Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future


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Adventist Schools Victoria – Combined Schools Day of Worship 2012: Secondary

Get Connected, Stay Connected!

I asked about a week ago that readers stay tuned for the slideshow from the Adventist Schools Victoria Secondary Combined Schools Worship Day. Here it is! (Thank you to Ormond for the photos, and perhaps another anonymous photographer too!)

The event was held at Nunawading Christian College on Friday August 17 with students from Years 7 to 12 taking part. The theme was GET CONNECTED!

The schools’ chaplains coordinated the program. Once again, a big thank you to them for the time they put in to planning and bringing all the components of the morning together.

Supported by teachers as well as the chaplains, students from each school lead out in aspects of the program, including the welcome to attendees, leading in prayer, singing in worship and providing music, along with presenting inspirational drama and choral items.

A big thank you as well to the teachers and students. You were inspiring!

The speaker Pr Mau Tuaoi, Senior Chaplain at Gilson College, emphasised the importance of getting, and staying connected to God.  As happened in the primary program, at the end each student was also presented with a reminder of the day – a carabiner engraved with the words, GET CONNECTED.

In addition to the worship time, students and staff had the opportunity afterwards to share lunch and a social time together.

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eCSM – ‘Why do we… give detentions?’ by Greg Mitchell

I received this from eCSM in my email inbox recently. Definitely thought provoking!

(eCSM, continuing CIRCLE’s commitment to bring you ‘succinct, practical wisdom’ on educational issues. eCSM is a monthly electronic provocation on transformative educational leadership for executives, managers and professionals.)

Greg Mitchell is a highly experienced and passionate educator. He is keen to challenge ‘accepted practice’ in order to develop excellence in teaching and learning. He currently works as an educational consultant to improve the culture of organisations.

I [Greg Mitchell] was recently standing in the reception area of a high performance government high school, signing in before delivering one of a series of talks to Year 12 students.

As I was putting pen to paper, the phone rang and the receptionist answered. After a minute or two she covered the phone with her hand and, with a puzzled expression, asked for advice from a nearby teacher.

It seemed that a Year 10 student had arrived late at school and had been given a detention for her tardiness. The parent was ringing to claim responsibility for their daughter’s lateness and to request that the detention be quashed!

I quickly finished my signing in duties, refrained from hurdling the counter and screaming down the phone, and went off instead to attempt to inspire the senior students to take charge of their future.

But to me there were a myriad of issues that needed to be unravelled in this little piece of telephone drama…

1. Surely a Year 10 student should be able to take responsibility for getting themselves to school?
2. Why do parents collude with their children to subvert school rules?
3. What is a student doing using their phone during school hours?
4. Why do schools hand out detentions in the first place?

Detentions are the McDonald’s punishments for the behaviour management world.

They are fast food from a narrow menu, delivered by large numbers without thought to a range of clients with a vast array of needs and issues.

Detentions in themselves are not necessarily ‘evil’. But so much more is going on in the vast interplay of issues involved in misbehaviour: the student/teacher/time variables that make simply sending a child to a room seem at best, shallow; at worst, neglectful.

Detentions are the punishment of the time poor teacher and the unimaginative school.

The best schools are the Master Chefs of the behaviour management world. Usually they are enthusiastic empiricists with a real passion for helping solve problems with students.

Their menu runs something like this…

Behaviour: What is the real problem with this student’s behaviour that we really need to address?

Effects: What are the effects of that behaviour and whom does it really affect?

Causes of the behaviour: Is it revenge, attention seeking, self-confidence or power that is driving this? Could these causes be redressed by attending to needs such as better food, a good night’s sleep, some waste elimination and so on?

Action plans: Have we got coordinated plans to deal with the regular repeat offenders and the irritating little things that go wrong?

Mistakes: What do we know doesn’t work? Can we stop repeating ineffectual punishments that provoke students to use revenge, seek attention, lack self-confidence and play power games (such as detentions!)?

And the very best of schools have a similar plan for teachers as well as students.

They assist the teachers who constantly use punishments to try to ‘win’ the behaviour battle by instead equipping them to see school as a partnership in which discipline cuts both ways.

I don’t know what this great school that I was working with did with the late detention student. The impulsive part of me would have loved to say to the parent…

“I’ll happily cancel your daughter’s detention but of course I’ll expect you to do it for her – would you prefer the lunch or after school time slot? Oh and by the way, could you come in and collect your daughter because I’ve just suspended her for using her phone at school and texting during class!”

However, the practiced professional that I am would have booked a parent/teacher/student meeting before school one day to see if there was anything we could do to help with improving task management issues…I’m sure this child has a track record!

It’s time to adopt a tailored and creative approach to behaviour management: to trade our packaged hamburgers for fresh, handmade gourmet cuisine.


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Jesus Christ – Master Teacher: What ideas might resonate with a Christian teacher?

Jesus Christ – Master Teacher

The Journal of Adventist Education, December 2010/January 2011

In his article, author John Wesley Taylor V challenges us as Christian teachers to consider the teaching strategies Christ used when interacting with his disciples, and with small groups and large crowds. As we consider John’s point of view, what might be the implications for us as Christian teachers in our Christian schools as we interact day by day with our students and our colleagues?

The following quote from the article is the introduction to John’s thinking. Follow the link above or at the end of the quote to read the full article.

‘While Jesus was clearly an effective preacher and sought-after healer, He was also a master teacher. Throughout the Gospels readers encounter a variety of teaching episodes—learning experiences created specifically for His 12 disciples, as well as for groups of thousands or a single individual.2 His Sermon on the Mount, for example, was actually an outdoor teaching session in which both the disciples and a large group participated.

Jesus oriented His teaching to actively engage His students in the learning experience. To do this, He focused on thinking, knowing, understanding, being, and doing

Thinking.When teaching, Jesus would often ask His students, “What do you think?” In introducing the story of the good shepherd, for example, He extended an invitation to consider carefully the meaning of the story…’ Read more

Leaders, you might want to use this article and a thinking routine such as ‘Think Puzzle Explore’ (outlined below) to engage your staff in exploring the themes and ideas that this article raises.

This thinking routine is one that sets the stage for deeper inquiry into a topic by connecting the reader ‘to prior knowledge, stimulating curiosity and laying the groundwork for independent inquiry’. Visible Thinking Routines

Think Puzzle Explore

  1. What do you think you know about this topic?
  2. What questions or puzzles do you have?
  3. How can you explore this topic?


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RSA Animate – Changing Education Paradigms

A very familiar TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson animated by RSA – which, while probably also familiar to you, I bears reviewing and considering. What are your thoughts?

What’s so great about…

  1. Why do you think people say this is so great?
  2. List what makes it “outstanding?”
  3. Do you have a similar or different opinion?
  4. What is your opinion?


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How many of our students have a personal online presence – other than fb?

Worth thinking about don’t you think? Hmmm?

Find What’s Funny

  1. Why specific things make this “funny?”
  2. What is being made fun of?
  3. How would you make it “funnier?”


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Poll – Vote now :)


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The Unknown Students – Related Stories – ASCD SmartBrief

The Unknown Students

How well do you know the students in your school? In his recent blog post, Whole Child program director Sean Slade discusses the “unknown students” — the group that most teachers don’t know at all or barely know. With stronger connections with responsible adults, Slade says, students perform better, are less likely to be absent and are more likely to graduate. Read the full post with tips on how to reach out to unknown students.This news summary appeared in ASCD SmartBrief on 06/01/2012

Click here to view the full issue.

The Unknown Students – Related Stories – ASCD SmartBrief