Sunday, July 24, 2016

Improved Learning Program: approach and implementation

A continuous improvement continuum (rubric)

Improved Learning Program: approach and implementation

Starting -> Emerging -> Applying -> Infusing -> Transformative

Starting Emerging Applying
Approach No quality improvement plan or process exists. School leaders and teachers realise the importance of aligning leaning program improvement with the department's and school's mission, vision, values and strategic improvement plan.

School leaders and teachers work with each other to develop attainable goals within defined timelines. 
School leaders and teachers are committed to continuous improvement.

School leaders and teachers explicitly allocate time within their work commitments for learning program improvement.
Implementation No direction of what constitutes a continuous improvement learning program, and no quality planning is evident. Whilst the school's strategic plan has been communicated action to improvement is sparodic.

Not all school leaders and teachers have committed  to the whole-of-school improvement strategy. 
There is evidence that the school improvement plan has been taken up and has achieved intended goals, however improvement outcomes are  neither systematic, nor integrated school wide.

The leadership teams are seen as committed to improved planning and quality improved practices.

Leadership and teaching teams are collaboratively working on identified critical areas for improvement.

Infusing Transformative
Approach A focused whole-of-school strategic action plan is designed.

The whole-of-school strategic action plan is adopted by all teaching staff and learning faculties.

Collaborative teaching and learning teams are established.

Project teams are enabled to design implementations of improvement based support planning.
Continuous learning program improvement is an identifiable whole-of-school practice.

Continuous input into the outputs of the whole-of-school improved learning program strategy is readily available through Executive, Senior and Project teams.

Clear communications, and a refinement of approach that enables alignment of personal beliefs with whole-of-school improvement is evident.

Continuous feedback, employment of current academic research, best Distance Education practices; and learning participation, engagement and achievement data is employed to enable continuous improvement progression.
Implementation The school's strategic implementation plan quality is implemented and there is demonstrated evidence of improved online courses and teaching and learning practices.

The improved learning program's action plan is effectively evident. Ongoing improvements to the improved learning program are through and within teaching and project teams, executive and leadership teams.

All ongoing improvement iterations are communicated by the school's leadership teams to all staff, parents, and community.
The school's strategic improvement plan (vision, goals, and measurable targets) have been fully implemented within continuous improvement continuum.

Learning program improvement targets;
  • are shared and articulated.
  • are being reached. 
  • explicit learning program improvement plans are evident.
High Class Online Visible Learning programs:
  • Quality standards and whole-of-school expectations are known by all staff.
  • All learning programs are associated to an actioned continuous improvement plan. 
  • All learning programs demonstrate whole-of-school quality standards and expectations.
  • Whole-of-school quality standards and expectations are reinforced through leadership teams' systematic interactions and involvement with teachers.
  • A regular evidence based audit of learning programs is set to plan. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The 21st Century learner is the purpose

The 21st Century learner is the ‘moral purpose’ (Stiegelbauer, Fullan & Hopkins) for school transformation. The strategic aspiration is to provision online learning that empowers students to become ‘confident and capable global citizens’.

The moral purpose of improvement is to develop a teaching and learning service which supports the 21st century learner to become confident and capable global citizens. This overview introduces and reflects on the implementation of teaching and systems strategy of reform and innovation. The strategy is to shift learning programs from a print ‘n post didactic transactional service to a  collaborative high class online visible learning methodology.

Key Drivers for Improvement

  • 21st Century Learner - the Driver
  • Visible Learning.
  • Online Course Improvement.
  • The School Improvement Plan.
  • Department of Education Strategic Plan.
  • National Declarations (including Professional Standards and Curriculum).
  • Academic Research.
  • Community and Society (Expectations (and change).
  • National agreements Educational Research, Community and Globalisation.
  • Globalisation (Workforce Skills - capable and confident).

When all of the structural and organisational agents are focused in the same direction, then the aspirations of school improvement have much more chance of success (Hopkins).

