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Podcast by Education Review






Why the Lung Foundation is helping young people 'unveil what they inhale'

While cigarette smoking has been on the decline for some time now, the growing popularity of e-cigarettes or vaping among teenagers and young adults has parents, teachers and experts across the country concerned. And with their lolly-like flavourings, bright colours and sleek designs, many young people have been tricked into thinking they are virtually harmless. But for Mark Brooke, CEO of the Lung Foundation Australia, and other experts in the field, nothing could be further from the truth. According to him, teenagers have "been sold a lie". In this interview with Education Review, Mark discusses the growing health concerns surrounding teenagers and vaping, including disturbing research findings. A groundbreaking study conducted by Curtin University involved a chemical analysis of 52 e-liquids commonly used in vapes or electronic cigarettes. All 52 e-liquids were incorrectly labelled in terms of ingredients, including some with "unknown effects on respiratory health". Some of the chemicals detected are commonly found in household disinfectant, petroleum, cosmetics, paint and even eugenol, commonly used to euthanise fish. Equally concerning was the fact that 21 per cent of the e-liquid samples contained traces of nicotine, the harmful drug that causes addiction and is illegal in Australia. Mark also talks about the Unveil What You Inhale campaign, which has been co-designed by students and seeks to arm everyone with the facts about vaping. As the CEO states, "We don't what to undo 30 years of excellent work in tobacco harm reduction." See for privacy information.


Unpacking the importance of phonics for early readers

The teaching of phonics in the early years of reading has been a contested issue for decades now. While all teachers believe an understanding of the area provides a critical foundation for beginning readers, the ways in which it is taught by different teachers - the blended approach versus commercial synthetic phonics programs - has led to the oft-quoted "reading wars". However, with states such as NSW and SA implementing mandatory Year 1 phonics screening checks, it's clear that phonics - however it is taught - is being placed front and centre. In this interview early reading expert Professor Beryl Exley from Griffith University explains a number of points: the importance of not teaching phonics in isolation, different types of phonics instructions, the era of 'whole language', and how excellent reading instruction informs high-quality writing.See for privacy information.


Dr Seuss: Sensible decision or cancel culture? podcast

The Dr Suess Foundation's decision earlier this month to cease publishing six books in the collection has been applauded by many but also derided by others, who see this latest move as a society that has become far too politically correct. Education Review spoke to Associate Professor of Language and Literacy Education at the University of Melbourne Larissa McLean Davies about this issues and she is supportive of the change. She also emphasises that racial and hurtful overtones found in many of the books collection has long been of interest to scholars around the world. Two of the key decisions McLean Davies supports is that children's books can affect their "sense of what it means to be in the world", whether that be one of power and privilege, or one of marginalisation and being the 'other'. She also believes the six books identified fall short in promoting "positive ways of understanding diversity". Finally, and most importantly, McLean Davies believes the Dr Seuss furore should encourage teachers, parents and children to to begin discovering the rich literary offerings about Australia, about our multicultural societies and about our own unique experiences.See for privacy information.


2020: Looking back and moving forward in education podcast - Brad Scanlon - Episode 2

Education, like many sectors in 2020, was severely disrupted in several states and territories, with lockdowns, border closures and remote learning models all characterising the school year. Now that we're out the other side, Education Review will be talking to a range of education professionals to get a better perspective on this unprecedented experience, including the lessons learnt and how they can be applied in the future. As part of our series ‘2020: Looking back and moving forward in education’, our second guest is former teacher and director of the Australian arm of New Tech Network Australia, Brad Scanlon. The company is a school development organisation operating in both Australia and the US. In reflecting on the year, Scanlon said that teachers should be really proud about what they achieved, particularly in regards to teacher collaboration and utilising technology to maintain momentum and connection to students. However, while acknowledging that technology was key in getting students successfully through the year, he warned it would only help educators in the future if it were used "as a tool and not a toy", aiding students in collaboration, communication and critical thinking. Moving forward, Scanlon sees much can still be done in helping educators to explicitly teach the Australian Curriculum's general capabilities, as well as moving towards more project-based, student-centred learning approaches with real-life applications.See for privacy information.


