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Latest News2017-05-28T09:07:22+10:00

Australian students’ skills slip years behind other nations

Latest PISA test results indicate that Australian students are slipping back in Maths, according to this article from the Nine News desk.

The maths skills of Australian students have slid back at least a year compared to their international counterparts, a new report says.

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) found student performance has declined by the equivalent of more than a full school year in maths and almost a full year in reading and science.

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December 4th, 2019|

Redesigning NAPLAN for the nation’s future needs

NAPLAN,  and indeed traditional institutionalised mass exam-testing more broadly, continues to come under scrutiny. In this Sydney Morning Herald article, Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffen proposes that a review of NAPLAN needs to go further than just changing the test.

The review of NAPLAN needs to do more than merely change testing.

It needs to steer assessment, teaching and curriculum into the 21st century and accept that education and work life are inextricably linked.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking place now via intelligent robots, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and changes in social, industrial and education lives. The implications of these changes need to be learned and assessed, but not through standardised testing.

Yet we persist with centuries old methods such as multiple choice or lookalike tasks, doing the same thing repeatedly, expecting to see change.

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November 8th, 2019|

Fair-haired girls to the fore in ‘colour-coded’ school marketing

Very interesting Age article about school marketing – stereotypes seem to still be around

The blonde girls are in focus, studious kids are Asian and only white boys get a kick, a study of the images used in promotional material for Victorian schools has found.

Deakin University’s Trevor McCandless analysed the marketing materials in government, Catholic and independent schools for his PhD thesis to see how these represented “the schools’ best guess at what parents find attractive for their children”.

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October 7th, 2019|

If you want to cut bullying in schools, look at the ‘invisible violence’ in our society

Bullying seems to be a perennial issue. The Conversation article urges us to look more broadly at it.

A new strategy to tackle bullying of children both inside and outside the school gates was recently released by the South Australian Department of Education.

It has adopted the national definition of bullying that directly links it to a misuse of power. The strategy also questions the role “movies, television, newspapers and the internet” could play in promoting violence.

But bullying is just one way people misuse power to harm others, and violent media as the cause of violent behaviour in young people is an old idea.

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September 20th, 2019|

Chief Scientist says obsession with ATAR is leading students astray

The ATAR debate continues in today’s Age with former Monash University Chancellor and Australia’s Chief Scientist calling for students to follow their study interests over scores.

Australia’s Chief Scientist has attacked the national scoring system for university entry, arguing it discourages high school students from taking on difficult subjects for fear of getting a lower score.

Dr Alan Finkel said Australian universities’ intense focus on the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank as the bar for acceptance was setting students up to perform poorly once they reached tertiary education.

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August 13th, 2019|

Building whole-school consensus and commitment

At any school building consensus and commitment is important; this article from Teacher Magazine looks at this crucial area.

At a school with high mobility of staff and students, building a whole-school culture of consensus, collaboration and commitment is crucial.

During her three years as principal at Batchelor Area School in the Northern Territory – a P-12 school around 100 kilometres south of Darwin – Robyn Thorpe strived to achieve just this.

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July 30th, 2019|

Teacher resources: NAIDOC Week

NAIDOC week has become an increasingly significant week on the education calendar and Teacher Magazine has provided some resources.

It’s NAIDOC Week this week, and although the official week falls during Australian school holidays, plenty of schools across the country are geared up to celebrate in a variety of ways.

This year’s theme, Voice. Treaty. Truth., focuses on Indigenous voice in Australia, particularly through Indigenous language, and represents three key elements to the reforms set out in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

Through the events page on the official NAIDOC Week website and the multiple classroom resources available – there are plenty of sources of inspiration out there to assist teachers in engaging students in NAIDOC Week celebrations.

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July 11th, 2019|

Teacher wellbeing: Practicing mindfulness

Mindfulness and wellbeing are becoming increasingly common conversations in our classrooms. This article from Teacher Magazine looks at practising mindfulness in the classroom.

Teachers who practice mindfulness in the classroom tend to be better organised, more attentive to students and better communicators, Associate Professor Craig Hassed says.

Hassed is a mindfulness expert and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of General Practice at Monash University. His teaching, research and clinical interests include mindfulness-based stress management, mind-body medicine, meditation and health promotion.

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June 13th, 2019|

25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset

Work in growth mindset is becoming more popular and well regarded in education circles. This InformEd article provides a great list of 25 ways to foster a growth mindset.

What if your true learning potential was unknown, even unknowable, at best? What if it were impossible to foresee what you could accomplish with a few years of passion, toil, and training? According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, this isn’t some hypothetical situation, dependent on any manner of factors from genes to environment. It’s a mindset. And it’s one you can cultivate at any point in life.

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May 10th, 2019|

Teacher support reduces girls’ disengagement in high school

Girls’ engagement in school has long been a point of interest, particularly in the secondary context. This article from highlights the importance of the teacher-student relationship.

Research shows that students often become more disengaged in high school.

This is problematic because it means that students are also less likely to enjoy school, be less active participants in their learning, and be less interested in their schoolwork. When students are disengaged, their achievement also suffers (Skinner, Furrer, Marchand, & Kindermann, 2008).

