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Vol. 9 Issue 2

March 2013 FREE

Bonus Technology in Education Magazine


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2 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013


Chalk is cheap

School buildings fail MELBOURNE, Feb 20 - About one third of Victorian public schools have buildings needing millions of dollars worth of repairs to remain safe and usable. Acting Auditor-General Peter Frost found 2042 buildings across 505 schools need urgent work. He said despite $4.5 billion of investment from the federal and state governments, a further $420 million is needed to bring all school buildings up to scratch.

Drug deal suspensions MELBOURNE, Feb 19 - Two students who allegedly planned to trade drugs on campus have been expelled from a Melbourne Catholic school. Marcellin College in Bulleen alleges one senior boy from the high school brought an illicit substance onto the school grounds with the intention of supplying it to another student. Police confirmed two Doncaster boys aged 17 and 18 are under investigation.

Charting new tech path CANBERRA, Feb 19 - ACARA has released a draft technology curriculum paper for consultation. Peter Garrett said the proposed new course of study includes information and communication, and digital technologies. The draft curriculum document is available at and open for consultation until May 10.

School worker charged ADELAIDE, Feb 15 - Another school worker has been charged with sex crimes as an inquiry continues into the state’s handling of such cases in the past. A 37-year-old from Adelaide’s southern suburbs has been charged with seven counts of unlawful sexual intercourse and two counts of indecent assault. He was bailed to appear in the Victor Harbor Magistrates Court on March 4.

Brave staff honoured WASHINGTON, Feb 15 - Barack Obama has honoured teachers and staff killed in the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. Teachers Dawn Hochsprung, Lauren Rousseau, Victoria Soto and Rachel Davino, school psychologist Mary Sherlach and teaching assistant Anne Marie Murphy died along with 20 children. They were posthumously awarded the Presidential Citizen’s Medal. Email briefs to

Touchy feel-y sessions ... page 37

Early activities THE March issue of Australian Teacher Magazine includes our first Special Report of the year. Each month we’ll focus on a different subject area, starting with Early Years Education. We report on how one Kindergarten teacher introduced technology to her students by getting them to write a regular class blog (p.28). And, we visit Ballimore Public School in rural New South Wales, where principal Lea Berry is using fun activities with a Chinese theme to capture the imagination of early years students in her mixed-age class (p.27). Next month’s Special Report looks at Languages Education, with the remaining themes for 2013: PE and Outdoor Education; The Arts; and Sustainability. If you’ve got a great classroom project or school initiative on the go we’d love to hear from you. Get in touch with the team via and you could feature in a future issue of the magazine. jo earp EDITOR

Action on school funding stand-off THE Federal Government will show states the money for schools funding reform before the April COAG meeting, education department officials have confirmed. Prime Minister Julia Gillard has called for states to pay their fair share of the additional $6.5 billion a year she says is needed to implement the Gonski overhaul. But, there’s been a stand-off over whether the states or the commonwealth should be the first to make an offer on how the money might be carved up. Speaking at an education union rally in Sydney, Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett said negotiations on the funding matter had been slow. “We need to see states coming to the table to deliver and commit,” he said. His New South Wales counterpart Adrian Piccoli shot back with a call for the Federal Government to make an offer. He added Garrett had not shared any additional details when he called education ministers to Sydney on February 1 to discuss the Gonski plans.

Peter Garrett said negotiations on school funding had been slow. “The commonwealth has been stalling for over a year; it’s time for them to give us the detail,” Piccoli said. “Minister Garrett should spend more time working

on an offer and less time staging bogus political stunts.” Ministers in Victoria and Western Australia have said the plan lacks details, which is a threat to achieving education reforms. A Senate estimates committee heard no financial offer had been made yet to the states. “That will be the process, Ms Paul, that the commonwealth will make an offer to the states?” opposition senator Brett Mason asked education department secretary Lisa Paul. “Yes,” she said. “Some time between now and COAG?” senator Mason pressed. “Yes,” Paul replied. Meanwhile, the Australian Primary Principals Association said its members fear base funding of $8000 per student won’t be enough to improve education standards in line with Federal Government expectations. The Gonski review suggested base funding of $8000 per primary student and $10,500 for secondary students, with calculations based on 2009 data.

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

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NT reshuffle

March 2013 • australian Teacher


vic strike

Elferink tells school staff to get ready for a minister who ‘gives a rat’s arse’

No love lost in pay dispute


EDUCATORS in Victoria have voted to carry out half-day rolling stoppages in Term 2, but a move to introduce 48-hour rolling stoppages during the NAPLAN test period has been rejected. Up to 30,000 principals, teachers and support staff took part in the Valentine’s Day strike, with 10,000 rallying at Melbourne’s Hisense Arena before marching to Parliament House. The strike went ahead following a failed court bid by the Victorian Government to stop it. Federal Court Justice Christopher Jessup said he had not been persuaded that the teachers’ looming industrial action would be both unprotected and unlawful. Australian Education Union Victorian branch president Meredith Peace said the industrial action was not taken lightly. “It is crucial to ensure quality teachers, principals and education support staff remain in this state and in our profession. “It is time for the State Government to treat Victoria’s public school staff with the respect they deserve and resolve this dispute without further delay.” The AEU revised its pay offer to the government in November, offering 4.2 per cent per year over three years, but it failed to resolve the dispute. Peace said the offer was compa-

THE Northern Territory’s newly appointed Minister for Education doesn’t mince words – his message for Australian Teacher Magazine readers: “be prepared for a minister who gives a rat’s arse”. Attorney-General John Elferink was handed the education portfolio in December. According to the former police sergeant, spending many years of his working life in remote areas has given him an increased awareness of the issues facing teachers and students in isolated areas. The trick, he said, is not so much getting teachers out to remote schools, but keeping them there. That means tackling feelings of isolation through an increased quality of communication between teachers and management staff.

Bonus content » “When you are sitting in the middle of nowhere and your area principal rings you up ... on a regular basis, a simple thing like that can make a big difference to the way a teacher ... in the bush feels about the way that they are being respected for what they are doing,” Elferink said.

NT education minister John Elferink had a blunt message for our readers. Although he’s only been in the role for a short time, Elferink was keen to outline his goals. “Getting kids to school is my priority, and that’s one of the great challenges here in the Northern Territory. “I would like to see a set of circumstances where parents not only are encouraged but, where necessary, obliged to get their kids to school through any number of means. And, if that means linking school attendance with welfare payments, I will explore that ...”

AEU Victorian branch president Meredith Peace addressed the rally. rable to teacher salaries in New South Wales and South Australia and in line with the deal the Victorian Government had achieved with police. State Education Minister Martin Dixon said Victoria’s teacher performance management system is broken, and that was what the strike action was about. “We’ve got a system that’s broken whereby the best teacher in the school is paid the same as the worst teacher. That’s what we

need to change and they’re the sort of issues we’re talking with the union about,” Dixon said. Teaching Minister Peter Hall added he believed good progress had been made on negotiations for a new pay deal. “I think the gap between what the union want and what the government want is narrowing and I think it is possible we can find a solution to this,” he told AAP. “But, marching in the streets of Melbourne isn’t going to help.”

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

school attendance

INBRIEF Parent fines plan

Deal rubber-stamped ADELAIDE, Feb 13 - The SA Industrial Relations Commission has certified the three-year Enterprise Agreement for schools and pre-schools. The deal negotiated with the State Government by the Australian Education Union (AEU) includes a commitment to maintain class sizes. AEU members voted to accept the deal in December.

Scissor attack charge SYDNEY, Feb 13 - A girl has been stabbed in the cheek with a pair of scissors by another girl during an argument at a school in Peakhurst. Police said the incident involved two 14-year-olds. The alleged attacker has been charged with reckless wounding and granted conditional bail. She is due to appear in court on March 5.

Youth suicide warning BRISBANE, Feb 11 - The exclusion of child suicide rates from national data is stopping progress on prevention programs, Queensland’s commission for young people has warned. The Australian Bureau of Statistics does not compile figures on the suicide of children under 15. The commission released its own data showing there were 27 suicides of children, aged 15 or younger, between January 2004 and December 2010. This accounted for 22.5 per cent of all state youth suicides. Email briefs to

VICTORIAN parents who let their children miss school without a valid reason may face a $70 fine akin to a parking ticket under a planned crackdown next year. State Education Minister Martin Dixon said the proposed laws for 2014 will target parents whose children are absent for at least five days a year, and who fail to work with schools to improve attendance. “What we’re talking about here is a minority who are away often and away for no good reason for at least five days,” Dixon told reporters in Melbourne. “Principals have said to us on a number of occasions there are always one or two families within their schools where this fine might apply.” Dixon said the fine would be a last resort and would only be issued if a parent refused to discuss with the school the reasons behind their child’s absence. The minister said legitimate excuses included illness, a limited amount of family travel or cultural celebrations, but not necessarily a child needing rest or multiple holidays. “The vast majority of parents do the right thing by their children, but we think every Victorian child needs to have that opportunity to be at school as often as possible.” Under current legislation, fines

national action

‘Worried’ Rudd calls for Indigenous education summit to meet challenge FORMER Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has called for a national summit on Indigenous education on the fifth anniversary of the National Apology to the Stolen Generation. Rudd said there are 162,000 Indigenous Australians currently of school age, many of whose literacy and numeracy skills are up to 30 per cent lower than those of non-Indigenous students. “We are turning the corner but the challenges are massive,” he told the National Apology annual breakfast at Government House in Sydney. “Summits come, summits go, conferences come, conferences go,” Rudd said.

“I know the educators get together all the time, but I am worried about this [data].” Rudd said governments should work together to arrange an Indigenous education summit “to take the great learning experiences where we are succeeding across the nation and to where we are not succeeding as well”. He told the audience this would enable authorities “to work out what are the best tailored responses to each community urban, remote, large and small”. In 2008, Rudd apologised to all Aboriginal people and the stolen generations for their “profound grief, suffering and loss”.

Martin Dixon said current laws on school absence are unworkable. can only be applied through the courts but no one has ever been pursued. Dixon said the laws are unworkable because taking somebody to court is a long process. He explained the proposed changes, which would require amendments to the Education and Reform Training Act 2006, would mean parents could “receive an infringement akin to a parking ticket, rather than having to be pursued through the courts.” Draft legislation has been released for 30 days for public comment.

Kevin Rudd said there are still massive challenges in Indigenous education.

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March 2013 • australian Teacher


14-year-old injured

Another US shooting A STUDENT opened fire at his US middle school, wounding a 14-year-old in the neck before an armed officer working there was able to get the gun away. Atlanta Police Chief George Turner said multiple shots were fired in the courtyard of Price Middle School and one boy was hit. A teacher also suffered minor cuts in the aftermath. The wounded boy was taken “alert, conscious and breathing” to Grady Memorial Hospital and was discharged later that evening. A police spokesman said charges against the shooter were pending. Police swarmed the school of about 400 students after reports of the shooting. Students were kept at the locked-down school for more than two hours before being dismissed. Investigators believe the shooting was not random and that something occurred between the two students that may have led to it. Schools Superintendent Erroll Davis said the school does have metal detectors. “The obvious question is ‘How did this [gun] get past a metal detector?’ That’s something we do not know yet.” The armed resource officer who took the gun away was off-duty and at the school. The debate on gun crime and the arming of school staff is continuing in the US.

Armed police swarmed the school in Atlanta after reports of the shooting. In Los Angeles, Fontana Unified School District police started using Colt LE6940 semi-automatic rifles this term. The district’s 14 school police officers received 40 hours of specialist training in how to use the rifles over the Christmas break. The rifles are checked out for each shift from a fireproof safe in the police force’s main office. The armed officers split their time among 44 schools in the district.

Party right initiative

Interactive website highlights dangers of alcohol THE father of a 17-year-old who died after being king hit has thrown his weight behind an initiative to warn high school students of the risks of alcohol. Seven months ago Ralph Kelly’s life was changed forever when his son Thomas was fatally punched in Sydney’s Kings Cross. In his first public speech since the teenager’s death, Kelly made an emotional plea to children at Arthur Phillip High School in Parramatta to respect each other. “Do you know what it’s like to watch your other children see their brother die?” he asked the students. “I can’t tell you what it’s like.” Thomas Kelly died from serious head injuries two days after he was allegedly king hit by 18-year-old Kieran Loveridge while out with his girlfriend in Kings Cross. His father told Thomas’s story in heart-

NT assessment NAPLAN testing results to be amended after ‘minor glitch’ NAPLAN results for thousands of students in the Northern Territory will be amended after a data processing error. The error affected about 4000 students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, Territory Education Minister John Elferink said. “There has been a minor glitch, but as the adjustments are made to correct the error the affected students will find their achievements are slightly higher.” He added that school averages will also be affected and will go up slightly. Elferink said the data processing error meant some students did not have their answers for one or two answers counted. “Of the five assessment areas, only two were affected — Grammar and Punctuation, and Reading. “Specifically, the students affected were those who were tested in Grammar and Punctuation; (Years 3, 5, 7, 9) and Reading (Years 3 and 5),” he said in a statement.

breaking detail, warning students of the life-changing consequences of alcohol. “On the 7th of July our family was like any other family,” he said. “We had dreams, a sense of excitement about school, university. That date changed our family’s lives forever, it was the date our child was mercilessly taken away from us.” The initiative Party Right is an interactive online website that aims to educate young people about the consequences and dangers of drinking alcohol. The site was developed by the NSW government’s Liquor, Racing and Gaming department and includes alcohol-related lessons, videos and games. “It’s a good step in the right direction to help curb alcohol-related violence which is out of control at the moment,” Kelly said of the program.

INBRIEF Malala vows to campaign on BIRMINGHAM (UK), Feb 8 - Pakistani schoolgirl and education campaigner Malala Yousufzai has been discharged from Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where she had been for nearly four months after being shot in the head on a school bus in October by the Taliban. The 15-year-old underwent skull-reconstruction and cochlearimplant surgery to restore her hearing. She has vowed to continue her campaign.

Concern about NSW facilities SYDNEY, Feb 12 - Students at a public school in Sydney’s inner west are being taught in the library after they were forced from a leaking demountable classroom, according to the State Opposition. Carmel Tebbutt highlighted the case of students at Balmain’s Nicholson Street Public School. The DEC said a newly-refurbished building will be installed within three weeks and more than 100 demountables at state schools would be replaced this year. Email briefs to

March 2013 • australian Teacher


10 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

Wakakirri Celebrating 21 years of stories Does your school have a story to tell? Every year Wakakirri searches for the best StoryDance created by an Australian Primary school. Wakakirri Story-Dance is a 3-7 minute story (orientation, complication, resolution) performed on stage to pre-recorded music, using a blend of creative movement and acting. You can choose any story, music and creative movement style you wish. From July to September Wakakirri holds shows in Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Wollongong, Adelaide, Perth, Melbourne, Brisbane, Caloundra and Mackay. Students perform live onstage in professional theatres to an audience of family, friends and other school communities. Wakakirri also has online options for schools in country and remote communities. Each November, schools across Australia tune to Wakakirri TV to find out which school is to be crowned ‘story teller of the year’ Wakakirri helps teachers meet many of the National Curriculum outcomes and is great way to unite your school community. Above all it is a lot of fun! Established in 1992, Wakakirri is now Australia’s largest annual arts event for primary schools involving over 20,000 students in every state and territory. Live performances and online stories reach over 1 million people each year.

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March 2013 • australian Teacher


Tas research project

A troubling transition A NEW research project aimed at improving secondary school student performance in literacy and numeracy has been launched in Tasmania. State Education Minister Nick McKim said that while primary school students were performing well in NAPLAN tests improvements were needed in the secondary years. He said the research, focusing on Years 5 to 8, will be carried out under a partnership between the state education department and University of Tasmania (UTAS). “It will run for 12 months, targeting the transition of students from primary to high school where there appears to be the greatest drop in results,” McKim said in a statement. “We will be trialling a number of different teaching approaches in the participating schools which will then be assessed by UTAS with a view to expanding the most successful programs.” McKim said it is hoped the research can develop programs that can be transferred to all government schools. “UTAS will work directly with the high schools ... along with their feeder primary schools in a combined approach — with a strong focus on teachers’ professional learning.” The participating schools are — Tasman District High School, Scottsdale High School, Scottsdale Primary School, Brid-

Tasmania’s education minister Nick McKim, back left, at the launch of a new research program targeting high school students. port Primary School, Ringarooma Primary School, Ogilvie High School, New Town High School, Bowen Road Primary School, Lenah Valley Primary School, New Town Primary School, Penguin High School, Penguin Primary School and Riana Primary School. McKim launched the program with UTAS vice-chancellor Peter Rathjen, dean of the faculty of education professor Ian Hay, and secretary of the state education department Colin Petit.

gun at school case

Judge slams teen’s father for putting many at risk A JUDGE has recorded convictions against an Adelaide father whose son fired his revolver at school. The 13-year-old boy had created a “dangerous, frightening and alarming” situation after finding the keys to the gun safe in his father’s underwear drawer, Judge Paul Rice said. The 42-year-old father pleaded guilty to possessing the unregistered .32 calibre Smith & Wesson and failing to store its ammunition away from the revolver. The judge rejected an application not to record convictions against the man, saying the offending was too serious. “I don’t want to make more of your offending than is the case, but recent events, particularly in America, readily illustrate what might happen when a gun and ammunition are obtained by young hands,” Rice

sex offences case Alleged pedophile priest pair appear in Melbourne court Former Eltham parish priest Wilfred James Baker, 76, and former Rupertswood College principal Frank Gerard Klep, 69, have appeared in the Melbourne Magistrates Court charged with numerous sex offences. Baker faces 14 charges, including two counts of buggery against a person aged under 14, one in Apollo Bay in 1969 and one in Glen Waverley, between November 1969 and November 1970. He’s also charged with five counts of indecent assault of a male, between 1966 and 1971. A further seven counts of committing an act of gross indecency in the presence of a male are alleged to have occurred between 1969 and 1971. Klep, 69, of Burwood, faces six counts of indecently assaulting a male. All alleged offences occurred in 1974 in Sunbury and Chadstone. Both men were bailed until committal hearings on May 3.

said in the South Australian District Court. He imposed an 18-month jail term, which he suspended, fined the father $500 and banned him from holding a gun licence for eight years. The man had licences for other weapons, but not for the inherited revolver. He had believed he was the only person who knew the location of the key, but Rice said the underwear drawer was “a very unimaginative hiding place”. Last year the bullied son was put on a good behaviour bond and was spared a conviction. He took the gun to school and, in front of other students, fired it in an isolated area behind some buildings. “He was first and foremost a danger to himself, his siblings and his parents,” the judge said, and added it was only luck that no one was harmed.

INBRIEF No papering over parent help SYDNEY, Feb 11 - There is nothing wrong with schools asking parents to contribute stationery supplies, New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has said. Several NSW schools, including Seven Hills North Public School, are reportedly asking students to bring additional paper to class, according to the Daily Telegraph. Piccoli said the practice is “completely normal” and is an alternative to asking parents for financial contributions.

Teen charged over stabbing SYDNEY, Feb 6- A teenager has been charged with stabbing another teen multiple times at a school in the state’s south. Police were called to a school at Karabar about 1pm where they found a boy, 16, suffering from stab wounds to his stomach and thigh. The injured boy was taken to Canberra Hospital in a serious but stable condition. A 15-year-old boy is charged with wounding a person with intent to cause serious bodily harm. Email briefs to


AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

WA election promise

INBRIEF Tackling truancy

Desktop gun trouble

FLORENCE (US), Feb 4 - An Arizona high school student has been suspended for three days after installing a picture of a gun as his desktop background on a school laptop. ABC15. com said Daniel McClaine Jr got into trouble after a teacher at Poston Butte High School, in the Florence Unified School District, spotted the photo of an AK-47 on top of a flag.

New WA indie opens PERTH, Feb 5 - A new Independent Public School has opened its doors in Perth. Butler College will cater for 1500 Year 7 to 12 students when it reaches full capacity in 2017. The $51.4 million construction is being carried out in two stages. The first stage includes an eight-classroom block, two chemistry and five multi-purpose labs, and education support facilities.

Vic teenager stabbing MELBOURNE, Feb 1 - A teenage boy has been charged over the stabbing of a 15-year-old at a school in Melbourne’s southeast. Police were called to Ashwood Secondary College at about 8.40am (AEDT) where a 15-year-old boy had received a slash wound to the upper body. Paramedics treated the victim at the school before taking him to the Royal Children’s Hospital in a stable condition. Email briefs to

WEST Australia’s opposition has promised $13.45 million for 40 officers to police truancy. Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said the 40 most needy schools would each get a trained attendance and behaviour officer if Labor won the March 9 election. A WA Labor Government would make school attendance a priority. Regular attendance would mean turning up at school at least 90 per cent of the time. According to the Department of Education’s annual reports, attendance rates among Aboriginal secondary students fell from 69 per cent in 2007/08 to 64 per cent in 2011/12. “Regular attendance is vital to a child’s success at school,” McGowan said. “No one can get a quality education if they don’t go to school in the first place.” Labor’s plan also includes the hiring of eight attendance and behaviour managers to support schools. The managers will run new attendance and behaviour units in each of the state’s eight regional education offices. The final component of the program is the establishment of an attendance and behaviour directorate to provide a whole-of-government response to truancy and behaviour in schools, the opposition revealed. McGowan said truancy was one

Mark McGowan said truancy is one of the risk factors for a young person becoming involved in crime. of the risk factors for a young person becoming involved in crime, according to international and Australian academic studies. Education has become one of the key political battlegrounds in the state election. WA Education Minister Peter Collier described as “abject nonsense” a claim by McGowan that up to a quarter of the state’s public school students achieve literacy scores at or below minimum standards. Since 2008 when Premier Colin Barnett swept to power, the state had shown the nation’s biggest improvement in NAPLAN results, Collier said. Last year, it spent almost $22 million on literacy programs, he added.

partnership queries

Central coast school principal defends education links with mining company A PRINCIPAL has defended his school’s proposed education link with a mining company. Andrew Eastcott spoke out after reports Narara Valley High School on the New South Wales Central Coast had entered into a formal partnership with NuCoal. “We’re not looking for money for the school, what we’re interested in is providing outcomes and opportunities for our students and we like to source them from wherever we can,” Eastcott told ABC radio. “At this point ... we haven’t got any money from NuCoal and we haven’t discussed money.” Eastcott said he had applied for a community grant from the company and “we’re a long way

from anything being concrete”. Fairfax reported NuCoal would spend tens of thousands of dollars to establish the Mining Academy of Education at Narara, and the Year 3 to 10 curriculums will be altered to help graduates become better equipped for work in the coal industry. Eastcott pointed out the curriculum was determined by the Board of Studies. “Any funds that we would receive from the mining industry, NuCoal in particular, would be aimed specifically at a program ... around employing our students or getting them further opportunities in that area — it has no influence on the rest of the school at all.”

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ABC Splash is your go-to website for world-class digital learning experiences. It features 100s of locally produced videos, audio clips and cool interactive games, perfectly aligned to what you’re teaching. Quite simply, it’s the best free source of Australian content about Australian things! Just Splash around to uncover engaging resources for your classroom.

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

INBRIEF Ag curriculum call farming concerns

STUTTGART (GERMANY), Feb 1 - A court has given an 18-month suspended sentence to the father of a 17-year-old who shot dead 15 people at his former school before turning the gun on himself. Joerg Kretschmer, 54, was found guilty of manslaughter and breaking gun laws. His son Tim took his father’s pistol from his bedside and used it in the March 2009 attack.

SA’s Redmond resigns ADELAIDE, Jan 31 – Isobel Redmond has resigned as Opposition Leader in South Australia two days after flagging plans to axe education jobs if a Liberal government is elected. Redmond said 1345 education bureaucrats would lose their jobs under a State Liberal Government. She said Victoria’s education department employed only 200 more staff to manage three times the number of students.

FARMERS are warning that unless agriculture is added to the school curriculum, Australia won’t have the expertise to keep the sector competitive. The National Farmers Federation (NFF) says the industry also needs more cash for research and development, a stronger relationship with animal activists and a dedicated Ministry of Food and Fibre to promote its needs. The ideas were unveiled in the NFF’s Blueprint for Australian Agriculture, the first report of its kind on the future of farming in the country. Developed by farmers, the report outlines seven critical areas for shoring up the $50 billion industry as it faces threats to its competitiveness, trade access and natural resources.

