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here it comes!

January 6, 2013


I’m humbled at the way Wordle packs a squirrel’s-eye view of what will springboard me into my new role as Learning and Teaching Associate for 2013. The scale of this image is inversely proportional to my excitement.

Following focused consideration, hunting through the ACARA website to ensure alignment with Australian Curriculum content descriptions, reading Deal & Peterson’s Shaping School Culture, heady holiday hours spent dreaming what ifs and what might be, I discover an acorn anchors my bubble.

Here’s the Slideshare planning document:

“Testing” figures as a blemish bottom left in the Wordle version, but that’s probably due to NAPLAN and WAMSE schedules recurring in years 7 and 9. “Semester” also predominates due to the rash of English semesterised units.  

What else will be part of the mix?

  • Habits of Mind, goal setting and mindset leanings
  • Social skills built through collaborative enterprise
  • Learning to learn as a premise for continuing that sojourn in year 7 with letters and diaries, travels real and imaginary as we investigate the ancient world, drawing on ready comparisons between effects of change then and  pace of change now
  • Digital passports with citizenship rights conferred on those who collect visa stamps (badging)
  • Challenge based learning driven by inquiry processes
  • Cross-curricular connections as part of the design for learning
  • Blogging as a publication tool, learning catalogue and site of experimentation

A bit like what I’m doing here, really.


CC Image Source:

That’s the thinking, resourcing and planning. Dylan Wiliam is on hand for the assessment – which will come later – but it helps to maintain a grasp on the Big Hairy Audacious Goals, one of which is to activate students as owners of their own learning (Wiliam, 2011), and one of the techniques to cultivate this sense of student agency is by giving effective feedback:

If we are to harness the power of feedback to increase student learning, then we need to ensure that feedback causes a cognitive rather than an emotional reaction – in other words, feedback should cause thinking. It should be focused; it should relate to the learning goals that have been shared with the students, and it should be more work for the recipient than the donor (Wiliam, 2011, p. 132).

Clearly, what I’ve omitted to mention is the school culture, and that’s something I’ll need to learn.

The informal cultural network is a crucial component of a school. Leaders nurture and support the positive players of the network. Specifically, school leaders should know who resides in the central roles of the network; consult priests or priestesses at critical junctures, especially before launching major changes; provide stages for story-tellers; anoint heroes and heroines whenever possible; use gossips to pass information; and reinforce, nurture, and support the network (Deal & Peterson, 1999, p. 58).

Afterword – same song, different context (metaphor for organisational culture!):

Selected references

Bertolini, A. (2012). Are you ready for the Australian curriculum? Retrieved December 15, 2012 from Educator’s Guide to Innovation website:

Deal, T.E. & Peterson, K.D. (1999). Shaping school culture: The heart of leadership. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Wiliam, D. (2011). Embedded formative assessment. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.

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