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Latest News 2017-05-28T09:07:22+00:00

‘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 Education.com 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|

What is working in Indigenous education: new findings released

Indigenous education is always worth highlighting as so much needs to be done in that space. This article at Education HQ presents some key findings of research.

A team of academics from 10 universities have finished a two-year review into the state of Australia’s Indigenous education, and have released their findings.

The researchers looked at over 10,000 studies, spanning from 2006 to 2018, and drew a number of conclusions.

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September 2nd, 2018|

Six things you should do when reading with your kids

We all know how important reading is. This article from The Conversation gives some pointers about how to read with our kids.

There is magic in stories. We all remember hearing them as children, and we loved them. Imaginary adventures set in faraway places. Tales about how the dishwasher isn’t working. It doesn’t matter! Whether made up by parents or read from books, kids love to hear stories.

Our recent work showed reading to children positively impacts long term academic achievement more than many other activity (including playing music with them, or doing craft). We found the more frequently parents read to their children, the better their children’s NAPLAN scores in different areas.

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August 22nd, 2018|

Is positive education another fad? Perhaps, but it’s supported by good research

Positive psychology is a term we’ve become more used to seeing in modern education. This article from The Conversation presents some of the underpinning research behind it.

Positive education is a spin-off from positive psychology. Prominent psychologists such as Martin Seligman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi were instrumental in its creation, initially in 2000.

Positive psychology employs a strength-based approach to mental health and wellbeing. It focuses on a number of aspects such as resilience, general wellbeing, and happiness.

So, is positive education another fad in education? The answer is “perhaps”, as nothing is static in education. But positive psychology research indicates long-lasting benefits for young adults.

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August 9th, 2018|

10 Important Learning Studies From 2017

From the Inform Ed website comes an interesting piece that lists 10 important studies from last year.

1. Learning styles probably don’t exist
The idea that there are different “learning styles” and that each learner should receive instruction in his or her preferred style of learning—be it visual, auditory, or tactile—has gained popularity in recent years. Despite its increasing popularity, there’s no scientific evidence to support the theory that teaching students according to their individual learning styles achieves better results.

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August 4th, 2018|

Why school kids need more exposure to the world of work

Many kids have part time jobs and this article from The Conversation argues that exposure to industry and the world of work is exactly what kids need.

All students need to experience the world of work, particularly work of the future, long before they leave school, according to a new report out today.

The latest Mitchell Institute report, Connecting the worlds of learning and work, says collaborating with industry and the community is vital to better prepare children and young people for future work and life. And governments need to play a leading role to ensure this happens.

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July 30th, 2018|

Elite selective high schools deliver only small ATAR gains

Interesting research out of Melbourne University says that good students do well at any school, in  this article from Education Age.

Selective-entry schools only marginally improve students’ ATARs according to new research that questions whether elite state schools boost academic performance.

Students at selective-entry high schools achieve ATARs that are at most two points higher, on average, than similar students elsewhere.

The University of Melbourne research suggests that high-achieving students will do well at any school.

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July 14th, 2018|

Happiness revolution spreading through our schools

This article from The Age looks at how schools are increasingly turning to positive psychology as part of their programs.

A happiness revolution is sweeping through Victorian schools.

At Heathmont College in Melbourne’s east, students calculate “happy fractions”, fill out online surveys to determine their “superpowers” and have daily discussions about all the positive things they’ve experienced.

It’s part of a “positive education” movement which aims to teach students and teachers how to be resilient and flourish. It hopes focusing on people’s strengths protects them from depression.

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July 6th, 2018|

What’s the difference between STEM and STEAM?

STEM and HASS as educational acronyms have been around for a while, but as this Conversation article shows, a newer one, STEAM, seeks to fuse the two.

Gonski 2.0 urges us to get our children back to basics through the “three Rs” of reading, writing and arithmetic. For educators, there is now a greater need for science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) concepts to integrate with the arts (STEAM) across the wider curriculum.

We know this because business and industry broadcast that future-ready employees need to have multiple areas of expertise or at least appreciate how a range of skills fit together.

Teachers working in cross-curricular STEAM settings often see their students making connections between concepts and solving problems in new and exciting ways. They demonstrate this by active engagement, their discoveries visible in enthusiastic “aha” moments.

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June 20th, 2018|

Many Australian school students feel they ‘don’t belong’ in school: new research

This article from The Conversation examines the crucial aspect of belonging at school, and presents research that suggests that many children feel they do not belong.

A report released today by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), the managers of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Australia, explores Australian students’ sense of belonging. This has been shown to play a big part in academic success at school.

Australian students, on average, reported a poorer sense of belonging at school compared to students across the OECD. A lower proportion of Australian students than the OECD average said they “feel like they belong at school”.

