Memorandum by liuqingyan


									                   Innovative Learning Environments Expo 2
                                  Mercure Centre Ballarat, Tuesday 24 August, 2010.
                                                     Keynote Presentation transcript
Exploring Unlimited - the School and the Education Horizon
Vince Dobbs

Introduction: This podcast is brought to you by the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria.

Vince Dobbs:Unlimited was a very brave and quite innovative decision on the part of New Zealand government and the
            New Zealand Department of Education. The Minister at the time said it was right of the extreme of his
            tolerance and that happened was due to the fact that there was a huge amount of research happening in
            New Zealand around the quality of secondary education in particular, and the issues around the lack of
            student engagement in education and the decreasing numbers of students attending school regularly and
            achieving the outcomes that the government had expectations around.

             So they decided to try something a little bit new. Unlimited is located in the central business district of
             Christchurch in a seven-story high-rise building purpose-built for us by [inaudible]. They developed the
             flagship shop on the ground floor and were very kind in building the largest building that could possibly built
             on that site. We were located with forty students and an antique building across the road that was an inner-
             city space, we were able to rent and we initially started with forty students on four floors, oh sorry forty
             students on one floor and then got the second floor of the building as the role grew.

             So, in this inner-city precinct that‘s where education for four hundred students developed – no gymnasium
             obviously, no playground, quite a different concept around using the city as the playground. The city was
             also for the learning and when we get the technology going, we will have a look at a few photos around it
             because it is pretty innovative in terms of what the actual building structure like. The school had ten key
             tenants, and I won‘t go through them all, but you‘ll have a chance to look at it eventually, and those ten
             tenants encapsulated the values of the school and I know a lot of schools the values exercises or principles
             or vision, whatever you want to call it.

             One of the things that really is important for us is that, we go beyond just the words of the vision and identify
             what it actually means in practice. So we had this belief that students were the heart of learning and that
             teachers and students would have really strong and cooperative relationships and there would be a change
             in the sort of power-base that we work alongside each other and so that was really pivotal to the whole
             structure of the school.

             So in deciding well, this is one of our values, what does it look like? We came up with some key concepts
             around it and I think this is one of the missing links sometimes and in our valuing exercises, we don‘t really
             quantify what our school would be like in action, because when we know that, then we can hold our staff to
             account and live to those values. If they know and we know what it actually means. So for arguments sake,
             if we‘re talking about the strength of relationships, that would mean that Unlimited, that there was no anger,
             teachers never got angry with kids, that there was no raised voices, that we‘d remain calm, that there was
             no blame that we‘d focus on the student as we‘d focus on the student behaviour, rather than the student as
             a person. Those are things are really pivotal to the nature of a working relationship, which is quite different.

             And so there are some examples of the way we would actually look. It‘s a different style of relationships,
             which would mean that we‘re partners and again, Unlimited one of the key in active partners in education
             was the student‘s parents. So together we would work collaboratively.

             What I‘d like you to do is to have a very quick conversation with the person next to you around this little
             scenario. If as one of the values of your school, you say, something along the lines that, if we really think
             relationships are important, we need to have in place, a way of solving problems that might come up
             between people in the school. It doesn‘t matter whether it‘s parents, students, staff or any groupings of

             If a problem arises, we have to solve it. So, just for 30 seconds, just between you and the person or couple
             of people next to you, just come up with two or three key steps that you think might be way of problem
solving in the school. You‘ve identified something along the lines of—if a problem exists between the two
people then we go to that person to talk about the problem. We don‘t talk behind their backs. We don‘t
have that corridor talk, we do our best to actually try and built that, restore that relationship by talking to the
person for whom the problem exists for two people involved. Is that something people came up with?

Okay, if that doesn‘t work, maybe you might take somebody with you as a support person while you have
that conversation. That doesn‘t work something along the lines of maybe having some trained facilitators to
support you. So, if you really want to live the values and you have an expectation that that will become
embedded in your school, then that‘s the process that you need to do and I‘ll put up my hand and say, that
was something we didn‘t do well enough and on the message.

