Saturday, 7 February 2015

Key elements for 21st Century Learning

Danielle Vandenberg recently posed this question on Twitter....

Immediately, relationships came to mind. Relationships set the tone of any effective learning space, whether it be an Education or Business environment. Yet, it is not the only key element. Relationships could be flourishing, however if resources were not made available can one learn, process and improve? How do we define resources and why? These branching questions led me to believe there is no one key element but key elements....and anyway, what exactly is 21st Century Learning??? 

I tend to grapple with the term 21st Century learning as if it is something to strive towards and achieve. 

We are in the FIFTEENTH year of the 21st Century and there is still so much talk about moving towards 21st Century skills and learning. 

These terms are bantered around frequently. I wonder how those outside the education sphere perceive such phrases and Eduspeak? Do various stakeholders hold a common view about "21st Century learning and skills"?  Do they see any relevance in these conversations or the need for education to change? Are they content in the final product schooling produces? Does it meet their business and societal needs? As a society are we delivering? The paradigm shift is occurring. Is it being embraced by society? Do they know it is occurring? As a profession do we need to do more to help educate the wider public towards an understanding and appreciation of the paradigm shift?

I am also uncomfortable with the terms classroom and teacher. I prefer learning spaces, facilitator of learning or if need be, educator.  Learning should not be confined to "classrooms", rooms for classes. Learning can and should happen anywhere, anytime. Embracing risks, innovation, connectivism, entrepreneurial studies, learning for whole community, continual learning journeys, blending school with the world of work, metacognition, workability skills, productivity, Social and Emotional learning are areas I like to focus on.

Danielle's question instigates another, albeit similar:

How do we successfully enable our youth, via the education space to navigate an uncertain and yet hopefully exciting and promising future?

This certainly demands a very different approach. Most educators would accept education has moved from strong knowledge acquisition to a skill based approach. A suite of competencies and a personalised environment where no one size fits all is the goal. Interpersonal skills, knowing HOW to learn, how to access information and what to do with knowledge takes centre stage for todays learner. This leads us to return to Danielle's question "What's your key element for an effective classroom?" What makes for an effective learning environment? The following elements spring to mind: 

  • supportive and skilled facilitator of learning
  • safe learning environment (feeling open to learning opportunities)
  • awareness and recognition of the importance of life long learning
  • critical thinking skills
  • communication skills (on and offline)
  • digital safety and digital skills
  • creativity skills
  • flexibility
  • collaboration
  • productivity skills
  • partnerships (family, business, community)
  • computational thinking (problem solving, decomposition)
  • adapting to change
  • ability to play, explore and discover
  • time set aside to just be
  • access to technology
  • sharing practice
  • embracing real world context

Why act within silos of specialisation? Kudos to primary schools, PBL projects and secondary schools who often design learning, blending a variety of traditional KLAS (Key learning areas). Kudos to the students who drive their own educational agendas grasping responsibility for their own educational journey. Kudos to the educators that get out of their way! Kudos to the teachers who maintain an open growth mindset and endeavour to inspire, support and facilitate rather than indoctrinate. 

There has been a need to re-image the learning space. The morphing is occurring.

Keeping the conversations flowing,

#28daysofwriting #blogpost5 #bloggingchallenge

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Connectivism and the benefits of PLNs.

 (This post is part of the #28daysofwriting blogging challenge. As I am just back from the airport and it is 11:20pm, I am using a previous post I wrote on another blog last year)

Connectivism is also known as the learning theory for the digital age and was introduced by two publications in 2005. George Siemens “Connectivism: learning as network creation” and Stephen Downes “Introduction to Connective Knowledge.”  
The Theory emphasises that knowing WHERE  and HOW to find knowledge, is just as important as knowledge itself.
The theorists argue that knowledge is always evolving, concepts altering or becoming obsolete. Connectivism views learning as a process of creating connections and expanding networks. Networks are usually observed with nodes and connections, as can be seen in the image above. Possible node formations are organisations, information, data, images and feelings.

