Teacher Central

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by Leanne Morgan at 6:19 PM
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New census figures show that closing the education gap is still a long way off for Indigenous Australians.
By Nicholas Biddle, Australian National University
AUSTRALIA BY NUMBERS: Today, the Australian Bureau of Statistics will release the first batch of its 2011 census data. We’ve asked some of the country’s top demographers and statisticians to crunch the numbers on Australia’s population: how we live, where we work, who our families are and how we spend our time.
Here, economist and demographer Nicholas Biddle looks at Australia’s Indigenous population as it stands in 2011, and how far from “Closing the Gap” we really are.

The 1990s was supposed to be the “reconciliation decade”. Despite 250,000-300,000 Australians walking across the Harbour Bridge twelve years ago, it is clear that many of the aims of the movement have not been met.

Read more: http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1661662/Analysis:-Indigenous-education-still-behind
The article also contains some interesting graphs, one of which shows the percentage of indigenous people who have completed year 12 (or equivalent)...
by Leanne Morgan at 10:25 AM
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Smartest students are giving up in boredom
By: CHIP LE GRAND From: The Australian June 21, 2012

GIFTED and talented students are frustrated, disengaged and failed by an education system that offers an inadequate and ad hoc approach to teaching the smartest kids, a Victorian parliamentary inquiry has found.
A year-long examination of how gifted students are taught in kindergarten, primary and secondary schools identified shortcomings in how they are identified, the absence of any statewide, systematic approach and an imbalance in the resources and programs offered between schools and particularly in regional areas.

"This report demonstrates that failure to provide appropriately for gifted students in the school environment can have severe and devastating consequences," it warns. "Understimulated gifted students may be bored and frustrated at school. They may exhibit behavioural problems or even disengage from education entirely. A concerning number of gifted students dumb themselves down to fit in at school, while those who don't may experience social isolation or even bullying."

Read more:...
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by Leanne Morgan at 10:04 AM
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Teaching course standards too low: NSW Minister
Posted June 19, 2012 10:18:58
New South Wales Education Minister Adrian Piccoli has criticised teaching standards, saying too many students with low marks are being accepted into teaching courses.

Mr Piccoli will outline his concerns today at an education conference at the University of New England.
The Minister, a former teacher himself, has questioned whether universities are attracting the best students.

"We do take students as undergraduates with quite low ATARs [Australian Tertiary Admission Ranks], particularly compared to other professions like law and engineering," he said. "[ATARs] in the 50s, I am aware that that's the case, and to be honest that's a score that's a bit too low."

Mr Piccoli says there are around 5,000 teaching graduates each year, but the state's Department of Education only employs around 500 of them in public schools.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-06-19/teaching-course-standards-too-low3a-nsw-minister/4079194

There has been a bit of talk about the academic...
by Leanne Morgan at 1:57 PM
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I came across this web page below earlier today and thought that it made some good suggestions for technology for teachers. The list of categories on the left-hand side can help you navigate through the pages.

What do you think about the suggestions? Have you tried using any of the sites they discuss?
by Leanne Morgan at 11:28 AM
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Better pay leads to better teachers
Lawrence Ingvarson
June 18, 2012
This article by Dr Lawrence Ingvarson, principal research fellow at the Australian Council for Educational Research, argues that industrial negotiations over teacher pay are paying little attention to research on what really matters — ensuring a high-quality teaching profession capable of attracting its share of the ablest graduates and recognising teachers who reach high standards.

He uses countries such as Finland and South Korea as an example. For example, whereas Finland selects all of its future teachers from the top 25 per cent of the student cohort in terms of academic achievement, in Australia less than 50 per cent of offers are made to students from the top 30 per cent of the year 12 cohort. Further, teaching is rated Finland's "most respected" profession, and primary school teaching its most sought-after career. Some point out that pay is not the reason, as teacher salaries are similar to those in other European countries. However, on delving deeper, the important point about Finland is that teacher salaries are comparable to other professions...
by Leanne Morgan at 3:28 PM
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Ning's fabulous flexibility
Q. I’ve used Ning for professional learning and would like to set one up for my students.
A. Many teachers are keen to create online collaborative lessons using social media in order to increase student learning, motivation and class participation.