We knew what we wanted, we knew the vision, but we didn‘t really embed it with all the whole staff, and if
you visited our school, you probably will saw some variable results around how that looked like in practice.
The next thing is, when you‘ve got a style of relationships, which is fundamentally different, then the second
thing is the look of learning is actually got to be different and one of the real challenges around schools is,
we know the research tells us over and over, John Hettie‘s message tells us how important for teachers and
the relationship between the teachers and the students is to the success of learning.

And yet, one of the things we don‘t have the luxury of in education is time. We don‘t have the time for
teachers to actually really form those relationships with students. So at Unlimited we really worked over a
long period of time when the school started about how we might achieve that and by the time, we were up
and running after three years. We got to the point where we had the time available to students and teachers
to work on those relationships. If we used every teacher in the school APs, part timers and had what we
called home bases, different name for form class, but multi-level, no year levels and we said to the students
―Here are all the members of our staffs, you pick the one you‘d like to work with.‖

We ended up with home bases of only fifteen students, much easier to have conversation with fifteen than
twenty-five. Then what we did is, we gave that home base an hour a week as a whole with their learning
adviser, their teacher and we also gave each of those students thirty minutes per week one-on-one with
their teacher, so seven and a half hours out of a teaching workload linked to working one-on-one meetings
and of course, we used technology to record the details around that.

Immediately, the depth of knowledge about that student is a learner, a relationship with them developed and
the mentoring and coaching for them that occurred in those one-on-one meetings was really powerful and
at those meetings that‘s where the I.L.P. or I.E.P. for every student was developed. Our parents were a
part of that process, at least once a term. An IEP meetings parents occurred sometimes that happened in
the parents‘ home over tea, sometimes it happened after hours in the evenings and whatever was
necessary to get the parents to be able to work with them and their students, because they know the most
amount of their kids, they know that maybe--in year ten they had a math teacher, where the relationship
with the student broke down and that they were interest in maths fell away. That‘s really powerful
information in terms of ―What do we do next?‖ So relying and working with the family, a vital part of a
twenty-first century school.

So, fundamentally saying that coaching and mentoring is helping students learn and if we‘re looking at what
makes for successful learner, a confident learner, a capable learner we know that there are two distinct
parts to the learning that they need. They need what I‘d called a tool-box of skills, capabilities and
experiences because those are the things that will allow them to be independent life-long successful
learners. They need literacy and numeracy because we know that‘s the key to success in most things that
we do. They need to be able to work collaboratively, they need to be open to new ideas, they need to able
to problem-solve, they need to have the confidence to speak in public or work alongside other people. You
know all of those things that are embedded in VELS that are really vital to any student being a success in
any curriculum area or in any aspect of life and learning.

So that‘s part of our moral responsibility as teachers. To foster and create and nurture those skills and
capabilities. We also need to have the students have some degree of curriculum knowledge in terms of
their pathways. If you want to go on the study in university, you need a foundation of skills in some
particular areas, but not all students need the same set of skills and knowledge and this is where the
personalisation of learning comes. If you‘ve got an I.L.P. or I.E.P. process and you sit down, you talk to
your students about what it is they want to do, where they‘re going. If they don‘t know, mentoring and
supporting that process in terms of developing a program which will enable them to develop the skills and
experiences that will help them make some decisions or lead them forward, that‘s going to be a really vital
path of what is offered to them in the school.

The other thing is though we know that if we as people are engaged in decisions that affect us, if we are
consulted, if we are partied to the understandings around it, then our level of commitment is high. If people
keep on coming to us and just telling us what to do, it‘s sometimes very hard to be enthusiastic about some
of those decisions and that‘s true for us as adults as it is for students and giving them the opportunity to
actually choose the aspects of their learning that still fit within the perimeters of the curriculum that are
things that are meaningful to them that they‘re passionate or enthusiastic about, that‘s really powerful and it
means that their commitment to that movement is likely to be high and their engagement on this is high.