Principles of Connectivism include:

  • knowledge is distributed, accessible and diverse.
  • learning is more critical than knowing
  • maintaining and nurturing connections is required to facilitate continual learning (PLN: Professional learning networks)
  • deciding what to learn and the if the knowledge is accurate and up to date is key. Discerning knowledge.
Gloabalisation has certainly allowed connectivism to flourish with advances to telecommunication, transport and infastructure. Of course, humans have connected over long distances in the past, however these interactions have been fraught with inconsistencies, lack of speed, reliability and limited resources such as technology.
Allow me to share a story. As a teen, I travelled with my family to Queensland for the World Expo’88 (theme “Leisure in the age of Technology“). The Expo also celebrated the 1988 Bicentennial celebration of European Settlement in Australia. Here I was exposed to many wonderful pavilions from the 36 participating nations. The expo opened my eyes to spaces and cultures, tastes and sights. It was experiential learning at its best. The learning that occurred was far more greater than anything ever gained from my parents prized set of World Book encyclopaedias at home, textbooks or activities at school! The International Penfriends association were present and as an eager and engaged teenager I signed up to be connected with 10 others from around the world. We were asked a number of questions to ascertain hobbies,interests and values. From memory, this was entered into a computer board in the pavilion. Around the globe others had already engaged in the same process. My name was also placed on 10 other lists. I was connected with friends in China, The Netherlands, Estonia and USA. Some letters were never returned. Others flourished into meaningful and long lasting friendships. I am still in contact with Agnes from Estonia and Margo, The Netherlands, who I have fortunately met four times.

We have shared our lives through school, higher education, relationships, the world of work, marriage and family.   
Where we once needed to wait an excruciating 6 weeks for snail mail to receive news of the recent boyfriend saga or acceptance of a new job, we now connect instantaneously via Twitter, FB, SMS or email. The joy of “conversing” through Facebook inbox in real time at midnight in Sydney (afternoon in Europe) with Margo and Agnes for the first time, has always been treasured. I remember posting a USA money note as a souvenir to a Penpal in China who bought a pair of jeans, 4 loaves of bread and a vase for her Mother with the money!  As a coin and note collector, I was sharing a souvenir, not thinking for a moment the value of that note was worth so much to her when it was just small change here. Writing letters and exploring my world via the Penfriends iniative allowed me to improve my literacy, draw upon various stories for inspiration with creative writing and gain a tremendous appreciation of cultures. Without realising, I was practicing skills for the future world where connectivism is now key to engaging and meaningful learning. 
“Experience has long been considered the best teacher of knowledge. Since we cannot experience everything, other people’s experiences, and hence other people, become the surrogate for knowledge. ‘I store my knowledge in my friends’ is an axiom for collecting knowledge through collecting people (undated).”   Karen Stephenson.
Technology has certainly reorganised how we live, how we communicate, and how we learn. It is an exciting and opportunistic time. A time to build capacity in ourselves and our networks. To share and to grow. To explore; play; be challenged and to disrupt. We know that learning is a continual process and that as adults we no longer have the one career throughout our adult life. Connectivism is needed for learners to flourish in a digital era.
Many learners will move into a variety of different, possibly unrelated fields over the course of their lifetime.
George Siemens
Informal learning is now a huge part of the learning landscape. Creating and maintaining networks via social media is an effective means to creating PLNs (Professional Learning Networks).
People seldom improve when they have no other model but themselves to copy.
Oliver Goldsmith
Keeping the conversations flowing,
Yours, JJ

Jeannette James

#28daysofwriting #blogpost4 #blogginchallenge

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

My takeaways from today

A simple and snappy post today to ensure #worklifebalance is embraced. 

Call to mind "What's your WHY?" 

When we start a new role or meet new teams for the first time, people often ask What's your story? What was your previous role? How did you find your way here? It is good to stop and reflect upon this more often.

Passion and clear focus is infectious.

I meet some amazing people today! People who were people focused, clear in vision and innovative. People who don't accept the status quo. People who ensure effective change happens. People who build efficacy in others. Inspiring. This charges my batteries! Their passion and focus is infectious.

Share practice. Not only best practice. Just share. Keep talking. Keep sharing.

There are thousands of schools in Australia. Some we hear about often, others we never hear about. School leaders, staff and students experience a multitude of learning moments that we could all learn from. The norm for you, could be a breakthrough moment for others.

Knowledge is treasure. But practice is the key to it.

We can read, listen, think and build on knowledge for only so long. Action is key.

