What is so great about schools in Finland?

Lately I have read a few different articles on Finland and its Education system. Described as a model of a thriving, innovative education system that focuses on students the Finish system is being held up as one of the leading education systems in the world. Interestingly it does not match closely with the UK, US or dare I say it Australia’s system which seems focused on places like the UK and US. We have NAPLAN, the My Schools Website and in the near future (2014) our first performance paid teachers. Some of the key features of the Finish system are:

  • No private schools
  • High level administrators have worked as teachers
  • They don’t focus on tests
  • Teaching is revered
  • They trust teachers

From the final paragraph

“You know, one big difference in thinking about education and the whole discourse is that in the U.S. it’s based on a belief of competition,” Sahlberg said. “In my country, we are in education because we believe in cooperation and sharing. Cooperation is a core starting point for growth.”

Does our system encourage sharing and cooperation or competition?

Read the full article by Tina Barseghian here.

How do you handle change?

Education is going through some significant changes at the moment. A new curriculum and a more intense focus on pedagogy and teacher performance. The Federal Government (rightly or wrongly) wants to reward high performing teachers, they want to rate teachers on a yearly basis using the newly formed Professional Standards for Teachers that focus on our pedagogy. As well as these “system” based changes there are those changes that are occurring because they are part of our and our students daily lives. Web 2.0, iPhones, iPads, Android Tablets, educational apps, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Cloud technology, online gaming ……. it can be all a bit overwhelming.

So considering all of the rapid changes occurring in education at the moment how do you see the next 5 years in education? How will you handle all the change?

I like the following quote about change, I think it sums up nicely that fear we have when we are between the comfortable and the new.

It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear… It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to. ~ Marilyn Ferguson

Here is an interesting blog post by Canadian teacher Joe Bower on change. The lizard brain, ninjas and pedagogy

Australian Curriculum Work Sample Portfolios

ACARA has returned the work samples to the Australian Curriculum website. Some improvement has been made with a portfolio of work samples available instead of just one as was originaly provided. The samples provided show achievement to a satisfactory level. As the Australian Curriculum is used throughout schools in 2012 these samples will be updated and improved on as samples are collected from teachers teaching the AC.

“These initial work sample portfolios do not constitute a complete set of work samples – they provide evidence of most (but not necessarily all) aspects of the achievement standard”. ACARA

Just a quick glance shows that the number of samples varies depending on the subject and year level, for example there are 4 samples in the Year 1 science portfolio, 8 samples in the Year 10 science portfolio and 6 samples in the Year 1 English portfolio.

These samples will be important in the familiarisation process and hopefully provide some insight into how to assess against the Achievement Standards.

If you are interested I have provided some links to a few portfolios so you can quickly check them out.

Year 1 English portfolio

Year 5 English portfolio

Year 9 English portfolio

Reception science portfolio

Year 3 science portfolio

Year 10 science portfolio

Year 2 maths portfolio

Year 4 maths portfolio

Year 7 maths portfolio

PBAS Programing 2012

In 2011 PBAS developed a common programing proforma. This process involved:

  • Discussion as to why this was needed and how the proforma would look as an R-12 workable document.
  • Discussion time was given late term 2 during R-5 and 6-12 meetings to discuss proforma.
  • Term 3 was used as a ‘trial’ for staff to try out the proforma. Some staff programs were placed in the staffroom so teachers could see how others had used them.
  • At the end of term 3 discussion occured at a whole staff meeting about positives and negatives of the process.
  • Leadership made the decision to use the proformas in 2012.

Process for Programing 2012

Step 1

Access planning proforma and complete programs by week 2 of each term. Programs can be completed as term or semester programs. Access the programing proforma on this site through the link on the side bar – this will take you to Google Docs. When it opens click on FILE – DOWNLOAD AS – WORD – OPEN then save to your own files.

Step 2

Save program to the CURRICULUM folder in the admin drive. Save in the appropriate subject and year level folder using the following format to save your document YearTermSubjectYearLevel.

Step 3

Print and place in the leaver arch folder situated in the staffroom under the correct subject area.


A double sided A4 document will be in pigeon holes to remind staff of this process as well as why the process is important.

New Education Portal

Senator Stephen Conroy and the Hon. Peter GarrettMP have announced a 19.94 million Education Portal linked to the Australian Curriculum. A funding arrangement between Education Services Australia and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation will allow access to the ABC’s vast content all of which will be digitised for the portal.

“Resources could include a free online tutorial service and the ability to take part in self-directed interactive learning activities using games, video, reading material, and quizzes.”

“Mr Garrett said the new portal would provide access to interactive learning resources, which will support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum. It is being developed by the ABC in collaboration with Education Services Australia (ESA).”

The portal will be launched in the second half of 2012. It is often easy to be sceptical of Government initiatives but I’m going to choose to be optimistic and if this online resource turns out ot be as good as it sounds it will be a valuable resource for teachers and students and their implementation of the Australian Curriculum.

Read the full press release here. Posted on the primary edutech website. Even if you’re not interested in the press release click on the link anyway to check out the site for great primary school tech based resources.


Some of you will remember that I mentioned an online tool called Glogster last year. This Web 2.0 tool allows you to create online posters which include video, audio, images, links to documents like word, Power Point & spreadsheets and links to other websites. It creates very interactive documents for students to present their work with.  Teachers can use it to collect together information in one spot as a way of presenting a new topic or use it to provide students with a resource that you create with relevant web links, images, video and audio.

