Education Matters - News impacting schools, teachers and students
Corwin and ACEL

Corwin and ACEL announce partnership expansion

Two leading professional learning organisations announce an important expansion of their current partnership that will enhance educators’ leadership capacity through more high quality professional learning experiences. The expanded partnership will provide increased options for educators, including professional development series in Literacy, Assessment, and Student and Principal Voice, as well as an ACEL/Corwin bookstore and a selection of online learning modules.

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Doin’ Time author Rachel Porter shares insights into troubled youth

In her new book, Author and General Manager of Whitelion (a charity supporting Australia’s vulnerable young people), Rachel Porter delves into the lives of nine Australian men from troubled backgrounds who have lived through incarceration and managed to change their lives around. Read more

Rachel Porter

Doin' Time author Rachel Porter shares insights into troubled youth

How will the stories of the men in this book speak to both teachers and parents? The stories in the book take the reader on a journey of the turbulent childhoods of nine men who have been through very abusive circumstances some of them were incarcerated as children but in the end they have gone onto happy, healthy lives often giving back considerably to society. It’s really important to understand the perspective of young people involved in these situations. What influences were in their life that led them to being incarcerated? What role did adults have in their life leading up to the time of their offending? What could the adults in their lives have done more or less of to help these young people and lead them on a more constructive journey? It also speaks to the potential within each individual – every person has the possibility of a positive future regardless of their current circumstances. What advice would you give to educators to help identify vulnerable children at risk and how should they respond? It’s important that educators notice behavior changes in students to help identify early warning signs of vulnerability in children and young people.  Some early warning sign indicators could include:

  • Changes in behaviour or mood
  • Staring episodes / withdrawing from others
  • Eating and sleep disturbances
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Exaggerated startle response
  • Irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Hypervigilance – jumpy or fidgety
  • Restricted or excessive display of emotions
Remember that adolescents may display some of these characteristics as part of being a normal teenager. What educators need to look for in terms of risk factors are extreme or prolonged changes in behavior that are getting in the way of the young person’s daily functioning. [caption id="attachment_3011" align="alignleft" width="197"]Doin' Time book. Doin’ Time by Rachel Porter.[/caption] Young people are also likely to take risks in response to life difficulties or stressful events so special care and attention should be given at these times. Are there programs or organisations that teachers and parents can offer support to? Whitelion and its range of programs to support young people is the obvious choice that I would mention in this context. Volunteering opportunities exist for mentoring, mobile outreach, employment, youth programs and back of house support and we appreciate any offer of assistance.   Also, the importance of prevention programs in schools can’t be underestimated. Whitelion has a range of preventative wellbeing programs for young people through Stride. These programs build the physical, social, emotional skills of young people to equip them with skills for life.  Stride run workshops for young people in schools and community settings as well as providing teachers with training to help support their students.   What can the average person do to help change the culture of detention that has been highlighted as an increasing problem in Australia? We should be challenging our own assumptions first and then think collectively about how we respond as a society.  Some questions we could ask ourselves could be:
  • What do we think about young people in detention?
  • Do we understand the circumstances that may have led them there?
  • What do these young people need to help redirect their lives positively so that they can become helpful and contributing members of society?
Once we understand the issues involved, then we can move collectively towards a change in culture. We can urge our politicians, leaders and detention workers to treat young people in detention as people – giving them respect, education, support and opportunities to do better in their future. Doin’ Time (Rockpool Publishing, $29.99) by Rachel Porter was launched in September this year.]]>

NGV's new code learning initiative

Art gallery invites students to engage through code

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) will invite students to use code with a view to animate its famous Picasso beginning in term four this year.

NGV’s Digital Creatives initiative, developed in partnership with Telstra, combines the gallery’s art collection with digital technology in offering students alternative ways of understanding and engaging with art.

As part of the Digital Creatives offering, Art/Code/Create workshops will be held at the NGV’s education studios and gallery spaces, making use of the gallery’s consultation with non-profit organisation, Code Club Australia and Scratch – a program that teaches students the foundations of coding.

“Artists have used materials and tools in innovative ways to make art throughout history. Contemporary artists working today use a variety of technologies to create artworks, including virtual reality technology, 3D printing and robotics,” said Tony Ellwood, NGV’s Director.

“NGV Digital Creatives introduces students to computer code and digital technologies and prepares the next generation of Australian artists with new art making materials,” he said.

The initiative also offers a full-day coding workshop for teachers in order to help them build confidence in this area, which the NGV says is a part of its commitment to supporting the development of digital literacy in children.

Code Club Australia’s General Manager, Kelly Tagalan commented on the natural link between coding and art.

“Coding is the language of the 21st Century – and is increasingly becoming the canvas of artists around the world. Code Club is proud to have supported the development of NGV’s inaugural coding workshops, which will empower students through both art and technology,” Ms Tagalan said.

The NGV has a long history in offering interdisciplinary education programs, with NGV Education first established in 1950.

Your School 2016 cover image

The Australian’s Your School publication highlights divide

Using the recently released NAPLAN results to create a ranked list of Australia’s schools, The Weekend Australian‘s Your School analysis demonstrates a clear divide in the results of high-fee private schools compared with those of their public school counterparts.

The publication provides information on over 9,000 schools nationwide, including state-by-state rankings of schools, which can be sorted by secondary, primary, most funded, least funded and more.

Independent schools currently make up three-quarters of all high schools in the top 100 according to overall performance.

The Your School analysis arrives at a time when the school funding debate appears to have been rekindled in maintstream media, recently stoked by comments from the Federal Minister for Education, Senator Simon Birmingham on ABC’s Q&A programme.

However, social and financial disadvantage have significant influence on education and, as Senior Lecturer in Research Methodology, Education Assessment and Evaluation at Sydney University, Rachel Wilson told The Weekend Australian, NAPLAN ‘was not a particularly sensitive test and was designed to set up benchmarks to identify schools that were performing poorly’.

As an example, Ms. Wilson points out that “Tasmania has a much lower income per capita and much higher levels of disadvantage and that’s reflected in their poorer performance”.

Australian Education Union president, Correna Haythorpe concurred, saying that public schools are “performing as well as private, once socio-economic background is taken into account”.

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