brook College); Yvonne Scott (Narrogin Primary School); Norma Willaway (Kalumburu Remote Community School); Paul Bridge (Derby District High School); Southwell Primary School’s Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day program.

Leadership 61

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


careers australian Teacher • August 2012

Business management

AWARD Nominations are open for WA’s public education awards. They include a new category for 2012 — the Premier’s Early Childhood Teacher of the Year, honouring the work of K-3 educators. The winners will be announced in Perth on December 3, with a total prize pool of $264,000 on offer. Closing date for nominations is Friday, August 10. Visit educationawards for more information.

RETIREMENT Moira McAlister has retired from the profession. She has been teacher librarian at St Vincent’s Primary School in the ACT for nearly eight years and has worked for more than 40 years in Catholic Education. Writing in the school newsletter, principal Marg Koenen described McAlister as a gifted and talented teacher who had shared her many talents at several schools.

APPOINTMENT Dean Angus has been appointed principal of the amalgamated Kadina Memorial School, on South Australia’s Yorke Penisula. Angus is principal of Moonta Area school and will take on the new role from the start of Term 3. The new school brings together Kadina Primary and Kadina Memorial High School. It will open its doors to students at the start of 2013.

Life-changing Thailand trip Ann Robinson, Tarneit Senior College, VIC A CHANCE conversation on the logistical and procedural necessities of taking a group of 22 students and five staff to the remotest and poorest parts of Thailand took my role as a school business manager to a new level. Somehow, I heard myself offering my services for the trip. Fast forward three months and imagine a passionate and engaged business manager from a school of 4700 suddenly having to get to grips with counting students on and off busses, dealing with lost luggage, and answering numerous questions as we moved through foreign airports. By the time we left the tarmac at Melbourne I had a whole new level of empathy for teachers on camp. The Thai Experience had become an annual feature on the calendar at Caroline Springs School, Victoria. My role on this trip wasn’t too dissimilar to the role I have in schools. I ensured we had enough cash to pay drivers, entrance fees and food bills leaving the teaching staff to do what they do best — keeping students focused and learning at every opportunity. I made sure we had enough first

RETIREMENT Glossop High School teacher Paul Richardson has retired. Principal Bevin Brooks said he had been highly successful in the technology area, and had also helped out in art, health and agriculture science. He added Richardson will be remembered for his ability, commitment and compassion. Staff at the school, in the Riverland region of SA, will farewell him at a dinner in Term 3.


Staff and Year 9 students visit a school in Thailand. aid supplied ... I was the all rounder, the go to person and I loved every minute of it. Quite often, as business managers we can get bogged down by the day-to-day and only really see the life in our schools when we have a chance walk through the playground. On this trip I was immersed in student learning and I saw how hard teachers work and the precious relationships they build with students. Now my job is truly multidimensional and rich as I can clearly see what my role is. We are

there to create opportunities for students and teachers, whether that be sourcing a local grant for a school project or resourcing a trip such as this one so that the experience is life changing. We play an important role in schools and it’s up to us to grab every opportunity possible to improve and support learning. Ann Robinson is now business manager at Melbourne’s Tarneit Senior College and worked at Caroline Springs College at the time of the Thailand trip.

Fran Dawning is the new principal of Bonner Primary School in the ACT. She has been principal of Lyneham Primary School for seven years and was deputy principal of Ngunnawal Primary before that. Dawning says she is looking forward to returning to the Gungahlin region. Bonner Primary School is still under construction and will take its first students at the start of 2013.

RETIREMENT Two members of staff at South Australia’s Nuriootpa High School retired at the end of Term 2. Ian Walker has worked at the school for 20 years, teaching history, SOSE and humanities. Don Grinstead joined Nurioopta five years ago and has taught mainly in the technology studies area. The school community thanked them for their service and wished them well in their retirement.