Baillieu no to changes MELBOURNE, Jan 29 - Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has rejected a suggestion students start their school year in March to avoid studying in the sweltering summer heat. Monash University education senior lecturer Dr David Zyngier said the school year could revert to three 13-week terms with two-week breaks. “It’s not something I think is going to fly, frankly,” Baillieu told 3AW. Email briefs to

The NFF has said careers in agriculture need to be promoted as rewarding and skilled.

Federation president Jock Laurie said it was time to stop procrastinating about embedding agriculture in the national school curriculum. The trend of fewer students enrolling in tertiary agriculture could worsen, with higher salaries failing to attract workers to farms, the report found. Careers in agriculture needed to be promoted as rewarding and skilled, so more children from non-farming backgrounds would want a job in farming, Laurie added. “A lot of the workforce in the end won’t be coming out of our traditional agriculturally bred people,” he said. “It will be coming out of people who see an opportunity.” The NFF hopes educating the young about farming will also help bridge the gap between city and country, especially on prickly issues such as live animal exports and environmental sustainability. Building trust in agriculture and closer ties with activist groups would also have positive outcomes, the 4000 farmers who contributed to the report concluded. “We don’t want to be in a position where we’re so far removed from the general community that we don’t understand their concerns, and they don’t understand our concerns,” Laurie said.


No jail for killer’s dad

CIRQUE Du Soleil performer Jing Han (centre), of China, and fellow performers use their feet to juggle props shaped like giant kiwi fruits during rehearsals for the show Ovo. The show depicts the world of insects and features acrobats, jugglers and aerial performers. Cirque du soleil began in 1984 and now employs more than 1300 artists. Turn to Page 27 for this month’s Special Report on Early Years Education, to read how Year 1 students in Queensland are learning literacy with the help of an apple slinky machine.

10-18 August APPLY FOR A NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK SCHOOL GRANT $SSOLFDWLRQV«RSHQ««0DUFK« What is a National Science Week school grant? Grants up to $500 are available to all schools (preschool through to senior secondary) in Australia to help them conduct science activities/events during National Science Week 10-18 August 2013. Proposed activities that involve neighbouring schools will be viewed favourably.

What kind of activities could be funded? Looking for ideas? Examples of previously funded National Science Week school activities can be found at Additional information on running a National Science Week activity in your school can be found at



March 2013 • australian Teacher • 15


AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

new minister

INBRIEF Rankine’s passion

Floods delay new start BRISBANE, Jan 28 – Hundreds of state schools in Queensland were forced to close for the start of the new term due to flooding. A total of 125 schools were closed in the North Coast zone, 50 in the Brisbane metropolitan area, 26 on the Darling Downs, 13 in Central Queensland and nine in the South East - most of those on the Gold Coast.

Schmidt’s science plea SYDNEY, Jan 26 - Nobel prize winner Brian Schmidt has said he hopes the issue of science in schools will capture the attention of politicians during the coming election year. “It’s not just about Gonski, it’s about getting highly qualified teachers,� the astronomer and astrophysicist said. Schmidt added that one in three or one in four students in Australian schools are not getting good science teaching.

Gay teacher tweet row BRISBANE, Jan 24 - Queensland senate candidate Bernard Gaynor has had his nomination withdrawn and been stood down from Katter’s Australian Party after controversial comments that he did not homosexuals teaching his children. Gaynor tweeted “I wouldn’t let a gay person teach my children and I am not afraid to say it. Parents should have discretion over who teaches their children.� Email briefs to

New South Australian Education Minister Jennifer Rankine is excited to have taken on such an “enormous responsibility�. COMING to an agreement with the Federal Government on Gonski and embarking on a new literacy and numeracy program are two major priorities for new South Australian Education Minister, Jennifer Rankine. Since taking on the portfolio in January, Rankine has realised the big challenges that lie ahead. “It’s a vast department and takes in the home visiting program, support for parents, early childhood intervention programs, child protection, child care, preschool and schools right through to Year 12,� she told Australian Teacher Magazine. “So it’s an enormous responsibility, but certainly an exciting one.� Having been a member of par-

liament since 1997 and a minister since 2006, Rankine said she has been a regular visitor at both the public and private schools and kindergartens in her electorate. “And I’ve had various portfolios ranging from local government now up to education. [I have] some considerable background in the early childhood and child protection [area], both of which I was incredibly passionate about.� In the coming year, Rankine has set a goal for herself: to ensure parents are confident in the success of the state schooling system. “What I would most like to see is successful implementation of Gonski, and I want to see improvement in the outcomes for students in our schools.�

safety review

US teenagers lose fingers after rope snaps in school tug-of-war accident TWO US teenagers had some of their fingers ripped off when a school tug-of-war contest went horribly wrong. The senior students, a girl and a boy, were said to be in a stable condition in hospital after the lunchtime accident at California’s South El Monte High School. The incident happened when the rope that was wrapped around their hands snapped. Both teenagers underwent surgery to reattach the fingers, but authorities have not revealed how successful the procedures were, or how many fingers were lost. “At this point, I cannot disclose the outcome of the surgery, but this morning the kids are in stable condition,� University of Southern California Medical Centre spokeswoman Rosa Saca told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune. The girl involved is a varsity soccer player, while the boy plays football, the newspaper reported. “I think the kids wrapped their hands around the rope, and when they pulled the rope broke, and the fingers went with [it],� one female schoolmate told KTLA5 television. Police have said there will be no criminal investigation because the injuries were accidental. El Monte Union High School District assistant superintendent Edward Zuniga said he did not

School district officials are now reviewing safety policies. know how many other people were taking part in the tug-of-war at the school, east of Los Angeles. KTLA reported that 40 to 50 people were involved and watching when the accident occurred. It said the school decided to continue its Spirit Week celebration activities, although counsellors were on hand for any students who need to talk to someone. Classmates made a get well soon banner and hung it on campus. School district officials are now reportedly reviewing safety policies to determine if tug-of-war should be allowed in the future.

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Wednesday 13 March 2013 Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street, Melbourne

The Whitlam Institute

within the University of Western Sydney is a dynamic public policy institute that commemorates, and is inspired by the life and work of one of Australia’s most respected Prime Ministers, The Hon. Gough Whitlam AC QC. Resources and opportunities for teachers and students include: • The annual What Matters? writing competition for NSW/ACT students • Primary sources in the Whitlam Prime Ministerial E-Collection • Online exhibitions such as Whitlam and China • School visits to the Whitlam Institute (from October 2013) • Our research on High Stakes Testing, Federalism and Education, and Young People and Democracy More information and registration EFTJHOJOHMFBSOJOHDPNBVt

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australian Teacher • March 2013

the hard word

We need teachers to provide ‘right’ education

Greg Whitby, executive director of schools, Catholic Education Diocese of Parramatta THERE has been discussion recently in the media about the future of the school laptop program with the New South Wales Government seeking a funding guarantee from the Commonwealth to replace outdated computers.

What is important to remember is that this program under the Rudd-Gillard Government’s 2008 Digital Education Revolution was an initiative of its time. Five years ago, many schools were still grappling with the introduction of new technology such as laptops. Although the Federal Government recognised the importance of students having access to contemporary learning tools in a digital age, the program put the cart before the horse, or the tools before the teaching. The ‘revolution’ did not address the core issues of contemporary schooling — such as teacher quality and development or curriculum and assessment. In 2013, we are challenged to find new solutions as we begin moving from a 1:1, to a 1 to many and Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) environment. Wireless or wifi is becoming increasingly pervasive and, in the last few years, we have seen exponential growth of next generation technologies such

as tablet computers and smartphones. The saturation of mobile technologies in society has not only helped shape our understanding of the potential of these tools within the learning space but, importantly, our understanding of today’s learners. Young people do not see technology as a tool but fundamental to how they communicate, entertain, share and learn. Schools both here and overseas are beginning to question the viability of 1:1 technology when the vast majority of students and teachers now have at least two mobile devices (for example iPhone and iPad). According to the 2012 Horizon Report K-12, apps are the “fastest growing dimension of the mobile space in the K-12 sector”. In the future, these devices will become much smaller, more powerful, more mobile and more embedded.

So, how must schools respond? In reality, schools will never be able to keep pace with emerging technologies so our focus needs to be on building the knowledge and skills of every teacher in order to meet the needs of today’s learners. Michael Fullan, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto stated in his 2011 paper Choosing the wrong drivers for whole system reforms that “no successful country became good through using technology at the front. Without pedagogy in the lead technology may be driving us to distraction, with the child’s digital world detached from the school world. Technology will be a dramatic accelerator if we can put instruction and skilled, motivated teachers and students in the lead.” As leaders and educators, we need to be reflecting on key questions such as: What are the pedagogies that will best serve today’s learners? What will help develop clear thinking, discerning and creative problem solvers? How can we fully utilise

the tools to enrich these pedagogies and facilitate the acquisition of new knowledge and skills? In a recent opinion piece for the New York Times (January 29), Thomas L Friedman concedes that to be successful in the knowledge age, it will be “vital to have more of the ‘right’ education than less, that you will need to develop skills that are complementary to technology rather than ones that can be easily replaced by it.” We need teachers who are able to provide more of the ‘right’ education – who are problem-solvers and critical thinkers themselves, who can work collaboratively and utilise the tools to create learning experiences that are more personalised, relevant and responsive to today’s world. How should schools be responding to changing technologies? Email

Help inspire future environmental leaders Through the Target Kids Teaching Kids Program we have helped more than 66,000 kids across Australia learn about and take practical action on local environmental issues that are relevant to them. Teachers, parents and students visit to register to take part in this great, free, peer education program. There’s even teacher relief funding and school grants available.

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March 2013 • australian Teacher • 19


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20 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

POSITIVE SCHOOLS 2013 Mental Health Wellbeing Conference &

bringing positive education alive in all Australian schools








Love to Learn

“There will be many conference opportunities this year for educators, but this is simply unmissable. Positive Schools in 2013 brings together some of the best and brightest speakers I know - all in 2 stellar days! This has the most thought provoking, entertaining and informative line up, I have seen for ages! Book early."

Michael Carr-Gregg

Positive Schools Ambassador

30-31 MAY 2013

V IC 6-7 JUNE 2013

Melb Brisbane ou nade Espla l Convention Conve rne e t ntio o H Centre C le entre n ant Frem

Posit 103 ive sc

23-24 MAY 2013


Ment hools al H

& Wellbein ealth


With Kerry O’Brien

nferen g Co ce 2


Learning to Flourish


Positive Teacher

Awards 2013

Register ONLINE

Right side.pdf 1 18/02/2013 9:58:51 AM


23-24 MAY 2013


QLD 30-31 MAY 2013

The M

The AB C

Melb Brisbane o nade Conv urne Espla l Convention entio Hote e n Centre Cent antl re Frem



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Jason Clarke










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6-7 JUNE 2013


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March 2013 • australian Teacher • 21

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Love t

Bianca Orsini

Maggi eDent


o Learn


Sue Roffey

ott Dorothy Hoddin


Tim Sharp

Justin Rob

ngage, nspire, gnite


Helen Street

Jeff Kennett

Andrew Martin

Alicia Ke


Day One Main Stage: The first day of Positive Schools 2013 will showcase a total of ten main stage presentations in every state. The main stage opens with Andrew Fuller giving us Guerilla Tactics for Teachers and closes with acclaimed author, Maggie Dent, who dares us ‘To Be An Exceptional Teacher’. Dorothy Hoddinott inspires us with her journey to the Australian Educators medal, St Peters College shows us how each school subject can incorporate strategies for improved success. Jeff Kennett and Brian Graetz lead beyondblue into the classrooms and The Positive Teachers of 2012 offer us courage to go with our convictions. Love to Learn with Kerry O’Brien: On Day Two, the national face of ABC TV, Kerry O’Brien hosts a day that asks ‘how do we

instill a love of life long learning in the classroom and school community?’ Kerry is one of Australia’s most formidable interviewers and highly acclaimed hosts. Dr Happy aka Tim Sharp will prioritize happiness. Jason Clarke keeps the whole class focused. Michael Carr-Gregg eases the pressure leading to year twelve. Andrew Martin keeps us afloat with academic buoyancy and Helen Street offers punishing rewards.

The Workshops: Twelve solutions focused workshops offer a wide range of up-to-date information and practical strategies and solutions. The Happy School program will be launching with an inaugural session in each state. The Jane Goodall Institute introduces their humane education program. Geelong Grammar shows us how to flourish in every school and KidsMatter and MindMatters update us on whole school advances to wellbeing.

The Staff Room: A new concept in conference participation. With open access for all delegates, the staff room offers the opportunity for you to meet presenters face to face, to share a chat or ask a specific question.

The Notes: In 2013 The Positive Schools Team want to make sure you have access to all

available presenter notes and recommended readings. Visit the specific notes page on The Positive School website for access to all available material.

The Hypothetical: Adding intrigue and lively debate to the main stage, this innova-

tive hypothetical unravels under the watchful eye of popular psychologist Michael CarrGregg. Delegates will see a fresh multidisciplinary team of six panel members in every state. ABC talkback lawyer David Whiting joins the panel in Melbourne, Canon Richard Pengelley takes the stage in Perth and Radio 4BC presenter Greg Carey represents the media in Brisbane. “[Positive Schools] is fantastic! In 24years of teaching I have not enjoyed a conference as much and never come away feeling so energised and empowered!” Fran Higgins, Ferny Grove Senior High School Michael Carr-Gregg Visit for more details on all of these and other presenters, more information about 2013 highlights, a full timetable and registration information. PH 08 9388 8843 FX 08 9388 8848. All days are fully catered inc a sumptuous hot buffet lunch, delegate satchel, givaways and more.

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australian Teacher • March 2013


Caption competition

An insider’s view of teaching

This month there will be not one, but three caption competition winners. The best captions will each win a copy of Bully, an emotional, award-winning documentary filmed in US schools by Lee Hirsch. The DVD is released on March 6.

School camp is not a holiday NEXT time I have the pleasure of attending a school camp I must remember to clock off at 4pm and enjoy the free time. Maybe head to the beach for a leisurely swim, enjoy a latte, or catch up on some reading. Well, that is what Dr Jim Watterston of the School Education Group believes teachers do on camp. In a ridiculous comment made in a memo to school principals, he suggested that when students finish afternoon activities teachers are no longer on duty, but able to enjoy free time. I am staggered by the blatant ignorance of this assertion. Clearly the eminent Dr Watterston has never been on a school camp. Now, over the years I have attended more than my fair share of camps. Never have I attended thinking I can have free time, but always with the understanding that I have a duty of care 24/7. If you attend a school camp you are never off duty, always responsible, and ever attentive. Even during the night hours when students are supposedly sleeping. What’s more, to attend camp and provide a positive experience for students, I leave my family, and sacrifice time I value greatly. I leave my own children, to spend time with the children of other parents, and put aside any needs and responsibilities I may have outside normal school hours for a week, sometimes longer. I also attend knowing I will have very little sleep for the week (surprisingly students tend to stay awake for hours talking). Comments like those made by Dr Watterston serve only to demean and undermine the work of teachers, making school camps sound like some sort of a holiday. In fact, based on this comment many teachers might choose to never attend camp again, after all they are voluntary activities, and no teacher can be compelled to attend. The other thing Watterston may have achieved by his ill-informed comments is to increase the resolve of teachers and the [Victorian Education Union] to hold firm and continue the fight for better conditions. It is clearly time to draw a line in the sand and advocate for better conditions in recognition of the valuable work teachers do.


LAST MONTH’S RESULT And the winner is ... Debbie Walker for this:

WITHIN hours of announcing the election date, Julia Gillard was out on the campaign trail trying to secure every vote possible. Here she is explaining the Minerals Resources Rent Tax to Harold the giraffe. We jest of course. The PM paid a visit to Yates Primary School in Sydney to launch a new cyber education program. Come up with a caption to be in with a chance of winning a fantastic DVD prize this month – see the right hand panel. You can either email your entry to, or leave a comment on our caption competition web page at Closing date for entries is March 14. Good luck.

Peter: “We had such a good response from the addition of the robot in the History VCE paper, we’ve decided to bring them into the classroom. Now, if we could just get them to stop trying to bring down heads of state… “ Best of the rest: Julia: “Oh Generator, please confirm that I am the biggest spark of all” - Paul Burns

Web (Comments)

Twitter (Tweets)

VIC: 30,000 teachers striking

@OzTeacherMag: There’s nothing wrong with schools asking parents to supply stationary for their child’s classroom Adrian Piccoli says http://

Kristian While I understand that the teachers need to strike in order for their demands to be noticed, I noticed an alarming amount of things about the horde, in the CBD, that needs to be addressed. These people who are supposed to be teaching the youth about following directions, interacting with fellow human beings and observing the world around them, were all displaying a distinct lack of ability in all these areas. You could not walk anywhere in Bourke Street today without a wall of teachers walking in one direction. No consideration given to anyone other than themselves ... Do these people deserve a pay rise if they cannot even display common decency, let alone teach it?

Death of the IWB? (Term 4 Technology in Education supplement)

Brian Eggemeyer, Iroquois West school district, US I just read [Richard Lambert’s] article... I agree with most of your points pertaining to classrooms needing to be flexible and how IWB’s aren’t the best fit for every age group and subject. However, I am curious as to which brand of IWB you have used in the past. We use SMART SB680 WB’s (approx. $1,500) with $650 ceiling mounted projectors. That’s a total of $2,300 including cabling, but not labour to install. Thanks. James Wilding, Academic Principal, Claires Court Schools, Maidenhead (UK) Many thanks for your thought provoking [article], much of which I like. Our school has gone Google Apps for Education, and we have enough Chromebooks to support learning – some 400 across about 700 of the right age upwards (8 to 18). Your iPad story and costings work even better with these. No need for IWB as we have Google Draw or Conceptboard to save to drive and then share with students. Collaborative learning has never been easier ...

VIC: Doctored exam pic creates storm (ATM Dec)

Roland Gesthuizen A BattleTech Marauder would have sealed the fate of the October revolution. Could inspire a new generation of science-fiction writers :-)

QLD: Gay candidate sparks teacher debate

Jesse Wow! this is unbelievable, my brother is also a teacher, and he is in a same-sex relationship of over 15 years. He is a fantastic educator and has won many awards for his work in schools and any parent who is lucky enough to have him teach their childs class should be ecstatic. Homophobia like this has no place in Australia these days. Post a web comment at

@jboyded: @OzTeacherMag Appalling but indicative of Liberal attitudes. Be afraid at a federal level, be very afraid! @OzTeacherMag: Victorian parents face a $70 fine for keeping children home from school html... @Dot_Hep: @OzTeacherMag is this what the Vic gvt are using to increase teacher pay?? @OzTeacherMag: We learned clocks at Grand Central Station are set one minute fast permanently to stop people making a last minute rush for trains#WHWLTW @banshen153: @OzTeacherMag #WHWLTW no matter what school you are at, the bottom class is still very challenging! @IndiBlu: Why aren’t any Frankston schools on strike?! #aeu RT@OzTeacherMag 30k Vic school staff set to #teacherstrike tomorrow au/html... @simreilly: Loved listening to our Y2 teachers talk with pride about their provocation for current UOI during a phone interview with @OzTeacherMag #pyp Follow us on Twitter @ozteachermag

“Ah yes, be prepared, and I presume your readers are largely the educators themselves, be prepared for a minister who gives a rat’s arse,” – NT Education Minister John Elferink’s message to Australian Teacher Magazine readers.

Letters IN PRAISE OF PARAEDUCATORS Melenna Krenmayr, Learning Enrichment Teacher’s Aide, NSW ARE you a teacher? No, I’m a teacher’s aide. A what?! Yes, this is my life, albeit a very welcome one due to a mid-career change and an overwhelming desire to do something meaningful in my daily work. This is my new career – working alongside teachers with primary school-aged children in their formative years. No mean feat, but a truly engaging profession. So, what is a teacher’s aide? It is many things, depending on the day, time and class – learning, teaching, engaging, listening, counselling and wrangling – in equal parts. Does that add up correctly? Welcome to numeracy support – an important element of the equation. Would you like phonics with that? Hmmm, literacy support – just as important. Does my collage look big in this? Creative elements abound during art classes. A recent article from the USA referred to Teacher’s Aides as paradeducators – the inference being that we are paraprofessionals. That is, working in tandem with teaching staff to engage and, well, educate. Confucius might have said, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”, but it was Eminem who rapped, “Look, if you had one shot or one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip? Yo”. Yes, Marshall Mathers III was truly the inspiration for my career change! And why not? If it’s good enough for Slim Shady, it’s good enough for me. It is true that being a Teacher’s Aide is as engaging and delightful as it seems. Each day brings a new beginning, while building on existing personal and professional relationships with teachers, students and parents. Each day involves comprehending teachers’ learning programs, while imparting my love of learning. And what better way to make a living and leave a legacy. You can’t rap for more than that!

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March 2013 • australian Teacher



ranking score poor indication OUR Cover Story highlights the complexity of the debate around improving teacher quality by raising ATAR cut-offs for undergraduate teacher education courses. Although you won’t hear many people argue against raising the bar to ensure we attract the best candidates, looking at a high school graduate’s ATAR score in isolation is not the answer. The academics we interviewed flagged some of the reasons why simply focusing on one ranking score is fraught with danger. The first thing to remember is that the ATAR cut-off is not an average — it represents the candidate with the lowest score who was accepted onto the course. A cut-off of 55 could mean the majority of applicants actually had an ATAR above 60, or 70 ... similarly a course with a cut-off of 90.00 may include candidates with ‘bonus credits’ — without detailed figures it becomes something of a guessing game. It’s therefore impossible to

compare cut-off requirements between institutions if — as Australian Catholic University vice-chancellor professor Greg Craven suggests — the figures lack transparency and are easy to fix. And, it’s clear that supply and demand also play a crucial role in the first round and final cut-off. The same university can offer the same course on two different campuses but the ATAR requirement can differ by 30 points, depending on the location. As professor Brenda Cherednichenko, president of Australian Council of Deans of Education, points out, teaching is an extremely large profession with many workplace settings that reach far beyond school classrooms. “... and many factors come into play — to pin it back to ATAR as the only indicator of success or lack of seems to be naive at best,” she says. It’s interesting to note that we haven’t seen the same debate in relation to other professions. Would it surprise you to hear the 2013 cut-offs included a

required 55.00 for a Bachelor of Biomedical Science — incidentally you’d need 65.00 to study a Bachelor of Education at the same institution. Or, what about 50.45 for a Bachelor of Business (Accounting)? What do these raw figures prove? ATAR does have some value. By all means let’s consider it when recruiting would-be teachers ... then look beyond the numbers. ‘ATAR not the only ...’ page 24

NBN’s powerful ways MANY of you will have heard the phrase “it’s not the technology, it’s what you do with it that counts”, or words to that effect, in staff meetings and PD sessions. Having high-speed broadband access sounds great, but does it actually make a difference in the classroom? The results of a report into the impact of the national broadband network in schools suggest it does. The three-month study spoke to 60 teachers at two schools, including Adelaide’s Willunga

High School — featured in our Technology in Education magazine cover story last year about the NBN. In the report, Willunga High School principal Janelle Reimann talks about a “revolutionary change” and even goes as far to say students who were getting Cs are now getting top grades. Teachers who took part in the study were equally impressed — 79 per cent think the superfast broadband will allow them to teach in “more powerful ways” while seven out of 10 think it will lead to an increase in the “quality and relevance” of teaching. But, it’s not as simple as plugging in a cable or flicking a switch. The report also details the preparations that took place prior to Reimann’s school getting connected. Supporting staff is important in any change, so it’s great to see teachers were given training and guidance on how to make the best use of the digital tools at their disposal. The school also developed a team of ‘eLearning Champions’

to help drive best practice. The early feedback through this report suggests that both students and teachers are certainly reaping the benefits. ‘Broadband speed...’ page 46

Raider of a lost art HISTORY teacher Michelle Hampson is a fantastic example of an educator who has a real thirst for knowledge and a passion for lifelong learning. Her 100,000 word thesis for a PhD in Egyptology took 10 years to complete as Hampson juggled part-time study with a full-time role in the classroom. Her enthusiasm when she talks about this Indiana Jones-style chapter in her life certainly shines through. She also makes a great point that a postgraduate qualification doesn’t always have to be about a promotion or pay rise ... there are other rewards. ‘Hampson’s Indiana...’ page 58 jo earp

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cover story australian Teacher • March 2013

Introduction All of the numbers on the front cover of Australian Teacher Magazine are ATAR cut-offs for teacher education courses in 2013. A quick glance highlights the fact that the requirements for applications vary dramatically — not only from university to university, but also between campuses offering the same course. Opinions on the issue also vary dramatically. Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett has previously pointed out that university entrance scores aren’t the only, or best indicator, of whether a student will go on to be a good teacher. His state counterpart in New South Wales, Adrian Piccoli, has called for a minimum ATAR of 50 for teacher education courses and suggested schools limit training places as a way of combating the national oversupply of new teachers. In this month’s Cover Story, JO EARP, looks beyond the raw scores and weighted rankings and explores some of the issues behind this complex debate, including: supply and demand; credit points; claims of false reporting; the standard of students entering the profession through alternative pathways; and the call to set a minimum ATAR requirement for pre-service teachers.

