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Private Schools vs. Public Schools

It feels like a lifetime since the last time I wrote a blog post! In the past three weeks, Danielle and I have seen the Sydney Opera House, drove Great Ocean Road, watched the AFL grand finale, snorkeled in the Great Barrier Reef and walked the shores of the beautiful Whitehaven Beach. Australia is really starting to steal a special place in my heart! Now, we are back from all our adventures, and well into our second placement. This term, Brianne, Danielle and I have been placed at Earnshaw State College in the suburb of Banyo. The school is a public Prep to Twelve co-ed school, split by the Jr. Campus and the Sr. Campus. The school has been overwhelmingly welcoming and supportive of us during our time here, and we cannot wait to continue exploring the school and all it has to offer.


 

 

 

 

 

 

Observing the classrooms and culture at Earnshaw, I have been surprised at the similarities and differences that exist between public and private education in Queensland. Before coming to Australia, I was under the impression that the quality of teaching would be much higher at St. Aidan’s than at Earnshaw, but throughout our observations I have come to realize that the differences between the school have nothing to do with the teaching quality, and everything to do with the schools resources. At St. Aidan’s the school is filled with interactive STEM spaces, each student in the secondary school has their own laptop, and there are a multitude of co-curricular activities and school trips that the students may participate in. Although I would argue that methods of teaching, classroom management and pedagogies were the same at both schools, there was a definite imbalance when it comes to student resources and supports.

What I have found most interesting about our time in the Australian education system is that even the teachers struggle to decide which system of education is best for their children. The private school teachers had students in public schools, and the public-school teachers had students in private schools. There is a definite stereotype in Australia that a private education is a better education. This stereotype runs so deep that even teachers within the public system do not believe that the work they are doing is good enough for their own children. Personally, I always have and always will be a strong advocate for public education. I have always struggled to understand why Canadian parents would spend so much money on a private education, when our public-school system is so highly regarded. Coming to Australia, I thought my perception of private schools would change, as I would be amazed by the quality of education they are producing. After visiting both a public and a private school in Australia I do not believe this is the case. Both school systems are committed to ensuring that their students are receiving the best education that they can supply, and I would argue that both are succeeding.

 Moving forward with this placement, I am hopeful that I will continue to be amazed by the quality of education offered at Earnshaw. So far, our experience has been extremely rewarding, and I can’t wait to see what the next two weeks have in store!

 

Kennedy

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Switching Schools in Brisbane

Back to School!

Well we’ve just had Spring Break (called Term Break here) in Queensland, Australia. We’re pretty lucky because it gave us all the chance to jet off and explore a bit of Australia! I took off first to Melbourne and got to take in sights such as the Great Ocean Road. It was a beautiful drive all along the coast, worth seeing! Following that I was over in Sydney to see the Sydney Opera House and Bondi Beach. It was so fun to see such iconic sights in person! To finish up the break, I went up the coast to a little sleepy town called Noosa, it’s a place I would say is similar to Canmore, only instead of mountains it has beautiful beaches! I was able to cross off a bucket list item as I tried surfing for the first time and I was able to get up on my board and surf in to the beach! I think I’m hooked on the sport which may be problematic living in Alberta.

As I said, though, school break is over and we’re back in classrooms here. For the next four weeks I’ll be with Melissa at St. Aidans’s Anglican Girls School. Today was our first day and we both had exceptional experiences! With our last school (which we also both thoroughly enjoyed) we had the opportunity to move around to different classes throughout the day and see a variety of different grade levels, teaching styles and subjects. This school we’ve each been paired with our own teacher for our whole stay. I’m looking forward to this as my partner teacher is fantastic and I’m enjoying getting to know the kids. My hope is to have all the names down by my third full day! I’m in a grade one class and it’s really different being in an all girls school. You can definitely feel there is a calmer energy about the place as well. I already got to spend some time today working with smaller groups on their spelling and grammar and circling the class to help with various assignments throughout the day.

I really enjoyed how their library time was spent. They had a few minutes to sign out some books and then they were lead through a 5 minute meditation of sorts to calm what they called their ‘monkey brain’. Monkey brain is where you have so much on the go that you’re thinking about a million things at once; I’m sure we all can relate! After their meditation they were given a full 20 minutes to read their books in silence and every single girl in the library was focused on their reading! It was really impressive; even the teachers got to enjoy quiet reading! I must say I loved my 20 minute reading break midday, my monkey brain appreciated it!

From there we jumped right into gym class and due to odd numbers I got to partake in the games with the girls. It was a really fun joining the girls but running around in humid 33 degree weather is something I am not used to! You might say us Canadian girls are starting to notice the heat, and we’ve been told it isn’t even hot yet!

All in all it was a fantastic day and I’m really looking forward to getting to know this classroom of girls as they’re absolute sweethearts to work with! We finished the day with story time and they were so excited about it that I think I get to read to them story at the end of every day for the rest of my visit. I must say I enjoy it almost as much as they do!

Time to cook up some dinner, we’re having Greek tonight! Also looks like we have a wicked thunder storm rolling in so should be an exciting evening!

Thank you for reading!

Carolyn

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Halfway Already!?

Hello from the other side!!

Well, our time here is flying by!! One school and three weeks down!! What a three weeks it has been! Where do I begin?! My first prac* was at a high achieving all-girls private school, with afocus on the Maths and Sciences. I was coming in to this school with limited experience. I had never been in single-sex schooling, nor do I claim to be an expert in the Maths and Sciences. Being as we were placed in the upper years, during their exam prep, much of our placement was observation. As a beginner teacher, I find myself, chomping at the bit wanting to teach every time I get into a classroom. However, I found having the opportunity to just sit and observe different teachers, styles, and students to be extremely beneficial.


As I could go on and on about my experience at St. Aidan’s I will give you the highlight reel instead...

  • Throughout the school, I was impressed with their ability to integrate multiple discipline together. We observed a Physics class that developed English skills and an Art class that considered Geography during their application, to name a few. Their ability to teach in an interdisciplinary fashion with such fluidity was something I had limited experience with.
  • The rollout of the new curriculum. Although we had limited opportunity to observe this curriculum in the classroom, it seemed as though they are approaching it largely through an inquiry-based model. In a discussion with one of the Maths teachers, she explained how students will be graded out of 20, but only 7 of those marks will be for the right answer. The other 13 will be for explaining ones thought process and giving alternative ways of achieving the outcome.
  • On a final note, classroom management seemed to be a thing of the past in this school. Not to say it was good, bad, or otherwise, but it seemed as if the students were given ownership of their own behaviour and if they chose not to pay attention that was their fault. Over the three weeks, this seemed to fluctuate in some classrooms but overall seemed to be relatively similar across most of the school.