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April 24th, 2019|

Adolescence can be awkward. Here’s how parents can help their child make and maintain good friendships

School friendships can be the foundation of a lifetime relationship. The Conversation article looks at how parents can help.

Secondary school can be a lonely place for adolescents who don’t have a best friend or a group of trusted friends. Young people will be more skilled in the art of making genuine friends (and keeping them) if they know how to be assertive, are optimistic about life, have some basic social skills and have a relationship with a parent/carer that includes honest talk.

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April 10th, 2019|

Gonski Institute recommends scrapping NAPLAN

The National Catholic Education Newsletter’s latest edition has a thought-provoking article highlighting a call from the Gonski Institute to scrap NAPLAN.

A submission to the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) review of NAPLAN by the Gonski Institute for Education at UNSW Sydney recommends scrapping the current census approach to national testing and replacing it with sample testing of students across Australia.

Director of the Gonski Institute for Education, Professor Adrian Piccoli said there is little evidence NAPLAN, which was introduced a decade ago, has improved education outcomes for students.

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March 28th, 2019|

Schools that Excel: Siena College

No detentions, no libraries, no problems for this girls’ school – front page article recently published by The Age:

A school that recently abolished its library has been recognised as one of The Age’s ‘Schools that Excel’, with Siena College principal Gaynor Robson-Garth attributing the success to constant innovation.

“We have always been open to trying new things and taking risks,” she says.

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March 27th, 2019|

Trends shaping education

It’s always worth keeping up with current trends. This article from Teacher website does that:

The charity Education and Employers recently asked some 20 000 primary school children to draw their own future, and the opportunities children see for tomorrow are amazing. At the OECD, these drawings have inspired us to look at the future of education more systematically.

Some people will question how we can talk about the future when we can’t even figure out what will happen tomorrow. But there is quite a bit we know about the global megatrends that shape education, and much has been written about the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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March 15th, 2019|

Student anxiety about schoolwork

It seems an age old concern, but this article from Teacher Magazine says research is showing that Aussie kids are more stressed about school work than ever.

Australian high school students experience higher levels of schoolwork-related anxiety than their OECD peers, according to a new report released by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER).

PISA Australia in Focus Number 4: Anxiety uses data from the 2015 Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), which surveyed 15-year-olds about their schoolwork-related anxiety, and earlier PISA surveys in 2003 and 2012, which looked more closely at anxiety about maths.

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November 29th, 2018|

How to talk to your child about their school report

Reports will be out soon – the article from The Conversation provides some ideas around how to talk about it with your child.

It’s that time of year again when you receive your child’s school report. For some parents and carers, understanding what it means can be challenging. Some children will be happy and others may be disappointed.

Parents and carers need to interpret the information in the report so you can determine the strengths of your child, work out how their learning is progressing and what areas they’re having difficulty in. This may involve having a discussion with your child or a follow-up meeting with your child’s teacher.

It’s important to remember to be supportive, consider the personality of your child and focus on their progress.

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November 21st, 2018|

‘A big ship to turn around’: The school that changed course

From Education Age, a good news story about Narre Warren South P-12 College – a school that turned itself around.

Three years ago, Narre Warren South P-12 College was not the school it is today.

It had failed to meet basic standards of learning and student wellbeing. As it wrestled with the challenges of teaching in one of the most disadvantaged areas in the state, it faced a priority review by the education department.

Rob Duncan became principal in 2015 knowing things had to change. He and his staff set out on a makeover mission that has now been so successful the south-eastern college has recently won awards and been classified by the department as a “school of influence”, setting a statewide benchmark.

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November 6th, 2018|

A Parent’s Guide to Twitter

Social media can be confusing. One of the biggest platforms is Twitter – here’s a quick guide from with some handy do’s and don’ts.

Chances are your teen has a page on Facebook, the social-networking website with a massive following among users ages 9 to 99. And, chances are, if you’ve heard of Facebook, you’ve probably also heard of Twitter, another player in the ever-expanding fray of social networking platforms, micro-blogs and the like. Perhaps you have a Twitter account. But does your child have one too? And as a parent, should you be concerned about Twitter in the hands of your child?

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October 23rd, 2018|

10 Ways Authentic Learning Is Disrupting Education

Authentic learning involves linking class-based learning to the ‘real world’. This article from InformEd explores how authentic learning is influencing education.

Authentic learning is a term used to describe instructional strategies that are designed to connect the subjects students are taught in school and university to the real world.

Authentic learning experiences help students understand the relevance of what they’re learning and how they can apply their skills in the professional world. Rather than discussing hypothetical situations or memorizing information, students are given the opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to practical use in the development of solutions or products that will be of immediate benefit to their communities and the world at large.

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October 5th, 2018|

Here’s how to support quality teaching, with the evidence to back it

One of the big discussions in education is around quality of teaching and the focus on graduating excellent ready-to-go teachers out of degrees. The often neglected part of this discussion is the huge group of already-practicing professionals and development of quality in teaching. This Conversation article looks at just that.

Increasing the quality of teaching in Australia is a political hot issue. Popular solutions include restricting entry to teaching courses to the “best and brightest” and reforming teacher education.

The spotlight is rarely focused on the roughly 300,000 teachers who are already working in our schools except, all too often, when they are criticised for results in the latest round of high-stakes testing.

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September 14th, 2018|