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Volume 10

Issue 6

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


July 2014

Inside Hawker Brownlow Guide to Professional Learning Solutions


the role of religious chaplains in our state schools

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australian Teacher • July 2014


Chalk is cheap

THE political wrangling over the Abbott Government’s first federal budget has reached new levels with school funding and chaplaincy hot on the agenda. Our Cover Story this month explores the issue of whether there is a place for religious chaplains in government schools. We also look at who is most affected by the government’s change to the exisiting system, which now prohibits secular welfare workers to be hired under the same funding model as church-based chaplains. On a lighter note, our Music Special is filled with wonderful stories of how teachers are instilling a love of music and the arts in their students. You’ll be sure to find both the Music Help Desk and the Q&A useful in your own classrooms. I think you’ll also enjoy reading about how a Victorian school is taking their music students out into the community to perform and entertain diners at a soup kitchen. Enjoy the new issue. Rebecca Vukovic EDITOR

Palmerston expansion

New sex survey results CANBERRA, June 10 - A 2013 survey of Australian high school students has highlighted that while the age at which young people are likely to first engage in sexual intercourse has remained stable, in recent years rates of some sexually transmitted infections (STIs) in young Australians have been increasing. There’s more information on safe sex education at

Mariachi band classic page 7

DARWIN, June 4 - An expansion of Palmerston Senior College is set to begin next month, which will see the further enhancement of facilities for students with disabilities who require a high level of support. The works will include the demolition of some existing structures, an extension providing a new general learning area, hygiene room, disabled access ramp, a path and garden shed and drainage works.

Oregon gunman killed LOS ANGELES, June 10 – A gunman has shot and killed a student at Oregon’s Reynolds High School. The gunman also died in the incident, the local police chief said. After reports of shots being fired, armed police rushed to lock down the school. The Multnomah County sheriff’s office later confirmed the situation was under control with no other casualties.

NT pay scale ballot DARWIN, June 11 - A ballot that asked Northern Territory teachers and teaching assistants to sign up to an Enterprise Agreement (EA), which would see them earn on average $26,000 in extra pay over the lifetime of the deal, closed on June 12. Under the new deal, more than half of Territory teachers will earn above $100,000 per year, a pay scale available in very few other areas.

Pyne ‘most dangerous’ SYDNEY, June 11 - Education Minister Christopher Pyne is the most dangerous education minister the country had seen in a long time, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten said. “[Parents] reasonably expect that our politicians and the Abbott Government should take a long term view to make sure their children get the best start in life, not the short term, cut funding approach of the Abbott Government,” Shorten said. Email briefs to

Musical chairs

VCE and VCAL home-school first VICTORIAN home-schooled children will for the first time, this year be allowed to complete their VCE or VCAL studies at home through distance education. Previously, the education department only extended the distance education option to those with distance reasons — those physically remote from local schools — medical reasons covering both physical and emotional or social conditions supported by a psychologist, students over 18 wanting to enrol in Year 11 or 12 and students travelling, with few exceptions. Until last year, children could only be home-schooled up until Year 10, and if they chose to complete their VCE they were then required to enrol in a formal school. But now, the Knox Leader reports that the State Government is offering urban home-schooling parents the option to enrol in distance education. These classes would be done by teachers, but delivered through technology such as audio recordings. In the March edition of Australian

Victorian home-schooled students will be able to sit their final exams via distance education. Teacher Magazine, we explored the rise of home-schooling nationally. Victoria has seen the second highest increase of home-schooled children behind only Queensland. In the last five years, the amount of children home-schooled in Victoria has more than doubled. The state has seen a 55 per cent increase in the number of children registered for home-schooling. As of March this year, there were 3545 children registered in the state, and this number continues to grow. According to Dr David

Zyngier, a senior lecturer at Monash University, Victoria has less homeschooling regulation than any other state or territory in the country. Victorian families need only register with the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority and sign a statement agreeing that they will provide regular instruction addressing eight key learning areas, but that is the extent of the accountability and teacher training required. In response to this new move accepting home-schooled seniors into distance education, Education Department spokesperson Liam Carter said the government did not “actively encourage home-schooling in Victoria”. “The change to enrolment policy at the Distance Education Centre Victoria was designed to give home-schooled students one more option to pursue VCE and VCAL,” Carter said. He also added that these students would be required to sit a literacy and numeracy test before they were accepted into distance education.

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

6-15 16-18 20-21 23-30 35-49 50-52 53-55 56 57 58 59-53

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

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

govt program

Chaplaincy back to original format SCHOOLS which already have a government-funded chaplain under the National School Chaplaincy Program will have to reapply to be part of the program next year. “There will be no roll over of schools from the current program to the next program,” education department manager Stewart Thomas told an estimates hearing in Canberra. When the Abbott Government handed down their federal budget last month, they indicated a continuation of the chaplaincy program by committing nearly $245 million to the scheme. However, the program will be returned it to its original format where schools can only use the money to employ a religious chaplain, not a secular welfare worker. Labor Senator Jacinta Collins asked whether schools which now had secular welfare workers had to encourage them to “get religion” or be ordained, lose their counsellor, or find a new, religious chaplain. Education parliamentary secretary Scott Ryan said schools can still hire secular workers, they just wouldn’t be able to use funds from this program. Turn to p.20-21 to read our July Cover Story on school chaplaincy.

July 2014 • australian Teacher


gonski slams govt

INBRIEF ‘Aspiration ends in 2017’ Mariachi band classic

DAVID Gonski has broken his silence by criticising the government’s decision to end the funding system he helped design, accusing the current government of abandoning needs-based funding after the federal budget dumped $30 billion in funding proposed for schools in 2018 and 2019. The Abbott Government’s first budget indicates that from 2018 the commonwealth contribution to schools funding will increase only by the consumer price index, with relative adjustments for numbers of students. “The concept of aspiration … ends in 2017,” Gonski said in his first major speech since the release of his panel’s report. “There needs to be a commitment to a properly funded, needsbased, aspirational system and a failure to do so will be to our detriment.” Labor echoed Gonski’s frustration, saying the Government’s plans to slow the rate of federal spending would send schools backwards. Labor’s Education Spokeswoman Kate Ellis said there was no rationale for the change in indexation. “Their proposed indexation rate is grossly inadequate, and it would actually send our schools backwards,” she told ABC Radio. However, Ken Boston, a former

LOS ANGELES, June 5 - The graduating class of 2014 at Santa Barbara High School played a prank on their principal, John Becchio, by hiring a four-piece mariachi band to tail him for an hour as he walked the hallways and conducted school business. Administrators of the school district have a sense of humour, and have posted a short clip of the mariachis on their YouTube page.

New scholarships offer

Businessman David Gonski said the coalition’s decision to increase school funding by the rate of inflation would be to Australia’s detriment. director-general of the NSW Department of Education and a member of the Gonski review panel, slammed the previous Labor Government for failing in the politics of school funding. “The basic reason we don’t have Gonski today is not because we elected the Abbott Government but because the previous government … failed in the politics of this,” he told a Senate committee hearing. “Australia’s educational performance will continue to decline. We will not create the clever country.” Prime Minister Tony Abbott also

weighed into the debate, labelling the previous government’s school reforms “pie-in-the-sky”, saying Australia can’t afford to go ahead on Gonski funding. “I’m certainly not committing to a permanent massive increase at the same level of the former government because it’s those sorts of pie-in-the-sky promises that got us into the problem in the first place,” Abbott told reporters. “We are continuing to increase funding, it’s just that we are not continuing to increase it at the rate of the former government’s promises,” he said.

SYDNEY, May 31 - New opportunities are available for future teachers in New South Wales. Up to 300 scholarships are on offer to students wanting to train in high demand subject areas like maths, physics, English and special education. There will be 80 scholarships exclusively available for Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander students and 50 for HSC students willing to teach in rural areas.

Partnerships project MELBOURNE, May 31- The Linking Learning Birth to 12 Years project aims to establish partnerships between primary schools, children’s services, local councils and not-for-profit organisations, working with parents to tackle challenges faced by local children. Yarra Ranges, Wodonga, Central Goldfields, Thomastown, Cardinia, Whittington, Warracknabeal and Bass Coast are the locations that will receive funds for the project. Email briefs to


australian Teacher • July 2014

teacher training

INBRIEF Internship push

Truancy reversal idea

CANBERRA, June 2 - Indigenous leaders have been asked to consider tying school attendance to native title agreements. Indigenous Affairs Minister Nigel Scullion urged attendees to join him in reversing Indigenous school truancy during an address to the annual native title conference. Native title organisations could hold back royalty payments until outside the school week or factor attendance into the agreements, he said.

New Grattan director MELBOURNE, June 2 - The Grattan Institute has announced the appointment of Peter Goss as school education program director. Goss is a Harvardeducated biologist who has worked on primary school education with Cape York Indigenous leader Noel Pearson, and advised the IEAC in preparation for the 2013 Chaney report. Goss is a principal at The Boston Consulting Group.

GRADUATES should complete a year-long internship before they are allowed to acquire their first teaching position, or so goes the premise that principals will soon propose to the government. In order to lift teaching standards and prevent underperformers from permanently entering our classrooms, the Australian Secondary Principals Association (ASPA) have said that the current teacher practical placement requirements are simply not doing enough to uphold the quality of the profession. ASPA executive director Rob Nairn has said that a more rigorous selection process is needed — and believes a mandatory yearlong internship for graduates may just be the way to go.

“At the moment, we have some teachers who are underperforming,” he said. “We have got to get better at selecting teachers for teacher training. “We then have to get better at supporting those teachers and developing those teachers so that every teacher is a good teacher.” The radical changes will be put to the Federal Government’s Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group for their consideration. In his comprehensive brief to Queensland school leaders, Nairn expressed his concerns over higher education costs, the relative success of school autonomy and posed questions relating to current teacher education standards and course requirements.

Minibus crash injuries BRISBANE, June 5 - A school minibus crashed south of Brisbane, with children aboard escaping with minor injuries. Police say that initial information indicates the bus collided with another vehicle just after school near an intersection in Beenleigh. It is believed 12 people, four adults and eight children, suffered minor injuries, and paramedics treated them at the scene. Email briefs to

ASPA proposes graduates complete a year-long internship before teaching.

country focus

Key to Tasmania’s economic future is the creation of job-ready generation

Tasmania plans to extend regional and rural high schools to Year 11 and 12. EXTENDING rural and regional high schools to Year 12 is one of the new Tasmanian Government initiatives that aims to increase student retention rates and thereby create a job-ready generation of young Tasmanians. The government’s view is that education, training and skills qualifications beyond Year 10 are critical in enhancing young people’s employment prospects, which in turn benefits the entire state community. A taskforce has been set up to advise the Education and Training Minister, Jeremy Rockliff, on the extension of regional and rural high schools to Years 11 and 12. This is comprised of representatives from key stakeholder groups including the Department of

Education, Australian Education Union, Tasmanian Principals Association and the Department of Infrastructure, Energy and Resources. One of their first briefs is to establish processes to support schools in considering the option of applying for the first round of extensions. Once schools have submitted their expression of interest, the taskforce will consider and make recommendations to Rockliff by late June this year. As such, schools and their communities have been invited to express their interest in becoming part of the first phase of this initiative, which will see the first four schools offering Year 11 from 2015.

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July 2014 • australian Teacher


teacher training

Prospect of tough tests UNDER new trial changes, student teachers in New South Wales will be the first state group to have to pass a tough literacy and numeracy test before heading out into classrooms. Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has announced that separate literacy and numeracy trial tests undertaken by teacher education students at NSW universities will be trialled in August and rolled out from mid-2015. The test comes as part of the government’s plan to lift teaching standards in the state amid concerns that some new teachers struggle to explain maths and grammar concepts to their students. “We have great teachers in NSW and now we are taking further steps to improve the quality of teaching for the next generation of teachers,” Piccoli said in a statement. According to Piccoli, all trainee teachers would need to pass the tests before undertaking their final practicum, and while it will be quite complex and difficult, students would be able to sit it as many times as necessary. “Lawyers do it, accountants do it, doctors do it, and we’re doing a similar thing in education. To be registered and accredited to teach in NSW you need to have passed this literacy and numeracy test,” Piccoli told ABC Radio.

Trainee teachers in New South Wales will have to pass tough literacy and numeracy tests before they head out into classrooms. According to The Australian, over half of Year 12 students offered teaching places in Australian universities this year had entrance scores below the average of 70, with one in eight scoring 50 or less. “I think parents want to see really clever people teaching with an affinity for children,” Piccoli said. The online tests, which may include a writing exercise along with fundamental literacy and numeracy skills, are being developed by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

greens critical

Govt has no plan behind $30b budget cuts - Wright THE Abbott Government cannot say where almost $30 billion in budget cuts to schools will be found, according to Australian Greens spokesperson for schools Penny Wright. “The best Treasury could do was say the cuts to schools would be ‘something less than $30 billion … When even Treasury doesn’t know the real numbers — you know there’s no plan behind this policy,” Wright said. “The Abbott Government can’t say how much will come from public schools, they can’t say how much will be cut from individual state budgets and they have no idea what programs they’re going to have to terminate to reach this magical $30 billion figure. “They’ve clearly pulled this number out of the air with no thought to how it will af-

moriarty foundation Indigenous Socceroos mascots encouraged to reach for stars EIGHT Indigenous kids from Borroloola, about 1000 kilometres southeast of Darwin, have flown to Brazil as official mascots of the Socceroos. The group were sent by the John Moriarty Foundation. Established by the first Indigenous Socceroo, the program uses soccer as a springboard to tackle health and social problems in the remote communities of Borroloola and Robinson River. The program sees 140 children between five and 15-years-old train every week, learning commitment and teamwork, while a no-school, no-play policy keeps the students’ class attendance up. “It’s not about the trip of a lifetime…” program director James Moriarty (John Moriarty’s son) said of Brazil. “[But] for them to open their eyes and see if they go and finish school, if they’re committed to the program, if they’re staying fit and healthy, then there’s such huge opportunities to go out into the world.”

fect Australian children and their families. “But because we’ve heard all about Pyne’s ‘emotional attachment’ to private schools, we know it will be public schools that bear the brunt of these brutal cuts,” she said. This ‘emotional attachment’ refers to a speech Education Minister Christopher Pyne made to a Christian Schools Australia national policy dinner, where he assured school leaders he did not want to sever ties with Christian and independent schools. “It is [the Prime Minister’s] view that we have a particular responsibility for nongovernment schooling that we don’t have for [state] government schooling,” Pyne said. “The emotional commitment within the Federal Government is to continue to have a direct relationship with the non-government schools sector.”

INBRIEF Fast food incentive hailed MANCHESTER (UK), May 30 - To get her students excited about science revision, one Sharples High School teacher, Caroline Molyneux, has opted to take them to McDonalds, where they munch on ice creams, breakfast or lunch while working through past papers. Her unorthodox commitment to help students study their biology GCSE papers has seen her shortlisted for the prestigious 2014 School Biology Teacher of the Year Award.

Students flee flying moose HELSINKI, June 2 - Students at a Goteborg High School in western Sweden were interrupted during their handicraft class when a moose jumped through the window. The class fled to another part of the school and locked themselves into a room to escape the thrashing animal, which had wounded itself on the broken window. Police officers broke a window to let the people out but shot the moose, which couldn’t find its way out of the school. Email briefs to


australian Teacher • July 2014

Working with children

Child abusers escaping POLICE and Working with Children Checks let the vast majority of sexual offenders slip through the cracks, an expert witness has reported to the royal commission in Perth. According to professor Stephen Smallbone, a specialist in the assessment and handling of sex offenders, the checks are relatively ineffectual because about 80 per cent of child abusers do not have a prior documented history. “The person, in a sense, who presents the greatest risk, in statistical terms, is in fact the person without a history,” he said. The commission is looking into the reaction made by a Perth school to allegations that one of its teachers had been molesting children. Smallbone also told the inquiry that the level of concern that is needed to activate the compulsory reporting of child abuse is much too high. “I think the mandatory reporting sets too high a threshold for the level of concern that ought to exist in order to be acting in the interests of the children, really,” he said. “It is about talking about the role of adults within any environment — in this case, school environments — their role in the prevention of abuse, not just in the detection of it.” He reported that some abusers offend

Working with Children Checks do not capture the vast majority of child abusers. and are not detected, while others may form an intention to offend in particular environments, such as schools. The commission will now call back to the witness box a man known as YK, the schools’ former head of primary, who in 2001 received a letter outlining concerns about the behaviour of a teacher towards numerous students at the school — a letter which he promptly put on file. In 2009 the teacher was convicted of committing sexual offences against boys at the school, some of whom were listed in the letter.

qld boost

Newman Govt delivers funding for independents


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QUEENSLAND’s 190 independent schools are set to receive almost a 7 per cent increase in funding delivered in the 20142015 state budget. David Robertson, director of Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ), has welcomed the Newman Government’s new funding allocation, saying that the extra $590 million couldn’t come at a better time. “2015 is an important year in school education with the transfer of Year 7 into secondary education. Some of the increased funding in 2014-15 is for the additional support required for Year 7 secondary students,” he said. “ISQ will continue to work with the State Government to ensure that the budget allocations fully reflect the transfer of Year 7 to secondary, not only in recurrent funding


Republicans not into nutrition WASHINGTON, May 29 - Michelle Obama has lashed out against Republican plans to roll back recently improved nutrition standards in American schools, one of her cherished causes as US first lady. Obama wrote that members of the Republican-dominated House of Representatives have for budgetary reasons proposed exempting some school districts from the tougher food standards, which requires less salt, sugar and fat in meals served at school.

Spelling Bee co-winners’ joy OXON HILL (US), May 30 - Two young American teenagers have become the first co-winners of the nationally televised Scripps National Spelling Bee since 1962. Ansun Sujoe, 13, and Sriram Hathwar, 14, beat 10 other finalists and spelled their way through the demanding final list of 25 words, of which the last were ’feuilleton’ and ‘stichomythia’ respectively. They will each take home more than $US30,000 in cash prizes, savings bonds and reference works. Email briefs to

but across a range of areas such as school transport and textbook allowances.” Although acknowledging the State Government’s pencilled-in commitment to provide $1 billion to the Future Schools Fund in their draft plan of the Strong Choices Investment Program, he said nonstate schools were still missing out when it came to capital funding. “General capital support for non-state schools remains unchanged at $51 million,” he said. “The Newman Government has a good record in acknowledging that funding is required for new schools through the Building Our Future Schools Fund which will provide $18.7 million support for nonstate schools in 2014-15. “And we need to build upon this investment in the future.”

suspicious fire School devastated as precious memorabilia goes up in smoke POLICE believe a blaze that destroyed the library of Galston High School in the lead up to the Sydney school’s 40th birthday celebrations to be suspicious. Priceless archives, historic honour boards as well as books, computers and archives all went up in smoke at about 1.00am on June 3, as the two story brick building burnt to the ground. The damage bill is estimated to be more than $2 million. Detective inspector Neil Higgins says police are trying to determine whether the fire is the result of foul play. “It appears that there was a forced entry to a door,” he said. “We’re still trying to work out if the damage to the door was caused through a break-in or by the fire.” The charred remnants of the once thriving space will now be explored by sniffer dogs, who will search for traces of accelerants that could have been used to start the fire.

July 2014 • australian Teacher • 11


australian Teacher • July 2014

child study results

INBRIEF Couch potato-gen

Church to pay compo

SYDNEY, May 23 - The Presbyterian Church will pay a family $492,373 in compensation after their son drowned during a school excursion operated by the church’s property trust. Nathan Chaina, a 15-year-old student at The Scots College, drowned during a hike at the school’s Glengarry campus in the Kangaroo Valley in 1999. The family had been hoping to claim up to $300 million.

Not such a safe walk SYDNEY, May 23 - A Penrith child was hit by a car on his way to school on National Walk to School Safely Day. The boy, who was approximately eight years old, was taken to hospital with minor injuries. Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said the accident was a wake-up call for governments to bring in stronger enforcement laws around schools regarding speed limits.

AUSTRALIA is breeding a generation of couch potatoes, a new comparative scorecard has revealed. The study, which compared the physical activity level of children from 15 countries, shows that Australian kids fail dismally, ranking 14th overall, surpassed only by Scottish children who lagged in last place. Children from Mozambique and New Zealand took out top place. Dr Natasha Schranz, who managed the Australian sector of the rankings, has said it will take a coordinated effort to lift children out of their physical slump. “… changes are needed throughout children’s everyday life to make this grade jump up,” she said.

Reported attack false MELBOURNE, May 27 - Police say that a reported attack on an eight-year-old girl by a man at a Melbourne primary school has been found to be false. Investigators were told the girl was approached by the man at school and dragged into a secluded area before being verbally assaulted and kicked. “Inquiries have revealed the information that was reported to police was false,” a Victoria Police spokesman said. Email briefs to

Australian children score D minus according to a scorecard that compares 15 countries.

“It’s not enough that Australia does well for organised sport and comes top of the class for its facilities and environment.” Fewer than 20 per cent of five to 17 year olds accrue the minimum 60 minutes of moderate exercise they require each day. “It’s no good if there is a welldesigned playground down the road if a parent does not think it is safe for a child to walk there and use it. “The underdeveloped countries are racing ahead because children have to walk and do chores around the house.” Trevor Shilton, associate professor of the Heart Foundation, says the results are clear and speak for themselves. “Australian children are getting too much screen time. “They sit in cars getting to school. They sit at school … and then they sit in front of screens and while doing homework.” “Parents should understand that what they say and do matters ... be active with your children. Have some rules about it too.” Shilton says we only need to look at New Zealand to see where we are going wrong. “New Zealand tends to have better coordinated governmental leadership. Their sports sector and their health sector work together.”

To celebrate his second birthday, Ravi the Bengal Tiger plays with balloons at Dreamworld on the Gold Coast. The tigers are part of the Tiger Island wildlife attraction at the theme park. Turn to page 48 to read of how Year 11 physics students at Hillcrest Christian College visit Dreamworld as part of their studies.











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australian Teacher • July 2014

Rural leadership

INBRIEF Not about money

Mini-bus tips on side

MELBOURNE, May 21 - Two children were taken to hospital after a school mini-bus taking three staff and two students to St Paul’s College in Kew collided with a car in Northcote, Melbourne. The mini-bus tipped onto its side and the children, both aged 10, were taken to the Royal Children’s Hospital with minor injuries. This school says this was only as a precaution and they were later released.

