Posts

H. Hello and welcome to another post...

H. The letter H has different pronunciations depending on where you come from. In Argentina the sound of the letter H is silent. In Spanish, when people laugh using text, one types in: "Jajajajajajajajajajajajajajajaja" in English, it is: "Hahahahahahahahahahahaha" The letter "J" in 'español' has the same sound as the letter "H" sound in 'ingles'. The word "hola" is "hello" but one pronounces it "orlah" and not "Horlar".  When it comes to the indigenous language of the Indigenous Australians or the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders (Aboriginals), the language has a complete "Englishnasation" applied to it (Is there such a word?). I don't believe this has been a fair process, but since the British conquered this country and took over it despite the efforts of the Aboriginals first here, imagine if the Spanish or the Portuguese had arrived here first? What a disaster that wo

Z. Z is waking up my sleepy memory cells on something that happened a long time ago.

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Z.  Back in 2003, I had a job as a senior designer at Snap Printing, Hornsby. At the time, this print shop was one of the biggest little instant printing facilities in the northern suburbs, with a staff of more than twenty and a comfortable turnover of $16,000,000 per year. It was a lucrative enterprise owned by Mr Geoff Davies and his business partner, Mr Miller. My task was to manage new business clients and develop new business opportunities for them through graphic design and creative services offered via the design studio, with a view of providing associated print services once I found creative solutions to their marketing.  In the design studio, I worked with Oliver, Sandii, and Chris. Anthony was the studio manager. Anthony was a great people person and was an expert in communicating with clients to facilitate and enable the business offerings we made. One element Anthony incorporated into our business model was to provide work-experience to students whose parents had a connecti

Y. Y is for why on earth...

Y. I asked myself "why on earth" are the professors experimenting with how the course at University is delivered? Why are they changing things? Recently, I gained a "credit" pass for Action Research only to learn of how the mode for delivering the material was new and we were the guinea-pigs to the new course as previous students had complained and were not happy at the high failure rate and the high levels of low achievements gained.  What is important to understand is how we as teachers need to learn to also to adapt and change how we deliver our teaching when things don't work out as we had planned and we will be asked to modify our lessons when things don't work out.

X. X for xterminate

X. It has been ages since I have visited my blog. The issue has been this virus that has been going around and the problems that it brings. They have closed all schools and the city of Sydney is in lockdown. Students have been forced to stay at home, attempt 'online' education, and learn things on the internet. The real issue is not the students and the children attempting to go to school via the internet but the teachers trying to deliver learning in this way. How can teachers say they have succeeded as teachers when they are required to teach online?  Here I am, after three years in a Masters of Teaching course at one of the most advanced institutions in the world and not one single course on how to teach children online. It makes me wonder if the education system that we have is out of date and set in the dark ages. When I was teaching graphic design at Martin College in 2016, our parent company, Study Group, who are based in the United States, made a decision to place the c

W. Winners are grinners...

W. I am convinced that 'winners are grinners' by the looks of my student's faces last week during the 'bottle rocket experiment we conducted with our year 8 class. Unfortunately, some folk believe that we shouldn't be showing emotion when we succeed at something as research suggests that "people who express positive emotion following victory risk appearing unlikeable and inconsiderate" (Greenway et al., 2018, p. 168). https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jesp.2018.03.013

V. V is for Victory... ...a need to pick my battles.

V. I have had some victories at school as a practice teacher. I have been placed at Cambridge Park High School (CPHS) near Penrith and only 23 kilometres from home. In communication with other teachers, I have been asked whether Cambridge Park is somewhere near Cambridge in the UK and if there is a connection somehow. The association is immense and it will be an important accolade to be connected to such a great location in the world of education. On their website, it says: The mission of the University of Cambridge is to contribute to society through education, learning and research at the highest international level. What an excellent example of resilience, considering it has been a place of knowledge since 1209: The University of Cambridge is a collegiate research university in Cambridge, United Kingdom. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the second-oldest university in the English-speaking world and the world's fourth-oldest surviving

