- Enjoy our last edition of TOPICS for 2018
- Teachers Health
- NCEC Religious Education Framing paper - Short Video
- Camp Australia
- Where has the joy of writing gone and how do we get it back for our children?
- Pixevety - Privacy a top "trend" for 2019 – How schools can prepare.
- SPOTLIGHT - AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORY
- Teeth on Wheels
- IMPACT THE FUTURE Conference March 26th -29th 2019
- Switch Recruitment
- World Strides
- ACPPA - Archives - Looking Back
- ACPPA Links
- WOODS Furniture
- Programmed Property Maintenance
- Social media and our Children
- Nolan Carpets
- Just a thought!
John McGrath - National Catholic Education Commission
Phone: 0409 837 504
5 min read
NAPLAN results indicate a decline in students’ ability to write. Outcomes in literacy, including writing, affect student achievement across multiple subject areas (including maths and science).
There is a clear link between students being engaged with writing and the quality of literacy outcomes. Students’ willingness to write can be promoted by making writing more enjoyable and meaningful to young people, with authentic connections to their lives.
The power of expressive writing
Research in English and literacy education consistently shows when teachers are given the scope to tap into students’ interests, they can produce work of high quality. To increase students’ enjoyment of writing, more time could be given to creative forms of writing such as poetry, song lyrics, short scripts, personal memoirs and comic pieces, and combinations of different types of texts with visual materials in multimodal and digital composition.
We now have a rich body of research and toolkits that support teachers in writing instruction. Building on good writing instruction, it’s also important for writing to be an activity done for intrinsic purposes such as pleasure. The Australian Association for the Teaching of English asserts the importance of this goal.
Writing is more than work for achieving an outcome. It’s identity work. In the enjoyment of writing, student writers can find themselves and discover the power of language. Powerful literacy skills can be gained in this discovery, with lifelong implications.
Tackling the decline in writing for pleasure in schools
Despite the link between writing for enjoyment and positive literacy results, there is accumulating evidence that writing instruction in schools is becoming limited. The current focus on forms of writing tested in standardised formats, such as tests like NAPLAN and PIRLS, puts pressure on teachers and schools to narrow writing instruction. Typically, this would mean a focus on producing essays, persuasive pieces, reports, recounts, descriptive writing and procedural texts.
In NSW, Geoff Masters, the CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), is overseeing a comprehensive review of that state’s curriculum. He has already noted teachers and school leaders are bound by an inflexible curriculum. This includes approaches to writing and literacy that focus too heavily on prescribed functional texts. Other research by ACER suggests the need for more openness and innovation in teaching writing.
Teachers are committed to improving their students’ writing, given the emphasis in class on assessment of writing by NAPLAN and other international tests. But they also need to feel they can allow more time for unstructured or personal writing that promotes creative writing identities for students.
For example, teaching multimodal composition (where two or more modes such as written language, spoken language, visual or audio are combined) and writing designed for performance alongside mandated forms of writing (such as persuasive, narrative or instructional writing) would allow students to develop important skills in writing that reflect the emerging digital world and a range of necessary literacy competencies.
The key to promoting the effective writing skills needed by students is to be found in making writing engaging, meaningful and pleasurable. Every opportunity should be taken to open up the possibilities of writing for students so they want to do it and see its relevance to their lives.
There also needs to be a shift in the current policy and assessment emphasis on specific outcomes to one which empowers teachers to promote writing to learn and writing for enjoyment.
Encouraging writing for enjoyment
What can teachers and parents do at home and at school to foster an enjoyment of writing?
Parents can encourage children to write for pleasure, not just for school work. For example, having a personal diary or journal, and in it writing about life, what interests them, or for imagining, storytelling and wondering.
Read more: Why the teaching of creative writing matters
Teachers can open up writing for pleasure in their classrooms, either as a core activity or as an extension after other work is completed. There can be a special class time to share or perform creative and personal writing and for other students to comment about it. Teachers can also write alongside students to model good writing behaviours.
Schools can promote writing clubs where students can write together, share their writing and even self-publish it in online forums and blogs.Read Less
5 min read
With the strengthening of the Australian privacy law to include mandatory data breach notification, the growing data privacy issues surrounding big tech companies like Facebook, Google - and even now Apple - the introduction of the Global Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in EU earlier this year, (and I’d add the recent setback with the My Health roll out), its no surprise that Gartner predicts digital ethics and privacy will be a top 10 strategic technology trend for 2019.
