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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Abstracts

The top five priorities for school libraries and their districts

January 2005; Pages 19–22
Stephen Abram

Schools should consider the introduction of a range of new technologies that enhance students’ access to information. ‘Federated search technologies’ are able to search a number of specified sources simultaneously – users or librarians select a group of resources such as library catalogues, Internet search engines and commercial databases. This technology can ‘speak to each source in its native language’ and display results as a single merged set. ‘Open URL resolvers’ integrate information about the cited resource, the user and the library's subscriptions and policies to facilitate access to web-based information that may not otherwise be immediately available. ‘Federated identity management’ automatically overcomes access problems such as IP authentication, passwords and library barcode numbers. Library OPACS can be supplemented by links to book cover images or reviews as currently provided through online booksellers.

KLA

Subject Headings

School libraries
Information services
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Elearning
Computer-based training

Parental safety concerns – a barrier to sport and physical activity in children?

Volume 28 Number 5, October 2004; Pages 482–486

A survey in New South Wales has found that more than a quarter of parents or carers actively discouraged children aged 5–12 from participation in a particular sport. Boys were discouraged from participation twice as often as girls. Among boys, the most discouraged sports were rugby league, rugby union, and AFL football. Girls were most often discouraged from roller blading, rugby league and soccer. Active discouragement of sports participation was found to correlate most strongly with gender, language spoken at home, and the existence of a disability. Efforts are needed to modify some sports activities so as to encourage active lifestyles. Campaigns to promote physical activity among youth need to allow for parents’ safety concerns.

Key Learning Areas

Health and Physical Education

Subject Headings

Injuries
Health education
Parent and child
Disabled
Sport

Where to now for LOTE

Volume 11 Number 1, February 2004; Page 17
Robyn Hodge

This article surveys the policy history of Languages Other than English (LOTE) in Australian schools, and considers some of the issues and tensions currently surrounding the provision of LOTE in schools. From a rather ad hoc beginning, LOTE has gradually cemented a place in schools curriculum, as demonstrated by its inclusion as a key learning area in the National Goals for Schooling in the 21st Century and the establishment of the National Asian Languages in Australian Schools (NALSAS) strategy, which saw the elevation of Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Japanese into the curriculum. LOTE, however, is vulnerable to the international political and economic environment, as well as to demands to see community languages continue to be maintained in a multicultural Australia. Hodge outlines and describes the many considerations that policy makers need to take into account when addressing this area, and looks at what schools and communities can do to sustain LOTE programs.

Key Learning Areas

Languages

Subject Headings

Languages other than English (LOTE)

Education under AUSFTA

Volume 11 Number 1, February 2005; Pages 14–15
Rob Burgess

Burgess considers the implications of the Australian-US Free Trade Agreement for the Australian education sector. He notes that some parts of the sector, such as Vocational Education and Training (VET), will be positively served by the Agreement, while others may have to guard against some of it detrimental effects. Accreditation in the VET sector will need to conform to United States standards, which may lay the foundations for training overseas students for qualifications which will be recognised in the United States. While this is advantageous to the VET sector, Burgess cautions that there may be weaknesses in the Agreement for the rest of the sector. For example, he claims that it is unclear if the provision of educational services will be immune from competition from United States companies and organisations, an eventuality which, if realised, could erode public education in Australia. More immediate, however, is the restriction on ‘parallel imports’, which obliges Australians to buy goods, such a computer hardware, from the Unites States, as opposed to cheaper alternative manufacturers based in other countries. Given the information technology needs of the education sector, this could limit the upgrading of information technology hardware and access to new technologies.      

KLA

Subject Headings

International relations
Commerce
United States of America (USA)
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
VET (Vocational Education and Training)
Educational certificates
Education
Education and state

Using humour to gain mathematical insight

Volume 10 Number 5, December 2004; Pages 244–250
George Gadanidis, Janette M Gadanidis, Alyssa Y Huang

Humour, the authors of this article note, is generated by the human ability to see incongruity in events, situations and relationships, and, as such, is a creative process which entails insightfulness. Insight, on the other hand, is the experience of suddenly realising the meaning, relationship or significance of phenomena which was not apparent prior to the ‘Aha moment’. It usually occurs after lengthy periods of engagement with problems and seemingly inexplicable occurrences. Using humour in mathematical classes can help students to become creative and insightful with mathematical problems and procedures, and it can transform the climate of a class and change its perception of mathematics as an uncreative procedural activity. Moreover, using linguistic based activities can also provide those students with little interest in mathematics a means to discover it in another form. The article contains recommendations for using mathematical jokes, comics, poems, interviews and skits in the mathematics classroom. 