Whole-of-School Action 

Improvement Actions
  1. 21st Century Learner is core to the improvement of learning programs.
  2. The learning program improvement plan’s 'essential focus' is to support differentiated,  engaged student centred and collaborative learning activity within the expectations of curriculum requirements.
Curriculum approach
  1. Problem solving.
  2. Inquiry.
  3. Differentiated scaffolding.
  4. Inclusive and intrinsically motivating learning materials/activities.
  5. Collaboration.
  1. This is a whole-of-school learning program improvement plan.
  2. The journey of improvement involves all teachers.
The development of whole-of-school expectations
  1. Quality online teaching standards.
  2. Quality online learning programs.
  3. Quality online teaching and learning relationships.
  4. Quality standards and expectations of employing online technologies.
Holistic professional learning
  1. Professional learning management team.
  2. Peer observation and collaboration.
  3. Visible Learning.
  4. Technology systems.
  5. Bronze to Platinum learning programs.
Leadership and workplace change
  1. Implementation of school vision and improvement plan.
  2. Support of teachers to implement school improvement plan.
  3. Enable teachers to employ whole-of-school improvement actions within individual professional enhancement plans.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Specialist Teacher shortage vs Expert Teachers

In senior secondary school there is a perceived understanding that to teach the subject properly you need a subject specialist teacher - in simple terms a generalist teacher is not sufficient.

The claim that many teaching positions are held by teachers ,who are not trained in their subject, implicitly point to the notion that non specialist teachers deliver a lesser service.

There is little doubt that many schools employ teachers to teach subjects who are not trained in the subject, but I do not believe that they automatically offer a lesser service

BUT there is no easy way to measure this assertion.
  • How do we measure the learning impact of “Out-of-field” teaching?
  • Do we solely evaluate on the basis that:  students learned the content, they passed their exams, and they achieved good grades? 


However - is there a bigger problem?
  • Is the real problem about developing expert teachers, who love teaching students?

Love of Teaching

I find it difficult to ascertain a measurable impact that can differentiate between an “Out-of-field” teacher who teaches with a love of teaching and a subject specialist teacher who is a dispassionate teacher (who's passion is in the textbook rather than the student as a learner)?

Presently, the major cause of the subject specialist grief centres around  STEM subjects -  science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  This correlates with a concerted political effort to raise the numbers of STEM subjects there seems not to be enough specialist teachers to teach them. It is a national urgency.

A similar situation  was raised a few years back.  The number of students completing an Asian language in Australia has declined as has the number of Asian language teachers. This decline of student enrolments and fewer Asian language specialist teachers is a big issue in what is termed the Asian Era. This problem has not been resolved.

The present specialist STEM teacher argument seems to be connected to a general back-to-basics agenda. The benefits on improvement through structural basics is also unsubstantiated. Specialist teachers, small classes, students in uniform and streaming those who can from those who cannot will not gain the save the nation benefits perceived.



There is a significant logistical lag between training the sufficient number of subject specialist teachers and meeting the immediate need. As an infrastructure and like the Asian language problem, the need may not be met.  Even training the specialist teachers doesn't automatically solve the problem as the de-employment of non subject specialist teachers already employed within the school systems will take time. Is this ambition a 10 to 15 year endeavour?

Whilst there is a call to employ subject trained teachers, the relationship between student achievement and teacher qualifications is not tightly bound. The investment and years to get the subject specialist teacher into schools doesn't guarantee improved student achievement.

What interests me is the relationship between teachers having a deep understanding of the subject, the passion to teach and commitment to provide a learning environment where students engage learning.

The issue to me is based on whether "in" or "out-of-field" teachers can demonstrate that learning is relevant to the students everyday life. Detached academic teaching doesn't cut the needs of present day students.

If the basis of learning is attained from the traditional didactic emphasis of textbook instruction, student engagement will wither.

Generalist and Subject Specialist

My argument is that the underlying problem is not about whether there is a shortage of subject specialist or non-subjects specialist teachers. It is about the teaching practice itself.  The problem concerns the development of human capital. That is - the development of teachers as expert teachers who have a love for young adults and a love teaching young adults. Passionate and engaged teachers.

Within this digital era content is far cheaper that the costs of hiring a teacher. The biggest investment is in the teacher. It is important that the teacher is willing to improve quality of practice and advance their application of professional practice that will  motivate and engage student learning practices. Off the shelf subject specialist teachers will not advance learning if they are not motivated to engage a love of learning.