#28daysofwriting #28minutes #blogpost3 
Keeping the conversation flowing,
Jeannette James

Monday, 2 February 2015

Vary your students world!

During my time as a TAS teacher (Technological and Applied Studies) I begun 95% of my first lesson with a new group in a similar way. I created havoc. Before the class, I would pull down the blinds, close the doors and literally turn the tables and chairs upside-down, on top of each other, against the door and in random positions. It was chaotic. It was a mess and in no way did it resemble a traditional learning space. 

Once the time came for the lesson, I would meet the class outside (via another exit) and greet them. I would explain that they were welcome to enter our learning space keeping in mind four simple guidelines:

  1.  Do not touch anything
  2.  Enter in silence
  3.  Find a place they felt comfortable to learn 
  4. Wait for further instruction.

I would then open the door and observe. What the students saw was unexpected and challenging. The students normal passage into the class via the door was blocked by the chairs and tables. This was confusing to some and terribly exciting for others! This is what would occur over the 20 odd years I shared this activity with my classes:

  • some students would stand back and wait, unsure of what to do next.
  • others would take the Gung Ho approach, and attempt to move the chairs and tables away.
  • others would shout NO! Miss said not to touch ANYTHING!
  • others would shout AND, she also said not to TALK! 
  • some crawled under or climbed over the desks and chairs.
  • others followed and then forgot about the guidelines and automatically turned a chair around the right way to sit.
  • others would complain they couldn't sit on the floor and roll their eyes thinking "This teacher is crazy..."
  • others would find a spot without fuss and eagerly wait the next adventure, happy that this lesson was a change from the norm.
  • some remained outside not sure what to do, until I invited them in, saying it was okay to crawl under or over the furniture.
Such a simple little exercise with huge impact. It was fascinating to watch the leaders emerge, to observe very quickly those that were passive and unsure and see who actively listened and was able to focus on the set task. 

After the students were settled, I began asking questions. What happened to this space? Does anyone know? I came in after period 3/lunch/recess and found this mess? The suggestions that followed always made me chuckle!  Very imaginative, some colourful, some mysterious, some unsure as to where this lesson was heading! Those 10 minutes engaged the group. They were curious. I would then explain that I did in fact know what had happened and I was the one responsible. "Miss! You must have been really angry!" "Why did you wreck the room Miss?"  Why do you think? I would reply. Suggestions would be thrown around the room. I would ask the passive students to take a guess. This set the tone for the class. They knew I would not let a few louder students dominate and would be seeking everyones participation. The students also learnt how I felt about effort and giving things a go, even if they made a mistake. I clearly made a point in using the students names and thanking them for contributing. 

After this, I would ask the students "Why are average classes set up the way they are?" "Why is the teacher's desk and board at the front?" "Why can't I sit here or here?"  "How do you think the room should be set out to ensure it is comfie for you?"  "What is the door and window the shape they are? Why do architects design the building the way they have?" After discussing their responses, the students were then asked to change the room into anyway they collectively agreed upon in 4 minutes. I would just sit back and watch. Who took the lead? Who was lazy and moved one desk and just plonked themselves down? Who clearly articulated their plan? How did the class work out a plan? And lastly, when they were done I asked them "Why did they decide on that arrangement"  

This simple activity gave the students ownership towards their space, their voices were heard and most importantly it was an opportunity for the students to see me as a teacher who spiced things up. It was the beginning of a feeling. The feeling that I cared about them and their world. I would love to hear of other ideas. How do you vary your students world? 

#28daysofwriting #28minutes #bloggingchallenge #post2


Sunday, 1 February 2015

#28daysofwriting Blogging Challenge

Has it really been a whole year since I last blogged? This came to my attention after Phillip Cooke @sailpip  asked his #PLN for support around his aim to blog more regularly. What should I blog about? How often? What would be of interest to others? It was then I thought "I wonder when my last blog post was?" "Did I even blog last year?" (2014) Like others, I enjoy blogging.

  • It is a great capture. 
  • A resource to return to and share. 
  • A time to reflect personally and gain a pulse of others thoughts, ideas and opinions. 

