ABC Splash for teachers, parents and students

This looks like a great new resource produced by the ABC. The statement below is taken directly from the site.

ABC Splash brings you the best Australian content from across ABC TV and Radio plus high-quality video from around the world.

  • a new world-class education website for Australia
  • packed with hundreds of videos, audio clips and games
  • 100% free to watch and play at home and in school

See volcanos erupt and microbats fly. Investigate fossils, megafires and worm farms. Meet fairytale monsters. Unwrap an Ancient Egyptian mummy and explore the Great Barrier Reef without getting wet!

Not only is there a great range of resources it is also connected to the Australian Curriculum. Definitely worth putting in your favourites.

Click here to visit the ABC Splash site to view a quick video explaining what ABC Splash is about.

Collaboration in the classroom

Collaboration is vital to improve learning for all students. If we don’t have collaborative classrooms then we are likely to have competitive ones. If competition is the basis for motivating learning then that will be great for some students but means others will lose out. People often say that we need competition to succeed, it is what pushes us to do better. It seems that Governments and education departments love to encourage competition. Competition between schools through the MY School Website (who scores the best and encouraging the advertising of those scores so parents can exercise choice between schools), allowing a school system that provides such a wide range economic advantage/disadvantage challenging schools to compete against each other for students and performance pay that focuses on rewarding a limited number of teachers for achieving at a high level. When competition is the aim it creates winners and losers. Some schools win on the My School website some lose, some teachers win on performance pay while some good teachers will lose, live in a poor socioeconomic school zone lose, live in a good socioeconomic situation win! People who support competition will say that it is good because it replicates real life, meaning “the time in your life you become independent and begin working”, which is true, not everyone wins. But we don’t want winners and losers with regards to education. Every child should get an equal crack at education, there should be no losers. Lastly I personally like competition, it’s one of the reasons I play comeptitive sport and it will naturally occur within our classrooms. I don’t think this should be squashed but it should be monitored. When we look at our own classrooms hopefully we see much more collaboration than competition to improve student learning.

I found this great video via Tanja Galetti @tgaletti on Twitter, Collaboration in the Classroom.

Professional development @ PBAS

Professional development should be about improving gradually. Change always takes time. Effective change requires planning, collaboration, commitment, goal setting, support, leadership, problem solving and perseverance among other things. When we make a commitment to change we do so knowing that it will be time consuming and at times uncomfortable.

I think that collectively we (staff at PBAS) see change in relation to our professional development as fundamental to our work and understand its importance. The research around teacher quality and student learning is well established and is not new information. There are a number of changes going on in our school, all at different stages, that require a commitment to change, that challenge us, that might make us feel uncomfortable and take us out of our comfort zone. The introduction of the Australian Curriculum, teacher development through peer collaboration and iPads. Each of them carries their own challenges and we are all at varying stages of knowledge and understanding. One of the keys to making change successful is collaboration. Talking, discussing, debating, being on the same page and creating group agreements & understandings are important.

So in that spirit of collaboration I would like to invite all staff to view the following 3 documents over the next few weeks and add your comments below this post in the comments section giving your views and opinions on these. These documents relate to either professional discussion (TfEL and Australian Professional Standards) or classroom observations (Marzano’s 10 Design Questions). I am looking for feedback on these as part of our planning process which will allow for professional discussion and classroom observations to occur. Feel free to comment on areas relating to professional development and classroom observations that fall outside of these documents.

I see documents like the ones below assisting us to be able to:

1. Have professional discussions with peers, particularly around the concepts in TfEL and The Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

2. Student feedback – What do students say about our teaching? Where do they see our strengths and weaknesses? How doe this relate back to TfEL and The Autralian Professional Standards for Teachers?

3. Classroom observations – A process that will require meeting with a colleauge 3 times to undertake one observation (pre observation, the observation itself and post observation).

I know that putting comments online is not everyone’s bag but it would be great to take a risk and put your thoughts out there. It is one way that we can see what others are thinking and begin a process that allows for discussion and debate. If you have never commented online before it will also be a new thing to learn!


Professional learning discussions using TfEL – what do staff think of these as a tool for having professional discussions?

Professional learning discussions using Australian Professional Standards for Teachers – what do staff think of these as a tool for having professional discussions?

Marzano’s 10 Design Questions – what do staff think of these as a basis for classroom observations?

It is important to have some common understandings about the way in which an observation process would happen and how we are to act and interact with each other. I have added the document below which has some suggestions in it. What do you think?