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careers 57

AUGUST 2012 • australian Teacher

Queen‘s honours

Ash a special contributor

WHEN Christine Ash was named on the Queen’s birthday honour list this year, her daughter took to Facebook to tell her friends that she’d always known her mum was special but now the whole world knew it as well. Ash says this sentiment was echoed throughout her whole family, who were delighted to see her work recognised. “I think they were very happy about it … they understood that although they were very special because they’re my children, that there’s always been other children in my life,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Those other children are from Elizabeth’s Parish School in Melbourne, where Ash has been principal for the past six years. The Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) recognised her service to education, particularly through the Victorian Association of Catholic Primary School Principals. “We established an association for them about six years ago … I was perhaps the main driver in that,” Ash says. The association aims to link the four separate Catholic dioceses in Victoria to work together. Ash says that she felt that her regional colleagues needed to contribute

St Elizabeth’s Parish School principal Christine Ash was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours. to the discussions taking place in metropolitan Melbourne. Ash sat as the inaugural chairperson for four years and has worked as the secretary since stepping down from that position. She used her role in this job to be active in working for greater funding in Catholic schools. “We were instrumental in getting a petition up to do that because there was a great deal of uncertainty for funding for Catholic schools until this happened … I think that there’s a great strength in our shared wisdom,” she says.

Ash doesn’t see herself as having done anything spectacular during her 42 years in the teaching profession. In fact, when she was told about the award, she thought a couple of her colleagues had been playing a prank on her. “I just do what I love doing and that’s being part of the teaching profession,” she says. “Once [winning the award] sank in, I was very honoured. I’m not quite sure that I deserve it but I’m honoured to wear it in terms of for all the people who have done great things working with me.”

first year out SIX years ago, Sara Stancati travelled to Australia for her honeymoon and fell in love with the country. A year later, she decided to move from Italy with her husband to become a teacher at St. Mary’s Catholic Primary School in WA. She tells Australian Teacher Magazine about adapting to her new home. During our honeymoon, we saw that this was a wonderful country and we saw many opportunities that we didn’t necessarily see in Italy. We thought that for a young family it would be great to try something different in a country that actually offers many opportunities [compared to] what my country offers. So, I moved from Italy with my husband four-and-a-half years ago. I had quite a few challenges to deal with in my classroom, but overall I must say I’m quite happy ... it’s been quite a good first semester. At the beginning it was hard for me to be a first year out and to manage some difficult behaviour in my classroom. I still have my challenges but I feel more confident in dealing with them, because I know that the whole school is taking the same approach [to behaviour]. When I was a teenager, I always loved to tutor my nieces and nephews and other friends’ sons and daughters. Then I went off and did something that was completely different. I studied music journalism and then I was a secretary for five years in a health

clinic. Then teaching came back to my mind, when I was thinking of going back to university and getting a degree. At the time, my husband suggested teaching because he remembered me always teaching somehow. It was not a job at the time but it was something that I used to do most afternoons. And then I thought I could study to become a proper teacher in the classroom, so I did. You get taught in uni that every child loves to learn and likes to learn and is here to learn, but, sometimes that doesn’t show in the classroom. Sometimes it’s been hard to still believe that all children like to learn, when actually the behaviour tells me something a bit different. The way we teach in Australia is very different [to Italy]. It’s more student-centred here in Australia and [it definitely gives] the children more opportunities to learn in different ways. In Italy, you learn much more content, but it’s more standardised and every child has to adapt to the same style of teaching.


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careersleadership INBRIEF PD funding boost Deputy principal role requires great


australian Teacher • August 2012

second in charge

principal training

deal of energy and a sense of humour

Long night sleepout

St Vincent de Paul asks people in affluent leadership positions to experience homelessness for one night as part of their CEO Sleepout. Principal at ACT’s Holy Trinty Primary School, Judy Spence decided to take up the challenge to raise money for homeless services across the country. Before the event, she said that “with three sheets of cardboard and a sleeping bag, it’s going to be tough.”

Gold Coast gathering The Professional Development Network will be holding their annual conference on educational leadership over two days, from Thursday 23 to Friday 24 August. The event encourages all leaders and aspiring leaders to make tracks to the Gold Coast’s Royal Pines Resort, to be involved in strengthening networks and establishing long term partnerships. Contact for more.

A few heads together Melbourne’s Seabrook Primary School has had a group of principals visit them as part of an instructional round. There was a focus on feedback as the group observed children, teachers and the learning program. The newsletter reports that it was a very positive and affirming week and a time for the Seabrook School community to be proud. Email briefs to

SCHOOLS are set to benefit from a $20 million Federal Government investment in professional development and training for school principals. The states and territories will receive the funding under the Principal Professional Development component of the $550 million Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership. New South Wales will receive the biggest slice of the funding, with $6 million to go towards ICT training for school leaders. Leaders of specialist schools in Victoria will be trained to better manage people and collaborate with parents, while Queensland will receive $4 million to extend its Take the Lead program for aspiring principals. Tasmania will further develop a principal induction program, Western Australia will implement a principal advisory team to support principals working in challenging circumstances, and South Australia will boost support for Indigenous learning. There are plans for extended professional development opportunities in the ACT, while the Northern Territory will introduce a school review mentoring program. “Principals provide a crucial

Schools nationwide are to benefit from $550 million in funding. leadership and inspirational role in schools, and should have the tools they need to provide world class learning environments for Australian students,” Education Minister Peter Garrett said. “Across Australia, principals will be supported to prepare teachers and students for the implementation of the new Australian Curriculum, which is being rolled out in schools around the nation.

