Archive for July, 2010

“Mercy me!”

Oh dear! Someone is interfering with Enid Blyton’s books! Apparently her publishers are updating some of the language…….

Words and phrases reportedly getting the chop include “house mistress”, which will be replaced with “teacher”, “school tunic” which will be pasted over with “uniform” and “dirty tinker”, which now becomes “traveller”.

I did have a bit of a flashback when I read this. I remember enjoying the books when I was younger, but at the same time being perplexed by vocabulary such as ” brambles” “anorak” “plimsol”……….and just loving the phrase “lashings of cream”!!!!!

So I suppose this means classic phrases like,,,,,,

Noddy felt a little queer as he walked down the lane…..

may also get changed so the Australian Literature and Classification Board no longer face the dilemma of banning a book for indecent language!!!! (Apparently this happened in the 1970’s!)

Jolly good!


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Tests that have the biggest impact [on learning] are those that urge teachers to change what they are doing in the classroom.

John Hattie has some interesting things to say about what impacts on learning, based on data he has collected for many years across Western educational settings as found in his book, Visible Learning

  • Do computers and technology make a difference?
  • What about classroom design?
  • Or high stakes testing like NAPLAN?

With the controversy surrounding the Building Education Revolution program in schools, Hattie has found that changes in classroom design don’t have a great impact on learning. Nor does technology per se…..it’s more about how the technology is used, that makes the difference. And guess what? It’s students rather than the teachers that seem to be using technologyin the classroom!

As for testing such as NAPLAN, unless teachers change the nature of what they do in the classroom based on the data they recieve – 4 months later!!! – then this testing doesn’t have a great impact either. His point here is that teachers need to be proactive in using effective formative asssessment so that instead of being surprised by NAPLAN data, they are actually ahead of it and are making changes to their teaching.

As for the Myschool website, Hattie re-iterates what we all know as educators that the greatest variability in student  achievement and teacher capacity lies within a school NOT between schools. So the data provided by MySchool, in his opinion, is not really that helpful.

I was intruiged by his comment that those teachers who make the biggest impact on learning are those who see themselves as making a difference not those who see themselves as a facilitator of learning or constructivists of learning. Teachers who view themselves as change agents regularly reflect on their practice to consider if what they are doing is improving student learning. These teachers ask themselves……

Are we learning this as opposed to are we getting through the material?

 That’s what makes the difference!

Thanks for the heads up on this podcast, Michelle!!!

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What do you think?

Mia Freedman in her blog Mamamia asks

What is important to you in Australia’s 2010 Federal election?

For me, it’s…

1. Refugees – they deserve to be treated humanely and with compassion instead of being demonised and used as political pawns to score points. It is quite incredible how much misinformation is out in the public arena about this issue – no thanks to the politicians! If you want the facts, go to the Australian Refugee Council website.

2. Environment – carbon emission trading, water resources, land management……for a continent like Australia which is one of the biggest polluters in the world, this is an URGENT issue. More courageous decisions need to be considered. Monetary cost is preferable to environmental disaster.

3. Health and Education – both are fundamental to the wellbeing of Australian society.  Education – what can I say? I am a teacher. I can see daily how access to education can make such a huge difference in people’s lives. But it needs to be the best it can be. Myschool? NAPLAN? High stakes issues in education need greater thought and consultation otherwise educational opportunities offered to our students will be limited or at best, piecemeal.

What is important to you this election?

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I have been viewing this hilarious YouTube video with many friends and colleagues and it has proven to be a hit….so I want to share it with you!

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From Tim Bennett via Crikey, an interesting diagram that helps put the asylum seeker argument into perspective – thanks Colleen!! See the single orange figure? Yep! That represents total intake of asylum seekers…….makes you wonder what all the hoo-ha is about!

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The words of children may at times seem strangely similar to our own, but they recall faraway and unknown worlds and meanings to which we as adults too often remain deaf and insensitive.

Sergio Spaggiari

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Go Barry!

Too funny!

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