 

 

Prac*  the term Australian teachers and preservice teacher use when referring to their practicum

 

Now for a Beyond the Classroom Update!

Well, you know what they say, When in Australia do as the Australians!! So, we tried the TimTam Slam! And just when I thought I couldn’t like those biscuits anymore!! It turns them into warm chocolate cake!! And if the cookies did not sell me on this country, I had the opportunity to explore the Great Barrier Reef and it was beyond beautiful. There is something about diving and being underwater that is both terrifying and beautiful at the same time. The reef reminded me of how small I am in this world and just why I love diving! Oh and hanging out with the sharks did not hurt either!! Next up, Vegemite and Surfing 

What am I looking forward to? 

In the weeks to come my parents are coming and we are road tripping the East Coast of Australia. It will be really nice to get away from the city and explore some of rural Australia. On this trip, we will have the opportunity to explore more about Indigenous peoples of Australia and their relationship to the land. So far it has been interesting to see the parallels one can draw between Canada and Australia, and Indigenous relations within each country.

 

 

Till Next Time,

Bri in Brissy! 

 

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Surfing the Waves of Inclusion!

G’day again mates! Today is a rainy day in Brisbane, so I’m using this opportunity to catch up on some homework, drink a few lattes, and reflect on my experiences in another blog post. The past week has been chockablock full of exploration: from the famous Sydney Opera House, to the gorgeous Blue Mountains, to the warm and wonderful Bondi and Byron Bay beaches! My favourite experience so far has definitely been last Thursday, when I got to toss out the shakas and catch some gnarly waves on a surfboard in Byron Bay! Sweet as!

I’ve finally figured out how to share pictures in my post, so here’s one of me hamming it up in the sunshine!

 

In my last post, I talked about mental health - this time around, I'm going to venture into a topic that's even closer to my heart: inclusive education!

In my first school placement in Brisbane (which is now unfortunately over!), I had the amazing opportunity to spend many mornings with a wonderful prep (kindergarten) teacher and her loving, intelligent, and adorable students. I was continually amazed by her patience and skillful implementation of differentiated, engaging, and meaningful learning experiences. As someone who hopes to teach early elementary in the future, I thoroughly enjoyed my mornings with the “preppies”! One student in particular stood out for me, though; to protect his identity, I’ll refer to him as Max. I first took notice of him when, at morning circle, the teacher asked him, “And who are you today?” I carried my curiousity about Max over all three weeks at Earnshaw, and, fortunately, everyone I encountered was equally as eager to discuss the situation with me. After some questioning, I found out that, alongside diagnoses of ASD and ADHD, he exhibits multiple personalities, all of which are well-developed and entirely separate from one another. His “bad” personality was called Max, but he also had many “good” personalities, such as Toad, Mario, and Tails.

Even more fascinating than my first experience with multiple personalities was the teacher’s handling of the issue. Though he clearly exhibited additional needs, he was never “othered”: she respectfully used the name of whichever personality he was exhibiting that day and never brought special attention to his behaviour. For example, one day when “Bad Max” was causing a disturbance in the classroom, she privately conferred with him, addressing him as Max, and invited him to “go have a look outside for Toad”. He was frustrated, but took her advice and went outside, running around the (fenced) schoolyard (still within eyesight). He came back into the classroom a few minutes later with a completely different expression and in a completely different voice announced, “I’ve found Toad!”, sat down at a table, and continued his work peacefully.

To say I was blown away by this teacher and student relationship is an understatement! It was incredibly meaningful for me to bear witness to the inclusive practices that made this prep class run smoothly, despite the diverse students with so many different needs, abilities, and personalities. I could really talk all day about the amazing inclusion I saw in many classes at Earnshaw, but I would be writing for pages! I am eager to see how large of a role inclusivity plays in my next placement at St Aidan’s, starting next week. For now, I’m looking forward to a few sunny days in Noosa, followed by a long-awaited trek to Melbourne before all the Brisbane girls are back together again!

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Indigenous Education in Australia

Hi everyone! It has almost been a month now since I have landed in Australia, and I can’t believe how fast time if flying by. Us Brisbane girls have now finished our first placements and are currently on spring break. I will now be enjoying some time south of Brisbane, visiting friends in both Sydney and Melbourne, and in a few weeks avoiding sharks in the Whitsundays. For the past month us Brisbane girls have been very busy becoming acquainted with our new city, visiting schools, attending QUT lectures and keeping up with our online classes, so it is nice to have some time to ourselves to explore this beautiful country!

Before we left on break, we had the chance to attend a meeting on Indigenous education at St. Aidan’s with their school Chaplain and Dean of Innovation and Engagement. Brianne, Danielle and I requested this meeting in order to gain some perspective on how Indigenous ways of knowing and learning are being introduced within Australian classrooms. As it turns out, the State of Queensland is miles ahead of Canada when it comes to integration of Indigenous culture and knowledge into their schools. Within Queensland including Indigenous perspectives is a cross-curricular priority. Indigenous ways of knowing must be integrated into each subject area, as mandated within the curriculum. Queensland schools are also working hard to organize staff PD’s on Indigenous education, and St. Aidan’s itself participates in an Indigenous learning circle with other school leaders and Indigenous elders.  

Although St. Aidan’s is very proud of the work they have done to pay respect to Australia’s Indigenous people, they also admit they still have a long way to go when it comes to supporting Indigenous populations. In our discussion, the Chaplain spoke of a student within the school who was of Indigenous heritage but did not wish to identify herself as an Indigenous at St. Aidan's. The Chaplain acknowledges that after this came to light, the school faced the harsh realization that it might not be an inviting environment for Indigenous students to feel respected and accepted. Moving forward, the Chaplain spoke that St. Aidan’s is committed to creating an environment where Indigenous education can flourish, and Indigenous success stories can be celebrated.

Both the Chaplain and the Dean of Innovation and Engagement agreed that Canada was a country Australia looked up to when it comes to Indigenous relations. It is very interesting as a Canadian to hear this, as I know Canada has a far from perfect relationship with its Indigenous people. Although we may have treaties, we don’t have comprehensive educational programs aimed at educating Canadians on Indigenous ways of knowing that span all curricular areas. I do believe that there is a lot that both Canada and Australia can learn from each other when it comes to Indigenous education.

