Taronga Zoo Break Out

Taronga Zoo AnimalsTaronga Zoo Break Out 

Taronga Zoo Break out is a  story written by the Indigenous students of Singleton High School for the school Community in Singleton, New South Wales.  It is an example of how  symbol and metaphor can support the development of student self-awareness and engagement in the process of learning.  Developing a rich and local language for learning, that links to the collective consciousness of a community through metaphors and symbols, is a crucial prerequisite for deep inquiry-based learning. 

The story was  ratified by the Wonnaruah elders,  illustrations are byKerry-Anne at Black Butterfly Designs and the following people helped in the facilitation of the story writing: Tim Small, Bristol, UK and Deirdre Heitmeyer, Jennifer Campbell and Narelle McCormack of the Ka-Wul Indigenous Education Centre.

Professional Learning – Pathways to Impact in Social Science Research

There is a strange dynamic going which on the one hand gives schools greater autonomy and on the other centralizes some of the key institutions and models of school improvement (such as the National College) into becoming another arm of Whitehall.

Dr Kate Reynolds talks about the relationships between research and practice in teacher education


To read the full text of Dr Reynolds talk click here

Schools at the hub of community engagement

This seminar given by Tess McPeake of the Smith Family in Australia, describes a programme which engages parents in learning for themselves and their families. Tess described the evaluation of the project and drew on extant research which identifies important elements of learning in the community, which enhance student well being and engagement. Lea 2012 Evaluation of Smith Family Girls inthe Middle UoS Emerson Fear Sanders parental-engagement-in-learning-and-schooling

A video about Parent Yarns can be viewed here……

Parent Yarns—Learning Together: parent engagement in Australian schools

During 2012, Australia’s largest children’s’ charity—The Smith Family—organised a series of parent/school engagement activities in Northern Territory schools that aimed to skill parents to confidently communicate with each other and collaborate with school staff to resolve student issues. Known as Parent Yarns—Learning Together, these sessions were facilitated by ViTaL partners, Julianne Willis and Marilynn Willis, who introduced the concept of ‘effective lifelong learning’ in considering how parents can best support their children to succeed at school.  The Smith Family’s vision is to support communities in   improving life outcomes for disadvantaged Australian children, with a particular focus on the challenges of working in Northern Territory schools where over 40 per cent of students are Indigenous.

Seminar with Tess McPeake from the Smith Family on 20th December at 1630 in the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol.

Parents Yarns – December 20th 1630

Teaching for Effective Learning: South Australia Department for Education and Children’s Services

Visiting Fellow Chris Goldspink presents the research and practice from the Teaching for Effective Learning Programme in South Australia at the Centre for Systems Learning and Leadership at the Graduate School of Education, University of Bristol in March 2012.

The Teaching for Effective Learning Framework was developed as a part of ongoing enquiry in South Australia into the nexus between how teachers design and orchestrate learning and learner engagement. The framework was developed through consultation with international researchers, as well as local leaders and skilled practitioners, about the essential elements of quality practice. The framework provides means of measuring quality of practice through systematic observation of teaching practice and been demonstrated to be valid and reliable in this role. It supports the collection of data for research purposes but also provides a means for teachers to observe and be observed by peers, supporting deeper reflection on professional practice and providing a rich language about quality practice to support professional learning communities and individual professional development. Chris was involved in the research which led to the design of the framework as well as in its testing and use both for research and professional development purposes.