Going outside to learn inside (the classroom)

I have noticed that the more I have my students going to Shadow Days (just like work experience) and Learning Through Internship (2 days a week with a focus project) they are becoming much more settled in class and keen to work. I am steadily seeing more ideas, initiative and even a willingness to come with me when I am doing public speaking.

So far this year these are adult world immersion opportunities understaken by my students:

  • Miss MW – Travel Agent
  • Miss BC – Panel Beating
  • Mr AS – TAFE plumbing
  • Mr TM – Church
  • Miss BR – Restaurant
  • Miss BR – Painting Service
  • Miss BR – Child Care
  • Mr ST – Bricklaying

Students are now working towards their first exhibitions in a few weeks.


Sad but encouraging text from a student

Here is a text I received from one of my students.

It is sad that I am losing him but very encouraging that I was able to help him in some way.

“Geoff im really sorry mate im gunna have to drop out of our class.. I got my apprentiship as a marine machenic its brilliant its exactly what i was looking for you’ve been a big help to me this year mate and i would like to say thanks i really appreciate the time you have put into our class for us i think its amazin and if its okay i will still like to come and visit the class before they finish at the end of the year.. Because use all mean alot to me and i would like to see how things are goin for everyone..”

It really is one student at a time

A golden moment today.

Mr TM was totally absorbed in his work for the whole day.

Up until today, he was bored, disinterested, would miss class in the afternoons and really had no idea what he wanted to do.

He was never really a behaviour problem. Quite well mannered. He just did not have an interest that excited him to do any real work.

The other day he mentioned that he was keen on hardcore dance music (techno on steroids so to speak). He said that he would like to create his own mixes. I encouraged him to find someone who is an expert in this area to find out how he would go about it.

Last night he spoke to someone about it who suggested he download a trial software that allowed him to do his own mixes. Well today he did that and he was totally lost in the work.

We all noticed it and were delighted. So much so that two of the girls excitedly wanted to get a camera and capture the moment. “Look he is doing some work!”

Discussions afterward with him were around his absolute enjoyment of what he was doing, how he now wanted a job to now buy his own mixing/recording equipment. We talked about the need to do a resume so he can get a job.

The other really pleasing thing about the day is how other students recognised the importance of this breakthrough. They are starting to recognise and celebrate each other’s learning.


Big Picture Conference here we come

I am off to the Big Picture Conference in Tasmania tomorrow for 3 days. Three of my students are coming along which will be a great experience for them.

They we have opportunities to work with other BP students from around Australia with multimedia projects which will incorporate their interests and passions.

The key speaker for the conference will be Eliott Washor who is one of the founders of Big Picture in Rhode Island, USA.

One of the days will be for people who are new to Big Picture and the next two days will be for those of us in the work. I am so looking forward to sharing my successes and failures with us and to learn as much as I can from them.

The one thing I really miss in what I am doing at GOTAFE is that I don’t have another teacher/advisor to work with and those important end of day, end of week debriefings.

Sudoku – draws out talents

I am not a numbers person. I love words and Scrabble, Boggle, Cryptic and normal crosswords are my sort of thing.

So, I invited my wife, Judy, in to share with the class her love of Sudoku puzzles and some tips in solving them. Most were engaged and there were a couple of surprises.

  • One boy who has a love for cars and is a low achiever in many things shone and could not get enough. Even staying with Judy after the class finished to solve another one.
  • Another boy who is very weak in maths also joined them and gave it all his attention.

You just never know how these different opportunities will go as it opens the door for students to explore new things and possibilities for success.