I am looking forward to beginning my next placement within the Queensland public school system. Hopefully I can gain some more insight into the curricular aims of Indigenous education, and how schools across the State of Queensland are integrating Indigenous ways of knowing and learning within their classrooms!

 

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Mid-term Reflection

So, I have about reached the half-way point of my trip thus far and what a whirlwind it has been! My time spent at St. Aidan’s school was something that I will always treasure, and I have learned a tremendous amount from both students and teachers. One of the most significant teaching experiences I will take away from St. Aidan’s was from the Religious Values class in which the year eights were participating in a community outreach program. The group of girls I was assigned to were going to a nearby school called Milpera.

Milpera is an entry school for new immigrants and refugee students who do not yet reach English proficiency. I, and three year eight students went to a beginner class that held a various age of students, with one who just emigrated from Syria the day before. All students spoke at a very low level of English, many could speak some English but struggled with reading and writing. It was very interesting to observe the St. Aidan’s students work one-on-one with the Milpera students and at times I found that the girls struggled relating to students who were older than themselves. Nevertheless, the girls seemed more than enthused about getting to know the Milpera students in which they asked them several questions about themselves while attempting to help them practice their English. At the end of the class, the Milpera students had the chance to ask the St. Aidan’s girls questions about their schooling, what their favorite sports are, what they do in their spare time etc. I anticipate that the St. Aidan’s girls will develop strong relationships with the students of Milpera and aid them in their transition into the Australian Educational System. As well, I hope that the students of St. Aidan’s develop a greater appreciation for their own privileges.

Lucky for me, the mid-term break does not just apply to my students! I have since traveled to Sydney and I am currently in Melbourne! Next up, the Whitsundays! I am looking forward to the other half of my time here, starting at Earnshaw State College after the mid-term break!

  

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Emu-tional Wellness in Australia

G'day from down under!

It has been a whirlwind first few weeks in Brisbane adjusting to the Aussie lifestyle. Between meeting our liaisons at QUT, meeting the amazing staff and students at Earnshaw, and meeting a few cuddly koalas and kangaroos, we have been very busy! Most of us leave for our two weeks of spring break this weekend - it will be great to see more of what Australia has to offer.

It terms of education, one of my biggest takeaways so far has been the focus in schools on mental health and wellness. During my first degree, I minored in psychology so I am always interested to see different schools' approaches to mental health. Personally (although I might be a touch biased) I believe that mental health should be at the forefront of every school's pedagogical radar. Students cannot learn effectively and be engaged in their work when they are distracted. One of my strongest impressions of the few Australia schools I have seen so far is that mental health takes a much greater precedence than in schools back home. On campus at QUT, large billboards asked R U OK?, which I later learned is a Queensland-wide suicide prevention initiative. To my surprise, I have also seen posters for this program at Earnshaw! The focus on mental wellness is evident from classroom to classroom in so many ways. 

The school daytimer dedicates a few pages to positive education which highlights affirmative self-talk, mindfulness strategies, and effective study habits. As well, we got to meet with the school chaplain, Hannah, to talk about her role in the school. Coming from my experiences as a child, I naturally assumed that a chaplain referred to a sort of religious liaison; however, Hannah takes on a much broader role. She leads weekly sessions such as Mindfulness Mondays and Wellness Wednesdays to offer strategies for stress relief and foster relationships with and between students. Her room functions as a judgement-free "safe space", where kids can go to talk openly, ask questions, and even de-escalate if necessary. Her place in the school is so well-valued by staff, students, and family members alike that, during our stay, we got to participate in a fun run organized to raise money to increase her weekly hours at the school.

The focus on mental health is also very evident on a classroom level. One particular example was in a year three language arts class, where the students were doing oral presentations in front of an audience of their and classmates and teacher. As a textbook introvert, even the word "presentation" makes me feel stressed! I noticed this sentiment mirrored in some of the grade three students who were hiding behind bookshelves, frantically scratching out or erasing their work, or whispering in nervous voices to their friends. The teacher offered three options for students feeling overwhelmed by the task:

1) You can go tomorrow

2) You can visit me outside of class time with a few friends and present to a smaller group

3) You can have a friend record your presentation on an iPad and show me

Her rationale for this differentiated approach was that she would rather find an alternative for her nervous students than force them into an assessment that could damage their confidence or manifest an anxious response. She commented that her students’ mental health and security is far more important to her than their large-group presentation skills for this learning task.

It has been so encouraging to see Australia's desire to integrate healthy mental wellness awareness and practices into the everyday classroom! Next up for me is a few weeks exploring the coast from Sydney all the way back up to Brisbane (with lots of homework along the way, in case my professors are reading this)! 

 

 

 

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Heading into Spring Break!

Hi Blog Readers!

How ya goin’?? It’s hard to believe we are already wrapping up at our first school. It’s been an incredible three weeks and we’re sad to have to say goodbye to all the amazing people we’ve met! Spring break officially kicks off for schools here starting tomorrow at the last bell. 

At the beginning of this week we were invited to join a university lecture that was focused on EALD (English as an additional language and dialect). It was a really great experience as the professor organized a yarning circle which is a practice done in some Indigenous communities. We passed around a talking stick and each took turns sharing what we had learned in the course. Even though we were guests for the day we still were allowed to participate and got to discuss what we had discovered since our visit here in Australia. Another interesting resource the professor shared with the class was a video called ‘You Can’t Ask That’. Essentially it highlighted questions and biases that are often directed toward the Indigenous Communities here in Australia. I found it to be particularly interesting as there were a lot of similarities with the stereotypes toward our own Indigenous Peoples in Canada. I would recommend checking the series out on YouTube if you have the chance!

Today at our school we had the chance to help the prep class (kindergarten) with their writing. It was hard to believe this class was writing in full sentences! They are already at the same level as my grade ones from my last practicum so it was really impressive! We have also been helping a grade 3 class prepare for their storybook presentations and just yesterday we got to see some of the kids give their final presentation in class. The kids did really well presenting their stories and I’m glad we got to see the end result after working on this assignment with them over the past few visits!

Our liaison at our current school has been absolutely amazing and yesterday she introduced us to a program used by teachers across Queensland called ‘One school’. It is essentially a website available to teachers that organizes the whole Queensland curriculum into year plans, unit plans and lesson plans. Although not a perfect tool, it would be amazing as a first year teacher to have some starting point for preparing for your first year worth of lessons. This website was amazing and even included links and resources required to set up your class for any given unit. You could search by grade and subject to find a plan that would cover the necessary requirements in the curriculum! It was very cool!

