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

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|

How to escape education’s death valley

This week’s news article is an audio piece – a famous Ted talk delivered by Sir Ken Robinson.

Sir Ken Robinson outlines 3 principles crucial for the human mind to flourish — and how current education culture works against them.

In a funny, stirring talk he tells us how to get out of the educational “death valley” we now face, and how to nurture our youngest generations with a climate of possibility.

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March 28th, 2018|

Hattie & His High Impact Strategies for Teachers

One area for discussion within education that is always relevant is that of what makes teaching effective, what things work. Internationally renowned educationalist John Hattie, offers us his thoughts in this Australian Society for Evidence Based Teaching article, and it is very worthwhile reading them.

John Hattie synthesized over 500,000+ studies related to student achievement in his book Visible Learning. In this book he showed that teachers can make a difference despite other circumstances that may impede learning.

In fact, Hattie found that most teachers have some degree of impact on their students’ learning. However, some teachers have far more impact than others.

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March 18th, 2018|

Five things parents can do every day to help develop STEM skills from a young age

One of the things that is a growing area of focus in early education is how we might promote STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. This Conversation article looks at 5 things parents can do in this space.

Educators and researchers agree early literacy experiences are important for children’s cognitive and language development. For the past 30 years there has been a strong movement to foster children’s literacy skills. This has resulted in an abundance of information on how parents can do this by reading books, singing songs and nursery rhymes, playing word games and noticing print.

This is a good thing and should continue, given the importance of early literacy skills in learning to read, and how this leads to later success in school and life.

But in addition to early literacy skills, we should also be promoting early STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills. Early childhood is the natural starting point for STEM learning, as young children are curious and want to explore their environments.

Children are very capable STEM learners, and their knowledge and skills are often greatly underestimated by educators and parents.

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March 13th, 2018|

ACER submission calls for students to be taught by ability not age

A point of discussion within educational circles is  around how classes are formed and divided. In the latest National Catholic Education Commission newsletter, ACER adds to the debate by calling for students to be taught by ability.

The Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) is calling for an overhaul of the way students are currently taught, assessed and graded in its submission to the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools led by David Gonski.

The proposal would see students taught according to their ability rather than age with performance tools such as A to E grades and traditional school reports also being replaced by new reporting measures.

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March 5th, 2018|

Study habits for success: tips for students

As we are back full swing at school, it’s timely to remind ourselves of success habits. The Conversation presents some useful tips:

Right now, thousands of Australian school children and university students are taking a well-earned break from the classroom. Long breaks like this help us clear our minds, but they can also provide an opportunity to prepare for the learning year ahead.

If you’re a student, this might mean thinking about your study habits. Here are some suggestions to help you learn as efficiently as possible.

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February 28th, 2018|

Three ways to help any kid be more creative

As we look to the future of Education, one of the constants is how to develop creativity in our children to help them better cope with the demands and creative solutions the future will bring. This article from ideas.ted.com puts forward three ways we might foster creativity.

The world’s problems demand bold, new solutions, so today’s children need to develop open, agile minds. Composer Anthony Brandt and neuroscientist David Eagleman tell you how to nurture them.
Our children spend many of their waking hours in the classroom. It’s where their aspirations are nurtured and where they get their first sense of what their society expects of them. When run correctly, it’s a place where imagination is cultivated. But that cultivation doesn’t always happen.

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February 23rd, 2018|

More children are starting school depressed and anxious – without help, it will only get worse

As children get settled into the 2018 school year, our thoughts turn to how they are coping. This article from The Conversation examines how we might address anxiety.

Starting school for the first time can be stressful. Children are suddenly thrown into a foreign environment, juggling the pressure of learning new academic skills and establishing relationships with peers. Some thrive, but others may need support through this transition.

Our study found that at the ages of six to seven, which is just after the time children start school, 14% of Australian children had noticeably high levels of emotional problems. Emotional problems generally refer to depressive and anxiety symptoms, somatic (physical) complaints such as headaches, and withdrawn behaviours.

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February 14th, 2018|

Classroom design should follow evidence, not architectural fads

Classroom design has come into vogue more so in the last 20-30 years. This article from The Conversation asks how important it is.

The past decade has seen a boom in the construction of trendy buildings with visually appealing interiors in schools and universities. Proponents highlight the potential of these flexible and technology-rich spaces, referred to as innovative learning environments (ILEs), to shape behaviours to enhance student learning.

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February 8th, 2018|