JOSEPH Sandric has advice for any deputy principal who is asked to step into the principal’s role every now and then — try not to panic! And he should know; he’s been a deputy principal for over 10 years. “I quite enjoy the challenge of doing the principal for a short time but I always enjoy handing back the mantle of responsibility when they do return,” he jokes. His current role at St James Catholic College just outside of Hobart has him doing typical things like daily organisation and managing all the students from Kinder to Year 10. But Sandric says that working in a small school means that he’s often called into usual situations. “At a small school you’re asked to do lots of different things,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “The most unusual things I have to do are with the little kids, so I’m always nervous when I have to go into Kinder,” Sandric laughs. He recently was called in to assist the kinder students with making things out of cardboard boxes whilst their regular teacher was off doing assessments. As a secondary trained teacher, Sandric said he found it to be a great experience.

To be a deputy principal Sandric says you need to have a tremendous amount of energy and a sense of humour. And while he does enjoy the idea of becoming a principal in the future, he’s pretty happy with where he’s at right now. “Being a principal demands a lot of energy and time and although I may have the energy, my family deserves a bit of my time as well too,” he says.

Hobart’s Joseph Sandric is happy being a deputy principal for now.



careersleadership 59

August 2012 • australian Teacher

Just on Principal

Prout plenty more than a centre half-forward

Jennie Prout has spent her career working in small, rural schools in Victoria. She talks to JO EARP about leadership and the importance of building relationships. “THEY were probably the happiest four years of my life because you’re young, green and so enthusiastic — you’re going to conquer the world.” Jennie Prout looks back on her first job in education with great fondness. Fresh out of Geelong Teachers College, she was

appointed head of Hallora Primary School in 1974. As the only member of staff at the tiny rural school in Gippsland, Prout had a class of 29 students spanning seven grades. “I was such a greenhorn at that school — I remember I ordered enough toilet rolls on my first day there to last me the whole four years!” she laughs. “I remember going home after the first week and it hit me — how do you teach kids to read? Here I was, the only teacher, I had all the children, I was in charge of their educational futures, and I had five preps that I had to teach to read. You think ‘have I learnt enough?’ well, you learn on the job.” She recalls one of the more dangerous lessons was how to kill a snake. “You had all these little kids and you had to deal with everything.” She was also responsible for cleaning the school. Prout was able to take in a second enrolment of preps midway through the academic year and push the class size above 30, which in those days meant she qualified for an assistant. “I had some lovely memories. You just had that community feel and that set my direction that I wanted to always be involved in [rural] community schools.”

backing her all the way. After four years at Hallora she worked for 24 years at Longwarry Primary School, 10 years as principal. She has been principal of Neerim South Primary School since 2003. While in the process of arranging our interview I called the school three times. On each occasion Prout was the one who picked up the phone. When I tell her it’s unusual for a principal to answer calls to a general school number these days she explains being a hands-on leader is part of her philosophy. “I don’t ask anybody else to do something I’m not prepared to do. I feel that people [staff, the kids and the community] are the best asset schools have got.” Neerim South Primary School developed the Tarago Education Community — a partnership with the local high school, pre-school and four other rural schools in the immediate vicinity. It has also received Victorian Government funding for a specialist Chinese Mandarin program, something Prout is keen to include local businesses in. “We’re trying to show the community that just because you live in a rural community, it doesn’t mean you can’t be a global citizen and be on the cutting edge.”