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June 7th, 2018|

The Ups and Downs of Social Media

Social media is here to stay and it often gets a bad rap. This article from Harvard Education looks at a study that finds US teens see it as a largely positive experience.

Watch teenagers using social media, and you witness an emotional rollercoaster: they are intermittently ecstatic, furious, envious, heartbroken, charmed, anxious, obsessive, and bored.

Research has begun to zero in on nearly every part of this spectrum, with findings that run from alarming (screen time is linked to depression and suicide) to reassuring (many teens find social media empowering). But for those looking for a clear-cut “good or bad” verdict on social media, the reality is that it’s a little of each — but generally a much more positive experience than many parents might think.

A new study finds that teenagers report feeling all kinds of positive and negative emotions when describing the same social media experiences — posting selfies, Snapchatting, browsing videos — but the majority rate their overall experiences as positive.

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May 29th, 2018|

NAPLAN writing tests hinder creativity, so what could we use in their place?

NAPLAN tests have always been a controversial topic in education. This Conversation article asks what might we use in their place in order to emphasise creativity?

This week year three, five, seven and nine students will be undertaking NAPLAN testing. And while standardised testing might be relevant for some fields of study, NAPLAN promotes a narrow view of literacy and writing and hinders the creative process.

If teachers want to prepare their students for the writing portion of NAPLAN, they must teach rigid writing structures that don’t allow for creative flow. This may then turn children into bad writers.

The limitations of NAPLAN are frequently discussed among researchers, policymakers, teachers and in the community. So, if standardised tests hinder creativity, what can we use instead?

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May 18th, 2018|

Schools turn to mindfulness to tackle student anxiety

Mindfulness is becoming a more commonly heard term in educational circles as educators realise its value. This article from Education Age looks at a school using mindfulness to tackle anxiety.

Instead of going straight into their next lesson after recess or lunch, students at a school in Sydney’s west spend up to half an hour on mindfulness several times a week, and teachers say the lessons have improved focus and productivity.

“Across kindergarten to year 6, some groups might do it daily and some do it three to four times a week,” Homebush West Public School’s deputy principal, Roxanne Picoaga, said.

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May 10th, 2018|

Free Online Courses: Top 50 Sites to Get Educated for Free

For those looking to get ahead of the game, or just to broaden their own knowledge, there are a range of international programs from some of the world’s most prestigious institutions available online for free. Check out this great list from InformEd:

Whether you are looking for a master’s degree program, computer science classes, a K-12 curriculum, or GED study program, this list gives you a look at 50 websites that offer free online courses.

From databases that organize over 1,000,000 students throughout 16 universities, to a small library of documents for those interested in history, the opportunities for free online learning continue to expand as the Internet becomes a crucial component in education.

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May 1st, 2018|

Low attendance in Year 7 may mean you’re less likely to finish school

Good or bad attendance habits can form early and have far reaching consequences according to this article in the Conversation.

A study of more than 30,000 students has confirmed the link between improving school attendance rates in Year 7 and the likelihood of completing high school.

Conducted by the Smith Family, the research found around three-quarters of students from low-income families with higher attendance rates in the first year of high school completed Year 12. This was compared to less than half of those with very low attendance in Year 7.

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April 24th, 2018|

Your ATAR isn’t the only thing universities are looking at

What are universities looking for in secondary graduates? Turns out it isn’t just an ATAR score according to the Conversation.

Only a quarter of undergraduate university admissions for domestic students are made on the basis of an ATAR (Australian Tertiary Admission Rank), according to a new discussion paper from Victoria University’s Mitchell Institute.

The paper highlights a growing disconnect between the role the ATAR plays in schools and universities. In 2016, only 26% of domestic undergraduate university admissions were made on the basis of secondary education with an ATAR – down from 31% in 2014.

This would surprise many young people, as it seems at odds with the message reinforced by many schools, families and the media – that the ATAR is everything.

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April 13th, 2018|

Why suspending or expelling students often does more harm than good

A long time debate in education is around the value of suspension or expulsion. The Conversation article suggests it’s not the best strategy.

The number of students being suspended or expelled from Australian schools is “skyrocketing”, according to news reports. These note a 10% increase in suspensions over two years at NSW primary schools and that students in south-western Sydney are being suspended more than four times as often as students in other parts of the city.

Suspension and expulsion is widely used in Australia, the UK and the US to respond to problematic behaviour. But evidence shows these tactics aren’t effective in changing a student’s conduct, and carry major long-term risks for their welfare. Students most affected tend to be those with higher and more complex needs, such as those with disabilities and mental health issues.

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April 5th, 2018|