Q&A with ROBYN EWING professor of teacher education and the arts, associate dean (academic programs), University of Sydney. Why does your university have such a high ATAR score for teacher education courses (90.05 for the Education (Primary Education) degree)? The demand to study teacher education at the [university] is high.  Do you believe we need to move towards a minimum ATAR score for teacher education courses across the country? An ATAR score is only applicable to recent school leavers entering undergrad teacher education courses. I think it is very simplistic to only think about entry into teacher education via an ATAR score. A large proportion of applicants are postgraduates. Many are deciding to teach after undertaking other careers. There are

also other pathways for mature age students etc. Do you know the percentage of students who actually get well above the ATAR score minimum at your university? It would vary from year to year, but it is disappointing that the minimum is always the focus. High achievers with ATARS above 95 also choose to teach. Should we instead be concentrating on the outcomes [when preservice teachers graduate] rather than the ATAR? The outcomes should be an important focus. All students will complete four or five years of tertiary study before they are qualified.

What is the ATAR? The Australian Tertiary Admission Rank, commonly known as ATAR, is a percentile ranking relative to the performance of the rest of a Year 12 cohort, calculated according to the number of students who entered Year 7. It is based on an aggregate of scaled marks in a range of subject units, including English. Study subjects can get scaled up or down according to the strength of competition. An ATAR of 60 means the student is in the top 40 per cent. It’s used in every state and territory, except for Queensland — which uses the OP (Overall Position) system.

ATAR not the only indicator THE debate around ATAR requirements for teacher education courses is a distraction for tertiary institutions, according to the president of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. Deakin University professor Brenda Cherednichenko says building quality professionals — over the course of four years in the case of an undergraduate degree — is the focus for teacher educators. “Do we want an educated society? Absolutely. Is the ATAR one indicator of someone’s capability? Absolutely. Is it the only indicator? No. Does it mean they can’t keep learning? No,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Cherednichenko, pictured right, makes clear her desire for all teachers to be very well educated, but points out that the ATAR is not the end of that education. “I think our mission and our purpose [as universities] is to add value and to graduate people who are ready for professions, and so much better hopefully than what they were when they came in. “If we know what it means [then] by all means let’s talk about a cutoff, but people talk about cut-offs and they have no sense of what they’re actually cutting off. “What do you call a cut-off? 70.00? 60.00? So, under 60.00 — 60 per cent of the whole Year 12

cohort across the country could never ever be teachers, is that what they’re saying? “Or, are we acknowledging that there are some students, and it’s a small number, who come with a lower ATAR that are worth a chance, they’re worth the opportunity to study for four years and demonstrate their capability in the area? “[Also] plenty of high school graduates come into teacher education with ATAR scores of 90/95 and above.” The media debate around Australian universities’ ATAR cut-offs has only ever focused on teacher education courses. Ballarat

University hit the headlines after the 2013 cut-off for its Bachelor of Education course at the Melbourne campus came in at 43.35. Interestingly, a spokesman confirmed the university had also made offers to some students with ATARS around 45 for business and psychology courses. Cherednichenko agrees that the debate on ATAR cut-offs only seems to be occurring in relation to teacher education. “I don’t know, but I’m imagining there are people in quite senior positions across various aspects of our community who don’t have a university qualification. So, there’s a question. Why is it that this is so interesting in education?” Again, she adds that of course teachers should be well educated, but when we concentrate our focus on ATAR “only 10 per cent can ever be in the top 10 per cent”. “I think that what’s first needed is some deep understanding by the general community about what ATAR actually is. “It’s not a bad thing of itself, it’s something we’ve got, it’s an indicator. And, as an indicator, like any other statistic, it provides us with a set of data and we need to unpick the assumptions behind it and understand what the contradictions are in there, and then work from that basis.”

“It is not necessarily a fact that someone who is academically smart makes a better teacher than someone who isn’t,” – Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett commenting on the ATAR debate.

Is it open and transparent? “PUT simply, university cut-offs are as easy to rig as a bush picnic race meeting.” This was just one of the arguments put forward by Australian Catholic University (ACU) vicechancellor Greg Craven in a speech last year calling for a more transparent system. “The issue is not whether the students in question are acceptable, but whether their selection was open and transparent,” professor Craven, pictured right, told the National Press Club. The ACU has called for reform in this area. In a new submission to the Senate Teaching and Learning Inquiry it also points out the ATAR does not necessarily indicate a student’s strength in subjects such as science, history, or drama. ACU’s director of government, policy and strategy, Julian Leeser says, more than any other university, it has run the campaign against a minimum ATAR. “The first thing is that it doesn’t measure the key qualities that you need to be a good teacher, it’s just a rank. It doesn’t tell you anything about whether a particular person is fit for purpose for being a teacher,” Leeser says. “The second thing is that if you

set a minimum ATAR of 70.00 the pipeline of new teachers being created for schools in Australia would just dry up ... you wouldn’t be able to fill the places.” The university operates a bonus point system where applicants can be given credit on top of their ATAR score. On the subject of transparency, Leeser says ACU’s figures are real and there are other institutions that have real ATARs, but for others it is “just a marketing device”. Like other institutions, ACU

offers the same teacher education course at several campuses. Supply and demand means the ATAR cutoffs differ greatly — 59.30 for the Bachelor of Education (Primary) course at its Canberra Signadou campus and 86.00 for the course at its Sydney Strathfield campus. “In a regional market you might have a tenth the number of schools than a metropolitan one, so you’ll have a lower ATAR because the demand in that market is lower,” Leeser explains.

cover story 25

Other entries besides ATAR THERE are many different pathways into teacher education, including already highly-skilled and highly-educated professionals who opt for a career change. “Something that’s hardly understood outside of the ATAR debate [is that] there’s a whole cohort of people that come in without an ATAR score that are change of career teachers, or they’re people that have been in another degree and dropped out and come back,” John Loughran, dean of the faculty of education at Monash University, says. “They tend to be the higher

performers — often even better than the highest ATAR students — because something changes, they know why they want to be at university and they become much more motivated and thoughtful learners. “Then there’s another category as well — those people who had too low an ATAR to begin with, and they do things like DoTS (Diploma of Tertiary Studies) or they go to TAFE and they use that as a pathway into university. Our DoTS students in particular are some of the most highly [performing] students in our courses.”

With regard to ATAR cut-offs, Loughran says one of the important things to remember is that they don’t reflect the scores of everyone on the course — only the lowest ATAR accepted. “So, our Bachelor of Arts [Education] for example, I think our ATAR was about 85 this year. I think between 85 and 87 we had something like about 10 per cent of our students, and all the rest are above that. So, it’s only an indication of the bottom but not of the percentage or the distribution.” Loughran says no education faculty wants to have low scoring ATARs in their courses, but university quotas can sometimes have a dramatic effect. “All of these things become really complicated and in many cases the faculties of education that were being criticised in the media recently ... their deans may not even have had a choice about what was going on, because if their university said ‘You need this many students’ then the ATAR is a complete reflection of where you draw the line to get that many. “... in some of those other universities, when quotas aren’t met in other faculties, education and nursing tend to be the ones that are asked to increase their student numbers — therefore their ATARs go down.”

“ATAR scores range from less than 50 to the high 90s. Below 50 is not the kind of score that we want for school teachers,” New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Picolli.

Positive rural discrimination GIVING bonuses to certain students is one of the ways universities accept applicants who don’t meet the minimum ATAR cut-off for a particular course. Professor Jo-Anne Reid is associate dean, teacher education, at Charles Sturt University. She says there is a documented history of education disadvantage for students in rural locations, where often schools don’t offer certain subjects, or there is a higher turnover of staff. “So, students coming from many rural schools don’t have the opportunity to have the offering at high school level that will allow them to get a huge ATAR — it doesn’t mean that they’re not good students, it just means that the circumstances of geography do disadvantage them,” Reid, pictured, says. “And so, at Charles Sturt we are very keen to provide the best sort of teachers for rural schools, and to do that you really need people who are prepared to live and work in rural communities. To stop that cycle of educational disadvantage, [we give a bonus to] students who come from rural schools. “They may not have 70 in their ATAR, but if they have grown up in a rural community, who under-

stand what it’s like for those kids and who are prepared to do the work to meet the entry requirements once they get in, then we’re very happy to discriminate — it’s positive discrimination for rural kids in that way, and similarly for Aboriginal candidates.” Reid says Charles Sturt is not alone in supporting candidates who may not be in the top 30 per cent but are prepared to do the work to meet the exit standard. “They don’t get a different course, they have to just work harder – it takes them longer, it often means

that they have to keep working while studying because it takes them longer, but those sorts of people are exactly the sorts of teachers that we need to grow and allow to be excellent teachers.” Reid is also keen to make the distinction between undergraduate and postgraduate pathways. “At Charles Sturt University we have ... people coming in to do a postgrad with PhDs, who want to be teachers and who are studying part-time by distance to do it because they can’t give up their jobs. “Those alternate pathways into teaching produce some of the best quality candidates and that is the postgraduate, part-time offering. But, again, they have to meet exactly the same standards as everybody else when they finish.” On the call from NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli for a minimum teacher ATAR of 50, Reid says “at the moment they have a shortage so they are actually able to say ... we need to select the best,” adding “the more we take in the better the selection processes can be, but there’s something ethically uncomfortable about allowing students to enter courses from which there is no guaranteed job at the end of it.”

March 2013 • australian Teacher

atar ed cut-offs: Monash University Bachelor of Primary Education

, ,



71.60 76.05

University of Ballarat Bachelor of Education




University of Sydney Education (Primary Education)

, 90.05


Curtin University Bachelor of Secondary Education




Australian Catholic University Bachelor of Education (Primary)

, 59.30 , 86.00



Charles Sturt University Bachelor of Education (K-12-Middle School)


Albury/ Wodonga


26 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

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March 2013 May 2012

National news

Students at Ballimore Public School tuck in to their Chinese New Year banquet.

Our Chinese New Year AS the teaching principal of a small rural school with one multistage class, Lea Berry provides plenty of themed activities that can be accessed across the different age ranges. Chinese New Year celebrations were a great way for Berry and her students at Ballimore Public School — 34 kilometres northeast of Dubbo, New South Wales — to start the term. The class is made up of 11 junior students in Kindergarten to Year 2 and five primary students in Years 3 to 5, and the celebration lent itself perfectly to early years activities. “Students have made colourful zodiac sun catchers which adorn the classroom windows,” Berry explains. “Our [early years] chil-

special report

dren have drawn the rat, pig, dog or rooster to represent the year in which they were born, and primary students have depicted the monkey and goat. “Everyone has made a snake sun catcher (2013 is the Year of the Snake) and, as light streams through the windows, the colours glow and the animals bring happiness to our classroom.” The school has celebrated Chinese New Year for the last few years and Berry says the banquet lunch is always a highlight of the day. “Students learn to use chopsticks and rice bowls. They also drink apple juice from Chinese tea cups. [This year] we all sat at a communal table which was covered with butcher’s paper.”

An added touch of creativity involved youngsters designing their own placemats by drawing the Chinese zodiac animal that relates to their birth year. Berry also introduced students to some basic phrases over the meal. “We called the apple juice ‘cha’ which is the Chinese word for tea [and it] was poured from a beautiful Chinese teapot embellished with a dragon design. The children replied share share (thank you) or boo share (no thankyou) when presented with the tasty dishes.” Traditionally at Chinese New Year, children receive gifts of money in red envelopes from parents and grandparents. “At Ballimore, each child receives a lucky red envelope and a pair of bamboo chopsticks as

a memento of the celebration.” To round off the day, the class watched dragon and lion dances on the interactive whiteboard and read the Fang Fang stories by Australian author Sally Rippin – Fang Fang’s Chinese New Year and Speak Chinese, Fang Fang! Berry also created a stimulating environment to help with thematic discussion, language, writing, number and art activities, adorning the classroom with Chinese silk paintings and paper lanterns, embroidered silk and bamboo fans, red envelopes, Vietnamese dolls, jade dragons, banners with Chinese characters, books and travel brochures. The youngsters are planning to round off their study unit by making their own paper lanterns.

COMPULSORY pre-primary education has swung into action in Western Australia, and education officials say the feedback from parents is positive. Garry Hewitt, the WA education department’s executive director, early childhood development and learning, said an estimated 23,400 pre-primary children started their first year of compulsory schooling in the government sector this term. “Pre-primary is an important year in a child’s development because it involves a mix of play-based and instruction-based learning for children,” Hewitt said in a statement. “Research tells us that children learn best when there is a balance between the two. “While we have always had a very strong enrolment rate among pre-primary children, we’re now sending a clear message to parents that children need to attend on a daily basis to get the most from their schooling. “Feedback from schools is that parents have embraced this change very positively.” Pre-primary aims to build on skills learned in Kindergarten, and Hewitt says while this stage of schooling is not compulsory, enrolling in Kindergarten is also vital for child development. The State Government announced its decision to make pre-primary compulsory in WA government schools in December 2011. Next month’s Special Report will look at projects focusing on Languages Education.

earlyyearseducation INBRIEF Young bloggers connect with world


australian Teacher • March 2013

woodenbong wonders

Sandy Strait write on

HERVEY BAY – Early years students at Queensland’s Sandy Strait State School have a busy term ahead. Preps are exploring stories, then extending their thinking by changing some of the characters. In Year 1, youngsters will learn sentence skills before testing their skills by creating a short presentation. Meanwhile, their Year 2 counterparts will be exploring poetry.

WHEN violent storms hit the US late last year students in Courtney McLennan’s class took a special interest in developments. The Kindergartners already had a grasp of the geographical location after connecting to the world through their own blog page. “Every time we got a comment my students could find the people

on the map,” McLennan explains. “The kids knew straight away [a girl] who had blogged to us, there was a storm where she lived. “They had never met her, but they wanted to know if she was OK. So, that was a bit of an eye opener when I realised how much they were connecting with people across the world.”

Lucky 76 funding lift PERTH - Public primary schools in Western Australia will get up to $20,000 each to deliver new early years programs. The State Government says 76 schools will receive a share of $1.52 million in funding over the next two years. Lockridge Primary School will introduce several initiatives, including workshops run by speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

Qld kindies on the way BRISBANE – Queensland Education Minister John Paul-Langbroek has announced 15 new kindergartens will be built on state school sites, ready to open in 2014. Another 10 will be located on other sites, including non-state schools. Langbroek says the majority will be in far north, central and south western communities. Email briefs to

Courtney McLennan’s Kindy class shared their blogging skills with older students.


McLennan introduced the technology last year at Woodenbong Central School, in northern New South Wales. To some teachers, getting students to post to their own blog at such an early age may seem too ambitious, but McLennan says they took it all in their stride. “I showed them a lot of blogs from all over the world and a lot of local ones as well and said ‘This is what we want to do’ and they went ‘Yeah, we can do that’.” Before choosing a blog platform, McLennan sought recommendations on Twitter and finally settled on “It was very simple to use and allowed us to have the creativity the kids wanted, while still having a template. It also had a lot of add-ons we could use and it made displaying the work from a Kindergarten level very easy.” The youngsters posted as a group, composing the text together. “If they were writing a blog comment in response to someone else, most of the time it was handwritten, edited, then typed.” McLennan says writing for a real audience engaged the youngsters and they got a great response. “When it came to our SNAP! Went Chester video (http://kwcs12.

went-chester/) where we made a movie based on a book we’d been studying and published it on the blog, we were getting up to three or four comments a day. “For Kindergartners to read through that and then compose a comment, and write it, I found it was taking a lot of time. But it was valuable learning time, so when I took that to my supervisor and my principal they were extremely supportive.” They also tweeted their posts through Twitter and ended up giving blogging lessons to Year 6 students at the school. McLennan moved to Moree East Public School for the 2013 academic year and is keen to continue blogging with her new students having seen the effect it had on her previous class. “If these little guys can do this in Kindergarten, what are they going to be doing when they get to Year 4, 5, 6 and high school?”



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earlyyearseducation 29

early years

annual event

Kids getting ready to ride THEY’RE still far too young to have a driving permit, and many of them can’t yet ride a bike without training wheels, but that won’t stop these youngsters from hitting the road to take part in National Ride2School day. The annual event has students all over the country travel to school on bicycles, scooters, skateboards, walking or public transport. St Kilda Primary School in Melbourne is heavily involved in the program, and Year 2 teacher, Peter Trimble says that the school even encourage students who have limited options to park further from school to allow for some walking to be done. On the day, they ensure that the entire school is surveyed so that they can record accurate travel statistics. “Last year we were awarded some money for our consistently high active transport stats,” Trimble tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “We installed some new bike racks to help with the large number of bikes being brought to school every day. To celebrate the new facilities we staged some tricycle racing for a selection of the students. We held 12 races and the grand final race was won by a Year 1 student.”

Students across the country are encouraged to take part in the fun during National Ride2School day this year. breakfast of fruit and baked goods, and following a school assembly, the students will get the chance to show off the bikes they have decorated with colour and excitement for the occasion. “Our school has been involved in promoting active transport for over 10 years,” Trimble says. “It is a vital part of our school community. SKPS sees great benefit in students riding and walking to school and will always promote active transport,” he says.

In the classroom, students in Year 1 and 2 also are involved in a ‘Safe and Smart’ unit where they learn about aspects of daily life and the safety measures in place for them, including a strong focus on road safety. “We have had visits from local police, RACV road safety programs and an excursion to traffic school,” Trimble shares. On Ride2School day at St Kilda Primary School this year, the students will also enjoy a healthy

March 2013 • australian Teacher

making learning fun

Fun Friday the highlight of the school week for active St Andrews’ students MANY people claim that Friday is the best day of the week, and Year 1 students at Queensland’s St Andrew’s Anglican College couldn’t agree more. The youngsters finish off their week with a Fun Friday activity which corresponds with the letters they have studied in class. Their teacher, Danielle Blundell says that by celebrating the letters of the week on Friday, it gets the students excited and makes the learning fun for all. “It also helps us to link their learning to real life experiences,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. The Year 1 group spent their first Fun Friday celebrating the letter ‘A’ by bringing in apples to slinky. “It was so wonderful to see the students so excited to bring an apple in for Fun Friday,” Blundell shares. “They loved watching their apples go through the apple slinky machine and then eat their juicy apple slinkies before heading out to lunch. It was also so cute to see all the apples sitting on their desk all day in anticipation for slinky time!” Each week the students use the program Letterland to cover three letters, giving them the chance to revise the entire alphabet by the end of the term.

“A lot of our focus is modelling how to write the letters correctly within the Year 1 lines as well as identifying words beginning with the letter, as well as joining letters together to make word endings ...” “We try to engage the students in their learning by making learning fun, interactive and memorable.” Blundell says she is very impressed with how well her students have settled into Year 1.

Youngsters celebrate their letters of the week during Fun Friday activities.

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A master-class in performance, this show will sell out! After 8 standing ovations and selling out almost every show of the 2012 Melbourne Festival season we are thrilled that Nilaja Sun will return to Theatre Works in May. After years of teaching in some of New York’s toughest schools, Nilaja Sun decided to turn her experience to creating No Child..., a mesmerising solo show that, with pep and humour, depicts the battle-ground that US public education has become. No Child... has blazed its way across stages in the US and Europe, flooring audiences and critics with its honesty and energy, and igniting debate with its searing portrayal of a public school system in crisis. A brilliant revelation of the disparities that lie at the heart of America, No Child... is an incisive portrait of a broken system and a rallying cry on behalf of an entire generation. This show is on the VCE play list.

7-19 May 2013 8pm Tues - Sat 1pm Wed & Thurs, 5pm Sun Groups of 8 or more only $40 per ticket Theatre Works 14 Acland Street, St Kilda 03 9534 3388

Hawker Brownlow EDUCATION

10th Annual Thinking & Learning



Conference Friday 17th May - Monday 20th th h May y The Heath, CaulďŹ eld Racecourse, urrse rse,

MELBOURNE Featuring 17 of the leading authors in education from Australia, North America and Europe!


Assessment Teaching Practice Leadership


Coaching Curriculum Planning


Differentiated Instruction

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Martin Buoncristiani

Rich Allen

Martha Kaufeldt

Kylie Lipscombe

Patricia Buoncristiani

Jay McTighe

Lee Crockett

James Nottingham

William Ferriter

Douglas Fisher

James Stronge

Gavin Grift

Carol Ann Tomlinson

Tammy Heflebower

Phil Warrick

Tim Kanold

Alan Wright

The 10th Annual Thinking and Learning Conference Strands The Art & Science of Teaching

Differentiated Instruction

The Art & Science of Teaching is a comprehensive framework for effective instruction for every subject area and year level. This year’s conference features the vice-president of Marzano Research Laboratory, Tammy Heflebower.

Differentiated Instruction refers to teaching that is adapted to take into account the range of individual differences and needs of students in any one classroom. Sessions are by the leading author in the field of Differentiated Instruction, Carol Ann Tomlinson.



Assessment can significantly improve student achievement and raise teacher quality. Learn the difference between summative and formative assessment. Assessment sessions are by Douglas Fisher, Phil Warrick and Timothy Kanold.

Brain-Based Learning

Innovation covers such topics as the use of social media and creating “global” students, as well as how educators can assess these skills. Sessions are by Lee Crockett, William Ferriter, Martha Kaufeldt and Douglas Fisher.


Brain-Based Teaching and Learning uses research on how the brain works to influence classroom practice. Learn practical ways to engage students by engaging the brain. Brain-Based Learning sessions are by Martha Kaufeldt.

Professional Learning Communities Professional Learning Communities at Work™ is based on the work of Richard DuFour, Robert Eaker and Rebecca DuFour. PLCs are the most promising strategy for sustained, substantive school improvement. PLC sessions are by Gavin Grift, William Ferriter and Timothy Kanold.

Curriculum Planning

Educational Leadership draws together cutting-edge research, theory and best practices on learning, teaching and leadership to better understand contemporary challenges. Leadership sessions are by James Stronge, Phil Warrick and Timothy Kanold.

Coaching Coaching supports teacher development and puts teacher needs at the heart of professional learning. There are many different coaching models that can be used to fit the unique needs of schools. Coaching sessions are by Gavin Grift.

Teaching Practice

Create a rigorous and engaging curriculum that focuses on understanding and leads to improved performance. Understanding by Design is a tool for planning focused on teaching for understanding rather than knowing. Sessions are by the architect of the UbD model, Jay McTighe.

Teaching Practice refers to instructional strategies that can be used in the classroom to ensure all students learn at high levels. It draws together research, theory and practice. Sessions are by ALL SPEAKERS, as Teaching Practice is the essence of all sessions at the conference.

Keynotes Friday 17th May

- Carol Ann Tomlinson “Listen to What the Kids Say”

Saturday 18th May - Jay McTighe “National Curriculum: Will it Work?” Sunday 19th May

- James Stronge “What’s Wrong with Teacher Evaluation and How to Fix It”

Monday 20th May - Douglas Fisher “Creating a Culture of Achievement”

10th Annual Thinking and Learning Conference Hawker Brownlow EDUCATION

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Education – Thinking and Learning Conference

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intheclassroom innovation



communication A temporary school has risen from the ashes to inspire a whole community.