As principal of Neerim South Primary School, Jennie Prout has championed building links with the local community. She also remembers being invited for tea before her first school council meeting, and the council president telling her the last thing the community wanted was another female head teacher because the last one had taken maternity leave, and she didn’t play football and the local team needed a centre half-forward. “Little did he know he’d just set

me a challenge I couldn’t resist, and a challenge I put my heart and soul into,” Prout explains. “I had a determination to show him that in the community they did want me after all and although I might not be able to play football I could be a good educational leader and a productive member of the community.” The community responded by





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australian Teacher • August 2012

INBRIEF Mojica-Casey a keen lifelong learner Phd qualifications

AusDance workshop

All teachers involved in teaching dance in both primary and secondary schools are invited to attend an Ausdance workshop that will discuss the advent of the Australian Curriculum and the delivery of dance in 2013. The August 26 event is at Melbourne’s Dancehouse. Email for more information.

Online game changer Professional development for teachers is now a whole lot easier, with the launch of a new online games-based tool where teachers from all sectors learn, network and collaborate. PLANE features a virtual world with three-dimensional games, a two-dimensional multi-media environment, ICT courses and connecting opportunities to follow friends, build a profile and professional reputation.

ACT leadership boost The ACT will get a $348,936 slice of $19.6 million worth of investment in PD and training for school principals. Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett says the funding was the Principal Professional Development component of the Federal Government’s Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership. He says experts will be engaged to help improve school leadership capacity. Email briefs to

JO EARP CARRYING out a research study for a PhD qualification is a big commitment, but Brisbane teacher Maria Mojica-Casey says there are plenty of rewards. The maths and science teacher at Aspley State High School is a doctoral student at CQUniversity’s Noosa campus. “I’m looking at students’ communication when they’re using computers, in particular during a maths class — how they interact among themselves and with their teachers,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Mojica-Casey says the research has allowed her to gain a deeper understanding of the topic area and will hopefully make her a much better teacher than she would have been. “I want to be relevant and know the latest tools that are available to [students],” she says, adding that tackling a masters thesis three years ago was good preparation for the research element of her current course. “I had prior tertiary training in terms of research methods and how to write a literature review. So, I sort of had a practice run with my masters.” Mojica-Casey has been a full-

DOCTORAL DEGREEs One of the highest degrees, it is sometimes referred to as a Research Higher Degree. Students taking a PhD are required to produce a body of research, under the supervision of an academic, which contributes to existing knowledge in the field. Generally three years full-time study, some universities offer part-time options. It is normally possible to upgrade from a Masters by research to a PhD partway through study. Queensland maths and science teacher Maria Mojica-Casey is partway through her PhD. time PhD student since January, but the process of writing a literature review and gathering information started three years ago. “It’s the traditional research format where you develop an understanding of research methodology [and] research the topic ... and see where the holes are.” After exploring existing literature, Mojica-Casey discovered

there was lots of information about using computers and outcomes for students. “But, there was no research related to students communicating and their opinions about the difference of a maths class using ICT compared with a traditional class,” she recalls. “I thought that was something I’d like to know because I’m a maths teacher, and I do use computers and create maths blogs, and I get a lot of response. “I thought ‘well, we’ll turn this

Gagging to have your say? Don’t let us stop you. Australian Teacher Magazine is the voice for educators. Proudly independent, we’re open to hearing (and publishing) your views, news and comments. Email letters, thoughts or comments to To remain anonymous please state your name and address and request that your details be withheld from publication. Comments, views and news can now be submitted online at Want to comment on a specific story online, read the story online and hit ‘comment’

into a study ... and find out what students think’.” Mojica-Casey says she’s been systematic when it comes to allocating study time. “I’m very stringent about having an extra hour in the afternoon and an extra hour in the morning, I have to get up earlier than I would do, and I devote that just to [my studies].” She hopes her dissertation will provide a good snapshot of student understanding and opinion about the use of ICT in maths versus more traditional lessons. As a PhD student, contributing a body of research to the topic area you’re studying means you could potentially have an impact on other educators. But Mojica-Casey says that’s not her motivator. “For me personally it’s a way of saying to my students ‘I’m a teacher, but I’m also a student and I understand how you feel, I have deadlines too and I know what it’s like to be a lifelong learner’.” This term she is heading overseas, attending IT and maths education conferences to bring herself up to date with the latest thinking and best practice. “I want to see what else is out there so that I can come back in Term 4 and start putting everything into practice. We want to know what’s cutting edge.”