Some of the features of Glogster include the ability for teachers to set up their own classes, create their own projects, have students complete those projects and for teachers to then mark the learning online and provide written feedback that goes directly to the individual student. Links to each poster could be sent home to share student learning with parents who can then access student work online.

The school pays $350 for a yearly subscription to Glogster which allows up to 12 teachers to create accounts (3 of which are taken). Currently Tanya, Kimberley and myself are registered and using Glogster. If you want to access Glogster you need to see me and I will email an invite which will include a link to follow. See Tanya, Kimberley or myself if you need any help. As with most things a little persistence and patience may be required.

Here are some student examples from term 4 2011 and a rubric I created to help assess Glogster posters (feel free to take the rubric and modify it in anyway you like).

Glogster Rubric

Madison – A poster showing the career path Madison would like to follow.

Rick – A poster about Australian Federation.



National Professional Standards for Teachers

Extracts from a statement by The Hon. Peter Garrett, Minister for Education, 25th Nov. 2011 regarding teacher performance and development.

The National Professional Standards for Teachers will be used to develop an accreditation scheme for all teachers which will include reward payments for the top two levels. Personally I am think the National Professional Standards for Teachers are a great thing for our profession, however I’m not sold on ‘Reward Payments’.

“Under improvements to the Reward Payments for Great Teachers initiative, teachers who are accredited to the highest level of the standards will be rewarded with $7500 for Highly Accomplished teachers and $10,000 for teachers who achieve the Lead Teacher level.”

These payments are not that far away!

  • I wonder how this process will work?
  • How equitable will it be?
  • Will it encourage or discourage collaboration between teachers?
  • Will it be divisive within schools?
  • Will it make teachers ‘teach to the test’ more to get great NAPLAN results?

“In line with the Government’s election commitment, the first reward payments will be delivered in 2014 for teachers who have been assessed against the standards in 2013.”

All teachers will be required to undertake a review of their performance. Again, how this process works will be very interesting indeed. Physically observing teachers and collating parent feedback etc for every teacher in Australia will be a big job.

  • Will this process be conducted by people from outside the school?
  • If not what will be the increase in workload to staff?
  • If the process is run internally by schools how will it remain fair when a potential payment of $7500-$10000 is one of the end results?

“The Australian Teacher Performance and Development Framework will deliver a yearly appraisal of every teacher in every school.”

Mr Garrett said under the new performance framework all teachers will receive regular and constructive feedback on their progress, as well as opportunities for further professional development. The framework will set out the aspects of a teacher’s performance that will be assessed and will include lesson observations, student results, parental feedback, and contribution to the school community.”

Are you interested in research about what motivates us? Suprisingly it is not always money! You tube video of Daniel Pink who is the author of several provocative, bestselling books about the changing world of work.

It seems the teachers in Victorian trials for performance pay are not jumping at the chance.

Read full release from  the Minister here.

To view the National Professional Standards for Teachers click on the page link on this blog.

A Different Way of Informing

During 2012 staff will be involved in either familiarisation of The Australian Curriculum or TfEL/pedagogy development. Because of this staff will have different focuses and it will rarely be possible to conduct whole staff discussions as everyone’s focus will be different i.e. subject based differences with the AC or pedagogy differences with those using TfEL.

So to avoid wasting valuable meeting time I will be posting information or creating screencasts (audio visual) for this blog as a way of informing staff of the agenda and purpose of meetings involving the Australian Curriculum and TfEL. Having already been given the relevant information prior to the meetingmay help streamline meetings and save time.

Two further benefits to this process will be firstly that as you read posts, view screencasts, access resources you can leave comments for me. This provides you with a direct way of (politely) telling me something is not working well or that you have enjoyed a particular aspect of what we have been doing. Commenting also allows you to contribute and share your thoughts and ideas for others to read. Secondly for those staff unable to make staff meetings it will hopefully provide a way of keeping up with what is happening at school.

I strongly believe staff learning about the AC/TfEL needs to be lead by individual staff not by me. I will facilitate the process but I will not be telling you how to use the AC in your teaching or be requiring you to focus on specific aspects of TfEL. You will lead your learning through discussion with your peers (which includes me!).

Every post or screencast placed on this site will be emailed to the r5@ and 612@ email addresses. You can then determine what is useful or not, and thereby lead your own learning.


Hi all

I have created this web page to give a home to resources for curriculum and pedagogy. This will include all information and resources that come out as part of the Australian Curriculum and Teaching for Effective Learning. It will however be broader than just these two areas and I hope that the blog can provide information to all teaching staff that will be useful.

This site is all about sharing information but that is limited if the information shared is only coming from me. It would be great for all staff to contribute resources that will support teaching and learning in the school R-12. If you get me the information I will do the leg work and post it then email the link to staff so the information can be shared.

How to Contribute

1. Give me the URL link to a website you think is a great resource and maybe a sentence or two about who it would be useful for and why. I can then create a link from this site.

2. If you have a Document in word, Excel or Power Point that you think would be a useful resource pass the file onto me with a one or two sentence explanation of who it would be useful for and why. I will upload it to my Google Docs account and create a link to it from this site.

3. Read a great article on curriculum or pedagogy? Send me the link or file path and I can insert a link to it from this site.


It is not an expectation to check this site regularly but when something new is put on here I will send an email with the appropriate link to all teaching staff. That way you can remain informed but not have to come here on a regular basis.

Hope it’s useful……………..