Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Interesting reading on e-learning

Some good information at this link:

I'm not sure how long King's will maintain the site so have also included links to some of the more interesting reading below:






Wednesday, July 20, 2005



Tuesday, July 19, 2005
Productive Pedagogies
Tuesday, July 19, 2005The Productive Pedagogy material from QLd would be good for people to look at as we focus upon quality student learning and improved outcomes for our students. Its not about what we do do but rather our approach. How can we help to ensure that the substantive dialogue that is needed with students is actually taking place. Do we immerse staff in this as we go about our daily tasks working in schools ?How do we help to construct thinking that involves high order thinking skills and metacognition ?Productive pedagogies focus upon the 'vital elements of student learning'. Our challenge I believe, is to provide an environment which both challenges students and fully engages them in meaningful learning. If we are to be serious about this, it then challenges the whole concept of structured class groupings which assume that most students learn at a similiar rate. It challenges teachers to work from the notion of assessment for learning, rather than tick off the outcomes after the same assessment task is given, year in year out. I find a lot of the productive pedagogy material resonates with our recent discussions as a team and would be worthy reading for all.posted by Michael H @ 11:44 PM

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Meeting Notes 8 June 2005


1:30pm – 5:00pm


Stephen Marchant, Rosemary Clarke, Mandy Catena, Karen Gardiner, Kerry Gestier,
Bernadette Gibson, Rhonda Hoare, Michael Hopkinson, Sharon Milsome,
Mark Moriarty, Jane Plum, Michelle Swan, Michael Vineburg, Monica Moloney


Anne Anderson

The meeting started with Stephen explaining some points about Blogger and why he set it up etc.

Members can log into Blogger as follows:

will take you to the homepage.

will take you directly to the dashboard.

Sharon Milsome, Bernadette Gibson and Jane Plum have been unable to access the Blogger invite. Michael Vineburg to assist if necessary.

Stephen then asked the group who had data that they wished to share.


Michael Hopkinson Results from Basic Skills tests.
BST results for Literacy and Numeracy (Years 3-5 from 1998
to 2000),including the growth from Years 3 to 5.
Ella and Snap results.

What are the learnings of Michael’s data?

You can identify areas of weakness.
It collates data in an accessible way.

What questions can you ask to synthesis the data?

Data leans you in a direction – but it doesn’t give you the answers.


Michelle Swan Data from validations.
Assessment tasks that are being delivered as a group – VET go
through and check.
VET drop-offs – high/low achievements.

Bernadette Gibson Collated data from Numeracy assessments (Years 1 to 3).
Stage 1 – lots of children starting high school with the
teachers assuming the children are at Stage 4 and start
teaching at this level.

Michael Vineburg Data and technology.
CSA6 – 2002-2004 results.
2002 – 26 students – 1 school paper document
2003 – 272 students – 6 schools paper document
2004 – 481 students – 12 schools CD
7% below State means.

Michael Vineburg said he has been giving some thought, for sometime, as to how we demonstrate growth.

Michael’s thoughts:

• still considerable work to be done with staff to enable them to allow the
children to use technology.
• Think about filtering – maybe get rid of ninemsn etc.
• What do we actually expect of children – what measurements do we put in
• Talk to the students – get data – how could they more effectively use tools?

Stephen said that we need to embed IT into everything we do.


______________ LINE (GOOD WORK)


In working with the “above the line” you actually lift the line.

Stephen asked:
What is the stuff above the line?
What is above the line that we are looking for?
What are you seeing and feeling?

Can’t keep maintaining – need to improve.


Mark Moriarty Handouts from schools – what they are doing.
Showed DVD.

Sharon Milsome Art therapy results.
Pictures from students tell a story.
Achievements – School Captain story.

Rhonda Hoare Reading Recovery – visuals every 2 weeks.
Data shows accelerative progress or planting.
Observation survey results.
Showed video – comments from LLTC teachers.
All children can learn – they just need the teacher to
open the door.
LLTC course evaluations.
Record of who attends Reading Recovery & LLTC – all given a
number of how many visits etc and are they sustaining

Meeting concluded at 5:00pm

Further meeting to be organised.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


The scope of the task

I recently put the Learning Agenda to the DCSC. Included was the text below. I would be interested to learn of your thoughts in regard to the factors for consideration around addressing the Learning Agenda.