careerslearning 61

postgrad study

August 2012 • australian Teacher

ecological literacy

Middle years course used to help students with resilience and coping

Equipped for the outdoors

ACCORDING to Maree LucasArtell, students in the middle years are easily forgotten and need more focused attention as a result. “These are the most important years because this is when [students] make their choices that will then ultimately decide which careers are available to them and which ones aren’t,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. This became her reason to take a Graduate Certificate in the Middle Years course at Griffith University, which she does through the Open Universities program. It is the third postgraduate course for the deputy principal at Queensland’s Shailer Park State High School, where she also works as an English, business and ESL teacher. Lucas-Artell hopes to use the things she’s learning during the course to help implement resilience and coping programs for all Year 8 and 9 students who are traditionally the most at risk. “I’m taking a real focus on how middle years students aren’t like the others, they are going to need some special consideration in the way that we deliver and the way that we teach to them,” she says. Lucas-Artell adds the course is giving her the tools to help deliver the new transition program at her

OVER the last 10 years, outdoor education has evolved to be much more than simply learning how to do activities outside. Considering its increased importance in the new national curriculum, and the body of knowledge associated with environmental understanding, there is a growing need for teachers to be better equipped in the subject. The University of Ballarat offers a Graduate Diploma of Outdoor and Environmental Education, which presents the material that underscores the knowledge that would be required to teach Year 11 and 12 students. Senior lecturer Peter Martin says the course focuses on skill development and ecological literacy, which relates directly to an understanding of the landscape and being comfortable outdoors. “That literacy includes being able to be safe and comfortable in the outdoors, to be able to live there for an extended period of time, to know the skills of the activity, but to also know about the landscape and our relationship with that landscape and the sorts of things that we’re able to observe,” Martin explains. Martin says that people who take this course come from mixed backgrounds, particularly when

Maree Lucas-Artell is completing her third postgraduate qualification at Griffith University. school, which involves integrating Year 7 students into the high school system in Queensland. And, it has helped her to cope with behavioural issues in this age group. “I’ve learned when you ask a student and they say, ‘I don’t know,’ there is a scientific reason for that. It’s not just a kid saying ‘I don’t know’ because it’s the easiest way out,” she explains. The hardest part of studying for Lucas-Artell is fitting it in with her other responsibilities. “I’ve found it’s actually helped my teaching and my management but I guess it is just finding those three or four hours a night to get the work done that possibly is a struggle for some people, but I’ve found my rhythm now,” she says.

it comes to outdoor confidence. “We know that some people may perhaps have had a strong family history, they might have done some undergraduate work, they might have done it in recreation, so they’ll come with a real mixture of outdoor knowledge.” Students are required to take part in trips organised by the university that involve bushwalking, rock climbing, cross country skiing and canoeing skills. They also go on a 12-day bushwalk where they are required to fend for themselves. For assessment, there are certain hurdles that students are required

to pass, for example, being confident in navigation. There’s also a small practical test where students have to demonstrate competence in certain activities like being able to safely tie into a harness and be able to safeguard and take in the rope while somebody is climbing. Most students take the course part time, but there are also fulltime options available. And while Martin says that the number of students enrolling in outdoor education at high school hasn’t risen over the years, the need for teachers to properly teach these students is ever present.

Teachers taking the Graduate Diploma of Outdoor and Environmental Education are assessed on their skills in the wild.


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AUGUST 2012 • australian Teacher • 63



GETTING the right people in the right schools is important for getting the best results for our students. The Northern Territory Department of Education and Training recognises and rewards all of our teachers through a range of allowances, competitive rates of pay, professional development and mentoring. If you accept the challenge of working in a remote community we’ll give you free/

subsidised housing, up to three airfares a year to Darwin or Alice Springs and remote allowances. We’re looking for passionate and committed teachers who want to create rich, dynamic learning environments in our remote communities and urban centres. The Northern Territory is a diverse place with students coming from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, with

Teaching in the Territory Getting the right people in the right schools is vital for achieving successful outcomes for students in the Northern Territory. The Territory is a diverse place with students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. More than 40 per cent of NT schools are in a remote or very remote location. The NT Department of Education and Training can offer teachers the opportunities, training and support they need to build a rewarding and successful teaching career. Teachers are recognised and rewarded through a range of allowances, competitive rates of pay, professional development and mentoring – especially those who accept the challenges of working in a very remote Indigenous

community. Teaching in a remote location requires committed and highly skilled teachers with specific attributes. The Department’s Remote Teaching Service was established to support teachers in recognition of the challenges and rewards that brilliant teachers can gain from working in remote Indigenous schools. DET’s Chief Executive Gary Barnes said of the 114 teachers recruited to very remote schools at the beginning of 2011, 86 completed the year in the school to which they were recruited and 94 were retained within the Department. “Given that many staff are recruited to very remote schools to backfill teachers on study leave, it was pleasing to find that 60 per cent of these

