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Future focus, culture & literacy

November 1, 2014

Consider the landscape: this is a tale of three professional learning activities.


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On Tuesday, colleague WC and I slalomed down Great Northern Highway to see who’d be first to arrive at Belmont City College. We both referred to Google maps, and reviewed routes (Great Eastern Highway bypass? Through Guildford?), but she overshot the Fisher Street turn-off while I arrived as parents pulled away from the kerb. School was out.

I was grateful that WC charged my iPad from her car’s cigarette lighter.

I was even more grateful that our conversation – more like private audience – with David Price navigated through

  • open learning
  • education policies
  • pursuit of student engagement
  • impact of disengagement
  • correlation between innovation & engagement
  • outsourcingautomation 
  • how to prepare for uncertainty?
  • High Tech High
  • W.E. Deming
  • Sugata Mitra
  • flat companies eg Valve
  • theories of social learning

David shared 4 indicators for effective learning from learning frontiers:

  1. Placed within their (learner’s) world
  2. Purposeful
  3. Pervasive
  4. Passion-led.


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Frightening statistic: Only 11% of employees around the world are engaged in their jobs.

New (future focused) purpose of learning: Foster a learning culture. How? Fail fast and integrate – what works will stick. Use the right levers for your context.

Suggested reading: Ron Berger’s An Ethic of Excellence + this paper;

Suggested viewing: This is Brighton made by Caleb Yule aged 13;

Useful suggestion: Design a focus program for Years 7-10 MESS subjects. Modify the curriculum and cater for those with learning difficulties.


Our Think Tank on Thursday focused on Year 6-7 transition. Fewer notes here as I was absorbed in learning as a social process. Google docs was an effective tool for collaboration.

Here’s a selective/filtered/framed Theatresports session:


The literacy Think Tankers were so engrossed that they lost track of time and nearly missed our plenary.


  • We had fun.
  • Loved sharing feedback.
  • This is an evolving work in progress.


Building a Culture of Literacy Achievement in Secondary with Feni Bembridge yesterday at Statewide Support Services (previously Padbury SHS, now decommissioned).


  • Travel as a metaphor for learning where “students can be seen as moving countries each day” between classes. How do we achieve continuity? [Common terminology/ shared tools & frameworks/ build common strategies across the school]
  • Look at the data: Current year 8 & 9 students. Which students or cohorts are targeted for intervention? Establish whole school processes to target their OLNA achievement
  • Survey your community – include everyone to generate buy-in. Encourage dialogue around literacy requirements [spelling, sentence structure, grammar, paragraphing, critical thinking…]
  • Focus on making meaning; we are judged on how well we as learners make meaning.

Agave Inv.

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Feni’s essential preconditions:

Must be easy to implement.

Explicit focus on literacy and learning.

Time efficient.

Built-in not bolted on.

We undertook modeling with 3 useful steps applied to a glossy brochure:

  1. Preview the text
  2. Deconstruction
  3. Reconstruction.

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Analysis of codes, conventions and meaning-making ensued.

Now to the interesting feature: School stories. Like ours – in #2 above – but in the words of participants, and contextualised to show how strategies underpinned culture. Wonderful format, especially as so many announced reflective statements by intoning

Warts and all.

Willingness to fail, review and refine rendered the schools’ processes compelling. No one was finished or content with outcomes which served to reveal fresh challenges. Hiccups were laid bare.

What impressed: There was immense generosity in the act of sharing insights so that others could benefit and learn.

One Comment leave one →
  1. John Cheid permalink
    April 9, 2015 4:14 pm

    Glad you liked my ‘warts and all’ discussion. I was the speaker from Lockridge SHS

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