And once you start offering a program like that and then you start saying, ―Well, okay. We can offer those
toolkit skills in literacy, but we will run through four classes of those, and students can actually choose
which of those teachers is the one that they think they might have the best relationship with, and if there‘s
some subtle differences in the program, so that maybe for instance in maths one of the teachers might be
running a program that‘s got a much more hands-on real life focus. Somebody else might be running a
program, same themes, same concepts but more sort of abstract and conceptual for those students who
really like that style of learning, then immediately the students start to actually get the opportunity to be in
the right class for them - be it the relationship with the teacher, I like Andrew, so if I go to this class, I know
I‘m going to get on well because we got a really good relationship or I don‘t get on with this other teacher,
so I‘m going to elsewhere in order to ensure that that doesn‘t get in the way of my learning, or I really the
style of Maths, and you know, that‘s what I‘ll choose to be in.

So immediately we start thinking about putting together some of the classes at the same time, so students
get to able to make that choice, then you actually start getting kids into classes who behaves themselves.
Why would you misbehave in a class where you picked the program, you picked the style of learning that
worked for you, you picked the teacher, why would you not actually want to go to that class? So
immediately the amount of real learning time and rich learning increases and we were typical, mid-social
economic school with four hundred kids In Christchurch. The behaviour of those kids was outstanding and I
spent some marginal amount of time dealing with problems, virtually none.

It was one of the most remarkable things we discovered and when visitors came to the school, it didn‘t
matter which class they went into, which students showed them around, that was the sense that everybody
us when the feedback back, that this was usually hugely calm school environment. So we were able to
actually reduce the amount of teaching time in classes, because teachers didn‘t have student management
issues that took a lot of the time for learning. So immediately, a little less time in those formal classes, more
time to support to students on the one-on-one program, and students selecting courses.

Now, one of the art of really good teaching is, say, ―Here, look we‘re going to do literacy and numeracy, but
it doesn‘t have to be same ol‘ same ol‘.‖ If I sit with the students, we understand what it is we‘re trying to
achieve, but we co-construct together what the learning is like then immediately even though it‘s some of
that toolbox stuff that‘s a little bit more formal, the kids are still committed to that style of learning because
they‘re actually a participant in the decisions around it and I often hear people say, ―Oh yeah, but the
students really don‘t know what‘s best for them, I‘m the professional.‖ That‘s actually rubbish. Six years as
principal at Unlimited taught to me that you can believe and trust in your students. They do know about
their learning, they do know about their skills and knowledge.

Sometimes you might need to nurture and discuss it, but at the end of the day, we would say, yes first to the
choices. That was one of other element, we say yes first and then in your mind you‘re thinking ―How do I
hell am I going to do that?‖ So that‘s the style of learning that we put on place. It was about student choice,
it was about student needs and passion. The old style of learning that we‘re so used to was based on the
principle of ‗just in case‘. Now we said at school when I was at school and went through the biology
textbook that was like this and we churned through that chapter after chapter after chapter and hoped that
at some point in our life, just in case we needed that, we would have it out of our brain. Of course, five years
after leaving school, the likelihood of retaining that, it was pretty diminished in my case.

What we are in the world of is immediacy and you live in that world as much as our kids, you know you get
on the internet and you get really ticker off if you can‘t download your travel plans or the get onto the
Qantas site because it‘s so busy, at five o‘clock in the evening, you know, we‘re living in that world, where
we want instant gratification. One of the things that we need to do is to realise that around our students‘
learning today, this might be something that I‘m really interested in and if we keep saying No, what we‘re
actually saying is, the priority is just in case learning and the stuff that‘s meaningful and relevant now that
will engage you and that is of interest to you is actually unimportant and I think that‘s a really seriously,
flawed set of thinking, that we live in this world, we have choice.

A little metaphor is that you go into the coffee shop and the RNLs in the Grampians region are known to go
into Grinders every now and then. You know, Gary really likes a flat white, the skinny ones, I go as ice cold
and cream and with one sugar and Robin has a skinny latte and I have something different. Even in
personalised world, that‘s what really we want, yet, we are reluctant to throw over to the student the
opportunity for them to make their choices.

