Not a list (a reflective post with 2013 in mind)

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” “Fight evil, read books.” These two quotes are my favourites for the year. Pithy and profound, they seem to share great truths with some hope that one can start doing something positive right now. When so many issues […]

Our Democracy & Authentic Learning

 “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” I am tempted to write that nurturing democracy has never been more important. It always has been but one senses that in established successful democracies, like Australia, we take much for granted, especially regarding the practical cogs and mechanisms that […]

ABC Splash…

“…is a new education website for Australia, packed with 100s of videos, audio clips and games. Totally free to watch and play at home and in school.” ABC Splash, a potentially very exciting resource to “help you teach and plan for the Australian Curriculum“, launched yesterday. Annabel Astbury, the Head of Digital Education at the ABC, explains […]

Local communities & democracy

How do students learn about democracy? Engaging with the people and processes, ideas and the realities of democratic systems, in an authentic manner, has to be at least as important as historical or theoretical knowledge. Our school genuinely wants students to learn about civil society and our democratic governance, wherever possible, by having real experience […]

A Bigger Picture

Winston Churchill famously said that ‘democracy is the worst form of government except all the others that have been tried’. One can certainly bemoan the messiness of what can only be described as a serious deficit of coherent national educational strategy, ironically, at a time when ‘Australia is falling behind’ is often heard from politicians. […]

Not starting so well…

Australia is ranked #28 in this report* I think this issue more important than most in Australian educational and community life. Any political or systemic moves to improve educational outcomes are unlikely to be as successful unless addressing early childhood issues. Any Australian educator who reads this report will note the Finnish case study on […]

‘Great Teaching, Inspired Learning’ #1

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by jfcherry The discussion paper at the Great Teaching, Inspired Learning website is likely to have some educators and community members reflecting about the future. Many others are too busy marking pen and paper Trial HSC exams, organising the 2013 timetable, enrolling Year 6 and the plethora of teaching, administrative and pastoral […]

A Suggested Route

Finnish Lessons by Pasi Sahlberg documents how Finland achieved educational success without going through the arduous and controversial process of implementing competition, school choice, and test-based accountability. cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore Have you read it? Has you local member of parliament?

The Wrong Conversations

  Fairfax has signalled that the future is online Fairfax cuts 1900 jobs   Fairfax media, publishing the Sydney Morning Herald, since 1831, is the latest industry to be forced to change, perhaps too late, in response to the digital revolution. Many suggested the writing was on the wall 15 years ago and that tardiness, […]

‘Democracy Day’

The purpose of school is often debated, sometimes poorly, without any clear or  convincing Big Picture view being sketched for the community. Literacy and numeracy, technical and social skills are honorably mentioned, along with the needs of our economy. However much these skills serve the needs of the individual, it is how we belong effectively, […]

What’s important?

The ritual dance, between the NSW Teachers Federation and the NSW Department of Education and Communities, continues over how education is organised in our state. I do not propose to comment on my employer’s policies or my union’s response.   Educators must focus on what is truly important for our communities. Quite simply, our priorities […]

What can we learn from Francis Fukuyama?

The purpose of this book is to fill in some of the gaps of this historical amnesia, by giving an account of where basic political institutions came from in societies that now take them for granted. The three categories of institutions in question are the ones just described: 1. the state 2. the rule of […]

The aims of the system

This is not about people in the system but the system itself. It is difficult to know how the current controversies, the numerous proposed changes in the way education is organised in NSW and Australia, will impact on the next generation of children. A national curriculum, new funding arrangements for schools, the impact of technology on […]

“If the education system was destroyed last night…”

“What is a system? A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of the system. A system must have an aim. Without an aim, there is no system. The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system. The aim must include plans […]


I blogged about the Review of Funding for Schooling last year with some hope that positive outcomes would result. Here’s the official School Funding website where you can read David Gonski and his panel’s recent findings. The headline news is the recommendation that 5 billion dollars extra funding flows into the education budget but that […]

Australia and Denmark

Carsten’s blog post led me to write today.   cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by attila acs In the last few months, on returning from Denmark, I have often tried to articulate what are the similarities and differences between our nations. The events and coverage of Australia Day 2012 encapsulate […]

Intellectual Ancestries and Philosophies of Education

For educators dieting on a menu of progressive blog posts and viral education videos, it’s enticing to think that we might just be at a tipping point for transforming education. The Clever Sheep (back in April) cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by When I read the above sentence from […]

Year 10 English in 2012

cc licensed ( BY SD ) flickr photo shared by Josef Grunig I am excited at the prospect of teaching Year 10 English next year; the first time since 2006. The NSW Board of Studies has been instructed to abolish the School Certificate and there are great opportunities for teachers, with the extra time suddenly available, […]

The Melbourne Declaration, Democracy and School

…please strive to maximise [my daughters’] potential…so that they can contribute to and enjoy the fruits of living within an Australian society that is fair, just, tolerant, honourable, knowledgeable, prosperous and happy. Dr Paul Brock Goal 2: All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens          ‘Melbourne Declaration’ The Melbourne Declaration on the […]


The characteristic symptoms are walking or exhibiting other activities while seemingly still asleep. Some people mistakenly believe that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. It is not dangerous to awaken a sleepwalker, although it is common for the person to be confused or disoriented for a short time when they wake up. cc licensed ( […]

Conclusions: Waiting for Gonski (Part 4)

Each report reaches conclusions and offers advice to the panel. The following comments are not a comprehensive analysis of these findings but my conclusions about what is the best advice. I am interested in Australians having a ‘high equity, high quality’ system and my comments are to be viewed from this perspective. The politics of […]

The Education Revolution: Pledge

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore I am currently listen to the live stream from TEDxLondon of the #EducationRevolution. Here are the speakers and the Facebook page for the event. Sir Ken Robinson has just opened the conference with his usual inspiring clarity. His anecdote relating Peter Brook‘s beliefs regarding theatre, that you can strip almost everything […]

The Reports: Waiting for Gonski (Part 3)

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Oberazzi Have you read the reports commissioned by the Gonski Review of Funding for Schooling panel? I will briefly outline the ‘research questions’ each report was trying to answer or assess for the panel. My purpose is to clearly understand the scope of each […]

Education and Democracy

cc licensed ( BY NC SD ) flickr photo shared by Darcy Moore The vibrant student participation at Viborg Katedralskole in the wider life of the Danish community continues to delight and impress. The Danish election is on the 15th September and students are very actively engaged, in a variety of platforms, with the political dialogue of […]