Key Learning Areas

Mathematics

Subject Headings

Mathematics
Mathematics teaching

Exploring measurement concepts through literature: natural links across disciplines

Volume 10 Number 5, December 2004; Pages 218–224
Richard A Austin, Denisse R Thompson, Charlene E Beckmann

Through initiatives such as team-teaching and integrated learning, teachers are increasingly having to make connections across key learning areas and academic discipline boundaries. In primary school environments, generalist practitioners naturally work across disciplines, an innovation which, the authors of this article note, has not always been accommodated in secondary schooling. To help teachers make the cross-disciplinary connections, this article demonstrates how introducing literature into the secondary mathematics classroom can assist in making connections between the concept of measurement and the disciplines of history, economics and science, by considering the mathematical problems that are embedded in historical, economic and scientific events. The authors identify particular resources and describe, in detail, how they can be used to make inter-disciplinary connections.

Key Learning Areas

Mathematics

Subject Headings

Mathematics teaching
Mathematics

Sacrificing leaders, villainising leadership: how educational accountability policies impair school leadership

Volume 86 Number 5, January 2005; Pages 367–372
Marla W McGhee, Sarah W Nelson

At the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act, introduced by the Bush Administration in the United States, is high-stakes standardised testing, which allows the progress of students to be measured across school systems. This kind of testing has made it possible for schools, teachers and principals, to be held accountable for students’ poor performances, a circumstance which has produced much debate about the purposes of test data. The authors of this article examined the role that test data played in the dismissal of three previously high performing and well respected principals in the state of Texas, and consider the ramifications of the circumstances of the dismissal for the individuals affected and educational standards generally. A central claim of the article is that standardised test data does not capture the complexity of educational attainment, and therefore cannot be relied upon as the sole measure of achievement. It also points out that, as in the case of the principals featured in the article, expert leaders will in future be unwilling to accept appointments in schools with vulnerable populations – poor, non-English speaking background students – because of the risk of failure and dismissal.

KLA

Subject Headings

Assessment
School leadership
Leadership and management
Education policy

Embracing confusion: what leaders do when they don’t know what to do

Volume 86 Number 5, January 2005; Pages 358–366
Barry C Jentz, Jerome T Murphy

The authors work from the premise that 21st century managers and leaders are increasingly going to have to accommodate confusion in their management and leadership techniques. Often, leaders deal with problems that confound them by hiding their confusion or acting too quickly before being fully informed, and so run the risk of exacerbating the situation. In this article the authors make the case for leaders to harness confusion by implementing the Reflective Inquiry and Action (RIA) model. RIA allows leaders to acknowledge their confusion about a problem, and devise a means of understanding the problem, with the help of others, through constructing reflective interactions. The five steps of the RIA model are outlined in this article, and include developing the art of reflective listening and externalising the usually private process of intellectually engaging with a problem.   

KLA

Subject Headings

Leadership and management

Teaching against idiocy

Volume 86 Number 5, January 2005; Pages 344–351
Walter C Parker

Parker makes the distinction between the modern, conventional use of the term idiocy, to mean mentally deficient, and its meaning in ancient Greek, where it meant self-centred, introspective and unconcerned with the ‘common things’ or those things that affect the community. Parker sees the purpose of schools in democratic communities as being to educate for the ‘public life’, to prepare students for the demands of making a contribution to, and participating in, public affairs. In doing this, schools will have to counter a trend in developed democracies towards individualistic tendencies and insularity. But because of their diversity and the fact that they are public spaces, schools are well placed to achieve this. Teachers should make use of schools’ diversity to bring different perspectives to bear on the social and academic curricula. Students should be encouraged to deliberate on the problems they face as a community, and on those that are at the centre of the disciplines they are expected to study. In this way they develop the ethic of deliberation, which entails thinking about alternatives, listening, using evidence, and finding a just and acceptable solution to a common problem; and they are engaged in issues that are relevant, as oppose to ‘drill-and-cover curricula’.   

