"Back to Basics" – Our education minister doesn't disappoint. But what really matters?

We were all waiting for it.  In the light of Australia’s PISA results, we knew that our politicians wouldn’t let us down and the headline confirmed it: Education Minister pushes for ‘back to basics’ approach in schools Australian’s Minister for Education is quoted as saying “schools need to renew their focus on literacy and numeracy […]

Evolution of learning culture: Why are we here?

“The evolution of learning culture is the most critical work educators need to do inside schools today” Timeless Learning – How Imagination, Observation and Zero-Based Thinking Change Schools by Ira Socol, Pam Moran and Chad Ratliff (p.24) My work is around ‘culture’ and every school, organisation, business and family, has its own culture. Culture eats strategy for […]

From “masterpiece” to “chaos” in one year: What can we learn about designing for people-first?

https://ny.curbed.com/2019/8/23/20828580/long-island-city-queens-public-library-opening-date This is the story of a library in Long Island, from its opening to a little over a year later. Landmark projects carry a lot of responsibility. Visually, aesthetically they make a mark, but still need to work for the people. “I’m sure that they didn’t have kids, because as a parent, you know […]

Leading change and innovation by design: Who’s on your mini-bus?

Last week someone asked me, “How would you describe what you do?” You might think professional traveller, designer, speaker, facilitator, and there probably is plenty of reason for thinking that, and I do those things. But I’m a ‘gut instinct’ kind of person and the first thought was… “transform culture” I think about, live, breathe […]

Imagining the outside environment: For learning, social connection, health, wellbeing… and FUN!

What are your memories of the playground from school? I remember dust bowls and knee-grazing asphalt (with the scars to prove it). I can speak from experience, as I went to three primary schools and two high schools. One school playground stood out above the others, Gymea North Public School in southern Sydney.  Source: https://www.gymeanorthps.com.au/ […]

Libraries: How might we describe them today? A living room, a bedroom, a study, a playground, an office, a friendly place.

I recently attended a GLEAM forum hosted by Hayball, short talks about galleries, libraries, education, the arts or museums, as the acronym suggests. This particular one was titled A Community Living Room: The evolving role of libraries. The speakers were Kim Sherwin from the City of Sydney Libraries and Joy Suliman, from the City of […]

6 Principles to support longevity and health in co-teaching teams: Reflecting on my own experience

I commenced my teaching career unconventionally, as a teacher-librarian. ‘Literature and library skills’, that was about the extent of the briefing for the job.   Me, circa 1982, taking a ‘Library Lesson’ whatever that was? A few years later, I faced my very first class of Year 1 students. Who in their right mind would […]

The learning debate is nothing new, it goes way back: Dismbodied Universals vs Contextualised Particulars

In 1896, John and Mary Dewey opened their laboratory school, Dewey wished to ensure that learning was grounded in real-world contexts and activities rather than abstract ideas and rote learning… the educational process should mimic normal social behaviour, as opposed to the regimented kind of work he witnessed in traditional schools. Gislason, N (2009) Building Paradigms: […]

Destination Christchurch 2019: What I learnt about learning?

It’s the learners who matter, not the curriculum, not the teacher, not the timetable, the learners. This past week Christchurch-based colleague, Cheryl Doig and I facilitated a week of professional learning for Sydney-based school leaders. Sharing my reflections here: We visited school working within the NZ system and simultaneously stretching boundaries of ‘what’s possible’. These […]

How might we provide the optimal environment for learners to flourish in STEM?

Short read: The headlines In January 2020, I am leading a professional study tour with a STEM focus, visiting schools, universities and science centres in Scandinavia, Europe and the UK. Across the world, innovation hubs, maker spaces and STEM centres are developed to inspire young (and old) scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs.  Where do you find the […]