March 2013


Marshall’s drama role getting rave reviews Tim’s Tales - assessing student behaviour Puckapunyal Primary life in a military base

rebuilding dunalley Dunalley Primary School principal of three years, Matt Kenny, knew his school was gone. “I wasn’t told, I just knew,” he says. January 4, 2013 was a day of record temperatures in Tasmania and, in terms of bushfires, that meant ‘when’ not ‘if’. “There was an absolute feeling of trepidation because we were listening to the radio like everyone else on a 41-degree day in Hobart,” Kenny, a father of four, recalls. “The security company rang me at about 3pm and said ‘We’ve got some alarms going off at Dunalley Primary’ and I actually knew at that stage that Dunalley was under threat and my response to the security company was, ‘I reckon that’s unfortunately because my school is on fire’.” The school didn’t actually burn down until 8 o’clock that night. But, that was then. A little more than a month since

it was completely destroyed, a temporary version has risen from the ashes to inspire local children and, importantly, provide hope for the local community. “It’s just one of those central points in a little country town of 300 people that’s pivotal to the feeling of community spirit,” Kenny says. Miraculously, on Thursday, February 7 it was business as usual. Well, almost. “We had two days without school buildings-type activities. The Thursday was a whole school excursion to the place where we usually have our end of school picnic, at Stewarts Bay at Port Arthur. “That was a really nice day just for the teachers and kids to get back together and talk and hear each others’ stories as well ...” The Friday was spent in and around the Dunalley township, and then finally, on Wednesday February 13, students started lessons in their hastily constructed

substitute structures. “The routine and getting the kids back in the buildings was absolutely imperative and it was just fantastic to hear them and see their smiling faces arriving back ...” Kenny says. “I guess the main focus of what we’ve worked with, with both our support team and we’ve also been working closely with Middle Kinglake Primary in Victoria because they suffered the same losses and a quick rebuild in 2009, is addressing the bushfire and loss issue with our students, whilst still supporting them.” In times of hardship the generosity of strangers can also be overwhelming and the school has been inundated with donated resources – educational aids, books, toys, stationery, musical instruments – from other schools in Tasmania and interested parties from as far away as Germany. “Some of the most heart-warm-

ing ones are the little post pack that comes in the mail, and it’s got a notepad and some pencils in it and a note from a child who says ‘I’d be really sad if my school burnt down so I just wanted to do something’,” Kenny says. For now the principal, his staff and the school’s 128 kids are concentrating on the coming year, but plans are afoot for the longterm survival of the school. “We’ve had a commitment that a new school will be built and we’re hoping planning for that will start very soon. “We were fortunate,” Kenny says, “we actually only had eight families of our 80 families who were directly affected by property loss from the fire. “I just can’t fathom what it might have been like had we come back with children [or community members] missing, and having to do funerals and things as well… It is a real godsend that we don’t have to do that.”

Help desk - lessons in reliable online sources Bellaire’s innovative curriculum approach “Thank goodness I was never sent to school; it would have rubbed off some of the originality.” -― Beatrix Potter

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intheclassroom INBRIEF top of the class Marshall puts drama centre stage


australian Teacher • March 2013

Gold class travel expo CANBERRA - Year 4 and 5 students have put on their own travel expo for staff and students at Canberra’s Gold Creek School. The school newsletter reports they set up their own stalls adorned with posters, brochures, examples of local architecture and food, and attempted to entice passers-by to visit their amazing destinations.

Growing knowledge MELVILLE ISLAND - Students at Tiwi College enjoyed a home-grown food day, starting with garden-related academic activities such as measuring tree diameters, comparing soil types and debating the topic: We should only eat locally grown food. According to the school newsletter, everyone then cooked recipes using ingredients grown in the school’s garden.

It’s all go at Merrimac GOLD COAST- Year 12 science students at Queensland’s Merrimac State High School have had a busy start to the year. Chemistry students spent the first few weeks gaining an understanding about redox reactions. Physics students are learning about thermodynamics, whilst the science in practice cohort are studying water quality.

REBECCA VUKOVIC FOR students who dream of a career performing in front a packed theatre, or pursuing drama beyond secondary school, their options to do so in the regional town of Sale in Victoria are nearly non-existent. That is why Deirdre Marshall, a drama teacher of 25 years currently at Sale College, is so eager to establish links in Melbourne to give her students greater opportunities to continue with their drama studies. “If they don’t go to Melbourne there’s nothing,� Marshall tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “There are a couple of community theatre companies in the area, but the region is just so big and the kids have to travel to get there. And they often perform shows that don’t suit 18-year-olds ... � So, Marshall decided to start her own youth theatre company and her students now perform at festivals and have even written their own plays. “Some of my kids have actually gone on to do theatre at

It is important for drama teachers in regional Victoria to create links with Melbourne, according to Deirdre Marshall. she was named the winner of a Drama Victoria Regional Teachers Award last year. “It was an honour because I’ve been in Drama Vic for over 20 years ... I’ve worked with some amazing people through Drama Vic and for them to identify me as being worthy of that award was overwhelming.� After receiving the award, Marshall learned that she was actually nominated three sepa-

uni,� Marshall explains proudly. “I’ve got one boy who is studying to be a playwright and now he’s actually doing a writing course. He’s been mentored [by] Declan Greene, who’s a young emerging playwright ... so, building up those industry links to allow the kids to then have a career path as well is important,� she says. Marshall’s passion for drama teaching was recognised when

rate times – from someone within in the industry, a colleague, and the community – which made the win even more special. But, being a drama teacher in a regional area does have its pitfalls and Marshall says that, at times, she has been really challenged by the isolation. “I have tried over the years to establish networks of other drama teachers but its really difficult to get people down because of the distances.� That hasn’t stopped her from pushing the boundaries with drama education at her own school. “I’m redesigning the Year 8 program so that they’ll be doing group work where they’ll play to their strengths. “[I want] kids to realise there are opportunities out there outside of school ... school is only one part of their life,� she says. Do you know any exceptional teachers? Email classroom@ with the details.

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Indigenous kids set to be Titans 4 Tomorrow INDIGENOUS students in the Northern New South Wales and Tweed region, Surat Basin and Northern Gold Coast will be able to take advantage of three new Sporting Chance Academies. The Federal Government is giving $630,000 in funding next year to establish facilities catering for 300 female students at 11 schools in three regions. The Sporting Chance program is run by Titans 4 Tomorrow and is aimed at encouraging students to stay in school and finish their education. Representatives from the Gold Coast Titans joined Indigenous education ambassador singer Jessica Mauboy and surfer Joel Parkinson to make the announcement with Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett.

Tim’s Tales

March 2013

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Behaviour always jointly produced Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

THANKS to YouTube I recently listened to Sir Ken Robinson speaking about schools and creativity in a Ted Talks forum ( watch?v=iG9CE55wbtY). In a warm, witty and engaging manner Robinson raises important and thoughtprovoking questions about the way we prioritise particular curriculum areas and modes of teaching over others. Towards the end of the talk he tells the poignant story of English dancer/ director/choreographer Gillian Lynne. Lynne is perhaps best known for her work on the musicals Cats and Phantom of the Opera. Lynne’s life, however, did not have such a rosy beginning. When she was about eight concerns were raised by the school that Lynne might have a learning disorder. It was suggested she be assessed by a specialist. Lynne had been underperforming at school. She found it hard to maintain focus and often fidgeted. When the specialist left the room with Lynne’s mother to speak

with her privately he switched on the radio. From outside the room looking back in through the door the specialist drew Lynne’s mother’s attention to Lynne’s behaviour. She was dancing. The specialist told Lynne’s mother that there was nothing wrong with Lynne but she should take her to a dance school. She did. And the rest, as they say, is history. Behaviour is always jointly produced by what’s going on inside the behaver and what’s going on in the environment. Behaviour, in many ways, is like a dance between the behaver and

Theatre choreographer Gillian Lynne’s poignant story is a great lesson in curriculum priorities.

the current environmental conditions. This helps explain the phenomenon whereby students who are difficult at home are not necessarily disruptive at school (and vice versa). Different environments, different behaviours. Whenever students require assessment as a way of accessing extra support, an assessment of the environments the student occupies should be a necessary part of the assessment. Before students are diagnosed and medicated or put into various behaviour change programs, their behaviour should be understood in terms of the environmental demands it is occurring in the context of. If Gillian Lynne had attended school today she might well be diagnosed with ADHD and medicated. Instead she had a quite different experience. Some students from time to time experience difficulties and benefit from various types of support. To provide support meaningfully and ensure the best use of resources in the short, medium, and long term, a thorough assessment is necessary. An assessment, however, that only includes the student (and not also the environment) is not as thorough as it could be. Dr Tim Carey is an associate professor at Flinders University and Charles Darwin University, Alice Springs.


australian Teacher

INBRIEF Touchy feel-y sessions TOKYO (JAPAN) - Teachers in Tokyo are taking part in free insect touching classes. RocketNews24 reports the Tokyo Board of Education wants more teachers to use insects in their science curriculum but an overwhelming number of educators in the city have admitted they are frightened of bugs.

Wicked Wilsons Prom MELBOURNE - Sixty four Doncaster Secondary College Year 9 students, along with seven staff, have enjoyed a fantastic week at Wilsons Promontory, according to the school newsletter. The group participated in a number of walks, some mountain biking, rafting and plenty of ball games, and also had the experience of being evacuated for a night due to high winds.

No hampering giving NOBLE PARK - The Year 10 Precal class of Victoria’s Noble Park Secondary College has embarked on a community project collecting and preparing food hampers for three charities — The Salvation Army, The St Paul Apostle Catholic Church and the Pets Haven. According to the school newsletter, the intention was to simply draw attention to those less fortunate than ourselves and share with them. Email briefs to

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Bellaire’s award winning curriculum

New look for Rosehill MELBOURNE - Rosehill Secondary College was a hive of activity over the school holidays. The Year 11 study and careers centre has been refurbished with new offices and classrooms, carpets, furniture and air conditioning and a new set of outdoor locker bays has been built on the west side of the gym A new entrance has also been built for the library.

CHOOSING electives and constructing a personalised timetable is a task usually required of secondary school students, but one Victorian primary school is doing this with students as young as 10-years-old. With a focus on personalised learning for students, Bellaire Primary School prides itself on its award winning innovative curriculum. Principal Jane Warren explains that, over the years, the school of nearly 600 students has developed learning communities divided into four parts. “So, we have a Prep learning community with five home groups working in an open learning community. We’ve got a junior learning community that’s got eight home groups – so they work in two pods of four – a middle learning community that works in a large open space with seven home groups, [and] a senior learning community which is a large open space with seven home groups,” Warren says. “... the home group is part of a broader learning community ... [and children are] involved in

Lil and Archie’s lesson ADELAIDE – In an effort to teach students about how to deal with their emotions, staff at Greenwith Primary School organised an incursion by Brainstorm Productions. The performance of Saving Lil and Archie was aimed at demonstrating ways to deal with anger and fear and promote kindness and forgiveness. It also highlighted issues children face when using technology.

Great peace of advice GOLD COAST – Staff and students at Robina State High School have the chance to unwind by taking part in regular yoga sessions delivered on site by the youth health nurse. The school also hosts a range of ‘move your body’ activities – including skipping and limbo during recess.

Students at Bellaire Primary School in Victoria benefit greatly from their award winning innovative curriculum. projects of interest, or joint workshops, when we’re doing our thematic studies joint projects, that kind of thing.” By the time students reach their senior learning community, they work in five-week blocks by signing up for workshops in literacy, numeracy or deep knowledge study. “And then when they go to their specialists like French or art or PE – they have a choice of usually two, sometimes four workshops to choose from.

“So, effectively our children create their own timetable, they work with a range of teachers and know exactly what they’re doing right across a five-week block based on areas that they’ve signed up for, based on interest or need,” Warren says. The purpose of the approach is to try and involve students in making choices about their own learning. “We have a whole school learning strategy, which is really around trying to reflect student

voice and make [them] actively participate in knowing themselves as a learner and making choices about their learning,” Warren says. The school prides itself on the way it sets individual learning goals for all students, from Prep onwards, relaying achievements to parents. Its long list of accolades includes a Victorian Education Excellence award for Curriculum Innovation 2012 and a Geelong Researcher of the Year award in 2007. “For us, I think what we’ve done is we’ve tried to develop a culture of innovation and that the teachers are all actively involved in doing action research and continually growing the work that they’re doing,” Warren reflects. “... [we’re] just very lucky with the quality of teachers here I think.” Is your school using innovative methods in the classroom? Email

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intheclassroom 39 INBRIEF Kormilda rangers

Quick turnaround

March 2013


australian Teacher

science engagement

Smooth transition for students new to the school inside a military base IMAGINE if half of the students on your school roll each year were new arrivals. Welcome to Puckapunyal Primary School, located on Puckapunyal Military Base 10 kilmetres west of Seymour, in central Victoria. Around 85 per cent of students at the school are from defence personnel families, with students’ origins including Australia, the UK, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Malaysia and Germany. “We’ve had some years where we’ve had a 60 per cent turnaround of kids, and when you’re talking about 250 or so kids and 60 per cent of them you’ve never met before, and they turn up, things can be pretty interesting,� principal Kevin Warne says. Warne has been at the school for 15 of the last 20 years and says while such transiency of students has the potential to be disruptive for staff and students, the school has strategies and processes in place to ensure things run as smoothly as possible. “A lot of the times kids don’t want to leave and that can be quite daunting for them, so families are really good at talking up their moving and we’ve got rituals that we go through to say goodbye to kids and make their

Principal Kevin Warne, above, says the school has strategies in place to support new students.

Flipping marvellous

develop a conservation ethic based on what they experience and see. The program typically involves roughly 30 students from the middle years, who elect to take part as a semester science unit. This year the group will work with rangers to revegetate the entrance at Charles Darwin National Park. Spiers says there are also plans for the Junior Rangers to be involved with the research and development of a bushtucker trail, and take part in tour guide training so they can share their knowledge with students at the college and other schools in Darwin.

The sharing of knowledge across cultures is the premise behind Kormilda College’s Junior Rangers Program. The program engages students in various environmental activities where they work with local rangers, environmental groups and Aboriginal elders. Deputy principal at the college Dr Helen Spiers says the program aims to utilise Indigenous students’ interest and engagement with their own culture and environment to foster an interest in science. It provides students with opportunities to engage with science outside the classroom and

leaving a little bit easier,� Warnes explains. “We organise signature books and goodbye rituals and it works quite well. Puckapunyal Primary also has a full-time defence school transition aid to help students find their feet. “She’s also a conduit for families. Lots of families come and chat to her about how they’re settling in,� Warne adds. He explains army postings used to be two years, but they’re now three years, so families are staying longer for the first time. “This year 80 per cent of last year’s kids have come back. We’ve never had that before.�

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HUNTINGFIELD - Vinnies and Mini-Vinnies students from St Aloysius Catholic College in Tasmania cooked up a storm on Shrove Tuesday, making more than 200 pancakes to sell to eager students. The school newsletter says the chefs raised $170 in aid of the its Bushfire appeal and Caritas Project Compassion Appeal.

Perfect regatta prep LAUNCESTON - Fifty-five enthusiastic St Patrick’s College rowers attended a rowing camp at Lake Barrington in preparation for the North West Regatta in March. The school newsletter says senior rowers trained hard and were extremely helpful assisting in leading the capsizing drill for new rowers, as well as introducing them to rowing in single and double sculls.

Tasty end to the term BELLINGEN - Year 7 students at Bellingen High School were treated to a demonstration of traditional Indonesian food by Purwanti, a local chef who was born in Java. Students enjoyed traditional Mee Goreng (fried noodles), chicken satay skewers and kruplung (a rice flour, coconut milk and liquid palm sugar dessert) for the end of Term 4 treat. Email briefs to

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intheclassroom INBRIEF Colourful umbrella collage a creative ‘No plan’ a shock way to extend water learning theme


australian Teacher • March 2013

art experiment

classroom routine

Extra languages help

MELBOURNE - Specialist language assistants from five countries have started work in Victorian schools. The 23 native speakers from China, France, Germany, Japan and Spain will support students at 67 schools. The year-long program is part of the Victorian Government’s plan to ensure every government school student from P-10 is learning a language by 2025.

Franklin off to a flier CANBERRA - The first purpose-built early childhood school in the ACT has opened its doors. Territory Education Minister Joy Burch visited the $30.1 million Franklin Early Childhood School to welcome staff and students. It offers schooling and childcare from birth to Year 2 – catering for 300 students from preschool to Year 2, and 120 youngsters at its childcare centre.

Inclusive ed at Pearsall PERTH - Western Australian Education Minister Peter Collier has opened the $12.5 million Pearsall Primary School in Perth. The site has four teaching blocks with 17 classrooms – including an inclusive education classroom, art and craft room and music area. Every classroom has interactive whiteboards and air-cooling installed. Email briefs to

Youngsters at Norton Summit Primary School experimented with water and other elements to create colourful umbrellas. USING a combination of water, paper, paint, detergent, chalk and straws; a group of South Australian students has created some beautiful artwork that will be displayed at a local show. The Year 2/3 class members at Norton Summit Primary School in the Adelaide Hills have been exploring the theme of water in all of their lessons, and this art activity was an extension of that. Classroom teacher, Debby Kuerschner says that she was surprised at how well the youngsters handled the task. “The children moved around [three work sta-

tions] ... one was drawing with chalk on wet paper to get a bit of a blurry effect, another was to use straws to blow paint across the paper for unusual splotchy effects, and another one was using a mixture of paint, water and detergent to blow bubbles ...” The students then combined each of their paintings into a collage of effects on a big, cardboard umbrella, which will be displayed at a local agricultural event, the Uraidla Show. Kuerschner says students were surprised by some of the effects and how good their work looked.

YEAR 2 students at Canberra Girls’ Grammar had their world turned upside down during a ‘no plan’ morning this term. Used to having their day planned out on the board from the minute they arrive, students were baffled when their teachers failed to give any directions other than “You need to do your work”. “They had no idea what they were meant to be doing, so some chose to write, some chose to do maths, some drew,” Year 2 teacher Julie Jobson tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Some sat there and did nothing,” Jane Mullings, who also ran the lesson with her Year 2s, adds. The exercise was aimed at teaching students about structure, routine and organisation. “What we’re actually trying to enforce is we actually do need those routines, to know what we’re doing, and that there are reasons why we have to be organised,” Mullings says. “We wanted to put them out of their comfort zones, and then spoke to them about what they preferred. Straight away they said they all would have liked to know what they were doing, they wanted the roll to have been done ...” Following the exercise, Jobson says her students have been less

passive about their daily routine. “Mine are coming in now and actually looking on the board and asking questions and ... when they’re finishing something, [asking] ‘What are we doing now?’ Whereas, I think before they would’ve just waited ‘til they were directed.” The exercise also cemented in students’ minds the important role their teacher plays. “We had a story where a teacher had [taught] a student two years earlier, and the student went and sat in front of her chair ... when she’d explained about the provocation, the student said, ‘I’d wondered what had happened, you were a good teacher in Prep, you’re not very organised today’.” Jobson says.

Students had to think on their feet during a no plan morning at Canberra Girls Grammar School.


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Lessons in opera reach wider aria

intheclassroom 41 INBRIEF Fun side to safety message

OPERA Australia soprano Taryn Fiebig has given a group of students in regional New South Wales a singing lesson via the national broadband network. With Sydney Harbour Bridge as a backdrop, students from Sawtell Public School and Coffs Harbour Regional Conservatorium listened to Fiebig sing an aria from Mozart’s Don Giovanni. The lesson was carried out via live video conference and included a chance for students to ask the singer questions. The Helpmann Award-winning soprano described the NBN as a “necessity” for opening arts and educational opportunities to regional students. “It’s a necessity to have the national broadband network so that everyone in Australia can share in the music that we create at the Sydney Opera House ... whether you’re in Coffs Harbour or Darwin, or wherever.”

CABRAMATTA High School in Sydney’s south west has joined forces with local police for an initiative that fosters positive relations between students and local law enforcement officers. Police Links Day involves the entire Year 7 student body and, along with its bridge-building focus, teaches students about the effects and impacts of their participation in social media, cyber bullying, how to be cyber safe and other areas of youth concern – including drug use and acceptable behaviour in public. A key element of the day is a friendly basketball game between a Year 7s team and a team comprised of police from the Cabramatta Police Station. “It’s a lot of fun because most of our kids have a background involving parents from overseas and they see the law as something to be feared,” teacher and Year 7 coordinator Dhiresh Prakash tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “Police in other countries sometimes don’t operate the way our police operate here, so they’re really afraid. “We try to make them aware that police are ordinary people just like them, that they can play and really have a good time like them …” Prakash adds.

March 2013

australian Teacher

nsw partnership

Music ed

From stage to screen

The day kicks off with police and Youth Liaison officers conducting presentations and talks about their own experiences in the area. “More recently we’ve been focussing a lot on cyber bullying. “In the area several years ago a girl, Nona [Belomesoff], was giving information on Facebook. She was lured out to state forest in Campbelltown and was murdered.

“She lived very close to Cabramatta, and we use her as a tragic example.” All 200 of the school’s Year 7 student body take part in the day. “Most kids don’t have any idea about consequences. They do things without any consideration of what could potentially be the ramifications. It’s important to try to get the message out to them really early.”

GRAFTON - South Grafton High School Year 11 and 12 drama students have visited Sydney for OnStage – a showcase of exemplary work in performance, scriptwriting, video and design by Year 12 2012 HSC students. Two shows were performed by 2012 HSC students, while the third – Writers OnStage/OnScreen – saw professional actors perform scripts written by students.

Tassie Brazilian bonus HOBART - There was a warm welcome for Brazilian students as they arrived to take up short-term scholarship study places at Tasmanian Government colleges. Almost 50 students aged 16 to 18 from Pernambuco are studying in six senior secondary colleges until the end of Term 2.

Stirling work in WA

Cabramatta High School teacher Dhiresh Prakash, right, believes it’s important to get the message of consequences out to students early.

A child’s mind develops through their movement...

PERTH - The new $63 million Governor Stirling Senior High School in Western Australia has been officially opened after a major upgrade. The redevelopment of the school includes new maths, science and ICT laboratories, design technology studios, a commercial grade kitchen, and the single storey Maali Centre dedicated to Aboriginal student learning. Email briefs to

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intheclassroom INBRIEF ‘Sink or swim’ time for Glenala boys Fundraising stars inspires a fresh approach to literacy


australian Teacher • March 2013

Year 9 support

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SYDNEY - Acrobatic skills and the sounds of a 400-strong choir were among the highlights of the Australian Youth Olympic Festival opening ceremony, featuring students from 80 New South Wales government schools. More than 900 students were recruited for the show at the Sydney Entertainment Centre, produced by the education department’s arts unit.

Award-winning line-up LENNOX HEAD - A team of 14 line dancers from Lennox Beach Public School travelled to Tamworth to compete at the annual Australian Line Dancing Championships. Students took to the floor in solos, duos, trios and team sections. The school newsletter reports the team won 222 medals, Club of the Year, the ALDC Open Buckle prize and Entertainment Award.

Streetlevel excursion SYDNEY - Seven Year 9 students from Pittwater High School have been on an excursion to volunteer at Streetlevel Mission, Surry Hills. Streetlevel is a drop in centre for homeless and socially disadvantaged people run by the Salvation Army. Students played card and board games with the clients and listened to their life stories. Email briefs to

Glenala State High School has an English class dedicated to supporting boys. A COMBINATION of play-based activity, competition, group work and reinforcement has significantly changed the negative behaviour of a group of Year 9 boys. Under the guidance of teacher James Brewer and community Pacifica liaison officer Bruce Manu-Sione at Queensland’s Glenala State High School, the boys come together to take their English lessons. “It’s a crucial year for the boys because its NAPLAN time and it’s really crunch time and it’s sink or swim in terms of their literacy levels,” Brewer tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “So the boys have been put together, we’ve identified them as achieving below their potential and they’ve got quite low literacy levels ...” he adds.

Fifty per cent of the boys come from a Pacifica background, with the others coming with African, Aboriginal and Vietnamese heritage, amongst others. “At the moment we’re working on identifying grammar, also persuasive language,” Manu-Sione explains. “But James has brought in strategies; he’s really made the task relevant to our young boys ... like [using] Xboxes and even music, working off little articles.” Brewer indicates that part of the reason the boys were chosen for this class was their low attendance, with each averaging four weeks off last year. In an attempt to rectify this, parents are welcomed into the classroom for morning tea to see the structure being implemented and the changes that are taking place.

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

A SMALL group of dedicated youngsters have rallied support from their community and a group of high-profile specialists to raise a whopping $114,000 for burns research. The students from Marmion Primary School in Perth – named the Jack the Wagtail group – have relentlessly written letters to businesses, sold pins and wristbands, and organised events in aid of the Jack Dunn Foundation. But getting the attention of former Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood, cricket legend Justin Langer, Bali bombing survivor Peter Hughes and the head

physio at the Royal Perth Hospital burns unit Dr Dale Edgar, has really raised their profile. Deputy principal Glenn Buck has been the driving force behind

Bonus content » the school’s amazing success in this project. “It’s all about helping the community and working together as a team ... ” Buck says proudly. Jack Dunn was a Morawa District High School student who lost his life in 2003 following a fire.

