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Welcome this Week’s EduTweetOz Host, Kelly Bauer

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I’ve been lucky enough to spend my teaching career so far in two excellent schools, one co-ed, and now, all boys. Both schools were considered leaders within their systems, headed by great leadership and a hard working staff. I started working firstly at Freeman Catholic College at Bonnyrigg, where I completed my Practicum and was then picked up from here. During the 9 years that I was there, I taught computing, which has always been my first love, junior Design and Technology, and ended up teaching technical drawing, which has been a real basis for a lot of the things that I now do.  I learnt so much from doing lots of different technologies within year 7 and 8 design and tech, and am a real advocate for teachers rotating subjects within jnr tech, and pushing themselves to do all of the technologies rather than being comfortable in their own. Really, once you teach year 7 electronics for the third time, you suddenly look like an expert in your class.   During my time at Freeman, I heard about this new senior course being offered, Industrial Technology Multimedia, and introduced it at Freeman, where we were the first in the Catholic System to do so.  I fell in love with this course, where students could work on practical projects, and with the focus on this being externally assessed, this meant that the outcomes gave a greater focus on practical skills.

After Freeman, I moved to Parramatta Marist, where I heard they were doing brilliant things with technology integration. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was in for, but saw across a lot of schools, technology being used in a way that was really a replacement for the same types of tasks that were done in traditional learning, and I knew that I wanted to see something different. I made the swap over in the first year of Parramatta implementing Project Based Learning, then two years later Problem Based Learning and the flipped classroom. During this time, I have been in the position of Project Based Learning Co-ordinator, then, different positions all with a focus of supporting and introducing innovative technology usage. With the increased recognition of the need for quality STEM education around the world, Parramatta Marist last year had a focus on the introduction of STEM, with the implementation of the Maitland-Newcastle Board Endorsed iSTEM course, and in 2016, the introduction of compulsory STEM through a 100 hour year 7 STEM Course. Currently, I am Innovation and STEM Co-ordinator.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

My motivation and inspiration comes from seeing students, particularly those students who are traditionally not successful in other courses, create and achieve things that they are proud of.  My husband, who is also a TAS teacher, inspires me as he always keeps me on my feet and inspires me with new ideas. Our staff, which are so hardworking, offer great professional discussion that means that there are always improvements and new ideas.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Changing attitudes of students…I  think that everyone who deals with young people over a large period of time would agree that there are different attitudes, different challenges and different opportunities from students now than there was 10-15 years ago. The challenge is how can we engage students, and make learning authentic for them, when they could realistically look up YouTube or wikipedia for the answers to questions.

How do we then make sure that we are adding value to student’s being in the classroom that they cannot learn by themselves? How can we make learning REAL for students?

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

The one thing that really makes change though is teacher professional development.  I think this is something that Parramatta Marist does an amazing job at, where teachers get 80 hours a year of professional development that is timetabled into their teaching hours. This is a minimum, where the 80 hours are part of school time, school funded, and teachers can choose to do more. There is a lot of great teaching going on in schools, but if nationally, if we can provide structure around how professional development works, then this can significantly improve teacher practice. If you can improve the quality of every teacher at the front of the room, the system improves.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz, to me, is a form of professional development, and the idea of having guest tweeters means that there is constantly a different perspective of education presented.  I am looking forward to showing people some interesting things happening, but also hoping to get some great feedback and discussion.

 

 

 

Welcome @WesHeberlein back, a returning host :)

Wes

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I have made the shift from secondary education into higher education. I currently work as a Widening Participation Officer at CQUniversity which involves me visiting primary and secondary schools to talk with students about self-awareness and post-school pathways ultimately to raise aspirations for higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds. My background in education is as a teacher, Indigenous education officer, teacher aide, sports coach and boarding supervisor mainly in boys’ education. My passion as an educator comes from helping others to be the best they can be. I believe that each one of us has something special to offer we just have to be given the chance to show it!