It will require strategic alliances and determined actions - support and challenge. I would propose that we consider these things when we meet for the CSO team day in term three.

Would you please make some comments .

Also, there does not appear to be new data added by members of the team. This means, in terms of my thinking/planning for the CSO team day, that part of what have to address is working out how we obtain data about the things people are doing now. Or, we have to change what we are doing midstream by extending our actions to include data gathering. Otherwise, how do we establish effectiveness?

I have appreciated the contributions made so far. Asking the 'right' questions helps clarify and establish direction. I have a growing concern about the absence of contributions from people. It's okay to read the comments of others; it's invaluable to add your own.

The comments I put to DCSC are below. These are the first part of a four part strategic scope. The scope of the Learning Agenda includes: School Structure, Pedagogy, School management & leadership, Parent expectations about and incorporation of their concerns/ talents/ motivations/ within the learning, growth and development of their child/ren;

School structure:
a.Leadership roles - duration, line management, hierarchy, power considerations, accountabilities, capacity building;
b.Teacher/student assignation - annual class changes, mentor relationship, team teaching & mentoring, rleationship building, tracking the wholistic development of students as individuals and in community;
c. School organisation and timetable – architecture, focus on learning, boundaries (length of day, learning in other places or at other times)
d.Beliefs about effective learning – parents, students, teachers, engagement with/on task, deep learning, recognition of current competencies, direction-setting + (self)monitoring+ plan / pathway+evidence of learning+ recordkeeping +reporting+ evaluating+ reflecting&changing
e.Accountabilities – to Students, Board of Studies, Catholic Church, parents, funding authorities
f.Capacities – existing, needed, pathways for development

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


How do we ensure teachers are immersed in the learning agenda of students?

Perhaps we need to alert them to the possibility first. The sheer busy-ness of schools can lead to teachers focussing on what has been mandated in terms of content to be covered and "things" which have to be done. This leaves little time or room for negotiated curriculum or activities. We are asking our people to look at things in a very different way. We are going to need to do a good sell on this idea to have any hope of getting change.



There are many studies which demonstrate the significance of well-resourced school libraries, staffed by trained t/ls for student learning:
Ohio study @ http://www.oelma.org/StudentLearning/SLFindings.asp
Michele Lonsdale's Australian study @ http://www.asla.org.au/research/
School Library research @ http://www.lrs.org/impact.asp

In terms of data to demonstrate the impact of my role on student learning - I have none. My only contact with students is limited to assisting the few students who visit the Resource Centre.


Aboriginal Education - So What?

I was at a meeting yesterday and those present spoke very passionately about making a difference for aboriginal students. Some of the thoughts expressed were:
"Our kids and our community demand education so that our kids can enjoy and contribute to the fruits of the country."
"We must get it right for our kids."
"To make these changes we must have acknowledgement and commitment from school leaders."
There was also a great deal of discussion about gathering authentic data to move the agenda forward rather than using heresay. One suggestion was to develop a community profile (class, school and system) which gathers data to highlight the issues and in turn provide direction to move the agenda forward.

I wonder how we will move the learning agenda forward with our school leaders?


How are we dealing with alienation and disengagement?

I believe we could address alienation and disengagement by working on the emotionally powerful concepts which kids have about learning and schools. We also need to work on their motivation and confidence. Kids fall into a range:
1. Highly motivated but low in confidence - anxious learners
2. Highly motivated and highly confident - high flier learners
3. Average motivation / average confidence - competent learners
4. Low motivation / low confidence - learners who struggle
5. Low motivation / High confidence - underachieving learners ( the principle of least effort)
We cannot begin to negotiate curriculum with kids until they have healthy concepts for learning. Teachers are vital/critical in building a child's motivation and confidence. They too fall into a range:
1. High willingness - low knowingness - the anxious teacher
2. High willingness - high knowingness - the high flier teacher
3. Average willingness - average knowingness - competent teacher
4. Low willingness - low knowingness - struggling teacher
5. Low willingness - high knowingness - cynical teacher - cynics become blockers to change. Cynical and struggling teachers can make life hell for our high flier students (10s).
We need to work on learners and teachers if only because ..."our dispositions shape our intellectual future - they unleash our possibilities." (Caviglioli & Harris 2005) We all go well when we feel good about ourselves and our learners are no different - they learn more effectively when they feel good about themselves and know that others like and value them. Teachers' perceptions, expectations and the quality of their interactions impact on each student's sense of wellbeing and can make a real difference to learning experiences and outcomes.
The relationship the student has with learning is critical - far more important than the teacher/student relationship. Teachers come and go - learning is for life!


