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The quality of a system or school cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. OECD

Welcome to the latest version [6.3] of Aussie Educator. This version is in keeping with our attitude that we are providing links to information potentially of value to the casual or returning visitor, rather than simply being an eye opener visually.

The most obvious changes you see will be the different buttons on all pages, the variation to the main menu and the removal of a number of pages. The latter has come about after using considerable data to check what exactly you were finding useful. Those pages which have been removed, and a number which have been newly archived, are a result of what the data indicated. As the Version History page details, page visits and time on page were just two of the factors taken into consideration.

Other modifications, including a significant number of full page checks/updates have also been carried out and these are also detailed on the above page. Most are also listed below. As indicated, further checks will occur later in the year and it is quite possible that additional pages will disappear if they are no longer being valued by users. This should allow us to spend greater time and effort working with pages and information which you have shown to be of greatest value.

We hope you continue to find the site of value and look forward to your continued patronage.

Christmas, New Year and the summer holidays are usually a fairly quiet time for education. There is news as you will see, but there has certainly not been the range and quantity available during other periods of the year and the political cycle. Some has been of a continuing nature while others are the culmination of reviews or investigations.

The most recent report is a Senate committee response entitled Access to real learning : the impact of policy, funding and culture on students with disability. In particular, this raises concerns about Autistic children and their learning needs. One of the first reactions was the article The autism explosion in Australian schools. A second article appeared in the main section of the paper under the heading of Schools fail to cope with explosion in autism diagnoses. Not surprisingly, autism concerns are found in areas other than education, as the article Autism experts’ alarm over NDIS shows.

Catchy headline, but a reasonably balanced presentation as indicated in a review of this and the journalistic use of the term “explosions” in general, Autistic explosions abound. The paragraph beginning “The condition is real, and … ” is one to note carefully. Certainly the suggested dramatic rise in numbers gives considerable cause for concern. Not least would be the question of why the dramatic increase now ? This would certainly be something worth considering while working to help those who suffer from the condition, their carers, and those who teach them.

VET and its recent woes may have quietened over the period but they have certainly not disappeared. The holiday season began with news that the AIPE Training College had its licence revoked. This was followed on the first day of the new year with an announcement from the Minister, that Stronger protections for VET students commenced as of that date. This affected things such as cold calling, approaching people in public places, possible cancelling of debts and pausing payments for new enrolments.

Other items look at what we should have learned from the process. Lessons to learn from the training fiasco was one. A slightly more academic one was Towards more effective continuing education and training for Australian workers. A longer term view is contained in the document The development of Australia’s national training system covering the last twenty years.

Still at least Trade Apprenticeships had risen in the last quarter which is a positive. Hopefully, increasing news from this area will be more positive in the coming year.

Among other items in recent times are Higher Education 30 most influential 2016. A fascinating collection. As the compilers say, “Of course, the entire list is open for debate”. See what you think and whether you agree. At the same time, if you want to look back, then 2015, the year that was : Education might be more your style.

One early holiday report [just after school results came out] was Girls’ superiority at school a myth. An interesting summation and in the light of trumpeted results, one which might cause some surprise. Meanwhile, with all the angst about potential changes in fees, it is interesting to note one of the recent Fact Checks from The Conversation. It reviews a statement by Simon Birmingham about Australia running one of the most generous student loan schemes in the world. Interesting conclusion, though with some provisos.

Finally, the fact we are still talking about Teachers leaving the profession - here’s how to make them stay is both welcome but depressing. We seem to have been talking about this topic for a long time and we seem not to have progressed very much toward finding a viable solution. Surely, this is not too much to ask. After all, check the quote at the top of the page, which is only one of multiple expressions of this view.

Other Areas of Interest

“Flipped Learning” is something a bit different. For those unaware of what is involved, ‘Flipped learning involves the use of digital technology, such as video, to provide direct instruction on new concepts outside of the classroom. Students come to lessons already having a preliminary understanding of the topic, freeing up class time for the teacher to focus on other beneficial learning activities’ [Australian Policy Online].

A recent Flipped Learning Research Report completed in England, looks at both the benefits and challenges involved, while a Flipped Learning Practitioner Guide on ‘implementing flipped learning, accompanies the research report’. For those interested, these should provide quality information.

If you are directly involved in education, or are simply interested in what happens, you will be aware of two things. The first is that education is seen as the solution to almost every problem you can name, whether this is in fact true or not. The second is that there is always something being suggested as the “latest and best” solution for some aspect of education [many of which have been used, often several times, before].

What is less often asked is what doesn’t work. In What Doesn’t Work in Education : The Politics of Distraction, John Hattie does just that. He starts by ‘describing the confused jargon and narratives that distract us from the most ambitious and vital aim of schooling : for every student to gain at least a year’s growth for a year’s input’. He goes on to look at responses that ‘are unlikely to make a difference’.

Not content with looking at what does not work, he then wrote a second paper in which he detailed What Works Best in Education: : The Politics of Collaborative Expertise. Both documents are worth spending some time with.

Site Changes

The following pages have been completely updated : links, descriptors, exclusions, additions : All Resource pages; Site Information pages; Schools pages; Language pages; most Reference pages; several individual Education pages. They can be accessed through the links in the main menu.

Updates have been added to the following pages : Calendar, Conferences, Journals.

21 January 2016.

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