U. Universal Design for Learning at University

U. Way back when I began this career of teaching, I read somewhere back in 1998 how UDL or Universal Design for Learning was a new, radical way of teaching. I wish I could remember the book I read which said UDL needed to be used with caution as it was new, untested and required further investigation. In contrast, today, it has become one of the leading forms of communication between the teacher and the student. What is fundamental about UDL is explained by Novak (2019) in her introduction to Murawski and Scott's book on 'What Really Works with Universal Design for Learning': UDL is defined as the design and delivery of curriculum and instruction to meet the needs of all learners by providing them choices for what they are learning, why they are learning it and how they will share what they have learned. This idea follows 'Choice Theory' first proposed in 1998 by the great William Gasser, MD, from Ohio. Somehow, I have the original book called: Choice theory in the

S. Self-Reflection

S. Self-reflection or as we are being taught at university, the importance of reflecting on our upcoming professional experience is the requirement of graduate teachers to be able to 'critically reflect' on practice and on our own progress. AITSL instructs professionals in the business of education to continue the process of continual development through "self-reflection and self-assessment" (p. 3) by applying the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers:  The Standards contribute to the professionalisation  of teaching and raise the status of the profession.  They could also be used as the basis for a  professional accountability model, helping to  ensure that teachers can demonstrate appropriate  levels of professional knowledge, professional  practice and professional engagement. The structure in place enables teachers to accomplish growth over a period of time: Graduate - 3 years; Proficient - 5 years; Highly Accomplished - 2 to 5 years; Lead - 10 years: hea

T. Teaching strategies begin with the setting of goals.

T. Teaching strategy - the setting of goals: For Module 5 - Professional Practice 102792 at WSU - instructions : Draft three clear goals.      You might like to align them with the teaching standards. Goals are about pedagogy, good teaching concepts, the understanding of theory and applying this knowledge to suit the students in your class and at school.        Goal 1 Being an effective teacher that makes a difference to the students: It is more than just presenting content.     Passing on knowledge of the content so that students remember.          Killen (2016) suggests that ‘effective teachers spend a considerable amount of time transforming raw content in forms that make it comprehensible to students” (p. 25). Australian Professional Teaching Standard 1 makes clear mention of this but needs to triangulate education to incorporate the “ability to teach” – as knowing your students and knowing how they learn is not enough. An effective teacher now needs to know how to teach and this c

S. School, students and life as a pre-service teacher.

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S. The letter "S" represents so many things in the English language. It is the third most common consonant and the most popular in starting a word and ending a word. In code, it is referred to as 'sierra' and in the manual alphabet, it is represented by the closed fist.  It also represents two of the most important words to me at the moment: school and student. This connection is represented by giving power to the children through education and teaching them the power of knowledge and their ability to stand up for what they believe in. The future is in the hands of the young and the power will come when they know what to do about saving the planet and looking after the environment that we live in and the community that they are part of. 

R. This letter is clearly for "refraction" - a problem I have been having with my new glasses.

R. Refraction, as well as reflection in my new lenses, have been causing me some problems with my eyes and I have booked a session with the optometrist. I am not sure whether they are actually going to do anything about it. Let's wait and see what happens.  Anyhow, today, I sent a letter to the new principal at Macarthur Girls High School with the hope of doing observational research at the school. As part of my learning on how to do action research, we have been given the task as listed: Make a group of four and identify a research topic. The topic should focus on classroom practice (i.e. what a  teacher does in the classroom). The topic can focus on how students learn, classroom management, strategies for  building classroom community, instructional strategies, or instructional programs you can implement in your class or  after-school (as opposed to a school-wide program). Your topic needs to be broad enough so that each of the group  members can identify a sub-topic for completi

Q. All I can think of with the letter Q is Max.

Q. Aghhhhhhh you may be wondering what I am referring to when I suggest MAX Q is what comes to mind when I think of the letter Q. Max Q actually is Michael Hutchence together with Ollie Olsen who also worked on a movie called Dogs in Space:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8nCdnuolfgo A classic Australian movie about the youth and young people growing up in Melbourne Australia. It's a pity they don't make movies like this anymore. Another movie I am fond of that represents the youth of my era is Breakfast Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kGuWbVb1210

