Forget the hype

Forget the hype. Go for ‘less is more’.

Fantastic Learning Systems focuses on using journals in the classroom through high-impact teaching strategies(HITS). We particularly zero in on student feedback, metacognition and questioning. Our educational service delivers personalised resources for Years 7, 8 and 9 English classrooms that work to develop the student’s self-regulation of literacy skills. Our approach is the less is more approach as it shifts the teacher’s role from sage on the stage to guide on the side.

From Little Things, Big Things Grow.

I want to pick up on the theme of the song “From Little Things Big Things Grow” by Paul Kelly & Kev Carmody on bringing about a lasting change. It is a theme which I want to bring to the classroom through the engaging practices of teachers’ and students’ journal writing. Based on the story of the Gurindji strike (Wave Hill walk-off) and Vincent Lingiari the song’s message of the Indigenous people’s struggle for land rights and reconciliation casts a giant shadow over any of my puny attempts to communicate to my students the foundational importance of story in their learning how to learn. The story behind the story. Nonetheless, the song draws me …

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Clare and Cam

The Art Of Parent-Friendly Resources

Thirty years since the introduction of ‘common core’ standards and progress maps have passed. However, what have we done to nurture parents’ understanding of education jargon like “thinking skills” and “learning progressions”?

Radical Theatre Entrepreneurial Education

I look at entrepreneurs and their use of technologies to develop modern creative industries. I specifically examined the powerful trends of local pantomime producers to create sustainable work in a ‘gig economy’. In the last five years I have been re-writing my initial findings to establish ways the pantomime context can teach employability and entrepreneurial skills to K-10 students.

Children are natural philosophers

Children are natural philosophers from the time they start demandingly asking ‘Why?’ So perhaps it’s helpful to ask who are philosophers. The source of online wisdom, Wikipedia, informs us that the term “philosopher” comes from the Ancient Greek, φιλόσοφος (philosophos), meaning “lover of wisdom”. … In a modern sense, a philosopher is an intellectual who has contributed in one or more branches of philosophy, such as aesthetics, ethics, epistemology, logic, metaphysics, social theory, and political philosophy. Children experience philosophical thinking through the Arts and the Sciences and everything in-between. Stories to bring out how children are natural philosophers The Philosophy in Schools movement leads the way in showing us …

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The Arts Are Basic

What do you think is meant by ‘doing the basics’?   A debate rages around what constitutes essential knowledge and skills at every level of schooling – from early years to higher education. I want to propose that the arts sector has the ability to shift the debate by showing how there is no knowledge, skill or process more fundamentally basic to teaching & learning than the elements that form the performing and visual arts. They are the building blocks of making meaning: they transform ‘sensory input’ into language through gestures & movement, visuals, sounds and texts to express our experiences, feelings, values and beliefs.  …

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FLS capabilities images - the mind

Thinking Taxonomies

I want to consider what it means to do ‘high-order thinking’ in arts education. The terms ‘high’ and ‘low order’ is commonly associated with Bloom’s Taxonomy, the basis of many marking keys for courses and exams in primary, secondary and tertiary education since the 1950s. In the past, I believe that its hierarchy of six levels exposes how ‘a little knowledge’ can be a ‘dangerous thing’ since I’m pretty sure that  Bloom and his associates had no intention of putting forward the model as I’ve often seen it used as ‘the six easy steps to getting the right answer’. The Solo Model In more recent …

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Connecting Thinking & Doing

I find the categorisation of people into ‘thinkers’ and ‘doers’ rubbish: depending on the context, you can be damned or praised for being either. More significantly, the separation diverts us from dealing with a more important question of how thoughts and actions are inevitably, even if inexplicably, related. According to cognitive linguists George Lakoff and Mark Johnson in Philosophy in the Flesh, to live as a human being is to live as an ’embodied mind’. Given that the subtitle of their book is The Embodied Mind and its Challenge to Western Thought, they vociferously argue that … there is no Cartesian dualistic person, with a mind separate from and …

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