Friday, September 18, 2009

The Spirituality of Teachers in Catholic Schools

The Spirituality of Teachers in Catholic Schools prepared by the Christian Research Association was commissioned by the Principals' Association of Victorian Catholic Secondary Schools to explore how teachers in their schools understood spirituality and spiritual formation, how this related to the ethos of the schools, what they saw as contributing to or detracting from their spiritual development, and in what ways they felt the schools could better contribute to the teachers' spiritual formation.
Available for borrowing from the TLRU via email to

Environmentally sustainable schools

Recent web resources
How green is your school?

Around 7,000 schools in England have signed up to the Eco-Schools programme and more are joining every week says the Teacher Expertise website. Set up in 1994, the programme is run by the Foundation for Environmental Education with the aim of involving young people in finding solutions to environmental and sustainable development challenges. It is a concept which is proving highly popular. It sets out to show children that by taking small steps, such as recycling or composting, they can have a big impact on the global environment as well as their own community. For the full article on this topic click here.

Planning and funding environmental improvements to your school grounds

This article from Teachingexpertise website summarises a number of environmental programmes in the UK. One programme run by REEP (Religious Education and Environment Programme) aims to provide unusual and thought-provoking resources for teachers promoting the links between religion and the environment. It works with all faiths and is non-denominational. Central to its work is the REEP awards. These are open to schools in England, Scotland and Wales, regardless of age group or spiritual orientation. The task is to design a garden that reflects spiritual and community values and to submit the design using ICT. The website provides free resources to schools and the organisation also holds training days to support entrants into the garden awards scheme.

Eco school project at Kirkley High School
A case study of Kirkley High Schools plan to establish itself as an eco-school. To achieve the aim, local and global environmental issues had to be developed through discrete curriculum time, through cross curricula links and through extra- curricula activities.

Other online resources
On Holy Ground
This site enables easy access to an ecological vision statement (On Holy Ground) for Catholic Schools and agencies.
On Holy Ground provides a rationale and planning framework to assist catholic schools and organisations to become more ecologically sustainable and live out their ecological vocation
Catholic Earthcare Australia
Earthcare Australia's mission is to help promote understanding among people that Creation is sacred and endangered, and must be protected and sustained for present and future generations yet unborn.
NSW Sustainable Schools network
Catholic schools are joining the NSW Sustainable Schools community
Australian Sustainable Schools Iniatitive
(AuSSI) involves a holistic approach to education for sustainability with measurable environmental, financial, educational and social outcomes. It implements improvements in a school's management of resources and grounds and integrates this approach into the existing curriculum and daily running of the school. Students participate in an action learning - or learning by doing - process.
Sustainability Education (Aust. Govt Dept of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts)
Sustainability education develops skills, knowledge and values that promote behaviour in support of a sustainable environment. It is not confined to formal schooling. It also occurs in a wide range of non-formal education settings at work and at home.
Living Sustainably: the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability
The aim of Living Sustainably: the Australian Government's National Action Plan for Education for Sustainability, launched in April 2009, is to equip all Australians with the knowledge and skills required to live sustainably. The plan has been prepared in conjunction with the National Council on Education for Sustainability by the Australian Government Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.
Education for Sustainability in School Education
This site aims reviews a number of programs to attempt to answer the following questions:
Cleanup the world

Cleanup Australia

Selected resources held by TLRU
Available for borrowing

  • The Garden Planet DVD
  • Awakening Universe DVD
  • Care for creation
  • Ecology at the Heart of Faith
  • Leaving smaller footprints
  • Best practice in environmental education in New South Wales schools
  • Activate your students : a problem-based learning approach to sustainability
  • Cradled in human hands : a textbook on environmental responsibility
  • Literacies in place : teaching environmental communications
  • Blueprints for greening schools : principles, policies and practices for environmental education in Australian secondary schools
St Andrews Marayong, John Paul II school and their environmental activities

Find more videos like this on Experiment

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Staff Bullying in Australian Schools

Research on Staff Bullying in Australian Schools has recently been released in a report "Investigation of Staff Bullying in Australian Schools" by Dan Riley, Deirdre J. Duncan and John Edwards. It is the result of national survey which gathered responses from primary and secondary schools in both the Government and non-Government sectors.
The report covers:
Who are the bullys
Who are the targets
What forms of bullying of staff occur
The effect of bullying on the individual

This book is available for borrowing from TLRU or you can purchase a copy for your school from the Co-op bookshop for $19.95.