What's wrong with TikTok? | Susan McLean

After being released in China in 2016 and globally the following year, TikTok has quickly become a social media phenomenon. With its ability to create quirky, short-form videos incorporating dancing and comedy, the platform has a devoted audience, particularly young people. But it’s not all good news for TikTok and several countries are taking the company to task on a number of concerns. Today I’m talking to Susan McLean, widely known as the ‘cyber cop’ and founder of Cyber Safety Solutions to learn more about these concerns. While McLean acknowledges there is lots of fun stuff on the app, it's the refusal to take down inappropriate content and accounts in a more timely way concerns her. "They don't focus on child safety," she summed up.See for privacy information.


2020: Looking back and moving forward in education - Adam Voigt - Episode 1

Education, like many sectors in 2020, was severely disrupted in several states and territories, with lockdowns, border closures and remote learning models all characterising the school year. Now out the other side, Education Review will be talking to a range of education professionals to get a better perspective of this unprecedented experience, including lessons learnt. As part of our series - ‘2020: Looking back and moving forward in education’, our first guest is Adam Voigt. Adam is a highly experienced educator, speaker, author and media commentator, as well as the founder and CEO of Real Schools.See for privacy information.


Finnish education is coming to Australia | Michael Lawrence

The last time I interviewed Michael Lawrence, the experienced music and English teacher had just published his book Testing 3, 2, 1: What Australian Education Can Learn from Finland, which was well received and questioned many of the practices and beliefs underscoring the Australian education system. In this podcast, Lawrence talks about his collaboration with Tampere University of Applied Sciences in Finland and the planned roll-out of professional development sessions in Australia. Called '21st Century Education Trends: A Finnish Perspective', the sessions will give Australian teachers a taste of how Finland became one of the most successful education systems in the world.See for privacy information.


Soft skills key for the careers of tomorrow | Dr Alexia Maddox

A new study conducted by Oxford University Press surveyed 1000 recent graduates and found that 88 per cent of them believed “soft skills” were necessary to their future career success. Even as these graduates prepare to enter an increasingly automated workforce, a substantial 78 per cent said such “soft skills will give them an advantage” in the workplace. Indeed, upskilling in soft skills in the workplace is predicted to be a new trend, with more than one third (38 per cent) believing that upskilling in this area will be an ongoing practice throughout their professional lives. But what, exactly, are “soft skills”, and have they always been viewed as being critical in the labour market? To discuss the importance of “soft skills” both now and in the future, Education Review spoke to Dr Alexia Maddox of Deakin University, one of the authors of the study. Maddox emphasised that "soft skills" compliment technical skills, and encompass how "we think, communicate, cooperate and collaborate and innovate". Within the domain of innovation are the "soft skills" of complex problem solving, critical thinking and creativity - skills the students nominated as being the most important to their careers. Indeed, such is their importance of these skills that Maddox called them "the glue that make our professional lives work”. While the Deakin University lecturer noted that it is within the humanities and social sciences that these skills are traditionally acquired, the important thing is that they are taught to students, regardless of the discipline. In this podcast, Maddox also touches on some ways in which these critical "soft skills" can be taught.See for privacy information.


Dr Kate de Bruin | How education for people with a disability needs to change

Dr Kate de Bruin, an expert and lecturer in inclusive education at Monash University, recently provided evidence to the Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with a Disability. Her evidence related to barriers to accessing a safe, quality and inclusive school education and life course impacts for people with a disability. One of the key issues for the Monash lecturer is that educational neglect towards students with a disability is occurring on both systemic and school levels. de Bruin asserts that systemic educational neglect is common in Australia as different jurisdictions have different policies and funding agreements relating to the provision of quality inclusive education. Systemic educational neglect then trickles down to the school level where parents might be told, "we don't have the funding to support your child." School staff may also have a poor understanding of the policies and guidelines - and the National Discrimination Act - that are in place to ensure students with a disability receive the support they need and to which they are entitled. In this podcast de Bruin provides recommendations to address these key barriers. The Monash lecturer also discusses the use of suspensions and other exclusionary measures to discourage "challenging behaviours". According to recent research, de Bruin said the practice "still seems to be widespread" and disproportionally affects equity groups, such as ATSI students, students in out-of-home care, and students with a disability. Talking about such practices, de Bruin states: "We know it's really, really harmful. It puts pressure on families and it absolves the school from issues that are ongoing."See for privacy information.