So why should schools care? 4 reasons:
- The annual Deloitte Australian Privacy index continues to rank the Education sector as one of the weakest sectors for being transparent on privacy practices to consumers
- A recent NTT global threat intelligence report stated the Australian education sector topped the list of attacked industries
- The Australian Privacy Commissioner’s quarterly statistics in relation to data breach notification included 16 data breaches in the Education sector during the period 1 July 2018 – 30 September 2018 (8 of which were a result of human error!), and
- The community – including students and parents – are paying attention!
Information security is a key element of privacy. A cyber security expert from the University of NSW was recently quoted as saying schools are just as vulnerable – if not more so – than companies when it comes to cyber security.
"Schools don’t tend to have professional IT staff with a deep understanding of security issues, although a number of schools doubtlessly have teachers who understand IT and the associated security issues" Professor Gernot Heiser.
In addition to this, schools have obligations in relation to transparency about their personal information handling practices and must apply rigorous decision making when collecting, using and disclosing such information.
Getting on top of privacy in 2019
For schools – or any child-safe organisation for that matter – it’s important to get privacy right for our kids. Quite outside the issues of community trust, there are also significant penalties that can apply if a school gets it wrong.
And, what is the one piece of data that shares a mountain of information to easily identify a person? An image (that is, a photo or video).
Images of a person are considered personal information in the context of Australian privacy law (both at the national and State/ Territory levels). As a school, you must clearly explain to your parents/guardians what images of their children will be collected and processed by the school, and the uses to which those images will be put by the school. To ensure this is done correctly:
- Ensure practices, procedures and systems (i.e. a smart photo management tool that manages consent and restrictions in real-time) are in place and properly applied. This should include an ability for your school to deal with inquiries or complaints.
- Ensure you have current (i.e. at least yearly) informed consent from parents/guardians in relation to their child’s images being taken and used. In some cases, you may need to seek an additional consent – for example, where you have a new idea or initiative involving student photos, or where it is intended to use photos for specific marketing purposes. You can find additional information about consent in my recent blog post, here.
10 best practices schools can follow on image management:
- The taking of images at school should only occur when there is a valid reason to do so and should be adequately supervised
- Student images should be used for only intended purposes agreed to by parents/guardians
- Location services should be turned off when taking photos on mobile devices as they attach location data to pictures taken
- Avoid the use of photos that identify individual students. A safe compromise is to only use photos taken from behind students. Remember, school uniforms and logos in images can quickly identify your school and if you are a school of religious denomination or delivering special needs services to children, that photo may be afforded additional protections under Australian privacy law
- If you do use photos of students, don’t refer to a student by name (even their first name) in the caption under the photo or in the post. Don’t use student name/s in the file name of the photo because if someone inspects or saves the file, the name is available for everyone to see
- Ensure all students have dressed appropriately and images taken do not contribute or expose children to embarrassment, distress or harm
- Do not use images of students who are considered vulnerable or whose identity requires protection (i.e. foster children)
- Opting-out or refusal of consent in any way should not limit a student’s participation in school activities
- Images should be carefully and securely stored in accordance with Australian privacy rules, with the consent attached for automation/cross-referencing purposes
- Images should only be shared with third-parties for their use when it has been clearly communicated to parents/guardians as part of a school ‘collection statement’ or explicitly agreed to as part of the consent process. Note, using a ‘collection statement’ alone as the basis for sharing images to social media, marketers or others outside of the school environment is likely not going to be sufficient. A parent/guardian should be allowed to ‘opt-in’ (or elect) to have their child’s images transferred to third parties (rather than be required to ‘opt-out’).
Place a special focus on school websites & social media
Schools need to develop a policy about the use of images of children on their website and on social media. The internet is public, accessible and largely an unregulated media. Decisions to post student images on websites should take this into account. Photos taken at a school event, for example, can reveal a substantial amount of information through which children can be identified.
It is important to preserve the right of parents/guardians to request that a school remove any images of their child posted to a website or social media. Every effort should be made to take the image down as soon as possible, but the best approach is to not publish an image online if there are any concerns with the context or consent behind a photo. Once on the net, there’s no getting off!
Is your school improving its privacy practices around student images? If not, ask why not?Read Less
HOLY SPIRIT’S BUSH TUCKER GARDEN
Holy Spirit Primary School in Nicholls recently opened its Bush Tucker Garden. This project is a combined effort between the school and the Rotary Club of Gungahlin, Rotary Club of Hall, Rotaract Club of the University of Canberra and Greening Australia.