Marmion Primary students organised a physical challenge fundraiser.

intheclassroom 43 INBRIEF Educating soccer stars of the future

March 2013

australian Teacher

football school first

Having a serious laugh

TWO years ago New South Wales Central Coast businessman, IT expert and teacher Paul Chapman decided he wanted to establish Australia’s first private school for soccer players. At the start of February that dream became a reality when the International Football School opened its doors and 80 of the country’s most driven young potential Socceroos and Matildas started their school year. The Mount Penang campus will eventually cater for up to 350 students from Year 5 to 12, each paying $4800 a year, but for now it’s small steps. Naturally, ability is a big consideration for prospective students, but the school’s CEO is more concerned about what’s happening above the shoulders. “The number one criteria for us is that the student has the right attitude to be coached and is very passionate about football; and is willing to put in their best effort in the classroom,” he says. While Chapman established the school primarily to cater to families wanting their children to have access to a high level of football (two hours every morning is dedicated to training as part of the intensive program), his mission is also to establish a school

with a strong academic program. “Not all of the kids will go on to a career as a footballer, indeed only very small proportion of them do,” he explains. “The sports industry is very large and we want to make sure that if our students want to go to university, or college in the [US], that they’re well prepared for it. “We’re not going to give the kids a huge selection of subjects because we’re really helping make

those choices for them because at the end of Year 12 they’ve actually got the core foundation subjects under their belts.” Along with a ‘no homework, no school uniforms, everyone’s on a first name basis’ philosophy, the school is taking what’s been called an innovative, highly effective and ground-breaking approach to education. “We’re doing project-based learning across the entire secondary cur-

International Football School students train for two hours every morning.


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Timpano’s jazz talent WOLLONGONG - Wollongong High School of the Performing Arts student Gabriel Timpano was awarded the Sarah Waugh Memorial Scholarship at the recent JWA Jazz Camp in Sydney. The camp is an annual gathering of talented young jazz musicians from Australia and New Zealand. The Scholarship covers next year’s camp and assistance from the award’s sponsors.

Mt Rogers’ early birds MELBA - Students at Mount Rogers Primary School were up at the crack of dawn to attend the official opening of the National Arboretum Canberra. Students learnt that the arboretum was started to help the recovery after the 2003 bushfires, with over 40,000 trees planted, including varieties from all around the world. Email briefs to

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riculum,” Chapman says. “And we’re integrating all the subjects into that, so no subject’s taught in isolation. Each term we’ll deliver three major projects, and each of those projects will include usually three KLA’s in one project. “It’s really come from my own research and working with teenagers for long periods of time on how to engage them.” Chapman is also keen on building strong relationships and removing as many artificial barriers as possible. “When I selected staff, it was about identifying people who have that mindset ... to challenge their own thoughts on how they do things and when presented with new information, are willing to ask ‘am I really right here?’ “I’m certainly not right all the time either, I’ve learnt so much, and there’s heaps of stuff I’ve change my mind on, on this whole project, as you can imagine.” With a top notch teaching staff – coaches include former Central Coast Mariners Andre Gumprecht and Bradley Porter, and ex-Matildas Julie Dolan and Joey Peters – and a student body of focused and committed young footballers, the foundations are in place for exciting times ahead for Chapman and co.

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intheclassroom INBRIEF Developing an eye for the right stuff 44

australian Teacher • March 2013

information sources

Warming to their task STREAKY BAY – When primary students arrive at Streaky Bay Area School of a morning, they are involved in a range of literacy warm-ups. The purpose of these exercises is to revise previous concepts and to ensure that knowledge is retained by students. To let the rest of the school know that they are engaged in these warm-ups, classroom doors display a special note asking for limited interruptions.

The not-so-lucky ones MORWELL - Year 7 students and staff at Kurnai College have presented an in-depth awareness raising project to parents, community members, primary school students and staff, as well as fellow students. The school’s newsletter says the interactive displays and presenters revealed many of the incredible hardships faced by young people of a similar age in other parts of the world. Students expressed a new appreciation for the lifestyles that we enjoy in Australia.

Band class innovation BRISBANE VALLEY – For the first time, Toogoolawah State High School has introduced a new band program for Year 8 music students that is similar to the ‘Band Class’ program being run in the US. The school newsletter reports that this innovative program will be a wonderful opportunity for students to learn a concert band instrument.

Life changing moments SHEPPARTON – Nine Year 11 students from Notre Dame College have taken part in The Remar Blue Solidarity Trip to Peterborough in South Australia. The school newsletter says the main challenge was to live within a different community and to serve that community in a way that brings forth the Gospel values of faith, hope and charity. By the end of the camp everyone was exhausted but the adventure provided life changing moments for all.

Soiree proves big hit TARNEIT - The Baden Powell College Inaugural Soiree saw the artistic skill of Prep to Year 9 students and some staff members showcased through painting, printing, ceramics, puppetry and collage in their 2D and 3D art pieces. According to the Victorian school’s newsletter, singers and instrumentalists shone throughout the evening and exquisite catering was provided by senior students.

Love of reading grows COWRA - A group of Year 11 students from Cowra High School in NSW has been visiting Yalbillinga Pre-School at Erambie once a fortnight to read to the young children. Part of the Aboriginal community’s “Read with Me 32� program, it is aimed at developing a love of reading. Students involved were from the Aboriginal Studies class and the school newsletter says during the year, the two groups have built up a strong bond as they have got to know each other. Email briefs to

LORI KORODAJ THESE days, we’re bombarded with information from all sides. If it’s not the ‘traditional’ news sources of newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, it’s Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and other online information sites. When setting assignments it’s important to remember that our students are experiencing the same information saturation. With them, however, they are more eager to believe most of what they read and see. How do we tackle this issue in order to teach our students to be discerning researchers and miners of information, particularly when it comes to online sources? Let’s start with Wikipedia. Many teacher librarians will tell you that this is evil and should be avoided at all costs. I beg to differ. Wikipedia is often the first point of call for kids when they are given their assessment. Why not use this opportunity to teach authenticity? Wikiedia will often give students an introduction to a topic that they may not fully grasp. The trick is then to locate other sources that will either support or refute the information they have already read. More for senior secondary,

Like it or not, Wikipedia is often the first port of call for students when they’re given an assignment. Google Scholar ( is a great place to locate peer reviewed articles from reputable authors on a particular topic. You can also locate legal documents. Get creative in your teaching of authentic sources. I will soon be working with a Year 10 SOSE class on aspects of WWII, looking at the use of authentic sources

in their research. We will be linking into Goebbels’ effective use of mass media (newspapers, radio, and pamphlet drops) to influence the masses — how different is it to the bombardment we experience through social media today? The class will be looking at two websites and an article to challenge their notion of ‘expert’ and ‘professional’ advice online. I

newspapersineducation spress in class

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FOR those of you who teach students in their senior years of schooling, H the ‘C’ word invariably becomes more and more prominent. Careers! At this very important time in their lives your students are no doubt starting to think about what they’d like to do with their lives once they leave your classrooms. S-press magazine is always a great source of information and features a new careers profile in each edition, but this month we’re featuring not one, but seven careers profiles with the addition of our ‘Dream Jobs’ guide. For those students who have lofty aspirations, we’ve spoken to industry professionals who are out there doing the jobs that teenage dreams are made of. From a professional skater to a Contiki tour guide, the S-press Dream Jobs guide includes candid Q & A style interviews with a range of professionals to find out exactly what the perks AND the pitfalls of their careers are. We’ve also included a word of warning detailing the potential hazards which sometimes go along with these seemingly totally glamorous careers. While we love to inspire our young readers to reach for the stars, we also think it’s important to keep them grounded with real information and advice. ERE it is – our Dream Jobs epic 2013 you happy! what exactly Guide! But just is a ‘dream In the Dream A dream Jobs Guide job can mean job’? es jammed you’ll ďŹ nd many with advice, people. For different things pagfrom those to differen tips and you it might who have wisdom t your adrenal be a job and succeed been there, that gets ine pumpin ed in their done ďŹ lls your g, or a Not only chosen ďŹ eld. it pockets can they with cash, job that rari with provide you practica and your fuel. with Fer- break l advice on what you to exotic It may be a job that to study, into your with celebrit locations, puts you takes chosen industr how to to expect in ies, or a y and what like a job job that isn’t contact are sure once you land a at job, their to inspire much stories to pass the all, but more like you awesom a fun way time. Or e and exciting to achieve many is to have perhaps So don’t your dream a job that delay – dare feats on your own! makes you warm and stuck into fuzzy inside. feel the S-press to dream and get into, you’re Whatever all right now! Dream Jobs dream job you’re Guide is whateve r makes Good Luck!

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

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

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

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

share the article and one of the websites with you below. First, a very scientific piece, Indirect Tracking of Drop Bears Using GNSS Technology (http:// Ja n s s e n _ Au s G e o g _ j o u r n a l _ version.pdf) from Australian Geographer. This article comes complete with data charts and graphs. At a brief glance (which is all our students usually give online information), it’s perfect. Then you scroll down to the reference list ‌ if the title hasn’t given it away, I’ll leave you to discover why this might not be so scientifically factual. The Australian Museum in Sydney provides further proof of drop bears on its website This is an excellent example of a legitimate organisation providing bogus information for unsuspecting researchers. It’s very well executed. There are myriad examples of seemingly legitimate sources of information on a variety of topics out there. Use them to excite and entice your students into developing an eye for ‘the right stuff’ for their work. Lori Korodaj is a teacher librarian at Kingsford Smith School, ACT.

S-press Teen binge drinking

For our March teen feature we have unpacked the data of a recent survey which says that teenagers are continuing to drink at dangerous levels. The survey of 25,000 Australian secondary school students has found that one in five pupils were “current drinkers� and had consumed alcohol in the past seven days before participating. We’ve spoken to Cancer Council Victoria chief executive Todd Harper to get his thoughts on potential health risks, as well as Youth Counsellor James Brown to find out why teenagers typically indulge in binge drinking and other risk taking activities.

Young entrepreneurs This month the teen news pages feature two amazing young entrepreneurs. Year 9 student Meg Richards has started her own shoe design business which she runs from her personal computer with school friend Tara Naidu. Meg told us she is in the process of contacting Ellen DeGeneres in the hope of gaining exposure through her show. While trying to raise funds to build a computer he could use to teach senior citizens about computing, 13-year-old James Cooper was dismayed to find he was too young to get a part-time job. So he started his own business transferring beloved family videos from VHS to DVD.

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

technology innovation





March 2013 national news Digital cash requirement

New Xbox Kinect programs are engaging students with different learning styles. The most common ICT-related question I’m asked by staff is ... How do I put a video on my blog? In this day and age blogging is fairly intuitive until it comes to video. It is not overly difficult but requires a new way of thinking and an extra step to obtain a code so that the file can be embedded on the blog not loaded directly into a post. An ICT project we’re proud of is ... the Lodger’s Elearning Extension Program (LEEP). It has been running for the last four years. It provides gifted and highly capable students with exciting opportunities in ICT over and above their normal curriculum. In return, the students become mentors and helpers in their classroom, supporting peers and teachers with ICT. They develop social and leadership skills while feeling valued and appreciated. The advanced competencies in ICT will serve them well in their future. Lois Smethurst ELearning leading teacher Berwick Lodge Primary School, VIC

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

game for engagement CHELSEA ATTARD GONE are the days when students have to fidget through an hour-long documentary with a monotone narrator in order to learn about bears. Thanks to advances in technology, now students can be the bear, roaming through Alaska and looking for tasty fish to eat. Erin Pensini who teaches at Strathfieldsaye Primary School says using Xbox Kinect technology in the classroom has her Year 1s jumping at the chance to learn. Pensini has been using the Xbox in her classroom a couple of afternoons each week as part of a trial which schools all over Australia are participating in. “I was doing it as a whole class kind of thing, mainly as a bit of a motivator to get the kids up and active.” Using a series of cameras and microphones in the Xbox Kinect

sensor, new 2-way TV programs have been developed, which have the ability to hear, see, recognise and respond to students, with their actions changing the adventure along the way. Pensini says one program she has used a lot is about different animals adapting to various things within their environment. “So it was basically information and ... documentary videos, but the kids were able to get up and choose different ways to go throughout the video. They [also] had the kinect games where ... they [game developers] put a cartoon animal on the kids and they pretended to eat fish as if they were a bear.” Pensini says the levels of student engagement with these programs are marked. “They were very, very engaged with most of the games and they all wanted to jump in and have a go.”

The educator says she’s finds the active nature of the activities means that her students tend to be more interested in what they are learning and more likely to retain the information afterwards. As part of a trial of these 2-way TV programs, the school has also been measuring the impact programs have on collaboration and socialisation. Pensini says the cooperative and multi-player nature of many of the games has students learning social skills, without them realising. “They wanted to join in with each other and cooperate to pass a level and earn more points than the [team] before them ... they had to learn I guess, to communicate with the person that they were playing with.” With most of her students owning an Xbox she says it has been easy working with a technology they know quite well.

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STATE and territory governments are being encouraged to stump up cash to support the Digital Education Revolution in Australian high schools. Federal Education Minister Peter Garrett told ABC News the Commonwealth Government had met its investment pledge for the Year 9-12 laptop scheme. Garrett said the government had delivered on its commitment and negotiations would now take place with states and territories about how the scheme will continue to operate once funding runs out in June this year. Turn to Page 18 to read this month’s Hard Word opinion piece by Greg Whitby on technology funding for schools.

would you believe it Boys break in for games STUDENTS have been breaking into a school in Thailand to play games on classroom computers. The Bangkok Post reports the boys didn’t have enough money to go to a cyber cafe, so they regularly broke into the school’s computer lab for late night videogame sessions. A teacher at the school in the Thalang district raised the alarm at 11.30pm on a Sunday and called police. Officers arrived to find three boys in the lab playing games. School staff say they have punished the students several times in the past. They decided to resort to calling the police this time in the hope it would the students think twice about doing it in the future.

Technology 46 INBRIEF Broadband speed big factor australian Teacher • March 2013

21st century study

Moriac’s devices range GEELONG - Moriac Primary School is expanding its range of devices available to students. The Victorian school has ordered more than 100 Samsung tablets for Year 3 to 6 students. It already has 70 Notebooks in Year 1/2, and 30 iPads for Prep students. The school newsletter says the fact all students now have one-to-one access to computers and devices is an important milestone.

World Ed Games here SYDNEY – Millions of youngsters across the globe will battle it out online in The World Education Games during March. School students from 200 countries and territories will compete in World Literacy Day, Maths Day and Science Day from March 5 to 7. Students compete in their own age and ability bracket, answering as many questions as they can in one minute.

STUDENTS produce higher quality work with access to high-speed broadband as part of their schooling, according to a study. The report, 21st Century Teaching Strategies for a Highly Connected World, drew on the experiences of 60 teachers at three schools connected to the national broadband network (NBN). The schools were PLC Armidale, the TAFE teacher training institute at Armidale, and Willunga High School in South Australia.

“Students who used to hand in C-grade work are now producing A-grade work.� Willunga High School principal Janelle Reimann said. The three-month study was conducted by educational consultant ideasLAB on behalf of the network’s builder, NBN Co. The study found that 96 per cent of teachers believed the NBN would help students boost their quality of work and 86 per cent said access to super quick broad-

Emergencies site ready PERTH – A new website for emergencies such as bushfires and cyclones has been launched by the WA education department. It includes information for staff and parents about closures, relocation points and reopening dates. The site also has weather, police and emergency services links.

Willunga High School Case Studies

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band would improve how lessons were delivered. On the subject of learning, 96 per cent of teachers agreed the NBN will boost their own professional development and learning, and 89 per cent believed the network will allow students to engage in more ambitious inquiry-based projects. Student and teachers were accessing new ways to learn through the broadband network. This included history students studying at home while working with peers and teachers using the online community Edmodo, and science pupils connecting with university experts to watch the dissection of hearts by high definition video conferencing. NBN co-general manager of education Kate Cornick said most Australian educators realised the importance of online learning, both at school and at home. “The potential is extraordinary and it’s what we need if Australia is to remain globally relevant in the 21st Century,� Cornick said. Under Labor’s $37.4 billion plan, NBN Co is to deliver high-speed broadband optic fibre cable to 93 per cent of homes, schools and businesses by 2021. The rest will be supplied via fixed wireless and satellite services by 2015.

vic initiative

Online conference on cyber bullying VICTORIAN primary school students have taken part in an online conference dedicated to tackling the scourge of cyber bullying. More than 22,000 Year 4 to 6 students participated in the conference as part of the annual Safer Internet Day. The Victorian Government teamed up with the Australian Communications and Media Authority to run the event. State Education Minister Martin Dixon spoke about the project during a visit to Sacred Heart Primary in Fitzroy, one of more than 230 across Victoria taking part in the conference. “Bullying in all its forms ... is something I want us all to stand up and say is unacceptable,� he said. “Cyber bullying is a major challenge in our community, and schools can play an important role in educating their communities about how to act appropriately online.� Cyber bullying issues explored included keeping online photos private and dealing with inappropriate content. Dixon also announced more than 1000 state schools have signed up to tackle cyber bullying through a $10.5 million eSmart initiative — created by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

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Technology 47

March 2013 • australian Teacher

help desk

review Apple

Apps to transform teaching

Apple tv IF you have ever thought about increasing the multimedia resources in your classroom, look no further than the Apple TV. The Apple TV is a convenient device that provides both teachers and students with endless opportunities to work collaboratively and efficiently. In addition to connecting the teacher’s iPad/iCloud to a HDTV to stream curriculum specific videos from the Education Channel – as well as from YouTube and their personal iCloud – it also connects students’ iPads/iPods to the HDTV, allowing them to present their work quickly and with great ease. The size of the receiver is also a great feature as it permits teachers to share and use this resource in any classroom within the school. At the time of going to press, the Apple TV receiver retails from $100. Noelene Callaghan, Rooty Hill High School, NSW

Noelene Callaghan Q: How can I use Google Apps in the classroom? A. Google Apps is entering the education domain and, in my opinion, will transform the way teachers facilitate learning and the way their students collaborate and communicate. It is revolutionising the way educators can create and deliver curriculum content. The Google Apps products permit teachers in both primary and secondary schools to remove their classroom walls, as boundaries and parameters that we have been working within are now removed. It is about more than just installing a few apps on your iPad or Android device, it is revolutionising the way we will email and formulate student timetables. Additionally, Google Apps has created tools that help facilitate

collaborative learning in 21st Century classrooms by giving access to numerous products via one login – a gmail account (for those of you in NSW this will soon be via a DEC email address as the DEC is rolling over to the Google Portal shortly). These are the essential apps that all teachers should familiarise themselves with: Google + (Google Plus) is the hub of Google Apps. It is where individuals can access their chosen communities (teachers can create a class community for their students to access outside of class time), as well as communicate with their friends, play

Google Apps has created tools to help students collaborate by giving access via one login.

games and access other apps. Teachers can use Google Docs in the classroom to facilitate online collaboration. Although many educators have trialled (or used) Google Docs in the past, there have been significant upgrades, permitting students who don’t have Microsoft Office installed on their PCs or devices to access and use such programs. Additionally, everything is saved online permitting students to access their files from any computer. Google Hangouts is an alternative to using Skype and the Collaborative Classroom. It allows students to communicate and collaborate in real time online with up to 10 students in other classrooms/schools, as well as with experts in your subject area, and all in a safe learning environment. Google Hangouts is a fantastic tool which is engaging and can be customised to suit any student ability (from primary to higher education). For more information about Google Apps and the DEC rollout, please go to com/site/appsforeducationdec. Noelene Callaghan is an ICT teacher at Rooty Hill High School, NSW and a Highly Accomplished ICT Educator (PLANE).

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48 • AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

What Professional Learning are you providing for your Health and Physical Education teachers? With more than 1000 members ACHPER Victorian Branch is the peak member association for teachers working in the area of HEALTH, PHYSICAL EDUCATION, SPORT and RECREATION in Victoria.

Professional Learning Program Semester 1 2013 Date


4 March


5 March

For more information and to register for these events please visit our website




VCE Health & Human Development Units 1 & 3

9am – 4pm



VCE VET Sport & Recreation – teaching the New package in 2013

9am – 12pm


5 March


From Fundamental Motor Skills to Games Sense PRIMARY & SECONDARY(5 part series).

9am – 12pm


7 March


VCE Health & Human Development 2012 Examiners report

4.30pm – 6pm


14 March


VCE Outdoor & Environmental Studies 2012 Examiners Report

4.30pm – 6pm


15 March


9am – 4pm


18 March


Foundations – Physical Education for PRIMARY Teachers (P-6) (4 part series) 18 March & 6 May (face2face) 22 April & 27 May (online)

8.30am – 3.30pm


21 March


PRIMARY School Assessment Rubrics

4pm – 5.30pm


21 March


VCE VET Sport & Recreation 2012 Examiners Report

4.30pm – 6pm


19 April


9am – 4pm


29 April


SEPEP in SECONDARY Schools – Engage Your Students (3 part series) Mondays 29 April, 20 May & 3 June

3.30pm – 5.30pm


29 April


VCE Outdoor and Environmental Studies Units 2 & 4

9am – 4pm


2 May


SECONDARY Engaging girls in physical activity

4pm – 5.30pm


6 May


VCE Health and Human Development Units 2 & 4

9am – 4pm


9 May


4pm – 5.30pm


13 May


VCE Physical Education Units 2 & 4

9am - 4pm


16 May


Writing Effective Reports for SECONDARY Schools

4pm – 5.30pm


20 May


VCE VET Methods of Assessment

9pm - 4pm


20 May


SEPEP in Schools–Engage Your Students (Part 2 of 3)

3.30 – 5.30pm


23 May


VCE – Designing Effective SACS

4.30 – 6pm


24 May


Sports 4 Schools PRIMARY & SECONDARY – Gymnastics/Dance

9am – 4pm


3 June


3.30 – 5.30pm


Sports 4 Schools PRIMARY & SECONDARY – Invasion Games (ie Football (Soccer), Lacrosse, Ultimate Frisbee)


Writing Effective Reports for PRIMARY Schools

SEPEP in Schools- Engage Your Students (Part 3 of 3)

For futher details please see the website au or email achper@achper. or alternatively call us on 9274 8900

Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation

professional development conferences




Association focus

Australian students are gearing up to sit the NAPLAN test in May. Becoming a NAPLAN marker can be a great way to learn more about the test.

Japanese Language Teachers’ Association of Victoria (JLTAV)

Sounds like a naplan CHELSEA ATTARD TEACHERS of students in Years 3,5,7 or 9 will no doubt be thinking about how to best prepare their students for this year’s NAPLAN test. While some might be reaching for the nearest pile of practice tests, others are taking a different approach, bearing in mind that the best preparation often begins with the teacher. Last year 1791 current and retired teachers took their red pens in hand and became part of the NAPLAN marking pool. This year, teachers are being called upon again to join the NAPLAN marking pool and use the experience as a source of professional development. A spokesperson from the Victorian Curriculum and

march 2013

Assessment Authority says teachers can benefit from observing the broad range of student written responses when marking the writing task. “It’s an opportunity to reflect on their own thinking and expectations of their students in their use of written language. A teacher might therefore use the experience to reflect on their own day to day teaching practice,” the spokesperson says. Jane McGennisken who teaches English and SOSE at St Mary’s College in Tasmania took the opportunity to become a NAPLAN marker in 2010, in order to better understand the test. “I was teaching Grade 7 and 8 at the time, and ... I really just wanted to understand how it worked. From memory that was my first year back teaching after

taking some time off with small children so, I didn’t really quite understand what NAPLAN was all about.” While the process can be different in each state, for McGennisken it started with an induction and training program run over two days, to instruct teachers on what the different criteria mean, and what they are marking against. Then, she says teachers worked in teams to mark random, as well as moderated scripts. “Every so often there would be one that helped you to figure out whether your marks were consistent with everyone else’s, so there’d be one that someone else had marked, presumably the people in charge, and they’d then check your marking against that person.” McGennisken says teachers were paid for their time spent

marking, usually at their normal classroom teaching rate. While marking NAPLAN can be a good way to meet your PD quota while being paid at the same time, McGennisken says she found the experience invaluable for her own learning. “I think the thing I found really instructive was you can see common mistakes [students make] ... the same kind of things come up again and again that you can specifically target in your own teaching. “I have been thinking that if I can put myself through the pain again [laughs], that it might be worth doing it again, because it’s good professional learning, really. You get a [clearer] sense of what’s being assessed and how therefore you can prepare your students for it.”