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I believe there are parallels between good coaches and good teachers. I find inspiration in reading, watching, and listening to some of the high profile coaches in American college sports on their philosophies on teaching and learning, coach-athlete relationship and managing the individual and team as a whole. Gives me some great insights and potential applications in the classroom.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Some of most pressing issues in education today include education reform, student well-being, post- school pathways, digital divide, remote & rural education, Indigenous Education in Australia and Pasifika Education in the low-socio economic areas. I see the biggest rewards for those in education as the continued growth in numbers of people graduating from secondary school and accessing further education opportunities. It’s rewarding when you see past students being active citizens in the community.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

A starting point would be the flattening of the educational landscape in Australia. Things like all schools having reliable and quality internet connection coupled with technological devices are a basic educational right.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

As more and more in education accept social media use in a professional capacity I see EduTweetOz playing a leadership role in connecting teachers and being a platform for shared discovery. This week I hope to provide a regional/rural perspective on education.

Welcome Maurizio Vespa (@mauriziovespa), our first @EduTweetOz host for 2016!

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Please tell us a little about your background in education. 

I have been involved in Education for over 30 years. I spent my first 23 years working as an educator of students in five different high schools. My areas of study were Mathematics and Science, however, I also taught Technical Drawing and Religious Studies.

I left teaching in 2002, and joined a Not for profit Organisation (Marist Youth Care) who work with teenagers that were under the Ministers Care. I facilitated Restorative Conferences and  professional development courses for teachers. In 2010, I started my own business working with teachers, students and parents in Restorative Practices, however, due to an accident I had to reduce my work load and take on a role less rigorous.
In 2013, I was approached by the Good Shepherd Organisation to manage a program for teenagers with mental health issues. Today I am still involved in this program am happy to share my experiences and ideas of why this program has been so effective.

Why did you decide to become involved in education? 

I accidentally fell into teaching, while studying for my Higher School Certificate. My Year 12 English teacher recognised my ability to support and assist other students with their studies. The teacher suggested that I give it some thought, which I did. I enrolled in university and completed my first practicum, my supervisor at the time thought I was a natural in the classroom and that was it. When I told my parents that I was going to give teaching a go, they advised me to reconsider.

What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I have had a few varied roles:

  • Coordinator of Religious Studies
  • Coordinator of Science
  • Year Advisor
  • Senior Student Welfare Advisor
  • Head of Student Welfare
My current role is manager of an alternative education program for the Good Shepherd Sisters in Sydney. This program is tailored for teenagers in Years 9 & 10 with mental health issues.
I am also an advocate for Restorative Practices and have been a Board Member for RPI Australia and the Chair of the NSW Chapter for three years.
I managed my own business for two years in Restorative Practices supporting schools in training staff and middle managers. I am still passionate about the Restorative Practices and use it with my current work role.


Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I am inspired by new and innovative ways of educating our young people. The classroom learning space is evolving all the time and we need to integrate effective and supportive ways of helping kids to learn. I am even more passionate about making sure that our schools are safe, secure and relational places for kids. I would like to see schools adapt practices that enhance relationships rather than alienate and disconnect. Especially when kids make inappropriate choices or decisions.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

 

Rewards

  • Observing kids learning
  • Observing kids achieving their goals
  • Providing alternating pathways to education for kids
  • Positive learning relationships
  • Sharing ones passion of a subject area with kids
  • Seeing kids happy to learn and to be at school
  • Providing a dynamic learning and social environment for kids to explore their individuality
Challenges
  • Working with kids that have a mental health issue
  • Catering for kids with learning challenges
  • Working with parents Raising professional profile of teachers
  • Teaching with technology
  • Working with the impact of social media on kids
 

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

  • Reduce the amount of content in the curriculum
  • Start and end the school day later 10 am- 4 pm day
  • Invite volunteers into the schools to work with kids, assisting them with their work
  • Ensure that classes were no larger than 25
  • Employ more support teachers/specialist teachers
  • Change the mind set of schools towards management of student behaviour
  • Train new teachers with mental health and behaviour management skills

 

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I believe EduTweetOz provides an opportunity to share peoples expertise and life experiences:

  • Opportunity to share knowledge
  • Inspires dialogue and fuels critical thinking
  • Builds relationships and broadens our individual networks
I hope to share my work in Restorative Practices and the value of alternative education programs for teenagers, especially those that have become disengaged for school and mainstream education.