Outside of school we’ve been keeping busy too! This last weekend we got to enjoy some of the perks of living in Aussie and spent some quality time on the beautiful beaches! I’m thinking our new favourite spot will be South Bank which hosts an inner city beach and is only a 30 minute walk from home!

Starting tomorrow we’ll all be taking advantage of the spring break and heading our separate ways to explore some of the neighboring cities in Australia! Next stop for me is Melbourne and the weather forecast is saying it’ll be around 20 degrees. I think I’m officially an Aussie as I believe I need to pack my sweater because 20 degrees feels a bit chilly these days...

Till next post!

Carolyn 

 

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Hello from Brissy!

We’re well into our stay here in Brisbane and it’s hard to believe how fast the time is flying!!! We have a school spring break coming up, which they refer to as their midterm break. We’ve discovered their school year here runs in conjunction with the calendar year so they’re coming up to their final term and their summer break which kicks off close to Christmas! As you can imagine, just like home, this means the students are getting excited and full of energy for their time off school as well as year end. You can feel the restlessness in the classes at the end of each day. Makes you realize that kids are just kids no matter where you are in the world.

Melissa and I have had some fantastic experiences thus far at our current school and we’re actually sad to only have a few more days there. It really is a school that offers a lot of awesome experiences for their students. In just two weeks we have been a part of: a colour run to raise money for their Chaplin, an after school program called Wellness Wednesday that encourages students to focus on their own mental health, independent reading groups that provide children with additional support to improve their reading level, and explored the gadgets available to students during their STEM classes. It’s amazing the variety of support and opportunities available to these students.

What I have been most impressed with so far is the focus on students and their reading abilities. The motto of our current school is “if you can read, you can do anything.” This is not just a part of their pedagogical framework, but it is strongly reinforced every day of the week. Every day the students in prep to grade 6 spend the majority of their morning reading in specific reading groups. Every day of the week is designated to a specific skill: accuracy, fluency, comprehension and stamina. The students are fully aware of what skill they are working on and what that skill means and looks like in terms of their reading. We also had the opportunity to sit in on a meeting with all the grade three teachers and learning aids as they discussed each child in grade 3, what level they were reading at, what level they should be at, and methods to try to help that student improve their skill. Every teacher and aid knew exactly where every grade 3 student was at and were fully invested in finding ways to help that student. What I found even more interesting was it was just about the students reading, they considered factors such as the students background and personality and how that might influence their reading ability.  

We were also lucky enough to get some time to play with the VR machine in the STEM classroom. An absolute out of this world experience! These kids are so fortunate to have access to that kind of technology!

Outside of school we’ve been exploring coastal beaches, hanging in coffee shops to work on our online classes, cuddling koalas and feeing kangaroos! We recently tried the national dish: vegemite. We collectively agree to stick with peanut butter from here on out.

Time for me to refill my chai latte and get on with some school readings.

Until next week!

Carolyn

PS: Wish I could share pictures with all of you but they're not working for some reason! Check out pictures from my peers to see all that we're up to! :)

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Getting my teaching Koalafications downunder!!

Well after three weeks of traveling New Zealand and questioning if this is real, reality is finally starting to sink in. I am really on the other side of the world about to begin my studies in Australia! But before we get into the academic side of things I should say that my beliefs about informal learning have been reinforced throughout my traveling adventures. 

Prior to arriving in Australia, I joined a friend in exploring the wonders of the north island of New Zealand. And wondrous it was!   When arriving in the country I had little to no expectations. I did not know the “must do’s” of New Zealand and was more or less just following where my feet, and the bus, took me. And I couldn’t be happier on how it turned out. Just over 2 weeks I experienced; sand boarding down the dunes in Hokianga, exploring the beaches of Hahai, and hiking the Tongariro crossing. It was like everywhere I had ever been in the world wrapped up in one little island.

On my travels I had the opportunity to stay in a homestay and talk to an Indigenous Maori family about the history of their people and what that looks like in a contemporary context. The parallels that could be drawn from their early interactions with Europeans and those of Canadian Indigenous peoples were compelling. Although at one time in history the Maori peoples’ way of life was threatened by extinction, it seems as though the culture is making a comeback throughout society and more specifically the education system. During our time we had the opportunity to visit a local school and in conversation with one of the teachers she explained that teaching Maori history is now a requirement through years 1-8.  This includes teaching the Treaty of Waitangi and how it has influenced Maori and European settlers’ history. Although this is just the surface of what they are teaching, one can quickly see there are similarities arising between our history in Canada and that of New Zealand’s. In addition, the family explained that in a tool to preserve their traditional language there is a push to develop a language curriculum and are hoping to someday have it recognized as a second-language in university.

Another wonderful opportunity we had while we were at the homestay was to learn a traditional Haka. The Haka we learned was traditionally used as a war cry/war dance and in contemporary times is now used by the All Blacks rugby team before each game to motivate the players and intimidate their opponent. Overall It was an amazing opportunity to be invited to take part and explore the beautiful culture that is Maori. 

I am taking with me from my travels not only amazing memories of everything I did but also a genuine curiosity to explore more about the education system in New Zealand and the Indigenous peoples that call it home. But for now, off to the next adventure.

So far, we have had the opportunity to meet with our QUT liaisons and have a tour of the school. After visiting the university, we adventured out to our placement schools; St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School and Earnshaw State College. At initial glance the schools are very different, but both seem to be engaging in 21st Century learning and STEAM opportunities. I am hoping to have the opportunity to see the students engage with the technologies they have at their school see how they can apply these skills in real-world application. Everyone at both schools seem to be amazingly open to having us and I am excited to begin working with them. I hope in my time here I am able to observe different teaching styles and programs and hopefully I can add some new tools to my teacher toolbox.

Along with getting more classroom time, I am hoping that while I am in Australia I have the opportunity to observe Indigenous/settler relationships and perspectives. This complex relationship has always been a passion of mine in Canada I am curious to see if I am able to draw parallels between the current and historical relationships of the Indigenous peoples of Australia and those of Canadian Indigenous peoples. Along with the personal growth I believe I will gain from this, I also see this opportunity as a unique teaching opportunity in my future classroom.

 

 

Til next time,

 

Brianne B

 

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Finding Pieces of Home in Australia

So, at this time I am more than halfway through my practicum (“prac” as the Aussies call it) at St. Aidan’s and what an experience it has been. St. Aidan’s is an all-girl school, from primary to year twelve. Considering my specialization is elementary, I was a little apprehensive having my entire focus of my prac being in the secondary school. Nonetheless, I have learned lots from both the teachers and the students! In some of my previous experiences entering classrooms as a visitor, students become very shy and are not so willing to open up their learning space to a stranger, but with the students at St. Aidan’s that is quite the opposite.