Last year was a significant year for JLTAV as we celebrated 40 years as a single language association. Throughout the years the JLTAV has been instrumental in supporting teachers of Japanese in primary, secondary and tertiary settings in Victoria as they deliver quality language programs and inspire their students to continue with their language studies. The association has been at the forefront in keeping abreast of current methodologies in teaching Japanese and have offered a range of professional development activities from ICT sessions to immersion weekends. The Japanese language has a great appeal with our learners. This has been reflected in the consistently high numbers of students continuing their Japanese studies into VCE and beyond. Victoria is among the largest providers of schools with Japanese programs in Australia, and we are very proud to support them as they deliver high quality programs. It will be interesting to see what will evolve over the next 40 years of Japanese language education in Victoria! Nathan Lane vice president, JLTAV

Do you have a story to tell Professional Development? Email

professionaldevelopment INBRIEF Summer school fantastic start to year


australian Teacher • March 2013

NSTSS 2013

Vision Splendid special

An upcoming History Teachers’ Association of Australia Conference will offer teachers the chance to immerse themselves in the Australian history curriculum. Coinciding with Canberra’s 100th birthday, this year’s Vision Splendid conference will follow a special centenary format. Teachers who attend the three-day conference beginning on April 22 will take part in an exploration of the ACT’s key cultural institutions.

Primary music focus Music teachers will focus on building an effective primary music program during an upcoming course run by Kodaly Music Educational Institute of Australia. The course, from April 15-17, aims to equip teachers with the tools, repertoire and strategies for teaching a sequential, developmental and aural-based music program for ES1/S1. Presenters will include Julie Logan and Rose Bloom.

ACHPER conference The Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) Queensland will be running professional development for this year’s early career teachers on March 24-25. Teachers will work in small groups on similar topic themes and several esteemed mentors will be in attendance. Email briefs to

DENISE DE PAOLi AS I waited for my flight to Canberra to attend the National Teachers Summer School (NSTSS), I kept a look out for other applicants whom I had only been in contact with via email. I began to wonder what a science teacher looks like — Albert Einstein came to mind and then I thought of my high school science teacher who wore socks and sandals. Surely we have improved from that stereotype? As it turned out, at the designated meeting place, I noticed that we blended in very well with the average population. The majority of us had a particular area of interest and the NSTSS provided opportunities to deepen our knowledge in many other areas, while exposing us to cutting edge scientific practices and leading researchers. On the first day, we were shown the variety of uses of lasers in the workforce as well as useful demonstrations for the classroom, in particular, laser eye surgery using balloons. We were given tours of the latest research developments at Australian National University, the highlight being the huge Ion Accelerator and a 3D printer that

Science teachers from around the country descended on Canberra to attend the National Teachers Summer School. created models from a CT scan. Day two was a visit to the University of Canberra for a forensic science talk and drug identification practical, and hands on lab work at the CSIRO Plant Industry using an infrared camera to monitor plant stress. We also took part in a live videoconference at Questacon with Rolf Landua of CERN. Day three started at the Parliamentary Education Office where

teachers enthusiastically volunteered to role play MPs to demonstrate how bills are debated (there were some Oscar-winning performances), and how this activity could be implemented into science lessons. After lunch we were shown The Atlas of Living Australia project website, which would be ideal for field work activities where images and information could be uploaded and used to identify

fauna being studied. We also got our hands dirty in the chemistry lab, practising titrations, before our dinner with National Science Youth Forum students and a presentation on locust plagues by guest speaker Steve Simpson. Our final two days included a trip to Tidbinbilla Deep Space Tracking Station to find out about Australia’s involvement with NASA’s space research, an update on climate change research and exploration of resources from the Scientists in Schools and Seismometers in Schools programs. There was still time for one final trip, to the Australian Tsunami and Earthquake warning centre at Geoscience Australia, where some of us witnessed the alarms sounding for a real earthquake in Indonesia After a fantastic week of professional development across all aspects of science, we came away feeling well informed of the latest scientific research and equipped with the latest engaging teaching resources, inspired for the year ahead and we have gained many new friends and colleagues from NSTSS 2013. Denise De Paoli is a science teacher at Kincumber High School, New South Wales.

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March 2013 • australian Teacher

How language works

Delegates learning how language works as part of an AISWA professional development program. DEVELOPING teacher knowledge about language is on the agenda for The Association of Independent Schools Western Australia (AISWA). At present running a course consisting of 10 modules called ‘How Language Works’, AISWA is aiming to build teacher understandings about the workings of the English language system. “The course looks at language choices across genres so that students can understand and confidently produce these genres successfully,” AISWA ESL consultant Sophia Sabatier says. Sabatier, who runs the professional development alongside colleague Pat Kershaw says AISWA runs ‘How Language Works’ twice each year and it proves popular with teachers and administrators. “One principal has asked us to run this course for the entire staff of his school,” Sabatier says. As the course focuses on the widely applicable topic of language, Sabatier says the content is aimed at teachers across all year levels and sectors, as well as curriculum coordinators or administrators. “Examples are derived from a wide range of subject areas (science, geography, history, English) and the course culminates in a whole-school mapping of genres, so it

makes sense to have people from all phases of schooling and all subject areas attend. That being said, we believe that the course is most practical for teachers from Years 3-12,” she says. According to Sabatier, teachers who participate in this course are led to question the way they explain language and genre to their students. “They are provided with a systematic and logical approach to talking about language with their students. Through participation in activities and reflection ... they come to identify a progression of tasks that they could use which will scaffold their students from the more accessible, simple genres to producing complex, academic texts that are appropriate for purpose and audience.” While the first semester’s course is underway there will be opportunities for teachers to participate next semester. “We intend to continue to run this course as a way of supporting teachers as they implement the Australian Curriculum and its premise that success in any learning area depends on being able to use the significant, identifiable and distinctive literacy that is important for learning and representative of the content of that learning area.”

literacy gathering

ALEA workshop about how visuals and written text combine to develop textual understanding TEACHERS will be exploring the complexities of the interaction between image and language at an upcoming Australian Literacy Educators’ Association (ALEA) workshop. Image/Language Interaction: Challenges for Reading Comprehension is part of ALEA’s Literacy Heaven workshop series and will look at how the visuals and written text work together to develop textual meaning. Sue Hamilton-Smith, president of the ALEA Mackay local council, says the workshop will address a gap in understanding among teachers. “It will help our understanding of why some students are challenged by visual texts, and we’re getting some of that data from the NAPLAN national assessment which is very, very visual,” she says. The workshop will begin with afternoon tea at 3.30pm followed by a one hour workshop session from 4 to 5pm. Hamilton-Smith says Dr Len Unsworth, professor in education at Griffith University, will take the floor.

The workshop is for teachers and pre-service teachers of all year levels and across all sectors. “... Dr Unworth has been an acknowledged expert in the field of multiliteracies, visual and media texts. He has contributed an awful lot to understandings of multiliteracies education through his research, addresses and writing of numerous journal articles and books. So, we’re very lucky to have him in Mackay.” As with all Literacy Heaven workshops, Hamilton-Smith says everybody is welcome to attend the event scheduled on March 14.

Professional Learning Workshop Programme Term 1, 2013

AISWA course

Leadership skills

Karen Stammers & Yvonne Willich Monday 4 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Introducing positive education into your school

Helen McGrath. Friday 8 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Effective feedback in the teaching and learning process

Anna Bennett. Wednesday 13 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Improving teaching and learning through classroom observation

Julie Landvogt. Thursday 14 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Engaging maths activities (P - 8)

Rob Vingerhoets. Friday 15 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

21st Century Learning using technology and research to improve learning outcomes

Andrew Fuller. Monday 18 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Managing mathematics classrooms for graduate teachers (P - 6) Michael Ymer. Tuesday 19 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm

Revisiting shared and guided reading (P - 4)

David Hornsby. Friday 22 March, 9.30am – 3.30pm All workshops are held at the Australian Institute of Management, 181 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda For further information or to book online visit: t: (03) 9524 6222 e:



professionaldevelopment australian teacher • MarcH 2013

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

NATIONAL Primary English Teaching AssocIATION Australia Teaching language, literature and literacy in Kindergarten March 3, 4:00-6:30pm; Valentine Public School, Valentine; M $160, NM $215;

Explicit teaching strategies for reading comprehension

March 11, 9:00am3:00pm; Whitfield State School, Cairns; M $160, NM $215;

Building reading fluency

April 4, 4:00pm- 6:30pm; SERU, Henley Beach SA; M $80, NM $105; info@petaa.

Engaging readers through response to text-life connections April 8, 4:00pm- 6:30pm; The Grange Public School, Minto; M $80, NM $105;

Literature & poetry: Students’ engagement & response

May 1, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Gordon East Public School, NSW; M $160, NM $215;

Literature and Indigenous/ Asian/Sustainability priorities May 22, 3:30pm- 6:30pm; Peregian Springs State School, Sunshine Coast; M $80, NM $105; info@petaa.

Supporting students’ reading/writing development- middle yrs

June 19, 4:00pm- 6:30pm; Mount Annan Public School, NSW; M $80, NM $105;

AUSTRALIAN LITERARY EDUCATORS’ ASSOC Image/Language Interaction: Challenges for Reading Comprehension March 14; Community Meeting Room - Gordon White Library, North Mackay; M $10, NM $20;

ALEA-TATE State Conference

April 12-13, Time TBA; Launceston venue TBA; Cost TBA; karen. hampton@education.tas.

Engaging Middle Years Students through Thinking, Talking and Collaborating

June 13, 3:30pm5:30pm; Corrimal library, Wollongong; M $10, NM $30;

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

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

AUSDANCE 2013 National dance forum

March 15-17; Melbourne venue TBA; Cost TBA;

HISTORY TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF AUS WITH ACT HISTORY TEACHERS ASSOCIATION National Conference: Vision Splendid April 22-24, Time TBA; National Library of Australia, Canberra; Cost TBA; http://www.

Middle Years of Schooling Association (MYSA) 8th International Conference

May 23-25; Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre, QLD; M $700, NM $800; mysa2013@expertevents.

Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (ASPA) The ‘Unconventional Convention’! June 29 - July 4; Cairns Convention Centre , QLD; Early bird M/NM $790 before February 8, 2013;

AUS ASSOC FOR THE TEACHING OF ENGLISH AND THE AUS LITERACY EDUCATORS ASSOC 2013 National Conference: Brave New World - English and Literacy Teaching for the 21st Century July 4-7, Time TBA; QUT Kelvin Grove campus; Cost TBA; http://www. englishliteracyconference.

AUSTRALIAN TEACHERS OF MEDIA National Media Education Conference: Connected Creative Critical July 4-7, Time TBA; Queensland University of Technology, Garden’s Point; M $550, NM $650;

AUSTRALIAN FEDERATION OF MODERN LANGUAGE TEACHER’ ASSOCS Conference: Inspire, Innovate, Interact July 5-8, Time TBA; Australian National University, Canberra; Cost TBA; meri.dragicevic@

AFMLTA Assembly 2013

July 8-9, Time TBA; Australian National University, Canberra, Cost TBA; event/assembly-2013/

AUSTRALIAN SCIENCE TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION CONASTA 62 July 7-10, Time TBA; Melbourne location TBC; Cost TBA; http://asta. conasta62


July 10-13; University of Melbourne, Carlton; Cost TBA;


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

Australian school library association XXIII Biennial Conference

Submit your free noticeboard listing by emailing

September 28- October 1; Hotel Grand Chancellor, Hobart; Cost TBA; asla@

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

Australian Assoc of Special Education 2013 National Conference

September 29 – October 1; Hilton Hotel Adelaide; Cost TBA;

AusTRalian Council for Educational Leaders National Conference: Revisit, Reimagine, Reveal - Creating Tomorrow October 2-4; National Convention Centre, Canberra; Cost TBA;

NSW English Teachers Association of New South Wales HSC Student Paper 1 Day

March 1; Sydney University; M $90, NM $200; admin@

KODALY MUSIC EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTE OF AUSTRALIA Back to School with Kodaly in the Middle Years: 5-9

March 1, 9:30am-4:30pm; Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre, Penrith; M $120 NM $135; http://

Interactive Whiteboard/ Choral Training and Tips

March 2, Time TBA, Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Building an Effective Music Program: Primary Level 1 April 14-17, 8:30am-5pm; Newington College, Stanmore; M $430 NM $495; events

Building an Effective Music Program: Primary Level 2 April 15-17, 8:30am-5pm; Newington College, Stanmore; M $480 NM $585; events

MATHEMATICAL ASSOC OF NEW SOUTH WALES Primary One Day Conference March 9, Time TBA; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; http://www.mansw.nsw. Professionallearning

The Association of Independent Schools New South Wales Musical Intelligence K-2

April 5, 8:30am - 3:00pm; St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Sydney; M $120, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

Printing and Paper Sculpture

May 13, 8:30am - 3:00pm; The Hills Grammar School, Kenthurst; M $120, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

Storytelling with Digital Video

Semester 1

May 17, 8:30am - 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $370, NM $810;

April 24, 9:00am- 3:30pm; Brisbane venue TBA; M free (not available for nonmembers); registrations@

A Physical Education Toolkit

ICT Managers Forum Semester 2

June 3, 8:30am - 3:00pm; University of Wollongong, Gwynneville; M $120, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

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

Teaching for Deep Learning in the HSIE Classroom

Drama QueenslanD State Conference

June 7, 8:30am - 3:00pm; State Library of New South Wales, Sydney; M $120, NM $290; admin@aisnsw.

Tablets in Languages 7-12

July 29, 8:30am - 3:00pm; Level 12, 99 York Street, Sydney; M $185, NM $405;

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

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

QLD australian council for health, physical education and recreation, qld Professional development event & AGM

March 4, 5:30pm- 7:30pm; Sports House Milton, Milton; M free, NM $10;

2013 Early Career Teachers’ Conference

March 24; Tranquil Park, Maleny; M $290.40, NM $420.20; events@

Central Queensland Conference

June 6-7, 8:30am- 4:30pm; Rockhampton, Queensland; M $220, NM $264; events@

Brisbane Conference

August 15-16, 8:30am4:30pm; Riverglenn Conference Centre, Indooroopilly; M $264, NM $393.80; events@

2013 Awards Evening

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

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

INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS QUEENSLAND Working with students with disabilities

March 7, 9:00am- 3:00pm; Brisbane venue TBA; M free (not available for nonmembers); registrations@

ICT Managers Forum

March 15-17; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; jbraschm@msm.

Music Teacher Assoc of Queensland AMEB online theory exams

March 24, 2pm; AMEB, 9 Nathan Avenue, Ashgrove; free;

Taubman Approach to Piano Technique

April 20-21; MTAQ Auditorium, 200 Moggill Road, Taringa; Cost TBA;

English teachers assoc of queensland Free Shakespeare PD event

April 29, 4:30pm- 6:30pm; UQ St Lucia, Learning Innovation Building; M/NM free;

Business educators’ assoc of queensland State Conference 2013

July 26-27; Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre; Cost TBA;

SA ACHPER SA 2013 State Coaching Conference

March 2 2013, 9:00am4:00pm; Magarey Room, AAMI Stadium; M/NM $150; info@achpersa.

Assoc of independent schools of sa ICT in the Literacy Classroom

March 21, April 5, June 5 and October 25, all 9:00am- 3:30pm; 301 Unley Road, Malvern; M free (not available for non-members); office@ais.

THE SA SCIENCE TEACHERS ASSOC INC Annual Conference & Expo 2013

April 15-16 2012; Immanuel College 32 Morphett Road, Novar Gadens; Cost TBA; office@


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

Tasmanian Music Teachers’ Association TMTA State Conference March 2, Time TBA; Hobart venue; Cost TBA;


EDUCATORS ASSOC & TAS ASSOC FOR TEACHING OF ENGLISH State Conference 2013 April 12-13, Time TBA; Launceston venue TBA; Cost TBA; karen. hampton@education.tas.

VIC design and technology teachers’ assoc of victoria Systems Engineering: Essentials for the New Study Design

March 1, 9:30am - 4:00pm; Statewide Resource Centre, 150 Palmerston Street, Carlton; M $180, NM $280;

Getting Started with Picaxe

March 2, 9:30am-12:30pm; Diamond Valley College, Diamond Valley; M $110, NM $210; admin@datta.

SketchUp for Beginners

March 5, 4:30pm- 6:30pm; Simonds Catholic College, Fitzroy North; M $88, NM $188; admin@datta.vic.

Ict in education victoria Thought Leadership

March 1, 9:30am 12:30pm; Debney Meadows Primary School, Flemington; M $220, NM $250; ictev@ictev.vic.

Oracle Academy - Alice Workshop

March 3, 9:30am- 4:30pm; Statewide Resources Centre, Carlton; M/NM free;

Thought Leadership Inquiry Part Two

April 26, 9:30am- 1:30pm; Debney Meadowes Primary School, Flemington; M $270, NM $300; ictev@

ICTEV2013: IT Takes A Village

May 5, 7:30am- 6:30pm; Melbourne Grammar School Wadhurst Campus; M $260, NM $390; ictev@

VICTORIAN OrffSchulwerk Assoc Marimba Music Workshop for Teachers March 4, 4:00pm- 5:30pm; Roslyn Primary School, Belmont; Cost TBA; Leen.

Marimba Music Afternoon with Jon Madin (all ages)

March 10, 2:00pm4:00pm; Viewbank Primary School; Cost TBA; admin@

Levels 1 & 3 Courses

April 2-6, 8:45am- 5:45pm each day; Camberwell Baptist Church, 460 Riversdale Road Hawthorn East; M $545, NM $605;

Autumn Seminar

May 17-18; Darebin Arts & Entertainment Centre, 387 Bell Street Preston; M $340, NM $400 (early bird options available); admin@

Richard Gill Course & Workshop

June 8-10; Venue TBA; Cost TBA;

Sounds Great Conference

July 11-13; The Arts Centre, Melbourne; Cost TBA;

Early Childhood Conference of the Performing Arts (ECCPA)

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

Art Education Victoria VCE Art Teacher Workshop March 5, 12:30- 4:00pm Geelong Gallery, Little Malop Street, Geelong; M $95, NM $130 (includes GST & lunch) enquiries@

VCE Studio Arts Teacher Workshop

March 13, 4:30-7:30pm Dax Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne; M $85, NM $115 (includes GST & refreshments)

VCE Art Teacher Workshop March 20, 4:30-7:30pm Dax Gallery, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne; M $85, NM $115 (includes GST & refreshments)

Kodaly Music Education Institute of Australia Secondary Teacher Training Course (Level 2)

March 12 - June 11, Saturday afternoons; 61 Glenard Drive, Eaglemont; M $680, NM $745; info@

KMEIA Autumn Seminar

May 17-18; Darebin Arts and Entertainment Centre, Preston; Cost TBA; info@

INdependent schools victoria Digital Media for Creative Arts in Primary and Middle Years

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

Managing Concerns about Employees’ Conduct or Performance

April 15, 9:30am- 12:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $72, NM $115; enquiries@ independentschools.vic.

Threads of Literacy for Teachers

April 23, 9:30am- 3:30pm; 40 Rosslyn Street, West Melbourne; M $115, NM $250; enquiries@ independentschools.vic.

Geography teachers’ association of vic Mornington Peninsula Fieldwork Overnight at Sorrento March 17-18; Mornington Peninsula National Park; M $300, NM $400;

Meet the Examiners, VCE review & Victorian Baccalaureate forum

March 22, 5:30pm8:30pm; Graduate House 220 Leicester Street, Carlton; M $80, NM $150;


Study Tour for Teachers of French: New Caledonia July 3-10; New Caledonia, Noumea; Cost $2500 (estimate); http://www.

Science teachers’ assoc of victoria CONASTA 62

July 7- 10; La Trobe University, Melbourne; Cost TBA;

WA Australian council for health, physical education and recreation, wa Are You Teaching Secondary Health in 2013? March 5, 8:45am- 3:30pm; Newman Siena Centre; M $40, NM $45; info@

Workshop for Teachers of Dance in Secondary Schools

April 19; King Street Arts Centre; Cost TBA; info@

Workshop for Teachers of Dance in Primary Schools May 6; King Street Arts Centre; Cost TBA; info@

Fundamental Movement Skills 2 Day Workshop

June 10-11; Venue TBA; Cost TBA; info@achperwa.

geographical assoc of western australia Beginning Geography Teachers

March 5, 9:00am- 3:30pm; East Fremantle Yacht Club; M $150, NM $250; gawaadmin@westnet.

ASSOC OF INDEPENDENT SCHOOLS WA Many Languages - One Methodology

March 20; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor), Osborne Park; M/NM $250;

Tactical Teaching: Reading

March 26, 9:00am4:00pm; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor), Osborne Park; M/NM $150;

Engaging Students with Number

April 15, 9:00am- 3:00pm; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor), Osborne Park; M/ NM $90; ddunstan@ais.

Tactical Teaching: Speaking and Listening May 22, 9:00am- 4:00pm; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor), Osborne Park; M/ NM $200; ssabatier@ais.

Primary Connections

May 27, 9:00am- 4:00pm; AISWA Seminar Room (First Floor), Osborne Park; M/NM $150, cwitt@ais.

SCIENCE TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION OF Westerm australia Primary Science Conference 2013

March 23-24, Time TBA; The Novotel Vines Resort; Cost TBA; events-2/?event_id=15


May 17-18; Mazenod College, Gladys Road, Lesmurdie; M $280, NM $335;

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 53

March 2013 • australian Teacher

our house something special

Robinson up to the challenge

TEACHER librarian Susan Cutsforth spends her days handling other people’s books, but now she’s written her own. The project began three years ago, when Cutsforth and her husband bought a little old farmhouse in the South of France, and began to renovate. “When we bought it, the ‘kitchen’ was a sink and a wood burning stove. And as you can imagine, you go to this foreign country and ... you have nothing!” she shares. “It was basically a matter of 16 hour days knocking down walls, stripping wallpaper, taking out the rubble, taking out the bricks ... “ Upon returning home to Sydney, Cutsforth wrote a long email to friends and family telling them all about it. It was then she decided that she had enough to write a book about her renovating adventure. “So the next couple of trips I took a notebook and madly scribbled in it whenever I had a chance in between working very, very hard and very, very long hours,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Getting a book published can be tedious, but Cutsforth knew

FLYING 1000 kilometres at your own expense every second or third weekend between September and March is some sort of netball coaching commitment. But Mackay State High School teacher Corinne Robinson says she’s “got to be prepared to do the hard yards to get to that next level”. Robinson is an apprentice coach for the Brisbane-based Queensland Under-21 netball team, which is preparing for nationals in Canberra in early March, and ‘that next level’ at this stage is assistant coach of the team. “Netball Queensland pay for two of my training sessions in Brisbane, and I pay for the rest...” she says. “The assistant and the coach get everything paid for, so I see it as me having to do the hard stuff first to be able to then get the luxuries down the track...” Robinson first picked up a netball as a four-year-old, and her passion for the game has never wavered. She represented Queensland at schoolgirl level and still plays Premier League in Mackay. In her sixth year as the HPE teacher at Mackay State she is also the school’s netball academy coordinator. “The netball academy is just like

Susan Cutsforth documented the renovations of her French farmhouse and published it in her new eBook, Our House Is Not In Paris. her book was marketable. After all, the genre is very popular and France is the most visited country in the world. “I gave myself a year and a hundred publishers and I did it in 25 publishers in five months so that was fabulous!” she shares. It was Melbourne Books who devoured her manuscript titled, Our House is Not in Paris, and decided to publish it as their first ever eBook. But the award-winning teacher librarian says that sharing her writing journey with her students

back at Corrimal High School was one of the most rewarding parts of the entire process. “...the lovely point about this is when I got the joyous news and I was bursting when I ran into school to tell everyone, it was two parents who sent me a bunch of flowers to school to congratulate me and that meant the world to me.” Cutsforth and her husband try to go to their farmhouse in France once a year and continue to renovate their home away from home.

heat is on for game Gannon CAMERON Gannon describes his Big Bash League debut with the comp-winning Brisbane Heat this summer as ‘a pretty sweet feeling’. The 24-year-old fast bowler admits that considering his team’s lacklustre start to the competition, it was even more exceptional that they walked away the winners. “We were pretty lucky to make it to the final anyway because of our run rate,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “ But as it is in most sports, you get into the finals and your team is doing OK, you’ve got as good a chance as anyone to win it.” As well as his achievements on

the cricket pitch, Gannon is also nearly two years into his teaching degree at Queensland University of Technology. “The Australian Cricket Association and Queensland Cricket are pretty big on young players especially, having something behind them in case something were to go wrong ...” he explains. “I’ve always had a pretty solid interest in teaching and figured it would be worthwhile pursuing, as well as how much that would help me with the technical aspects of cricket and learning and things like that,” he says. But Gannon has a solid plan for

Free subscriptions are available at

a normal class; they get to choose that as a subject, so I take that for Grade 8, 9 and 10. I also teach Year 8 and 9 PE and Year 12 PE,” she says. When asked what she enjoys most about netball coaching, Robinsons says, “probably to help the kids, see them have fun and see them work hard,“ but it’s working with highly regarded coach Paula Stuart and the state’s best young netballers that really gets her fired up. “I’ve done these [coaching] positions pretty much so that I can learn from elite coaches, like Paula, in Brisbane,” she says. Robinson has her intermediate qualification and just has to sit the practical component to complete her advanced qualification. While her ambitions are lofty, you get the impression she has what it takes to scale the heights. “I’d probably eventually like to be state coach, at this point in time,” she says. “ I’m hoping to be assistant coach next year and then work my way up from there.”