I now find myself at 11:32pm writing my first post since 1st December 2013.
It is the first day of February and along with some buddies from Twitter, I have joined the 

#28daysofwriting blogging challenge 

set by @tombarrett. Read more about Tom's challenge here. Basically, to encourage regular blogging and if one is to accept the challenge. write for 28 minutes for 28 days (of February). Simple, right? Wwwweeelllll....! It is now 11:37pm and I am determined to meet the opportunities of the challenge and stick to 28 minutes. BUT, having not logged into my blog or written a blog post for over 13 months, I am a little rusty! 11:39pm.. Linking and uploading images takes time!

Like most things on Twitter, I came across the #28daysofwriting via Louisa  @LouisaJRennie and Jason @Borto74 Even though I follow Tom, I hadn't yet read his Tweets about the challenge. I immediately thought great idea! Exactly the discipline I need right now! Absolutely! Encourage me to get into the habit of blogging again! Gotta love Twitter! I was excited about this challenge!

As the quote above emphasises, challenge brings growth.  I am always up for a challenge. I do not shy away from the unknown. I embrace change. I am up for the challenge Mr Barrett. I Thank You for this refocus and excitement towards blogging once again. I kinda missed it!

Keeping the conversations flowing 

(11:51pm. Nothin' like some last minute blogging. Almost Midnight here #downunder on the very first day of the challenge. Think I should plan some #bloggingonthebus to work tomoz!)

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Teachmeet Australia

Heard about teachmeets, but unsure what they are?

Teachmeets are voluntary gatherings of dedicated teachers in order to support their own professional learning and that of their students. I first discovered the term "teachmeet" via Twitter in 2011 and immediately set out to try one.  

You can read my previous posts here (Overwhelmingly grand PD 2011), here (Hills inaugral Teachmeet at Oakhill College, October 2011), here (Teachmeet Sydney, please try it we don't want same), here (live meeting; international teachmeet 2011), here (International teachmeet presentation on Pearltrees), here (Handy resources for educators and social bookmarking 2012) here (Crestwood teachmeet and history of TM in Oz 2012), and here (Belief presentation TM Macquarie university; from prac to practioner) 

My first impressions? A warm and welcome bunch of educators who were energetic and driven to help others. This continued far beyond the time frame of the teachmeet session. Conversations carried onto the "teacheat" held after the teachmeet and connections were formed and maintained via twitter, blogs and future teachmeetups.

Teachmeets are attractive to many as:

  • the format is conducive to engaged learning.
  • presentations are short and snappy (2 mins or 7 minute "info snacks" that can be elaborated on via converations in breaks, teacheats and/or blog posts)
  • if a presentation is not to your personal liking, there is another topic presented in 2-7 minutes
  • the presentations are prepared and presented by actual teachers who are experiencing student learning now. They get it. They provide honest information on what works in their learning environment and what doesn't. Teachmeet are for teachers by teachers.
  • you can take away at least one idea to try in the learning space and adapt to suit you eg a primary teacher may present an idea that you can transfer to a secondary setting.
  • important networks are formed.
  • they are free.
  • they are open to all, preservice, new scheme teachers, experienced teachers, leadership, retired teachers.

What do read what other people think of Teachmeets?


More conferences are now holding teachmeets 

These are freely available during lunch, a workshop or after the conference day concludes( for non conference attendees as well as paying attendees) I assisted Al Upton host one during the EDTECHSA state conference: Connecting people-sharing learning in Adelaide (July 2013). Other conferences that have included Teachmeets in their program include (but are not limited to) ECAWA State conference 2013 Teachmeet breakfast and another I presented at The Kings School National Boys conference: Get involved. I applaud these conference in making learning accessible to all. PLANE (Pathways for Learning, Anytime, anywhere a Network for Educators) also held online teachmeets)

Teachmeet Macquarie University

More Universities and TAFES are now hosting teachmeets 

Clever leaders are replacing traditional staff meetings with the Teachmeet format. Love this!

How to find a Teachmeet near you?

Keeping the conversation flowing,
JJ @7mrsjames

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Twitter for Aussie Educators: 15 reasons why educators love Twitter.