P. Professional Practice - my first time in front of students...

P. In April next month, I will be sent away to a school somewhere, to do my first practical. So far this year during the Summer Semester, I have achieved a high distinction for Students in Inclusive Education as well as a Credit for Aboriginal and Culturally Responsive Pedagogies.  Unfortunately, I feel that this semester is going to be a contrast in comparison as the teachers, tutors and lecturers have been difficult to deal with. They have been unprepared and the material they have been presenting to us has been hard to follow. In these situations, one has to work that extra bit harder to compensate for the lack of information. I have 3 classes this semester, and they are totally poles apart in how the teachers work with students. It's been south vs north vs east and west - there is no uniformity that I can see, so I am going to need to make the best of it. It is no point in making any excuses and it will be up to me to make things work for me. I am on a quest to make it gel toge

O. Ohhhhhhhh my God.

O. Oh no. Dear blog. Please forgive me. I was supposed to populate you with words ages ago but it's only been tonight that I have found a spare moment.  Today I went with my wife, Mim, to my parent's 60th wedding anniversary celebrations at the Deckhouse in  Woolwich, near Hunter's Hill in Sydney. What a great place for such a great occasion. A milestone in anyone's eyes. 60 years is a long time to spend with someone else - that is, unless you love them, then it's perhaps never long enough. I believe that the love my parents share is what keeps them living longer and stronger as dad is now over 90 years old. When he was a young boy, so he tells me, it was common practice to have children of different ages in the same classroom. This was due to the lack of good teachers available to teach and was all too common in small country towns and remote areas. It was also common for children to leave school and go to work to help the family. In more recent times, young people

N. Every day is a new day for new things and new learning.

N. New things are learnt every day - as such, for as long as I can remember, there was a teacher at my school back in the days when I was a high school student, who insisted we didn't use the word 'learnt' but use 'learned' instead. Here is a link to the correct usage of the word: https://writingexplained.org/learnt-vs-learned-difference Recently, at University level, I was corrected in an essay to use the word 'learnt' instead of learned, which is odd, considering I am at Masters Level. Oh, how I digress at times, anyway, one with my story... Today, a bolt of lightning hit me on the head when I realized the many lectures I was in with Doctor Roberto Parada last year are all beginning to make sense. Jolt after jolt of 'ahhhhhhhhs and ohhhhhhhs took me back to his lessons on John Hattie as I make the link to how important 'feedback' is to students and how feedback is a vital method of assessment.  More on this tomorrow. 

M. Mastering the art of learning

M. What profoundness to suggest I am mastering something. At what level is 'masters' level and how does one evaluate this level? What is the point of measure when becoming a 'master' of something? How do we compare one master against another? Is a master like "Master Yoda" in Star Wars? What was George Lucas referring to when he created the Jedis?  I am currently reading a book called "Psychology for inclusive education" edited by Hicks, Kershner & Farrell (2009). Chapter one by Gary Thomas discusses the epistemology for inclusion and references the great work of Skinner and a statement he made in 1972 that still resonate with teachers of today: "What, after all, have we to show for nonscientific or prescientific good judgement, or common sense, or the insight gained through personal experience? Is it science or nothing?" More to come on this point...

L. Now I am going to take you through my ideas on 'learning'...

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L. What is learning and how does a teacher evaluate if a student has learnt something or not? What does a student need to do to 'prove' learning has taken place? How does a teacher measure the extent of the learning that has taken place? One of my favourite movies is 'Cast Away' with Tom Hanks. The issue that I have with this movie is that I actually get frustrated watching it as Hanks, from my perspective, is a complete dunce and basically totally inexperienced at being lost alone in a deserted island. But this is the whole point of the movie. Not that I have looked at the intentions of the storyline or the nature of the book, I am sure it is supposed to frustrate the viewer into thinking they know better and perhaps makes them think what they would do if it was them in that situation. There are so many scenes in the story where the viewer is asked to think about better ways of doing something to survive. Here is the trailer to what I am talking about: https://www.yout