Students are very interested in hearing everything about Canada including our funny sayings or how we could fathomable stand a temperature that drops below 15 degrees. Luckily, in a year seven Geography class, the teacher put our knowledge of Canada to the test. The teacher was introducing a new unit on “liveability.” The teacher started by presenting the students with a definition of liveability, highlighting aspects such as weather, transportation, prosperity, etc. The students were working out of a textbook that provided images of individuals with blurbs of what they find to be a livable city but did not include the perspective of a Canadian. The teacher, therefore, proceeded to use us Canadian teachers as a “primary sources,” having the girls ask us questions about where we are from while focusing on why we find Calgary to be a liveable city. It was quite an interesting experience to reflect on and share what I love about Canada and have students so eagerly ready to learn.

Some students are quite funny in their responses to our descriptions of Canada, but the general consensus is that they are afraid of how cold it can get and luckily enough for some of the year tens, they will be visiting Calgary and Panaorama in this coming January for a ski trip. I was sure to tell them to pack their toque and mittens!

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Teaching in a Private School


 

I have now finished a full week at the senior school at St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School here in Brisbane. St. Aidan’s is a private all girls school in a wealthy neighbour of Brisbane. The school has one of the highest tuition costs in Queensland and due to this  the school has an incredible amount of resources at its disposal. Initially going into this school, I was expecting classrooms to be radically different from those back home, but surprisingly I have found it to be the opposite. A lot of the teaching techniques, methods of classroom management and curricular subjects are identical to what we would find in middle and high school classrooms in Calgary.

What I have found most wonderful about St. Aidan’s is the amount of agency the students are giving in developing their own space within the schools. One of the most beautiful spaces within the school is their “O2 Chamber” which was designed by a year 12 student. The entire school has been designed with student engagement in mind, and many spaces within the school encourage interactive participation with the students. For example, the carpets in the science building were designed to include the periodic table of elements, the phases of the moon, and the spectrum of light. The students are also encouraged to make the school their own through classroom activities. This week the year 7’s were encouraged to write the poetry they had been working on all over the walls of the school with chalk. This kind of interactive engagement allows the girls openly share their work while feeling more connected to their school and for a great break from the traditional classroom environment.

Outside of our school work we have been very busy getting accustomed to life in Australia. I have spent time in Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art, the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary and soaking up the sun at Brisfest in the neighbourhood of Southbank. The city is bustling with live music, museums and cultural events, so it is very easy to find something to do on our days off. Our liaison at QUT has also organized for us to be attending a class once a week about teaching students who are learning English as an additional language or dialect (LEAD). This class has proven to be very useful as I have very little experience with designing lessons based on English language learners, and there are many ELL students currently on exchange at St. Aidan’s.

This week our supervisor at St. Aidan’s has organized for us Brianne, Danielle and I to have a meeting with the school’s Indigenous curriculum lead. Hopefully this meeting will be very informative as to how Indigenous education plays a role in the Australian school system, as well as provides us with techniques to introducing Indigenous curriculum into our own classrooms once we are home.

 

 

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G'day Mates!

Hello everyone from Brisbane, Australia! Today marks my seventh day here in Australia and the days so far have been jam-packed! Between meeting with roommates, the representatives at Queensland University of Technology, orientation at the practicum schools, and trying to navigate everything has been quite the whirlwind! Prior to arriving in Brisbane, I spent five days traveling around the northern island of New Zealand and then six days traveling the Yasawa Islands in Fiji, so I am finally starting to feel settled in a new time zone and beating that jet lag.

                   

 

 

 

 

 

I must say that I feel very proud to represents the University of Calgary here on the other side of the world. The representatives at QUT have been very welcoming and I already know that their campus will become a comforting place to spend time studying. We also met other QUT students that are visiting UofC in January in a similar program in which they graciously offered their contact information if we needed any tips or people to show them around. I also cannot wait until they come to Calgary considering they could not believe us on how cold it gets or the significant amount of snow we get on a regular basis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My first week of practicum took place at St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School in which we were paired with the head of the senior mathematics department. Students at this time are preparing for their final examinations, so a lot of our participation in the school has been observational. Regardless, it is very interesting to see the similarities amongst the pedagogy of Australian teachers and Canadian teachers back home in specific regards to instilling a growth mindset within students and interdisciplinary teaching strategies. It is very apparent that these girls strive for academic success and it is present throughout the school. As explained by our coordinator, the school has recently gone through renovations that involved student competitions for the design of the school. One specifically is called the O2 Chamber that is a green space for student break out areas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am looking forward to spending the next two weeks at this school and developing relationships with both the students and teachers while exploring my new home!

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Busy in Brisbane!

G'Day!

I’ve been in Brisbane for almost a week now and it has been a whirlwind! It has taken some time getting used to traffic going in the opposite direction and picking up on what is being asked of me when an Aussie says “how you travelling?” (this means how are you doing, by the way). However, everyone I’ve met has been incredibly helpful and kind and I really think I’m going to enjoy my time here!

We were fortunate enough to have a tour of the Queensland Campus our first day here, our liaisons at the university are absolutely superb and with one of them being a Canadian, we have our very own translator. The campus was really beautiful and with the weather being so warm, almost everything is outside which is such a nice feature. We were able to meet with the Dean of the education program, a few professors in the program as well as some exchange students that will be coming to Calgary in the winter. It was really nice getting to meet the girls that will be coming to Canada as we were able to share ideas and thoughts with each other both about our respective programs as well as about our countries and what is to be expected for both parties leaving their home. Following that visit we were provided with student cards at the QUT and we were given a full library tour. It was super reassuring that we will have all these resources available to us as we continue to do our studies abroad.

Later in the week we got to visit the schools where we will be teaching. We’ll be at two schools during our time here in Brisbane. First I will be at a public school, Earnshaw State College and following their midterm break I will be going to private school at St Aidan’s Anglican School. Despite their differences they seem to have some similarities in that they are both prep (kindergarten) to grade 12 schools, students are required to wear uniforms, Japanese is a mandatory language class at both schools, and the staff and students are incredibly welcoming and excited to have us in their classrooms! I feel incredibly lucky to get to work with the students and teachers that I have met so far at both schools.