KLA

Subject Headings

Education aims and objectives
Education philosophy

Caring and elementary teaching: the concerns of male beginning teachers

Volume 56 Number 2, March 2005; Pages 119–130
Paul Hansen, Judith A Mulholland

Hansen and Mulholland are researchers at the Australian Catholic University. This article reports the findings of their research into how male primary teachers' ‘lived experience’ can contribute to an understanding of the notion of care, and the effects this understanding has on their perception and implementation of their roles. The researchers were mindful of the fact that the very concept of ‘care’ conflicts with traditional understandings of masculinity, and that this situation placed male primary school teachers in a position where they were, potentially, challenging dominant notions of masculinity and femininity and, in so doing, were often regarded with suspicion. In the prelude to their research findings, the authors survey the notion of care as it is dealt with in literature, providing a conceptual framework that considers the types of care and ‘caring roles’ which are available to teachers generally. The data for the project was collected through initial interviews with final year male pre-service teachers, some of whom agreed to follow-up interviews during their first year of teaching. Among the project’s findings was that beginning male primary teachers did experience limitations on their caring role because of both professional and societal pressures on males showing affection to children. This became less of a concern for male teachers, however, as they became more experienced, and realised that they could develop and transform other professional roles and expectations by attaching to them a caring dimension. For instance, for some of the study’s participants the realisation that empathy and understanding could be used in their capacity to discipline students allowed them to show compassion and care. This relational aspect of care would be extended to a broader notion of building trust and understanding with all students by other participants. As the authors explain, this relational caring is close to the ‘professional care’ that is part of a teacher’s role, regardless of gender, and it is this dimension of care, removed as it is from parental care and affection, that allows care to be seen as a professional ethic and not as an extension of being female, and therefore off limits to males. Defining and elaborating ‘professional relational care’ will allow male teachers to better come to terms with their caring role, and salvage the primary teaching profession from the perception that it is ‘an extension of women’s mothering roles’.

KLA

Subject Headings

Primary education
Male teachers
Teacher-student relationships
Female teachers

Wired, like totally

1 April 2005
Andrea Gordon

Teenagers are growing increasingly dependent on the virtual world to communicate, express themselves and explore their identities. Research over the last six years by Pew Internet and American Life Project in Washington has found that youth use cyberspace to collaborate on schoolwork, research and creative writing, as well as flirt and bully. Many use weblogs, online journals and chatrooms as 'confessionals'. Sometimes they pose as other people or take on different Web personas. A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation in the USA, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds, examined media use among a nationally representative sample of more than 2,000 students from Years 3–12. The study.found that children and youth often 'multi-task', going online while watching TV and talking on the cellphone and listening to music. Young people are devoting 'the equivalent of a full-time work week to media consumption', averaging almost 6 1/2 hours a day. Two-thirds use instant messaging, 39 per cent have a cellphone, and one-third have created a personal website or web page. Some researchers express concern that growing use of these technologies blurs the distinction between public and private for young people and gives them no 'reality check'.

KLA

Subject Headings

Adolescents
Children
Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Computers in society

An education refuge

Volume 84 Number 6, April 2005
Sarah Feltham

Selwyn Secondary College is supporting refugee students and communities in Auckland with a program offering bilingual and multilingual tutors. Three qualified teachers head the group of tutors whose linguistic skills cover the children and families' home languages and provide a strong pastoral care role. Special needs children are supported by a teacher aide on site daily. The program operates across the education sector, and includes New Zealand's only early childhood education centre in a secondary school. With three age groups from the community learning together, many parents are included in activities and information sharing. Families become comfortable in the centre and contribute to the workings of the centre and program, and benefit from community facilities available to them. The centre extends the sense of classroom and family with organised visits to supermarkets and art galleries. The centre helps refugee families deal with governmental bodies, accommodation needs and tertiary planning and has a presence at relevant ethnic meetings. The centre organisers have supported calls for similar programs in other New Zealand schools, but it should be noted that the pre-existing culture at Selwyn was important in the centre's success.