Fast bowler Cameron Gannon e played his debut with Brisban . mer sum the Heat over

juggling his study with his cricket commitments. “Essentially I try and fit as much as I can into the first semester of the year and then depending on how busy second semester is, I try and get one subject in,” he says. In the future, Gannon sees himself teaching secondary physical education and English, but for the moment, he wants to focus on the sport close to his heart. “Ultimately that is the dream, playing for Australia, but as it stands, I just want to play as much as I can for Queensland and for the Heat and make the most of my time there,” he says.



inthestaffroom australian Teacher • March 2013

trivia How many playing cards, excluding jokers, are in a standard pack?

one point

Who wrote the novel Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea?

The 38th parallel roughly divides which two Asian countries?

Which rapper won the 2012 ARIA for Best Breakthrough Artist?

In a regulation game of ice hockey, how long is each period?

In which year did the Titanic sink on its maiden voyage?

Teams competing in the Big Bash League bat for how many overs each?

Which users per month milestone did Facebook reach in October 2012?

Which decade is often described as ‘swinging’?

Dolly Parton starred in which comedy film about women in the workplace?

final110_BTSfinal.pdf 90210 is one of five zip codes for which US city?



10:41 AM

The 500 in the Daytona 500 NASCAR race refers to what?


How many Academy Awards did the James Cameron film Titanic win? Superstitious Australian cricketers consider which score the ‘devil’s number’?

three points

In which decade did athlete Roger Bannister break the four minute mile barrier?


skill level: Medium ACROSS 3 A fear of France or French culture is called _. (12) 6 The Night Watch is one of the most famous paintings by Dutch great _. 9 The African country Zimbabwe was formerly known as _? (8) 11 Abraham Lincoln was the first US President from which political party. (10) 13 Knights of Cydonia by which British band was voted No.1 in the 2007 Triple j Hottest 100? (4) 15 In the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock movie Psycho, Anthony _ played Norman Bates? 17 The new US Secretary of State, following on from Hilary Clinton, is Senator John _. 18 Creative director of French design house Louis Vuitton, Marc _. (6) 20 World literacy day is celebrated each year on _ 8. (9) 21 Best known for his watercolour Australian outback desert landscapes, was Indigenous artist Albert _. (9)

DOWN 1 The bikie gang ‘Father’s Day Massacre’, took place in _ on September 2, 1984. (8) 2 Which country won the 1990 football (soccer) World Cup? (4, 7) 4 The Federal Minister for Trade is Craig _? (7) 5 Brilliant HBO comedy series starring Larry David, Curb Your _. (10) 7 Co-hosting Masterchef Professionals with Matt Preston is famous chef Marco _ White. (6) 8 Author of popular Jack Reacher books Lee _? (6) 10 The headquarters of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are in _ DC? (10) 12 The Sulphur-crested _ is found in the north and east of the nation, and also in Tasmania. 14 The fifth most populous country on the planet, with almost 195,000,000 people is _. (6) 16 In terms of land area, which country ranks second in the world? (6) 19 The German composer of Hungarian Dance No.5 in G minor was Johannes _. (6)

turn to page 56 for all solutions and answers

picture quiz Can you name this European landmark?

five points

careers career news




retirements 57

Adventure teacher Andrew Hughes allows students to be a part of his journey.

First Year Out 58

Hughes’ big adventure CHELSEA ATTARD TACKLING tempestuous waters in a sea kayak, fishing, eating coconuts and camping are all in a day’s work for adventure teacher Andrew Hughes. After completing degrees in science and primary teaching, Hughes developed Expedition Class, an online teaching tool to help school students learn about the environment by tracking his own real-world adventures. Last year, he travelled along Tasmania’s coastline as an exploration of coastal ecosystems and marine debris. In a previous adventure called the Crusoe Project, he spent four weeks on the south-east coast of Papua New Guinea, on an island with only a single resident.

“The students engaged in a program called the science of survival. They did weekly experiments that I did on the island, helped me out with survival tips and, over the month, they participated in a very real sense in my experience,” Hughes says. The idea for Expedition Class came during Hughes’ last year at university as he wrestled with the idea of giving up his adventurous lifestyle for a life spent mostly inside the classroom. “I certainly [have] a passion to go on adventurous journeys, and that began from ... growing up with mum and dad and three brothers on the northwest coast of Tassie and venturing into the bush for nights at a time in tents and climbing mountains. I wanted to combine that love of adven-

ture and reaching out to lots of kids in classrooms.” Hughes initially launched the project as a simple blog involving a newsletter and photos from his journey. But, after receiving positive feedback from classroom teachers, he ramped up the site to include curriculum-based lesson plans, diary updates and more. Through word-of-mouth and with the help of government and private funding, the project is continuing to grow. “I’ve found that it’s been a real sort of organic growth and spread from southern Tasmania and right across [the state] now, and [it’s] just starting to reach those tentacles into mainland areas because the platform works perfectly well for anyone anywhere.” With an obvious passion for

Learning 62

engaging children in valuable learning experiences, Hughes is reluctant to call himself a teacher in the traditional sense, and has no plans to return to the classroom. “I call myself an adventure teacher ... I don’t have the experience and hard knocks the classroom teachers have, and I respect

Bonus content » what they do greatly but I think my role’s diverged from that.” It’s fair to say adventure teaching is something that suits him down to the ground. “To be honest with you, it’s pretty bloody good. Not many people can say they do exactly what they love doing every day of the year ...”

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

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careers australian Teacher • March 2013

Appointment Martin Lippett is the new principal of Kingston Community School in South Australia. Lippett, who took on the role this term, was previously deputy principal at the Para West Adult Campus senior secondary school. He succeeds Sue Lewis, who had been principal of Kingston Community School for four years. Lippett has been appointed for a five year term.

Retirement Vale Park Primary School principal Marian Paleologos has taken leave and retirement from the profession. Writing in the school newsletter, new principal for 2013, Jenny Turner, thanked Paleologos for her vision and commitment to the Adelaide school community. Turner also paid tribute to current staff and students, adding there are great things happening at Vale Park.

Appointment Literacy and numeracy specialists appointed under the Early Action for Success Initiative have started work in New South Wales public schools this term. The team of 50 instructional leaders will help teachers work with students identified as struggling by providing extra support and intervention. The appointments are part of a $261 million five-year initiative.

modern teaching

Far beyond the classroom JO EARP PRIMARY school principal Lis Turner is preparing for a tour of Asia to explore innovative approaches to leadership and global learning. The five week trip, which kicks off in April, will include visits to primary and K-12 schools in South Korea, Singapore and Malaysia. Turner is principal of Waggrakine Primary School in Geraldton, Western Australia — one of only 30 chosen for the latest Microsoft Worldwide Partners in Learning program. “We’re a worldwide mentor school. [Of the 30 schools chosen] there are two in Australia at the moment and we’re one of those,” she explains. Turner will make the trip after receiving a Winston Churchill Memorial Trust fellowship. “Two of the countries that I’m going to — Singapore and South Korea — are amongst the highest performing countries in international testing,” she points out. “Another school I’m going to in Malaysia is recognised as one of their highest performing schools. “[The trip] is about seeing how they might use technologies to go beyond the classroom and school ... as a tool for communication.”

Waggrakrine Primary is a Microsoft worldwide mentor school. Her hosts have also invited Turner to give a presentation on the use of technology by staff and students at Waggrakine Primary School. “The most important thing is the 21st Century learning that sits behind it. We’re looking at not just teaching the ‘three Rs’ but teaching the ‘four Cs’ — Creativity, Critical thinking, Communication and Collaboration.” Giving students opportunities to get involved in global learning is a particular passion for Turner, who

Are you in touch with education news in your local area? Do you have a passion for a particular subject area and would like to write about it?

Now is your chance to get involved and write for Australian Teacher Magazine. Fees paid for regular contributors. To get involved, simply email with a sample of your writing and an outline on why you are keen to be a contributor.

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David Hinton has been appointed principal of Crusoe College in Kangaroo Flat, Victoria. He has been a school leader for 20 years and took on the role of acting principal at the college during Term 4. Hinton recently returned to Australia after two years in the Middle East working on a school improvement program and says it’s great to be back home in Bendigo.






Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

has been principal of the school for six years. “We’re really part of a global economy now and we can’t be isolated any more. We use technology to link the kids up with buddy classes in Asia and they have chats and shared blogs. “Where teaching used to be so insular in the classroom ... now it’s far beyond the classroom. The blog technologies and things like that make the learning 24/7 so that learning isn’t something that just happens at school.

Marg Guit has retired after 42 years in the profession, including 34 in Catholic education in the Northern Territory. The principal of Holy Family Catholic School in the Darwin suburb of Karama handed over the leadership reins to Shane Donohue at the start of Term 1. Writing in the school newsletter, Guit said it had been a privilege to finish her career at Holy Family.

Appointment Balgowlah North Public School in New South Wales has welcomed several new staff members during Term 1. Belinda Norrie has moved from North Sydney Public School to become assistant principal. Jenny Mercer joins from Manly Vale Public School as a Year 1 teacher, and Megan Rose and Rachel Adams will take on support roles with Stage 2 classes, two days a week.

PLAY AND EARLY LEARNING HANDOUTS A simple, photo-based resource for parents If you’re looking for easy-to-use handouts for parents these beautifully produced handouts could be for you. Forty handouts have been developed, showing a range of fun, everyday activities to promote play and early learning for pre-school children. Titles include: Getting ready to learn using both hands together, drawing and writing fun Pretend Play Learning to cut Book sharing and many more!

Buy online today for $40

careers 57

March 2013 • australian Teacher

Isolated students

Chapman’s remote calling

THE opportunity to fly to an isolated school, to assist and teach its two students for three weeks, and get involved in the local community sounded like an experience too good for Elizabeth Chapman to pass up. Chapman will complete a Graduate Diploma of Learning and Teaching specialising in primary education at the University of Southern Queensland at the end of Semester 1. In the meantime, she has chosen to take part in USQ’s Isolated Children’s Project. She flew out to the quiet town of Chillagoe, four hours out of Cairns, to spend three weeks with the Neilsen-Rhodes family on their cattle station, teaching and running activities with two students aged seven and eight. “I’ve done rural placements before but this is so different from anything I’ve ever experienced,” Chapman says after her first day of teaching. “It was a three-and-a-half hour drive to the grocery store and the nearest town is one-and-a-half hours away. “I wasn’t able to drive in to the station due to flooded roads, so I flew there in a mail plane. “While I was up there I got to see so much of the area and

Elizabeth Chapman is gaining teaching experience in remote Queensland. talk to some of the locals, it was great.” Keen to make the most of this learning experience, Chapman has planned some special activities with the students to cater to their individual interests. “The boy really likes dinosaurs and geology so we’ll be doing fossil mining and treasure hunting, while the girl really likes art so we’ll be doing a few arts and craft activities together,” she shares. “It’s going to be interesting having a classroom with only two people in it; I might not ever get

this opportunity again.” The Isolated Children’s Project has been running for 30 years at USQ and all travel costs funded by the USQ Faculty of Education. Although the experience will be challenging for Chapman, she says she is optimistic about the outcomes. “The next few weeks are going to be both exciting and challenging, especially being away from my husband for so long,” Chapman reflects. “But, it really is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

first year out KATHRYN Whyte knew she wanted to teach a wide breadth of subjects when she took on her first post at Melbourne’s Fitzroy High School this term. So, while she was at university, the enthusiastic graduate teacher hit the books and qualified to be able to teach English, science, Italian, pilates and dance at her new school. I studied at the University of Melbourne for my undergraduate degree, so I’ve got a degree in science with a major in biology and some majors in psychology. I also did chemistry in my first year, so that’s how I’ve been able to do my general science qualification. I also overloaded and did a diploma of languages ... I studied Italian, went overseas and lived there and finished off my diploma of languages. That’s how, with my teaching degree, I’ve been able to overload and qualify to teach sciences, Italian and English. I’m also a qualified fitness instructor, so I teach pilates, and when I was in school I did dance. When I was in Year 12 I had different career aspirations, but seeing how loyal and dedicated my Year 12 teachers were and the impact they had on students, really inspired me to become a teacher. I’ve wanted to be a teacher since I finished high school, so it’s been a wonderful journey and finally getting here has been amazing.

I’m in a really supportive team. I’m part of the Year 9 team and all the staff have been amazing, really going out of their way to make me feel not only really welcomed but also to make sure that I’m really prepared and feeling confident. Every day’s been fantastic. Getting to know my students has been wonderful. An integral part of being a teacher is to take the time to get to know your students. So, for all my classes my students have written me letters or my younger students have written name cards with things that they enjoy and things that they like doing and so I’ve learned all of those. I’ve spent time not only learning student names but about each student and I think that has really started to show. Students have seen that I really want to get to know them and help them succeed with their studies. [This year I’m] just getting involved in as many things as I can. I’m really excited about being involved in the musical, and getting into the music side of things.

This is no ordinary scholarship The Tuckwell Scholarship program is among the most generous scholarships in Australia. Through the generosity of the Graham & Louise Tuckwell Foundation, Tuckwell Scholarships offer students a chance to live and study at ANU, in Canberra. Financial support is just the beginning. Tuckwell Scholars are supported by a community of academic leaders dedicated to mentoring and guiding students throughout their undergraduate study.

Your students, their future We are seeking your expert help in identifying those rare students who are not only highly talented and motivated but who also have a commitment to giving back and display characteristics underpinned by integrity, humility and generosity. This Scholarship program is a highly transformational opportunity for your students. It will unleash their potential through an exceptional higher education experience. Applications close 2 April 2013 for study in 2014 Selection criteria and application process: CRICOS# 00120C | 121212UG


careerslearning australian Teacher • March 2013

INBRIEF Hampson’s Indiana Jones adventure postgrad study

Application writing

The WA Department of Education has an online course covering application writing for teachers. The resource is at teachingwa/flash/awt/player.html and is aimed at teachers wanting to apply for new vacancies. Themes covered include writing resumes, cover letters and self-reflection.

ACU leadership course THE Australian Catholic University offers a Postgraduate Certificate in Educational Leadership on campus and online. The course is six months full-time or part-time equivalent. Unit topics include learning communities, professional development, educational change and authentic leadership and management. Completion may also give credit towards a Masters degree.

For gifted and talented TEACHERS and school leaders wanting to develop education programs for gifted and talented students can apply for a range of courses. The Postgraduate Certificate in Gifted and Talented Education through Murdoch University’s School of Education includes a midyear intake. Elective units include a Professional and Action Learning Project. Email briefs to

HER mother used to say, “knowledge is no burden to carry”, and teacher Michelle Hampson has used this advice to finish a PhD in Egyptology, which took 10 years to complete. Having always been a passionate history buff with a keen interest in the adventures of Indiana Jones, her 100,000-word thesis focused on the theme of Egyptian art and scenes of craftsmen in tomb reliefs and paintings. Hampson tells Australian Teacher Magazine she completed the PhD part-time while working full-time. “The early years were spent researching, attending seminars and completing foundation language courses as I had to be able to read in three modern languages and one ancient language in order to facilitate my work. “I would spend every Sunday researching at either or both Macquarie and Sydney University libraries and filled a three drawer filing cabinet with my notes.” In the end, Hampson had collected a database comprised of 162 scenes from 63 tombs and fragments, more than 2000 separate artistic features for which she devised a new methodology of categorisation and hundreds of hieroglyphic inscriptions. “During my studies I travelled to

from her masters studies, which she completed in 1996. Interestingly, she achieved the rare distinction of having her thesis passed as is, with no corrections necessary, when it was turned in for assessment at Macquarie University towards the end of last year. Hampson says she was very lucky to have Australia’s leading Egyptologist, professor Naguib Kanawati, as her supervisor. She says juggling her time between study and full-time teaching really tested her stamina. “For 10 years I was leading a double life and I had to be super organised and driven in order to meet all of my commitments.”

Bonus content »

Egypt twice, once after winning a Macquarie University Research Grant, to photograph and document various tombs and complete research in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. “That was unforgettable,

a privilege and a great way to channel my inner Indiana!” The history and ancient history teacher at Sydney’s St Johns Park High School says beginning her PhD was a natural progression

While she thinks that her studies in no way detracted from her teaching performance but rather enhanced it, she has advice for others considering postgraduate study. “Be prepared ... many people will not understand your desire to pursue postgraduate study if it doesn’t ultimately lead to a promotion or pay increase. Learning for learning’s sake is harder to explain.”


Plus every time you purchase from you also receive a rebate of 5% to use with your next purchase.

AITSL is funded by the Australian Government

March 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ 59

The new school year is underway and so is the implementation of Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Australia. Certification is a voluntary and evidence-based process that recognises the difference Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers make for their students and the practice of their colleagues. Certification allows teachers to reflect, receive feedback, and gain recognition for high quality teaching, whatever type of school they work in. AITSL is currently working with key stakeholders to finalise resources that will support teachers in their ambitions to become Highly Accomplished and Lead teachers. For more information on certification, please visit the AITSL website.

The Self-Assessment Tool (SAT)

Certification evidence

The SAT is designed to help teachers reflect upon their professional practice and will provide assistance for teachers in:

Using examples provided by teachers from various states and territories, the AITSL website will showcase a collection of evidence from the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages. These collections will include robust examples of evidence and annotations. These are intended to provide examples for those aspiring to certification.

t JEFOUJGZJOHTUSFOHUITBOE weaknesses against the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers t Q  MBOOJOHGPS professional learning t QFSGPSNBODFBOEEFWFMPQNFOUHPBMTFUUJOH t B  TTFTTJOHUIFJSSFBEJOFTTUPBQQMZGPSDFSUJmDBUJPOBUFJUIFSUIF Highly Accomplished or Lead career stages.

Annotated collections of evidence workshops Workshops were held in South Australia and the Northern Territory with teachers currently certified under those existing systems. These workshops provided outstanding examples of teacher evidence for certification which are now being made available on the website.

Certification Assessor Training Program The Certification Assessor Training Program is a national training program for prospective assessors to fulfil the role of certification assessor as outlined in the Certification of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers in Australia. AITSL will run the initial national training in 2013 with the certifying authorities taking this over in in 2014.

Guide to certification and evidence supplement The Guide will provide information about the certification process and support aspirants to certification. The evidence supplement will outline examples of evidence that could be used in certification applications.

For more information:

03 9944 1200


learning australian Teacher • March 2013

wa institute offerings IN



Support staff courses TEACHERS and principals have access to a wide variety of postgraduate courses, but employees in other school roles can sometimes be overlooked when it comes to studying for formal qualifications. The Western Australian education department’s Institute for Professional Learning offer certificate and diploma-level courses for school support staff. “In WA a lot of the professional learning was historically and traditionally targeted at teachers and teaching staff, school principals, deputies and so on,” Carol Scott, coordinator of accredited training at the institute tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “The institute is an RTO (registered training organisation) which means we can offer nationally recognised qualifications.” The institute offers a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, Certificate IV in Business, Diploma of Management and Certificate III in Education Support. Although the institute is part of the government education department, Scott says the qualifications will soon be offered to educators working in non-government sectors. “We are in the process of a partnership with the Catholic Education Office and the Association of Independent Schools in WA and we will be offering the two business qualifications during the next school holiday break to people from those sectors as well as our own.” The courses are delivered face-to-face, although the institute is looking at the possibility of making part of the content available online in the future. “The business courses are approximately five days initially face-to-face and then they have a work place project they have

to develop and implement over about a three-month period, then students come back for a final one to two days,” Scott explains. “We tend to offer them during school holidays because it’s easier for people to attend ... they don’t have to get relief from their workplace or come back to a mountain of work...” Visit and click on the Registered Training Organisation tab on the left for more details.

The institute offers nationally accredited courses for school support staff.

social entrepreneurs

Regional educators’ vital community roles



GONE are the days when a teacher’s sole responsibility was to teach in front of students in a classroom. Teachers are now required to work in multiple spaces, including working with colleagues and parents in the school, and the ever increasing need to be responsive to the community around them. A school can often be the community hub, and teachers take on leadership roles in helping to bring community members together for the benefits of students. To equip teachers to handle these responsibilities, Monash University offers a Graduate Certificate of Regional Education and Community Development fully online. The course coordinator, professor Simone White, says that the course is designed for those who are trying to strengthen their current skill base or upskill themselves to work in and for a community. “It’s more about furthering their skills and understanding of community-based work, regional sustainability, the importance of bringing different professions together and how to capacity build in their community ...” she says. One of the benefits of the course is that it is offered at a certificate, diploma and masters level, meaning that people can choose to exit at different points. If they wish, teachers can complete the full three years to receive a masters qualification. This course is a partnership between the Faculty of Education and the Faculty of Arts at Monash, and there are two core units that students must complete, as well as a vast

Professor Simone White says teachers need to be responsive to the community around them. array of electives for them to choose across both faculties. While White thinks that professional learning is important, she says that for those working in remote, regional and rural areas, there is a need to network in the community and almost become a social entrepreneur. This skill is not currently being taught at an undergraduate level, which makes this course even more relevant.

March 2013 â&#x20AC;˘ australian Teacher â&#x20AC;˘ 61




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careersleadership australian Teacher • March 2013

Just on Principal

Keating keen on unlocking the possibilities

Laura Keating is principal of Clairvaux Mackillop College in Brisbane. Along with 13 other eminent Australian educators, she was recently honoured with Fellowship of the Australian College of Educators (ACE). Here, she talks to GRANT QUARRY. KICKING off in Papua New Guinea might not be a conventional beginning to a teaching career but it proved a wonderful foundation for Laura Keating. “I was influenced by my father who was a teacher himself,” the

Catholic principal recalls. “I came from a migrant family who couldn’t settle in the Australian social climate of the time, we went to PNG, where my father, who’d been trained in Australia, went to teach – so, watching his passion and drive I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.” Keating’s Fellowship was recognition of 40 years helping nurture and develop young peoples’ minds in Australia and overseas. “I didn’t expect it of course,” she says. “For me, it meant recognition of the work that I do and the work of other principals. “It meant a lot to me personally and to my role, my profession, that people that do the sort of work I do can be acknowledged.” Having worked in many leadership roles, mostly in the Catholic system, Keating believes being a leader is not about running the place single-handedly, “it’s really about the sharing, working with others,” she says. “It’s about enabling, it’s about unlocking the possibilities, it’s about providing for your teachers and, of course, your students, but through teachers, it’s about gatekeeping to ensure that the core values and the core goals and objectives are clear.”

Laura Keating received an Australian College of Educators Fellowship. The energy generated in an educational environment is what Keating says she most enjoys about her career choice. “The energy that is so intense when one walks into a classroom, into a schoolyard, into a staffroom – the whole process of the learning and the young people, the young minds eager to absorb what’s going on around them. “I think an educational environment, it sings, and that energises me and I feel that my role

valuable Exchange

Canadian system’s lessons TAKING part in a job exchange to Canada has given subject leader Paul Gilbert a fascinating insight into a different schooling system and work-life balance. The head of maths at Eden Marine High School, New South Wales, has just returned from a 12 month stint at London Central Secondary School in Ontario. “The teacher from Canada came here and he worked as a classroom teacher, and somebody did a relieving head teacher job here for 12 months,” he says. High schools in Canada are Year 9 to 12, but Gilbert recalls the main structural difference is the credit system over there. “Students have to pass Grade 9 maths, for instance, to be allowed to go to Grade 10 maths. They have to score 50 per cent in an aggregate score at the end of the year over a number of tasks. “There are various mechanisms for them to proceed. If they do fail they can go to summer school and recover that.” Gilbert says this approach takes a lot of pressure off the teacher in that there is a very clear goal and a good incentive for students to participate in learning. “The onus for improvement was definitely on the student and the family ... to meet requirements. “The teacher certainly had their role, and it was a very traditional role, but in the end it was the student who had to come up to 50 per cent.”