So how do you actually? Well, at Unlimited we ran half term programs, five-week programs so that all of our
core skills, the essentials that kids needed to be successful -- English programs, maths program, some
aspects of science and so on, they all ran for the whole year, but there were broken up into five-week
blocks. As a school, we abandoned year levels. Nobody knew who was at year eight, nine, ten, eleven,
twelve, thirteen, it didn‘t matter. You went to the class that was the right level for you in your learning and
there‘s was no stigma about that and it was never put on the book as you know, we can use to call year
nine and ten advanced courses and that‘s the little model over there.

Here‘s a year‘s program, Jan might be teaching English, two units in term one, so eight opportunities for
learning. Dennis is doing the same program, but with his slant on it. Robin is doing something pretty
similar same objectives but with a different slant. There orange there might be the map of a program of a
particular student, so start of term one with Jan, recognise that they don‘t like working with her much, that
was a good of a personality conflict, so Robin is the one who‘s spending most of the time with. So, an
individual course, people immediately say, but what if the teacher is unpopular, what if?

I mean, education is a quality experience for our students and if it‘s not, then we‘ve got a responsibility as
school leaders to do something about it. So, some mentoring and supporting of staff around some of the
things that mean that students don‘t like going to their class is important. Having said that, at Unlimited, we
found we had kids for all our teachers. So, we didn‘t have any allays, far possibly one that the students
didn‘t want to be in their home base and in terms of the teaching classes we found that there were students
who loved the mother hens amongst our staff who nurtured and supported them and made sure they got to
class on time with the eight year and had that lovely sort of relationship like that. Others with the staff who
really inspirational IT-savvy, really wanted to go to their classes, staff had kids who wanted to be with him.

I know that you can‘t read that, but it is just a little bit off the Unlimited website at the moment of the
courses. So, if you can imagine there‘s five colours on the timetable and this is the green colour and there‘s
a choice of about ten or twelve different courses on that particular time. Multileveled, meeting the needs of
kids no matter where they‘re learning and if we can just put through the next two. So there‘s a yellow band.
Okay, here I just want you to have a read, you can read that, there is the descriptor. So immediately when
you get the curriculum, if you are just going to put down that the subject is statistics well for many kids that‘s
a real turn on, isn‘t it?

Okay, so what do we do? We get the staff to market their courses by writing the descriptor, which is putting
it into a learning context that‘s relevant and meaningful. So, this is an example. Here‘s another one, in a
course. This course is really focusing on kids who really struggle to get to school, struggle with
engagement, lacked that personal confidence, you know really lacked life skills, fantastic thing run by Blaire
and Duncan that really tuned around the lives of about ten kids at a time, really fantastic. Next one please?
Okay don‘t read it all, that was an English course, where Batman movies are being used as a genre to
study visual images and the impact on us and the changing nature of Batman movies overtime.

You know, if I‘m a kid I‘m going to be grabbed by that. It doesn‘t matter whether let‘s say, we got VCAL or
VET program or whatever it is. If it is presented in a way which is relevant and meaningful to kids, then their
level of interest would be much higher than just, you know, were going to do movie study in English, well so
what? And somebody else might be using something completely different to assess the same set of
learning outcomes.

Alright, Damon was very high on the Asbergers, and he worked alongside my office. So entrepreneurship
is a really key skill in the 21st century world and Damon, it was fantastic business, had clients coming out of
his ears and we got him a business mentor who actually helped him to develop an appropriate charging
scale, because the overseas staff are really cheap and just before I left Unlimited, a transportation firm in
America had completely rebranded all their fleet of trucks, of which there were about four hundred with his
logos and designs, really remarkable and every visitor who came to Unlimited, I was whipped down to
Damon first because he couldn‘t look you in the eye, he was so shy and over a period of time his
confidence just came, incredibly. He was unbelievable, a different boy just merely because of the fact that
we were able to actually nurture him and do what was important for him which was actually that confidence
thing, an incredible story.

Neil Robinson was a band at our school and out of six hundred bands throughout New Zealand, they won
the Rockquest competition. The interesting thing was they named it Neil Robinson after a student who was
in school the year before. He came from a prestigious boy‘s school to us in his final year of schooling
because he wasn‘t allowed to go into the music room and find music instruments and this was the staff,
member present and he wasn‘t allowed to study just two courses during the year. He wanted to do two
courses because he got good marks graphics and art and design two separate courses in New Zealand, but
in New Zealand you have this high level called scholarship which is available to our top two percentage
students and he was unwell at the interview and the exams happened and he didn‘t get scholarship.

