Probe into Victorian Teacher Regulatory Body

Aug 22 2017
MELBOURNE, Aug 8 -  Education Minister Jam...

We need to change the way we select future teachers

Aug 21 2017

As a teacher, I know that the intellectual...

Three reasons why your students should enter the Tax, Super and You Competition

Aug 20 2017
Have you got creative students? If so, the ATO ...

Your Assistance Requested for: Strengthening Research Rich Teaching Profession

Aug 19 2017
CaSPA has been a reference group member to t...

Singapore Questions Value of its own PISA Results

Aug 18 2017
The PISA fallacy in Singapore: insights from...

Aust Government provides online STEM resources

Aug 17 2017
The Australian Government has launched a new we...

Principal for a Day - Sept 7, 2017

Aug 16 2017
On Thursday 7 September participating business ...

Funding Opportunities - August 15, 2017

Aug 15 2017
1.     Western Chances Scho...

A Window gives insight into the story of Sacred Heart College, Geelong

Aug 13 2017
SACRED Heart College has unveiled a stained-...

NCEC meet with CaSPA and other Key Stakeholders

Aug 12 2017
Above r.: Andrew Watson, CaSPA; Mark Mo...

CaSPA Equity Scholarship Recipient - Mary Farah

Aug 11 2017
The CaSPA Board awards an annual scholarship...

CaSPA Data Project - Life After Principalship

Aug 10 2017
The final area of focus in the current serie...

Planning Well Under Way for Cairns 2018

Aug 08 2017
Above: Kerry Swann and Frank FitzGerald at a...

CaSPA Students figure prominently in Future Leader Awards

Aug 07 2017
We congratulate the Principals, staff  ...

Case Study - From Greenfields site to Flourishing College - Greg Miller

Aug 06 2017
In 2016, Greg Miller [above] was appointed t...

CaSPA News


Probe into Victorian Teacher Regulatory Body

Posted on 22 August 2017
Probe into Victorian Teacher Regulatory Body
MELBOURNE, Aug 8 -  Education Minister James Merlino ordered the review into the Victorian Institute of Teaching, citing questionable decisions that have allowed teachers to continue working in Catholic and independent schools despite being fired from state schools.
"I've had some concerns for quite some time on the decisions the VIT have made," Merlino told reporters on Tuesday.

"If the Department of Education considers someone as completely inappropriate to be teaching then why should that person continue to be registered as a teacher and able to teach in our Catholic and independent schools?"

The review will be conducted by Penny Armytage and auditors KPMG.

Merlino declined to detail any other concerning decisions by the institute.

Fairfax has recently reported one of the cases include a Year 4 teacher keeping his registration even though he was fired for improper behaviour, which included getting students to give him massages.
Posted in: Professional Development   0 Comments

We need to change the way we select future teachers

Posted on 21 August 2017
We need to change the way we select future teachers

As a teacher, I know that the intellectual tasks required of me are also the aspects of the job which have become the easiest.

Reading and understanding new curricula, planning lessons and assessing student work have all become routine.

The difficulty arises in the relational aspects of the job and in the unpredictable nature of the work.

Every student is different and every classroom and school setting presents unique challenges. To deal with these challenges teachers need to be creative thinkers and problem solvers.

In 2015, the Australian Secondary Principals' Association outlined some qualities and attributes of effective graduate teachers.

This included a high IQ, but emotional intelligence, good communication skills and the ability to collaborate were also highly regarded.

Some of these 'soft skills' can be developed with experience, but others are more difficult to cultivate as they may partly relate to personality or disposition.

This is the reason why many teacher candidates sail through university assignments only to find that the classroom setting is 'just not for them'.

As a profession, we have a responsibility to select the right people for the job, both for future students and for the teacher candidates themselves.

Why should teacher candidates invest time and money working towards a degree only to find they are ill suited to the classroom environment?

The recent attention on ATAR scores and the literacy and numeracy skills of those wishing to enter the profession is warranted, but perhaps the reason it has been met with some criticism is that it is an oversimplification of the teaching role.