Expert Teachers

Expert teachers are those who can engage students to manage their learning progress and understand achievement processes. It is not that quality of content doesn't count. It is just that content is no-longer king. Content is the platform to a higher purpose and that higher purpose is empowering students learning capability. Content is not the higher purpose.

Expert teachers focus on the development of students  to become successful learners. In short, a successful student is one who can manage their own learning outside of the teacher's control. Student's need to have this capacity to be part of this contemporary world.

This is important, as society progress towards artificial intelligence, augmented data infused virtual environments and automated knowledge banks,  the need for people to managing their learning progress will heighten.

I believe that senior secondary schools should focus on hiring teachers who can improve their teaching practice over teachers who limit their improvement on their quality of subject knowledge / content. Schools need teachers who can think about learning and who can ask the right questions rather than one who thinks about content and tells the students the right answers.

Expert Teachers and Subject Specialist Teachers - Collaboration

To achieve this schools will need to network and enable teachers to work across sites within professional learning groups. The time has come, where subject specialist teachers are not site bound by any one school. It is imperative that their knowledge is shared within learning groups comprised of expert teachers and subject specialist teachers. School leadership must sponsor teachers to work alongside each other, sharing their practice and subject knowledge, to observe each other teaching and sharing professional feedback.

School leadership needs to end the competitive silo mentality

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Despair Embrace

Despair Embrace - It is about cultivating caring.

Title: Despair Embrace - Cultivation
Year: 2014
Medium: Autodesk SketchBook, Samsung Note 2
Artist: John Bennett jjfbbennett
Series: Calligraphy Bug series
Image version: png

In moments of time divinities perpetuate our consciousness and knowing activity. Nourishing each other and feeding each other through touch. Unspoken acceptance in the want of knowing that this trust is acceptance and celebration of mortality. Greatness of life is only fleetingly expressed within an intimate blanket of being together embraced together in isolated inclusivity.

The embrace nurtures us back to health. It pacifies mistakes, errors and transgressions.

In languages not transcribed, deeply rooted in tacit knowing, abstract understanding and unspoken shared need expressions of despaired love is not demonstrated as a display of agreement, but through abstracted participation of intimacy. The unconditional embrace transcends written literacy and procedural agreements inspiring greatness. You can do it. I am with you.

  • How do we embrace within the hierarchical structures of regulated institutional behavior?  
  • Are our institutional divinities the protectors of cultivation? 
  • Are our civic services embellished with the unspoken artifacts rooted within the despair of mortality? 
  • Can our learning institutions nurture our youth with empathy and shared sorrow?

With our children in our arms we provide instruction. Instruction to become part of our society. Our processes are firmly based within the paradigm of transcending experienced knowledge onto the innocent

 Goya had fallen seriously ill and his doctor, Eugenio Garc’a Arrieta, nursed him back to health.
Mother-Goddess associated with Demeter

The maternal female figures with a child in their arms are associated throughout the Mediterranean with nourishing divinities such as Demeter, the goddess of the Greek pantheon, who was the protector of cultivated lands and of wheat.
"I believe in the immortality of all creatures."

Friday, July 15, 2016

Godin Youth

Godin Youth by John Bennett. Acrylic painting. 30cm x 20cm
Godin Youth acrylic on stretched canvas

Lounge Room view (not to scale)

Mouth and nose (detail)

Right eye, eye brow and nose (detail) 

Godin Youth Digital Image
Original sketch fr acrylic painting

Whilst similar to the digital sketch, the acrylic painting is richer is color and tone.

Godin Youth Digital Video

Godin Youth Poem
Godin Youth, it has never been easy.
It looks like you have been here before.
But you haven't.
Wake your seniors from their slumber, before you begin to drift.
As sleep walkers, they are only accepting what may have been.


Artist: John Bennett (JJFBbennett)
Medium: Atelier acrylic paint
Size: Stretched canvas 30cm x 20cm
Year: 2016


  • Painting surface has been fixed and varnished
  • Painting can be purposed commissioned to scale
  • Contact: JJFBbennett art 

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Godin Defence: Why can't everything just stay the same?