Andrew Bagnall (left) is thoroughly enjoying teaching in a remote community. He believes learning about the culture, customs and values through meaningful conversations helps to build trust with adults and children in the community.

newly recruited staff were retained in the following year in either the school they were recruited to or another remote school,” Mr Barnes said. “This shows that our Remote Teaching Service approach is clearly working.” Andrew Bagnall moved from NSW to take up a primary teaching job at Ramingining, a very remote community in northern Arnhem Land. He hasn’t looked back since moving to the Territory. “It’s been such a comfort finding like-minded teachers in the school where I work,” Mr Bagnall said. “At Raminging, there are specialist teachers who can offer support and experience. Building a solid staff group has been really useful in spreading the load when it comes to meeting the challenges of remote teaching. “Within the community, the people are super friendly and supportive, and learning about the culture, customs and values from meaningful conversations has also enabled me to build trust and hopefully respect in the community.” New teachers in very remote communities are supported to complete a fully-funded Graduate Certificate inTeaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Indigenous Education through Charles Darwin University. DET also leads a national alliance with QLD, NSW, SA and WA to offer support to remote teachers through mentoring, networking and professional learning opportunities. The National Alliance for Remote Indigenous Schools (NARIS) aims to help teachers and leaders with the unique challenges and opportunities of living and working in remote communities. If you believe you have the passion and commitment to deliver quality education in the NT, call 1800 646 391 or email teacherrecruitment.det@nt.

40 per cent of our 154 schools in remote or very remote locations. If you have relevant qualifications, experience and the drive to deliver quality education, apply online at www.teaching.nt. and you will be considered for vacancies as they arise in our schools. We provide our teachers with the opportunities, training and support they need for a rewarding

and successful teaching career. Applicable salary range for teachers is $60,211 - $86,350 per annum (as at 15 February 2012). To view and apply for current vacancies, visit www.teaching.nt. or contact our Darwin Office. Contact 1800 646 391 WWW.TEACHING.NT.GOV.AU


australian Teacher • xxxxxxxxxxxx 2012

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intheclassroombonus australian Teacher • August 2012



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weeK 2012

science retention

Tall Poppies join forces for future

AS schools prepare to celebrate National Science Week, DR EROIA BARONE-NUGENT, pictured, tells Australian Teacher Magazine about the success of a project to increase the number of girls studying physics. THE Growing Tall Poppies in Science program (GTP) has succeeded in doubling the number of girls studying physics at Santa Maria College in the Melbourne suburb of Northcote. A longitudinal study has shown the effectiveness of this intervention program to engage students in the study of physics to Year 11 and retain them into Year 12. The retention rate at Santa Maria College has significantly increased from below the state

average, based on figures from the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, to well above since the introduction of the GTP program in 2008. The historical retention rate of around 40 per cent has increased to over 90 per cent, indicating both higher participation and higher retention. The enrolments have increased from a 2002 to 2008 average of 6 students in Unit 2 (Year 12) physics to a 2009 to 2012 average of 9.25 students and 13 are enrolled in 2012. This increase is statistically significant based on the Fisher’s test showing that the increase due to chance is negligibly small (p < 0.001) and so concluding the impact of GTP is a real effect. This partnership between the college and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coherent X-ray Science (CXS) restructures learning physics from the ‘what’ to the ‘why’ and engages students with research questions, allowing them to contextualise the physical sciences and so see why they should stick with these studies. Students are involved in crossdisciplinary research projects that highlight how the physical and biological sciences work together to resolve complex questions and demonstrate how physics is an important enabling science. They work with young scientists who take on a collegial mentoring role

