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Hat-tipping the enablers

November 15, 2014


I was privileged to be a student in Elizabeth Jolley‘s Creative Writing classes as an 18 year old undergraduate enrolled at what was then known as WAIT. The course notes suggested we would be studying radio drama, but I learned more about people, relationships and learning than course descriptors could encompass. I see now that Elizabeth was one of my enablers.

The same distinction applies to Tim Winton whose early Vogel award-winning fame led to a stint for one semester only as creative writing tutor (1983 – same institute. Lucky me, as well as other nascent writers – Doreen, Kevin, F. Scott…).

Of course, I cringe at the rubbish I used to collect in journals and later [insert much editing] forwarded to my tutors for marking as a student. They were helpful, courteous and sensitive in their feedback and, for that, I am grateful. Hopefully, it is the same respect and mindful attentiveness I extend to students whose work I am now in a position to read/ view and review.


So, to Genius Hour presentations this week for which I doff my hat to Joy Kirr.

This visible thinking tool in its original form was a happy discovery on Twitter (thanks to @TeacherTuttle). Along with our students (for their feedback throughout this process), and colleague MR who edited documentation, more hat-tipping to the enablers:

Continued exploration while planning for this process yielded

Poster version of 5 Simple Questions looks like this:

5 simple questions

Here’s our task rubric and cover page:

What did our students share? In summary:

Growing up in Australia. A film about the passage from age 12 to adulthood. Film trailers. How to apply make up. The difference between murder and self defense. Growing up from joey to kangaroo. Australian Rules football (two of these). Rap songs. Horror tales. Stories about students, school and teachers. Sport and why it is good for your brain. Why online gaming makes you smarter. Presentations on dancing, motorbike racing, onesies, goldfish, Tasmanian tigers, rugby players, animation characters and goats.

Strengths: Diversity of topics. Level of interestingness. Engagement lifted. Energy amplified.

Weaknesses: Some opted out of presenting to peers. Messy/ rubbery expectations and subsequent deadline stretch. Emotional tensions grew.


Questions remaining:

  • Were my expectations too high/ unreasonable?
  • What to do as follow up with those who refuse to speak?
  • Will we go there again?

Hmmm. Yes, but different.

Currently we are exploring curiosity as a frame of reference. Might look something like this thanks to Mike, Sammi and Scot. More enablers and yet another, closing, heartfelt hat tip.


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