by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : August 2010
Inside Teaching | August 2010 20 QUESTIONS 42 A chess lesson a week, to further over-crowd the syllabus: is that a good idea? Interesting idea; I’ve got a better one. Every lesson should start with three minutes of meditation, an affrmation, to separate formal learning from playtime and outside life. This enables kids to engage more deeply in formal leaning. When you were principal of Cherbourg State School, at your fnal, fnal assembly, and you looked at the graduating Year 7s, what qualities made you most proud? That they were strong, smart and proud of where they came from, able to stand confdently alongside others and demand a place in the world. If you could have ever had your choice of anyone to be a guest teacher for a week at Cherbourg, who would it have been? Halle Berry or Serena Williams (laughs). Nelson Mandela, because he models a whole range of things, not only resilience and intellect but also the ability to forgive and to not let his identity be defned by how he was treated. He was strong enough to see his identity was defned on his terms, and he refused to become a victim. Did you have an Indigenous hero as a boy? My mum; my oldest brother, Cameron, who took us to the beach; and Pat Dodson for his statesman-like demeanour. You get to spend a week at the poshest school in Australia, future leaders in every row: what would you most like them to take away from the experience? Future leaders don’t come out of posh schools, but if they did, I’d tell them to be decent, to lead without feeding their own egos, for the good of all humanity. You’re pictured on the Stronger Smarter Institute website in front of an amazing and obviously cold landscape. Can you tell me about it? The landscape is a signal that the stronger smarter philosophy can exist any place. It’s as important for kids in downtown Melbourne or Brisbane as it is for remote kids in any part of the country. Your wife, Grace, is a fellow teacher; how important was she in the development of the stronger smarter philosophy? When I was at Cherbourg as principal I had come from a secondary phys-ed and English teaching background. My knowledge about causing cultural shift was guided by her. What do you think of tying welfare payments to school attendance? I think it’s a despicable idea in which nobody wins. It creates tension between the community and school, and between teachers and students. It was an idea from people with no clue about the reality of quality schooling. What can be done with schools that don’t deliver desirable outcomes for their students? With the strong smarter approach, we accept that some places will struggle. Hard work is needed. We need to support and develop capacity to improve, and if it doesn’t work with that approach, challenge and intervene. Some teachers need to be told that if this is your best then it’s not good enough. What makes a good teacher? They’re frm, fun, fair, passionate about their subject and genuinely interested in kids. They have to be willing not to hide behind the role. They should be decent human beings. How can teachers be encouraged to stay for extended periods in isolated schools so there’s some sort of continuity? Quality leadership, quality teaching, quality relations with the community. If we get that right,