Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

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

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TECHexpress Episode 19 with Lynda Cutting and Craig Dunstan is out!

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From Circle: Why Are We Slow To Use Technology In Schools? By Greg Mitchell

20120531-061256.jpgGreg Mitchell introduces his post with what may be an all-to-familiar scenario:

“Now everyone, copy down all of these notes as you will need them for Friday’s mock exam,” instructed the teacher with a sweeping gesture across a whiteboard covered with neat black writing.

It was a simple enough direction for a Year 10 English class. However one student didn’t seem to believe it applied to him.

“Which part of ‘everyone’ don’t you get?” his teacher quizzed, using his second best sneering technique.

“Oh,” the student grunted, coming back into orbit with a bump. He fished deep in his pocket and produced his well-worn mobile phone.

Click! Click! Click!

“I’ve just emailed them home,” he said, peering into the screen. “What do you want me to do now?”

“Give me your phone,” the teacher replied, ramping up to the sneer he reserved for road rage, “It’s confiscated!”

Is this scenario a familiar one?

Read more here:


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TED: Susan Cain: ‘The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’

Whether you are an introvert or an extrovert or somewhere in between (ambivert), Susan’ Cain’s TED talk is important viewing, and should be shared widely.


As well, Susan recently wrote a very interesting opinion piece in TIME Ideas – ‘Why gadgets are great for introverts’.

In all planning for learning and teaching in our classrooms we must consciously consider the introvert as well as the extrovert and ambivert students!

After viewing the TED video or reading Susan’s article you might like to use one of these Thinking prompts to help in your reflections:


  1. Make a claim about the topic
  2. Identify support for your claim
  3. Ask a question related to your claim



  1. What feelings do you have after experiencing this?
  2. How were you made to feel this way?
  3. What would you like to do with these feelings? 

If Susan’s TED talk, her article and your reflections have whetted your appetite for exploring further I recommend that you read Susan’s book ‘Quiet – The Power of Introverts’. There is an eBook version too. Here!

A tweet today also lead me to Royan Lee’s blog, where he posts about his analysis of data he collected about his students, their personality types, and the effect of their use of social media and digital devices on their learning. Royan’s  ‘…mom ‘n pop research…’ (Action research) is linked here: Social Media and Introverts: by Royan Lee

Take Susan’s Quiet Quiz: Are You an Introvert or an Extrovert?

Related Articles:

Embracing Introversion: Ways to Stimulate Reserved Students in the Classroom 

Introversion and the Invisible Adolescent by Mark Phillips

Adventist Schools Australia – Ministry of Teaching video, 2012

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Our ministry to our students and school communities is that of teaching. Let’s continue to encourage young people in our schools to also consider taking up this vital work, so that they also may make a difference for those who come after them!

In a recent letter to State Directors of Education and Adventist Church pastors and ministry teams Dr Daryl Murdoch, National Director Of Education, Adventist Schools Australia wrote:

‘Education Day 2012 

…Sabbath August 11 is a special Sabbath set aside to focus on our Adventist school system. Our schools are a core ministry of the church and it is our continued commitment to ensure that they provide the very best for the children in their care. As such we want to ensure that we are attracting and calling passionate and committed people to teach in our schools.

These videos have been produced with one aim in mind – to call people to the ministry of teaching, to make a difference, and as such influence the next generation for Christ…’

One of these videos was shown on August 11 in many Adventist churches around Australia and I post them on this blog for viewing by those who follow the blog. The shorter is 60 seconds in length and the longer version runs for 4 minutes and 22 seconds. Perhaps these might inspire a young person you know to consider a teaching career…

Long version

Short version

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There’s More Than One Way to Flip a Classroom – Digital Education – Education Week

I’ve had a few conversations with colleagues lately about the concept of flipped classrooms, so I will make a couple of posts that provide some thoughts about this style of learning. Here’s the first article, written by Katie Ash, published in the Education Week blog http://blogs.edweek.org on June 26 2012, with the full version accessible from the linked article title here:

There’s More Than One Way to Flip a Classroom – Digital Education – Education Week.

‘In a packed session this afternoon at ISTE 2012 here in San Diego, a panel of nine educators, as well as two moderators presented their ideas and experiences with “flipping” their classrooms.

The session was led by Aaron Sams and Jonathan Bergmann, two chemistry teachers who pioneered the flipped learning model back in 2006. The pair recently co-wrote a book, published by ISTE and ASCD, called Flip Your Classroom.

Defining what “flipping your classroom” meant was the first topic of conversation, which proved to be somewhat more difficult than you might expect. In fact, the reason the panel consisted of nine educators, instead of two or three, was precisely to demonstrate that there were many different ways to effectively flip a classroom…’ Read more

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What’s a Principal to do? Classroom Management, Discipline Problems and Redemptive Discipline

The URLs below link to two downloadable articles from the Journal of Adventist Education February/March 2011, that will be of interest to leaders who work with teachers to develop and improve their classroom behaviour management routines and strategies.

