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

Screenshot 2016-01-24 18.10.17

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.
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About dbatty1

I'm a teacher who loves to dabble with a range of technologies that enhance learning. At the moment I have taken a sea change delving deeper into social media. FTW

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