An executive summary is available for viewing online via University of New England Schoolbullies website.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Learning stories / Narrative assessment

Learning stories
This document by Professor Susan Hill, Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education, University of South Australia describes the use of learning stories in capturing the context of the learning environment that appears to be enabling or constraining learning.

Learning and Teaching Stories: New Approaches to Assessment and Evaluation
Podmore V. & Carr M. 1999. Paper presented at the AARENZARE Conferenceon Research in Educaion, Melbourne, December.
This document outlines the research in New Zealand on using Learning stories for assessment and evaluation and details the frameworks and procedures used.

An ABCD of Developing Curious Minds
2007 Conference on Thinking: Curious Minds Think and Learn by Exploring the Unknown
Norrköping, Sweden
Margaret Carr (University of Waikato, New Zealand)
Wendy Lee (Educational Leadership Project & University of Waikato
In this short paper Margaret and Wendy discuss their interest in the ways in which teachers notice, recognise, respond to, record and re-visit episodes of learning, including curiosity in action. In particular, they look at how early years teachers in New Zealand are writing ‘Learning Stories’ as formative assessments to encourage an orientation towards exploration, curiosity, and resilience in the face of failure.
Mark Bailey, 2004
This paper focuses on the use of Digital Learning Stories (DLS) as an approach for constructing and presenting understanding . Student-documented DLS tend to be more effective with children who are a bit older and therefore more capable of documenting their learning, and reflecting on the process and contents.

Learning Story template
The Learning Story template is intended to allow LEOTC providers and schools to create their own Learning Stories. The template has been developed on the basis of best evidence of learning research in LEOTC environments both nationally and internationally. It has been widely circulated for comments and feedback, and formatted with the teachers and students (the end users), meaningfully taken into account.

Examples of learning stories
These Learning Stories have been produced using the Learning Story template in full or by adapting the template and creating short films. The venues were chosen to show best practice, and a range of curriculum learning areas and student age groups. The 'teacher’s voice' is from the teacher responsible for the visit. This may not always be the person who arranged the LEOTC visit but will be the teacher responsible for the management of the visit on the day.

Using children’s learning stories to assess their mathematics learning in preschools and schools
Elspeth Harley Bob Perry Nicole Hentschke, AARE.
This paper reports work done with preschool educators ,tracing how powerful ideas in mathematics were identified in current preschool practice, how they were linked to the Developmental Learning Outcomes in the mandatory curriculum documents and how the technique of learning stories (narrative assessment) was established as a valid assessment regime compatible with key principles of preschool education.

Learning Stories and Children's Powerful Mathematics
The professional development focus on children’s powerful mathematical ideas, combined with action research that encouraged educators to identify these ideas within children’s experiences and to document these through learning stories, form the basis of this paper.

The stories we share: Using narrative assessment to build communities of literacy participants in early childhood centres
Ann Hatherly
AJEC, Vol. 31 No. 1, March 2006, pp. 27-34.
This article draws on data collected as part of the development of Kei Tua o te Pae, Assessment for Learning: Early Childhood Exemplars (Ministry of Education, 2004), a New Zealand resource designed to engage teachers in reflection about assessment practices within the framework of Te Whāriki. It tells the story—the author’s story—of the ways in which documented assessment, using techniques more associated with storytelling than with observation, invites participation of children, families and teachers and thereby becomes the means through which a community of literacy-learners and participants is developed. It is argued that, given the increasing pressure on centres to provide for literacy, documented assessments offer many possibilities for not just describing but also constructing literacy learning in meaningful contexts.