However, a growing question they have is ‘How do I go about setting one up?’

Creating an online working space on a social media site (aka social networking site) is quite simple. There are ample social networking sites that you can use, but Ning is becoming increasingly popular with teachers due to its simplistic establishment and with students due to its likeness with Facebook.

Read more: http://ozteacher.com.au/html/index....lous-flexibility&catid=34:helpdesk&Itemid=383

Has anyone used Ning in their classroom? Have you found it to be an effective teaching tool? Would love to know your experiences.
by Leanne Morgan at 3:24 PM
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NSW: Time to encourage more exercise
SYDNEY, June 13 - Many NSW primary school children still aren't getting enough exercise, says the state's Auditor-General.

About 30 per cent of government primary schools don't provide the required two hours of planned physical activity each week, according to a new report. In addition, students at schools that set aside the time don't actually end up engaging in two hours of moderate to vigorous physical activity.

"Students are spending too much time waiting their turn, setting up equipment or travelling to venues and not enough time on moderate to vigorous activity and learning fundamental movement skills," said NSW Auditor-General Peter Achterstraat.

Read more: http://ozteacher.com.au/html/index....ncourage-more-exercise&catid=1:news&Itemid=69

What do you think? Are students getting enough physical activity in schools?
by Leanne Morgan at 3:57 PM
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Facebook joins cyber bully fight
14 June, 2012

FACEBOOK and the Victorian government have forged an Australia-first relationship that will today see 2000 secondary students take part in a cyberbullying exercise.

It comes after the Education Minister, Martin Dixon, met with Facebook's Australian policy manager, Mia Garlick, in April to discuss a joint approach to cyber bullying.

But a Victorian expert has warned that cyber safety education needs to be more than a one-off presentation because some schools still ''don't have a handle'' on the issue.

Today's webinar (a seminar conducted online) will focus on responsible and safe behaviour, and the rights and responsibilities of being a social media user.

Read more: http://www.illawarramercury.com.au/...ns-cyber-bully-fight/2590532.aspx?storypage=1

What do you think about this approach to addressing cyber-bulling? Have you or your school experienced success with any other initiatives?
by Leanne Morgan at 9:26 AM
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Student teachers fail primary school-level tests
By Tanya Chilcott
June 11, 2012
ALMOST half of aspiring primary school teachers failed parts of a landmark test featuring literacy and numeracy questions that Year 7 students should be able to answer.

The results have reignited concerns about the quality of teaching graduates entering Queensland classrooms.

The Courier-Mail last week revealed that about 12 per cent - almost one in eight - high-school leavers who began a teaching course this year had an Overall Position of 17 or worse.

Figures released by the Queensland College of Teachers reveal about 40 per cent of third or fourth-year teaching students who sat the trial Pre-Registration for Aspiring Primary Teachers Test failed the literacy, numeracy or science component.

Read more:...
by Leanne Morgan at 3:27 PM
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Reviving Teaching with Professional Capital
by Michael Fullan and Andy Hargreaves (co-authors of 'Professional Capital: Transforming Teaching in Every School)

The results of the latest MetLife Survey of the American Teacher confirm what many of us are experiencing and seeing in the depressing descent of the teaching profession. In the past two years, the percentage of teachers surveyed who reported being very satisfied in their jobs has declined sharply, from 59 percent to 44 percent. The number who indicated they were thinking of leaving the profession has jumped from 17 percent to 29 percent.

Imagine being a student knowing that every other teacher you encounter is becoming less and less satisfied, and close to one in three would rather be somewhere else.

Without a strong and relentless focus on what we call "professional capital," U.S. policymakers will continue to miss lessons from other countries about how they produce teacher fulfillment and effectiveness, and to misread warning signs here at home as well. We have directly studied, worked with, and worked in other successful countries, and they do not adopt the strategies of rewarding or punishing individual...