School drop outs – to learn in school, students need to learn out of school

[picapp src=”0060/a7b866d9-43df-4733-bfdd-84e4b0cb8aec.jpg?adImageId=7043711&imageId=62843″ width=”400″ height=”329″ /]

A significant number of students leave school every year without doing year 11 or 12, mostly because of academic problems, disinterest, behavior, and family issues. So, how do schools have to change to reduce dropouts?

One of the most significant changes actually runs counter to a growing trend in education. In order to keep students in school, schools must provide experiences where students learn out of school. Students don’t have enough opportunities in the daily school routine to pursue significant and enduring learning where they are treated like adults by the adults they will soon become.

Many students — even those with good grades — are bored and disconnected from what goes on in schools. They do not see schools as the place where they can do the learning they want and need to do when and where it makes sense to them. (Elliot Washor – Big Picture Learning USA)


USA – Aussie gifts

vegemite copy



I have been thinking about some little gifts I could take with me as thank-yous for people I get to know. I wanted to give them something unique that is typically Aussie.

I decided to make up little bags that would include: Minties (with some instructions on the ‘tearing game’ to make the longest strip you can), a Caramello Koala and a single serve of Vegemite.

I am also taking some cool Shepparton brochures, some Aussie greeting cards depicting birds, koalas and my favourite green tree frogs with Aussie slang.
Also packed in my suitcase will be some neat Aussie calendars that beautifully depict our wonderful country in all its splendour.

Just two more sleeps!!

What fond memories do you have of school/teachers?

Geoff in hospitalWhat I remember fondly is a teacher in grade 4 who took us out for games and helped me to be included.

At that time I had a bone disease in my hip that put me in a body cast of plaster for 6 weeks and then about a year in a leg caliper.

I can recall the joy of playing cricket and football with this teacher organising the games so I could be involved.

(Photo of me taken with my parents and an important person from the Sun newspaper at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne).

Here are some great stories from people about their favourite teachers and inspirational learning.

USA here I come

It is only about a week until I fly to the USA to be part of a Big Picture study tour in Sacramento, San Francisco, New Orleans and Los Angeles.

This will be my first ever trip overseas and really looking forward to so many things:

  • Visiting schools who use Big Picture – to see how it really works
  • Seeing the sights and meeting the people
  • Sharing the trip with other passionate educators
  • Sharing the second part of my trip with my wife and 2 youngest sons

I will add a USA page to this blog which will feature the trip details with photos and video.

Specialist schools – choose a school for your passion

[picapp src=”0249/b4476342-70ed-4644-8498-caa25f0b4b23.jpg?adImageId=6218675&imageId=253173″ width=”380″ height=”257″ /]

“For a student such as Emad Zarghami, passionate about chemistry and biology, the arrival of a specialist science school means he is just that bit closer to his chosen career as a research scientist.” See more here.

More choice of schools for students is a good thing.

For those who can’t afford it or unable to relocate, we need local schools who can offer this personalised approach. The ‘poor’ student who has a recognised passion should also have this opportunity.

The change is coming…

Changing Channels – a learning alternative

“Consumer behavior is one of the hardest things to change,” Kilar says. “The gap between the existing and the new has to be so materially better that it shocks you into a behavior change.” (Jason Kilar from Hulu who bringing TV to the Internet)

This quote provoked my thinking in relation to traditional education and the formal schooling model that has been with us for centuries. During all that time it has been based on the imparting of knowledge. With the introduction of the media and now the www the imparting of knowledge is not restricted to schools.

Schools are slowly making the transition yet many students are stuck in the void or relying on the school/teacher to coerce them to learn…because that is the “system”.

I think that there needs to be alternative learning systems for those who don’t “fit” school…a system that will shock the student/community/school into a behaviour change.

Stay tuned to this channel.