Connected learning stories: mathematics
Provides example stories of successful classroom practice the Mathematics KLA illustrate a range of approaches and strategies for incorporating information and communication technologies (ICT) into teaching and learning.

Using children’s learning stories to assess their mathematics learning in preschools and schools
Elspeth Harley Bob Perry Nicole Hentschke, AARE
This paper reports work done with preschool educators as part of the Southern Numeracy Initiativ. It traces how ‘powerful ideas’ in mathematics were identified in current preschool practice, how they were linked to the Developmental Learning Outcomes in the mandatory curriculum documents and how the technique of learning stories (narrative assessment) was established as a valid assessment regime compatible with key principles of preschool education.

Narratives for learning: Sharing giftedness through learning stories
Valerie Margrain, Massey University
Paper presentation to Reaching Forward: National Conference on Gifted Education, Rotorua, March 13-15, 2009.
Learning stories, as a narrative assessment method, provide rich opportunities for documenting and sharing examples of giftedness in social contexts. The documentation method is one that it accessible to teachers, parents and students, and able to capture broad multicategorical aspects of giftedness, including creative, cultural and leadership domain, and dispositions for learning. Examples of two learning stories of 4-year old precocious readers are included in this paper to illustrate assessment for learning and to make learning visible.

Narrative Assessment: identity and equity for disabled students
Geoff Moore, Sue Molloy, Missy Morton, Keryn Davis
University of Canterbury, UC Education Plus, College of Education, New Zealand.
Assessment that is student-referenced and related to the learner’s dispositions, (competencies) is a hopeful way forward for these students. This project is highlighting how the use of narratives (Learning Stories), enables teachers to capture rich descriptions of learning in relation to The New Zealand Curriculum key competencies and learning areas, in the context of culturally responsive pedagogy (Bishop & Glynn, 1999). Learning Stories not only look back, but they are constructive and forward looking through providing teachers and learners a process of seeking and interpreting evidence to open up possible learning pathways. They are also enabling teachers to view the students as mindful and competent in learning contexts; able to access learning in and through The New Zealand Curriculum.

Curriculum accountability in the early years
From August 2005–July 2006, sixteen preschools engaged in a practitioner research project to critically examine and investigate the interweaving of learning and pedagogical objectives, and to document children’s learning and development against the DLOs, using narrative assessment called ‘Learning stories’. As part of the project, a draft matrix underpinned by a social pedagogical approach, was developed for piloting. The matrix has a focus on educational effort and commitment, shifting from expectations in terms of output to expectations in terms of inputs for each child.

Exploring narrative assessment to promote empowerment of educators and parents of children with special educational needs
The use of narrative assessment by early intervention teams is explored in two case studies in New Zealand where early intervention provisions are guided by an inclusive special education policy. Team members, including parents and teachers, received professional development on the use of learning story assessment, and shared their learning stories at planning meetings. The project highlighted the empowerment of parents and educators through the use of learning stories for assessment and planning. Challenges to the adoption of narrative methodologies in inclusive early intervention contexts are identified.

Selected Books

Developing early literacy: assessment and teaching
Susan Hill 2006
Held CEO 428.0071 HIL

Patterns of narrative discourse: Multicultural life span approach
Alyson McCabe
Held CEO 401.41 MCC

From observation to reflection: A practitioners guide to programme planning and documentation
Joy Lubawy, 2008.
This book provides practical examples at how to observe learning, how to document this in a learning story framework and then connecting your reflections and understandings with the curriculum and your program. Joy’s work in this book has drawn inspiration from the New Zealand Early Childhood Curriculum document Te Whariki, the theories og Multiple Intelligence by Howard Gardner and the work of Reggio Emilia.
Held CEO

Assessment in early childhood settings.: learning stories
Margaret Carr 2003

Programming and Planning in Early Childhood Settings (4th Edition), Thomson Learning
Arthur L (2008)
Held CEO