K. Letter K is for knowledge, but, what is knowledge, actually?

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K. What is knowledge? As far as I am concerned, knowledge is connected to skills and attitude that an individual has on a particular subject matter such as the knowledge a plumber has to know how to change or fix a leaky tap and having the attitude to charge you $100 for doing something you cannot do yourself, or more importantly, be bothered to gain the knowledge to do it yourself in an effort to save some money. Knowledge is what a teacher imparts to his students. Coincidently, I looked in the dictionary to learn what the word "impart" means and it says exactly this: impart /ɪmˈpɑːt/ verb make (information) known. " The teachers imparted a great deal of knowledge to their pupils" That is exactly what I want to talk about - how does a teacher impart this knowledge to his students? How does a teacher know the student has gained the knowledge he is imparting? Take a look at this graphic: What I gather from the cartoon above fundamental to 'knowledge' is the m

J. Jajajajajajajajajajajajajaja is the best medicine.

J.  Sometimes, when there are three Js together, or even two Js together, I think of music. Some people see the letter J and think of Jar Jar Binks. I also think of the new-old word popping up everywhere considering the vaccinations: jab. However, when I see a single letter J, I think of laughter and how little of this medicine we have left, considering the last year we just had. If nineteen is a number you would like to forget it's important to think how a lot of the issues with a lack of laughter in our lives is dependant on attitude and people's point of view and the lack of open-mindedness or a positive frame of mind. Turns out that critical to the pandemic has been our preparedness in handling mental health and the sentiments that plague our community ahead of the dreaded Covid-19.  Will the vaccine cure the concerns created by the pandemic? Will the little "jab" finally fix mental illness that has plagued people in lockdown? This is why I feel that laughter is a

I. The letter 'i' is for iXandro

I. iXandro dot com is my website and there, I have the portfolio of my life. Well, my working life in particular. I have been working since the age of 14 which is almost 40 years. Maybe not exactly this long as I have been studying for the past years full-time and not a single cent to show for. I am so lucky I am married to a wonderful woman who is supporting me while I attend university. By this time next year - it will be my turn to work and bring in some money into this household.  I pay my way through University via the HECS program where the Govt will tax me extra once I start work. I would not have been able to achieve this is it was not for the assistance from the Government. How do people get the money to do it otherwise? I know that in other countries, education is free but equally in other places, it is totally paid by people who have money - Universities for the rich and famous. In poor countries, going to Uni is impossible. Even in Australia, education is a hotly contested

G. is for Great Scott!

G.  Amazingly my last assignment for University has gained me a score of 92/100 which is my very first high distinction ever. Can you believe it? After all these years and having completed many subjects and topics in the past, my first HD is on Inclusive Education. I will make my work available when I have more time. My work was based on a fictional student Trudy McLaren with an irreversible visual impairment issue. I will populate this journal entry when I get more time - looks like with all the reading I am doing, writing seems to have taken second place. Great Scott! I tells'ya.  Interestingly, I am stuck with my reading and my quizzes but I shouldn't be.  I am not much of a reader and do not know what's happened here - but, I shall return with more writing. Bye for now. 

F. Forging on with my assignments

F.  The letter "F" in this case is for finding or discovering an interesting twist to my education. It is quite amazing that my favourite book for University is written by an amazingly thinking man who is now retired and living a few kilometres from my eldest sister in Newcastle, north of Sydney, is also an amazing photographer whos images of animals and nature are incredible.  Considering that I have possibly only 10 or 15 years before I retire, my current education at Western Sydney University has given me such insight into the world of teaching that in 1995 when I began this journey at the University of Technology, Sydney, I never dreamed possible.  We were then only just beginning to use computers and only beginning to familiarise ourselves using technology. In 1995 I opened my first email account with Netscape. Who can remember them? They were the giants of technology and invented JavaScripting. The folk at Netscape sold their business to America On-Line (AOL) and made a