Twitter has certainly given me an avenue to grow as an educator. There is no hiding I love it! What do I love about Twitter?
  1. Twitter is there, in the palm of my hand, on my phone, tablet and laptop. Accessible.
  2. Twitter IS accessible, 24/7. Yet, I can control when, how and for how long I access it.
  3. Tweeple (especially Twitter educators) are passionate, energetic, willing and helpful! You can call on your #pln (more on how to build your #pln and the advantages of a #pln here) for advice, queries, hints, tips and ideas.
  4. This extension of the "school staffroom" allows for greater voice and wisdom.
  5. Twitter provides "just in time help". 
  6. Twitter is inclusive.  It doesn't matter what sector you are from, what stage of your career, what level of responsibility (or not), retired, CEO, expert, specialist etc #weareallinthistogether
  7. Twitter allows you contact with the above!
  8. Twitter has allowed me some amazing opportunities! 
  9. Twitter has allowed me to connect with some of my best buddies. It has provided the conduit for networking and professional connections that have enriched my career. 
  10. Twitter allows you point of contact to collaborate with other educators, students and stakeholders.
  11. Twitter for me is a source of reflection and inspiration.
  12. Twitter can easily and rapidly share news, links, ideas and resources.
  13. Twitter puts me in contact with PD opportunities via links and hashtags (for example, following the backchannel of a conference I cannot attend)
  14. Twitter introduced to my other love: Teachmeets!
  15. Twitter = continuous learning and feeding the yearn to know more. What's not to love?
Last year, I gave a guest lecture on "Integrating technology into any classroom" at the Australian Catholic University, Strathfield campus. This included a section on the importance of Twitter for educators.  This is the Storify of the twitter chat that ensued: Twitter4me storify (twitter chat on the importance of Twitter)

Here are some resources you may find handy and/or like to share with those new to Twitter.

Jeannette James

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Invitation: Instagram for Educators.

Dear educator, parent, community member and student,

Thanks for the blog post visit! Over the last 18 months, the #foodatinstagram (see @foodatoakhill) educators community has developed and discovered wonderful support from each other. It has been a blast! Students and parents enjoy sharing their learning experiences with friends, family and the world.  Due to the interest surrounding Instgram use as a learning space, other schools have joined our community (see links towards end of post). Previous posts about Instagram can be found on my other blog:  Food technology learning journey blog (benefits of instagram) and (instagram challenge).

We are now extending a warm invitation to other KLA (Key Learning Areas) and subjects to accept the NEW #subjectatschool invitation. Congrats to @artatbally for accepting the invitation after hearing about the educators instagram initiative at a recent #teachmeet in Sydney.

What IS the #subjectatschool instagram invitation?

Basically, it is an opportunity for you to CREATE a school based account (not using your personal account) and leverage instagram as: 

  • your subjects visual literacy
  • share learning with your students, parents and wider communities 
  • a means to enhance student engagement
  • a site of virtual connection to students (notices, texts and quotes can also be uploaded)
  • a great tool to teach digital etiquette 
  • an avenue to connect with educators and students from around the state, nation and world 
  • documentation of all the amazing learning activities that occur!
In order to connect more fluently, create an Instagram account 
the #subjectatschool formula.

Eg @artatbally @foodatoakhill @mathsatgalstonhigh @PEatpacifichills @dramaatoakhill 

How do I do this?

  • Firstly, have a clear idea as to WHY you would like to establish an instagram account. Jot down a few ideas and spend time researching other education accounts and/or chat to other educators using Instagram. You can use Instagram as a notice board for students, posting screen shots or text using apps such as Tweegram or versagram.

  • Next, it is a good idea to have a conversation with your Head of school/principal or school leadership team regarding permission to create a school based account. The account can be set to PRIVATE or public. ( I had ours on private for about 3-4 months adding only student and parent followers). Perhaps you may like to show your Head of school a few accounts and comments made by students, parents and community members. They may not be familiar with the popularity and usage of Instagram. Do parents need to be informed or has previous consent been given via signed media policies? What does the schools media policy cover?

Oakhill College students taking images of their rice paper rolls in natural light near our garden.

  • Discuss HOW you plan to use Instagram. Is a trial necessary?  The first images I uploaded were all of general school scenes and aerial shots of students working or preparing food.
  • If you have a school device or smart phone, download the FREE Instagram app (available on both android and ios devices). If not, use another smart phone to create an account. (At this stage you can ONLY sign up for Instagram using an app. You can however VIEW the account from a PC-handy for parents, grandma and so on at home!) 
Creating an Instagram account:
  1.  Very simple! All you need is a user name and password. (Navigate to REGISTER)  Keep the handle shorter for convenience. It is also easier for others to remember!  @mediaatgreystaneshighschool is a tad long! A better option is @mediaatGH or @mediaatgreystanes You can choose one person to manage the account or share the account with a few department teachers that will keep the password secure. After you create the account, you will sign in from the bottom box (See below). If you have one account, you do not need to sign out from your device, however if you have multiple accounts you must sign out and sign in. (no adding multiple accounts - AS YET! Fingers crossed!)

