Contemporary schooling needs to be seen to be believed

When schools and systems have the audacity and courage to challenge the status quo, they are often labelled as experimental or worse, irresponsible. Our system has copped its fair share of criticism over the years for taking an ‘experimental’ approach to learning and teaching. While some in the wider community may view it as experimental, … More Contemporary schooling needs to be seen to be believed

Bluyonder voices podcast #5 – The PBL guy

In this final podcast for 2017, I chat with Steve Zipkes. Steve is former founding principal of Manor New Technology High School and current founding principal of Cedars International Next Generation High School both in Austin, Texas. The schools have received international acclaim for their innovative approach to learning and teaching. When he isn’t busy leading schools, … More Bluyonder voices podcast #5 – The PBL guy

Projects with a purpose

Seymour Papert was one of the great (educational) thinkers and visionaries of the modern age.  A mathematician, computer scientist and educator, he was a founding member of MIT’s renowned Media Lab. As MIT’s President said following Papert’s death last year, ‘Seymour..helped revolutionize at least three fields, from the study of how children make sense of the … More Projects with a purpose

Deeper learning is shared learning

It seems quite ironic the most effective way of becoming an independent learner is through the process of interacting with others. This was social psychologist Lev Vygotsky‘s zone of proximal development argument.  Essentially we learn best when we learn from and with others. Alma Harris and Michelle Jones from the Institute of Educational Leadership, University of … More Deeper learning is shared learning

Remixing schooling

If you’ve been watching the series Redesign My Brain with Todd Sampson, you’ll be familiar with the work of neuroscientist Dr Michael Merzenich.  Dr Merzenich is a world authority on brain plasticity – the idea that the brain can continually re-wire itself.  Hence, the term ‘soft-wired’. Sam Seidel, author of Hip Hop Genius: Remixing High School Education also believes … More Remixing schooling

Building capacity through strategic partnerships

For a number of years, we have had a strategic partnership with Republic Polytechnic (RP), a tertiary institution in Singapore that leverages problem-based learning to provide an industry-relevant curriculum to Diploma level. It is geared towards students becoming innovative and entrepreneurial professionals with global perspectives. A number of our schools in the Parramatta Diocese such … More Building capacity through strategic partnerships

Why the question is more important than the answer

If education is essentially a search for meaning, then should our goal as teachers be to ask good questions even when there are no clear answers? For decades, our education systems have been built around the transmission of knowledge from teacher to student.  The prescribed curriculum provided one path through the maze and gave students few opportunities to … More Why the question is more important than the answer

151

Parramatta Marist recently introduced Year 10 students to 151 – the extension of the Problem Based Learning (PBL) model into the senior curriculum. Unlike PBL, the 151 model gives students an introductory period (1), whole day (5 periods) and a follow up period (1) per subject over a two week cycle.   This allows teachers to work intensively with senior … More 151