New handbook helps to counter an age of fake news | Eryn Newman

The phenomenon of "fake news" has been around since journalism first began, but the term itself and the power it can now yield has been linked with the ascendency of Donald Trump, threats to democracy and a post-truth world where facts – in some circles at least – don’t seem to matter. But now we have a powerful new tool to combat either misinformation or disinformation – the Debunking Handbook 2020. Penned by Dr Eryn Newman from the Australia National University, as well as 21 other prominent scholars, the handbook aims to “inoculate” citizens, teachers and students against misleading information before it’s encountered. The handbook is informed by both science and psychology, and provides a host of definitions (e.g. disinformation versus misinformation) as well as concise explanations about why "fake news" tends to stick. One of the most common explanations involves familiarity: the more an individual encounters false information, the more inclined they are to believe it. The handbook also contains a step-by-step guide for encountering fake news, which can provide teachers and students with a formulaic way to confidently refute the veracity of a piece of information. Another valuable section focuses on lateral searches for the truth - that is, expanding one's truth-finding exercise from one source to many.See for privacy information.


Our texts lists are (mis)representing us | Alex Bacalja

As a country, we might want to think of ourselves as many-degrees removed from the atrocities that occurred during the Frontier Wars, the women who fought for the most basic of human rights ,and members pf the LGTBIQ* group, whose activities and lifestyles still sit uncomfortably with many around the world. But like all Western, liberal nations, however, orthodox ideas, characters and themes become vapid, old and eventually lose their allure. Empires cannot last forever. What readers are then searching for is that kaleidoscope of new worlds, characters and voices that represent them. This was the mission of University of Melbourne academics Alex Bacalja and Lauren Bliss. In terms of diversity, the research pair’s 10-year analysis of text lists from the Senior Victorian English Curriculum leaves a lot to be desired. After analysing 360 texts , the researchers could only find two print-based texts by Indigenous writers – one being Larissa Behrendt’s novel, Home. What about a poetry collection from Ali Cobby Eckermann, a brilliant poet who experiments with a range of form and meter, and has received international acclaim? The research project also shone quite a sad light on digital and audio texts still being treated like encumbrances and "kiddies' games" So, why do these outdated tests from the school cannon still get studied in Senior English in Victoria? For Bacalja, the issues of teacher familiarity and resource availability come into play, but they are peripheral issues if such a movement gained more momentum. Finally, Bacalja explains how conservative voices tend to influence - indeed takeover - the debate, saying "a backlash can be expected when teachers try to introduce new, more challenging texts into the curriculum,” Bacalja concluded.See for privacy information.


Academic slams LANTITE report as 'flawed' | Dr David Zyngier

Before an internal government report recently revealed that the Literacy and Numeracy Test for Initial Teacher Education (LANTITE) was causing significant concern among pre-service teachers and universities, nine focus groups were created to brainstorm concerns about the test and possible changes to how it would be administered in the future, and by whom. Adjunct Associate Professor at the School of Education at Southern Cross University David Zyngier was invited to participate in one of these focus groups by a group of education students who had been agitating online for change. However, after the report was released, Zyngier called it "flawed", saying the whole process appeared to have one pre-determined outcome: shifting the LANTITE test so it would be an entry requirement for undergraduate education courses. As an experienced researcher, he also thought the process involved in developing the report lacked rigour. But, according to Zyngier, the report eschewed other important concerns that students and other experts had identified with the test. These included the ongoing role of ACER in delivering and assessing relatively costly tests that provide little, if any, meaningful feedback, as well as the fact that undergraduate education students are being forced to take the test, despite many having no intention of entering the classroom. As he mentions, not all education undergraduates want to become teachers - some wish to become educational psychologists and trainers.See for privacy information.


New book draws on the science of learning for study success | Scott Francis

As the end high school approaches for students and high-stakes exams are soon to take place, knowing how to study most effectively could mean the difference between strong and outstanding grades. Luckily, a new book titled Your High Performance Guide to Study and Learning has just been released. Intended for teachers and students, the book is a collaboration between secondary school teacher Scott Francis and Dr Michael Nagel from the University of the Sunshine Coast. The book is heavily informed by the science of learning - that is "learning about how we learn". After becoming fascinated with Nagel's work, Francis approached Nagel (his former lecturer) to co-author a book on study strategies when he realised how the area of neuroscience "could have real practical applications for students in the classroom" in terms of how they approached learning and study. The book comprises 20 key study strategies for success, all prefaced with a foreword by Nagel. Some of the strategies included in the book are goal setting, having the right mindset and practising questions, The importance of sleep is also included, something Francis says "consolidates memories". A huge sports fan, Francis also believes high performance sporting teams are not so different from high performing students. Both require the creation of a high performance environment to thrive and be your best.See for privacy information.