Gilbert has been at Eden Marine High School for 12 years, and was appointed head of maths shortly before the exchange. “I hope I can keep a better work-life balance after working in Canada. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed by the bureaucratic pressures in Australia. “[Ontario] was very different to working in a regional remote area of New South Wales. A high

school day is four 75 minute periods with just one lunch break in the middle. “You teach three of those and have one of the periods off ... so, it really gave you a very good opportunity to prepare your lessons, do lots of marking and that kind of thing. Everything was done very comfortably, you had the time to prepare good lessons, execute them and follow them up.”

Paul Gilbert spent 12 months at London Central Secondary School in Ontario.

then is to somehow capture that, certainly nurture it, encourage it, direct it,” Keating adds. That said, she sees modern times as presenting huge challenges for the sector and teachers than ever before, ‘because we are demanding better academic outcomes from the teacher’. “I think the demand is reasonable, but we’ve got to support the teachers. I see teachers working harder than ever before and I see students working less hard.

“That’s a generalisation that’s bound to offend a lot of people, but I think those competing interests in the upper secondary, of part-time work, social networking, fewer hours at school, world travel while they’re still at school, reduces the urgency of that formal learning time. “If it’s about engagement … then we’ve got to face up to the challenge of providing new ways of delivery in the 21st Century.” In terms of jobs into the future, preparing young people for the transference of the knowledge that they get in school is what Keating sees as ‘real education’. “They have to leave school prepared to apply their knowledge to whatever situations and employment structures they find themselves in,” she says. “I think that’s where the valuesladen education for me is so vitally important.

Bonus content » “The quality of our young people graduating is about their ability to influence the world for the better, to have those high ideals about equity and inclusivity and making the world a better place.”

six-day workshop

Queensland small school principals’ support program exciting initiative A SUPPORT program for small school principals is unearthing fresh leadership talent in Queensland. Take the Lead is a state education department initiative targeting high performing teachers who are aspiring principals interested in moving to regional and remote communities. “Queensland is a large and diverse state and about 30 per cent of our [state] schools are small schools,” Mark Campling, assistant director-general, state schooling implementation, tells Australian Teacher Magazine. Education officials worked closely with the Queensland Educational Leadership Institute to design and deliver the initial program. In the 18 months since it was launched it has gone from strength to strength — about 50 per cent of delegates from 2011 are now leading small schools. “This program has given me the perspective of the demands on a teaching principal, the challenges ... and how exciting those opportunities are,” program participant Andrew Nye reflects. The format is a six-day residential workshop, and teachers are assigned a mentor and supervisor who continue to support them for a further 18 months. Campling says the feedback from delegates has been “outstanding”. “During the six days we take these teachers on a journey,

Mark Campling says the Take the Lead program takes aspiring small school principals on a journey. which is about them getting to know themselves as a leader and getting them to actually understand how to lead small school communities to bring about high performance [for all] students,” he explains. “We wanted to implement a program ... to induct them and show them not only the ‘what’ you’ve got to do as a small school principal, but also the ‘how’ you go about your work. “I’ve been a principal, before I came into this job, since 1982 and I started off as a small school principal and my last school had about 3000 students. So, I’ve been through all the different types of schools and I know what it’s like to go out there with your young family and I know how fantastic it can be,” Campling adds. There are approximately three intakes each year.

good enough

are you

Have you got what it takes to be a teacher in the Northern Territory? Working as a teacher in the NT means working alongside other passionate educators, in both urban and remote settings, where community and culture underpins everything you do. With more than 33,000 students attending 154 government schools, the Territory Government is always on the lookout for talented, passionate and energetic educators to join the team. Teachers are provided with the opportunities, allowances, training and support they need for a rewarding and successful teaching career. If you think you’re good enough, and would like to take on the challenge of teaching in the Territory, visit or phone 1800 646 391. (Main image: Bradshaw Primary School - Alice Springs)

Good teachers, important from the start The Northern Territory Government recognises the importance of the early years of a child’s life and their impact on a child’s wellbeing and lifelong learning.

The NT Department of Education and Children’s Services can offer you the opportunities, training and support needed to build a rewarding and successful teaching career.

We recognise that the quality of a child’s experiences has lifelong implications. That is why a range of programs have been developed to improve the outcomes for young children.

Getting the right people in schools is vital for achieving successful outcomes for Territory children.

Investment in the early childhood workforce is an investment in the development and wellbeing of the Territory’s children.

Teachers are respected members of the community and well placed to be great role models for children. It is never too late to take up the challenge.

The NT is a diverse place with students from a variety of backgrounds and cultures. More than 40 per cent of our schools are in a remote or very remote location.

If you have what it takes to be an early childhood teacher in the Territory, visit:

Life as a teacher is about developing relationships with students and inspiring them to learn. Every day will bring new experiences and opportunities to make a difference.

There are many opportunities to teach in the Territory’s remote areas. We require committed and highly skilled teachers with special attributes.

Early childhood teachers play a vital role in the beginning of a child’s education and in developing solid foundations for a child’s future.

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AUSTRALIAN Teacher • March 2013

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cabinet reshuffle

NT minister’s blunt message for school staff CHELSEA ATTARD The Northern Territory’s newly appointed Education Minister doesn’t mince words – his message for Australian Teacher Magazine readers: “Be prepared for a minister who gives a rat’s arse”. Attorney-General John Elferink was handed the education portfolio in December, and with a background in justice and correctional services, admits the appointment took him by surprise. “Well, I confess to a little bit of surprise when I was asked to take over education by the Chief Minister, [who] is a former principal ... Having said that, it’s something that I take extraordinarily seriously, and I am mindful that whilst I don’t have an education background, I am clear as to some of the things that need to be done in the field of education by virtue of my personal philosophies ...” According to the former police sergeant, spending many years of his working life in remote areas has given him an increased awareness of issues facing teachers and students in isolated areas. Having filled all available teaching positions for the beginning of 2013, Elferink said he is optimistic about recent campaigns aimed at attracting teachers to remote schools, but is aware the work doesn’t end there.

NT Education Minister John Elferink wants support for remote educators. “We’ve had a much lower turnover rate this time round than we have had in the past, which is very encouraging, but the trick is of course is to keep them.” Elferink said after listening to teachers’ exit interviews, it is evident that while pay and conditions are satisfactory for teachers in remote schools, their main

reason for leaving is a want of support. “They don’t always feel supported by the up-line, and I can well imagine that in a remote community like Papunya, ... [for example], you would feel isolated. “I mean, you’re a long long long long way from anywhere, and unless you are reassured that

you are being supported by your department, that isolation could well creep into your thinking.” For Elferink, the solution comes down to quality of communication. “I would like to see professional development, not only of teachers in the Northern Territory generally, but particularly of management [so] the quality of management can be improved. “The quality of communication might be as simple as picking up the phone and speaking to the chalkie, out at a particular bush school and saying ‘How’s it going? What’s happening? Is there anything I can do to make your job easier?’,” Elferink added. “That sort of thing appears to be small, but when you are sitting in the middle of nowhere and your area principal rings you up ... on a regular basis, a simple thing like that can make a big difference to the way a teacher [in the bush] feels about the way that they are being respected for what they are doing.” Although he’s only been in the role for a short time, Elferink was keen to outline his goals. “Well getting kids to school is my priority, and that’s one of the great challenges here in the Northern Territory,” he said. “I would like to see a set of circumstances where, parents not only are encouraged, but where

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

necessary, obliged to get their kids to school through any number of means. “And, if that means linking school attendance with welfare payments, then I will explore that in any way I can with the Federal Government.” As a father of two school-aged daughters, Elferink is no stranger to the classroom. And, he is looking forward to visiting many more this year in an effort to be an engaged minister. “What I am looking forward to is getting on to this business of school attendance. But, also making certain that we have a functional school curriculum which can be applied both in our most urban schools to our most remote schools. “And, to that end, I have instructed that the C2C model of curriculum and supplementary materials, is provided and made available to the territory. “The ultimate principle here, is that it is about the outcomes for our children ... “I hope to see a system in place here in the Northern Territory that will provide the best possible education for those kids that we can get to school. “And, I am confident, that if we can get ... kids to school, that they will receive the best possible education.”

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intheclassroombonus australian Teacher • March 2013

research boost

Wagtail wonders ramp up fundraising effort A SMALL group of dedicated youngsters have rallied support from their community and a group of high-profile specialists to raise a whopping $114,000 for burns research. The students from Marmion Primary School in Perth, named the ‘Jack the Wagtail’ group, have relentlessly written letters to businesses, sold pins and wristbands, and organised local events to collect donations for the Jack Dunn Foundation. Jack Dunn was a Morawa District High School student who tragically lost his life in 2003 as a result of severe burns he sustained during a paddock fire. Deputy principal, Glenn Buck, knew Jack and his family very well and has been the driving force behind the school’s amazing success in this project. “It was hard to start with,” he tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “We got going in 2005 and started from nothing really and had no money whatsoever ... so we started writing to people and asking if they could help us out because we wanted to get some pins and wristbands and things like that with little wagtails on them.” But, getting the attention of

former Australian of the Year Dr Fiona Wood, former Australian cricketer Justin Langer, Bali bombing survivor Peter Hughes and the head physio at the burns unit at Royal Perth Hospital Dr Dale Edgar, has really raised their profile. “Eventually one the kids said if we’re going to keep writing letters to businesses, it’s just coming from a bunch of school kids and it doesn’t lend much weight,” Buck recalls. “He was a very bright boy and he suggested that we ask Dr Wood and [the others] ... “The kids wrote to them and asked them if they’d be prepared to be patrons and all of them said ‘yes’. And, as soon as we sent out letters with their pictures on them and saying that they were our patrons we started to get answers back from people ...” Over a four year period, students at Marmion lived in the true spirit of the bird they named their group after, the willie wagtail, known for being a tenacious creature that never gives up. Inspired by the adults-only sporting competition City to Surf, the group decided to organise their now hugely popular Physical Challenge so their friends

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from neighbouring schools could get involved. “So, in the first year it was funny because we has bits and pieces all over the beach, had kids being bowled over by surf,” Buck shares. “[Each year] they just keep getting bigger and bigger. We started to earn instead of $800, $20,000 then $23,000 and we just got bundles of people who were prepared to put their names up and give us money towards the Physical Challenge.” In the early years, the students at Marmion would combine all their fundraising efforts and hand over a cheque to Fiona Wood at an assembly to put towards research equipment. These days, PhD student Andrew Stevenson is presented with the money to further his work in epigenetics and scarring. “He was blown away the first day he stood up on the stage and we gave him a cheque for $20,000, he just couldn’t believe it,” Buck shares. “And then last year we gave him $30,000 and he said that he would be coming out and telling the kids this year about what he’s doing research-wise and why they’re doing it.” But Buck insists that despite

the money that his students have been able to raise, it is the learning that has taken place that is the most valuable thing. “Mine is more about the learning thing – it’s more about the maths, and the language and the meeting procedure, preparation and planning and designing. “The kids look after the website as well, the kids designed the website in the first place – so a lot of teaching goes into it. And then at the end there’s hopefully a little bit of icing on the cake called money,” he laughs. And despite how far they’ve come and how much they have done, the youngsters at Marmion Primary School are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. In fact, they have a big project on the horzion. “We’ve been tinkering with ‘Where next?’” Buck says. “Fiona Wood and Dale Edgar said to us,

‘Why not send the message out to schools in little readers for preprimary and 1s and 2s?’” “So now the kids are writing stories about what to do if you get burnt and how to not get burnt and the safety aspects of how not to get burnt and so forth.” Buck says that these real life experiences are allowing his students to create strong ties with their community and learn a lot about safety along the way. “It’s all about helping the community and working together as a team to try and get other people in the community to help us to help the community ... and its working,” he says proudly. Are your students doing something interesting in the classroom? Let us know! Email

Marmion Primary School students organised a Physical Challenge to raise money for burns research.


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careersbonus australian Teacher • March 2013

unusual role

Teaching is just one big adventure for Hughes After completing a bachelor of science and bachelor of primary education, Andrew Hughes faced the looming question of where to next? While he had a definite love for watching students learn, he couldn’t quite reconcile himself with a life within the four walls of a classroom. So, he thought outside of the square and created a job for himself as an ‘adventure teacher’, travelling the world and sharing his experiences via online platform Expedition Class. Hughes was a finalist in this year’s Australian of the Year Awards. CHELSEA ATTARD talks to him about his unusual teaching role. When did you first discover adventure travel? It led from a personal fascination, I suppose I certainly [have] a passion to go on adventurous journeys. That began from, even before university days, when I was growing up with mum and dad and three brothers on the North-West coast of Tassie and venturing into the bush for nights at a time in tents and climbing mountains and things like that. So, the seeds of the adventures started right from a young age and I guess they often do that. Did you use your experience in adventure travel whilst on your teaching rounds? No, I did very standard [lessons]. I did rural placements which was interesting for me ... out of Hobart we’ve got the east and west coasts of Tassie which are classified as ... remote in Tasmanian terms. I did rural placements at Bicheno and Strahan on the west coast and, having grown up on the north west coast, I’ve got an extra strong connection with small schools in small towns. Has your experience teaching in

isolated schools inspired your use of an online platform? I think I’ve always been interested in kids that are marginalised in one way or another. I mean, my ideal world would see every kid wanting to race into the doors of a classroom, or whatever schooling situation they’re in, because it’s the most fun the most engaging, the most exciting place to be for them. We’ve got to keep coming up with new ideas as technology evolves, [and] reach out to all kids, whether they love school or hate school, and just try and make it better for them. Better experience leads to positive learners and positive learners lead to happy little kids, and happy little kids end up having good lives, so, I think that’s what it’s all about for me. Where did the idea for Expedition Class come from? Well, it was in my final year of my teaching degree ... and I guess you get to that point where you’ve got to start thinking seriously about where you go in your teaching career. I enjoyed [my experience as a traditional classroom teacher] but, I wanted to combine that love of adventure and reaching out to lots of kids in classrooms. I thought I’d love to share [my] adventures with kids, but how do I do that? I did some research and there are some other people around the world doing this adventure learning model, of online shared participatory expeditions. I looked at the best of what I could find and adapted it to the Australian situation. How did you go about setting up Expedition Class? The first expedition was a blog ... that had a couple of classrooms [that] participated through a newsletter and looking at the blog photos. [Feedback from teachers

Adventure teacher Andrew Hughes allows students to be a part of his journey. indicated] that was quite powerful for students that used it, so we decided to get together with a web designer and said ‘Well let’s make this platform really serious and offer students a lot more in the way of curriculum, lesson plans, diary updates, photos and the rest of it’. So, Expedition Class was born through a great web designer and it has developed over the years and changed, but these things always do that. This year you’ll be travelling to Papua New Guinea for a Volcano Land Unit, can you tell me what you have planned? Yes, at the moment it is myself, [but] I’m trying to convince

another primary school teacher to tag along with me and have a real-life primary school teacher tackling the waters of New Britain in a fold-out sea kayak. I’ll be exploring some active volcanos and getting up very close and personal with them so that students can see earth-forming processes in action. We know that kids love the idea of volcanos and lava and earthquakes and all of the things that are associated with big earth structures, and this is a way to say ‘Right, it’s not only exciting but it’s real’. And it’s not that far away from us in Australia. Australia has a long history of volcanism ... so [we’re] trying to just bring that real-life geology, into little kids’ lives so that they can see the world for the big jigsaw puzzle that it is. You’ve managed to tie together your love of teaching with adventure travel, do you feel like you’re living the dream right now? Yes to be honest with you, it’s pretty bloody good. Not many people can say they do exactly what they love doing every day of the year, and, at the moment that’s what I’m doing. I’m pretty aware that

these things don’t last forever as well, and we rely on state funding at the moment to run the program, we’ve actually got some very generous private donors and sponsors through the Bookend Trust. [I think as long as we] keep doing things that teachers value, that the community gets something out of, and that kids love doing, then I hope that we continue getting the support we’ve been getting, and I get to keep going on adventures and sharing them with kids along the way. Do you see yourself returning to the classroom in a traditional sense anytime soon? Look, I think I did exactly one year of part-time classroom teaching so I call myself an adventure teacher because if I call myself just a straight teacher then it’s a laugh because I don’t have the experience and hard knocks the classroom teachers have, and I respect what they do greatly but I think my role’s diverged from that. There are a lot of exciting opportunities and ways to get engaged in kids’ education, and be a part of schools, I think I’ll find different ways to be involved rather than as a classroom teacher.

careerslearningbonus australian Teacher • March 2013

Postgrad study

Hampson’s exciting Indiana Jones adventure rebecca vukovic HER mother used to say, ‘knowledge is no burden to carry’, and Michelle Hampson used this advice to finish a PhD in Egyptology, which took 10 years to complete. Having always been a passionate history buff with a keen interest in the adventures of Indiana Jones, Hampson’s 100,000 word thesis focused on the theme of Egyptian art and scenes of crafts-

men in tomb reliefs and paintings. “It took 10 years to complete the PhD part time while working full time,” she tells Australian Teacher Magazine. “The early years were spent researching, attending seminars and completing foundation language courses as I had to be able to read in three modern languages and one ancient language in order to facilitate my work. I would spend every Sunday researching at either or both Macquarie and Sydney University libraries and filled a three drawer filing cabinet with my notes.” In the end, Hampson collected a database comprised of 162 scenes from 63 tombs and fragments, over 2000 separate artistic features for which she devised a new methodology of categorisation, and many hundreds of hieroglyphic inscriptions. “During my studies I travelled to Egypt twice, once after winning a Macquarie University Research Grant, to photograph, draw and document various tombs and complete research in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. “That was unforgettable, a privilege and a great way to channel my inner Indiana!” The history and ancient histo-

ry teacher from Sydney’s St Johns Park High School says that beginning her PhD was a natural progression from her masters studies, which she completed in 1996. “I have always loved learning and wanted to complete my education in full,” she says. Interestingly, Hampson achieved the rare distinction of having her thesis passed as is, with no corrections necessary, when it was turned in for assessment at Macquarie University towards the end of last year. Hampson acknowledges that she was very lucky to have Australia’s leading Egyptologist, professor Naguib Kanawati, as her supervisor. “[He] was always sympathetic to my particular situation and gave me enormous support and encouragement,” she says. When reflecting on some of her interesting discoveries whilst in Egypt, Hampson tells of when she was carrying a letter of introduction from professor Kanawati and was allowed access to many places usually closed to tourists. In one particular instance, Hampson found herself in the back room of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo consulting century old books with heavy leather covers; as well as entering tombs

so old and forgotten about that their padlocks had rusted off and had to be broken with a hammer. Looking back, Hampson wonders how she managed to juggle her time between study and full-time teaching and says that it really tested her stamina. “For 10 years I was leading a double life and I had to be super organised and driven in order to meet all of my commitments,” she shares.

And, while she thinks that her studies in no way detracted from her teaching performance but rather enhanced it, she has advice for others who are considering postgraduate studies. “Be prepared ... many people will not understand your desire to pursue postgraduate study if it doesn’t ultimately lead to a promotion or pay increase. Learning for learning’s sake is harder to explain,” she says.

Il Globo, the ideal classroom resource now available on iPad and Android.

careersleadershipbonus australian Teacher • March 2013

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Just On principal

Keating keen on unlocking the possibilities

Laura Keating is principal of Clairvaux Mackillop College in Brisbane. She was one of 14 eminent Australian educators honoured with a Fellowship of the Australian College of Educators (ACE) recently. KICKING off in Papua New Guinea might not be a particularly conventional beginning to a teaching career but it proved a wonderful foundation for Catholic principal, Laura Keating. “I was influenced by my father who was a teacher himself,” she says. “I came from a migrant family who couldn’t settle in the Australian social climate of the time (the ‘60s); we went to PNG, where my father, who’d been trained in Australia, went to teach — so watching his passion and drive I knew then that’s what I wanted to do.” After attending boarding school in Australia and then completing her teacher training in Sydney, Keating returned to PNG for a number of years. “I was inspired by the work my father had done, but also wanted to go home too, having spent years in boarding school and studying. “I wanted to be in the country that I then called home and work

with the people who’d become very close to my family. “I went back to my adopted hometown of Goroka in the highlands. As the country developed and gained independence I moved with my husband to Australia where I continued in education as a profession.” Keating’s Fellowship honour was wonderful recognition of 40 years helping nurture and develop young peoples’ minds. “I didn’t expect it of course,” she says. “For me it meant recognition of the work that I do and the work of other principals; I am just one of many principals who do similar work. “It meant a lot to me personally and to my role, my profession, that people that do the sort of work that I do, can be acknowledged. Having worked in many roles, mostly in the Catholic system, and now as a principal for 16 years, Keating has a few ideas on leadership. “Being principal, being a leader in a school carries a number of challenges,” she says. “Being a leader is not about running the place single-handedly, it’s really about sharing and working with others. It’s about enabling, it’s about unlocking the possibilities, it’s about providing for your teachers, and of course your students, but through teachers, it’s about gate-keeping to ensure that the core values and the core goals and objectives are clear. “There are so many distractions and it’s possible to be seduced by the latest and the greatest idea and attracting funding for special projects, and all of those have their place, but [it’s about] having that dedication to strategic plans once agreed and sticking to them, having that dedication and the courage to pursue those goals and

ideals that are shared by a team and a team of leaders. “In our community here, we really do have a focus on what leadership means. It’s not just about a title, it’s about enacting that, it’s about those middle leaders as we’re calling them now, really taking more of a role in what’s going on inside the classroom. “It’s about that de-privatisation of the classroom, and it’s about assisting, scaffolding, supporting those teachers who need to achieve better educational outcomes for their students. “I think one of the problems for us is the quality of teachers, and while tertiary institutions are not demanding or attracting candidates who have themselves dem-

onstrated high levels of academic success, we are doomed to a downward spiral in the quality of our teaching.” The energy generated in an educational environment is what Keating says she most enjoys about her career choice. “The energy that is so intense when one walks into a classroom, into a schoolyard, into a staffroom — the whole process of the learning and the young people, the young minds eager to absorb what’s going on around them,” she says. “There’s a real excitement for me in just the environment and the people who populate that environment. “I think an educational environment it sings and that energises me, and I feel that my role then is to somehow capture that, certainly nurture it, encourage it, direct it.” That said, she sees modern times as presenting greater challenges for the sector then ever before. “The youngsters, the adolescents, they want fun and entertainment, they want to be happy,” she says. “Their parents want them to be happy, but they still want to reach those high levels of achievement that are necessary for them to pass through to the next level, but sometimes without an understanding of the necessary dedication to studentship that’s required. “There are many competing interests for young people, but the concept that academic success requires many hours of hard work doesn’t rest well when there’s that prevailing notion by young people that school is a social hub, a social organisation… Keating sees teachers as more defensive than ever before, ‘because we are demanding better academic outcomes from the teacher’.

“I think the demand is reasonable, but we’ve got to support the teachers. “I see teachers working harder than ever before and I see students working less hard. “That’s a generalisation that’s bound to offend a lot of people, but I think those competing interests in the upper secondary, of part-time work, social networking, fewer hours at school, world travel while they’re still at school, reduces the urgency of that formal learning time. “To cultivate in our kids a love of learning is a major challenge, not just a love of learning, but the attendant desire for successful learning. “If it’s about engagement, that’s one of the buzz words, being engaged or disengaged, then we’ve got to face up to the challenge of providing new ways of delivery in the 21st century.” In terms of jobs into the future, preparing young people for the transference of the knowledge that they get in school is what Keating sees as ‘real education’. “It’s about expanding their knowledge and nurturing their intellect so that it does hunger to explore a quest for knowledge that’s constantly propelling them forward and they can apply whatever it is that they’ve learned at school. “And this is when you get into the argument about different disciplines etc. They have to leave school prepared to apply their knowledge to whatever situations and employment structures they find themselves in. “I think that’s where the values laden education for me is so vitally important. “The quality of our young people graduating is about their ability to influence the world for the better, to have those high ideals about equity and inclusivity and making the world a better place.”

Australian Teacher Magazine (March 2013)