The misfit between paradigms

We have quite a task on our hands to overturn the prevailing paradigms held by most teachers. A recent paper called Learners as Customers presented in Singapore claimed that attempts "to leverage the digital worlds and integrate the technology with pedagogical best practice have been limited...(E)fforts to 'integrate' information and communication technologies (ICTs) with pedagogy have achieved not much more than technical-level effects that mostly leave traditional approaches to teaching and learning unchanged." (Findlay, Fitzgerald & Hobby, 2004) The researchers found that learners want to use ICTs because they are central to "youth culture" but were generally "disenchanted" with their limited use in classrooms. There was a major mismatch between students' patterns of ICT use in their communities and homes and in their schools where teachers place too many constraints and restrictions on use. The researchers state that "many teachers no longer know what learners know and are independently doing and learning".


Learning needs & 21st century characteristics

Learning needs must match with skills required post-school:
* high level communication skills
* high level numeracy skills
* high level IT usage skills
* knowing how to learn
They need knowledge skills that have currency and credibility in the wider community and workforce.
Also a need to develop the human aspect - arete - being the best that one can be - reaching one's highest human potential. As teachers we need to acknowledge that kids have pretty powerful concepts about a whole range of things, especially learning and schools.
Professor Tony Townsend's research demonstrates a 90% correlation between the concepts students hold and their perceived ability to learn within the school system. We ignore this at everyone's peril. Must work on students' motivation for learning and develop the emotionally powerful concepts which they hold. John Joseph, the brain man, has some good ideas for achieving this shift in students.
(see www.focuseducation.com.au )

21st century characteristics:
ICTs are an integral part of children's lives - use technology to unlock learning. Theirs is a seamless world of play, learning, work and entertainment. It is fast-paced and multi-tasked. Their world and their relationships are timeless and boundary free. Their communication tools are mobile phones, iPODs, digital plasma TVs and new generation mobiles that are blurring the distinction between computers and phones. They send ecards, emails, texts. They Google to find something, blog and download music. Their cameras are digital - they are technology-enabled social networkers. They are part of a culture that embraces, defines and creates technology and demand - the smaller, faster and sleeker the better. We, however, speak digital with an accent!


Teleconference Notes 2 June 2005


9:30am – 11:30am

Participants: Stephen, AA, RC, MC, KG(1), KG(2), BG, RH, MH, SM, MM(1), JP, MS, MV

Apologies: MM(2)

Stephen welcomed everyone to the teleconference and explained that the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the growth and development of students and the changes that need to be made to enable meaningful learning to occur for all students. He went on to say that he had felt unsettled for sometime now in relation to this matter and that we should have observable and measurable outcomes for student learning - he would like to be able to see the data that shows this is happening. Reference was made to the practices of Today’s Children Tomorrow’s Adults. He believes we have been supportive with the teaching agenda but we now need to focus on the children - change needs to occur, we can’t keep doing what we have been doing (learning as the focus).

At today’s teleconference Stephen’s objective was to gauge peoples reactions and comments about the learning agenda and then continue with a meeting on 8 June to develop these views.

Some others points Stephen made included:

· Not just going to launch this in one place. Wants to move forward with everyone working together.
· Not saying that our thoughts aren’t already in the heads of some of the teachers.
· Address the accountabilities and deal with them.
· The whole issue is around what can we do to benefit the students.
· What data is at your fingertips – real data not opinions.
· Learning Agenda - it’s about the relationship between teacher and student.
· Keeps coming back to data. Show that students are involved in learning and achieving.
· Data will tell us what we know and what we need to find out.
· Schools need to be optimized and organized
· Students need to be motivated to learn.
· Teachers need to be effective.
· Parent expectations of students needs to be considered.
· Reasons for change – problem in us here, not out there.