Father now murderer BEIJING, May 21 - An 11-year-old girl has been beaten to death by her father for copying a classmate’s homework. After she stopped breathing, the father took her to hospital — where bruises, injuries and signs of choking were found — but she died the next day, the official Xinhua news agency said. The incident is the latest in a series of child abuse incidents in China that have drawn global outrage.

Mexico’s bully battle MEXICO CITY, May 23 - Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has vowed to launch an all-out battle against a spate of bullying in schools after a 12-year-old boy, Hector Alejandro Mendez Ramirez, died of head trauma in hospital a week after schoolmates slammed him against a wall in front of school staff. In response, hundreds held a demonstration, demanding justice over the boy’s death. Email briefs to

FLINDERS University research has found that money isn’t the only factor considered by school leaders in rural areas. An analysis of 426 survey responses published in the Australian and International Journal of Rural Education shows that attracting and retaining leaders for rural, regional and remote schools has multi-dimensional factors. Using the Reasons and Motivation Matrix (RaMM) that the researchers developed, they analysed responses that country educational leaders nation-wide gave to the question: “Briefly describe why you applied for a rural/regional/remote leadership position”. The responses fell into 19 groups, with “career” (a total of 31), “to make a difference” (32) and “prefer the country” (64), being the most frequently cited. Lifestyle was mentioned by 36 and opportunities for leadership by 27. Authors Professor John Halsey and Dr Aaron Drummond said it was surprising that only seven respondents directly referred to extra money, given the emphasis often placed on financial incentives by education departments to attract staff to rural schools. “This is good news, and clearly supports the need to have recruitment policies and practices

For school leaders in rural areas, it’s not all about the money. which are targeted and nuanced rather than ones which just rely on money to fill country leadership vacancies,” said Halsey, the Sidney Myer Chair of Rural Education and Communities. “Applying to be an educational leader in the country is motivated by pragmatism (‘the thing to do at this stage of my career and life’), opportunism (‘opportunities exist that don’t occur in the metropolitan area’), idealism (‘I wanted to be part of the solution, not the problem’) or a blending of them. “The research provides good evidence that to be effective, the rural recruitment strategies of education departments need to be comprehensive and flexible,” he said. “Simply waving a wallet is not the answer.”

In Sydney 13 September 2014 – 1 February 2015

Over 200 cultural treasures from Mexico’s major museums will be on display in this stunning exhibition at the Australian Museum. Exquisite objects tell the story of Aztec daily life, beliefs, social structure, economy, their contact with the Spanish and their resounding legacy. Students will view archaeological finds, intricate models, multi-media and are able to walk into the Great Temple, reconstructed at one-tenth its real size. Education resources for teachers and students will be available online at: /education-services Phone our Bookings Officer on (02) 9320 6222. Aztecs was developed by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in partnership with Mexico’s National Council for Culture and the Arts and the National Institute of Anthropology and History (CONACULTA-INAH), along with the Australian Museum and Museum Victoria. Photography Michel Zabe.

NSW anniversary

Waratah Public School celebrating 150 years of excellence in October WARATAH Public School celebrates its 150 year anniversary of providing an excellent education to the children of Waratah, a north-western residential suburb of Newcastle in New South Wales, this year. Celebrations are planned for October 17 and 18, and all ex-staff are warmly invited to attend and to share any photos they may have. Verity Currey, the school’s P&C president, can be contacted on 0421 599 458 for more information. Australian Teacher Magazine welcomes all school communities to share their celebrations and school news with us.

graduates departing Teach For Australia Program a ‘failed experiment’ IT comes with a sizable $56 million price tag, but almost half of those who graduate from the government’s Teach for Australia Program have quit the profession within two years, new information provided by the Department of Education has revealed. The initiative, which was founded in 2009, aims to attract top tertiary students into teaching, but faces a wave of fresh criticism after the government confirmed that just 65 of its 125 graduates from 2011-2013 remain in the classroom.

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has stood by the program, contending that it is “loved by schools and principals across Australia.” Yet Correna Haythorpe, Australian Education Union federal vice president, declared the figures point towards a “failed experiment.” “Spending $56 million on a program ... when half will not be teaching within two years, is not a good enough result from a program that has been so heavily backed by governments,” Haythorpe said.

‘unbelievable’ error


needs-based funding

Different privacy legislation in states means disability fund figures wrong POOR data may have stopped up to $2 billion worth of funds reaching students with disabilities, a recent senate committee has discovered. In order to refine school funding levels for next year, the states have been looking at how many students need extra help in the classroom because of their disability, and to what degree. Governments counted the number of students with disabilities in each state three times before they realised the huge variations being caused by different privacy legislations. While some states used an optin process for parents asking if they wanted to participate, others had an opt-out rule in place — which, as it turns out, dramatically skewed the results. Education department official Martin Hehir expressed his concern over the dodgy data, telling the committee he didn’t have “an enormous amount of confidence” in the results of the widespread collection taken last year. Hehir said that the effect on data quality hadn’t been noticeable in the first two smaller rounds. Committee chairwoman Jacinta Collins, who was the parliamentary secretary for schools for the most part of the previous government’s term, said that this repeated error was unbelievable.

July 2014 • australian Teacher

INBRIEF Catholic concerns Malala portrait sold

NEW YORK, May 14 - A painted portrait by British artist Jonathan Yeo of Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head by the Taliban, was bought for $US102,500 ($A110,900) at auction. The money will go to a special fund to assist local NGOs working to educate girls and women in Nigeria, where more than 200 schoolgirls remain missing after being snatched by Boko Haram.

Chinese knife attack

Governments counted students with disabilities three times before noticing huge variations. “I’m flabbergasted,” she said. “In all jurisdictions we’ve already had about three rounds of collection and you’re now telling me ... that oh, oops there was an issue we hadn’t realised?” Department associate secretary Tony Cook said it is up to the states as to whether or not they change their opt-in or opt-out laws for parents. “The states themselves would have to fundamentally change their privacy legislation,” he said. It is predicted that the number of students needing extra assistance at school will soar when all states apply the same definitions from 2015.

THE Federal Government is set to put a Catholic education out of reach for many families, according to Catholic School Parents Australia (CSPA). The peak representative body for parents with children in Catholic schools has voiced their concern over the Federal Government’s plan to use CPI indexation to determine school funding from 2017. Tony O’Byrne, chair of CSPA, has said that using the index as a basis for funding allocations will hit families the hardest. “CPI has averaged less than 3 per cent over the past 10 years but the real increase in the cost of schools is much higher at about 5.5 per cent. This means that

funding may fall behind the costs of schools, and families will have to make up the difference. This will make it more expensive for families to send their children to Catholic schools,” he said. O’Byne stated that the CSPA supported needs-based funding because it means that all Australian schools, regardless of their sector, are able to receive the funding they require. “CSPA is committed to doing all it can to ensure that families who choose to send their children to a Catholic school are able to do so and that the real barrier of increasing costs does not drive families away from their school of choice,” he said.

BEIJING, May 20 - A knife-wielding attacker has rushed into a Chinese primary school, slashing at students with a kitchen knife. Police apprehended the male at the Macheng school in the central province of Hubei and eight injured pupils were hospitalised. China has seen several violent attacks against children in recent years, including a spate of five incidents in 2010 which killed 17 people and wounded 80.

Big crackdown in Chile VALPARAISO (Chile), May 21 - Chilean authorities have used tear gas and water cannons on crowds of students protesting President Michelle Bachelet’s education reform bid announcement. The bill will eliminate parent co-payment contributions and replace them with increased subsidies — but only for non-profit educational institutions. Email briefs to

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australian Teacher • July 2014

the hard word

Food Allergy – a community issue and a challenge for us all

Maria Said, president of Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia BACK in the ‘90s potentially life threatening food allergy was rare. It seemed a handful of Australian schools had children at risk and it was their GP or their anxious parent who came forth to educate staff about management. Fast forward to 2014 and most schools have at least one student with a food allergy that has been prescribed an adrenaline autoinjector. The majority of schools now have several students at high risk of anaphylaxis. We all ask, ‘Why

this increase?’ and the blunt answer is, ‘We don’t know, but somehow we have to manage it’. Then we tell you, ‘The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid the food; there is currently no cure. And as little as 0.1 of a mililitre of milk or 1/1000th of a peanut is enough to trigger a reaction in a child/adult at high risk.’ Food allergy is a community issue. It needs to be managed at home, at school, at the workplace, at social events, in restaurants, at soccer — everywhere. A person with food allergy and/or their carer cannot have a day off. We all need food, so management strategies that help reduce risk need to be in place. This is onerous for the individual, their parent and, of course, for school staff. You studied teaching, and here you are, responsible for not only educating students but managing their potentially life threatening allergy, recognising an allergic reaction and administering life saving medication (a needle!) promptly in line with instructions on the student’s ASCIA Action Plan. Food allergy is a challenge for us

all. We must work together, understanding each other’s strengths and challenges and we must keep sharing best practice models to help protect students with food allergy and those that teach them and care for them. We all have responsibilities when it comes to food allergy management. Death from food allergy is rare but severe anaphylaxis is not. Many schools across the country have now had to manage severe allergic reactions in playgrounds, classrooms, on excursions and of course on school camp. The risk of food anaphylaxis can be reduced but it can never be removed. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents happen. We need to learn from these experiences and share information, not to shame others, but to learn. Sadly, we have had deaths at school and on school camps in Australia. We wonder how parents that have lost children feel when they hear us try to calm society by saying death is rare. The coronial inquests into the deaths of Hamidur Rahman, Nathan Francis and Raymond Cho were confronting

for all. Death from anaphylaxis cripples families and also causes huge pain and suffering for school staff, peers, the extended school community, emergency personnel and all touched by the often, needless death of a student from something as innocuous as a small amount of peanut or almond or milk or egg. Schools need to have many doable strategies in place to help manage the risk. Having strategies written in a file or on the hard drive of a computer that is not accessed does not assist with management of risk. This way, if one strategy gives way, there are several others to help pick up the slack. Prompt administration of adrenaline in an emergency is a good news story. We need to share what happened and share what we learnt from it, so that it may help increase safety for all. We need everyone to know that: • Prompt administration of the EpiPen® or Anapen® greatly increases the likelihood of a positive outcome. • If someone with a food allergy and asthma suddenly develops

severe asthma-like symptoms, administer adrenaline autoinjector first and then asthma reliever puffer. • Make sure you keep the person having a severe reaction in a lying position. If they have difficulty breathing, let them sit on the ground but DO NOT let them stand or walk. Unlike the ‘90s, Australians now have access to information to help guide them with severe allergy management. Allergy & Anaphylaxis Australia (A&AA) has been working with government bodies and other key stakeholders developing guidelines, policies, procedures and even legislation to help guide and support school staff with allergy management. An abundance of freely available resources are housed on the A&AA, ASCIA (Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy), education and health department websites. A&AA can also be contacted on 1300 728 000. Please visit;; allergy. for more information on food allergy.

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australian Teacher • July 2014


Caption competition

Last month’s caption winner

An insider’s view of teaching

We’re not all in the Gonski Gang “I give a Gonski”. Very catchy, but what does it actually mean? Bright red t-shirts, catchy slogans, but what is the substance underneath? I am going to be really controversial here but I perceive that many slogan proclaiming, T-shirt wearing Gonski advocates fail to truly appreciate what the Gonski review specifically entails. Let alone the $64 million question as to whether throwing money at schools will help address the educational issues we face. I guess I am frustrated by typically loud and assertive militant types who seek to foist their political views on others, who are often less vocal. I am sure I am not the only one who thinks this way either. For some reason those who support the Gonski review seem to hate the Liberal government, and think that everyone who works in the school system should adopt the same political stance. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for increased spending in schools, both government and private. This probably sets me apart from staunch government school educators who feel that private schools should not receive any funding (because rich people send their kids to private schools). True, some private schools are wealthy, but many others struggle, and parents choose to send their kids to private schools for a whole host of reasons. The funny thing is that the “rich” people who send their kids to private schools continue to fund government schools through their taxes. Since the Abbott Government has announced it will honour the financial aspects of the review for the next four years the “Gonski gang” have been a little quiet. There has been some relief in the staffroom, those of us who are less vocal about our political leanings have been able to relax somewhat. A couple of other questions lurk in the back of my mind. Does it mean that those who “don’t give a Gonski” don’t care about students or education? That they are bad teachers? Could it mean that because one doesn’t wear a T-shirt with a catchy slogan he or she is apathetic to the cause? I strongly suspect not, but there are others who might disagree.

And the winner is ... Liz Lawrence for this:

“If my phone rings and he winks, I’m Gonski!” The best of the rest: “His voice gives me a headache. I need some Pyne Killers!” - Monique

Federal Liberal Ministers, Kevin Andrews, Christopher Pyne and Malcolm Turnbull, steal a moment during Question Time to look at something on one of their smartphones. But what is it that they could possibly be looking at? Come up with a witty caption that has us laughing and you could win this month’s DVD prize pack: including Croc College, led by croc legend John Lever, or ABC television program Two Men in China, which follows John Doyle and Tim Flannery’s engaging journey of discovery through China. Email your hilarious entry to or leave a comment on the caption competition page at This month’s caption competition closes on July 10.

“…and if you continue to stare – what happens to the goat?” - Claire Rodier Kate Ellis: “Do you know, Chris, how I’m pyne-ing to tell you my thoughts?” – Paul Burns “I wonder if the remote control next to me can turn Pyne off?” – Karen Adler


Chaplain debate hotter than ever The role of religious chaplains in government schools has been a hot topic of late, ever since the Abbott Government released their budget papers indicating the discontinuation of federal funding for secular welfare workers. This last point has raised the ire of some teachers’ groups and gay rights organisations who are left outraged by the question of whether religious chaplains can offer independent advice and support to kids from minority faith backgrounds or to gay students. While these questions have been subject to harsh scrutiny in the media, many schools have voiced their support for their religious school chaplain who they believe to be a valuable resource in the school community. Altough there are plenty of church-based chaplains making a positive impact, surely government schools should have the ability to decide whether they’d like a secular welfare worker in this role instead. Rebecca Vukovic Editor

Twitter (Tweets)

Web (Comments) EduTECH 2014: The accidental educator

nboyhan While the smash hit Geronimo may have appeared some what incongruous with a Professor of Educational Technology, Sugata Mitra held the crowd equally as well as George Sheppard. Brilliant, engaging and insightful, he shared an almost totally non-inteventionist teaching approach that supported the idea of “teach less and they will learn more.”

Opting out of the nation’s education system

Kathy I want to home school my children my daughter has mild Aspergers but is in a mainstream school. The teachers tell her she will have no friends if she is home schooled. I’m torn because she wants to stay at school but we are far from happy with the education in NSW schools. Cate Our 12-year-old daughter is homeschooled. My husband and I both have doctorates in law and economics/ statistics as well as diplomas in university lecturing and yet, for some reason people seem to feel obligated to volunteer: “how could you hope to teach our child all of the way to Year 12?” The true answer is that there is no school subject that presents either of us with any intellectual challenge: the school work we undertook to Year 12 as children failed to extend us. Advocates

for “traditional” schooling forget that teachers study at University for three to four years in a degree aimed at developing pedagogical skills. Teachers do not necessarily, however, obtain greater content knowledge beyond their own high school years. It appears that most people are programmed to view the general as outweighing the specific: so our superior content knowledge is weighted at nought because we learned Kuhn and Lakatos instead of Froebel and Piaget. If it provides any reassurance to homeschooling parents out there, it doesn’t matter what qualifications you have; how intelligent your child is or what special needs they may have because, ultimately, Dr Zyngier judges you as being inferior to someone with a teaching degree. I wouldn’t feel too badly about it: he is the kind of person who thinks that teaching a child to read is harder than developing a supercomputer; an artificial heart or a functioning rocket capable of space flight…

Rich kids should pay for free schools

Dr D C Parsons I noted in the June 2014 issue, in the Web Comments section (“Rich Kids Should Pay For Free Schools”), yet another (presumably state school) teacher suggesting that the government should stop paying so much to private schools. Let’s get the facts right. A few years ago, I was the principal of a private school

in an average socioeconomic area. Government funding to private schools is worked out as a percentage of the average cost of educating a student in a state school. The school I was at received 65% of that cost. To put it plainly, the government was saving one-third of the cost of educating a child that goes to a private school compared to if they went to a state school. To suggest that students going to private schools should be even further disadvantaged with government funds is not what I would consider a fair thing. If anything, I think that there is a case for INCREASING government funding to private schools. Why should any parent, having chosen to spend more money by sending their child to a private school, not get their full tax dollar’s worth of education support from the government for their own child? In the case of my school, they were only gettingt 65% of it. Fairness would imply that students in private schools should be financially supported to exactly the same extent as state school students. How can we Australians continue to allow such discriminatory funding of our children’s education?

Government tells teens to earn or learn

Peter It is interesting that the Liberal government crows, “earn or learn” while at the same time they are slashing funding to universities, and their state counterparts are dessimating the TAFE system.

Post a web comment at

@ischoolleaders: A great article and video from @OzTeacherMag #Edutech2014 @SirKenRobinson sharing his insights in education! #edchat @Glenworking: Thx @EduTECH_AU @ OzTeacherMag for keeping me informed on #Edutech2014 Unable 2 attend so thx for video clips, info, links. Very insightful. @OzTeacherMag: EduTECH 2014: Sir Ken shares his insights into education with a packed-out lecture theatre. @connectedtchr: @OzTeacherMag … he would seriously hate me saying this but it was “Awesome.” If only every presenter had Sir Ken’s easy, engaging style @nsmithonline: An interesting article from @OzTeacherMag on teen “sexting”. Worth a read #childprotection #sexting @OzTeacherMag: The school chaplaincy program is a “half billion dollar behemoth”, says the man challenging it in the High Court. @jboyded: @OzTeacherMag School chaplaincy was a way for Howard to get religion into state schools. As an educational psychologist -I find it offensive! @skoobs77: @jboyded @OzTeacherMag Our school chaplain is amazing. She is studying counselling. But never a mention of god or religion. Love her Follow us on Twitter @EducationHQ_AU

“Lawyers do it, accountants do it, doctors do it, and we’re doing a similar thing in education.” - Adrian Piccoli on how trainee teachers in New South Wales will have to pass a literacy and numeracy test.

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coverstory australian Teacher • July 2014

Introduction When the federal budget was handed down last month, the allocation of money to fund the controversial school chaplaincy program was one of heated debate. But it wasn’t the $243.8 million dollars that had most people angered — it was the fact that the Abbott Government made a decision to reverse the change that the previous Labor Government initiated — to allow schools to hire a secular (non-religious) welfare worker under the same funding model. REBECCA VUKOVIC speaks with Peter James, the national convenor of the National School Chaplaincy Association about some of the misconceptions people have about the work of school chaplains, and why he thinks the job they do is fundamentally important. On the other side of the argument, she also gauges the opinions of David Stokes from the Australian Psychological Society about why he thinks the government have got this budget wrong and how several APS members face job losses as a result. AEU federal president Angelo Gavrielatos also weighs in to the debate.

Religion focus

Chaplaincy program back to basics SCHOOL chaplaincy programs have benefited from almost a quarter of a billion dollars allocated to the initiative in last month’s federal budget. The National School Chaplaincy Program will enable more than 2900 schools across Australia to employ the services of a chaplain, with the Federal Government allocating $243.8 million to the program for the next four years. The controversial program was initiated by former Liberal Prime Minister John Howard in 2006 and continued under the Rudd and Gillard governments. However, Julia Gillard and former Education Minister Peter Garrett introduced a change to the program in 2011, which allowed government schools to hire either a religious or a secular pastoral care worker under the same funding model. At the time, Garrett said the decision to add secular student welfare workers was a reflection of community concerns over the religious nature of the existing system. ‘’It was an issue that had been raised in the consultation process … and it’s an issue which we’ve always known is one which some parents and some school groups and organisations have raised previously,’’ he said. The 2014/15 budget scrapped

“The renewed programme will be returned to its original intent ...”

Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey with Minister for Education Christopher Pyne. this change, restoring the program to its original format. “This renewed and re-focused programme will allow schools, especially those with higher levels of disadvantage, to provide much needed chaplaincy services to support their students,” the Federal Education Minister’s parliamentary secretary, Scott Ryan says. “The renewed programme will be returned to its original intent; to provide funding for school chaplains.” All government schools will be invited to apply for the program and can receive up to $20,000 per year. Schools in remote areas can

receive up to $24,000 per year. Any schools which already have a government-funded chaplain will have to reapply to be part of the program next year. Since it was started, the chaplaincy program has drawn critics such as the education union, who believe it undermines the secular tradition of state schools. However, the notion that school counsellors could possibly lose their jobs is unfounded, as the funding for these workers falls on the state governments. “The school chaplaincy program is a separate program from the states and territories,” Chis-

topher Pyne told Lateline. “If they want to fund school counsellors, they’re welcome to do so; that’s a decision that they can make. The Commonwealth, being an adult government, has made the decision that we’re going to fund chaplaincies because that was the original intention of the program. Now if the states and territories want to add to that in their own way, good luck to them,” he says. In 2012 Ron Williams, a Queensland father of six, won a 2012 High Court case challenging the legitimacy of the chaplaincy program, forcing the government to push through new legislation to ensure that the program and hundreds of other arrangements could continue to be funded. Williams has returned to the High Court to challenge this law. The latest changes are set to replace the existing National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program from the start of 2015.


in program’s defence

The Program

Funding ‘fundamentally important’

How does it work? All schools will be invited to apply for 2900 chaplain places. Schools which already have a governmentfunded chaplain will have to reapply to be part of the program and schools with higher disadvantage will be given priority. Schools will receive $20,000 a year to hire a chaplain. Schools in remote areas will receive an extra $4000 a year. How much will it cost? $243.8 million over four years. What are its aims? To support the emotional, spiritual and social wellbeing of students by enhancing academic achievement, encouraging positive behaviours, reducing behavioural issues such as truancy, aggression and drug use, and boosting emotional competence. Who can schools hire? Chaplains can be from a range of faiths, but they can no longer be secular welfare workers. What qualifications are required? They must have a minimum Certificate IV in Youth Work or Pastoral Care or equivalent. They must sign a code of conduct and pass Working with Children and Police Checks. Source: Department of Education; Scott Ryan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education

CHAPLAINCY in schools is an overwhelmingly positive thing and the continution of federal funding is fundamentally important, according to Peter James, the national convenor of the National School Chaplaincy Association. While James says he is not commenting on the Abbott Government’s decision to remove the option to hire a secular welfare worker under the same funding model, he does believe in the importance of chaplains continuing with the work they’ve been doing in schools. “When you say, the ‘200-and-something-million dollars’, we’re talking about $20,000 per annum per school. This is not an expensive program,” he says. “Since the first $20,000 came out in 2006 we’ve seen no funding increase in that period and now we’ve seen a 20 per cent cut in the number of places. It was a costcutting budget and the program wore its share of the cost-cutting.” The role chaplains perform in schools, according to James, encompasses both the social and emotional support roles as well as working together to complement a school’s pastoral care team. “The chaplains’ role includes activities designed to promote positive mental health factors, including spirituality — a focus on prevention — which is comple-

“$20,000 per annum per school ... this is not an expensive program.”