Many teachers know from their own experiences that highly intelligent people do not necessarily make the best teachers.

In 2016 and 2017, the University of Melbourne's Graduate School of Education was ranked amongst the top five education faculties in the world.

Entry to the University's Master of Teaching program is dependent on the prior completion of an undergraduate degree. This means that teachers have some life experience and maturity when they enter the classroom.

Moreover, as of this year, the University of Melbourne will also require future students to complete the Teacher Capability Assessment Tool (TCAT).

According to the university's website, 'the TCAT is a web-based tool to help identify the optimal mix of knowledge and personal skills to become a successful teacher.

It asks about previous experience, motivations to teach and includes questions on literacy and numeracy skills, other abilities and disposition.'

"Research has demonstrated that tests of ability are predictive of occupational performance, and personal qualities are related to higher job performance and self-efficacy" the TCAT website says.

This type of testing is similar to Situational Judgement Tests, a type of psychometric test where candidates are asked to respond to realistic workplace situations. A number of other organisations also use this type of testing.

For example, the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners has recently opted to include a Candidate Assessment and Applied Knowledge Test (CAAKT) in order to assess candidates wishing to become General Practitioners.

While traditional testing may assess cognitive abilities, the medical field has recognised that non-cognitive abilities such as professionalism, empathy, communication and ethics are also crucial for success as a doctor.

The teaching profession, as a relational profession, is one which requires a similar skill set which cannot be assessed on the basis of ATAR or literacy and numeracy testing alone.

A number of institutions have now implemented literacy and numeracy testing in an effort to ensure high levels of literacy and numeracy amongst teacher cohorts.

The Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education Students has been designed by ACER test writers, to assess aspects of personal literacy and numeracy skills of initial teacher education students.

While all of this is helpful in assessing a candidate's literacy and numeracy, teacher education courses must include selection tools that also assess non-cognitive abilities. 

The role of a teacher is difficult and our attrition rate is at an all-time high. The latest estimates suggest between 30 and 50 per cent of teachers are leaving within the first five years.

There are a number of factors at work here and the problem is complex.

Better mentoring and flexible working conditions will help to support graduate teachers in their first years on the job.

However, if we are not selecting the right people in the first place, all of this is a wasted investment and the people most affected will be our school students.


By Orania Theoharidis
Community contribution  Education HQ/ August 14, 2017


Posted in: TEMAG   0 Comments

Three reasons why your students should enter the Tax, Super and You Competition

Posted on 20 August 2017
Three reasons why your students should enter the Tax, Super and You Competition
Have you got creative students? If so, the ATO wants to hear innovative and interesting ideas from year 7 10 on how they think tax and super contributes to the community.

Here are three reasons why your students should enter The Tax, Super and You Competition.

1. It's a chance to apply their knowledge

Your students don't need to be tax experts to participate in the Tax, Super and You Competition!

Aligning to the Australian Curriculum, the competition is a fun way for students to think about what they've learnt in the classroom and understand the relevance of tax and super in the community.

Even though students may not be aware, tax funds many of the services and resources that they see and use in their everyday lives! Tax collected is used to fund public schools, police and hospitals and even some things they might have never imagined like national parks and sports facilities, music and arts festivals and even the fireworks on New Year's Eve.

2. It's an opportunity to find a creative solution to a real life challenge

The Tax, Super and You Competition encourages students to get creative while learning about the role of tax and super in everyday life. Students can submit any ideas from short stories, to apps, to videos and can work in teams or individually.

3. They can get recognised by a creative expert

Students don't have to wait until they leave high school to get recognition for their great ideas. Melinda Geertz, the National Chief Executive Officer of Leo Burnett advertising agency is on the judging panel, so the competition is an excellent opportunity for aspiring marketers to show their ideas to a creative expert.