‘Trial or Trail – The Path to Redemptive Discipline’,

by John Wesley Taylor V

Discipline, a Problem?

Findings from the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup poll indicate that discipline, or the lack thereof, is one of the greatest challenges facing public schools in the United States. This has a dramatic effect on education. Studies indicate that 14 percent or more of public school teachers in the United States leave the profession after their first year, with almost half of beginning teachers exiting within the first five years. Of those who drop out, sig- nificant proportions do so because of classroom management or discipline problems.

Even students recognize that their teachers’ approach to discipline has a significant relationship to their effectiveness in the classroom.  Across a variety of settings, young people agreed that their worst teachers were those who were either coercive or soft on discipline, while their best teachers were those who were both demanding and caring.

This issue of discipline is not unique to the modern era. History reveals that parents and teachers have long searched for so- lutions to student misbehavior. Rousseau, for example, an early theorist of adolescence, observed that a young person can be “almost ungovernable.” From the Old Testament comes the query, “How shall we order the child, and what shall we do unto him?”… Read more

So What’s a Principal to do? Thoughts on How to Help Teachers With Classroom Management and Discipline Problems

by James R Jeffrey with Donna Jeffrey

…Continuing down the hall, I spotted a student sitting on the floor just outside Ms. Susan’s [Pseudonym] classroom door. Not an encouraging sign! Upon entering the back of the classroom, I could tell that things were not going well for this experienced teacher. Students clustered in small groups throughout the classroom, shouting at one another and at students in other groups. The teacher was trying unsuccessfully to get everyone’s attention, but the class seemed determined to ignore her.

As I contemplated this scene, it was all I could do to keep from stepping in to restore some semblance of order. But I resisted the administrative temptation to “take over” and solve this teacher’s immediate problems. Instead, I took a deep breath and asked myself three questions: (1) What had gone wrong in this classroom? (2) How could the principal help Susan? and (3) Could some type of school-wide discipline plan have prevented the chaos in Ms. Susan’s classroom? These three questions are the central focus of this article. But let’s first clarify some important issues involved in classroom discipline and management in a Christian school.

Discipline, a Major Concern for Teachers

1. School and classroom discipline are major concerns for teachers, parents, and communities. For the past 40 years, the Gallup Poll2 organization has asked Americans, in an open-ended question, to describe the biggest problems facing public schools in their communities. Consistently, lack of discipline and control of students have ranked number one or number two. While no such data exists for Adventist schools, I would surmise, from observation and direct in- volvement, that parents, teachers, and churches also consider discipline a significant concern.
2. Although the terms “classroom management” and “discipline” are often used interchangeably, they are not synonymous. According to Marshall, discipline “deals with how people behave,” while classroom management has to do with “procedures, routines and structure.” Wong and Wong agree with this distinction but go even farther, asserting that the vast majority of classroom behavior problems are “caused by the failure of students to follow procedures and routines, which in turn are caused by teachers who do not have procedures and routines.”… Read more

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‘Enforced conformity in class condemns boys to mediocrity’ by David Brooks

Being 12 in 2012 by Nicole Brady, The Age, June 24 2012


by David Brooks, Opinion, July 9 2012, accessed July 11 2010:

Male students who don’t fit the ideal are turning away from learning.

Enforced conformity in class condemns boys to mediocrity

HENRY V is one of Shakespeare’s most appealing characters. He was rambunctious when young and courageous when older. But suppose Henry went to an American school.

By about the third week of kindergarten, Henry’s teacher would be sending notes home saying that Henry ”had another hard day today.” By mid-year, there’d be sly little hints dropped that maybe Henry’s parents should think about medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Many of the other boys are on it, and they find school much easier.

By primary school, Henry would be lucky to get 20-minute snatches of recess. During one, he’d jump off the top of the jungle gym, and, by the time he hit the ground, the supervising teachers would be all over him for breaking the safety rules. He’d get in a serious wrestling match with his buddy Falstaff, and, by the time he got him in a headlock, there’d be suspensions all around. First, Henry would withdraw. He’d decide that the official school culture is for wimps and softies and he’d just disengage. In kindergarten, he’d wonder why he just couldn’t be good. By high school, he’d lose interest in trying and his grades would plummet.

Then he’d rebel. If the official high school culture was uber-nurturing, he’d be uber-crude. If it valued co-operation and sensitivity, he’d devote his mental energies to violent video games and aggressive music. If university wanted him to be focused and tightly ambitious, he’d exile himself into a lewd and unsupervised laddie subculture. He’d have vague high ambitions but no realistic way to realise them. Day to day, he’d look completely adrift.

This is roughly what’s happening in schools across the Western world. The education system has become culturally cohesive, rewarding and encouraging a certain sort of person: one who is nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious. People who don’t fit this cultural ideal respond by disengaging and rebelling.