Peter James, national convenor of the National School Chaplaincy Association. mentary to the treatment available through school counsellors, psychologists and psychiatrists,” he says. “That complementary role is not only because chaplains are promoting positive mental health factors, but because each chaplain is trained in how to identify mental health issues and refer to those who focus on treatment. “Chaplains build trust and confidence that enables some students to seek the help of psychologists and counsellors — students who otherwise might not find that help.” James acknowledges that psychologists and psychiatrists are highly-trained and specialised to administer treatment to stu-

dents who require this attention, and he believes their time is best spent doing this. “It’s not an efficient use of their time for them to spend two to three hours hanging out with a kid, shooting baskets so that they feel comfortable enough to unpack — but a chaplain is the person at the other end of the spectrum who can gain the child’s trust and help them to open up and if there’s an issue that needs a psychologist, can be the one to actually get them connected to the psychologist.” For a religious chaplain to work in a school setting, they need to meet the minimum standard of a Certificate 4 in Youth Work or Pas-

toral Care. But James says there is a significant difference between the minimum standard and what the prevailing practice is. “From my own organisation’s perspective, we have people who have everything from a diploma standard through to masters and other postgraduate degrees. “I have somebody who has six ... degrees and we have people who are chaplains who used to be school principals. So I think you’ll find in the role, despite the fact the standard is about making sure someone is good at working with children … there are some incredibly well qualified people including some psychologists who work in this role.” James also points out a 2012 study by YouthCARE Chaplaincy Services in Western Australia and a 2009 study by the National School Chaplaincy Association both found that school staff thought chaplains had a positive impact on students.

coverstory 21

Union opposition

It was always a bad idea... THE continuation of funding for school chaplains is “completely misdirected” and the money should instead be used to address the needs of students with disabilities, according to the Australian Education Union. Federal president Angelo Gavrielatos says that this isn’t anything new. In fact, the union has considered the National School Chaplaincy Program to be a misdirected program from the moment it was announced by the Howard Government. “It is a misdirected program...,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “First, it undermines the secular traditions of public education and secondly, it redirects money away from specialist services which is what our kids need. When it comes to our students and their welfare needs, they need specialist, trained school counsellors.” A major concern of Gavrielatos’ is that other vital programs are missing out on much-needed resources. “What we’ve seen in this budget is an extension of this program, but at the same time, the government has failed to introduce any additional money for students with disabilities,” he says. “Before the election, Christopher Pyne clearly stated that if elected, the Coalition Government will provide more money for students with disabilities

Angelo Gavrielatos of the AEU. through a disability loading. “He lied. There is no additional money for students with disabilities and indeed, some additional funding that was secured in 2010 will come to an end this year.” According to Gavrielatos, this comes at a time when conservative estimates show that over 100,000 students with disabilities are in need of disability funding and are not receiving any. “What we’re seeing from this government is a continuation of a misdirected program, when we should see funding better spent on either trained, qualified school counsellors or indeed allocated to meet the complex needs of stu-

July 2014 • australian Teacher

Williams claims our democracy ‘bypassed’

“It undermines the secular traditions of public education ...”

RON Williams, the Queensland father of six who won a legal fight against the National School Chaplaincy Program, has launched his second challenge against the Federal Government in the High Court over a law that allows it to continue funding the controversial program.

dents,” Gavrielatos says. “This is on top of the government walking away from the Gonski funding reforms and walking away from the fifth and sixth years of these funding reforms.” Gavrielatos claims that without implementing the full reforms, up to 20 per cent of schools will not reach the minimum school resource standard considered necessary to give every child that better opportunity to succeed. On the future of the school chaplaincy program, Gavrielatos is clear. “What our students need is expert, professional help in the form of school counsellors or school psychologists or psychiatrists. We need expert help. “Issues of religion are a private matter between parents and their children. When it comes to schooling, they need expert trained personnel to satisfy our students welfare needs and also the additional resources to address their educational learning needs.”

The judges also said, in the landmark decision, that the government could not spend money on programs that fall outside these powers without authority from Parliament. This not only threatened federal funding for the chaplaincy program, but potentially hundreds of other programs.

In June 2012, Williams won a High Court battle against the chaplaincy program — which funds chaplains providing spiritual support in schools — when six of its seven judges ruled that it exceeded the Commonwealth’s executive spending powers under the constitution.

About a week later, the government amended laws to include 427 arrangements, grants and programs it could fund without legislation. The next day, the government paid the Scripture Union of Queensland more than $6.2 million, $11,000 of which was given to Williams’ children’s school to run its chaplaincy program. Williams was backed by hundreds of parents who funded his first court battle, who all opposed the chaplaincy program because they believed it was unnecessary – given that counsellors and religious educators were already funded by states. “I’m most disappointed that I should have taken this to the High Court the first time around at huge emotional and financial expense . . . only to have the decision and our democracy bypassed by all three parties simply to keep the money flowing for the very program that was declared illegitimate to be funded by the government in the first place,” Williams says.

APS perspective

Why confine the funding? MANY psychologists working in a school setting have found themselves ‘staring down the barrel’ of losing a position that they’d got as a secular counsellor, according to the Australian Psychological Society (APS). When the former Labor Government extended the chaplaincy program to include secular welfare workers, nearly 20 per cent of schools opted for this alternative. Principal advisor at the APS, David Stokes, says that he has received anecdotal evidence that some of their members, employed under the Labor Government arrangement, are set to lose their jobs once the National School Chaplaincy Program is reinstated to its original format. While Stokes concedes that religious chaplains do have a role to play in the school environment, his greatest concern is the crossing of boundaries when it comes to referrals to those with greater expertise. “We have no opposition as a society for the presence of school chaplains where they conduct their roles appropriately,” Stokes says. “Our concern has always been — and to some extent the previous government made some inroads into this problem — but our problem has always been about the crossing of boundaries.”

“Our problem has always been about the crossing of boundaries ...”

According to Stokes, a school psychologist is trained in developmental psychology and learning principles, as well as in assessment and recognition of mental health issues. “That would include things like suicidal risk assessment and mental health problems that a child might have ... so recognising and managing those complexities is absolutely critical and you do need to have a fair bit of experience under your belt for that to occur,” he says. In order to gain this level of training, school psychologists complete a four-year psychology undergraduate degree which includes a final honours year. They then must complete a postgradu-

ate degree like a Master of Educational Psychology or Clinical Psychology or Neuropsychology, or they can choose to do a two-year internship program where they have to engage in learning and supervised practice. Stokes adds that what interested him most about the Abbott Government’s initiative was the emphasis that was placed on pastoral care. “If pastoral care is so important to the wellbeing of students in the school as they suggest, then every effort should be made by all staff and all programs to ensure that the pastoral care is occurring in the school. “So why then turn around, and confine the finances they’ve put into this to just chaplains? It doesn’t make sense. It’s a silly, inconsistent position to start off saying how important pastoral care is and then saying that only chaplains of a religious orientation can give this pastoral care — that’s a silly idea.”

YouTube clip furore A VIDEO aimed at raising community support for the National School Chaplaincy Program has been posted on YouTube by Access Ministries. The two-and-a-half minute piece features CEO Dr Evonne Paddison, pictured, who argues that “[children] deserve to know that Jesus is a person, not just a swear word”. While urging viewers to sign a petition to support the Abbott Government’s decision to fund only religious chaplains in non-religious schools, Paddison states, “we know too that chaplains are seen as incredibly valuable by the schools and by the principals”. In the video, Brett Cardwell, a Christian chaplain says ‘‘If you’ve got a heart for children, you need to support chaplaincy. Without chaplaincy, where would [the children] go? Who can they talk to?’’ Several children are also featured in the piece, claiming to want to read the bible but not knowing anything about it. The video sparked heated discussion on social media after it was posted on YouTube.

22 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • July 2014

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music in education classroom projects


special report

curriculum ideas

July 2012 2014 May


Putting smiles on faces chelsea attard MOST students enrol in music classes with the intention of learning the difference between a clef and a crescendo. But Year 10 students who enrol in Music in Motion at St Ignatius College learn first and foremost how to put a smile on people’s faces. Linda Pape, who is the performing arts coordinator at the Victorian school, says she wrote the subject into the school’s curriculum about three years ago. “I was teaching Year 10s and I thought there were so many talented students, and at our school we actually do go out into the community like most schools do

with the orchestras and choirs ... but I thought, ‘wouldn’t it be lovely, if we actually made a subject out of doing this?’” Pape explains. Music in Motion students perform at nursing homes, senior citizen centres, hospitals and the local soup kitchen. “Oh, I love it,” Pape says. “It’s not only getting the students out of the school, and onto a bus and having a wonderful time, it’s actually putting a smile on a lot of people’s faces.” For their recent performance at the Christ Church soup kitchen, students played a repertoire of jazz, rock, and folk music for diners. “Some of [the audience] were families who were a little bit em-

barrassed to start with, but after the students started talking to them and singing I think it really cheered them up, they loved it,” Pape says. One important skill students gain from the class, is the ability to tailor performances to a wide variety of audiences. “The nursing homes can be a bit tricky, because usually in nursing homes the people are very old, so you have to actually tailor the musical repertoire to the elderly, so you have to make sure you don’t do heavy metal,” Pape explains. “So, in a way it’s very good for the students to be able to play to their audience, to know who the audience is, so it becomes soft sort of folk music in a way when

you go to the nursing home, and then you turn the volume up a little bit if you’re in the children’s ward — they prefer that in the Geelong Hospital.” Another benefit of the performance-heavy subject, Pape says, is the platform it gives students to deal with their nerves. “...When we get into Year 11 and 12 we do performance and they’ve got to try and get over the nerves there, so Year 10 is a good stepping stone to the VCE performance subject. “... so performing to children in a hospital is really easy. It’s sort of nice, they get lots of applause and it cheers them up and makes them feel like all of their practice is for something, you know?”

Movement IF you were to walk into a classroom to see students singing and dancing, you might be surprised to find they were working on their reading and writing skills. According to ECU academics, certain dances and exercises in time to music can improve the physical actions needed for reading and writing. The academics have developed a Moving on With Literacy (MOWL) program to help students develop such skills. “MOWL concentrates on these physical movements by using 30 songs combined with targeted movements to improve fine motor skill practice, eye tracking, balance, rhythm and cross-lateral movement,” ECU researcher Dr Deb Calcott tells the Department of Education Western Australia. Applecross Primary School principal Barry France says since mastering the MOWL movements, students no longer struggled to form letters on a page. “In the most basic sense, this means students are now concentrating on the content of the lesson and the words they are writing — not on how they are writing them — because they have mastered the physical movements required to read and write,” he says. 1300 ALLANS

music in education 24 australian Teacher • July 2014

classroom ideas

So you’re not musical - don’t let that stop you!

ANNE VIZE Q: I want to build music into my junior primary class program, but I’m worried because I don’t have a musical background and I might sound silly and make lots of mistakes. How can I teach music to my students if I’m not musical myself? A: See music as an exciting opportunity to build a wide range of skills for young students and to share in something beautiful, rather than as a problem that needs to be resolved. Classroom based musical activities are a wonderful way of developing everything from teamwork through to language skills, with lots of fun and enjoyment to be had along the way. Children embrace the opportunity to share music and will not be worried about your lack of musical ability. Take a leaf out of their book, relax and have some fun. Here are some ideas to get you started: • Use simple songs to teach language and maths concepts, such as the ‘Days of the Week’ song (to the tune of The Addams Family theme), which also incorporates simple clapping rhythms. • Play a song from a different

Primary school students embrace the opportunity to share and play music. country each day for a week, and reflect on the language, imagery and sounds you hear in each one. Extend this activity by learning some basic facts about each of the countries. • Sit in a circle and ask children to listen to you clap or tap a rhythm then repeat it back to you. Increase the length and complexity as the children gain in their skills at listening, recalling and repeating the pattern. Mix things up a little with finger clicking, feet tapping or percussion instruments such as clapping sticks (claves) or tone blocks.

• Use big books to share songs like Over In The Meadow or Down By The Station (Child’s Play Peek-aBoo books) then make hand puppets out of felt, material or cardboard to perform the actions. • Explore the music that can be made with bells of all shapes and sizes, and encourage children to notice what happens when they strike different shaped bells with a mallet. If you are in Melbourne you can borrow the Federation Hand Bells from Museum Victoria. • Play some instrumental music

or classical music and ask children to move their bodies around a large open space, responding to what they hear and feel. Offer some strips of coloured silk material or ribbon to use while they improvise their movements. Remind children this is a positive, sharing experience where there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way to move and that they should feel free to be as creative and expressive as they like. • Make your own set of class instruments using everyday items, timber off-cuts or recycled mate-

rials. For example, glass jars filled with different levels of water sound great when tapped gently with a spoon or mallet, while a strong cardboard cylinder filled with dry beans becomes a shaker or rain maker. • New songs as well as the instruments you use each session can be shown on laminated cards made by hand or using a computer program. Use these cards to create a visual schedule which shows children what will be done each session, or to encourage choice making between two or more options. This is a great way of giving your session a structure which makes it predictable and understandable and also builds language and decision making for children with additional needs. Remember, your students will take their cue from you in how they respond to music. Show them you embrace the challenge and that you are not worried about looking silly or singing out of time — the joy of music is in simply sharing it with others. Anne Vize is the author of Reading for Media Literacy — Navigating our world of new texts and technologies. Visit curriculumpress. to order your copy.

July 2014 • australian Teacher • 25

music in education 26 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Virtual composer a reality  

uc live! volunteers

MELBOURNE - Footscray City College students have taken part in the Royal Melbourne Hospital’s music festival, where four of their music ensembles played for patients, staff and visitors. The school received a People’s Choice award and wonderful feedback from all involved. One patient hadn’t left her ward in a week, until she heard one of the bands performing!

MUSIC industry students from Canberra and Narrabundah Colleges had the opportunity to volunteer with UC Live! at Groovin’ The Moo Festival 2014. They were set the task of enhancing public awareness of UC Live!, who aim to bring exciting musical entertainment to Canberra, by engaging festival goers with information about upcoming events. Before the event, students were briefed on all necessary information, including site access and safety procedures. Local bands playing at the festival were also encouraged to meet and greet with aspiring music journalists. The day was a success with plenty of positive feedback from festival attendees and valuable information from UC Live! staff about working in the music industry. The students were even able to enjoy the festival when not on shift.

video conferencing

Music a patient’s tonic

   VIDEO conferencing technology has knocked down the walls of the traditional classroom and allowed students to connect with an array of experts from across the globe. Sydney’s Abbotsleigh has embraced this technology in its senior music program, enabling the girls to work alongside a ‘virtual composer in residence’ at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio, US. When music teacher Ingrid Little received a request from her school’s IT integrator, Naomi Manning, to source an ongoing mentor who could assist the students with writing their music compositions, Little was delighted to connect with Dr Keith Fitch, who is the head of their Composition Department at the institute. “He’s had a number of works performed in Europe and Japan and the States, so he was a fantastic mentor for the girls in terms of composition,� Little says. The students were able to discuss with Fitch their individual scores and how to best develop them, before applying the concepts to their skills as composers. Lynette Clarke, another music teacher at Abbotsleigh, found that connecting with experts from the institute was a valuable lesson for her students as well. “Showing the compositions they


Open Stage invaluable

GOLD COAST - Over the past four years, Varsity College has built a strong relationship with Opera Queensland through their school residency program ‘Open Stage’. All chamber vocal and senior music students who specialise in voice recently had the opportunity to work with professional opera singers, who they hosted over a whole week.

Garland Music Festival PERTH - Hale School’s Garland Music Festival took place last month. The festival is an excellent opportunity for junior, middle and senior school musicians to perform as instrumentalists in friendly competition with their peers. After playing in front of a friendly audience and external adjudicator, the best performances from each age group won the Garland Music Prize. Email briefs to

Abbotsleigh music students link with a ‘virtual composer in residence’ at the Cleveland Institute of Music in Ohio. had created and getting some feedback on that from the people at the Cleveland Institute of Music was really helpful,â€? she says. The teachers used Polycom highdefinition video conferencing equipment to connect with the institute, which Manning found to be a high quality, reliable and immersive experience for the students. “Lynette was doing Flamenco music, which is more authentic to come from someone who is from the US ‌ so that’s why we con-

nected her class to a specialist at Cleveland Institute of Music who took a lesson to give them an introduction to Lynette’s class,� Manning says. Little says that working alongside a composer from the US really encouraged her students to rise to the occasion to produce work of great quality. Manning agrees. “It made them accountable. It was due on that day so they knew to have it ready for him,� she says.

Student access at Groovin’ the Moo

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July 2014 • australian Teacher • 27

music in education 28 australian Teacher • July 2014

experience counts

From Sinatra and Bassey to Katoomba High... Dr Jason Thornton began teaching at Katoomba High School in New South Wales this year, following an exciting musical career. Thornton has performed with the likes of Shirley Bassey, Cher, The Masters Apprentices and Frank Sinatra, just to name a few. The talented saxophonist tells Australian Teacher Magazine he finds teaching young musicians just as rewarding as life on stage. Can you give us a brief overview of your career in the music industry so far? I did all of my tertiary study in Scotland, I was picked up straight after my masters to tour Europe with Shirley Bassey then I got to do a bunch of work with people like Frank Sinatra, Gloria Estefan, James Taylor. Later on I did some work with ... The Throbs and Cher. I’ve worked with a whole bunch of the iconic Australian bands like Matt Finish, 1927, the Masters Apprentices, things like that. So you’ve performed with some big name musicians, who was your favourite to perform with and why? Oh gee, that’s a tough call, because they were all so different. I guess, I really enjoy working with

What made you decide to take on a school teaching role? I’ve always taught on and off since my early 20s. Initially it started just as a necessity, you know, teaching primarily instruments, just to make ends meet in between shows. Then I discovered, the more I did it, I actually enjoyed it as much as I did playing and touring … Teaching both high school and tertiary levels, people who want to learn the craft, and want to learn what’s behind it, really is as engaging for a teacher as it is for the student. I find it really reinforces my craft, I also find myself just thoroughly enjoying being around like-minded people who want to immerse themselves in what it is I love most.

big bands, so people like Sinatra was special for the obvious reasons, historically, you know he was just iconic from the word go, but just an incredible, world class band, playing alongside some of my heroes. It was one of those moments where I felt like I’d

moved up a level, so to speak. But beyond that, there have certainly been plenty of highlights since then, doing different styles, even with some of the lesser known and unknown bands. Just playing with people who communicate well and who know their craft.

When did you commence your teaching role at Katoomba High School? At the beginning of this year. We came back to Australia after spending nearly three years in Queenstown in New Zealand, and my son was going to be going to that school, so I began dialogue with the school and discovered that they didn’t have a band program, which given the nature of the school and the fact that the principal really supported the arts, was obviously a gaping hole

that needed to be addressed. So I offered to help facilitate that, and she’s been incredibly supportive and the school kids have really lapped it up. I’m just there one day a week taking the band kids, but that’s everything from Year 7s through to Year 12s. The beautiful thing about that is, regardless of their level of skill and their age, they’re all on an equal footing in that situation, so for performances I’ve done simple things to try and really reinforce that by removing the school uniform and creating a band uniform, little things to give them an equal standing. Can you tell us about the contemporary orchestra you’ve started at the school? That’s right, yes, as opposed to a normal concert band, I thought we should make it more inclusive because there was a bunch of kids who played strings and flute and what-not, so rather than just doing the concert band thing, I thought we’d extend it and reclassify it, so I’ve been re-writing parts to include strings. We’re expecting a huge influx next year of more string players and more orchestral instruments, so it’ll work really well in that concept.

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music in education 29

whole school effort

July 2014 • australian Teacher

music program

Wilkins students all have a part to play in annual Music Extravaganza

Turntablism proves a hit

COORDINATING the movements of 675 primary school students as they perform in various class ensembles, a concert band, three choirs and rock bands, plus multiple wind and brass ensembles is certainly no mean feat — yet it is something that occurs every year at Wilkins Public School. The New South Wales school’s famed Music Extravaganza is just that — a grand musical spectacular that celebrates the musical talents of each and every child. Principal Jason Wilkins says the Music Extravaganza is the culmination of a year’s hard work in the school’s extra-curricular and inschool music programs, and gives young musicians the chance to show off their skills in a professional production with industry staging and lighting. “On the night, every class presents an item ... for Kinder that’s singing, for Year 1 and 2 that’s recorder, for Years 3-6 it’s instruments of various kinds, so they might be singing in all of those items as well as musical playing. All our students will read basic music by the time they finish here,” he says. “Music here is a big push of ours, it’s part of our holistic education. We use music in order to map the mind and for students to plan ahead and to recognise patterns as

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part of their learning and to give them an expressive outlet.” Wilkins says performing in front of hundreds of people at such a young age really helps to foster healthy self-esteem in his students. “Confidence is one of our big things here, it ties into our student welfare program, where we do what’s called restorative practices ... [performing] puts the child in control and it gives them the skills to recognise differences and to solve problems.”

Students at Wilkins Public School delight hundreds each year at their Music Extravagaza.