Stephen asked for individual comments from everyone involved in the teleconference in relation to the Learning Agenda and the thoughts he had e-mail on 31 May 05:

To keep focus up needs someone to pull us together and keep the group together – co-ordinated approach.
Very passionate. Secondary Schools too much based on results and not what the children are learning. She is passionate about what happens in a classroom – students need to be happy with what they learn.
Thought discussions like today is how her job was going to be like when she first started – it wasn’t. Not cohesive as a group. Here for the students, have to work with the teachers to get them to change. How do teachers make a difference.
Issue has concerned her for a while. How many teachers understand the paradigms? Students can now multi-task a lot better than us – needs to focus this towards teachers.
Wonderful conversation. Talk to action – need to examine the emotions people hold with regard to Learning and Teaching. How much diversity could we / should we allow?
Believes we have had a time when we haven’t been talking etc about the priorities. This is a great opportunity to get back on track and work with the same objectives.
Challenge is to be able to go beyond today and next week. Set clear criteria to establish if we are achieving results for the children. We are here to make a difference to the children. This is all our responsibility. Monitor Vision and Mission statement.
L&T good at first, hopes this re-energises the group, glad it is back on the Agenda. What is the nature of our work, how do we make a difference? What is the evidence that we’ve made a difference?
Practice needs to change. Some teachers not teaching all KLA’s because they aren’t comfortable.
His job is to promote good learning practice – needs to get the students to think about their own learning. We are about Catholic Education – don’t want to lose that focus.
Same feelings as Mandy when she started her job. Need to find out parents views of students and the students views of themselves. Teachers are well aware of the Learning Agenda but we need to work inclusively with what students want to do. Not all about marks on tests.
Conducts surveys monitoring student learning and satisfaction through VET and is excited about today’s meeting. Classroom visits have been fascinating – students like to show off their skills. Students are getting jobs prior to HSC.
Passionate about creating an environment to learn. Technology now is the environment but some are not always willing to take this on in the schools. How we advance the Learning Agenda with teachers will be a challenge.

Some concerns raised included:

Falling down in schools is a concern. The old culture in schools seems to kill off any new ideas – how do we deal with this?
Need to make the parents etc aware of the changes that have to be made.
Who’s responsibility is it to sustain the good that is happening – so many things getting in the way.

Stephen left the meeting at 10:45am to allow everyone to discuss further today’s agenda and ways of bringing together the required data for next weeks meeting.

Teleconference concluded at 11:30am.


1. Bring data.

2. Provide answers to the following questions:

1. What are the learning needs of our students?

2. What are their characteristics in this age of the 21C?

3. What are we doing about the misfit between the prevailing paradigms of learning held by most teachers who are of a different era to those who begin teaching service in our schools only to experience alienation?

4. How are we dealing with the alienation and disengagement of students through the teaching practices they endure daily?

5. How are we sustaining life and vigour in those students who want to learn, and in those teachers who can meet the learning agendas of students?

6. How do we, through our work, ensure teachers are immersed in the learning agenda of students, not the teaching agenda of teachers?

3. Raise any other questions are feel are relevant.

NOTE: Meeting to be held in the Conference Room, McAlroy House from 1:30pm.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005


