Withholding constructive criticism does not help children’s confidence; it harms their future. Carol Dweck

Interesting times, with one major election held and another to happen shortly. Plenty of statements about education from all parties in both elections, so it will be interesting to see what eventuates and whether the general population feels satisfied with what eventually occurs as a result of these events. While these have been a primary focus during this period, some very interesting, unrelated reports have been produced. Some are highly publicised and therefore well known, but others arrive totally unheralded but could well prove equally valuable. There is considerable diversity in topics covered. As usual, we have included some below while there are more ready for inclusion in the near future. Meanwhile, you may be interested in some of, if not all, the following items.

  • You may recall, when we uploaded the first stage of the site update, we indicated we would provide re-directs for moved, and removed, pages and these would remain for two months hopefully to be of assistance. That period of time has now been completed and we will commence removing these over the next few weeks. We hope they have proven useful, but are confident regular visitors will no longer require such assistance.
  • The Vocational Education sector and those in it often do not get deserved recognition. However, ‘The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training [VET] sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia’. While open for some time, these are now approaching their latter period for nominations. Nominations close 31 May 2019. A lot of information can be found on the Australian Training Awards site and the Minister’s media page, while direct nominations can be done through this page. Other pages allow system nominations to be made.
  • While there is a national award program, most states and territories also have award schemes. Two examples of these are the Tasmanian Training Awards and the WA Training Awards. If you are considering an application, be sure to check dates, as these often vary from those for the national awards.
  • Free resources, irrespective of education sector, can be a welcome thing. Especially so when the background suggests they are not only free but also of good quality. Kids Alive Do the Five is well known when it comes to water safety education. Now the group has developed a ‘professional development online training program’ for Early Learning Educators. ‘It takes 30 minutes to complete. It has been developed by Early Childhood Teachers and the lesson plans link back to the Early Years Learning Framework and the National Quality standards. They are designed to deliver water safety within the classroom setting not actual swimming lessons’. Find more about the resource using this link, while you can use the free sign in link to access the resource. Certainly looks a worthwhile resource and one worth considering.
  • When you get to March, you begin to think about the end of Term 1 in schools, Easter, the holidays, ANZAC Day and maybe even the upcoming NAPLAN testing [perhaps not], but probably not Applications for university study in 2020. Surprisingly enough, the University Admissions Centre [NSW/ACT] is indicating these will open on 3 April. ‘Students will be able to apply for undergraduate and international as well as Schools Recommendation Schemes, Educational Access Schemes and Equity Scholarships’. A quick scan of other bodies does not show the same information, but if you want to be an early starter you may wish to consider checking with the body through which you have to apply, to see if a similar opportunity exists.

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There seems to be an unending supply of documents being produced about all aspects of education. It proves difficult at times to select only a few for inclusion [‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’]. Several recent items are listed below that are felt to warrant at least a brief mention. See what you think about each and whether you agree or not. Most items are Australian in origin. Follow each link that piques your particular interest.

A Fair Chance : ... Simple steps to strengthen and diversify the teacher workforce. This is an American Report. With all the discussion here about specific requirements for people wishing to become teachers, it is interesting to see what is happening elsewhere. This report indicates - ‘analysis reveals both astonishingly high numbers of elementary teacher candidates failing their professional licensing tests each year, as well as widespread evidence that teacher preparation programs give scant attention to the content knowledge candidates need’. The reasons, and data, are quite interesting.

Future Ready : A student focused National Career Education Strategy ‘The National Career Education Strategy has been developed by the Australian Government to increase awareness and improve national consistency of career education’. Different style of presentation highlighting what are considered likely to be the requirements of the future. Easy to read, but have they got it right ?

Public Opinions on Australian Schools & Schooling As the background states - ‘Public debate on schools and schooling is a prominent part of Australian politics. Recent years have seen a series of controversies about what is taught in Australian schools, alongside criticisms of the quality of teaching and resulting learning outcomes. Against this background, there is definite value in canvassing public opinion on education in Australia’. However, ... ‘As this report details, perhaps the most surprising initial findings from our survey is that we did not find particularly high levels of dissatisfaction about the current and future state of school performance’. Worth reading. This is one of a series of reports under the Education Future heading from Monash University. Another you might consider is Digital Lessons [Public Opinions on the Use of Digital Technologies in Australian Schools].

The Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey 2018 There have been a considerable number of reports of late about the stresses on Principals from a wide range of sources and the resultant impact on the mental and physical well-being. ‘The survey has run nationally every year since 2011 in response to growing concern about principals’ occupational health, safety and wellbeing’ and this is the latest. The report is extensive and very detailed and raises a number of concerns.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution : ... The implications of technological disruption for Australian VET. ‘Much discussion has occurred about the impact that technological disruption will have on the Australian workforce. The research finds that disruptive technologies are influencing the demand for both technical and soft skills in many occupations, with some skills in decline and others in higher demand. We explored four research objectives, with the findings for each summarised’.

Understanding Work in Schools This is research carried out on behalf of the NSW Teachers Federation in 2018. A conclusion that ‘it is evident that vastly increased administrative tasks, are having a ‘blanketing’ effect across all types of schools, locations, levels of socio-economic advantage and staff teaching roles within schools, and severely threaten to overwhelm teachers’ professional focus on teaching and student learning’ gives cause for concern. There is a wealth of information to be considered. These concerns are backed up by continual reports about the impact of additional factors beyond the core roles of teachers at all levels.

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