STUDENTS can rap, mashup and mix their own beats at St Michael’s Grammar School thanks to a revolutionary DJ music program called Turntablism, which is literally placing students in the DJ hot seat to boost their aural and technical skills. Comprised of a DJ board and two digital turntables, the music software is challenging a group of 14 Year 6 students to work with base and trill combinations to merge tracks into funky re-mixes of their very own. Grace Nicastro, director of music at the junior school, says the program is unique because it builds upon the traditional skills that students have been developing in class and allows them to apply them in a fun and creative way. “We target Turntablism at the Year 6 students because they have a basic understanding and practical experience with the elements of music ... but it takes those skills into a completely different realm.” For Year 6/7 teacher Sean Powell, a passionate DJ himself, Turntablism is changing the way in which the children engage and respond to music. ”When they start, their definition of a DJ is someone who stands be-

A DJ program at St Michael’s Grammar is extending students’ musical skills. hind a mixer and just waves their hands in their air, but then we move into learning the skills, which is fairly demanding ... it’s understanding the dynamic of music and how to put things together. Then they learn what a remix is, so then they build their skills and get to manipulate their own tracks,” he says. Powell says one of the most challenging things for students is learning to deconstruct various tracks to see if they are suitable for mixing. “So they might have three favourite tracks, but have to understand

tempo and how that actually matches up to their beats per minute ... and then trying to learn how to manipulate that so they have great sound at the end.” Understandably the DJ lessons are provng a hit with the students, “The kids love it, it’s a drawcard because it matches to their style of music and also their style of learning — a lot of the kids we have in this group aren’t the type that want to be standing up in front of other people, so it gives them another angle to get involved.”

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music in education 30 australian Teacher • July 2014

qld innovators

technology advances

Conversation in Junk just one part of superb accelerated music program

No instrument? No prob!

ANYONE who walked passed Claire Carvolth’s music classroom and saw students playing percussion on their tables, chairs and rubbish bins, might have believed things had descended into madness — but they would have instead witnessed some very real learning taking place. As part of their accelerated music program, Year 7 students at Queensland’s Grace Lutheran College take part in a series of workshops, and this particular one encouraged the youngsters to get out of their comfort zones and do things they would never normally be allowed to do in a typical music classroom. “Essentially, we just raided the office and the classroom and we got out old chairs and old tables

If The Gap State High School’s music program were to adopt a slogan, a fitting one might be “No instrument? No Problem!� The school has embraced a host of innovative technologies that are enabling students — often with no prior musical experience — to learn and create music in the most interactive of ways. Music teacher Katherine Jackobsen believes that notation software programs, such as Sibelius and GarageBand, are opening up a host of exciting opportunities for students and are essentially changing the way in which music is learnt. “The number of students who may not necessarily have an orchestral instrument is not a barrier anymore to studying music. “These technologies have opened it up so that anybody really with an interest in music, in whatever genre, can give it a go.� So what sorts of projects have students been launching into? “The students are using [Sibelius and GarageBand], not only to compose, but to create backing tracks for themselves that they can then rehearse their instrumental or vocal performance with sound behind them. “My Year 11s and 12s have been doing an Australian Identity unit,� fellow music teacher Colleen Sip-

Year 7s play a percussion piece called Conversation in Junk.

and we got out the old recycling bins — as long as everyone had enough to bang on,� Carvolth says. “I couldn’t find 27 drums for these kids, but I could certainly find 27 bit of junk for them to crash on.� The students loved the added bonus of pretending they were in detention because according to Carvolth, drumming on school equipment would be exactly what percussionists would do in detention. The accelerated music program encourages students to learn multiple instruments and also allows them to complete their Year 12 music studies at the end of Year 11. This is the first year the program has been run at the school, but Carvolth says it’s been a screaming success so far. She plans to reproduce the activity at school events later in the year, to share the success of the students with the wider school community. “This piece, Conversation in Junk is by Jeff Jarrott but there’s certainly no reason why a similar workshop couldn’t be run where the kids have their own input. We were just limited by time. “It was exciting and general madness really! It was a fantastic afternoon,� she says.

Cool software programs are enhancing students’ understanding of music. po says, “so some of them have actually scored a composition using notation software and exported that into GarageBand and layered other sounds over the top.� For teacher Monique McMullen, the benefits of the music software programs are quite clear. “The students now have the ability to hear what they’re writing. For a long time students composed in a bit of a bubble, if they couldn’t play the instrument they were scoring for ... they didn’t have a great understanding of how the music

sounded — but now they can do that with the click of a button. And certainly there is no limit to where students can explore their musical creativity. “The school has established a loan system which gives students a ‘licence’ to borrow the software overnight and during lunch times. “We’re really encouraging kids to work with the technology and to have accessibility to it outside the classroom ... it’s about not stopping that learning journey once they walk out,� Sippo says.

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July 2014 • australian Teacher • 31


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The Power of PLCs

Data to Enhance Student Learning

“Understanding by Design®” is a framework for improving student achievement. Emphasising the teacher’s critical role as a designer of student learning, UbD™ works within the standards-driven curriculum to help teachers clarify learning goals, devise revealing assessments of student understanding, and craft effective and engaging learning activities.” – Grant Wiggins 2014 As schools work through the challenges of implementing the National Curriculum, Understanding by Design® offers a 3-stage design process, a set of helpful design tools and design standards – not a rigid program or prescriptive recipe. In partnership with our team of Understanding by Design® - certified Australia-based Training Associates, Hawker Brownlow Professional Learning Services provides the following valuable services to schools.

UbD™ Service Areas Understanding by Design® – Introductory Workshop Understanding by Design® – Developing Essential Questions Schooling by Design

Our Understanding by Design® Training Associates Janelle McGann (B.Ed., M.Sci.) has worked within the public and independent school sectors for over 25 years and in three Australian states, the US and Ireland. She currently holds an executive role in a large school in Perth, Western Australia. Her role includes the strategic leadership of teaching and learning; collaborative leadership, facilitation and development of middle managers and executive processes. Janelle has been working with Dr Jay McTighe for the past 5 years and has implemented UbD into her school successfully. She has been involved in: occasional lecturing and projects with universities; facilitating action research projects with teachers; the development of a teacher practicum model; and she is an agency trainer for the Centre for Cognitive Coaching.

Anna Bennett is an experienced educational consultant who joined the Hawker Brownlow team this year as an Understanding by Design® Training Associate. As previous College Head of Professional Development for a multi-campus independent school her knowledge of professional learning is exceptional. Anna’s expertise in Curriculum Development and support of schools utilising Understanding by Design® places her as an ideal associate to work with schools using this as the basis for their school and curriculum backward design work.

34 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • July 2014

A Framework for Understanding Poverty has been utilised by thousands of educators. The newly revised training is structured around 10 action items for educating students so that participants not only understand the foundational concepts, but learn actions that are easily implemented and have a high impact when working with students from low income backgrounds. If you work with people in poverty, some understanding of how different their world is from yours will be invaluable.

A Framework for Understanding Poverty Service Areas A Framework for Understanding Poverty – 10 Actions to Educate Students Research based Strategies for Narrowing the Achievement Gap Bridges Out of Poverty – Community Workshop

Our Framework for Understanding Poverty Training Associates Kath Herbert has been a professional educator since 1975 and has been presenting Dr Ruby Payne’s workshops since 2002. Kath specialises in curriculum development that addresses social competencies and alternative learning opportunities. With the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development she has worked with secondary and primary schools. She is an experienced teacher working in both large city colleges and small country schools in administration, curriculum and student wellbeing. She has experience in remote indigenous communities as well as recruiting and training teachers to deliver adult literacy and numeracyy with Education Centre Gippsland, a major provider of adult learning. Kath brings thirty hirty years experience in teaching to Dr Ruby Payne’s work on economic disadvantage, e, A Framework for Understanding Poverty.

Marie McLeod has a Bachelor of Social Work and a Certificate in Adult Education. She has worked in child protection, juvenile justice, disability and public housing. Marie is passionate about issues of social justice and social inclusion. She is experienced in community engagement, community action planning and governance, and facilitates tailored interactive solutions to achieve change with communities and groups. Marie is a Training Associate for Framework for Understanding Poverty, Bridges Out of Poverty and Getting Ahead in a Just Gettin’ By World. Until the end of 2012, Marie worked part time for the Department of Human Services as the Manager of Neighbourhood Renewal, an initiative that works with residents and other stakeholders to address disadvantage stak ntage 21 locations across Victoria. in 2

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intheclassroom innovation







July 2014


Students at St Columba College have been experimenting with molecular gastromomy.


Atkinson still hitting the right notes at 81 Equipping students with a Growth Mindset Spelling with the help of a history of words Teen marketing stars lift school’s profile

Thinking outside the box sarah duggan STRAWBERRY spaghetti, mozzarella ‘balloons’ and olive oil ‘snow’ are not exactly your average creations to come out of a food technology class, but for Year 12 students at St Columba College, these are just some of the edible wonders they have been busy plating up. As part of their inquiry into the technological influences in hospitality, students have been dabbling in molecular gastronomy, the ‘foodie’ trend that looks at the physical and chemical transformations that occur when food is cooked. Food technology teacher Nicole Cross says the whole idea behind the exercise was to get her students to think outside the box.

“When you start talking about technological influences in the kitchen all they immediately start thinking about is microwaves and food processors ... because you see so much of this molecular gastronomy on TV shows and in commercial kitchens, I wanted to get them excited about what they could actually do,“ she says. Armed with a small starter kit sourced off the internet, Cross and her students experimented with different chemical mixtures and gelling agents to make various foams and other concoctions using ingredients they already had. “We tried some basic sphereification ... once they saw what the possibilities were, they went off and did their own research to start

thinking about what they might be able to produce.� Cross then gave her students the challenge of having to create a visually exciting dish that could be used to feature as part of an advertising campaign for a restaurant. “It needed to be something that would grab someone and make them go ‘wow I want to go and try that!� she says. Aside from conducting the chemical reactions, Cross says the biggest challenge for students was having to coordinate all the different food elements into one cohesive dish. So what were some of the final fruits of their labour? “I had a student create a plate that had some mango spheres, a strawberry spaghetti and a pra-

line. Another student used a cream siphon to create mozzarella ‘balloons’ — it’s a bocconcini ball which is blown up like a balloon and that was served with an olive-oil ‘snow’. “So olive oil, which usually is a viscous liquid, is combined with soy lecithin and that turns it into what we called a ‘snow’ — so it’s a completely different texture,� Cross explains. Defying standard food-logic, another student used methyl cellulose to literally create hot ice-cream, which was served warm and melted as it cooled. “You give them a challenge and they rise to the occasion, they really do like to go and try something that probably in their wildest dreams they never thought they’d be able to do.�

Animal Action Education IFAW’s Animal Action Education pack Cats, Dogs and Us is here! Now with lesson plans and online resources for Years 1-6 that meet the new Australian Curriculum outcomes. Download today for FREE at

Auslan being taught to hearing students “If your kid doesn’t have broadband access, that’s a real disadvantage for participating in modern education.� - Julius Genachowski

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intheclassroom 36 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Firies drop in for tips BRISBANE - The ‘Firies’ from The Gap Fire Station have visited Mater Dei Catholic Primary School. Year 1 students learnt all about good fires and bad fires, ‘Stop-Drop and Roll’, ‘Get out and Stay Out’, and ‘Get Down Low and Go Go Go!’ The firemen told students about making sure their fire alarms are working at home and to check if their families have an evacuation plan.

Students take charge WOLLONGONG - Throughout The Illawarra Grammar School’s school fete, the New South Wales students were encouraged to take charge of their own learning and involvement. For instance, a group of students manned a booth to disseminate information on healthy eating and food allergies. It was a new, confronting experience for the students — and for their teacher!

Workplace maths stars HOBART – The successful workplace mathematics curriculum at Elizabeth College allows students to undertake mathematical investigations outdoors in a simulated workplace environment. They visited St Andrews Park to measure the height of Specimen trees with a clinometer, tape measure and Pythagoras’ theorem.

top of the class

Young at heart and still on song he has led, he has never once auditioned a child for the singing group. “I reckon it is terrible, and I’ve never done it,” he says. “If they want to be in the choir, they’re in the choir. “I look at this way, so all right, some of them can’t sing as good as others, but if you’re standing beside beautiful singers all the time, your pitch improves. “You see, I used to say to these music specialists, ‘When we’re teaching mathematics, do we say ‘Oh, you six are no good at maths’? No, we get paid to teach.” As the oldest public school teacher in Western Australia, Atkinson’s love for his students and his music job remains the same as when he started. “At 81 I’m still young and very good looking, and still alive and well and marvellous,” he jokes.

rebecca vukovic AT 81 years of age, Dennis Atkinson is showing no signs of slowing down, or signs of giving up his beloved teaching job for that matter. The energetic and hilariouslywitty man is still teaching music to Kindergarteners one morning a week at Safety Bay Primary School, a job which he says brings him no end of joy. In fact ‘Mr A’ as he is affectionately called, says he plans on teaching until he is at least 100 years old, as long as his school principal will have him. “I’m still fairly sharp with the brain and things are still working so while they’ll have me teaching I’ll keep going,” Atkinson shares. “I love to go there and the children love to see me.” Atkinson migrated to Australia from Northern Ireland in 1956 with his darling wife, Elinor and worked as a salesman and customs officer. At the age of 42, he then decided to go to teacher’s college and retrain to become an educator.

Much-loved music teacher, Dennis Atkinson is the oldest public school teacher in Western Australia and is showing no signs of slowing. Over the years, Atkinson has taught a variety of year levels and subject areas, including a 20 year stint as a music specialist at Nedlands Primary School. He says he’s glad he’s found a special place for music because he believes it to be incredibly important for his students’ development. “Music is brilliant — it’s good for the soul,” he says.

“It’s good for the brain, I reckon music is what keeps the world circulating, honestly. One of the guiding principles of Atkinson’s teaching is that of positive reinforcement. He believes that all students deserve encouragement and this is something he prides himself on. Atkinson proudly admits that throughout his entire teaching career and the countless choirs

Do you know any exceptional teachers? Email classroom@ with the details.

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Bring your class to visit our exhibition and take part in exciting primary- and NOW THROUGH TICKETEKin English, secondary-level learning programs designed toBOOK complement studies the arts, history, French language and more. Choose from a self-guided tour THROUGH TICKETEK throughBOOK thisNOW world-first exhibition and interactive displays, or a tour plus a fully facilitated, hands-on workshop. BOOK NOW THROUGH TICKETEK

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Image: Gustave Brion, ‘Javert’, 1862, reproduced in Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (London, G. Routledge and Sons), 1887. Rare Books Collection, State Library of Victoria.

Image: Gustave Brion, ‘Javert’, 1862, reproduced in Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (London, G. Routledge and Sons), 1887. Rare Books Collection, State Library of Victoria.

Image: Gustave Brion, ‘Javert’, 1862, reproduced in Victor Hugo, Les Misérables (London, G. Routledge and Sons), 1887. Rare Books Collection, State Library of Victoria.


© 19 8 6 C M O L


Bank of Melbourne

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© 19 8 6 C M O L

14/05/14 11:58 AM

July 2014 • australian Teacher • 37

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An educational island escape


An excursion to the Great Barrier Reef

We are situated on the banks of the beautiful Gippsland lakes near Paynesville. We have two sites: Farm Camp - Introductory level - Bunkroom accommodation and activities include - climbing/ abseiling; archery; canoeing and more. Lake Camp - Intermediate level - Tebbins ( Tent/Cabin) accommodation and activities include - overnight hikes; kayaking, geocaching and more. Access to a half- day or full day boat trip on our motor launch the C.C. Neil to explore places like the Ninety Mile Beach or Raymond Island. In consultation with our Program Staff- develop themes and programs that enhance your schools ideals.

Discover Australian history from our extinct Thylacine to the most significant collection of Aboriginal artefacts and objects from the Kelly Gang. Request a special presentation such as the gold fields economy, the science of boomerangs and water or enquire about an individualised program. Burke Museum, Loch Street, Beechworth P 03 5728 8067 E

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intheclassroom 38 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Insight into hospitality BRISBANE – Lucky hospitality students at Dakabin State High School were treated to a buffet breakfast on an excursion to Sofitel, a five star hotel in the Brisbane CBD. Afterwards, students were taken on a hotel tour by the executive chef and front office manager to get insiders’ viewpoints on the industry and watched the banquets department preparing for lunch for nearly 300 people that day.

Canberra trip winner PERTH – Year 11 and 12 students at CBC Fremantle spent their term holidays in Canberra and Sydney for an invaluable learning experience that supported their curriculum studies in economics and geography. They explored Parliament House and Old Parliament House, gained an insight into Australia’s elite athletes at the AIS, and visited the Reserve Bank of Australia and Treasury.

School of Thought

Growth Mindset important for enhancing engagement Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

IN last month’s School of Thought, I spoke of The Fixed Mindset, a term coined by Carol Dweck Ph.D to describe those of us who believe that talents and intelligence are — to a certain extent — fixed at birth. In schools this manifests itself with students who believe either that they don’t need to learn anymore or that they can’t learn anymore. Both dangerous mindsets in environments that are all about learning! I would also argue that some teachers

feel like this. Don’t believe me? Think about how colleagues differ in approaches to implementing new strategies in the classroom, the uptake of technology in teaching, their attitudes of professional development days etc. Think about their mindsets with regard to the classes they teach and the comments they make. Much of the work I do in schools is around enhancing engagement. Often I’m asked what should ensure all kids and teachers have access to in order for this to happen? MacBooks or PCs? An intranet-based LMS? A peer coaching approach? My answer is usually — before we worry about any of these — we should ensure everyone is equipped with a Growth Mindset. Those in a Growth Mindset understand that regardless of their abilities and talents — whether they be superstars or struggling — they have the potential to improve, do things differently and see

Inquiry into homework MELBOURNE – Four articulate Macrobertson Girls High School students have attended the Parliamentary Inquiry into homework. The students answered questions from the panel about homework and submitted a statement that included suggestions such as homework working best when used for students to conduct independent inquiry.

Those in a Growth Mindset know that they have the potential to improve.

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Guide Dogs SA Discovery Centre The Discovery Centre is Australia’s first interactive vision and hearing education centre. This excursion gives students an opportunity to experience nine innovative and interactive exhibits simulating life with a vision or hearing impairment. Ages

Year levels 3-8


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Bookings Visit or phone 8203 8349 “The students came back to school buzzing with excitement about the excursion. Thanks again, I have highly recommended it to other teachers.” – Carole Cornish, Teacher, Belair

Guide Dogs SA 251 Morphett Street Adelaide SA 5000 08 8203 8333

the benefit of sharing their experiences and time. But more than that, a Growth Mindset is essential if we are to see the real benefits of any of the more obvious interventions and strategies. For example, a peer coaching approach — whilst by far one of the most powerful strategies for change and improvement — only has impact if those involved are open to challenging and improving themselves and their craft. In a Growth Mindset, individuals are concerned in improving, for the sake of improving — not for the sake of recognition. They take on feedback in a constructive fashion as opposed to seeing it as criticism. Growth Mindsets enable us to recognise and celebrate the successes of others rather than feel threatened by them, and importantly, those in a Growth Mindset actively seek out challenges rather than expend their energy trying to avoid them. Dweck argues that our mindsets are often a product of our environment. How does your environment encourage Growth Mindsets in your community? In next month’s School of Thought we’ll explore some specific strategies to engage your community’s collective Growth Mindset. In the meantime, why not check out Mindset by Carol Dweck. Dan Haesler is a consultant, writer and international keynote speaker. Read his blog at or follow him on Twitter at @danhaesler.

into agriculture

Crop variety trial in full swing at SA school FOR their major project this year, Year 11/12 agriculture students at Maitland Area School in South Australia are undergoing a field crop variety trial, which has seen them prepare a paddock and peg out trial plots ready to be seeded. A local agronomist paid the class a visit to discuss the biology behind the field crop and students have learnt how to calculate sowing rate and then weigh out the samples of grain. The class is set to sow the paddock and will monitor the progress of each variety of grain as the season progresses. The school’s Year 9 agriculture class have been busy monitoring pregnant ewes and their newborns. The school newsletter says that each student will now select two lambs to ‘adopt’ for which they will be responsible for ear tagging, tailing and vaccinating.


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80% OF STUDENTS ARE AT RISK. HELP THEM LEARN‌ • Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation provides an educational presentation about cervical cancer prevention and the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). • Flexible, adaptable, free and accredited presentation for all high school students.

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intheclassroom 40 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Tassie problem solvers LAUNCESTON - Year 6 students at Scotch Oakburn College have been examining electrical circuits and how a torch works. The Tasmanian students designed a series circuit and their own switch, using Morse code to send a flashing message to a partner. As stated by their school newsletter, this nicely demonstrated how working cooperatively can solve problems.

Insight into Inca life CANBERRA - A group of history students from Hawker College have visited the Gold and the Incas exhibition at the National Gallery of Australia, which highlighted a range of magnificent metal, stone, pottery and woven artefacts. The students were treated to an exploration of early Peruvian societies along with the range of civilisations leading up to the time of the Incas.

Stella Maris sushi stars SYDNEY - Japanese students from Year 8-10 at Stella Maris College undertook a workshop with a professional sushi chef, who demonstrated how to make two different types of sushi — flower rolls and inside out rolls. The school newsletter says that all the students then made beautiful versions of the two rolls and they tasted delicious.


It’s spelling — but not as we know it STUDENTS in Sami Wansink’s class never have to worry about memorising spelling lists or trying to remember strings of letters in the right order for their homework. Instead, the Year 1 and 2s at Macquarie Primary School have been embarking on learning journeys by studying the history of the words and working through strategies for how they create meaning. Wansink says that rather than spelling being an isolated practice within her literacy program, the youngsters engage in collecting the various words throughout the day, before studying them together as a whole class. “We look at how we could use them in our writing or in our speaking and how there’s more to them than just the sounds that make them up,” Wansink says. “So it’s about investigating where they’ve come from, what parts of words create meaning and how we can get excited about language rather than it being an isolated list and test kind of situation.”

