July 18, 2011

The mid-year intensive

How have the holidays managed to end already?  Back to school in 9 hours!




I spent the past week back at the University of Melbourne for our mid-year intensive.  12 hour days of lectures, followed by conversations late into the night about education and learning.  That’s what happens when you get a bunch of nerds together.   


Not sure how I managed to do it for 6 weeks straight when I first started – felt the familiar signs of delirious hysterical laughter and information overload on day 2 this time.  It was so good to see all the other associates again and get to know more of cohort 1.  


I recall having a drunken conversation at 1am with one of the cohort 1 associates about her organisational system as the year level coordinator.  She used to work at one of the top management consulting firms and found teaching much, much more difficult.  A lot more rewarding though.  We need more talented people to go into and stay in the education system.  It angers me that teachers are disparaged and it is heartbreaking to hear about how our educational system is failing children.


I listened in on the clinical praxis exams of some associates and although I know that my school seems to be falling apart, some of the schools they described were just as appalling.  One of the associates had an English as a Second Language student who she only found out halfway through term 2 that he was deaf in one ear.  Another one is working in a classroom where there are not enough chairs and students throw chairs around with hardly any consequences.  At my school on any given day, half of the school population could be absent. 


WHY IS THIS HAPPENING?  WHY ARE THERE NO EFFECTIVE POLICY SOLUTIONS?  This issue relates to huge underlying systemic reasons.  We need a movement of people engaged in confronting educational disadvantage.  


My brain is stuffed full of so much information.  We heard from some brilliant educators doing some great stuff in the field.  I learnt about giving feedback from a Pavilion School teacher, literacy strategies, group work, setting assessment, teaching numeracy across the curriculum, Indigenous education, differentiated instruction, and behaviour management.  I loved being back at university and being surrounded by so many people who are passionate about the same issues as I am.

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