E. is for an email I sent my lecturer at university...

E. Hello Sasha Hope this finds you well and hope you are keeping safe. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate learning things connected to this course. I have been so ignorant in this subject matter until now as I knew so very little of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and their history, culture, and problems arising from terra-nullius. I had zero knowledge of what the indigenous people of this land have gone through and what they are going through now. It is torturous reading about it, and I cannot imagine the pain they are going through now.  How can we live with racism like this? We all condemn Nazi Germany for that they did to the Jewish people - what is wrong with the Australian Government not wanting to acknowledge similar issues in this country? Coming from Argentina and knowing what our people went through with the Military Governments in the past and bringing people to account for atrocities. I cannot believe the hypocrisy that exists today here in Aust

D. Daring to continue with my reflection

D.  What is of concern is a single paragraph of text that I read in a book by David McRae called: What Works?: Explorations in improving outcomes for indigenous students (2000) on page 179: Schools should not reward Koori kids by suspension when they get into trouble at school. Rather, they should bring in a Koori task force at the critical moment and work through a special and intense mentoring program to keep the kid at school. This very last paragraph is in conclusion to a set of findings and results from 83 Indigenous Education Strategic Initiative Programme (IESIP) projects conducted to learn how to improve Aboriginal student learning outcomes that demonstrated success in indigenous education. My concern is how fragile this matter is when trying to impose European views on education on a culture who is not ready to succumb to western ideals - nor should they.  Why are teachers asked to attempt to change the ideals, morals and ethics of the indigenous children of this great nation

C. Creating progress as a reflective teacher - so on and so forth...

C.  Between yesterday and today, I have managed to finally begin my 2000 word essay on 'inclusive education' where I have been asked to investigate how I can begin to apply differentiation in my lesson plans. My task is to produce one single lesson that focuses on addressing a 'universal design for learning' environment that caters for all the learning needs of all the students in my classroom. So far, 401 words written with more to come in the next few days.  Again, as I have done many times in the past, I return to the ones I am familiar with to reinforce what I have been learning, and I immerse myself with reading and re-reading. The usual ones, the familiar ones I am comfortable diving into. I am such a creature of habit and like a baby, I run back to my comfort zone of Killen, Hattie, De Nobile and co, JJ Arnett, Brad Gobby and Rebecca Walker as well as Churchill and his many co-collaborators in his massive teaching manual simply called: Teaching - making a differe

B. Becoming a reflective teacher - part B

B.  If you are reading this, you may not know that I am enrolled at two universities in order to complete my studies on time. So, I am enrolled at both Western Sydney University (WSU) and the University of New England (UNE) in Armidale, NorthEastern part of New South Wales. At UNE, I am a summer student studying EDSP500 Educating Students in Inclusive Environments. At WSU (or is it called UWS? - no one can tell me this for some weird reason) I am enrolled doing 102085 (Summer A 2021) Aboriginal and Culturally Responsive Pedagogies.  I am so very fortunate I have made the decision to attempt to accomplish my learning during summer at two very different institutions. All I can say is WOW - what a difference. Both have such different styles and the culture at each facility is so contrasting from one another.  Maybe I should repeat the WOW and say BOW WOW WOW instead. Yes: Bow Wow Wow... ...remember them? Here is a reminder: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JoXVYSV4Xcs Anyhow, where was I..

A. Annotations to becoming a reflective teacher - my A to Z of things...

A.  Teachers who on a regular basis think about why, what, and how they teach, are reflective educators (Killen, 2016). There is no better way to start my reflection than by looking at Roy Killen and his views on education. His vision from four years ago still resonates and drives me to become a better teacher.  But, let's not put all of our eggs in the same basket. There are others who have influenced my thinking about education and teaching as well. The best thing about my learning has been the discovery of teaching-ideals from Dr Roberto Parada at Western Sydney University. All of the knowledge he has passed on to preservice teachers, such as the fundamentals of pedagogy and the notion that all of what we learn at university, will only become real in the staffroom of a school and not in the classrooms with pupils. Why is this the case? Well, as Roberto tells us, all theory is good in theory, but what we learn in the classroom from the students themselves is what will shape us as