Sami Wansink is approaching literacy in a new and exciting way. Wansink learned of this technique for teaching literacy when she encountered an inspiring tutor, Misty Adoniou, during the final year of her teaching degree at the University of Canberra. “Misty speaks about spelling as something that is often disconnected from the other things that we do, but actually the English language is about stories and about narratives and place and meaning,” Wansink says. “She got me excited about

finding out more about words and how our English language has been created by so many different languages.” According to Wansink, many children spell words the way they hear it, which leads to lots of ‘crazy words’. “Children will often spell the word ‘hopped’ with a‘t’ at the end, for example,” she says. “So we collected a whole heap of past tense verbs and then looked at the patterns and the meaning with ‘ed’ and how

that’s actually the meaning part of the word.” The program is still in its infancy but Wansink, who is in the second year of her teaching career, says she can tell it is already making a difference. And while she admits it is tempting to revert to a traditional spelling program where she is handed a list and told what to do each week, she doesn’t believe it would be effective for her students. “I think this approach requires the teacher to be passionate about language and to also sometimes be OK with saying, ‘I have no idea’. “And that that’s OK and that’s part of being on the journey with the kids. “I don’t understand everything about the English language either, but it’s about getting excited about English and inquiring into that together.” Is your school using innovative methods in the classroom? Email

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July 2014 • australian Teacher • 41




Shakespeare without tears The Flying Bookworm Theatre Company offers both Romeo and Juliet and Macbeth for secondary school students. Please do not expect truncated, fifty-five minute versions of the plays. Our performances emphasize elements of the plays that de-mystify Shakespeare. We bring the language, characters, themes and humour closer to the students! The Flying Bookworm Theatre Company is passionate in presenting performances that act as pathways for student understanding and enjoyment of Shakespeare.

Performance fee: $850.00 inc. G.S.T for up to 100 students. If a single session has over 100 students an additional cost of $8.50 per additional student applies. For all bookings and enquiries you can contact The Bookworms via: Phone: (03) 9314 1335 Email: and for heaps more information head to

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intheclassroom 42 INBRIEF Students seize initiative with quality Consistent Kenez Narrabundah promotional campaign australian Teacher • July 2014

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sporting innovator

A PROFESSIONAL career in public relations has been fast-tracked for a talented group of students at Narrabundah College, who have mounted their very own promotional campaign for the school. The Year 12 public relations class have created promotional films, pamphlets and magazines to such a high standard that they are now being used as part of the schools’ own marketing material. “The students were put into groups and ... allocated a faculty of the school that they had to develop a PR campaign to raise awareness — amongst students and teachers — for the Narrabundah College brand name,” media teacher Amelia Ghirardello explains. After conducting thorough research, a SWOT analysis and indepth interviews, the budding campaigners developed videos and compiled information-rich brochures which highlighted the strengths of each faculty and the educational opportunities on offer. Ghirardello believes the threemonth project has established a platform from which students can now springboard into the world of public relations. “Part of being a filmmaker or journalist is being aware of your own presence in the world and you’re own public identity. It [was]

IF you’re a student at Syndal South Primary School in Mt Waverley, Melbourne and you love sport, you’re in luck. The school’s outstanding sports programs are the stuff of legend, and much of that is down to the enthusiasm and commitment of PE teacher Charlie Kenez. Earlier this year, Kenez fittingly won an Outstanding Teacher Contribution Award at the Victorian School Sports Awards. Going above and beyond the call of duty has been a part of his approach for the 26 years he’s been at the school. “I try and come up with initiatives all the time, just to keep things turning over and keep things interesting and I get full

Ceremony for opening

PERTH – Over one busy weekend, 110 students from Year 9 to 11 participated in Mercedes College’s annual House Film Festival. Coordinator of media, Nilar Nyunt describes in the school newsletter the way the campus was buzzing with filming equipment on location; the students running around the campus in costume to ensure their house challenged for the top gong.

Mt Coot-tha excursion BRISBANE - Year 8 students from Canterbury College have visited the Japanese gardens at Mt Coot-tha to write haiku poems. The garden creates miniature idealised landscapes but uses Australian trees, native shrubs and flowers. Students were able to sit in the garden next to the “tsuki-yama-chisen” or “mountain-pond-stream”. Email briefs to


Narrabundah College students have mounted a public relations campaign. about how when they go out into the real world they will be promoting themselves or maybe the business they’ll be working at and engaging with a larger audience and taking ownership of that as well,” she says. The students’ work has generated a flurry of unprecedented online activity. Since being uploaded to the school’s Facebook page, more than 1000 people have viewed the promotional works, a number that grows by the day. “It’s just creating conversation amongst students themselves ... the number of people who now ‘like’ the school facebook page has gone up tenfold and the students are now actually engaging with the page which normally they never would ... it’s creating another way for them to communicate with us and each other.”

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SkyHigh Mount Dandenong

PALMERSTON - A moving Smoking Ceremony has symbolised Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School’s ongoing commitment to honour the Larrakia people, the traditional owners of their land. During the ceremony, which also marked the opening of the school’s new pergola and gardens, a painting inspired by the local Indigenous culture was unveiled.

support from principal and staff … so I’m very lucky,” he says. Each morning the entire school walks a one-kilometre track called the Federation Fitness Track, which surrounds the school, often with parents who are encouraged to join their children. “The kids have all got their own little tally card... I’m out there and I’ll mark off their card, so we keep a record or a tally of their achievements. We have presentations at assembly for 10k, 25k certificate, so that accumulates throughout the year and we make it a house competition.” Amongst a host of innovative initiatives, the school also offers three nights of after-school sport, funded by a Federal Government grant — called the Active After School Sports Program. “Each night I offer a different sport,” Kenez says. The program has included fencing, tennis, soccer, triathlon, lacrosse, taekwondo and more. “Because it’s funded it doesn’t cost the kids anything and I can hire coaches to come in and run those activities... “There are just so many other options out there that you’re hoping they’ll find something that they enjoy and want to carry on as a lifelong sporting pursuit.” Our maze, forest walks and treasure hunt are suitable for all ages. We have special school activity packs that will suit groups of all sizes. SkyHigh provides a fantastic opportunity for children to exercise their minds in an interesting and fun way. Only 45 minutes from Melbourne CBD, SkyHigh is the perfect location for a school’s day trip excursion. 26 Observatory Road, Mount Dandenong Vic 3767 (03) 9751 0443

July 2014 • australian Teacher • 43

Discover your

National Capital


The National Capital Educational Tourism Project aims to assist teachers with information about excursions to Canberra and the educational opportunities available at the National Capital Attractions.

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intheclassroom 44 INBRIEF Innovative Auslan program australian Teacher • July 2014

wa initiative

Real world science fun

DARWIN - Year 6 science students from Kormilda College are working on a unit titled ‘Forces’ which has them investigating real-world applications of science. Students have been looking at great engineering and architectural achievements, such as the skyscraper and have conducted tests to determine which geometrically shaped column is best able to withstand the force of gravity.

Business outside class BRISBANE – The business management course at Stuartholme School now includes real-world learning activities to allow the students a greater understanding of what business looks like outside of the classroom. Recently, they undertook an excursion to Toowong Shopping Centre where they gained an insight into the retail business environment.

stephanie tell

po is involved in the curriculum development and implementation of the Auslan program. The lessons themselves are delivered by Patricia Levitzke-Gray, a deaf, native signer from the WA Deaf Society. “What we actually do is teamteach,� Bontempo explains. “So occasionally I will interpret for her, but most of the time the classes are done by the immersion method. So the classes are silent with just everyone signing, and all eyes are on [her].� After the students are exposed to fingerspelling, they are taught

SIMILARLY to learning French or Japanese as a language other than English (LOTE), an innovative new Western Australian initiative is seeing hearing students enrolled in Auslan classes. The program is presently taught to more than 140 students from Years 5-8 at Shenton College, Belmont City College and Mosman Park Primary School. However, in the future it will be developed through to Year 10 and onwards. Shenton College Deaf Education Centre teacher Dr Karen Bontem-

Design a Sticker comp MELBOURNE – In order to help develop their maths brains, junior school students at SacrÊ Coeur enthusiastically embraced the school’s Design a Sticker Competition, which the newsletter says created a buzz of excitement. The competition aimed to encourage girls to develop a growth mindset with their mathematics learning. The two winning sticker designs are being produced for students to wear. Email briefs to

similar content to that in any other LOTE lesson; starting with everyday topics such as greetings, food and lifestyle habits. Having received highly positive feedback from students and parents, Bontempo says that the emotional and educational benefits of the program extend to both hearing and deaf students. “It opens up vocational opportunities for hearing students, in that they can maybe get a job down the track as an interpreter, or it might incite their interest in becoming a teacher of the deaf,â€? she says. “For our deaf students, it offers an opportunity for them to excel in a subject ‌ they’re acting as language role models in the classroom and they’re supporting their hearing peers. “Their hearing peers are seeing them in valued roles, which I think is really important for the deaf students. It increases their confidence; it increases their social networks‌ “[Shenton College] was a wonderful, nurturing school previously, and I think even more so now.â€?

idahot creativity

Northcote colours up for celebration THIS year Northcote High School aligned their traditional Rainbow Day celebration with International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in the hopes of further focusing on this world-wide human rights issue. As well as organising a fundraiser (where students dressed in rainbow colours for a gold coin donation), the school’s leadership teams — the captain’s council and student wellbeing team — joined with the knitting club and several teachers to put some creativity and design onto the school walls. This was in keeping with this year’s IDAHOT theme — Free Expression: Challenge the Writing on the Wall — and included the production of a big scarf to demonstrate their warm, welcoming community, as well as a chalk mural and a fence of ribbons.

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Auslan teacher Patricia Levitzke-Gray teaches her hearing students to sign.

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Students dressed in rainbow colours.

intheclassroom 45

July 2014 • australian Teacher

Richly varied and positive benefits of mentoring program poetic for Hogan

INBRIEF Against All Odds

IT’S often claimed that the best way to learn something is to teach it to others — a theory which is definitely holding true for a linguistically talented group of students at Gloucester State High School in New South Wales. The Year 9s are mentoring primary children in poetry. When English teacher Deborah Hogan paired 27 of the students with local primary school children as part of the school’s unique poetry eLearning program, she knew the collaboration would prove to be beneficial for the younger children, but the positive changes occurring in her own students have taken her somewhat by surprise. “They are working out how to communicate their learning to others, and how to differentiate the way they are communicating with others. I think it’s cemented their understanding of poetry, its fantastic,” she says. The class have designed a series of marking rubricks which they are using to guide the youngsters through a series of poetry skillbuilding tasks, for which they then assess and relay constructive feedback. Hogan believes this process is equipping her students with the skills they need to better tackle their own assignments.

A RIGOROUS physical theatre project at St Patrick’s College in Tasmania is inspiring boys to break out of society’s prescribed vision of masculinity and to express themselves through the arts. Their aptly titled film production Against All Odds brings a series of physical challenges to the theatrical stage in order to explore the theme of men going ‘against the grain’ to achieve great things. Under this premise, students chose to construct a script about life in a small mining town in the 1930s. “The boys not only learn about history but worked on devising a performance and script. It’s part of the boys’ education — boys learn by doing ... we also wanted to dispel some of the myths about drama, that it is a soft subject, that it isn’t a physical subject,” Leigh Hart, head of arts, says. Students up for the challenge were put through a series of workshops where they learnt how to perform and coordinate various physical skills (including body lifts and building a ‘human wall’), exercises which fostered a deep bond between the students. “Trust is paramount to anything on the stage ... falls and lifts are a big part of building that. It’s about

elearning program

boys and the arts

“One of the reasons I get a little bit frustrated with nearly every [assessment] task I give out is it’s obvious that the kids haven’t even looked at the rubric or the criteria, so it’s a really good thing that now they have to take some kind of ownership of that — because they have to give feedback, they have to look at the criteria very closely ... so in terms of analysis they will improve,” she says. Certainly sharper analytical skills are not the only positives to come from the program. “They get a lot from translating the techniques and the skills they have and then communicating these to someone else .... they’ve had to learn some interpersonal skills and even when things aren’t going perfectly they are realising that this is just part of the learning experience.”

Students giving back

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‘I trust you to be there for me. I trust you to catch me.’ I was surprised at how really well they gelled immediately,” she says. Students then took to the streets of Beaconsfield for a day, where they got to put all their training into practice in front of the camera. The impressive footage will now be edited and entered into the Wakakirri national film competition. For Hart, the production has helped to change the way the young men think about theatre, and perhaps, even themselves. “It’s about them going ‘this is something I enjoy doing and I don’t see it as a soft option, I see it as a real opportunity to express [myself ]’...” she says.

GOLD COAST - AB Paterson College has hosted a free Grassroots Football Coaching Course for 17 staff and students. The course was the beginning of a process designed to create a new generation of qualified football coaches at the college. According to the school newsletter, students attended the course because they wanted to give back to the sports program at the college.

Hillcrest’s look at law BRISBANE - The Year 10 Legal Studies class at Hillcrest Christian College immersed themselves in Queensland’s Adversary System when they travelled to the Brisbane Law Courts to learn about how the nation’s legal system operates.The students spoke with a district court judge and learnt how real criminal and civil trials take place.

Unforgettable theatre

Physical theatre is engaging boys at St Patrick’s College.

The National

MELBOURNE - Bentleigh Secondary College is working in conjunction with Zen Zen Zo to present the 2014 senior school performance of Forget Me Not. Using physical theatre, the actors’ bodies and minimal dialogue tell the story. This performance follows the journey of two lovers and includes a combination of hilarious comedy and incredible tragedy. Email briefs to

Dinosaur Museum

WHERE THE GIANTS OF THE PAST COME TO LIFE ! Learn about the earth’s dynamic past with the help of Australia’s largest display of dinosaurs and prehistoric life. Enjoy a guided tour with the museum’s experienced and enthusiastic education staff who illuminate the ways in which dinosaurs evolved, how they lived and interacted, and how they ultimately became extinct. The museum boasts robotic dinosaurs that move and roar as well as skeletons, life-sized models, and ‘hands-on’ fossils including a 150 million year old dinosaur bone and a giant meteorite.

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intheclassroom 46 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Self-directed makers thrive learning pathways

Simultaneous story fun

PERTH – National Simultaneous Storytime is an important literacy tradition where children listen to a reading of an Australian children’s book. At St Luke’s Catholic Primary, students heard Lisa Case’s Benny the Blue Heeler — Rides the Four Wheeler, linking with their theme of International Year of Family Farming. Staff and students dressed up as farmers, scarecrows and farm animals for the reading.

Insight into economics TOWNSVILLE - Year 11 economics and business students at Ryan Catholic College have participated in a three day ECOMAN program in association with Griffith University. The focus of the three-day program is to develop an understanding of economics and business management and the relevance of both of these to the future.

SELF-DIRECTED learning has been taken to a whole new level for Year 9/10 students in Jesse King’s Innovators and Creators class. Students are busy forging their own learning pathways into the unique subculture of ‘makers’ — a niche group which use hands-on learning and the application of technologies to create useful things. For their main design project, the St Joseph’s Catholic College students have been granted the liberty of selecting particular points from the Northern Territory Design and Technologies curriculum which they have then ex-

plored through their research and application of design theory. “They’d look at different projects they wanted to do and then they had to drive forward a design curriculum ... so they picked a project and an area and did daily reflections about how they were going... They are going on their own learning journey, rather than a prescribed course,� King says. This process of self-discovery has boosted students’ enthusiasm and engagement with the subject — an observation King puts down to flexibility. “It makes it a bit more flexible to

Angrisano the main act BRISBANE - Student leaders from St Thomas More College, Sunnybank have joined student leaders from other Catholic schools for a day of prayer, fun, reflection, sharing, and listening. The main act this year was filled by US singer/song writer Steve Angrisano, a veteran musician, composer and youth minister. Email briefs to

their needs, so the kids that are traditionally not too keen, because they are writing about something they are enjoying, it flows a lot easier. We’ve also been recording their journal entries so that makes it easier for kids that don’t have a lot of literacy background,� he explains. The class’s latest challenge has been to construct a model replica of the school using Minecraft which will hopefully feature on the school’s website, allowing parents to take a virtual tour of the facilities. “The kids went out with a map of the school, measured it up and then had to do all the conversions. They had to adjust things and discuss it and there was a lot of teamwork — they were definitely a lot more engaged with it than in traditional classes,� King says. King hopes his students will now be able to act as an expert group within the school that can educate teachers about the features of the program and how they can use it in their classroom to enhance learning outcomes. “The aim is for [the students] to realise there are many pathways to an end, that if something doesn’t work for them it doesn’t mean that they can’t adjust, modify or rebuild it to suit what they want.�

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govt structures

School parliament providing insight TO get an insight into government structures, Year 7s at South Australia’s Tanunda Lutheran School participate in school parliament. Sessions are held every week and are run by the members of the front bench. The front bench are an elected leadership team who take the positions of speaker, clerk, prime minister, leader of the opposition, sergeant at arms and various ministers. Other Year 7s are members representing the classes of the school. The school newsletter explains that these members visit classes and bring issues to parliament for discussion as well as passing on the decisions of parliament to their classes. Discussions held in school parliament are then given to the senate (teachers) and governor general (principal) for approval.

intheclassroom 47

schoolyard stories

Quilpie students fundraising stars rachael cooper “FUNDRAISING that feeds the mind” is the motto of Schoolyard Stories, a wonderful literacy project that students have taken part in at Queensland’s Quilpie State College. Our idea was conceived when we were allocated funding to improve reading in rural and remote areas. After much brainstorming the staff decided that our students could make their own books and we could sell them at the local Quilpie Show. Our Prep to Year 2 classes created their own picture storybooks loosely based on fairytales or other genres they were familiar with, while the older students wrote stories that we would publish as a compilation storybook. We found an Australian company, Schoolyard Stories, that specialises in school self publishing, and could turn our stories into professional bound books.

July 2014 • australian Teacher

INBRIEF Dream trip for physics class

creative physics

Goldfields life explored

DREAMWORLD might be considered a holiday theme park by most of us, but for Hillcrest Christian College teacher Wayde So, he likes to think of it more as a big, fun classroom. Each year for the past 13 years the senior maths and physics secondary teacher has taken his Year 11 physics class to the park for a day. “I had been teaching in Townsville and always thought ‘wouldn’t it be nice to present some of those physics principles in a fun way, so

we could maybe go to a theme park’. “Then I moved down to the Gold Coast in the early part of 2000 and I thought, ‘wow, here’s my chance!’ “So I make it an annual trip and we check out all the rides and do a worksheet, enjoy the day and apply the physics.” In the lead-up, So pre-empts the trip with several lessons so that the students know exactly what they are looking for and how to obtain their data. “I provide the worksheet and

So and students test the conservation of energy via a Dreamworld rollercoaster.


Download the app at

what they do is apply their knowledge.” A big part of that, obviously, being a theme park, is the conservation of energy — anything that goes from a high place to a low place can pick up a lot of speed. “So, for example, on the ride with the giant tower, called The Giant Drop, they time how fast they drop from the high place to right down near the bottom. “Nowadays they can Google search to cross-check if their timing is right. In the earlier days they couldn’t do that, they had to trust their stop-watch.” So believes excursions such as this are a great real-world way to apply principles, reinforce classwork and embed important learning. “Absolutely, I think it’s easy for students to see things on YouTube, but it is something else for them to experience it firsthand, to watch a ride or go on it themselves. “It’s such a joy to see some of the kids — for some of them it’s their first time at Dreamworld. “I would say to people, if you are able to travel, and I know sometimes it costs a bit in travel and accommodation costs, it’s certainly worthwhile to do an excursion, it just brings physics more alive.”

BRISBANE - Students in 5B and 5A at St Ita’s Primary School have experienced life on the Australian Goldfields during an excursion to Woodgum. Dressed in costumes they participated in role play where they bargained for products at the General Store and dug for gold along the creek bank. Students learned how to pitch a tent, make damper, and navigate a map to find wanted bush rangers.

Kids vote on hat policy ADELAIDE - Salisbury Heights Primary School is considering a review of its hat policy due to convincing arguments put forth by students. Currently, hats are compulsory all year round. However in Term 2 and 3 when the UV rating is low; this is detrimental to Vitamin D absorption. SRC reps will ask their classes to vote on whether they wish to make hats optional at these times and the school will uphold the results of the vote.

Year 5 literature unit COOLANGATTA - Heroes and Villains is the new English literature unit being taken by Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School Year 5s. The NSW students will be exploring several types of texts, such as web pages, movies and paintings, and the ability of each to impart the reader or viewer of a moral message. Email briefs to

intheclassroom 48 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Teaching kids all about advertising am i being sold to?

Mystery box challenge

ECHUCA - Pairs of students at St Joseph’s College Echuca have taken part in a MasterChef Mystery Box Challenge. Students found two random ingredients at their bench from which to make a dish from. They then had five minutes to research a suitable recipe, and an hour and a half to prepare the dish. These were then judged on imagination, skill, taste and presentation.

Positivity week relief PERTH – Positivity Week at Perth College let students enjoy a range of fun, light-hearted activities in anticipation of their Year 11 and 12 examinations. The events provided some stress relief as well as time-out to laugh, take stock and re-focus. The activities included lunch time flash-mobs organised by Year 12s, x-treme biscuit making, yoga, karaoke and lip-sync battles.

Peer mediators patrol BRISBANE – Learning support teacher at Holland Park State High School, Del Cameron, has trained 14 Year 6s and 7s from Marshall Road State School for the primary school’s new Peer Mediation program. The Peer Mediators will patrol the infant playground and assist younger children to resolve disputes and conflicts, wearing coloured jackets to make them stand out.

Into Handa’s Surprise KATHERINE - Talented literacy students in Years 1, 2 and 3 at St Joseph’s Catholic College have been studying the book Handa’s Surprise and the structure of its narrative as part of their accelerated literacy classes. The school newsletter says students will now visit a supermarket and select various fruits in order to create their own narrative based on the text.

Dissections a bit fishy PERTH – Students at Servite College dissected fish as part of their human biological science unit. The school newsletter explains that at times it was difficult and repulsive, but in the end it was worth it, despite the mess they made and the smell that lingers in the science lab. The Year 11s thanked the fish that donated their lives for the pursuit of the students’ education.

24-hour extreme arts GEELONG – Mountain to Mouth is a 24 hour ‘extreme arts’ walk from the top of the You Yangs to the mouth of the Barwon River, where community ambassadors bear the flags of the 12 municipal wards. In the 2014 walk, Barwon Heads Primary students took part in the walk as flag ambassadors accompanied by their principal.