VET responses and data

  1. What are the learning needs of our students?
    To gain skills and knowledge that equips them “for life” and that builds pathways into their future directions be that employment, education, community or personal life
    To have a sense of ownership or control over their learning – to “be a heard and valued contributor”
  2. Student Characteristics:
    Greater exposure to the world ie global students – cyber people
    Technology communicators
    Live in a world that has “information & technologies” exploding at a huge rate – constantly changing needs for current and relevant information
    Variety of family cultures (traditional, single parent, foster etc etc)
    Able to multitask
    HSC being seen as entry point for many entry level positions
    A very competitive job market
  3. What are we doing about the misfit between the prevailing paradigms of learning held by most teachers who are of a different era to those who begin teaching service in our schools only to experience alienation
    What is VET doing:
    Ensuring VET teachers have current industry knowledge demonstrating at least 15 hrs per year
    Ensuring VET teachers are monitoring students in the workplace and getting first hand information on industry needs
    Teachers are given professional development in the delivery of training packages which are industry written and driven
    Teachers are given professional development in Assessment and Workplace Training which develops workplace assessment skills that demonstrate real workplace skills and knowledge that employers can recognise
    Validation of assessment ensuring assessments are enabling students to give evidence of skills against the industry curriculum framework specifications
    Networking with Industry Curriculum Framework teachers and coordinating, reflecting on best practice strategies for delivery and assessment
    Sharing of resources – a VET Sharepoint is in the process of being developed to ensure all teachers have a web based portal to share documents
  4. How are we dealing with the alienation and disengagement of students through the teaching practices they endure daily?
    VET endeavours to reduce feelings of alienation and disengagement by:
    Providing students with the opportunity of gaining dual accreditation ie the HSC and AQF qualifications, the latter being industry based and industry recognised which give students opportunities for multiple pathways
    1. Directly into employment with industry skills, experience and qualifications
    2. Further education and recognition eg into a Certificate III level course at another Registered Training Organisation such as TAFE
    3. Higher Education with VET courses being included in the UAI scoring – it is a myth that UAI ranking is lower for VET, students who are achieve well in their VET courses often use this in their UAI score (this myth is due to VET attracting a wide range of academic ability students and meeting the needs of all)
    Providing students who are “less academic” with skills based training which recognises specific competencies and often these students are the most enthusiastic demonstrating excellent practical skills – AND being recognised as such!
    Providing practical skills based training and experiences which relate to industry – gone is the question “when would we ever use this?”
  5. How are we sustaining life and vigour in those students who want to learn, and in those teachers who can meet the learning agendas of students?
    VET is sustaining life and vigour in students & teachers by:
    Making the HSC examination optional which does not affect the AQF credential – this enables less academic students not to be set up for disappointment as VET assessment is skills based, allows for reassessment and not literacy based which seems to be the HSC exam issue
    By the points listed above
    Teachers are invigorated by seeing students gain real and practical skills, enjoying their training and work placement (especially those students who struggle with more academic based education)
    Students are invigorated by being successful in their training, and being recognised for each unit of competency thereby gaining credentials (statements of attainment) at the unit level if a whole AQF certificate is not awarded
    Teachers are invigorated by being able to give students recognition against specific competencies recognising the individual’s skills
    Classroom visits by Education Officer VET talking to students and representing the RTO
    Surveys seeking feedback and ideas from students – actioning any areas identified as issues and recognising achievements
  6. How do we, through our work, ensure teachers are immersed in the learning agenda of students, not the teaching agenda of teachers?
    Education Officer VET position ensures teachers are immersed in the learning agenda of students by:
    Classroom visits “to students”
    Surveys from students
    Network meetings discussing student outcomes not necessarily HSC outcomes!
    Encouraging students to be recognised in awards – Xavier Metals Student nominated for School Vocational Student Award under DET’s 2005 Training Awards
    Encouraging teachers to support students to compete in World Skills

Monday, June 06, 2005


Peter Sheahan

Hi All, I heard Peter on the radio today. He is 25 and a gen y ... thought some of you might be interested in exploring his blog about gen y and gen aa. It has given me some insights into the students we are working with and what the world of work may be like.
The address is: http://www.petersheahan.com.au/content.asp?id=1&t=1



In response to what Stephen has written in relation to TCTA - if we challenged teachers by asking ... As a teacher how do I/would I (use the starters from TCTA) ...?
I wonder what impact this may have on student learning ...


Preparing for the interpretation of data

Well colleagues, success for some, and promise for others.

The SMH article was timely wasn't it? Though a bit jingoistic, perhaps the lesson is in the asking of students about their experiences.

My brief time in two classes last Friday illustrated the value of seeking the views of students (at the same time protecting the relationship between the classroom teacher and students.) Too early to say much as yet, but a wholly enjoyable and profitable time.

Below are some thoughts about what effective teaching is. Probably recognised by you since we have published this in TCTA. The point is, how are we bringing these qualities out in teachers, and developing them in our work with teachers as learners?

So what do we change about the way we focus upon learning in teachers? How do we hold ourselves accountable for the development of these attributes? I mean really accountable - so that we seek a return on the investment of our professional energy.

sharing your data
Would you please post your data to this blog. That way we do not have to wait until Wednesday afternoon and use time to show data instead of the really valuable exercise of interpreting the data to understand the messages contained therein.