See you in 2016!

The 2015 school year has now drawn to a close in all Australian states and territories, bringing with it the opportunity for educators to have a well-earned rest.

The EduTweetOz team will be doing the same, keeping the account inactive until the week beginning 17 January 2016.

In closing for the year we’d like to thank the many wonderful educators who hosted the account for us throughout the year. We loved having light shed on the many different roles and contexts in which educators work, following the discussions and seeing the EduTweetOz community grow.

We’d also like to thank the many thousands of educators who support our account, welcome our hosts and keep the conversations alive.

We wish you all a safe and happy holiday period, and hope that you’ll join us again as participant or host (sign up here!) in 2016.

Happy Holidays!

The EduTweetOz Team

(Michelle Hostrup, Donelle Batty, Corinne Campbell, Mark Johnson, Jennifer English and Allison Fairey)

greetings from the DELACROIX family (1)

Please welcome this week’s EduTweetOz host Damian Wanstall (@wanstad73)

 

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?
My first work experience block in Year 10 was as a Primary teacher, and my mum still tells me she could see me in that role. After completing my Undergraduate degrees in Economics and Science, I was lucky to complete my Grad Dip Ed at University of Canberra under the guidance of Warren Atkins who was closely involved with the Australian Mathematics Trust.

I have taught in the Western Suburbs area of Sydney, before spending a stint in the Curriculum and Learning Innovation Centre as a Learning Designer during the implementation of the DER program. I am now Deputy Principal at Kellyville High School.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

The kids I teach. I am lucky to be a teaching Deputy Principal. I say this, because, there is nothing better than overcoming the, at times, frustrating parts of my day job by ‘escaping’ to a learning space with a group of kids for an hour and being motivated by their success.

I recently ran a staffing panel, and took part in a project called ‘Educator Impact’ where we observed colleagues and had students comment on our performance. It is in hearing the conversations and inspirational teaching and leading stories from colleagues that also provides daily inspiration. 

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

The biggest reward is the positive relationships you form with the kids as you watch them grow into young adults. The biggest reward is in knowing that the opportunities I get to provide make a difference to someone.

For me the challenges lie in the administrative burden placed on teachers and leaders. For Mathematics education I think it’s in educators understanding that ‘real-life’ word problems, are not actually the ‘hard-questions’ and perhaps considering beginning with an actually ‘authentic problem’ and teaching kids to critically think from that point before teaching a skill.

The biggest challenge for our kids still lies in the absolute overload of information thrown at us these days from every angle, and teaching our kids how to critically analyse it for authenticity, purpose and understanding.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?
Gonski would be fully funded for the final two years. Funding for educational partnership services such as AusSIP, headspace, youth connections would be continued. 

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I hope to connect with lots of educators during the week, and I hope to learn a lot from them about their experience of education in Australia and beyond. I hope to continues to foster healthy discussion amongst teachers and leaders that leads to reflection and improvement. 

Introducing this week’s @EduTweetOz host Kate Fogarty (@katiefoges)


 
Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?
My parents were both primary school principals, so education always felt like a very natural part of my world. I did my undergrad at Melbourne Uni and then headed off to ACU for my Grad Dip Ed. My first job was in an all boys school, before I headed off to Alice Springs to experience life in the Territory. I returned to Bendigo for my first Leadership Team role, before being appointed as a Co-Principal in Echuca at age 33. By 36 I was a solo Principal, and recently moved to my current school, Assumption College, as their first ever female Principal.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I love my job! Most days I bounce out of bed, excited to see what the day will bring. I get to work with passionate people who are committed to what they do. On the frustrating days I make sure I walk around the school a lot – the kids can turn a day around very quickly.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