Our stellar patchwork BRISBANE – Textiles technology students at Ferny Grove State High School completed their introduction to sewing by manufacturing colourful patchwork cushions. The Year 9s learnt to use the ‘design process’, and throughout their journey produced a folio of written information, designed a tag, and learnt to use sewing machines. Email briefs to

ANNE VIZE Q: Some of my students seem very easily persuaded by advertising. They often sing jingles from TV and many convince their parents to buy trendy items like loom bands, online games or popular apps. Should I tackle advertising as a topic, and what should I include? A: You’re quite correct that advertising is incredibly persuasive and effective in achieving its goal of making people buy products or use services. Much of the advertising directed at children is very sophisticated and uses bright colours, music, catchy jingles, key words and actors to whom the children can easily relate to pitch a message. Advertising is a very specific form of media which has been made with a particular intent. The intent is not to entertain or inform but simply to make people buy things. The problem for many younger children is that they are not yet old enough to understand that advertising is different to creative content. This is made all the more challenging now there is a deliberate blurring of the lines between creative content and advertising, with many popular home renovation and cooking TV shows and popular kids websites

Students can be easily persuaded by advertising for products or services. combining these two elements. As you begin to help children develop their critical literacy skills they will become more able to distinguish between advertising and creative content. They will realise that ads are there for a purpose, and will be able identify what is being sold and how the ad has been constructed to persuade a viewer or reader to buy the product. They will begin to ask themselves the critical question ‘Am I being sold to?’ Some useful ways of building these skills are: • Show children some ads intended for young viewers and ask them to identify the product being sold. Ask if they could tell immediately

what the product was, or whether they had to watch the whole ad. Talk about the elements in the ad — colour, sound, people who are a similar age to them and so on. • Divide children into small groups and ask them to make a poster to advertise a brand new item that has never been sold before. Encourage them to use strategies such as bright colours, headings, pictures and catchy phrases to persuade the reader that they should buy the product. • Conduct a survey of breakfast cereals eaten at home, tally or graph the information then discuss your findings. Talk about why some cereals are eaten more than others — are they healthier, more appeal-

newspapersineducation s-press in class

Work experience opportunity

My Open Day Guide 2014 WITH Open Day season my open fast approaching, senior day secondary students are bound to be filling their diaries with dates and planning visits to their chosen institutions. University, TAFE and college Open Days are sure to leave your students feeling a sense of information overload, and often without planning, students may forget to ask the important questions they went to have answered. To help students get the most out of their Open Day experience, the new S-press includes a handy guide featuring interviews with current university students, tips and advice. We have interviewed students involved in uni clubs and sports to find out how these extra-curricular activities have added to their resume and overall student experience. We also spoke to one student who took the opportunity to study abroad. She tells readers all about her experience at university in Vancouver, Canada. There are also helpful articles covering the kinds of questions students should ask at Open Day, as well as different accommodation options, financial tips and what it means to defer or transfer a course. Choosing a tertiary education course is a big and often life-changing decision for many students, with many factors to consider. Luckily S-press’ My Open Day Guide 2014 is here to help. Guide 2014

For those of you in your final feeling pretty year of high close. There’s school, the where you’ll heaps to beginning look forward be next year? of the rest to once that of your life job, or beginn You might must be final school be backpa cking throug bell rings, tertiary study ing a tertiary educat who knows h South-East ion to set is what you you up for Asia, starting upon us, have planne an amazin now is the d, you’ll need a new g and satisfyi best time. you a taste to do your Universities, ng career. of what they research. If TAFEs and With Open offer. Get stuck into colleges are out your Day season S-press’ My opening diaries, and their doors Open Day jot down Guide for to give these import advice on ant dates the best way and get to tackle Open Day.

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

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

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

How are you using S-press? We want to hear about it. As well as referring to this column, right, 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.

ing or have brighter packaging, for example? Ask children who chooses the breakfast cereal they eat in their house, and why. • Explore shopping brochures or old magazines in small groups*. Ask children to cut out ads for five different products. Paste these advertisements onto one of three sheets of butcher’s paper to identify the target audience: ‘aimed at young children’, ‘aimed at older children’ or ‘aimed at adults’. • Get families on board by using a class newsletter to encourage a discussion of advertising and informed choice making at home as well as school. And lastly, make sure you don’t contribute to the problem yourself by directing children to websites with high advertising content, just so they can practise their maths or literacy skills at home. *Ensure you check the material you provide for this activity is appropriate for your class before you begin this activity, as some magazines and brochures contain imagery that is not suitable for younger children. Anne Vize is the author of Reading for Media Literacy - Navigating our world of new texts and technologies. Visit main/goproduct/12633 to order your copy.

S-press Woodley on the cover

With a huge teen following, John Green’s book The Fault in Our Stars has been turned into a movie, and the new S-press features an interview with the leading lady, popular teen actress Shailene Woodley (Divergent, The Secret Life of an American Teenager). She tells readers why she was so determined to play Hazel in the screen adaptation of the novel. She also talks about being a role model for young women, the women that have inspired her, and what she was like as a teenager. The glamorous actress also lets us in on her not so glamorous hobbies and interests, like hiking and organic farming.

Split Stroke shining S-press’ My Band feature this month uncovers the talent of Mazenod College students, who call themselves Split Stroke. The foursome have been playing together as a band for over a year, and are currently working on an original EP. They tell readers how they got together, and where they draw inspiration from. The boys used their musical abilities to raise money at school event Mission Action Day recently, and have been securing gigs at parties and weddings. They say music means a lot to them, and it relieves some of the everyday stresses of life as a teenager.

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

technology innovation





Students at Burwood Girls High School supported the #BringBackOurGirls campaign

July 2014 national news 21st Century ed concerns

The most exciting development in ICT in our school this year… has been the beginning of our journey to Google Apps for Education. The beginning of Term 2 has seen all the staff introduced to Google Drive and Calendar. The collaborative nature of Google Docs, spreadsheets, forms and presentations is streamlining many existing processes in and and among staff. A piece of advice I would offer for other educators would be… the most effective ICT integration is not about doing “old things new ways” (ie. creating a PowerPoint where previously you created a poster), it is about utilising ICT to do “new things new ways”. New things include blogging to provide a genuine audience for writing, collaborating using online tools, making connections with other schools as well as discussion and feedback using online forums accessible from school and home. The sky is the limit! Martin McGauran ICT leader, Holy Family School, Mount Waverley

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

Students stand up WHEN news broke of the abduction of more than 200 Nigerian schoolgirls by Islamic militants, students at Sydney’s Burwood Girls High School were moved. Discussing the tragedy during a school assembly, Principal Mia Kumar says one student raised the question, ‘what would it be like if that happened in Australia?’ Filled with compassion, students decided to take action using a medium they’re already so familiar with, social media. In a coordinated effort, 276 students from Year 7 and 8 gathered for a group photo to promote the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls. “Some people don’t seem to be able to visualise this number of girls, and how outrageous this act of terrorism is,” Kumar tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “We thought that if Australians could see 276 Australian schoolgirls together, it might make the situation more real for them —

make them think about what we would do if something similar happened here!” The photo was emailed to every student to tweet, post, share and favourite as they liked. “... It went sort of viral within our school community... I mean they all have ‘bring your own devices’ in classrooms now, so things can go viral very quickly,” Kumar says. The photo also made the front page in the local paper, which impressed the students. “Well, our students said ‘this is good, we’re having an effect, we can have a voice in what we believe is an injustice on the other side of the world’,” Kumar adds. To facilitate their students’ involvement in this social justice campaign, staff at Burwood Girls High School had to embrace social media, a platform many educators remain wary of. “I think Facebook has been a very big part of students’ lives for

many, many years, and part of the problem with Facebook is that we’ve often heard there have been derogatory comments made on students’ Facebook [pages],” Kumar says. “I haven’t [had a lot of incidents], but it seems to be a problem with adolescents doesn’t it? “So we’ve tended to discourage, you know ... we’ve had a lot of workshops on cyber bullying and that sort of thing,” Kumar admits. “So it was nice to see students harnessing the benefits of this communication tool. “I think our students tend to be now more socially responsible ... so I’m hoping that using technology to spread the word, is a better way of using the technology than making derogatory comments about each other,” she says. The principal says she wouldn’t be surprised if many other schools got involved in the Bring Back Our Girls campaign.

THE drop in computing experts and enrolments in schools will strip Australian students of a 21st Century education, Macquarie University lecturer David Grover says. In his article at The Conversation, Grover explains that the number of high school students in computing courses has declined dramatically in all states. As these fields are not being encouraged in schools, Australian businesses are challenged to find Australian specialist programmers and digital designers. Grover suggests the closure of tertiary computing courses as a contributing factor to the lack of teaching expertise. However, he also says that students must be motivated by interesting courses, such as augmented reality, to increase participation.

international news Singapore five-year plan GIVEN Singapore’s impressive PISA results, it’s interesting to note their use of educational technology; from primary students accessing after-school programs with smartphones, to 3D printing and digital music software. This year, the Ministry of Education is unveiling its fourth five-year plan for ICT in schools. Singapore’s TODAY reports that many educators feel the plan’s focus should be on deeper student engagement rather than faster ICT adoption for the sake of it, also noting the difficulty teachers face in finding time for ICT training. Teachers at five ‘future schools’ (which serve as models for ICT integration) have also expressed their hopes for the new plan, such as enabling students to become content creators, not just consumers.


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technology 50 INBRIEF Ready to take on the world australian Teacher • July 2014

global achievers

ICT Expo sees playtime GOLD COAST – Displaying the digital resources they purchased to support literacy and numeracy development, Varsity College’s junior campus has hosted an ICT Expo for parents and carers. The school newsletter explains that the expo gave parents the opportunity to play with the tools and technical applications the Year 3s and 5s use in their classroom.

Scotch look into family PERTH – In their unit of inquiry, Where We Are in Place and Time, Scotch College Year 3s integrated iPad skills using the Explain Everything app; a design, screen casting and interactive whiteboard tool. The school newsletter explains that this allowed students to showcase their family heirlooms and learn more about the influence of each other’s family histories.

david gorton A GROUP of students known collectively as the ‘Global Achievers’ have been preparing themselves to be global citizens, prepared for the challenges of future employment. The students at Victoria’s Kurunjang Secondary College have been completing online learning opportunities provided by prestigious international universities, using MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses). The students have been studying content from Harvard, Stanford and other prestigious Ivy

League universities, resulting in certification after a month of study and testing. In addition to the regular curriculum, the Global Achievers have been staying after school to demonstrate their passion for learning, recognising that they are in competition with a global workforce. Upon completion of each of the courses, each student has attempted a portfolio and they also ensure they have an inspiring résumé prepared. To date the students have been developing their understanding in financial literacy via Macquarie

Parents access iLearn SYDNEY – While staff and students at The King’s School have already been using iLearn as their form of intranet to communicate and collaborate, it will now be made available to parents as a way of sharing information and resources. It features assessment policy procedure and guidelines, and academic handbooks.

Kurunjang Secondary College students have completed online learning opportunities at prestigious international universities.

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University, understanding diseases via the University of Wollongong, concepts in games development via Swinburne, and sports and recreation management via Sydney TAFE. The students have opted to take part in this additional program and are now investing in their future and that of the community. Through the online learning modules from a range of international partners, students have been able to develop their interests beyond the curriculum. When this group apply for a university place or attempt to gain employment, each will have an amazing résumé. The open2study program is free and has numerous courses that involve the completion of a series of four modules which are completed over a month. Each module is broken up into a series of short video lectures and have some basic quiz questions to check knowledge, with an assessment at the end of each module. To gain the certificate an overall pass rate of approximately 70 per cent is required. This bite-size approach is a big hit with the students. David Gorton is a humanities leader at Kurunjang Secondary College, Victoria.


Include Me big on wide accessibility

AN innovative new cloudbased software, Include Me was launched at the 2014 Inclusive Learning Technologies Conference on the Gold Coast. The software aims to create an inclusive learning environment for students with special needs such as dyslexia, visual impairments and other communications or learning difficulties. The technology is even instructive for ESL students. Include Me works by ensuring that the digital content it incorporates — websites, desktop applications and documents — are accessible to all students at each learning stage, whether in the classroom, the library or at home. For example, the technology is able to utilise colour overlays for learners with dyslexia, while a phonetic speller can help students struggling with their language or reading skills.

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technology 51


help desk

Engaging parents with tech Q. How can our school harness the benefits of technology to engage with parents? A. MANY schools have abolished the school newsletter and are showcasing news, events and the talents of students simply by turning to and using technology.

Photoshop Touch Photoshop Touch is a much more sophisticated version of Instagram. It allows the user to take photos and edit them as though they were using the more expensive desktop software Photoshop. Great for students to use when completing digital based assessment tasks or when simply taking selfies, Photoshop Touch permits its users to add text to their image as well transform an image using layers and filters and has the ability to be shared via social mediums, texting and email. This easyto-use App is available on iOS and Android for $4.99. Noelene Callaghan Rooty Hill High School, NSW

July 2014 • australian Teacher

School website All schools have a website that informs parents of annual events such as parent teacher nights, information sessions and perhaps contains an electronic version of a newsletter online, but more schools are developing their website to incorporate media and widgets that provide parents and the school’s community with a real sense of school culture. Many schools embed videos that are filmed (with permission) and posted on the school’s YouTube channel. Schools such as Rooty Hill High School use their YouTube channel to parade the talents of students every term. Social Media Schools are also turning to social media to contact parents. Many now have a Facebook page and a Twitter account that are managed by the school with its sole purpose being to continuously communi-

cate to parents and to students about anything, ranging from reminders that students have a sports carnival the following day to letting a particular class know that an assessment task is due. In some instances, schools are encouraging parents to contact teachers via the school’s official Facebook page or Twitter account to permit immediate feedback and consultation. e-letters Schools are posting pdf versions of their school newsletter (whether it be weekly, monthly, term or annually) on their websites and are emailing it to parents and students. Schools are now using issuu (a free online tool) to format their news-

screen shots Philosophy

letter in order for their newsletter to be read in the same format that it would be read in hard copy. School app The school app is the latest technological trend that schools are using to connect all of their technologies together. It can link the school’s website, social medias, school learning management system, eletters through one click. The more sophisticated apps permit parents to notify the school if their child is absent as well as the ability to download permission notes for excursions and incursions. Such apps are available on iOS and Android at no cost to the parent or student. Email and SMS The more common form of communications between schools and their student families are email and SMS. Teachers rely on their departmental email address to contact students to provide them with assistance or notification of their classwork. Schools are also using SMS to notify their parents of upcoming events and of any student absenteeism. Noelene Callaghan is an ICT teacher at Rooty Hill High School and is a councillor of the Teacher’s Guild of New South Wales. - fun introduction to and examples of logical fallacies (flaws in reasoning)

bigquestionsprogram.wordpress. com - (prim.) short films, ideas to aid collaborative philosophical enquiry - (secondary) database of philosophy and critical thinking; features essays, resources, videos

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52 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • July 2014

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professional development conferences




According to a Grattan Institute report, teachers can find time by reducing the hours spent on ineffective PD, meetings, and school assemblies.

July 2014

Association focus Australian Association of Special Education

Make time work smarter IN response to Australia’s poor performance in recent OECD rankings, we should focus on lifting the quality of teaching through professional development, according to a Grattan Institute report. For teachers and school leaders who are already pressed for time between class and staff meetings this may sound easier said than done. But the focus of the Making Time For Great Teaching report is on working smarter, not harder. The report’s authors worked with six diverse Australian schools that were striving to give teachers more time for PD. According to the report, most of the time can be found by reducing the time teachers spend on ineffective professional development,

staff meetings, school assemblies, extra subjects and extra-curricular activities. Dr Ben Jensen, former Grattan Institute School Education program director and an author of Making Time For Great Teaching, says staff were surprised to discover how much of their time was spent engaged in such activities. “I think what is surprising to people is that when you actually put the numbers together, it actually highlights the magnitude of the choices you are making,” Jensen says. “So, what this report was saying is not that staff meetings [and] extra-curricular activities were a waste of time, but that we need to actually quantify the resources and time that teachers spend on

activities, because they’re actually the decisions we’re making about the importance of how teachers’ time should be spent.” Teachers interviewed for the report also revealed not all the professional development they took part in was valuable. “A lot of the external PD was actually not suited to their needs, and actually often of low quality. Some of it was very good, but often it was low quality,” Jensen says. “The other thing they said is that the classic staff development days at the beginning or the end of the year, actually were either: one, not actual staff development days and really just a reiteration of school or department policies, and two, often a poor use of time, not suited to their needs and really poorly

structured professional development...” Jensen says professional development providers wanting to target teachers’ needs more effectively should think about how they can tailor PD to teachers’ individual needs. “More and more, schools are ... [becoming] increasingly dissatisfied with the off-the-shelf course, that says ‘this is what you must do’. “What is reflected time and again from teachers and school leaders, is that they have to fashion professional learning to the key changes they want in their school.” Jensen says changes happen more and more in schools. If professional development providers don’t react to those changes, they will become increasingly unused.

AASE is a broadly-based national organisation that advocates for quality educational programs and services for students with disability and special education needs. AASE is represented by state chapters in every state and terrority across Australia and is managed by the National Council comprising of representatives of each state and territory. AASE publishes two high quality journals: • The Australasian Journal of Special Education (AJSE), which is widely read by academics and tertiary students across the world, and • Special Education Perspectives (SEP) which focuses on evidence to support the development of effective practice. AASE members act in an advocacy role with the Federal Government and key decision makers on issues related to special education and are represented on key national advisory committees. AASE organises a very successful and informative national conference each year. The 2014 National Conference will be held at the Manly Pacific Hotel, Manly, NSW from September 17-19. The theme this year is Catch the Perfect Wave: Evidence based Practice. aase2014 Colleen Crawford national president, ASSE

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professionaldevelopment 54 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Looking into Indigenous perspectives study tour

More play each day

SINCE returning from an eyeopening study tour through Canada, New Zealand and Australia, mathematics teacher Nicolette Hilton has been putting her newfound knowledge and resources into practice. Hilton’s study tour in January was facilitated by a NSW Premier’s Teacher Scholarship she was awarded in 2013. “What I aimed to do was travel overseas and look at how Indigenous perspectives are delivered in different countries,” Hilton, who works at The Armidale School (TAS) in New South Wales, says. “Some of the leading research has been done in Canada and in New Zealand, so I sort of focused my study in those two locations.” In Canada, Hilton met with academics and the Saskatoon public schools board, who have developed a unit dedicated to delivering Indigenous perspectives, and helping teachers to teach Indigenous history and culture throughout the curriculum. In New Zealand, Hilton spoke to Dr Bronwen Cowie about the work that she has done in Indigenous perspectives but also in teaching from a culturally responsive perspective. And the educator explored Indigenous astronomy and inqui-

Nicolette Hilton, left, collecting soil samples with NASA scientist Dr Elaine Pressley-Bryant. ry-based learning in Sydney and Adelaide. When she returned to school, Hilton continued work on Our Place in Space, a professional development workshop she was putting together for the Teacher of Science Education Program, (TESEP). “So the development of that workshop had begun, but once I returned from my Churchill Fellowship ... I had quite a high number or resources, as a result

of doing that, so we put those resources sort of into place through that program.” “Then they’ve been shared throughout Australia, that’s been a great professional development program,” she says. Hilton says she loves hands-on PD and will be participating in another development opportunity in July, a Spaceward Bound Expedition working with NASA testing Mars Rovers from around the world.


Improving Educational Outcomes for Students with Down Syndrome

Hilton participated in another Spaceward Bound Expedition back in 2009, from which she developed a cross-curricular program she instantly implemented at her school. “My partner and I, he’s also at TAS, we’re planning to go on that expedition, in the hope that we’ll be able to develop some more programs and some more projects that can be easily transferred into different schools by different teachers,” Hilton says. Often returning to the busy classroom environment after an inspiring professional development, it can be hard to find the time or motivation to make big changes straight away. Hilton says the key for her is not trying to do too much too quickly. “I think probably ... just breaking it down into smaller pieces to begin with, rather than just trying to implement the whole block, even just trying to implement a small amount at a time,” she says. “And, wanting to develop that little bit into a project or into a program or into a task, so then I can share it on again, because that process of sharing what you’ve implemented and what’s worked sort of drives me to want to try out more tasks.”

The Early Childhood Teachers’ Association has hosted its annual conference in Queensland on June 28. Delegates heard a keynote presentation from Mark Armitage, who explored solutions to the most common barriers educators face when trying to provide more play as part of their students’ day.

Assistance with music Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia will run a non-specialist music teacher session, showcasing a range of teaching and learning activities, on August 7. Generalist primary school teachers in the ACT interested in learning more about positive music making can attend the PD, which is running from 4.30pm until 6pm at Radford College.

Combined conference The Australian Association for the Teaching of English and the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association will combine their efforts to present a national conference from July 9-12. Delegates will gather in Darwin for this year’s conference, which is themed: aNTicipating new territories: building strong minds, places and futures. Email briefs to

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Conference Dates

Friday 18th - Saturday 19th July 2014 Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre (07) 3356 6655

(07) 3356 6655

Brisbane Fri 18th-Sat 19th July Toowoomba Mon 28th July Townsville Fri 1st August


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professionaldevelopment 55

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world congress

The human faces of science

Chelsea Attard TEACHERS typically struggle to find the time to be innovative, according to Australian Science Teachers Association’s Kimberley Gaal. “I think they all understand the need to develop things outside of the box in order to really inspire their students and really make the most out of the time with them, but there’s so much that they have to do.” So, CONASTA is a little bit like giving teachers additional tools they might not have the time to develop themselves, Gaal, the conference facilitator, says. The conference will take place in Adelaide, from July 6-9. “This year’s theme is the Human Faces of Science, we’ve really tried to reflect that, mostly in our plenary sessions, by bringing in people who really do embody that human aspect of science, where their stories are just as interesting as the science they’re actually working on,” Gaal explains. Keynote speakers will include Australia’s chief scientist Ian Chubb, the 2011 Nobel Laureate in physics professor Brian Schmidt, the 2011 PM’s Award winner for University Teacher of the Year professor Roy Tasker, and

Kimberley Gaal says the CONASTA will be a one-stop-shop where delegates can learn through workshops and networking. a Prime Minister’s Prize winner in Physical Sciences and South Australian Scientist of the Year, professor Tanya Monro. “The bulk of the program is made up of plenary sessions, where we have highly renowned Australian speakers come and talk, mostly about science and science education,” Gaal says.