So, of course we said yes first, so Neil came to our school, the most gorgeous kid, and in those days we
had relatively slow internet with four hundred kids, accessing it at all the time, and with a microwave link
between the buildings then at some points it was quite slow. So he was always there at the end of the day,
you know. We were in glide time, so the students had to do five hours every day but you could start
anywhere between eight and ten. The beauty of that was they all came in at different times, so you don‘t
have to deal with everybody at once. You can even do one-on-one conversation with the kids at start of the

And anyway, Neil decided that he would do these courses and he did his graphics and his art and design
digitally and I understand from the marking panel that he was one of the first students in New Zealand, just
to do it totally as a digital course and I‘d be wanting to go home at half past six and Neil was sitting on a
work bench outside my office saying ―Oh, just ten more minutes or half an hour,‖ and after about almost
three months I got sick of this, so I gave him the swipe card for the school and he‘d let himself in and turn
off the alarm and stay there and work away and he was leaving after half past eight. He would always ring
me to let me know and his mother always knew.

The school was there for him and he just did so much work but he also was in our school band in
Rockquest. They got into the regional finals, but they didn‘t actually win that year, but the kids called the
band Neil Robinson after him because they thought there was no better exemplar of a successful learner
because he got the highest mark in New Zealand in graphics and he was in the top one percent of students
in New Zealand and art and design in one of scholarship in one of them, and he worked just hard as I‘ve
ever seen any student in his life worked, and now I understand he‘s an architect and a successful one at
that, okay.

One of the things that surprised us at Unlimited was that we attracted piles of kids who were really
interested in music. It is a school of nearly two thousand students in Christchurch which has a huge
reputation as the place to go if you are into music. It has a huge music program. And one year we got five
students come to us out of that program and when we talked to them and their family about why they
wanted to come to Unlimited, because we were very novice at music at that point. The thing that really
perturbed the students is they never were allowed to sing or play a song or piece of music of their choice,
that the program was identified and run by the teachers because they wanted to win the competitions or
whatever, and so they made the choices and it was huge turn-off to the students and it was interesting that
the next year, we got some of their jazz ensemble who left and we actually won the jazz competition and for
a little school at that stage were about two hundred kids as opposed to two thousand. I did have a smug
look on my face at that point.

Here‘s another project designed by kids. They engineered these ski-bytes, of course that meant they had
to go to the ski fields to try them out and then there were little story about that in terms of an overseas
companies that actually contacted us, the students, and real life learning, something huge. They saw it on
the internet and this have benefit the human seat that they wanted to actually, use these kids in what they
were doing as part of their advertising, fantastic thing.

So, I was actually going to call this presentation postcards from the ….had the technology and I happened
to be at the movies the other day, and I filled in some time and there was a stand of postcards—free
postcards and I pulled them all off and it suddenly hit me that every one of those had a message that was
relevant here and I don‘t know, that one‘s going to come up the postcard, but in actual fact it was a
postcard, the message out of it, is you need the tools and capabilities. I was really interested, you can‘t
probably read it, but I think it says in the first box, ―have you got your caper…‖

Anyway, literacy and numeracy – fantastic that somebody‘s recognised that it‘s the core to success even if
you‘re a superhero. So, in the 21st century, we need the skills and capabilities. So, how do we capture the
difference style of learning? One of the most amazing things that has happened in Victoria, I think and it‘s
just phenomenal is the Ultranet and you know about that and at Unlimited we developed, it was actually
Andrew who wrote all the software for a program called Inquire which actually was sort of our Intranet,
which was the tool we used for catching evidence. Students learned their ILPs the one-on-one meetings
with parents and one meeting with students, any meetings with parents.