For more information about the Tax, Super and You Competition and ATO school curriculum resources, visit the Tax, Super and You Website. Remember, entries close 3 November 2017.
Posted in: curriculum Government   0 Comments

Your Assistance Requested for: Strengthening Research Rich Teaching Profession

Posted on 19 August 2017
Your Assistance Requested for: Strengthening Research Rich Teaching Profession

CaSPA has been a reference group member to the Strengthening Research Rich Teaching Profession project. Some members might have attended one of the 7 national workshops that were held in Feb/March this year around the Country.

The project is now in its second phase of data collection and the on-line survey builds on the advice, insights and recommendations from the national workshops.

If you wish to participate in this project the survey should take approximately 10-15 minutes maximum - The link to the survey is

The survey will be live from  the 4th of August 25th of August.

Posted in: curriculum   0 Comments

Singapore Questions Value of its own PISA Results

Posted on 18 August 2017
Singapore Questions Value of its own PISA Results

The PISA fallacy in Singapore: insights from the NIE

This teacher-training college is where Singapore's extraordinary PISA success is manufactured. Singapore has been among the world's top performers in the PISA standardised science, mathematics and reading tests since 2006. In the past three years, it has held the top spot.

So you might be surprised to hear that the theme for NIE's 2017 educational conference was Redesigning Pedagogy.

The PISA Fallacy

Before over 1500 delegates, Minister for Education, Ng Chee Meng, projected graphs depicting Singapore's stellar PISA results. He then juxtaposed these to OECD data on student wellbeing, and also of innovation in the economy, revealing Singapore in the lowest quartile. His conclusion was stark: "we've been winning the wrong race".

Ng Chee attributed Singapore's PISA success to standardised test drilling and a culture of compliance, only to retort: "we're building compliant students just as the jobs that value compliance are beginning to disappear".

Over 350 workshops, across four days, explored the best ways to redesign pedagogy. Here are some of the best:

Interest-Based Pedagogy

Professor Kim Sung Il, of the Brain and Motivation Research Institute, projected brain scans that correspond to a range of cognitive processes, including high-stakes testing, playing instruments, and curiosity. His findings are revelatory as to the importance of engagement in learning. This emotional state builds emotional and cognitive resilience, encourages creativity, fosters positive responses to feedback and reduces anxiety.

Kim discerned what types of activities tend to generate most engagement among learners, and they include: multi-sensory stimuli; relevance; autonomy; and ongoing, immediate feedback.

Crucially, engagement creates a positive bias towards the content or material being studied, which led Kim to conclude: "if you can't make material interesting, don't teach it, because you will lastingly damage it in the learner's mind".

Authentic Assessment

A remarkably direct way to modernise pedagogy was offered by Dr Silin Yang. She called for educational systems to design tasks that are appropriate variations of their equivalent in adult industries and professions. Dr Silin Yang offered two irresistibly practical lists.


  • Applying unrealistic timings to tasks (eg. in-class timed assessments)
  • Expecting unprofessional presentation modes (eg. pen and paper)
  • Setting assignments out of context (eg. practice questions)
  • Asking students to create authentic products
  • Aligning learning clearly to assessment criteria
  • Rewarding initiative and originality
  • Teaching Creativity

Professor Root-Bernstein, from Michigan State University, distinguished between knowledge, creativity and innovation, which are in ascending degree of complexity. Knowing consists of storing in your head what is available elsewhere; creativity relies on imagining what isn't available elsewhere; innovation requires creativity to actually work in context.

Task-design, explained Root-Bernstein, is central to fostering creativity, with desirable attributes including:
  • Designing tasks that can be resolved in several ways
  • Avoiding laying out all the steps to reach the resolution
  • Planning cross-curricular tasks
  • Rewarding originality and reflectivity
  • Asking questions that begin with why or how (rather than what)
  • Instructing students to create (rather than answer)

Root-Bernstein also posed the creativity challenge to principals, provoking them thus: "The difference between administrators and innovators is broader thinking: the ability to imagine, test the efficacy and deploy what is not before their eyes."

This story appeared in the August 2017 edition of Australian Teacher Magazine.
Posted in: curriculum   0 Comments
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