Santa Maria College students prepare samples as part of the partnership project. rather than a classical, didactic, teacher role. The scientists help the students to formulate their own questions, and follow their own ideas to construct investigations and collect firsthand data. This environment includes exposure to cutting edge technology and allows the students to explore the sciences in the context of potential career choices. Growing Tall Poppies is having positive effects in changing students’ perceptions and subject choices. Students benefit from the intensive mentorship they receive during a week immersed in a science environment that is new and exciting. The hosting researchers integrate students with little disruption and the young scientists who mentor them develop skills in communicating their research goals in an understandable way. Several PhD students have expressed an interest in a teaching career after their GTP experience because they have enjoyed the process of facilitating students’ learning; it can be life changing from both sides! And, I acknowledge the continued educational commitment and enthusiasm of the staff and students of CXS, this program could not happen without them. CXS is composed of many research groups, making it possible to deliver this immersion program to a large number of students. We see no fundamental obstacle to scaling the program up when access to more laboratories occurs, for example via a university- or laboratory-wide program. Over 300 students have been involved in the four years of GTP, encouraging and developing scientifically-inclined students to continue with the study of science and especially physics. Physics is important to scientific advancement and through this program we are contributing to the future generations’ tall poppies. We are obliged to do all we can to ensure the continued study of physics. A sample project The GTP program has run projects over a broad range of topic areas – visit for details of many of

them. Here we describe a project highlighting how an abstract theoretical aspect of physics can be articulated to Year 10 students. A central scientific aim of CXS is to develop new forms of X-ray structural analysis applicable to single bio-molecules using data obtained by scattering extremely high-intensity coherent X-ray laser pulses from single bio-molecules. Increasingly, the bio-molecules of interest, such as membrane proteins, do not form crystals. This new approach to structure determination does not require crystallisation of bio-molecules. We need to put aside, therefore, the well-established methods of crystallography that have been developed in the 100 years or so since Australia’s first physics Nobel laureates published the Bragg equation. There is a fundamental difference between deducing the molecular structure from a periodic (crystalline) diffraction pattern, and the use of the continuous diffraction pattern that would be produced by a single molecule (a non-crystalline structure). The key to solving the structure that will produce a continuous diffraction pattern is to recognise the constraints, for example, the molecule has finite extent and its electron density is numerically positive and real. The iterative process that systematically guesses the answer can get to the solution reliably and, with mod-

ern computers, rapidly. Interestingly, the method of recovering the phase for a continuous diffraction shares connections to the solution of a Sudoku puzzle. Year 10 students are familiar with Sudoku puzzles and are usually able to solve them guided mostly by intuition; the approach adopted in the GTP project is a formal articulation of that intuitive solution process. We developed an iterative scheme that enables Sudokus to be solved via a new form of board game. This employs an iterative approach that works by repeatedly imposing the constraint on a Sudoku – that each row and column contains all digits from 1 to 9. Thus the GTP program involves “playing” diffraction, explaining how it relates to biology and drug-design, how CXS is trying to take the field to a new level using the latest scientific facilities and then relating it to the familiar. The students experience the analogy between Sudoku and X-ray imaging which is a unique interweaving of science maths and technology. As a bonus they take home a new board game. There are numerous other interesting and exciting projects in which students work in biology labs attempting crystal formation, perform experiments at the Australian Synchrotron or in femtosecond laser labs, or perform 3-D X-ray tomography using laboratory sources. The community of GTP alumnae continues to communicate though a website and attend biennial student-centred conferences. The next conference in the series will be held in December 2012. Go to the GTP website to have a say in the new professional development package being designed to support teachers to innovate in their schools. Dr Eroia Barone-Nugent is the GTP partnership and outreach leader, a science teacher and head of partnerships development at Santa Maria College. A more extensive report of this program and its outcomes is due to be published in an article by Barone-Nugent, Harry Quiney and Keith A Nugent in Australian Physics in September, 2012.

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ICTbonus australian Teacher • AUGUST 2012

Holiday program

Digital media fun at Darwin technology camp KATHARINE RIVETT STUDENTS and teachers have devoted part of their school holidays to a Holiday Tech Camp at Darwin’s Nightcliff Education Precinct. Pamela McGowan, Senior Teacher at the remote Angurugu School on Groote Eylandt, travelled to Darwin for three days to assist students working on digital media projects and see what she could take back to her own students.