So it‘s really vital we have those toolkits around us and the Ultranet is a phenomenal opportunity around
that. So how do we do it in practice? And that‘s always the hardest thing. I‘m really hooked on planning
templates and it sounds like it‘s a bit of bit contradiction really in terms of my beliefs about learning, but if we
don‘t know what it is we‘re going to do and we don‘t know what it looks like for the kids, then we can‘t do
that co-construction. So this is an example of a planning template. So the first line is the descriptor and we
saw those earlier at some of those examples about the maths statistics, that‘s the descriptor.

So we‘re not planning around the bland, boring delivery of the curriculum area with no particular life or
enthusiasm for kids in it. We want to know specifically what might that learning looked like. Obviously,
we‘ve got the VELS levels there and we‘ve got high expectations for students, having them listed, so we
know what we‘re aiming to do, recognising that some kids will be extended and some kids might need
support as well.

The next line is about resources, what are available in the school, pretty mundane stuff, typical of a planner.
This is the curriculum objectives, the knowledge, skills, behaviours towards the – you see this was the
unedited one. I spent an hour before editing it and now you‘ve got-- what are the things that you‘re going to
be covered? In schools, we‘ve got some initiatives coming from the department, which are really important,
literacy, numeracy, ICT Ultranet.

So when this unit, which of those things actually flow out of the learning so we can put them there. The left
hand column, learning outcomes, and expectations—this is vital. If you don‘t know what it is at the end of
these five weeks, that the kids are going to need to do to demonstrate they have been successful in that
learning, then you‘ve got no idea how to deliver it. So, these should be worded from the student‘s
perspective. Okay. I will be able to—if it was around a writing unit, it might be about-- I can write a sentence
on an idea. I can link several sentences together. I can create impact by writing a paragraph with particular
aspects, whatever you like.

But if you write it from a student‘s perspective and you share that at the beginning, at the end of this unit,
this is what you‘ll need to able to show me. How can we plan to do this together? And then the next thing is,
how do we assess this? Okay, if you are going to need to demonstrate it to me, what would be a good of
doing it? ―Oh, I could do that as a PowerPoint. I might make a wall chart.‖ You might actually want to teach
a little group those skills so you can demonstrate your understanding because you can share them with
someone else and immediately the style of assessment changes.

Once you‘ve actually downloaded this plan from the Ultranet because you know you‘re teaching this class.
The next thing before you begin your class is differentiating your learning. I‘ve got nine great Koori kids in
my class who are they? By name, because if I don‘t know who they are, how can I meet their needs? And
what am I going to do to modify this program for them? So I might have some different learning outcomes
particularly focused on them or I‘ve got several students with learning needs that I need to support within
my program, how do I do that? Well, I‘ve got some gifted kids, what am I am going to differentiate this
program? Who are they and what will be difference be?

In a particular unit, you might focus on girls and boys, what are the differences around their achievement
and what do I need to do to support this style of learning. Well the learning that‘s meant to be focused on
them as individuals. So that to me is a really powerful planning tool. Now, if I had an opportunity to have
more time, we‘d have looked today at an assessment tool around how do we capture the evidence around
that learning? And I‘m really into learning stories, and the final of this, I‘d moved these down the page, but
we‘ll just have a look at one.
         This is a learning story from a parent of a student of Unlimited and this is their reflection at the end of the
         year. You don‘t need to read it all, but if we start capturing that, that‘s as important as the data to me. Yes,
         it‘s essential we know where our kids in their learning. It‘s essential we know what their literacy, numeracy
         schools are so that we can actually provide a differentiated program to meet their needs. But the context
         around that is also important, capturing learning stories and parents and students, as we go is vital.

         Okay, this was one of the postcards. It just reminded me that there‘s always going to be challenges and get
         things wrong. That‘s not about that and that, this new thing we‘re trying is not working very well, so we go
         back to the old, no. What do we need to do to tweak that, to improve it and expect that there‘s always going
         to be some challenges. The third time around some of the things we tried in the early days at Unlimited, we
         went back to check and then worked because we managed them in a different line, had a different context
         around it.

