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When you study great teachers … you will learn much more from their caring and hard work than from their style. William Glasser

We are currently doing a complete review of the site.

This will be followed by a full revision. It is primarily based on a review of the usage of all pages both in terms of the number of page hits and time spent on pages. This particularly applies to archived pages.

Other factors include aspects such as the level of internet access available for maintaining the site, the increasing availability of alternative sites, changes with links from major sources [e.g. education departments], the impact of our age and health, … . The list is reasonably extensive.

Based on all the above, we have prioritised our capacity to maintain the site at a level that provides quality information over an ongoing period of time. If we are unable to do this then some pages/sections which are little used will need to be culled and concentration given to those pages/sections which are used by large numbers of visitors [variations over a six month period range from single digits to more than 38 000 page hits for individual pages].

At the same time, we will do some other work on presentation, though this will be minor in comparison. We are also hoping to do some considerable updating of pages during this time, though this may not be a complete update of all pages during the period suggested below.

For those offering suggestions the time scale has already been indicated. While we are hopeful of completing all activities by approximately the middle of September, should further time be required this will be indicated well before. Monthly updates including conferences, calendar, etc., will still be carried out as per normal. We thank you for your continued support over this period.

NAPLAN has come and gone but its impact has not. Instead it has brought into sharper focus the divide between those who want more funding allocated and those who look at options other than simply increasing funding.

Information regarding the results of NAPLAN 2016 can be found through ACARA on their NAPLAN results page. Their Significant Gains Over Time, Plateaus For 2016 media release summarises things fairly well.

Headlines such as “More funding hasn’t delivered better skills” [The Australian, 8/8] was not unexpected. Nor was the call from the AEU indicating NAPLAN results show the need to proceed with Gonski not axe it. Or as one paper put it, NAPLAN war of words over funding escalates.

Other items varied. They included articles and responses such as Results show core learning skills are in retreat; Public schools in poor areas don’t need Gonski funds to improve; NAPLAN Results Show That the ACT Government Has Dropped the Ball on Education; NAPLAN results don’t tell the full story behind Australia’s lack of education progress.

One interesting aspect to come from this was an emphasis on the role of “quality” teachers within all classrooms. Lawrence Ingvarson, in an article entitled Education outcomes : high-quality teachers make all the difference states ‘We must do all we can to ensure every child has the best teacher possible. For many less advantaged students, good teachers are their best hope’. He then goes on to say ‘We may be spending more on education, but have we been spending it on what matters to ensure every child has the best teacher possible ?’. A second article covers this aspect but broadens it out considerably. Peter van Onselen, in Quality education must begin in university classrooms roams far and wide on this topic. His last several paragraphs appear to summarise a number of existing problems which really need to be addressed by both sides. Finally, even Jennifer Westacott from the Business Council is stressing that Teacher quality is priority. As a previous head of the Victorian Education Department, some of her commentary should be mandatory reading. The transcript of The Future of Education can be read here. It does not limit itself to any specific area of education.

One article, NAPLAN data is not comparable across school years talks about flaws and implications stemming from the testing. The implications section of the article is short, right to the point, and well worth considering. A second, which was produced earlier by Richard Holden, entitled Targeted cash can lift schools also presents some well thought out points. As he indicates, “Our education policy should be focused on understanding the precise inputs that really drive student achievement, then funding those properly”. Simply and elegantly put.

Who would have thought a yearly event which often has more concern over the numbers who did or did not sit the tests, would raise such interesting responses. Now it only remains for some truly constructive action to be taken by those who are genuine about achieving the best outcomes for all students.

Meanwhile, Vocational Education is receiving greater press, some good and some bad. However, if any news is better than none, then at least things are better. The down side is articles such as Careers Australia, Acquire Learning facing fresh claims over sales tactics; Thousands of students flee private colleges following state government crackdown; and How VET FEE-HELP debt went from costing taxpayers $325m to $3b.

All is not just doom and gloom though. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Vocational education and training lashed over ideas deficit may sound bad, but while there are undoubtedly some negatives there is also reference to two reports which could be beneficial. All is not bad. Karen Andrews has also just released information about Testing new systems of training and apprenticeships which offered some positive indicators. Meanwhile NCVER continues to produce a wealth of information through reports that are available from this site. These cover students, courses, investments, more.

Then there is a combination of TAFE Queensland head Jodi Schmidt and the Group of Eight espousing the same concept. Reinvest in TAFE as a path to jobs : Schmidt poses the idea that not everyone needs a university qualification, especially for employment. Others have also echoed this concept.

Finally, if you can’t fix it yourself look to see how others have handled similar problems and what they did to gain solutions. What Australia can learn from England’s plan for vocational education briefly highlights multiple aspects of this and provides a number of links. One of the suggestions is that “Australia might also consider the UK’s apprenticeship levy, which will be introduced from April 2017”. Some aspects may not prove relevant, but some could operate just as well here as in the UK. Why not save time and effort if we can use such programs ?

Site Changes

A number of pages have had small numbers of link additions.

Updates have been added to the following pages : Famous Australians, Famous World Figures, Calendar, Conferences, Journals.

15 August 2016.

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