July 2014 • australian Teacher

Melbourne’s InSEA2014 explores the theme of Diversity Through Art

“And then the rest of the sessions are workshops that are put together by presenters that come from either teaching backgrounds themselves — we have a lot of practising teachers who do our workshops — and then also some government and industry people, from, for instance, the department of education [or] from CSIRO...” And Gaal promises there’ll be plenty of opportunities for teachers to socialise, during happy hour, social events and postconference tours. “The feedback that we constantly get from our delegates is that networking and connection is an essential part of their development as teachers, and it’s something that they really get from these conferences, because it brings together so many people from around Australia ...” The post-conference tours, designed to show off the best of Adelaide, include a two-day tour of Kangaroo Island, a gourmet food tour, and of course, a winery tour. Gaal says this year in particular ASTA is expecting a fantastic turnout. “...we’re really excited about the program, we’ve got some amazing workshops and a good balance and we’re really expecting everyone to have a great time.”

The theme for this year’s InSEA Congress is Diversity Through Art. ENGAGING art teachers, academics and museum educators, the 34th World Congress of the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA 2014) takes place in Melbourne this month. Held every three years in locations around the world, this year’s congress explores the theme Diversity Through Art, which covers the sub-themes of continuity, context and change in cultures. Congress co-chair Marian Strong believes that the venue of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) plays upon this theme. “[The venue] is a bit odd for an art association,” she says. “But we want to open up the notion that art isn’t an add-on or an elitist thing but is actually part of our lives.”

Keynote speakers include professor Dennis Atkinson, associate professor Ian Brown, Asialink founder Alison Carroll and Australian artists Patricia Piccinini and Maree Clarke. Clarke is an Indigenous artist noted for her revitalisation of traditional possum-skin cloaks. Around 400 of the 600 attendees will be from overseas. Strong hopes international delegates will gain an increased understanding of Australian art education, and that Australian teachers will capitalise on the prospect of making connections. “It’s a perfect opportunity for them to develop networks with countries from around the world, especially given our interest in Asia,” she says.

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

NATIONAL early childhood teachers association Annual Conference

June 28; Sheldon Event Centre, 1 Taylor Road, Thornlands, QLD; M $95, NM 315;

Australian Science Teachers Association CONASTA 63 July 6-9; University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide, SA; M $680, NM $920; conasta@asta.

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

AUSTRALIAN LITERACY EDUCATORS’ ASSOCiation AATE/ALEA National Conference in Darwin - aNTicipating new territories, building strong minds, places and futures July 9-12; Darwin Convention Centre, Stokes Hill Road, Darwin, NT; M $695, NM $800 (single day prices available); aate@

The Writer as Crafter of Texts: Exploring the Clause as a Slice of Experience July 31, 4:00pm - 7:00pm; Tattersall’s Function Centre, Goodwood Road, Glenorchy, TAS; M $50, NM $110; jennie.amos@

Multimodality and the English Curriculum responding, creating and assessing

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

Using Grammar as a Tool to Improve Writing

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

ABC Splash

October 16, 4:00pm – 6:00pm; Mother Teresa Primary, Darcy Road, Westmead, NSW; M $12, NM $40; kferrari@parra.

QAR and Higher Order Thinking for all Students October 25, 9:00am - 1:00pm; St Joseph’s School, 56 Albermarie Street, West Hindmarsh, SA; M/NM $105; linda.

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

2014 ACEL National Conference: Passion and Purpose - Setting the learning agenda

October 1-4; Melbourne venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Primary english teaching association Improving students’ writing achievement

July 31, 9:00am - 3:00pm; Applecross Primary School, 65 Kintail Road, Applecross, WA; M $170, NM $225;

English for Global Citizenship: Engagement with Asia

August 7, 4:00pm 6:30pm; Wagaman Primary School, Wagaman Terrace, Wagaman, NT; No cost; pl@

Applied Linguistics Association of Australia International Applied Linguistics Association Conference

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

Australian Association of Special Education 2014 AASE National Conference September 18-19; Novotel Sydney Manly Pacific, Manly, NSW; M $695, NM $755; aase@gemspl.

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

history teachers association of Australia 2014 HTAA National Conference

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

Australian Computers in Education Conference: Now It’s Personal

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

ACT Kodaly music institute of australia (ACT) Non-Specialist Music Teacher Session August 7, 4:30pm 6:00pm; Radford College PAC, 1 College Street, Bruce; M/NM free; brenda.

Winter Warmers - Tess Laird

August 30, 8:30am 3:00pm; Radford College Junior School, 1 College Street, Bruce; M $70, NM $80; brenda.lander@

Fun & Games Workshop/ AGM

November 15, 4:00pm 5:15pm; Radford College PAC, 1 College Street, Bruce; M/NM free; brenda.

NSW The Association of Independent Schools New South Wales Mathematics Extension 2 Inquiry: a toolkit for deep learning

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

Authentic assessment

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

Building a growth mindset August 13, 8:30am – 3:00pm; AIS Conference Centre, 12/99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290;

Strategic assessment for student improvement

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


August 26, 8:30am 3:00pm; AISNSW, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Leave the One Hit Wonder Lesson on the Shelf August 26, 8:30am – 3:30pm; AISNSW, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Thinking routines: establishing patterns of thinking in 7-12

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

Resilient Kids: A Curriculum-Based Approach

September 5, 8:30am – 3:30pm; AISNSW, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Teaching Modernism in Preliminary English

September 12, 9:00am 3:00pm; AISNSW, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $215, NM $290; admin@

Differentiated Learning in Languages

October 10, 9:00am 3:00pm; AISNSW, Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $150, NM $225; admin@

school library association of new south wales Curating Digital Collections for the Australian Curriculum

August 4, 9:00am 3:45pm; Dubbo venue TBA; M/NM $399; information@

Gamification: Beyond the hype Conference

August 12-15; University of New South Wales, 1 O’Connell Street, Sydney; M $600, NM $800 (workshops and single days available);

Careers advisers association nsw and act CAAs Annual Conference October 24, 9:00am-

5:00pm; Dockside, Balcony Level, Cockle Bay Wharf, Sydney; Cost TBA; admin@

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

July 9 - 12; Darwin Convention Centre, Stokes Hill Road, Darwin; M $695, NM $800 (single day prices available); aate@aate.

QLD Music Teachers’ Association of QLD Brass Workshop with Mark Eager

July 20, 2:00pm – 4:00pm; MTAQ Auditorium, Level 1 Suite 26, 200 Moggill Road, Taringa; M $25, NM $45;

Arranging and Orchestrating

August 3, 2:00pm- 4:00pm; MTAQ Auditorium, Level 1, Suite 26, 200 Moggill Road, Taringa; M $25, NM $45;

Business educators’ association of queensland BEAQ State Conference

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


August 5, 8:30am – 3:00pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5/500 Queen Street, Brisbane; Cost TBA; office@

Drivers of Educational Outcomes

August 14, 1:30pm 4:00pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M $180, NM $250; office@ isq.qld.

Staff Wellbeing

August 25, November 3, 9:00am – 4:30pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5/500 Queen Street, Brisbane; Cost TBA;

Term 3 International Education Networking Day September 3, 8:45am 3:30pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M free, NM $33;

Intentional School Leadership with Jane Kise

September 8 - 9; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M $150, NM $250; office@isq.qld.

Self-Improving Schools Program - Sharing Day

November 19, 9:00am 2:30pm; ISQ Professional Learning Centre, Level 5, 500 Queen Street, Brisbane; M free (not available to non-members);

kodaly music educational institute of australia (Queensland) Vocal Health Workshop August 9, 8:30am 12:30pm; Merthyr Road Uniting Church, Merthyr Road, New Farm; M $80, NM $150; info@

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

Early Childhood Teachers’ Association ECTA Mackay Professional Development Day August 16, 8:30am – 4:00pm; QLD location TBA; M $70, NM $80;

AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS OF MEDIA QueensLanD Digital storytelling workshop October 26, 9:00am11:30am; Brisbane State High School, 150 Vulture Street, South Brisbane; M $30, NM $40; atomqld1@

SA south australian science teachers association Science ASSIST Lab Tech Forum

July 6, 3:30pm – 4:30pm; The University of Adelaide, North Terrace, Adelaide; M/NM $20 (free with CONASTA 63 registration);

independent schools of south austalia Plant Management and JSA Development

August 7, 3:30pm-5:00pm; AISSA Boardroom, 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to nonmembers); martinm@ais.

Teaching Writers in the Early Years F-3

August 8, 29, 9:00am – 3:30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road, Malvern; M $140; crosss@

Latest Strategies for Managing Psychological Clams and the Early Sustainable Return to Work of Injured Employees

August 26, 3:30pm – 5:00pm; AISSA Boardroom, 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available to non-members); martinm@

Developing Fraction Sense & Proportional Reasoning (Years 1-3) August 27, 9:00am 3.30pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road (Cnr Fisher Street), Malvern; M/NM $50;

Supporting children to make successful transitions

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

Early Childhood Implementation Group

(Term 4)

October 15, 4:00pm 6:00pm; AISSA Meeting Room, 277 Unley Road (Cnr Fisher Street), Malvern; M free; crosss@

kodaly music educational institute of australia (South australia) SA: Term 3 Workshop — Middle School Music August 9, 9:00am 1:00pm; Adelaide West Uniting Church, 312 Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Brooklyn Park; Cost TBA;

SA: Term 4 Workshop — Bright Ideas from 2014 Kodaly National Conference & AGM

November 1, 9:00am 1:00pm; Adelaide College of Divinity, 34 Lipsett Terrace, Brooklyn Park; Cost TBA;

ACHPER SOUTH AUSTRALIA 2013 ACHPER (SA) Health & Physical Education Primary Years Conference

September 22; Australian Science & Maths School, Flinders University, Bedford Park; Cost TBA; info@

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

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

kodaly music educational institute of australia (victoria) Lower Secondary/Middle Years Teacher Training Course (Level 1)

July 24, July 31 August 7, 14, 21, September 18, October 9, 16, November 6, 20, December 11; St Kevins College, Glendalough Campus, 75 Lansell Rd, Toorak; M $845, NM $915;

Big Kodaly Day

November 15, 9:00am - 3:00pm; Kilvington Grammar School, Lilimur Road, Ormond; M $105, NM $125; vic@kodaly.

History Teachers’ Association of Victoria HTAV Annual Conference 2014 July 24-25; Flemington Racecourse, 448 Epsom Road, Flemington; Cost TBA; m.rametta@htav.

ACHPER Victoria Primary Health & Physical Education Conference - VIC July 25; State Netball and Hockey Centre, 10 Brens Drive, Parkville; M $210, NM $270; achper@achper.

ACHPER Conference Health, Physical, Sport and Outdoor Education November 27-28; Monash University, Clayton, Wellington Road, Clayton; M $365, NM $485; mark.

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

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

STAV ICT/STEM Conference 2014

August 29, 8:30am – 4:15pm; Quantum Victoria, 235 Kingsbury Drive, Macleod West; M $148, NM $198; stav@stav.vic

Interactions: Making sense of Newton’s laws of motion

November 14, 9:30am 4:00pm; STAV House, 5 Munro Street, Coburg; M $100, NM $120; stav@stav. vic


November 28; La Trobe University, Bundoora; Cost TBA; stav@stav.vic

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

Australian Teachers of Media Victoria Refocus - the Atom Vic State Conference August 15 - 16; Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; Cost TBA;

Media Exam Revision Conference for Teachers

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

Headstart: Narrative

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

Headstart: Unit 1

November 10; 9:00am4:00pm; Graduate House, 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; M $150, NM $200;

INdependent schools victoria Effective Planning and Assessment for Literacy and Numeracy in the Early Years August 21-22; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $370, NM $750; enquiries@is.vic.

Numeracy / Mathematics Coordinators’ Network

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

Governance Workshop

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

Inquiry Approach in the

Languages Classroom

October 24, 9:30am 3:30pm; ISV Seminar Room, 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $185, NM $375; enquiries@is.vic.

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

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

GEOGRAPHY TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF VICTORIA GTAV Annual Conference 2014 - Geography: allencompassing August 24-26; Karsten’s Conference Centre, 123 Queen Street, Melbourne; Cost TBA; office@gtav.

Humanities Leaders for the Future: Pre-service and new teachers November 8, 10:00am - 12:30pm; Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton; Cost TBA;

Google Earth and beyond

November 13, 9:00am 3:00pm; CBD location TBA; Cost TBA; office@gtav.

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

WA kodaly music educational institute of australia (WA) Certificate Teacher Training Course Level 1 July 14 - 18, 8:30am 4:30pm; Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Assoc of independent schools wA Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) August 1, October 24, 9:00am - 4:00pm; Technology Park Function Centre, 2 Brodie Hall Drive, Bentley; M $1200, NM $2400; mwood@ais.

AISWA Half-Day Legal Seminar

August 21, 8:30am 12:00pm; Location TBA; M/NM $250; vgould@ais.

Dance Workshop

September 13, 9:30am - 12:30pm; Central TAFE, Aberdeen Street, Perth; M/NM $100; coneill@ais.

Early Years Learning Framework for PreKindergarten to PrePrimary

September 18, November 13, 8:30am - 3:30pm; The Boulevard Centre, Floreat; M/NM $400; wgorman@

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

around the traps 57

July 2014 • australian Teacher

Spencer’s gift off the track

Sheumack on top of world

HE might have won prestigious Australian running titles this past year, including the Bendigo Thousand sprint title (over 120m) in March, along with the Camden Classic (400m) in Adelaide and the Gift Winner’s Gift (over 120m with a $5000 first prize), but Melbourne’s Robert Spencer gets just as big a kick out of teaching kids. Now in his second year as an educator, the running star says that education was always where he was headed. “I’ve always wanted to be a teacher. I’ve been coaching kids since I was in Year 9 and 10 and I’ve loved sharing the knowledge I have, especially in track and field. “I did an accounting degree when I left school and I thought that developing the all round student from the sport aspects, but also the economic, long term financial grounding, I think is really important as well.” At present relief teaching at Maribyrnong College in Melbourne, Spencer once harboured Olympic ambitions, but the many distractions of youth got in his way. “I won a few national titles in high school and held a national record when I was 13,” he says,

TREKKING to Mount Everest’s base camp with bouts of food poisoning and altitude sickness in temperatures nudging -30C is definitely not most people’s idea of a good time, but for assistant principal Tony Sheumack, it was precisely these challenges that made the experience such a rewarding one. “There were times when I was just hoping something would change, but when you’re with other people it always helps because you can joke through the difficult times... I won’t say it wasn’t cold, but you forget about the bad bits,” Sheumack says. An avid outdoor explorer, Sheumack spent ten days in the Himalayas, battling the elements with a group of nine other teachers, parents and friends. “When I was a very young teacher I was very actively involved in the outdoor education program ... I’ve been with my son up into the Andes ... and then I’ve been to Kokoda about six years ago, so being a very unfit person at this stage, I decided there had to be another, and when [my friend] had the opportunity there I said ‘I can train for this, I think I can actually do it’,” he explains. Despite his hasty eight-week

Robert Spencer has won numerous national running titles. “but out of high school I got caught up worrying about money and finance and travelling more so than my running... “It was not until I found stability again with my work, my teaching, and emotionally, that I really found the grounding that I needed to be able to tackle competitive running again. “As Hugh Jackman said, ‘it’s easier to be ready than to get ready’. The ‘get ready’ part took three years, but it was worth every second of it.” Where Spencer was once moti-

vated by prize money and sashes, these days it’s about the process. “It’s the training, the technical side of it, the biomechanics, the feeling I get when I’m competitive, pushing someone that used to push me and now I’m up there, the feeling that I get when I’m running fast, it’s a nice feeling.” Moving forward, Spencer is keen to squeeze as much out of the remaining five years of his professional running career as he can, but he’s equally determined to make every teaching post a winner as well.

Tony Sheumack hiked to Mount Everest base camp.

training schedule in the lead up to the trek, Sheumack believes his level of fitness was not the thing that saw him through. “It’s more to do with that determination, resilience factors — you have to really be very gritty and make sure that when it is difficult that you are able to keep going. It’s not for everybody — I don’t think it was easy in any shape or form,” he says. Aside from a lower body-weight, Sheumack has come away from the experience with a great respect for the local Nepalese people, after forming strong bonds with the porters who walked alongside the group. “I must admit we were very lazy trekkers as most trekkers are, we carried water and looked after very personal things ... but they were carrying more like 20 kilos in their backpacks — they did all the hard work, we found it hard but nothing compared to what the locals have to do.”

world awaits The littlest fox WHILE many teachers want only to relax and recuperate on weekends, Ashlea Reale is busy drawing on her unique musical talents to bring stories from urban Australia to life. The specialist music teacher from Perth is one half of The Littlest Fox, a contemporary folk duo whose captivating melodies are inspired by the likes of The Waifs, Clare Bowditch, Holly Throsby and Josh Pyke. And certainly there is nothing ‘little’ about the band’s scope. “In January we toured across Australia for the first time. We played in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, and then we played at the Il-

lawarra Folk Festival a couple of weeks ago. Next month we will play at the Palm Creek Folk Festival in Townsville,” Reale tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Having just finished recording their second CD, the music duo is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon. “Jenny [Gaunt, also a specialist music teacher] and I play all over the place, we do the normal pub gigs and things like that, but we also play regularly at the folk clubs in WA and we’ve done lots of community events like community fairs.” While Reale says people of all ages

enjoy their lyrical storytelling, perhaps the band’s most enthusiastic groupies are Reale’s own students, who eagerly turn up to support her performances at local meets. Some have even contributed to the duo’s latest CD. “Even when they’ve had projects in class and they’ve had to look at a band or do a performance of someone else’s song, there’ll always be one kid that picks something of ours ... it’s nice,” Reale says. So how well does she handle life in the limelight? “I don’t really get nervous so much anymore, I usually find the more intimate performances more

Ashlea Reale, left, performs as part of the contemporary folk duo The Littlest Fox.

nerve-racking than the bigger ones. I guess because people are paying more attention,” she says. As for the future, it seems the music world is her oyster.

“We’re just focusing on song writing for the next the CD. We’ve applied for all the folk festivals in the Eastern states so hopefully we’ll be busy travelling.”

From Beginner to Professional instruments

Buffet, Besson, Keilwerth, Pearl Flutes, Bach, Leblanc, Selmer, Schagerl


inthestaffroom 58 australian Teacher • July 2014

trivia Which German musical giant composed Moonlight Sonata and Ode To Joy?

one point

Which band had hits with songs You Really Got Me, Sunny Afternoon and Lola?

Who did Kenny Rogers duet with to sing Islands In the Stream? Which 1981 hit song by the J Geils Band is about a high school crush? Which instrument is also known as a fiddle? True or false? None of the Beatles could read music.

Which great Australian band began life as ‘Farm’ in 1971?

Joaquin Phoenix starred in which movie on Johnny Cash?

The video clip for the INXS song Never Tear Us Apart was filmed in which city?

Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninov was famous for playing which instrument?

What famous brand of guitar are the Stratoscaster and Telecaster?

What do Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Curt Cobain and have in common? (Besides being deceased)

Which music great, born in Tupelo, Mississippi, was related to US Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Jimmy Carter?

Which instrument’s name roughly translates as ‘jumping flea’? (Hint: think Hawaii)


three points

Which Wagner musical piece is played in Apocalypse Now’s famous helicopter attack?




4 _ is the capital city of Brazil. (8) 5 Famous for his ‘Hand Of God’ goal at the 1986 World Cup, is Diego _. (8) 7 At almost 1000m _ Falls is the highest waterfall in the world? (5) 9 _ is the only country to have appeared at every football World Cup. (6) 11 The World Cup of _ kicks off in Brazil on June 12. (8) 13 The winner of the last World Cup in 2010 in South Africa was _. (5) 14 The longest mountain range in the world is the _. (5) 15 The inaugural 1930 World Cup was held in the country of _. (7) 16 Brazil is the only country in South America where _ is the official language. (10) 17 The _ is the third-largest feline after the tiger and the lion. (6) 18 Described as a ‘living museum and showcase of evolution’ are the _ Islands of Ecuador. (9)

19 Only _ nations have won the prestigious World Cup. (5) DOWN 1 The only person to have won the World Cup as a player and then a coach is Germany’s _ Beckenbauer. (5) 2 The largest country in South America is _. (6) 3 India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup because they weren’t allowed to play _. (8) 6 Two countries in South America beginning with ‘P’ are Peru and _. (8) 8 Brazil shares a border with all South American countries except Chile and_. (7) 10 The record number of World Cup career goals is 15 by Brazilian forward _. (7) 12 _ is widely regarded as the southernmost city in the world. (7) 16 Brazil’s _ is the only player to win three World Cups: in 1958, 1962 and 1970. (4)

turn to page 60 for all solutions and answers

skill level: Medium

zooming in We’ve played with the zoom again... Can you guess what we’ve taken a photo of this time?

five points

careers career news




retirements 61

Britt Gow from Hawkesdale P12 College is the recipient of the Lindsay Thompson Fellowship at the Victorian Education Excellence Awards.

