Posts Tagged ‘K through 12’

Vanilla Education

November 22, 2010 Leave a comment

An 11 minute challenging video. I loved the content; it is refreshing to be reminded that our goal is not to produce ‘cookie-cutter’ kids from ‘cookie cutter’ schooling. What do you think of the final few minutes? Are these proposals realistic? achievable?

I recently visited a school website where a mp3 recording of ‘What students liked about the school’ was available to listen to. On four occasions the students referred to ‘not having to sit at a desk like other schools’, ironically my daughter (in Year 1, not from the afore-mentioned school) came home with a script her class had compiled for their end of year assembly. They had been asked to write down ‘what they had LOVED about year one?’ They said;

“I” is for “independent”. We have enjoyed having our very own desk to sit at with our tray full of our very own things

My point is NOT to say that one is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ but rather an observation that we (as educators) somehow ‘sell’ our pedagogy to our parents / students, regardless of the approach we take.

This commentary is only a microscopic part of the content covered here – it is certainly worth your review.


Australian Curriculum Coalition Paper (Summary)

October 22, 2010 1 comment

For those following movements in the Australian Curriculum here is an important development; “The Australian Curriculum Coalition (ACC) represents a forum of Presidents, Executive Officers and Executive Directors of National Education Organisations. The Organisations represent members who are teachers, principals, school leaders, academics and education researchers.”

Today they released the following ‘open letter’;

The report extends support for a national curriculum but requests the following;

  • Revision of timeline for development and implementation
  • ‘Build stakeholder ownership’ (teachers/principals/associations, etc.)
  • Inform debate by making drafts and consultation ‘public’
  • Pages 4 & 5 discuss a rigorous need for these initiatives to be world-class and framed by clear curriculum rationale
  • Reduction of ‘over crowding’ in curriculum documents (This will sting as it was a primary objective for ACARA to keep the statements ‘open’ – ironically it is the consultation process that has been the source of the ‘fattening’)
  • Whole or Core Curriculum – Clarification for ‘local’ content (This is quite problematic for the History implementation but I think they are drawing a long bow on this one – your thoughts?)
  • Cross-curricula Developments – (YAY!!)
  • Reporting and Achievement Standards (YAY!!)
  • Funding for PD/PL

Wish they had mentioned a few more (e.g. consideration for special needs, resources, etc.)

Would love you know what you think of these suggestions?!/pages/WA-Teachers-Lounge/154210691257798

WACOT Report

September 29, 2010 2 comments

Did any of you hear about this on the news last week? Perhaps I was drowning in examination papers at the time and missed it. We have now had WACOT just over four years. As part of the legislated responsibility, a review was commissioned ‘as soon as was reasonable after four years to ascertain WACOT’s effectiveness in achieving its intended objectives”. On the 23rd September, Liz Constable announced in response to this “Review of the WACOT Act” that:

“… there is a pronounced mismatch between what teachers had expected of the college and what the college has delivered. For example, they had expected the college to promote the profession, deliver professional development and take a stand on controversial issues, but believe the college has fallen well short on these things.”

The most interesting of the many detailed reports submitted was the 63 page review on the “Teacher Survey” which was taken from a pool of 932 teachers from all education sectors in WA. If you are interested, page 60-62 itemise the recommendations for WACOT improvement. You can access a copy of this report at

If you would like to make an entry, I would be most interested in YOUR response to the WACOT experiment. Post a comment at our FACEBOOK DISCUSSION BOARD.

The Parent Partnership

September 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Since my post about “Teacher Responsibility” did not receive a standing ovation from my teacher friends, I thought I would include this terrific report prepared by NEiTA (National Excellence In Teaching) and the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) discussing the role of parents in partnership with schools/teachers. I will be seeing if I can secure a few printed copies for our Parent Evenings.

Who IS Responsible for Student Learning?

September 5, 2010 6 comments

Of course, I laughed and thought that this video (which has now received over 1 million hits worldwide) ‘had a great message’ and that all parents should listen to it and reflect on their school communication BUT…. it is really only a half truth if considered as anything other than a clever (and funny) SATIRE. As a disclaimer to my following comments; only read on if you are able to consider these comments but STILL ENJOY THE VIDEO. This is not meant as a vigilante on humour. If you haven’t seen it, here is the video…. followed by my ramblings.

Am I being a spoil sport by writing about this in a serious way and objecting to some of its content? (Especially the final comment which shoots inclusivity as an unfriendly footnote!). Well, the fact that the video is now packaged as ‘an actual recording that is used in a Queensland school’ is both dubious and (I would suspect) an attempt to give a tongue-in-cheek, satirical look at parent/school communication a far too considered hearing. I sincerely hope that no one REALLY used this for an actual answering service (as stressed in this posted version).

