Teaching in the internet age
By NIETA MANSER
HOW MUCH has the role of a teacher changed over the years?
There are some that would argue it has always been hard work and the stresses of teaching have always been present.
Yet, the traditional idea of a classroom no longer fits within the world our children live in.
Society has changed and, as such, the students that enter into our education system require a completely different set of skills, and the modern teacher is adapting.
A teacher has traditionally been the gatekeeper of information.
Cast your mind back 20 or 30 years to when a teacher had access to the information and chose what to pass onto the student.
Without internet access, 24-hour news, or mobile phones to locate and receive instantaneous facts, information was limited, it was the teacher who held the keys to the kingdom of knowledge.
In today’s classroom, teachers have had to shift their practice to work in line with a modern world where classroom walls are eroding.
The global student is surrounded by facts, opinions and information from everywhere.
We can no longer separate this globalisation from formal education and so the role of a teacher must now teach the students to filter, analyse and critique that information.
Head of La Trobe’s Department of Education, Associate Professor Barbousas says the most important skill a teacher needs in the 21st Century is adaptability.
They must arrange and modify information so it can become knowledge for students.
Teachers have also become a parent’s partner in their child’s education.
Schools are communities within communities and the interaction between teachers and parents has become an essential relationship.
The old saying, it takes the whole village to raise a child, is still very relevant in today’s globalised world.
Then there are things that should never change.
Ask teachers why they teach and rarely will they say they want to simply impart knowledge onto students.
They will answer in terms of changing the world, helping another human reach their potential or being part of something that makes a difference to others.
The moral purpose of a teacher is always at the core of what they do and while the methods of delivery and the complexity of the student is changing, the reasons for teaching them remain the same.
The 45,000 public school teachers across Victoria work to inspire and motivate students to be the best possible versions of themselves that they can be.
There is nothing more satisfying than seeing a student’s face light up when they feel success.
It becomes the motivator for the hard work, and it lies at the heart of everything a teacher does.
A Trip to the moon
By SUSAN FOREMAN
ON JULY 19, Warrandyte Primary School celebrated the 50th anniversary of the moon landing by the Apollo 11 mission.
The students came dressed in a variety of costumes that ranged from Jupiter, to space and of course astronauts.
Acting Principal, Rick Griffiths said: It is so important that we commemorate these important events in the history of mankind”.
The students really enjoyed watching a video of the rocket taking off and then following its trajectory out of the atmosphere and then intoorbit around the earth.
“There was so much wonderful discussion about gravity, the size of the atmosphere and the amount of energy supplied by the fuel to propel the rocket into orbit,” said science teacher Jenny McDonell.
In the upper grades the discussion revolved around many of the familiar things that we use on a regular basis that were developed due to the space program.
A few of these include, Nike Air trainers, LEDs, camera phones and CAT scans.
No great learning happens without some hands-on activities.
Students across the schools loved making their own paper rockets — and they were surprised by the distance they travelled.
The plans for these rockets can be found on the NASA website if anyone is interested. www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/learn/project/make-a-straw-rocket/
Some grades made cardboard moon rovers, and others made astronaut landers.
These activities helped them to understand the complexity of the whole Apollo 11 mission.
All in all, it was an enjoyable day for all in celebrating a significant event in human history.
Hear me roar
By NIETA MANSER
ONE OF THE most commonly used terms in Victorian schools today is “student voice”.
Not simply a catchphrase, schools genuinely work towards giving students a voice, not only in their learning, but also in the decision-making process for whole school events.
At Anderson’s Creek Primary School (ACPS) being part of the Junior School Council (JSC) means you are given a forum to put forward your ideas and those of your peers in regular formal meetings.
At the beginning of the year, the elected members of the JSC devise a list of things they wanted to achieve.
This year, that list included a desire to use their position to create fundraising events for a range of charities their peers had identified as worthy causes, close to their hearts.
After inviting the school principal to their lunchtime meeting, a suitable date was agreed upon and they were advised to devise a plan to advertise and put a theme in place for the day.
The charity selected by the student body was the RSPCA.
A dress up day was organised with students coming dressed in an animal theme and making a gold coin donation towards the event.
The JSC used the weekly newsletter and assemblies to advertise their event.
JSC Coordinator, Evie Fifis, says the representatives took their responsibility very seriously when organising and running the event.
“They wrote a presentation about the cause and educated the school community on the important role the RSPCA has in rescuing animals who have been mistreated and the costs associated with providing medical care.”
The school community also learned that part of the role of RSPCA is to provide evidence kits to assist police in charging those who mistreat animals.
The day was announced as a huge success with a $491 being raised for their cause.
“The Junior School Council is a wonderful example of community coming together to make a difference through student voice,” says Ms Fifis, “we are looking forward to planning more exciting fundraisers throughout the year.”