I am really looking forward to my time here. I have already seen some incredible resources available to teachers and have even had some conversations with some pre service teachers completing their practicums here in Australia. I'm hoping to soak up as much information as I can while I'm here, so I have a whole new bag of tricks to take home with me for when we start our practicums in November. We really dive into our teaching next week and I'm looking forward to what the week will bring. Its hard to believe how quickly the first week has already flown by!! Today is a quiet rainy day so we’ve all found various shops and spots to cozy up with a warm coffee and tackle some of our class work as our new semester has officially started! We’re hoping for a break in the weather so we get the chance to go hold some Koalas in a day or two, but for now, it’s back to the books for me!

 

Till next week!

Carolyn

 

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Kia Ora and G'Day!

Although we have only been in Brisbane a few days, I have been abroad for well over three weeks! I spent my first three weeks travelling around New Zealand, a country that has topped my travel bucket list since age 10. It was fantastic to vacation for a little while before diving into all that Brisbane has to offer. Somehow New Zealand met (and even exceeded) my very high expectations; I climbed snowy mountains, dipped my toes in both the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea, dug and soaked in a natural “hot tub”, fed a baby lamb from a bottle, floated through a cave of blue glow worms, and (best of all!) frolicked in the Shire with Hobbits! My time in New Zealand was amazing, but I also encountered an unexpected learning experience related to education.


My very first day in Auckland, as I stumbled around the downtown area in a fog of jetlag, I inadvertently came upon a MASSIVE crowd of people walking down the main street with colourful signs and cowbells, chanting, waving, singing, and cheering. Standing on the sidewalk, reading each sign, I quickly realized that I had come across a rally for local teachers. After watching for a few moments, I approached a friendly-looking group of women with a sign that read “This wouldn’t happen at Hogwarts”.


They were very eager to discuss the rally with me, and, when I revealed that I am a preservice teacher from Canada, they were excited to hear about my experiences and our school system in comparison with theirs. Before I quite realized it, I, too, was marching alongside almost ten thousand Kiwi protestors! The main reasons for the rally included many concerns that plague teachers around the world: long hours, inadequate pay, large class sizes, and lack of resources and classroom support, to name a few. To my surprise, New Zealand is actually undergoing a national teacher shortage; some of the people marching mentioned that many Kiwi teachers are choosing to find jobs overseas upon graduation, instead of keeping their teaching skills within the country. When I mentioned that I had been considering teaching in New Zealand after finishing up at U of C, I was told that I would easily find a job, but multiple people attempted to dissuade me from setting myself up in a struggling education system.


This teacher shortage reminds me of the “crisis” happening in British Columbia right now, where they’re scrambling for teachers to fill increasingly sparse school boards. It is really interesting to know that similar issues occur around the world, no matter how many oceans you cross or hours you spend on the airplane! I am really looking forward to more learning experiences and cultural exchange throughout my time in Brisbane. I already feel I have learned so much through this exchange, and the school experiences have only just begun!

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Hello From Brisbane!

I am so excited to say I have finally arrived in Brisbane and am so ready to start this amazing adventure. For the past two weeks I have spent my time exploring the north island of New Zealand and the Yasawa Islands in Fiji. I feel so lucky to have been given this opportunity to travel to a part of the world so far away from home and am incredibly eager to begin to explore Australia.

 Since arriving in Brisbane we have been spending our time getting acquainted with the students and staff of QUT’s education faculty and have been welcomed with open arms to the school and all it has to offer. Thankfully we were promptly introduced to Dallas, the faculties resident Canadian who spent lunch informing us on all the important differences between Australia and Canada as well as all the confusing Aussie slang we should know. Hopefully Dallas tips and tricks will help us when we are navigating the city and working within the schools.

This morning we visited both of our placement schools, St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School and Earnshaw State College. The two schools are very different, but both have wonderful programs aimed at engaging their students in STEAM education through 21stCentury technology. We even had the opportunity to use a virtual reality program at one of the schools! It is lovely to see so many programs engaging students in interdisciplinary education, while also catering to a modern world. I am beyond excited to begin working with the staff and students at both of these schools. Hopefully their programs will be some I can bring home to add to my own teacher toolbox.

 Through my experience within the schools I am hopeful that I will be able to observe how Indigenous ways of knowing, teaching and learning are integrated into the Australian school system. Within the duration of my time here I hope to gain valuable resources for Indigenous education, that I can bring into my own classroom in Canada. I am also very interested to observe the similarities and differences that take place with regards to Indigenous education within Australia as opposed to Canada.

 Tomorrow is a big day for all five of us as we are off for our first day at our respective schools! Hopefully we can all successfully navigate the transit system in Brisbane and make it there on time!

Kennedy

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Final Reflection Part 1

As I write this, I have already finished the Teaching Across Borders program in Brisbane, and have arrived home. I fell behind with my blog, due to the busyness of finding a balance between work at St. Aidan’s, finishing final assignments, and trying to fit in as much sightseeing around Brisbane and then Sydney, before having to head back to Canada. Now that I am settled back in Calgary, I am going reflect back on my time at St. Aidan’s School and everything that Lauren and I got up to in Brisbane since I wrote last, and my next post will be a final reflection of the whole experience.

When I last wrote, we had just begun working at St. Aidan’s Anglican Girl’s School, and after spending a few more weeks at the school, I really can’t say enough good things about it. The staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming, and genuinely wanted to know about Lauren and I, where we came from, and about our teaching program at the University of Calgary. We were each given a timetable and spent Mondays, Tuesdays, and a few Wednesdays between a few different classrooms. I found that in all classes I worked in, the teachers were happy to have me there, and made an effort discuss their teaching strategies, or to discuss aspects of the Australian curriculum with me that I wouldn’t have been familiar with. The girls were so lovely, and I loved to see how eager they were to be there and to learn. Similar to the staff, the girls were very curious about Canada and what our lives were like back home, and on a few occasions, I would be asked to say certain words which often resulted in a number of giggles because of my funny “accent”. I spent some afternoons in a Year 3 class while they did Geography, and had a lot of fun talking about Canada in comparison to Australia and answering their many creative questions. In the Year 2 class I was in, they were learning about stereotypes, so I was able to briefly talk about some of the misconceptions that people have about Canada and Canadians.

Often times I was amazed by the type of work I saw the students doing, particularly in the younger grades, as it was very academically focused and what I would consider to be a lot of high quality work given their age. Not to say that this isn’t also the case in schools back home, but what was different, was that I didn’t really observe any play-based learning, inquiry, or constructivism, which are really being pushed in the Canadian system. I realize that I’ve only been to two Australian schools, so I can’t say that this is the case across the nation, and maybe this was just the case at this point of the school year, but I definitely found that while I was there, for the most part, the pedagogical strategy was comparable to traditional styles of teaching.