KLA

Subject Headings

Refugees
English as an additional language
English language teaching
School and community
Secondary education
School culture
Primary education
Parent and child
New Zealand
Multicultural education
Middle schooling
Lifelong Learning
Family
Early childhood education

ESL resources failing African refugees

11 April 2005
Jeremy Roberts

Rising numbers of Sudanese refugees to Australia have resulted in a call for more English teachers to support ESL students. There are approximately 900 Sudanese currently living in Adelaide, with the numbers rapidly rising. Nationally, the figure exceeds 11,000. The South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services estimates that 50 per cent of the new settlers are secondary students or young adults, directly impacting many of South Australia's secondary schools. The Department has appointed a community liaison officer to assist refugee children. The Sudanese face significant adjustment when they enter Australian schools due to limited experience with traditional written learning. The children come from informal school settings within refugee camps in Kenya and the Congo which primarily feature verbal information sharing. ESL difficulties with these students need to be addressed on a daily basis. New settlers are entitled to one year of intensive language schooling undertaken at high school level. With the increased need for ESL resources comes the need for increased funding. Some schools have been managing this shortfall in the short term by funding their own twice-weekly dedicated English classes for the Sudanese students.

KLA

Subject Headings

Refugees
English as an additional language
Africa
South Australia
Learning problems
Students
Multicultural education
Learning ability
Child development

Whole school approach is key to behaviour

Number 3, 1 April 2005; Page 7
Tim McDonald

The Behaviour Management and Discipline Strategy has provided 275 Western Australian public schools with funding totalling $64.5 million over a four-year period. Advice on the effective use of this funding has focused on shifting the spotlight towards a whole school approach, with best practice examples from schools being used. Schools are being encouraged to use evidence-based programs to tie in with their particular school's needs. Dr Tim McDonald, the secondary education program director at Edith Cowan University's School of Education, urges schools to consider a four-step process to allocate funds that includes an internal review, a whole school approach, evaluated research-based strategies, and the consideration of funding in the context of all other support available. Schools would be responsible for providing an evidence-based review of their implementation of these funds.

KLA

Subject Headings

Behaviour management
School culture
School discipline
Thought and thinking
Teacher-student relationships
Students
Leadership and management
Conflict management
Western Australia (WA)

School quality: school sectors and place

Jack Keating

In Victoria, and Australia generally, the current system of school education aggravates inequalities already present in ‘social geography’. Some politicians and other commentators understate the impact of social background on school performance, on the basis of evidence that teaching quality is the key factor in school results. However, teachers and teaching should not be abstracted from social factors that weight them. The weakest teachers and leaders tend to be in schools with the neediest students. The students in high SES schools tend to be more homogenous in their social background, academic achievement and preparedness to cope, so their teachers have ‘greater certainty that they will be able to concentrate upon the job of teaching, rather than class discipline, and they can be more certain of the level at which to pitch their teaching from one day and year to another’. Social background also affects student results through the relatively higher emotional security and stability of well-off homes, and the knowledge assets of their families. Students from poorer backgrounds are more likely to experience early learning difficulties that are compounded in later years. Various forms of selectivity, such as scholarships, specialist schools, selective entry schools and acceleration programs also aggravate inequality by concentrating high-performing students together, generating strong scholastic and achievement cultures, with great academic benefits. Patterns of social inequality are increasingly defined by place, which predicts academic achievement even more strongly than SES status. Inequality of opportunity overlaps with school sector. Independent schools have a high and growing proportion of high SES students. Catholic schools have a wide spread of enrolments across SES groups with a ‘hump in the middle’. Enrolments at government schools are also spread, but with a large and growing concentration of poorer students.

KLA

Subject Headings

Private schools
Victoria
Teaching profession
Teaching and learning
Students
State schools
Socially disadvantaged
School principals
School culture
School and community
Equality
Educational sociology
Classroom management
Catholic schools