Teacher Central

by Leanne Morgan at 6:14 PM
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Researchers link parental praise to bullying
By Melissa Brown
Posted May 30, 2012

A Melbourne researcher says there is evidence that excessive praise can turn children into bullies.

RMIT psychology lecturer Professor Helen McGrath works with the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation and has been involved in the development of anti-bullying programs in Victorian schools.

She says a review of international studies debunks the notion that bullies have low self-esteem.

Read more: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2012-05-30/researchers-link-parental-praise-to-bullying/4041498

What do you think about the findings of this research? Is it likely that the findings are accurate?
by Leanne Morgan at 10:13 AM
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NSW to transform schools into community hubs

The NSW Government is transforming 15 schools into community hubs in a bid to lift results in Aboriginal and other disadvantaged communities.

In the first stage, the chosen schools will act as centres, with health, education, parenting support and anti-gambling measures all coordinated from within the school grounds.

Premier Barry O'Farrell has told ABC's Lateline he has acted out of sheer frustration with poor academic results among Indigenous students, who have shown little improvement in the past 10 years.

In international comparisons, NSW Indigenous students are ranked slightly above Mexico for high school results.

"As a citizen, I'm ashamed. As Premier, I'm determined to try to do something about it, and no-one pretends it's going to be easy, but when you think that only a third of the kids who start in Year 7 will complete Year 12, that only half of Aboriginal children and young adults aged between 15 and 24 will be engaged in full-time study or training, it's an appalling outcome," he said.

Read more:...
by Leanne Morgan at 4:04 PM
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The Preparing Australian Students for the Digital World report released by ACER ranks Australian students second in the world for digital literacy. The PISA Electronic Reading Assessment examined 15 year-old students' ability to read, understand and apply digital texts was assessed.

Australia was outperformed only by Korea. The report details that 17% of Australian students were highly skilled digital readers compared to 8% of students across the OECD. On the other end of the scale, 10% of Australian students were low performers compared to 17% of students across the OECD.

20% of girls and 15% of boys had a very high digital reading literacy, compared to 9% and 6% respectively across participating OECD countries. Girls reported more frequent use of computers at home for school-related activities whereas boys reported significantly more frequent use of computers at home for leisure-related activities.

Read more: http://www.acer.edu.au/enews/2012/05/australian-students-ranked-2nd-in-digital-reading-literacy
by Leanne Morgan at 8:57 AM
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Teachers key, not technology
BY Roseanne Barrett
May 24, 2012
TEACHERS are the "killer app" -- not the gadgets they use -- and schools need to invest in training as well as technology, an international special-education consultant will tell an educators' conference.

Former special-education teacher Ian Bean said new technologies, particularly the iPad, allowed children to communicate or learn using different methods and had the capacity to increase learning.

The Britain-based education consultant said by utilising up-to-date systems and programs students with dyslexia were able to gain access to word phonetics and children lacking speech could use interactive touchscreens to make choices. But without an informed teacher the most extensive -- and expensive -- technology was useless.

Read more: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/aus...y-not-technology/story-e6frgakx-1226364989524

I am currently working on a university assignment on student engagement and technology and Ian Bean's arguments that teacher PD is crucial to the success of technology in the classroom...
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by Leanne Morgan at 9:51 AM
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This program was presented on Radio National on 11th April 2012 and talks about the importance of changing attitudes to indigenous education. The summary is below:

Chris Sarra is the former principal of Cherbourg Primary school. He turned around an underperforming school by focusing on attitudinal change, making Indigenous studies compulsory, and engaging the local community school. He’s on a campaign to change the tide of 'low expectations' in Indigenous education with his 'stronger, smarter' philosophy.

He raises two key points:
  • The importance of setting high expectations and when/if these are not being met, not lowering the bar, but rather,
  • Building relationships with families and with the community and positive reinforcement and role models to show indigenous students that it is possible to be successful
What do you think about the points presented? Do you know of any other programs which are having success in improving the status of education of indigenous students?
by Leanne Morgan at 9:23 AM
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Teen brain benefits from mindfulness training
May 18, 2012

Here’s some good news about that much talked about teenage brain. Teenagers who practice mindfulness — a technique that involves focusing on what is happening in the moment and being aware of and accepting of emotions — benefit from increased self-control, healthier relationships, and improved overall well-being.