One of the biggest rewards for me is when I see a parent relax and trust that we know what we’re doing. If we’re getting the learning, the relationships and the opportunities right, parents will be in a better position to help their child succeed. For me, the biggest challenge is slowing down and being strategic in our change management. It’s so tempting to want to do everything all at once…  

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Breaking the 9-3.30pm mentality and the industrial concerns around class sizes. We could be so much more effective if we could easily make changes to the school day.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I’ve been on twitter for quite a few years now and it’s such a pleasure to finally have a proper Australian network doing its thing in a lovely supportive and encouraging way.  

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

My school will be in its staff week during my time in the hotseat, so our discussions are going to centre around professional learning, report-writing and all those fun end of year things!

This Week’s Host: Paul Huebl

  

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education?
What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I entered Education as a mature age student after a previous career as a law student. Education was very much a calling for me, as I always remember enjoying teaching people things. I have taught in NSW as well as South Australia where I am currently Year 5 classroom teacher at a co-ed independent school. I have previously taught specialist ICT (K-6). 

Who or what keeps you inspired and  in your work?

My motivation is seeing children succeed. I strive to let students realised they can win at their learning, but making it their process. Keeping things exciting and letting the students be part of the innovation in the classroom really gets engagement up, which makes kids excited about being at school – which really helps! 

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Working with children is always its own reward, but nothing beats those ‘a-ha’ moments. Seeing a child go through a transformative experience, and having played a part in that is remarkable. Challenges – workload, workload, workload. 

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

Convince everyone that NAPLAN is just one part of the picture. There seems a big divide between those who tout it as the be all and end all, and those who realise the value it holds, and to keep it in perspective. As a social institution, education seems to have a range of opinions and views, something that holds both enormous potential for innovative change, but also for dis-harmony, if we are not flexible and accommodating of all perspectives. 

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

EduTweetOz is a great vehicle for the many voices within Australian education. I am hoping the account can provide some good conversations. 

Is there anything else you would like to add? 

Please RT! 

This week’s host: Ben Lannen

Ben

Ben Lannen, an primary school teacher from Melbourne, will be taking over  EduTweetOz account this week. Here are his answers to our five questions:

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I always wanted to be a teacher growing up, my Pa was a principal and always looked up to him. I had some great role models as teachers that also fuelled the passion to one day become a teacher. However my university degree took me towards an enjoyable and successful 5 year career as a Video Game Designer. Eventually, working and learning about engaging teens and kids through the game development process fuelled the fire to begin teaching and thus started my fruitful career as an educator. Along with being a 5/6 classroom teacher, my current role is eLearning ICT Leader. This leadership role oversees the whole school eSmart Safety program, the digital curriculum, our staff and student GAFE implementation along with future planning and maintenance of the school with a digital lens.  

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

Too many to mention, I get inspired easily. I love seeing my students grow in their own individual ways. From academic to well being to sporting to technology, it’s always inspiring seeing a student ‘level up’. Open minded staff and leadership are very motivating, I don’t enjoy doing things repeatedly, unless they are amazing! So to have staff and a leadership team that are open for change and risk taking is hugely motivating.
Global connections through twitter have been so motivating, I look forward to mentioning some of these people during the week.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Rewards: Without doubt, the relationships you create with your students. Nothing beats the hourly, daily or termly ‘wins’ you get with your kids and seeing their reaction and what they can achieve.

Challenges: Time. I am constantly trying to find more time to do the things I want to do on top of the things I need to do. Sometimes the things that teachers ‘need’ to do are not always the most important.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

This could be dangerous! Firsty get rid of NAPLAN. End of story.

