Tag Archives: ACARA

Boy Overboard

As part of curriculum writing in my previous job, I was required to come up with new and interesting ways of attacking English learning and enrichment, but maintaining the company’s professional image at the same time. This is one such item that I came up with. The beauty of this unit was that it fell totally in line with the course work I was doing at the time. So I submitted my work, and then after marking and grading was complete, I submitted it to my boss for use with our upper Primary students. I love it when two or more purposes can come together so well.

Remember, the students this is aimed at already spoke English to a degree (or Singlish at it is better known) and therefore needed more attention to grammar features.


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TESOL – A Starting Point

As globalisation increases, there is a strong likelihood that with the classes we teach there will be at least one student who is learning English as an additional language. (EAL) Some of you might refer to these students as NESB (Non English Speaking Background) or one of many other terms. As a starting point and a guide for teachers to know where to go next or even what to do first, I have created a PowerPoint as a “what to do?” guide. Feedback on this is welcomed and valued.


Filed under Reading, Young Learners

Using the 8 Ways in Planning Lessons


At first glance my reaction to this was, “Oh no! How am I going to incorporate this?” After sitting back and thinking about it, I realised that it’s not imperative to incorporate every single one of the 8 ways, but rather to use them as a guide for overall planning. If used judiciously, and wisely, these 8 ways give the teacher the opportunity to plan effectively for all learning styles within the class. My realisation was that this is not something onerous, rather it simplifies the planning process. Instead of scratching my head and staring blankly wondering how to cater for the different ways of learning that there most definitely will be in an average class, I can now plan with a purpose, knowing that I can spread my lessons over the learning areas that cater not only to Aboriginal students, but to ALL students that I teach.

8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning. (2009). Retrieved from http://8ways.wikispaces.com/

Image retrieved from: http://www.asthmaaustralia.org.au

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Pens Vs iPads


This article was emailed to me a few days ago. I respectfully acknowledge the author, Julia Calixto as I do not know the original source of the document.

As computer-based learning in classrooms continues to grow, handwriting is used less and less. The trend has some questioning if the writing’s on the wall for the age old practice.
By Julia Calixto
29 AUG 2014 – 5:11 PM

At St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney, students are learning Shakespeare.

Some, like year 9 student Anthony Segaert, are using tablets and computers as well as pens and paper to study the centuries old text.

“We watch videos in class, we do lots of typing, we use mind maps, it’s really easy for us to interact with our teachers more, like when didn’t have iPads in the classroom,” he said.

Richard Ford has been teaching for 15 years and said in that time he’s witnessed a digital revolution in schools.

“I’ve seen a huge amount of change with technology in classrooms from when I started, when there was very little, to now, where every student’s carrying a device,” Mr Ford said.

Students at St Andrew’s are encouraged to bring and use the technology of their choice. It’s a policy that’s been adopted by many schools across the country.

Dr Phil Lambert from the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) believes schools are in a transitional phase.

“I visit schools a lot and some I see virtually all digital work occurring, yet in other schools I see books with pens out, pencils out,” he said.

“I think it varies and overtime once again, I think we’ll see is a transition of far more digital.”

ACARA’s head of assessment and reporting, Dr Stanley Rabinowitz, said handwritten assessments will also be phased out in the future.

“Online assessments research shows, including research we’ve done at ACARA, is more engaging for students,” he said.

“I think once we work out the logistic issues, once we have enough devices, people will get very excited about it to see their students engaged.”

While schools have no plans to drop writing as a fundamental skill, more students are opting to type rather than write.

Some education research suggests there are strong links between writing and broader educational development.

Author and design teacher Zoe Sadokierski said while using computers may be more efficient but hand writing enables people to explore ideas and thoughts.

“On a computer it’s always letter by letter, word by word, sentence by sentence and it’s very linear,” she said.

“We don’t think in a linear way. It’s very rare that an idea comes to you fully formed and sequential.”

“Usually what happens is it comes in fits and bursts and you have to figure out on paper where you’re going.”

Benefits to writing are emphasised at the Sydney School of Languages, where ancient writing systems are still taught.

Japanese Calligraphy teacher, Toshiko Jackson, said students must be focused and calm when writing calligraphy.

“It’s much more meaning than a printed letters. Calligraphy is one of the highest forms in expressing thoughts and sometimes conviction,” Toshiko Jackson said.

But whether it’s elegant script, or tapping on a tablet, teachers have no plans yet to say “pens down” for good.

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