I look forward to reading your contributions, including the humourous images.

Regards, Stephen

Meaningful learning:
Effective teachers:
• gather as much student information as possible
• find out what students already know and can do
• help students actively construct understanding
• provide varied learning experiences, strategies and resources
to meet diverse needs
• provide focused small group and 1:1 teaching with students
• connect new learning to students’ lives
• focus learning on important questions, concepts and processes
• foster explicit connection-making between ideas and
processes - across the curriculum and subject boundaries
• make purposes and goals explicit
• help students apply/transfer learnings to new situations
• engage students in authentic learning
• focus on assessment as an integral part of learning, using a
wide variety of formats

Effective teachers:
• engage students in meaningful inquiry and research
• use an inquiry framework for program planning purposes
• understand the links between inquiry and constructivist
• explicitly teach investigative and research processes and
• have students pose and explore questions - their own as well
as those of others; philosophical as well as practical
• use mistake-making and error as an important part of the
learning process

Effective teachers:
• honour the intrinsic motivation of students
• use language that actively encourages self-responsibility
• promote student self-understanding and metacognitive
• foster on-going reflection on learning
• model and make explicit creative, critical and problemsolving
skills and processes
• help students select and use a wide range of learning -how-to
learn and thinking tools, techniques and processes
• invite student negotiation and choice in learning
• teach students the task and organisational skills to learn to
manage their own learning
• actively involve students in self- assessment
• help students learn to take responsibility for their behaviour
by –
• using gospel, social-ethical values as the base to
work from
• focusing on student construction of understanding
• teaching appropriate problem-solving strategies and
skills, and constructive ways of resolving conflict

Human development
Effective teachers:
• build unity and a sense of belonging in the classroom
• help students to appreciate and value diversity
• help students develop as principled, ethical human beings,
displaying values such as respect, fairness, courtesy,
responsibility and kindness
• co-create with students class norms based on these values
• develop in students effective habits of mind and qualities
such as initiative, resilience, adaptability, imagination,
persistence, confidence courage and enterprise
• integrate the spiritual with other aspects of learning
• place a focus on creating the new (products, models,
information) rather than simply reproducing what is known
• help students to pro-actively vision and create preferred
futures, in ways that have personal, school, community and
global relevance
• offer opportunities for students to work in the service of
others - to show care and make a contribution within and
beyond the school

Effective teachers:
• regularly engage learners in meaningful dialogue with peers
• model invitational language
• teach non-verbal forms of communication
• develop student skills with multimedia
• teach students effective questioning skills
• encourage written conversation
• provide for multiple ways to represent thinking, ideas and
• help students use styles appropriate for different audiences,
purposes and contexts

Effective teachers:
• understand the power of student partnerships
• make explicit the benefits of working together
• match collaborative groupings (team size, membership and
duration) to needs and purposes
• use collaborative structures in a purposeful way
• embed teamwork principles in collaborative work
• explicitly develop a wide range of collaborative skills
• actively foster perspective-taking
• involve the broader community beyond the classroom

Michelle, thought we might all need a laugh!! Posted by Hello


The school that I'd like

Hi folks,
interesting reading in the weekend SMH about the school(s) that kids would like. "Kind students plus fun teachers, take away bullies, add a huge library stuffed with thousands of books, multiply computers by five, divide mess by 50, add every type of sports field that there is." Max Johnson.

"..students want an education relevant to 2005 and they want it in a clean and caring environment." ....They wanted a say in what subjects they studied and much more "real-life stuff" alongside the mandatory studies."

"..students highlighted friendships as the reasons for going to school ( what motivates those who have no friends, who feel alienated?) the teachers they adored and despised and the toilets they avoided. They wanted autonomy over their uniforms ( remember the kerfuffle over uniforms for the 2 wagga high schools???) calling for bright colours instead of boring brown. There were sensible suggestions: allocate homework once a week instead of daily; recycle all school rubbish; replace "rock-hard" plastic chairs with comfy ones; study life skills like how to drive rather than "how to be a good citizen". And so it went - very timely, very thought-provoking!
cheers, KG:)

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