I was part of a staff discussion once (no school / staff disclosed) in which we discussed the role of the teacher. I asked staff to move to different corners of the room according to their response to certain statements. The room corners to which staff moved were labelled “AGREE”, “DISAGREE” and “UNDECIDED” – we covered a lot of issues over this time but the core intent was to get to the following decision statements:

Teachers are responsible for student learning” – AGREE / DISAGREE or UNDECIDED


Students are responsible for their own learning.” – AGREE / DISAGREE or UNDECIDED

I admit the questions could be interpreted as divisive yet I realistically thought that there would be a 50/50 split between the AGREE and DISAGREE categories on this issue. That wasn’t the case. Only 4 of over 50 agreed with statement one and only 5 disagreed with statement two. There were a handful in UNDECIDED. Each group was asked to defend their position, ‘Why” did they believe this was the case?

The discussion was robust, challenging and decisive. Being one of the five, I reflected long and hard about the beliefs of my peers. I knew that they were committed, focused individuals who gave beyond the ‘requirement of the job’ on an ongoing basis; yet I found it difficult to understand what I perceived to be a lack of personal ownership of our responsibility in teaching.

  • Was there any incentive to ‘get better’, as a teacher, if one fundamentally believed that learning was the sole responsibility of the child?
  • Did this belief make staff more resistant to ‘changes’ that created ‘inconvenience’ on the journey to a ‘greater good’?
  • Were staff of the opinion that educators who delivered Professional Learning to THEM were more or less effective in achieving learning outcomes based on an adjustment of teaching style/energy/activity choice, etc?
  • Did this belief impact a teacher’s willingness to support ‘special needs’ in the classroom?
  • Did this belief foster an attitude of ‘giving up’ on students too early?
  • Did this attitude result in a tendency to ‘quickly flick poorly behaved students to someone else’?
  • Did this belief impact the volume of teacher/parent/student communication?
  • Was it WRONG to THINK this way?

I have a simple illustration that I use most frequently with students to help them understand effort and reward. “If I promised to give you $1,000,000 if you got a “B” in English, what would you DO to ensure it happened?” Clearly, they know I will not be delivering on this but the point is clear – behaviour WOULD change. Can’t I ask the same question of our teachers? Our parents?

The truth is, that we are responsible to partner together regardless of how right or wrong any of us are. I will try to the best of my ability to persuade staff that whilst students must contribute a willingness to be present; that we do bear a responsibility to be ‘learning bridges’, to take students as far as humanly possible.

If the point of this video is to remind parents that they can’t flick all responsibility to schools, point well made – but I just don’t want to hear others cheering TOO loudly about it.

Report: WA Teacher Demand and Supply Projections

September 1, 2010 1 comment

I think this report is about a year old, but if you haven’t read it, it makes fascinating reading! The report has been prepared for DET and offers projections on WA Teacher employment for the period 2010 – 2017. 

Under supply will impact WA teaching in both Primary and Secondary with 30% of teachers and administration expected to retire in the next five years. There will be a particular peak as the ‘half cohort’ exit secondary colleges at the end of 2014.  Mathematics, Science (Chemistry/Physics in particular) and Design/Technology teachers will be in very short supply – and Principals should ensure that if staff from these learning areas are on duty during morning tea it would be prudent to secure cake and biscuits for them. In short… treasure them…. even if you may not like them :). Read the report here:

World Teacher’s Day – 29 Oct 2010

August 24, 2010 1 comment

World Teacher’s Day is just around the corner. Tell us what you are going to do at your school on our FACEBOOK discussion board! Joine the WA Teacher’s Lounge while you are there by hitting LIKE!!/pages/WA-Teachers-Lounge/154210691257798?ref=sgm

These are GREAT projects for WA Staff and Kids alike – note the FREE STICKERS and COMPETITION!  Here’s the latest!

The Western Australian College of Teaching is proud to promote World Teachers’ Day on behalf of all teachers in Western Australia.

More than 100 countries celebrate World Teachers’ Day on 5 October each year but because there are school holidays at around this time in Australia, we celebrate World Teachers’ Day on the last Friday in October.

This year, World Teachers’ Day is 29 October 2010.

The College is supporting World Teachers’ Day by providing ideas for activities before or on the day, and coordinating the World Teachers’ Day competition. See below for competition details and prizes.

Posters – The World Teachers’ Day 2010 poster is currently being designed. Once finalised, all schools will receive a copy.
Stickers – The popular WTD stickers can be requested by email with your school’s address and requested number of stickers. They will be posted out when ready. 
Student competitions – The College is encouraging students to use either artwork or a piece of writing to show how their teacher ‘makes a world of difference’. Exciting prizes are on offer for the four competitions that are being run for varying age students.
Ideas and activitiesClick here for ideas and activities to help you celebrate and thank teachers on World Teachers’ Day 2010.