“One of the things that we’re really passionate about as a school is going global and using technology as a driver to not only what we create, but also checking out what other students in other schools are doing,” McGowan says. Students explored different technologies and programs, like iPads, Garage Band and stop motion animation as they worked toward creating short videos. “I was just really impressed by the work that the students pro-

Students doing clay animation with Angurugu School Senior teacher Pamela McGowan (centre).

duced, and how quickly they were able to take a lot of this stuff on board. “It was a week of my holidays that I gave up, but I’d do it again quite willingly if there was another one on!” The camp, being run for the first time as a pilot program, was supported by ICT for Learning, XCite Logic, and Apple. Students could choose what programs and techniques they wanted to use in the creation of their final project. “One of the things that they did was stop motion. We had a look at iMotion HD, which is a free iPad App. Using clay, they made some really simple but effective videos, using balls and morphing those balls into different shapes. And student’s imaginations just took that idea further and further, which was really exciting to see,” McGowan says. Students also used a green screen to superimpose backgrounds onto footage they recorded. “I’m keen to explore some green screening as well, because it is something that is so simple. You don’t need to have a really flash, fancy green screen to make it work, you can just do it using green cardboard – we don’t realise that it’s that easy a lot of the time. “Obviously it’s nice to have all

McGowan was impressed by the work students produced, and how quickly they were able to take a lot of the new skills on board. the bits and pieces, but just to have something that’s you can do that’s on the cheap and doesn’t take a lot of effort, and with stuff that we already have in the school, that’s the really powerful bit.” McGowan is keen to take the ideas and skills back to Angurugu. Her school recently received a grant to create eBooks of cultural significance that McGowan plans to have set up on touch screens at prominent positions in the community.

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“Just to reach out to our community and in a different way, because they really love technology and they really want to see their culture maintained, preserved, and continued by using technology to record content. “[I want to] make sure we give our students opportunities to show their creative side ... it’s also about giving teachers the time to play, and to unpack these skills, so that they can then embed them effectively in the classroom.”

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careersbonus australian Teacher • August 2012


NORMA WILLAWAY Kalumburu Remote Community School

PAUL BRIDGE Derby District High School


YVONNE SCOTT Narrogin Primary School

Bettridge, winner of the WA Outstanding Leader in Aboriginal Education award, has been manager of student services at Yule Brook College since 2003. Yule Brook is a small metropolitan secondary school in a low socio-economic area, and 40 per cent of the students are Aboriginal. At Yule Brook, Bettridge has: established the Girls’ Academy and breakfast and lunch clubs; helped implement the Clontarf Foundation; coordinated the ‘It all starts at school’ attendance strategy; overseen its work as an Aboriginal Innovation School; and introduced the STRIDE Foundation, which allows students to participate in filmmaking.

Willaway won the Barry Hayward Award for Outstanding Aboriginal Teacher. She is an Aboriginal woman from the Midwest with 12 years teaching experience. She works at Kalumburu, the most northerly Aboriginal community in WA. The student population of 140 is wholly Aboriginal and the school caters for K-12. Willaway has developed an Aboriginal studies program rich in Kalumburu language and culture, which the community regularly participates in. In 2011 she won the East Kimberley Indigenous Award for Most Outstanding Individual Contribution to Aboriginal Education, from the development organisation Wunan.

Bridge has promoted Aboriginal education from the beginning of his teaching career at One Arm Point Remote Community School in 1989. He has also been area director at Nyaanyatjarra, where he worked on initiatives like the Aboriginal Literacy Strategy. He later worked in the Goldfields district office, managing the Goldfields Aboriginal Education Team in implementing Aboriginal education programs and initiatives. He is now principal of Derby District High School. Bridge won the WA Education and Training Council Award for investing most of his career to improving the education and training outcomes of his people.

Principal Stuart Blackwood, pictured, introduced the Every Child, Every Chance, Every Day program at Southwell in 2008. It won the Milton Thorne Award for WA Outstanding School Initiative for Aboriginal Students. Almost half of Southwell’s 112 students are Aboriginal. Staff have embraced the mantra, which underpins all levels of planning and operations. The initiative promotes and reinforces that every child is capable of achieving a high standard if given every chance to practice new skills in a variety of ways every day, without fear of being shamed if they make mistakes, knowing that they need to make mistakes in order to learn.

Scott has been teaching at Narrogin Primary School for 18 years and is the winner of the WA Excellence in Teaching and Learning in Aboriginal Education award. Narrogin is the largest primary school in the southern part of the Wheatbelt with a student population of over 300, of which 26 per cent are Aboriginal. Scott specialises in supporting students to improve literacy and numeracy skills, and she takes a holistic approach to students under her tuition, ensuring they attend school regularly and work to their capacity. Her dedication was acknowledged in 2007 when she received a district award for exemplary teaching.


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Australian Teacher Magazine (August 2012)