  1. Add a BIO (Edit bio) Inform others of who you are. eg The Media department at Greystanes High will post progress pics of the 2013 Rock eisteddfod. Go team Greystanes! You can link a twitter account or class blog here.
  2. Post your first photo by pressing the middle camera icon. (see instagram help: how do I take a photo) Select "choose" (to add photo), then a select a filter. You can add a tilt shift (blur out part of photo or select the "sun" icon to brighten and add detail. If it doesn't look right, change.

The best way to learn is to experiment. Play. It is fun! 

  1. If you are not happy with the photo, press the X on the top RHS.  Have another go. Once posted, you can also delete an image by pressing the three little dots under the image (RHS)
  2. Interact by following other educational accounts, liking certain photos and commenting on photos from classes around the world (see links below). As more educators/subjects join, I will add their Instagram account to the list below...
  3. Inform students of your subjects Instagram account. Link to a QR code and paste in diaries or post on your virtual classrooms. Include in a newsletter home or school facebook page.
  4. You can use hashtags such as #foodtech #homeec #homeeconomics #food #foodphotography #foodpresentation #instafood to tag your photos to these photofeeds.  
  5. Other educational # include #artworks #artlessons #lighting #theatre #setdesign #dramaclass

  6. Go on!  Get on board. Give it a go.  
    Share your Instagram account with your class, mates, parents, extended family...and the rest of the world!  #unitedbylearning

    Sharing our learning with other students and parents.

    Check out the other schools around the world that have accepted the #foodatschool challenge.

    (Hover over school to select link)





Western Australia:




Primary schools?  eg @stage3atepping,  @stage2atstmonicas

NEW #subjectatschool initiative- WHO will be next to accept the invitation?
This is a post in progress and will be adapted and edited over the upcoming weeks. Please share any tips, hints, suggestions that you feel, would benefit others pondering on how to use Instagram as a learning space.  See you in the insta world!

Keeping the conversation flowing,
@foodatoakhill Twitter handle

Ps Please contribute how you use Instagram for education in the comments below.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

How the Partnership Brokers Program can help educators.

Young people make up a fifth of our population and are very important to our society.

(Pg 2 Youth Strategy for Young Australians

National Partnership Agreement on Youth Attainment and Transitions:
This National Partnership was agreed by the Council of Australia Governments (COAG) on 2 July 2009.

Supporting young people is a collective responsibility and one that needs continual growth, support and reflection. The Australian government recognise there are many effective ways to provide an environment that allows students to realise their educational and social potential.  The Youth attainment and transitions program provides such foundational support to schools, families and students. 

The collective capacity of students, staff, parents, extended families, friends, industry and the community is indeed very powerful!

Are we tapping into the potential of Parental engagement? number of studies (including Luneburg and Irby; 2002) have demonstrated that effective parent involvement in schools is a critical factor in students' academic success. Instructional involvement by parents has direct benefits on the learning outcomes for their children. (McGaw, 1992) In order to raise achievement, parents need to be both involved in schools and engaged in learning. (Harris and Goodall; 2007)  Harris and Goodall (pg 67, 2007) go on to argue that parental engagement should be as "essential part of the learning process, an extended part of the pedagogic process".  They maintain parental involvement must be given as much emphasis as teacher effectiveness and other school improvement strategies. 