As part of the school’s Aboriginal Education Strategic Plan, the intention was to make key improvements to indigenous cultural understandings. The focus was on deepening the understanding of cultural significance of the land to the Ngunnawal people, and the interdependence of the environment, the land, water, flora and fauna.
Once planning was finalised between the participating groups, Greening Australia spent time with our students teaching them about native plants, food sources and the seasonal migration of the Ngunnawal people. The students were able to eat a variety of plants and food sources, and even made bush tea.
The students were taught about how the Ngunnawal clans traditionally travelled across their lands according to seasonal food sources, trade partnerships with neighbouring nations and to conduct ceremonies to honour their relationship with the land and creator spirits. Students were introduced to the notion that caring for the environment is the basis for much of traditional Ngunnawal life. This involves a strong relationship between people and the land based on respect, obligation and interdependence, and an intimate knowledge of the land. Importantly, students were encouraged to continue this legacy.
The recent opening involved students, staff, our Parish Priest Fr Mark Croker, Ngunnawal elder Wally Bell and representatives from our community partnerships. Ngunnawal elder, Wally Bell performed welcome to country and a cleansing ceremony involving our indigenous students, which was a highlight of the event. Prayer, scripture and song filled the event and our community is proud to have this facility in our school.
After the establishment of an ACPPA National Executive that comprised a representative from each of the state and territory principal association in 1995, ACPPA now had the look and feel of a genuinely national association.
However, how ACPPA was to relate to, or be a part of, APPA was still a question requiring an answer. APPA also was at that time made up of a representative from each state charter, which could, in theory, include a Catholic school principal. And indeed, in a few cases, did so. But the reality was that APPA still had a mainly government school principal governance, and it was argued, government school focus. APPA stated quite publicly that it represented all primary school principals, and in some debates where the interests of the government school sector and the non-government school sector were in conflict, it was seen to favour the government school position. This was especially true in some of the discussions in regard to funding.
To its credit the APPA national executive and its president, who has always been from a government school, tried very hard to be as impartial as possible, but its very nature, structure and history did not make this an easy path to follow.
A major reform within the government school sector was the establishment of the Government Primary Principals’ Association (AGPPA) in the late 1990’s. APPA also made some significant changes to its constitution around this time, forming the National Executive Council, which was made up of a representative from each state or territory AGPPA, ACPPA and JHISA. APPA was now owned by the three sector association, and was constitutionally bound to represent each equally, without any perception of favouring the policy of one over the other. APPA was now an extremely powerful body, which commanded the respect and attention of educational leaders and decision makers, not only in state and federal government, but is state educational commissions and in the private sector.
In the mid 2000’s ACPPA made a move to meet more than once a year at the annual conference. The original initiative was to hold a one-and-a-half hour teleconference once a term. This had but limited success. With the new APPA structure in place, and state and territory representatives travelling to attend the National Executive Council’s meeting each term, it was decided that the ACPPA National Executive would meet on the two days prior to APPA each term. It is worth noting that the AGPPA also decided to do the same thing.
Each state and territory Catholic Primary Principals’ Association now elected two representatives to a national body, one to the ACPPA National Executive and one to the APPA National Executive Council. Initially these two representatives were seen as separate appointments. But this seemed illogical. During the presidency of Peggy Saab, our first Life Member by the way, it was formally included in the ACPPA Constitution that both these representative were members of the ACPPA National Executive, and that, while only one would attend the APPA meeting, both were there representing ACPPA.
This decision gave rise to a graphic, that is still used at each Executive meeting, to enforce this understanding of where ACPPA sits at the APPA table, and our relationship with our colleagues in the other two sectors.
ACPPA Executive at Parliament House in 2016 prior to a meeting with parliamentary members to discuss educational issues.
Mark Mowbray President, Elizabeth McDougall Tas, Kevin Clancy Topics Editor, Anthony Hockey NT, Mark de Kluyver WA, Ellie McGinness Vic, James Danaher WA, Karen Pearce Qld, Joy Matar Tas, Bard Gaynor ATC, Julie King NSW, Ros Oates SA, Fran Bonanno NSW, Karyn Prior Executive Assistant, Donaugh Shirley NSW, Catherine Gurr SA, Frank Hennessy Marketing, Mel Bowell NT, Dave Edwards Immediate Past President, John Vance ACT, Tony Falls Vic.
AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC PRIMARY PRINCIPALS ASSOCIATION
IS EXCITED TO BE PARTNERED IN THISJOINT INITIATIVE
Please support us and create great communications in your school community.
Paul Colyer - ACPPA Executive Officer