Psychologists at Australia’s University of Wollongong and George Mason University in Washington, DC, studied mindfulness in 776 Grade 10 students over a one-year period. The results of their research were published in the August 2011 issue of the Journal of Adolescence.

Mindfulness is a useful strategy for teenagers because it allows them to think through their emotions as opposed to reacting impulsively — something their brains are primed to do during the teen years.

Read more: http://www.thestar.com/living/article/1181009--teen-brain-benefits-from-mindfulness-training
Have you tried this technique with your students/children? Have you found it to be effective?
by Leanne Morgan at 1:00 PM
(990 Views / 1 Likes)
Teacher Collaboration Gives Schools Better Results
An August 22, 2011 article from the 'Pacific Standard', a magazine which presents perspectives into the social, political, and economic forces defining the world today focused on the benefits of teacher-teacher collaboration at a particularly troubled school in America. The points below are a summary of their findings:
  • After introducing teacher-teacher collaboration in the school, teachers stopped complaining about what students 'can't do' and started focusing on what they 'can do'. Teachers also shared strategies which they were having success with
  • They used outside help to train/coach teachers in various pedagogies (e.g. maths and literacy coaches for teachers)
  • Provided constant support in planning, supporting and analysing lessons
Michael Fullan, a Canadian educational scholar, has written about 'collective capacity' where teachers share their skills and there is a sense of shared mission, shared engagement, high expectations and working with other people. He adds that 'collective capacity' enables ordinary people to accomplish extraordinary things for two reasons:
  • Knowledge about effective practice becomes more widely...
by Leanne Morgan at 4:55 PM
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Not all today’s students are 'tech-savvy'
23 April 2012
A small minority of today's university students don't use email and others are confused by the array of technologies available at universities. Yet many students couldn't bear to be without their mobile phones and find themselves distracted by social networking sites during study.

These are the some of the findings from research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) into how today's generation of students use technology. The research, led by Dr Christopher Jones of the Open University, surveyed and interviewed over two thousand first year students at five English universities.
"Our research shows that the argument that there is a generational break between today's generation of young people who are immersed in new technologies and older generations who are less familiar with technology is flawed," says Dr Jones.

Read more:...
by Leanne Morgan at 9:13 AM
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I missed seeing this program from Insight on Tuesday, 3rd April 2012. The blurb from the web page gives a summary of the program:
Average student performance in Australia has been declining and there’s a big gap between our most disadvantaged and advantaged schools. The education levels of fifteen-year-old students from low socio-economic families are about two-and-a-half years behind their higher socio-economic counterparts.

While some schools attract the best and brightest, others schools are working to overcome huge hurdles in their students' learning ability, including lack of basic English, behavioural issues and problems at home.
Is it possible for there to be a level-playing field for all Australian students? And if so, how do we get there?

Insight brings together students from all across the spectrum: high-achievers, those falling through the cracks and those beating the odds to...
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by Leanne Morgan at 2:57 PM
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I have been doing some research for my study for next semester and came across an article on online communities of practice which presented some points which I thought some teachers might find interesting.

Hanewald and Gesthuizen (2009) looked at participation in online communities of practice, especially the conditions under which successful cooperation happens, and found that they were a convenient way to keep up professional networks while continuing to stay abreast of subject specific knowledge and skills. They looked at the value of the interactions including innovative ideas, moral support and answers to pressing questions. Their research focused on electronic mailing lists and noted that while there was potential for problems with social interactions, the benefits of public sharing and collaborating online including brainstorming and exposure to a variety of material outweigh the drawbacks.

Their key findings are summarised below:

  • The most productive and stable groups have 50 to 500 active members and even more passive participants. They are, however, not static and they can grow, develop, change and mature or even stagnate. Subscribers may interact in a variety of ways including leaders, active participants or lurkers (quiet observers).
  • Human relationships...