Hattie (2009) believes that "schools have an important role in helping parents to learn the language of schooling so that parents can provide every possible assistance to their children in terms of developing the child's learning and love of learning and in creating the highest possible shared expectations for learning". (pg33)
Parents and the home environment they create are the single most important factor in shaping their children’s achievements and prospects (Department of Education and skills UK, 2007)
Families are the first educators of their children and they continue to influence their children’s learning and development during the school years and long afterwards (Family-School Partnerships Framework).
The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians  is an important and worthy read. This declaration acknowledges the benefits of family, school and community partnerships, and expresses a commitment on the part of Australian governments to:

…(work) with all school sectors to ensure that schools engage young Australians, parents, carers, families, other education and training providers, business and the broader community to support students’ progress through schooling, and to provide them with rich learning, personal development and citizenship opportunities (p.10). 
Michael Fullan (Three stories of educational reform) has put forward at least five powerful external forces that schools must contend with and turn to their advantage:
  • parents and community,
  • technology,
  • corporate connections,
  • government policy, and
  • the wider teaching profession.
When parents, the community, the teachers, and the students share a rapport, learning occurs. (Fullan, 2000)
More here: 
National Declaration on the Educational Goals for Young Australians.
Mind Matters: Parent involvement in schools.
Family and school engagement in children's education.
Engaging Parents in Raising Achievement- Do Parents Know They Matter?

Role of a Partnership Broker?
Brokering is a complex and yet subtle role that aims to ensure a partnership becomes sustainable. Partnership brokers act as change makers. They are focused on connecting ideas, opportunities and have the needs and goals of any given partnership in mind at all times. Partnership brokers assist in capacity building, facilitating, organising, attracting innovation and ultimately secure a partnership where all stakeholders benefit.  Stakeholders can include community, business, education and government.  In essence a PB will broker strategic partnerships between education, training providers, business, industry, families and community groups in order for youth to engage or reengage in education. 

Schools often do not have the time or resources to establish sustainable partnerships. The role of the Partnership Broker is to create partnerships that support youth attainment, transition and social potential of our youth.  Partnerships harness available resources. An exciting phase includes affirming what schools and industry are already doing well and sourcing hidden potential. 

The planned and structured giving of time, information, goods and services, voice and influence, as well as money, to improve the wellbeing of humanity and the community.

A Partnership broker ensures learning is supported INSIDE AND OUTSIDE the classroom. 

To find a Partnership Broker provider in your area, enter your Australian postcode on this page:  Youth attainment and transitions home page  You will see below an example of the results page. The blue PB button informs that  Sydney Business Education Partnerships in region 1 is the service provider for postcode 2000.  The orange YV button informs that the Salvation Army Oasis youth support network can assit with Youth connection programs. (see below for more information on the Youth connections program).


An agreement called "Compact with Young Australians" aims to support participation in education and training, and encourage young people to "learn or earn". Basically, all young people must complete Year 10 or equivalent and then be in education, training or employment until the reach 17 years of age. The premise being, youth will be afforded more opportunities to succeed in life if they are engaged in education or training prior to full time employment. Read more here: What is learn or earn?  The Partnership brokers program and Youth connections program assist in the Compact with Young Australians.


There are many exciting options and pathways available for youth when deciding their future toward the "world of work".  A vast array of resources can be found here: Career bullseye posters and more like the one to left can be found in this link.  


The goal of youth connection is to help young people overcome barriers and problems that may make it difficult for them to stay at school or training, or return to school if they have left. Services are flexible and can be one to one in the hope that youth ultimately gain a Year 12 (or equivalent) level education. 

Links of interest:
My future (Australian)
My future (USA)
Job guide (DEEWR: Department of Education, employment and relations)
Career information flyers
The young workers toolkit
Youth transitions Partnership brokers program
Rolling in the deep blue HSC:
School and beyond: Youth NSW
National Strategy for Young Australians
ABC radio: big ideas 22nd April 2013. Youth transitions-the journey from school to work.

It takes a village to raise a child.

I am currently working part time as a secondary high school educator and part time as a Partnership Broker with AusSIP (Australian schools industry partnerships link here).  Our facebook page is here: Aussip Partnership brokers Facebook page ("LIKE" to keep up to date with latest news, tips, success stories)  And our twitter handle here: @everyparent  I am finding this new role amazingly relevant and fulfilling, especially in these times of educational reform.

I am incredibly excited about the future and grateful that our Government has strategies and programs in place that are available to our most precious resource: our youth.  I truly hope as many schools as possible are aware of resources such as the Partnership Broker program and Youth Connect programs. These programs are available to ultimately support student learning.

How aware is your school (and educators within your school aware of):

Keeping the educational conversation flowing,
Please share any additional resources, questions or good news stories in the comments below.