First Year Out 62

Gow’s tech tonic fellowship rebecca vukovic WINNING an award conjures up the excitement of an entire community when the recipient is a teacher from a small, rural school. For Britt Gow, being named the winner of the Lindsay Thompson Fellowship at the Victorian Education Excellence Awards has meant her email inbox has been flooded with well wishes and she has students constantly coming up to her in the school yard to congratulate her. The science and maths teacher at Hawkesdale P12 College uses her passion for technology and social media to open the world up for herself and her students who are geographically isolated. “I think in a small, rural school

you’re limited in your networks,” Gow explains. “I’m the only Year 7 maths teacher, I’m the only VCE biology and environmental science teacher in my school and it’s rare for me to meet ... with other teachers unless I travel to Melbourne. “So social networks have been really important to discuss ideas, to get inspiration, to talk about strategies for improved student learning — and that network has grown over the years and it’s great having a personal learning network to support you and to improve student outcomes.” As part of the fellowship, the digitally-savvy teacher was awarded money to spend on research, travel and professional learning. “It’s a $50,000 prize which is a huge amount of money for me

and I have until the end of next year, December 2015, to spend it,” Gow explains. “Firstly I need to prepare a more detailed research and travel proposal and then undertake that over the next 18 months, and then write a report back to the department about my findings. “I hope to travel to the ULearn conference in New Zealand which is a really popular and well regarded technology conference. They’re doing some really good research and implementation of blended learning in New Zealand, so I hope to speak to people involved with that when I’m there. “But I don’t think that will take all the money, so I’m possibly thinking about bringing a conference to the south-west of Victoria so that rural teachers can benefit

from experts in online learning and digital tools.” The award isn’t the first time Gow’s been rewarded for her efforts in the classroom. Last year she was awarded the Secondary Teacher of the Year at the same Victorian awards. Gow entered the profession as a mature-age student and has spent her entire teaching career working at Hawkesdale P12 College. “My previous career was in hospitality and my first job in teaching has been at Hawkesdale and it’s been a supportive school to work in,” she says. “My husband is on the farm and both my children attend the school so I think a small P12 school is a really lovely environment for kids to get their education,” Gow says.

Learning 63

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

Our kids matter. Join the growing number of schools making student mental health and wellbeing a priority. KidsMatter Primary is a mental health initiative that provides primary schools with proven methods, tools and support to nurture happy, balanced kids. For more information go to

careers 60 australian Teacher • July 2014

APPOINTMENT George Palavestra has been farewelled by Melrose High School to take up the role of principal at Canberra College. His shoes will be filled by Paul Branson, who has worked in education for more than two decades and has held leadership positions in many ACT schools, most recently at Canberra High School. Branson’s teaching background includes mathematics, science and IT.

RETIREMENT Kevin Cooper has announced his retirement from St Peter’s College Cranbourne at the end of Term 2. He has taught Japanese and SOSE at the Victorian school for the last 10 years. The occasion will also mark a 40-year career in education for him. The school has wished him well in his well-earned retirement.

APPOINTMENT Blackwood Primary School has said a temporary goodbye to Bronwyn Hannaford, coordinator of the Autism Intervention Program at the Adelaide school. Hannaford has been appointed as a disability coordinator with the Department of Education for the rest of 2014 and will be working with schools in the southern area.

scholarship winner

All systems Goh for Harvard WHEN principal John Goh discovered he had been awarded the 2014 Harvard Club of Australia Teachers Mutual Bank Scholarship, worth $10,000, he was elated. “Being the son of a World War II refugee, and having attended public schools as part of my education, going to Harvard Graduate School seemed like an impossible dream,� Goh says. “But this just shows what public education can achieve — supporting students to fulfil their dreams and aspirations.� Goh says the achievement was a real team effort and that he owed much to staff and students at Merrylands East Public School. The scholarship money has provided Goh with the opportunity to undertake a professional education program at Harvard Graduate School of Education in late June. Goh says he’s chosen a course called Leadership, an Evolving Vision. “Basically, one of the tenets that I’m looking at gaining out of that, is redefining my leadership, and then sharing that expertise with my colleagues,� he says. “It’s really important that we develop leaders that are creative and innovative. One of the national

APPOINTMENT Wauchope High School has welcomed a new principal, Glen Sawle, who comes to the school having had a range of roles in education. Sawle has worked as a science teacher and has spent time in corporate state, in the Board of Studies and the Curriculum Directorate, working in the areas of professional development of staff and curriculum support.


John Goh, left, and Teachers Mutual Bank CEO Steve James at the Public Education Foundation Awards. standards for principals is actually Leading Improvement, Innovation and Change, and it’s really important that we develop leaders that are quite innovative, are quite creative, and are prepared to make change in their context.� Goh is especially looking forward to the opportunity for collaboration and networking. “Just being able to connect with like-minded people all around the world, who will be attending and undertaking that course, and sharing the expertise globally, about what we’re doing in our little patch

at Merrylands East, but also learning from others,� he says. While in the United States, Goh will be sharing his experience via social media and his blog. “One of the most important aspects of teaching these days, and working in education is being collaborative ... meaning we can share and learn together and build, we can problem-solve together, and also help each other in terms of developing new programs, new structures, and new ways of thinking, about children and their learning.�

The school finance secretary and office manager at Our Lady Help of Christians School, Joan Hayes, has announced her retirement from the Queensland school. The school newsletter reports that Hayes has served OLHOC and the wider Catholic community in a number of roles over many years, having made a positive difference to the lives of all who have had the opportunity to know her.

APPOINTMENT Jane Packham has been warmly welcomed into the arts learning area of Katanning Senior High School. She comes to the West Australian school with a wealth of experience which includes both performing and visual arts. Packham will be assisting with the students’ YoFest production which they will perform in Albany later this term.


ludwig van Beethoven, Dolly Parton, centerfold, violin, true. the Kinks, i Walk the line, piano, they all died aged 27, the ukelele Midnight Oil, Prague, in the czech republic, Fender, elvis Presley, the ride of the Valkyries




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careers 61

July 2014 • australian Teacher

volunteer award

Something about Raymond

TALES of kind-hearted volunteers who give up their time to help the less fortunate are always touching, but Cherie Raymond’s story is an especially heart-warming one. The young primary teacher from Western Australia loves being around children so much that she has dedicated the most recent ten years of her life to lighting up the lives of seriously ill youngsters — and now, as the recipient of Camp Quality’s Gillard Volunteer Award, it seems her efforts have not gone unnoticed. As a camp leader for the charity, Raymond coordinates recreational, outcome-based camps for children who are undergoing treatment for cancer, and then spends her holidays and weekends ensuring they reap as much enjoyment out of them as possible. “It’s really great to allow those kids to be kids again, and that’s where we come in with our recreation program, by doing things like going to the movies, kicking the football ... “Obviously they go through such a tough time going through the cancer journey, and they’ve got to grow up really quickly and experience a lot of things that kids their age wouldn’t really have to go through,” she says. Despite her fabulous work with

the charity, Raymond was humbled to learn she had won the prestigious state-wide award. “I was quite surprised because obviously there are quite a few volunteers in WA and a lot of them have been volunteering for as long as I have — or longer — and we all put in a lot of time.” According to Raymond, her work with Camp Quality has enhanced her role as a teacher, fostering the skills and empathy she needs to excel in the classroom. “Through Camp Quality my confidence grew immensely, so

things like talking in front of people, looking after groups of people... but also just interacting with children on a general day-to-day level has really helped,” she says. So what inspires her to do what she does? “It’s all about the kids, at the end of the day. The kids at Camp Quality are our same kids we have in our schools ... just seeing the ‘I can do it’ moment, their faces when they learn something new and their confidence when they’re learning new skills and just becoming independent learners.”


Cherie Raymond has won Camp Quality’s Gillard Volunteer Award.

first year out NAOMI Harris had such a positive experience at primary school that when faced with the big career decision at the end of her undergraduate degree, she knew exactly where she wanted to be. Now, in her first year of teaching Grade 6s at The Lakes South Morang P-9 School, she is taking all the challenges of the profession in her capable stride. AFTER school I went to Latrobe University and did the Bachelor of Psychological Science. I had a year off in-between my second and third year and I went travelling around Europe. I then applied for the Graduate Diploma in Education (Primary) at LaTrobe. I think [teaching] was kind of a growing interest, just realising how important education is and the role that it plays... [The diploma] was really good, I made some close friends but it was very full-on and lots of content! I did my first placement at Willmott Park Primary School in Craigieburn and then my second was here at The Lakes. My first placement was with Preps, so that was a really lovely experience... My second placement was with Year 6, so it was a huge difference. The most challenging part with the Preps was providing support within the lesson, but with Year 6 you give the instruction at the start and they’re a bit more independent. I learnt about behaviour management, because as much as you learn the theory, it’s only when you do it in practice that you really learn about it properly.

Willmott Park was a bit more traditional in that you have one classroom and you have the same class all day for every subject. Here at The Lakes we do lots of team teaching and it’s also open plan, so it’s that flexible learning. I have a different group of students for maths, English and homegroup. This year has been very challenging, I’m getting used to facilitating the whole lesson by myself and I’m learning more techniques of behaviour management as I go along. The biggest challenge has been the organisation because there is so much to do for the teacher all the time. Because I have different kids for every class, it’s about remembering everything that you need to be doing for each of them. I’ve had a mentor teacher and we’ve been able to do a bit of planning together — having someone to go to get support with any aspect [of teaching] has been really good. The highlight has been building that relationship with the kids and seeing them develop and gain new knowledge.

Learn. Share. Inspire.

Ancora imparo. Learning never stops, no matter the stage of your journey. Be inspired by the stories of other educators or discover new courses to enrich and enhance your career.

careerslearning 62 australian Teacher • July 2014

INBRIEF Education Futures Project attractive postgrad courses

Univ. of Sydney intake

Westgarth trio lauded MELBOURNE - Westgarth Primary School has celebrated the achievements of three teachers who have undertaken postgraduate study. Holly Bishop and Julia Jennings completed a Certificate in Clinical Teaching through Melbourne University’s Graduate School of Education, while Kate Copping, leading teacher also completed a Masters in School Leadership.

Music tech course info NATIONAL – Teachers looking to learn about the latest advances and applications of music technology, could consider applying for the Graduate Certificate in Music Technology from the University of Newcastle. Visit bit. ly/1wakTsd for more information about the online program. Email briefs to

rebecca vukovic ENROLLING in a postgraduate course at The University of Western Australia has been made more attractive now that the university has launched an ambitious new vision for the future of teaching and learning across its courses. The Education Futures Vision is the first stage of the UWA Education Futures Project and is designed to respond to the changing nature of students, technology and workplace expectations. Project director and dean of the Faculty of Education, Helen Wildy says the vision was formulated with input from staff, students and stakeholders. “We want our students to be able to interrogate what they hear and analyse it and synthesise it and evaluate it and, most importantly, to be creative with the knowledge that they acquire,” Wildy shares. “This is something quite different from what typically is done in universities, and that is, a lecturer in front of a whole group of people who comes in with notes and sometimes a PowerPoint but just stands there and talks until students think.” The UWA vision spells out seven key areas designed to build on practices already in place and en-


SYDNEY – Applications for the 2015 intake of the Master of Teaching program at the University of Sydney will open on August 29 and close on October 31. They must be submitted online via the Sydney Student Applications Portal. Information relating to various courses are provided, including early-childhood teaching, primary teaching, secondary teaching and school counselling.

Dean of the Faculty of Education, Helen Wildy is the project director. courage new initiatives. They cover: transformative teaching; evidence-based teaching; experiential learning; integrated research experiences; optimised resources; vibrant campus environment and global citizenship and leadership. Wildy says that students are showing by their actions that they’re simply not content with sitting in large lecture theatres anymore and being passive consumers of information. “They don’t fill up the lecture halls anymore. They might come for one or two, and in some cases,

masters course

Literacy and languages focus IN response to the implementation of the new national curriculum for English four or so years ago, the University of Wollongong established a Master of Education with a literacy and languages specialisation. The course was designed to further extend teachers’ understandings of the English curriculum, and provides an opportunity for in-depth study of the curriculum domain through the options offered. Three of the core subjects in the course directly reflect the strands of the national English syllabus, with the aim of supporting teachers working in the context of Kindergarten to Year 10 to come to grips with aspects of the curriculum. The coordinator of the course, Pauline Jones, says that participants are often encouraged to do those three subjects fairly early in their enrolments. “[There are] a number of subjects developed in response to the recent new English curriculum,” Jones says. “The subjects reflect the latest in research and contemporary literacy practices.” In each of the subjects, Jones says tutors try to develop assessment tasks that students can practically use in their teaching contexts. “For example, they might be in the literature subject looking at literature that might be suitable for children who are reading and

Pauline Jones is the course coordinator of the Master of Education (Language and Literacy specialisation) at the University of Wollongong. analysing, so we develop some teaching responses about that. It’s the same in learning about the language subject and the literacy subject.” Subject areas and disciplines include: adult education, higher education, special education, VET, TESOL, literacy education, information technology in education, leadership, early years education, and more. While the majority of participants in the online course come from primary teaching contexts, Jones says that secondary teachers should certainly consider tak-

ing part, given the course is written with both contexts in mind. Some of the subjects have optional face-to-face components, including evening sessions where students can congregate to discuss assessments and meet the lecturer. But for those who choose to opt out of these sessions, they are encouraged to have discussions with their peers through the online portal. “All of the subjects have a discussion forum but in some subjects, interacting with others is built into assessments tasks where students work together on a particular project,” Jones says. “We’ve also got a number of videos that are recordings of seminars provided by key thinkers in the area of language and literacy that people know and read about. “Another one might be a combination of voiced PowerPoints and interactive discussion forums and exercises so it really varies.” Jones hopes that participants find their postgraduate course to be a rewarding experience and perhaps even consider doing a professional doctorate afterwards. “My ideal for the students is they go away with an extended knowledge of the curriculum area of English, that they go away even more passionate about it or a particular aspect of it, and feel very refreshed and reinvigorated in their classroom practice,” she says.

there might be only one or two people left out of hundreds by the end of the 12 weeks. So we understand where the students are — they have busy lives, they have jobs, they know that they can get the information from the recorded lectures anyway, and if they want to know more there’s endless information that they can get from the internet,” Wildy says. A focus on participants being researchers, rather than students, is also an important new step for the university. “We want our students to be-

come researchers ... so we build into our degrees; into our courses; into our coursework; our units, some activities that use research skills,” Wildy says. While Wildy boasts that the university campus itself is one of the more beautiful in Australia, with spacious grounds, Spanish arches and limestone construction — she believes that more can be done to make it an attractive learning space for students, particularly postgraduate students who opt to do their studies online. She would love to see more students on campus, talking, collaborating and using the facilities available to them. “They are older, they have families, ... partners, relationships, they often do a part-time job, they’ve got babies — they’re having babies — and they’ve got mortgages. “So the university life we want to offer them will take account of all of those pressures that are on them, and still maintain the high standard of intellectual engagement that a university offers,” Wildy says. “Because we are moving into increasing numbers of postgraduate courses, we want to make sure that our staff are teaching those students in a way that’s appropriate for postgraduate studies, not in the way that’s appropriate for 17 or 18-year-old undergraduates.”

Queensland course

Long-time interest leads to postgrad study in guidance and counselling IT was while completing her bachelors degree that Gina Perkins realised she had a keen interest in counselling and guidance. So after gaining some experience as head of Special Education Services (HOSES) at several Queensland schools — Perkins decided to enrol in a Master of Education, majoring in guidance and counselling at the University of Southern Queensland. Completing her studies online, the acting HOSES at Warwick West State School says she focused her studies on issues relating to parents and siblings of children with disabilities. “I focused around the impact that having a child with a disability has on parents and in particular, I did a study around the effect that having a sibling with a disability has on children,” Perkins shares. “There was also a large component around counselling strategies and different assessment around cognitive assessments and things like that. It was very interesting.” Perkins spent a year completing the course, while working full time. But she says she managed the workload by prioritising her tasks. According to Perkins, most of the areas covered in the course have been directly relevant to the work she has been doing in her school. “As part of being the head of special ed, you have to understand

Gina Perkins has completed her Master of Education majoring in Guidance and Counselling. cognitive assessments and interpret what that means. So I would definitely say the subject I did on assessment and testing has been useful, as well as the counselling subjects too,” Perkins says. She adds that this course is something she would certainly recommend to others working in the education sector. “I loved the fact that you can really specialise in specific areas within the course as well, so you can take the course where you want to go. “It does lead on to the Doctorate of Education which I’m considering at the moment.”

careers 63

July 2014 • australian Teacher

INBRIEF Locals ready to roll in dream jobs new appointments

CEO Sleep Out starter

ARARAT West Primary School has welcomed a new principal and assistant principal this year, but they haven’t had to meet any new faces. Terry Keilar and Josh McDougall were able to smoothly transition into their new leadership positions at the school, having occupied various roles including acting principal and assistant principal for several years. Being offered the permanent role of principal of the Victorian school was a hard earned pat on the back for Keilar who has spent the last 11 years working at a variety of levels at the school, including the last six years as the assistant principal. “During that time I’ve acted as the principal for a period of around two years on-and-off and then towards the end of last year gained the principal position,” Keilar says. Similarly, McDougall has held a range of positions in the school, including classroom teacher, head of the Year 3-6 learning area and acting assistant principal. The pair both reside in Ararat and understand the rich community values of the area. The school caters for 230 students in 11 classrooms, and includes specialist programs in PE, visual and performing arts, Chinese Mandarin language and private music. Having had a strong relationship

Josh McDougall, left, and Terry Keilar are Ararat West Primary School’s new assistant principal and principal respectively. with the previous principal and a good rapport with the school community made it a trouble-free transition for Keilar. “We see it [the transition] as being a positive one for the school community,” Keilar says. “It’s been something that provides the community with some consistency in terms of the leadership at the school. Both Josh and I are from here and we’ve cemented our families in the town, so we believe that gives them some comfort in knowing that there’s some stability in the leadership of the school.” McDougall found that his previ-

ous leadership experience has helped him in his new role. “I’ve been a member of the leadership team so I’ve had an overall view of where the school is going, a vision,” McDougall says. “I’ve felt because of that and already leading our Year 3 to 6 area with a number of initiatives, it was a natural progression into that role. It didn’t feel like a big step, I was doing a lot of those responsibilities already.” In ensuring important programs at the school continue to run with ease, the duo are focused on programs including a new assessment and reporting process and a

self-directed learning initiative. “I have a lot of belief in the selfdirected learning program, so that is something that we run across the school,” Keilar says. “It’s around providing students with the opportunity to engage and be involved with their learning, it’s about developing their learning skills, habits and to become life-long learners.” With the help of the school’s previous principal, Keilar introduced the self-directed learning program after seeing work done through schools in Canada. However, it has been the work of McDougall and Keilor to drive the assessment and reporting process that the school is currently undertaking. “We’ve implemented our own processes as well where we now send home reports every five weeks to our parents,” Keilar explains. “We’ve increased the levels of communication to them, so they have a very clear ... understanding of what their children are working on, how well they’re achieving against those learning intentions and then what they’re going to be working on for the next five weeks. “We’re building relationships between school, home and the students and trying to create that learning environment where we all work together for the education of our children.”

DARWIN - Principal of St John’s Catholic College, David Johns, has opted to take part in this year’s Annual St Vinnies CEO Sleep Out. “These homeless men and women need our support and through the involvement of the college we are in a position to provide a future of hope for all within our community,” John says in the school newsletter.

Principal get together GLADSTONE - Two hundred and fifty school principals from around Queensland have converged on Gladstone for the biennial Central Queensland Regional Principals Conference, organised by the Department of Education. Delegates heard from a range of speakers to hone their teaching and learning techniques, while simultaneously networking.

Karvouni’s new role MELBOURNE - Auburn High School has welcomed a new principal, Maria Karvouni, who has highlighted in the school newsletter her vision to work with students, parents and staff to create a high performing government school. The new role is Karvouni’s third principal position, having spent the past four years at Charles Latrobe College in Heidelberg. Email briefs to

Just on Principal

North or south - Tassie girl up for challenge

FOR Ravenswood Heights Primary School principal Britany Roestenburg, a return to her home state of Tasmania in June 2012 after 11 years in the Kimberley and Pilbara regions of Western Australia is proving a successful, if somewhat more chilly, relocation. One of five schools that participated in the Grattan Institute’s Turning Around Schools: it can be done report, prior to 2008 Ravenswood Heights was characterised as having behaviour problems, low expectations and poor staff morale. On the Index of Community Socio-Economic Advantage the school rates in the bottom 10 per cent in Australia, with 32 per cent

of students public housing residents and a high proportion of them with additional learning needs. The focus on learning was set by a new principal in 2009, and has since been strengthened by Roestenburg in her two years at the school. ”Initially when I arrived at Ravenswood I just wanted to work out where the strengths were, what was already going well, and just to generally build relationships with students, staff and the community,” Roestenburg says. “And I guess one of the first areas that I have worked on, backed by my experience of working in remote Aboriginal communities, was around engaging parents and community. “So that’s been a fairly strong focus over the last two years and we now have amazing support, a really strong group of parents who are actively involved in school and volunteer with reading programs, breakfast programs, sport programs, all sorts of things.” Published in February this year, the Grattan Institute study found that in 2013 Ravenswood Heights Primary was able to achieve above the Tasmanian average in Grade 3 numeracy results — a result that is on par with the Australian mean score. It’s a remarkable and encouraging result that has been achieved by what the report calls ‘the five steps to improving school results

within three to five years — a strong school culture, engaging parents and the local community, strong leadership that raises expectations, effective teaching and using tests to target teaching’. “It’s been a lot of hard work by a number of people,” Roestenburg says. “There’s been, obviously by previous principals and myself, a very strong focus on developing a culture that promotes learning, so we’ve invested a lot of time in professional learning and building teachers’ capacity.” The school was fortunate enough to be a Raising the Bar and a National Partnership school, which meant significant increases in

funding. “So we were able to employ a lot more teachers, to have targeted support and to work with teachers to build their capacity to cater for the very varied needs in classes,” she says. “We have a very strong school improvement focus on number, which reflects in our NAPLAN data, … we have developed whole school languages, so we’ve got language around mental calculations that we share with our parents so that our parents can be supportive in the same language and asking the same types of questions. “So, it’s been a long process in improving results and we’re hoping that we can sustain those, but

we’re also hopeful that our data will continue to improve.” A career that has included stints at Mt Magnet north of Perth, The School Of Air, as assistant principal at Kununurra District High School, principal for two years at Burringurrah Remote Aboriginal Community, then six months as principal at Meekatharra District High, has helped shape a leadership philosophy that is big on providing students with the means with which to shine. “I believe very strongly in high expectations — that if we create opportunities for our children that they will rise to those and that every child is capable of achieving,” Roestenburg says. “I’ve been involved in making sure that we create opportunities for all children to excel and to be exposed to different opportunities. “A good example of that was last year, which was the first year we entered a team in the Tournament of Minds, so just exposing children to different situations. “So just encouraging people to take risks, to try new things and believe that they can do it. That goes for parents as well, some parents who may not necessarily have had the best experiences in education, it’s just about setting those expectations for your children that they can do well.” There’s more to this story

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Australian Teacher Magazine (July 2014)