The main differences that I noticed about the system in Australia compared to that in Canada had to do with curriculum, testing, and assessment. In Canada, the curriculum is provincially developed, whereas in Australia, they have a national curriculum that each school in the country teaches to. Each year in Australia, students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 write the NAPLAN (National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy) test, which is like the PAT here. What is different though, is that the results of these tests are published and then compared against similar schools all across the country, for educators and parents to look at on a site called “My School”. I’ve learned, that this can mean schools become competitive with each other, and the focus can sometimes gear towards achieving certain results in the data, and therefore “teaching to the test”, instead of focusing on the individual learners within each classroom and their specific learning needs. This would especially be the case in independent schools, like St. Aidan’s, where tuition isn’t cheap, and parents push to see the results that they want, given that they are paying so much money. The “My School” website says itself, that its aim “is to provide information that will support and drive improvement across the nation”, and “provide parents with information to make informed decisions about their child’s education”, and while these may be good intentions, I can see how this may become counterproductive.

In relation to this, because there is a focus on results, there is also a real focus on assessment, and on what is expected of the students. In each class, I noticed that students would be given an assessment breakdown of what was expected, as well as a checklist of what would need to be completed within the task, and what the teachers were looking for when grading. Back home in Canada, while assessment is definitely a key part of teaching, I’ve found that it isn’t as explicit, and it isn’t always the main focus of all tasks. One teacher at St. Aidan’s explained to me that because of this, she finds that some students become really anxious about their schoolwork, and stress about doing well and achieving the desired results. Not to say that student’s shouldn’t want to do well, but at this age especially, it saddens me to think of the pressure that some must be putting on themselves, when school shouldn’t always be focused on the academic content, but on the learning process itself and the development of skills beyond the academic realm, or sometimes, it’s all about just having some fun!

With all of this said, the teachers at St. Aidan’s were fantastic, and I saw a lot of great work within the wonderfully resourced classrooms. The girls were hard workers, seemed to get along well, and appeared to love being at school. It was definitely interesting though to make these observations and compare what I was seeing to what I know about school in Canada, or more specifically, in Alberta. Below are some photos from the beautiful St. Aidan's!

In between our days at St. Aidan's and working on our own coursework, Lauren and I had many opportunities to explore Brisbane and play tourist. We spent an afternoon at both the Queensland Science Museum and the Queensland Art Gallery, which was fantastic! I could have spent hours wandering the exhibits and checking out the unique artwork. We also had the opportunity to visit Stradbroke Island for the day with the International Students Association from QUT. It was a little bit disappointing at first because it did not stop raining, but it ended up being a lot of fun and the whale and kangaroo sightings were an absolute the highlight. We also got to experience an Australian Wallabies vs. New Zealand All Blacks rugby game, which was an experience to say the least - especially for me who had never seen a rugby game! The atmosphere was super fun and top it off, it was apparently a great game to see, because the Wallabies won against the All Blacks for the first time in years!

I have really enjoyed my experience in Brisbane between working at the two schools and sightseeing, and I can't believe that 10 weeks has already come and gone!

Here are some photos from my final days around Brisbane (otherwise known as Brissie or BrisVegas as I've come to learn)!

The Old Brisbane Treasury Building

King George Square 

The Queensland Art Gallery

Stradbroke Island

Australian Wallabies vs. New Zealand All Blacks

Exploring Brisbane City 

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Home time!

Hi everyone, this post is coming at you from 11887 m high! I am currently on hour 6 of my long journey home, not even halfway through and already bored…. Luckily for me, this 14 hour plane ride from Brisbane to Vancouver is very empty so I have a full row to myself! This experience has really been incredible and I don’t really know how to put my thoughts into words to be honest, but I will give it my best shot! Firstly, I think I will speak to my professional gain because that seems the most obvious. As I said many times before I began this program and continuously throughout, the professional gain was a huge influence as to why I chose to do TAB. Always having the intention of teaching overseas one day this program was very appealing to me from the get go. I now have the extra experience to not only put on my resume and into my portfolio, but also in life. Having that extra 120 hours (approximately) of experience really speaks for itself. I am now going back with confidence in the classroom ready to take on this practicum with everything I got!

Leading from this, I will now speak to my personal gain. On a personal level, I really can’t use enough adjectives to describe how my experience has been. I have grown into not only a much more confident teacher but also person. I moved away from home at 17 to live in Victoria to go to the University of Victoria, so I have always had that spark for adventure in me but it is now well and truly alight. Although I did move away, I have always been quite dependent. Not necessarily only my parents but more so on my friends as well when I got older. I never really enjoy being by myself or doing new challenges first. Yes, this is still somewhat true but I really feel like I have grown more into a truly independent person. I have very much always been a people pleaser. I have found that being so independent has allowed me to flourish into someone who has an opinion and who is not afraid to share that opinion. I think that being away from home for 3 months and doing lots of solo travelling really adds to someone’s character; and I think that it has only added positive attributes to mine.

Lastly, I speak to you future TAB student. If you are reading this, meaning that you are interested in this program, I have two words for you: DO IT. As I said before, it is really hard to put thoughts into words when thinking about my time over the past 3 months. I tried my best in this post, and it took me a while on my 14 hour flight home from down under. Irrespective of the professional and personal gain, it is truly a wonderful program to be a part of. I got the opportunity to do many things that I haven’t done before and see places I have never been before. Yes, teaching is primarily why someone is interested in this program but it is so much more than that. If you are given the opportunity to go, go and don’t hesitate; you will not be disappointed.

Well folks, the big finale. I have really enjoyed writing these posts and hope that someone has appreciated reading them! Thank you to my family and friends back home for being so supportive while I have been away. Thank you to Kelsey for being my own personal photographer and soul sister in Australia. To my fellow TAB 2017 students, thank you for being on this epic journey with me! I will leave you once and for all with some pictures of my adventures these past few weeks (I had the best day at the zoo and at the rugby game)! Over and out. 

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2 weeks to go!!!

Well, 2 weeks to go. Unbelievable. The past few weeks since my last post have been busy with our online classes as well as our placement here in Brisbane. It is so crazy that last time I wrote it was 4 weeks until I flew home, which seemed like quite a while. Now it seems like I’ve closed my eyes and I am flying home in 2 weeks. The weather here is getting very wet and although it is nice to get some relief from the constant (almost unbearable) heat, I need to work on my tan before I come home and rain is not going to help!! I am hoping for some last minute sunshine next week to help me.