Far from all, but many of the people who don’t fit in are boys. A decade or so ago, people started writing books and articles on the boy crisis. At the time, the evidence was disputable and some experts pushed back. Since then, the evidence that boys are falling behind has mounted. The case is closed. The numbers for boys get worse and worse. By year 12, male reading test scores are far below female test scores. Psychologist Michael Thompson said recently that year 11 boys are now writing at the same level as year 8 girls. Boys used to have an advantage in maths and science, but that gap is nearly gone. Boys are much more likely to have discipline problems. As far back as 2004 an education journal noted that boys accounted for nearly three-quarters of the D’s and F’s. Some colleges are lowering the admissions requirements just so they can admit a decent number of men. Even so, men make up just over 40 per cent of university students. Two million fewer men graduated from university over the past decade than women. The gap in graduate school is even higher.

Some of the decline in male performance may be genetic. The information age rewards people who mature early, who are verbally and socially sophisticated, who can control their impulses. Girls may, on average, do better at these things. After all, boys are falling behind not just in the US, but in all 35 member-nations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

But the big story here is cultural and moral. If schools want to re-engage Henry, they can’t pretend they can turn him into a reflective Hamlet just by feeding him his meds and hoping he’ll sit quietly at story time. If schools want to educate a fiercely rambunctious girl, they can’t pretend they will successfully tame her by assigning some of those exquisitely sensitive Newbery award-winning novellas. Social engineering is not that easy.

Schools have to engage people as they are. That requires leaders who insist on more cultural diversity in school: not just teachers who celebrate co-operation, but other teachers who celebrate competition; not just teachers who honour environmental virtues, but teachers who honour military virtues; not just curriculums that teach how to share, but curriculums that teach how to win and how to lose; not just programs that work like friendship circles, but programs that work like boot camp.

The basic problem is that schools praise diversity but have become culturally homogeneous. The education world has become a distinct subculture, with a distinct ethos and attracting a distinct sort of employee. Students who don’t fit the ethos get left out.

Little Prince Hal has a lot going on inside. He’s not the unfeeling, uncommunicative, testosterone-driven cretin of common boy stereotype. He’s just inspired by a different honour code. He doesn’t find much inspiration in school, but he should.

NEW YORK TIMES Follow the National Times on Twitter: @NationalTimesAU

Certainly this is an interesting article and while I agree with much of it, I believe it doesn’t address the needs of all boys- and probably it wasn’t meant to.

I certainly believe that since we teachers began to concentrate on raising the bar for girls in education especially in the maths and sciences areas – probably around the late 70s early 80s, maybe earlier (and rightly so because girls needed this focus then) we forgot to a large extent about keeping an eye on our boys. Hence the move in the last decade or so for researchers to take a look at how we should work with our more extrovert, ‘rambunctious’ boys – the ‘Henrys’.

To exacerbate the situation, as I see it implied in the article, our institutions have slowly, almost imperceptibly become places where safety seems to be all encompassing – and in my experience with young children (perhaps not from research) is often parent driven; interestingly from both mums and dads.

Perhaps this has come about because of the development of increasingly urban and litigious western societies? Perhaps not?

(In the 50s the boys AND girls at my country primary school – those who wanted to that is – would take part in activities such as climbing high up from tree to tree through the cypress row during each unsupervised lunchtime. No teacher in sight! Goodness me, some even rode their feisty horses to and from school each day! But some didn’t want to do either activity, and came to school with mum, by car car and stayed on the ground in the playground! If as a consequence of their choices any hurt themselves they were given good care, but also taught to take responsibility for their actions.)

However, despite what I might think the article implies, I don’t think we cater all that well for some other of our boys, nor girls for that matter. There are others who don’t fit the ‘ideal’ either!

Therefore to explore from another point of view for some other of our boys AND our girls, I am at the moment reading ‘Quiet’ by Susan Cain. (Check out her excellent TED talk if you haven’t already – see previous post.) Susan has researched and written on the topic of introverts.

I’m not yet quite half way through but as an introvert myself, I am finding it extremely interesting. Her book is well researched; as well it is very empowering for me personally. It is helping me to understand myself more, as well as the introverts and extroverts around me. (There is an eBook version of ‘Quiet’ – see previous post.)

Consequently I would suggest the while we must look at the need to change our culture in schools to address the active boys – and girls – I would also like to have us not forget that we have introverted boys and girls in our classrooms too!

Not all boys are, or want to be, the extrovert ‘Henrys’ so well described in David’s article, nor are they all the ‘nurturing, collaborative, disciplined, neat, studious, industrious and ambitious’  middle-temperament ‘Hamlets’ either. We must recognise that we have roughly three groups! Many of our students are introverts who would prefer ‘aloneness’ places, and quiet, solo activities!

As well as overlooking the most extroverted, as the article suggests, I would ask: Do we also overlook the most introverted who would prefer to be provided with solitary, quiet times to just get on with quiet solo activities?

All children, given the right environments – and I emphasise environmentS – can reach their potential whatever their personality or temperament type. Nature, nurture? Both? Cain has some interesting thinking worth considering.

How are we then to manage them all in our classrooms and playgrounds? Let them all have a voice! Let’s not try to fit them all into the same mould.

Just some of my thoughts.