Archive for the ‘education’ Category

I am learner.

Just as no one can see the colours I see, just as no one can hear the music I hear, just as no one can feel what I feel when I hold something in my hand, and just as no one can sense the world as I perceive it around me, no one can teach me.

No one can teach me.

To read the rest of John Connell’s post go here. So apt for today’s teachers and all learners.





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If we knew we had a gold mine on our property, we would do whatever it took to get that gold out of the ground. In education, by contrast, we keep the potential of millions of children buried in the ground.

Worked it out yet?

Clue: He has been in the media a LOT this week – with his son, James.

Answer: Rupert Murdoch.

Interesting speech. Read it here.

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As part of SBS Australia’s reality show “Go Back To Where You Came From” – six ordinary Australians following the harrowing journey of refugees – a simulation game has been created. This was an incredible documentary which can be viewed online. The simulation game would be useful with older students to examine the complex issues involved in the current “boat people’ debate.

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Yes Julia, Take Heed

Nice article by Adele Horin in the Sydney Morning Herald today,

Where true school reform occurs.

Adele clearly thinks Australia’s PM Julia Gillard should be looking to learn from Canada’s education system rather then turning to Joel Klien from New York. I agree. I don’t see anything to recommend the NY system. Seems to be punitive and based on a deficit model.

What is NOT mentioned about the Canadian system is that they FULLY FUND Catholic and other non-government schools not just the public schools. Adele has a little dig about our government’s current funding model – and yes, no-one wants to see our public school system run down. Unacceptable.

I also agree that we can learn a lot from the Canadian education system particularly in areas such as building teacher capacity.

What I also find interesting about Adele’s article is the inevitable mentioning of the PISA test and in particular Finland’s consistently top performance over the years. It needs to be pointed out that they largely have a homogeneous population which is mainly middle -class and not as ethnically as rich or diverse as Australia’s. Also there was some question that a few years back about whether or not the indigenous population were included in the testing.

However they are doing some great things, mainly equal access to quality early childhood services, later starting of formal schooling (not 5 years like here…or is it 4 years??? Maybe 4.5.???) and a lack of  a testing regime across the schooling years. School-based assessment is preferred.

Lesson to be learned there.



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(You’ll have to view Ken Robinson’s TED Talk to get the reference in the title. It’s worth watching.)

Has Australia’s “Education Revolution” transformed education? Laptops in Year 9? New school buildings?

Does education as it currently stand “dislocate people from their natural talents?” as Ken asserts. (I would say unless we embrace a more authentic early learning pedagogical model in our schools, it certainly will!!)

Do we “innovate fundamentally?” Challenging what we take for granted, really struggling with the new. (Teacher Educators – tick YES!)

Is the new Australian curriculum “obsessed with a linear narrative?” A step by step model of curriculum that is predictable and centralised as opposed to localised and responsive to students needs? Maybe. We will have to wait and see.

What I do know is that an online curriculum model, such as the one proposed by ACARA, that has an extensive access to curriculum resources is not enough to personalise learning, to create exciting learning opportunities for our students. Human resources are needed for this curriculum to be personalised, relevant, dynamic and exciting.

The term “Education Revolution” was bandied about endlessly in recent times by the then Education Minister, and now Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. That’s why I like what Ken Robinson has to say. He turns this concept on its head.

Watch it.

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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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End of term…..4 days away. End of the school year in NSW…..4 days away. The return of sanity…….4 days away! No wait….maybe 5 days away!!

With the one little brain cell that is still activated inside my head – everything is a blur since NPA (National School Partnerships courtesy of the Rudd government) – I have been thinking about the BEST and WORST moments of the last month and of 2009 itself.


  • Visit to Melbourne with my CEO colleagues to see early learning in action. The professional dialogue we engaged in- liberally lubricated by copious amounts of good coffee and vino – was inspirational!
  • Spending quality time with teachers and other educators in clarifying our understandings of what is required for NPA. Confirms my belief that as a system of schools, we have some dynamic and talented teachers who will be instrumental in bringing about change in learning. Not to mentioned the talented Ms Sinko, O’Brien and Francis! Well done ladies!!
  • Tracking down double shot lattes at Fairfield RSL…….gotta feed my coffee addiction!


  • Visit to Melbourne with my CEO colleagues to see early learning in action only to have it hijacked by an organisation that ignored our brief!! Don’t you just hate being hammered by a marketing spiel that aims to “sell” an educational package? No thanks!
  • Jetstar losing my luggage (was later “found”) and claiming it was not their responsibility to find it.  Won’t be flying with them again.
  • Getting lost trying to find Fairfield RSL, the venue for our NPA conference….two days in a row!!!!!

BEST and Worst of 2009?

That’s for another post!

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