Kelsey and I have been spending time at a school called St. Aidan’s Anglican Girls School. It is an all girls school, which I have never seen before, so it has been an interesting experience. Compared to our previous school, I find that we are more useful here. ALL classrooms have a back room that is used for small group work, which is where I have been spending most of my time, helping particular groups in their rotations. I have been helping with Grade 1 English and Grade 5 math to name a few. One day last week, I was lucky enough to be in a Grade 6 English classroom where the students (and me) got to watch Zootopia! It was awesome. During the movie, the teacher shared with me all the projects that she intends to do with this movie and it was great to see! They will be creating their own podcast in groups as the final project. I have also been spending a great amount of time in a Grade 5 classroom while they are learning about Bushfires. I have had to learn lots about Australian Bushfires to help these students as they are writing a narrative about it! I have had to be quick on my feet and infer information from the novel they are reading but it has been great! The students love working with me and think it is hilarious when I have to ask them what common words in their vocabulary mean, and are really dedicated and willing to ask me for help when they need it. It is toward the end of the school year for the students here in Australia so they all understand their expectations and are getting ready for the intensity of the following year, or Secondary school. The staff at this school has been so accommodating and are overjoyed to have an extra set of hands in the classroom. The school is smaller than our previous one so the staff room is more intimate and all teachers have made an effort to introduce themselves to us and ask what we are doing. One teacher is visiting Canada in December and has been picking our brains about her preparations for her trip (for example, what clothes to bring). It has been great! The girls who attend the school are lovely as well. It is not overly obvious that they are high SES girls. Yes, many of them sport Apple watches and a few talk about how they got ponies for their birthday or own a bakery, but overall they are lovely girls who are eager to learn. I really love being at this school and it is opening my eyes at the different types of schools. As someone who attended public school my whole school career (minus one year), I am a huge advocate for public school. However, seeing this private school is showing me that there is a difference. All of the classes at St. Aidan’s have 16-18 girls, whereas I grew up with 25+ students in my class. I have no complaints, as I had an excellent education at a public school, but I think that had a lot to do with my work ethic and dedication to succeed. I think that private schools have a lot going for them, and lots of times you get what you pay for and I think you do at St. Aidan’s.

As for our adventures for the past few weeks, Kelsey and I have been doing some local exploring around Brisbane. We have been to a few museums as well as visited Stradbroke Island with other international students at QUT! Stradbroke, or Straddie as the locals call it, was incredible. We were both quite disappointed as it literally rained ALL DAY. However, on our walk around Stradbroke Island, through the rain, we were looking out into the ocean appreciating the sights and we saw whales!! It was incredible. Kelsey and I were in awe and stood and watched the ocean for 15 minutes while getting soaked. When we finally moved on along our walk, we saw a family of wild kangaroos cross our path in front of us. Overall, this day was one that I will definitely remember as a highlight from the past 3 months. Tomorrow we are going to see a rugby game, New Zealand All Blacks vs. Australian Wallabies and I am SO excited. I purchased these tickets back in June when they went on sale and have been looking forward to it since then. I love watching sports and follow international Rugby from back home so to be able to experience this event will be a great life moment for me. As far as rugby goes, this event is pinnacle for any rugby fan. It is on my bucket list to see the All Blacks perform the Hakka in real life, and I will see that tomorrow!!

Well that’s it for now! In the next few weeks we have 4 more days at St. Aidan’s, a QUT conference, I am going to visit the Australia zoo and then we leave so it will be a busy time! I will leave you with some pictures of the past few weeks! The next time I write I will be on my way home or already home! Crazy how time flies. 

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End of September Update

Hello again!

I have less than four weeks left here in Australia, and I know I’ve said it before...but I really can’t believe how fast the time has gone by!

Since my last post, Lauren and I spent a few days of our Spring Holiday on the Whitsunday Coast, where we got to visit the infamous Whitehaven Beach – the top rated beach in Australia – as well as Hamilton Island. We also went on a sea kayaking & snorkeling tour, and I made my way to Conway National Park to go on my first hike here in Australia!

We spent the remainder of our holidays here in Brisbane, taking in the Riverfire Festival firework show, and exploring the Botanical Gardens.

The week following holidays was our final week at Saints Peter and Paul’s School before starting our placement at Saint Aidan’s Anglican Girls School on October 9th. The students and staff at Saints Peter and Paul’s exceeded any expectations that we had, and our time there was definitely a valuable learning experience. While neither Lauren nor I took on any direct teaching or lesson planning (with the exception of one lesson that I was asked to “lead”), we were able to spend our time working with smaller groups of children who needed additional support in the various classrooms that we were placed in. I found that each teacher I was with was more than willing to share their knowledge, and would often stop to explain something about the curriculum, their teaching strategy, or a specific aspect of a lesson with me. The Year 6 teacher was even so kind as to put together an entire folder of resources for both Lauren and me to take home as a parting gift. Overall, we really enjoyed our time at Saints Peter and Paul’s, and we are now looking forward to the next few weeks we get to spend at Saint Aidan’s!

Saints Peter and Paul's Catholic School

Last week, we returned to QUT after being asked to speak about the University of Calgary, Teaching Across Borders, and other general info about our city with Bachelor of Education students who are interested in applying to a program that would bring them to Canada for three weeks in January. The eight accepted participants will spend these weeks at UofC (taking a block week course with the rest of us), visiting Calgary schools, and taking part in a program out in Kananaskis.

Following our presentation, we then had the opportunity to sit in on a class and take part in the discussion surrounding ‘Indigenous Education in Australia’, which I found quite interesting, considering we are also currently taking an ‘Indigenous Education’ course as part of our online studies through UofC. I found many of the critical thinking strategies discussed (though talked about in Australian context) valuable and I know that I will be able to apply these skills to the Canadian context when it comes to sourcing out authentic and valuable materials to use within my future classrooms.  

Lauren and I have now only spent two days at our new placement, Saint Aidan’s Anglican Girls School, so my plan is to write an update on this in my next blog once I have a better idea of what the school is like and when I have more to share. So far, both the staff and students have been overly friendly and welcoming, and I've noticed that the girls are incredibly well-behaved and eager to learn. I look forward to spending more time there over the next few weeks.

So until my next update, here is a collection of photos from my latest adventures in this amazing part of the world!

Whitehaven Beach 

Exploring Hamilton Island

Mount Rooper in Conway National Park

Riverfire Festival

Brisbane Botanic Gardens

 

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