         Okay, go deep and foster new learning. It says what‘s underneath that counts. So always check first and in
         term of our learning, we‘ve got to go deeper. We‘ve got to get underneath it, we‘ve got to get the real rich
         stuff, because it‘s very easy to do the superficial stuff well and think, yeah because the kids are quiet, that
         we‘ve done a good job. It‘s not good enough. We‘ve really got to get into the rich things that will extend
         each and everyone of them and to me, that‘s what the planning template that we‘ve just looked at helps. An
         exercise that I did as part of secondary futures, this government agency was set up to look at what New
         Zealand education might be in 2020, so this is about six years old.

         You know everyone keeps on saying, ―Oh we‘ve got too much put into the curriculum.‖ Why don‘t we start
         relabelling it? Aspects of English, ICT, stuff around communications because isn‘t this why we started
         using netbooks and the Ultranet and internet and so on about communicating. So start putting some of
         those things together. If we look at some of things like maths and science, they are tools to help us
         analyse, understand, and interpret the world in which we live. Society, culture and for humanity, the
         literature, whether we write the movies we make. They‘re a reflection of the culture in the world in which we
         lived and a lot of our social science stuff is around that and creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, in
         this world, if we don‘t think about those things we are never going to have the future generations solve the
         problems of this world that we actually have created over the past world.

         And that‘s why we‘re taking about innovation and having these innovation expos and again, I think we do
         real disservice to history because surely history is a thing that allows us to reflect on the past, to actually
         help explain what we‘re doing now and develop what we‘re doing now and give us the possibilities for the
         future. Surely, it doesn‘t matter whether it‘s in technology, whether it‘s in science, whether it‘s in food or any
         other subject. What we‘ve learned from the past should inform what we do next.

         One of the things as principals and school leaders is we need to be politically savvy, we need to understand
         the context. We know what‘s actually happening and the education system worldwide, the focus on literacy
         and numeracy. So we actually take that information and work with it and move forward on it. It‘s very easy,
         people say Oh the structures are too hard to break. No, they‘re not, we have to step out there and be brave
         and take risks and be politically savvy, take opportunities as they come, have high expectations. The
         bottom message, you want to be a billionaire, you know? Fostering our kids and create for them an
         environment where expectations are always high and again, it‘s too easy to teach to the middle, to run the
         class around what the average Jo Blow can do without it, she‘s sitting down and saying, ―who are my
         individuals that I really need to be supporting and how do we do that?‖

         I work two days a week in my last year in New Zealand with a school helping them develop a look of
         learning because I‘m moving into brand-new buildings and Jaime was one of the teachers who I worked
         with them.


Jaime:   Honestly before I got up here, I was almost afraid of the class. There was always a part of me, I was afraid
         of the kids, what they‘d do, how we‘d go and I think part of the reason was that, well first why I equated
         silence with all of this is working, but technology has opened my eyes, how we‘ve used technology here. It‘s
         opened up my eyes in terms of them being loud at times, but engaged, and the level of engagement is way
         higher. Yes, I‘ve had more heads down in the past and you know I have those kids, those freedoms have
         taken them off in different directions, but the level of interest is something I‘ve just never seen before and
         didn‘t know it was possible with these kids especially and I think you get inside that mindset, you know, do
             what you can do. You can cap their potential and I‘ve seen their potential go through the roof in some of
             them and it‘s coming along, right now it‘s just the minority, but I think it‘s something that we know all up.


Vince Dobbs:I mean that‘s hugely beautiful reflection on a teacher on past practice and really open about the fact that
            their teaching style now after working and some completely different and just really beautiful reflection that
            Jaime was happy to share with us. Put this one here, because this was one of other postcards. We‘ve got
            lots of teachers who know basically the craft of teaching, the day by day skills by which to deliver it, but
            what‘s what I‘d say is missing is what I‘ve called the art of teaching, you know the beauty of the experience
            of working with somebody, motivating them and encouraging them and the joy that comes from that and I
            know that I‘ve attended a number of sessions today where one of the things that meant a lot to me was to
            see the passion in the people involved, that art of what they‘re doing, the belief around surround that, the
            creativity of the work and it just blows me away and the challenges. How do we get that to be the majority
            of what‘s happening in our schools rather than the minority? Some of you happen to go to a little
            presentation at Nichols Point which is one of my schools and of the little linking to Josh who is a year 2
            teacher talking about how he‘s used technology in his year 2 class.