Provide an easier way to move disengaged teachers from the system

A bigger emphasis on global education and awareness through the curriculum. We are helping to shape the future generation to make the world a better place.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

Twitter is an amazing resource for education PD. EduTweetOz is a great concept that centralises it all. I’m very passionate about Global connections and hope to share some upcoming projects in my classroom to make my students more globally aware.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Looking forward to the week and feel free to follow my Twitter account @bjlannen

What I Learnt From Hosting @EduTweetOz

TheoPop

I was very much looking forward to the opportunity to connect to more educators in the wider world through hosting @EduTweetOz given that my twitter PLN is heavily oriented towards RE (which is a good thing). So it was great to be able to get involved at such a key moment in the term, as we are drawing towards the end of the school year.

There is never a quiet week in teaching, but the week I was hosting @EduTweetOz was a big one to coordinate, with all Religion assessments due in. In some ways, though, this is the calm before the storm, since once they’re in, marking and reporting begins! I did want to discuss assessment and post some examples of great Religion assessments, but time ran short on this one. Other than forgetting to do a couple of polls, I think this was the only big issue I…

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Introducing Kurt Challinor

Kurt

This week the account moves to NSW, with Kurt Challinor taking up the reigns. Learn more about Kurt here.

Please tell us a little about your background in education. Why did you decide to become involved in education? What are some of the roles you’ve had and what does your current role involve?

I think as a kid, I had always wanted to be a teacher. I loved school and had good relationships with my teacher and I enjoyed learning and working with kids so a career in education was a logical step for me.

I’ve spent almost all of my career as a teacher in the Catholic system and this is something that I am particularly passionate about. I have also spent most of my teaching career working in all boys schools in Sydney, which I love.

Currently I teach Ancient History and Studies of Religion at Parramatta Marist High, a systemic Catholic boys’ high school in the west of Sydney.

I’ve held a number of different roles in education. I’ve been a Year Coordinator, an HSIE Coordinator and a Religious Education Coordinator, all roles with their own challenges and opportunities. Last year my school established a professional learning organisation within the school called the Centre for Deeper Learning. Directing this new initiative has become the next in a number of exciting roles I’ve held. In addition to teaching, my role now consists of designing professional learning opportunities for our own staff as well as organising and facilitating professional learning opportunities in Project and Problem Based Learning, the Flipped Classroom and STEM for teachers from schools from all around Australia.

Who or what keeps you inspired and motivated in your work?

I work in a really exciting school where change is embraced and we try hard to keep current with all trends in education. I think that the opportunity to work with incredibly intelligent, hard working and innovative teachers helps me to keep looking for opportunities to get better at what is our core business, educating young people.

Our boys are also fantastic and are so appreciative of the work their teachers do. This make coming to work each day something I really enjoy.

What do you see as some of the biggest rewards and challenges for people working in education today?

Teaching is hard work. I think one of the biggest challenges for teachers today is to be embrace the inevitable shift away from a traditional teacher centred approach to education and to place the students in the driving seat. Another challenge I think we are all facing relates to the rapid pace of change in education today, particularly in regards to technology. I think we need to let go of the notion that we can become ‘expert’ in everything and be content to just have our heads above water. Positive educational change can’t take place if we are waiting for the perfect time or to have all the training we think we need.

The rewards in education haven’t changed. We all became teachers because we enjoy working with young people. The little victories we have along the way are the rewards we value most.

If you had the ability to make changes to the education system in Australia, what would you do?

I think we can learn a lot from the successes of other countries. I was lucky enough to visit Finland earlier this year and their model of education has much to offer. I think teachers are not always afforded the status as professionals that we should be. Greater autonomy for schools and teachers to use their professional judgement in regards to their own context would be a good start.

What role do you see EduTweetOz playing on the education scene in Australia and what are your hopes for the account this week?

I think the concept behind EduTweetOz is terrific. What a great opportunity to have educators from across the spectrum sharing their experiences and affording us all a glimpse into their lives for a week. During the week I hope I can share some of my day to day life at school and hopefully start some discussions about quality teaching and learning.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

I’m really looking forward to the opportunity to host this week and I really appreciate being asked to be involved.