Life promised so much but little favour came my way.
And over this vista of nothingness I claimed what is mine.
I waited for all of the promises and yet none did come.
Others more fortunate gained splendor, but splendor was not me.
And I gained self respect on other's misfortune.
But your misfortune is not of my concern.
Count your blessings and rot in your tragedy.
Yes it will end in tears should you trespass my den.

I do not travel,  my miracle is here.
I remained close to my heritage.
This colonial might.
This is God's country, he gave it to me.
I will deny you entry.
You are contagion, you are far less than me.

There are trees in my backyard, insects and lizards.
Rodents scamper at my feet and bats by my ears.
My dog is obedient.
In silence we sit.
Impatient and anxious , I do not want change.
In dark moments I tend to my spite.
With bottle in hand I seek like-minded.

A good  man I have been.
I have done no wrong.
My house is clean.
My garden is tendered.
My lawn is mowed.
My animals are fed.
My hatred is strong.

This is my patch, it's where I belong.
This is my home, you are not welcome.
This is my country and I trust no other.
Why can't everything just stay the same?

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon go : Get out and about and learn

Went out Pokemon hunting with my android cell phone.
In case of accident I always take some friends.
Then it occurred to me this, was something I really enjoy.
This urge has been around for years.
I need to get out and about and discover our environment.

Our children are locked within the boundaries of school.
They are all locked in and hard skill assessed.
Placed on a conveyor belt and sorted into hierarchical pathways.
Public school stripped of all that is creative.
Even the arts are disciplined.
In school -where is the sense of fun and play and being part of it all.

What if formal learning was stationed like Pokemon go.
Where youth could congregated and learn in multiple locations.
Where learning encouraged youth to collectively gather and play.
Where unstructured activity blended with formal knowledge.
Where youth gained freedoms to self-govern, create rules, problem-solve and resolve social conflicts.
The employment skills of tomorrow require youth who can can
The classroom of today will not allow for the development creativity and innovation human capital.
There is a need for student learning, to shift away from our controlled classrooms  regulated by 'hard' achievement assessment.

Almost all youth play games in some form or another.
Lets let students play games in school.
And design learning activities that go beyond the school boundaries.
Wanna catch some pokemon?

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Leadership and the sledge

McGuire: In fact I reckon we should start the campaign for a one-person slide next year. Caroline Wilson. And I'll put in 10 grand straight away - make it 20. [laughter] And if she stays under, 50. [louder laughter]
What do you reckon guys? Who else is up there? I know you're in JB?

James Brayshaw: No, yep, Straight in.

Danny Frawley: I'll be in amongst it Ed.

McGuire: Is Duck there?

Wayne Carey: Yes, I'm here mate.
[and later]
Frawley: I'll actually jump in and make sure she doesn't — I'll hold her under, Ed.

McGuire: I reckon we could charge 10,000 for everyone to stand around the outside and bomb her.

Damien Barrett: I'm on Caro's side now, Ed. I'm on Caro's side these days, Ed. [indecipherable]

McGuire: She'll burn you like everyone else, mate. She's like the black widow. She just sucks you in and gets you and you start talking to her and then bang! She gets you.
And then McGuire ends: "It'll be magnificent. I think we should do that next year. It's all good for footy."

Leaders lead
Without doubt great leaders seize the opportunity within the time and the place
Leaders recognise the situation
Leaders recognise the endeavour

I grew up loving Australian rules
However never has the media leaders of Aussie rules been so recalcitrant
They fell into a mindset of pack. Circled their prey and pounced.
They engineered a dialogue of repulsive threat
Passive sexism
Passive violence
In a minute this pack diminished both the charity and women
Oh we were only joking.
And they laughed.

It is about time, the sledge was taken out of the game.
It is about time, the mantra of everything is fair game, is harnessed.
It is about time, that - oh I didn't mean to offend is not accepted.
This attack surfaced and demonstrated collective culture.
That needs to be cut out.
This is about systemic values and leadership.
Cut this culture out from where it gains voice and bring in a new voice.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Turbull V Shorten Rabbit V Duck season

Australian Political Leadership: pre & post elections 2016

Rabbit season
Duck season
Rabbit season
Duck season
Rabbit season
Duck season
Rabbit season
Duck season