Educational Philosophy

How much preparation is really required for NAPLAN?

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding whether or not preparation is necessary for student confidence and success in NAPLAN. Parents and teachers alike aren’t sure whether they should spend time helping students prepare for tests, and if they do decide to help they’re not really sure of the most effective strategies or activities to employ.

There are many sensationalised stories of kids spending hours and hours sitting practice tests, refusing to go to school and experiencing sleepless nights from the worry and stress caused by the very thought of NAPLAN.

The good news is that there is a middle ground […]

Why kids are scared of NAPLAN and how to help them

The other day I asked the students in one of my Year 7 classes “who’s a bit worried about NAPLAN this year?”

About 70% of the students’ hands went up and a few students had genuinely worried faces.

I then asked them to explain to me and the class what they were worried about. Their responses provide insight into student perceptions of NAPLAN and what we can do to help them feel more confident and self-assured this time around.

Here are some of the common responses and ways in which we can help our children overcome their fears.

“I’m scared I won’t know […]

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    Should parents be involved in their child’s formal education?

Should parents be involved in their child’s formal education?

A few weeks ago I was at the Year 11 Parent Teacher Interviews at my school and I had a great chat with the parents of a student in my form group. They’d heard me give a talk at the school where their son attends and they were very interested in just what parents can do to assist their children in achieving success at school. We chatted so much about these things that we barely talked about their daughter at all!
They told me about an interesting remark a friend of theirs had made, and it is a comment that […]

How to Help Your Kids Study for Maths

School is well and truly back and teachers are already thinking about writing the first round of reports. This means that students are currently sitting their first round of assessments and getting lots of feedback on how their learning is progressing so far.
Preparing for a maths test requires a different skill set than preparing for an assessment in any other subject. Here’s a guide to what your child needs to do to achieve success in their maths assessments this year.

1.    Devise a list of topics to study
Hopefully a list of topics and skills has been provided by your child’s […]

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    Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

As I’ve said in a previous post, this year I’m teaching two Year 7 Maths classes at my new school. Aside from teaching the mathematics, the biggest focus of my lessons so far is settling my students into my routines for the classroom and also helping them get organised.
Organisation is an important and key life skill and those that exhibit good organisation have better chances of success in life. In my classes I focus on not only everyday organisation of materials but also on the organisation of thoughts on the page.
So what can you do to assist your child […]

Should I get a tutor for my child?

As the school year begins and the first assessments are right around the corner, more and more parents start to wonder whether they should get a tutor for their child on top of the other investments they’re making in their child’s education.
Back in the 90s (!) when I was at school not many of my peers had a tutor, and if they did they kept it pretty quiet. These days though it’s not uncommon for students to have at least one tutor, and some for almost all their subjects once they’re in Year 11 and 12.
Tutoring maths has been […]

Can you afford NOT to teach your child early maths skills?

This year, make it a priority to include mathematics in your family life and in the education of your children. By doing so you will be creating foundations for your children that will improve their earning capacity by the time they are adults.

Studies show that even when you account for differences in gender, education and socioeconomic status, early learning of mathematics strongly influences the success and earning potential of an individual.
Let me explain that to you again.
We might think that those children who have the opportunity for a “better” education – more individualised teaching, the best school in the […]

Getting your kids motivated for the new school year

A lot of research has been done on motivation, and in particular how to spark motivation in ourselves and others. One of the most challenging tasks for parents and teachers is to find a way to spark motivation in our children and students.
When it comes to motivation there are two types: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation is when our motivation is encouraged by external sources. Usually we do A to achieve B. B motivates us to get A done. You might put your hand up for an extra project at work so that you receive the bonus you’re […]

Are Australians Scared of Maths?

I’ve just been lucky enough to enjoy a European winter holiday in Prague, Germany and down the Danube to Budapest. It was all about Christmas markets and tasty treats and maths. Yes that’s right, maths. You see I can’t seem to go anywhere without noticing the mathematics in my environment, and it doesn’t help that my husband is also a maths teacher.
For example, last holiday we took this photo outside the famous Sagrada Famiglia Church in Barcelona.

Sure it’s a beautiful piece of art, but that’s not why we took the photo, we took the photo because of the magic […]

What you can REALLY do for your child’s education

In the last week the education news in Australia has either been about backflips and frontflips about funding, or it has been about Australian results steadily declining in international PISA testing.
It all makes us feel a bit helpless. As individual parents and teachers, there is little we can do to influence funding decisions or to ensure that future PISA results improve.
As with everything in life, there is only ever one person you can change, and that person is you. Changing your own attitudes, beliefs and actions will very likely have an effect on those around you and you will […]