Josh:        When I was first teaching at Nichols Point I was looking for a way to engage students in learning, but also to
             engage myself in teaching, so I thought about what I could do that would interest me, but it would also
             interest the students and so ICT sort of filled that need. I first started using a Nintendo Wii as a way to
             engage students into my Maths sessions, so I‘d have the brain training games, to try to teach concepts like
             place value and counting with the support of my principal and my teaching team, we looked at getting some
             iPod touches.

             I had one student who I found it very difficult to get him to read at all and I presented with the iPod with a
             book on it then I just couldn‘t get him to stop. So when we finished with that session, we went through some
             question and talking about the book we just read. I looked over and he was still reading and I said, ―Yeah,
             it‘s time you stop.‖ We want to have a bit of discussion about this book and his head just stayed down, he
             just kept reading, kept reading and I thought this is amazing because at first I couldn‘t get him to read, but
             now I can‘t get him to stop.

             So I had some students that were very disengaging in their learning and from that they were presenting with
             a number of different behavioural problems and so to try him to overcome that we looked into creating some
             lifestyle projects that the boys could do using their skills in ICT so we created a news program and I just
             found that having that time together where they could really excel in their skills, really worked well. I mean,
             creating a positive experience for both the student and the teacher. Which then reflected again back into
             the classroom.

          We‘ve also tried to use music as a way to try engaged students in their learning. At the end of the enquiry
          topic on the school values, students created their rap song, those about the school value. And it was just a
          great way to consolidate their learning in a fun and engaging way.

Vince Dobbs:At the one of the day, being in a class with Josh was going to be a fantastic experience for those kids. And
            there are a lots of Josh‘s around and we need lots more of them, so that‘s part of what we‘re talking about
            today--being innovative, finding ways to engage teachers into the art of teaching, as well as, students into
            the art of learning. Take risks, expect the unexpected, don‘t be worried when things don‘t work, don‘t be

             One of the things we need to do is to have a plan about what we‘re doing and it doesn‘t happen just by
             osmosis although aspects of change will occur like that but that‘s going to be just change around the fringes
             but if we are going to really get into innovation, we need to know what we‘re going to do about it. Here‘s a
             template that we‘ve been using and up in Mildura which links innovative practice to school‘s AIP and down
             the middle, you probably can‘t read but it says things what‘s the need for this project, what will be different,
             what are the objectives, how does it fit within our school values and principles and so on, what we need in
             terms of funding and then term by term what will happen to implement that.
         So, this is actually, the documentation that person X is actually taking his responsibility around their
         program. So they‘re accountable for delivering it. There‘ll be one of these then for the classroom teachers
         in terms of what that practice might look like around innovation and so for instance, the Ultranet if that‘s one
         of your school‘s AIP goals, who‘s leading it? What it‘s going to look like, what are you we doing it and then
         how would that actually look for the person leading the Ultranet, how we look for the principal and how will it
         look for the classroom teacher in terms of being responsible to deliver on it, because this is where the
         accountability for change comes.

         If this is what we‘ve agreed to, in classroom walk-throughs or classroom observations as the tool for
         actually seeing is that the practice that I can see. In particular, if you go back to how I started about, if
         these are our values and this what it looks like, if you‘ve got those up in every classroom and it says we
         speak kindly to each into each other and you see a teacher yelling at a child, then you‘ve actually got the
         mechanism by which to actually say, ―Hey, this is what we‘ve agreed to. ―We don‘t use raised voices here,‖
         and that‘s how you embed that practice.

         Okay, that‘s how I was going to set the scene today, because the presentation was going to be virtual Vince
         and the real Vince but after the election the real whoever, I don‘t think is the most popular image, but I just
         want to go through, so you can see what Unlimited school was like. So these are the buildings.

VIDEO    [scenes of Unlimited school]


         Thanks everybody and I hope that brings you some motivation for your change.

Close:   For more information about the topics discussed in this podcast, please visit the Department of Education in
         Early Childhood Development's website,

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