Early childhood expert questions holding preschoolers back

After a Dandenong primary school principal recently considered the benefits of keeping preschoolers back for another year, Education Review approached Associate Professor Christine Woodrow to obtain her thoughts on the idea. Woodrow highlighted how essential preschool is in terms of both social learning (learning to take turns, managing conflict, etc) as well as developing a rich idea of literacy and numeracy through rhymes, songs and finger plays. Importantly, however, she also said it was difficult to make broad-sweeping judgments such as 'All preschoolers must repeat their 2020 year." For the early childhood expert, it's more of a case of "Which schools and which students" might need to be held back? For instance, while young children who come from more affluent backgrounds with ready access to books and other cultural capital will probably transition easily, children from more disadvantaged backgrounds may need more consideration and assistance. Woodrow also emphasised that there is a "financial penalty" in making children repeat preschool that is bound to be unpopular in many circles . In terms of assisting disadvantaged students who may have difficulty transitioning from preschool, the early childhood expert recommends rich, play-based and discovery learning, as well as fostering more family engagement with the preschools.See for privacy information.


Our school system has regressed to the 19th century | Dr Maura Sellars

An education expert from the University of Newcastle contends that Australia’s schooling system is largely stuck in the 19th century. Dr Maura Sellars, a former teacher with a wealth of experience, told Education Review that “the whole purpose of education at present is economic, instead of multi-faceted like it has been in the past.” The academic has also noticed that in many schools the “structural organisation” of classrooms at the moment emulates those in the 19th century, promoting a “transmission pedagogy” where the teacher stands at the front of the class and desks are neatly arranged. Teachers are expected to transmit information or knowledge to students, which the students are then expected to recall. Sellars equates this type of learning with the bottom rung of Bloom’s taxonomy of recalling and also says it coincides with pushes for direct instruction or explicit teaching, as others have called it. Sellars also notes that the current school system uses the language of factories in the 19th century, with words like “benchmarking” and “outcomes” used daily. In a nutshell, the University of Newcastle academic asserts schooling has become part of a neo-liberal agenda where “economic rationalism has been applied to education”. Although acknowledging their importance, she views the emphasis on numeracy and literacy in today’s schools as not dissimilar to the narrow focus on reading, writing and arithmetic in the 19th century. Consequently, Sellars believes many of today’s students are missing out on a rich education and are not developing the metacognitive skills to become lifelong learners.See for privacy information.


'Teachers status has rocketed': Professor Donna Pendergast

Since COVID-19 entered our lives, the importance of jobs we once might have considered less desirable or important has changed dramatically. As well as our front line retail workers, teachers are experiencing a renaissance in terms of recognition and the importance we attach to the profession. To speak about this shift in the community's mindset, as well as a number of other key issues of the moment, I’m talking to Professor Donna Pendergast. Pendergast is Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, and a member of the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE). The education expert attributes this reappraisal of teachers' status to the fact that "teachers' work became more visible" to parents and the wider community, as well as a recognition of the profession's complexity. She also refers to the excellent job teachers performed and continue to perform as this pandemic continues. As she puts it: "There was this amazing workforce around the nation keeping things happening." On the topic of remote learning, Pendergast asserts that "it can be as good as" classroom learning in an academic sense, but students still need school environments to experience "the hidden curriculum" - skills we learn through interactions and at school such as empathy and social interaction skills. We're not there yet, she argues. Finally, one of the silver linings of this pandemic experience for the academic is that it has reinvigorated an interest in teaching, stating that Griffith University's mid-year intake for education courses "did jump quite significantly".See for privacy information.


Education, training and work in a changing world: Podcast

Have we put too much emphasis on ATAR and attending university? Can the young people of today still expect to reap the rewards for hard work and dedication? And what’s the buzz around micro credentialing and will we be seeing it more in the future? To answer these questions and more, Education Review spoke to Tony McGuire, a veteran of the education and technology industries, and a former primary school teacher with 15 years’ experience. Later in his career he became passionate about technology and remote learning, and recently edtech and training platform D2L appointed him as the head of its Australian and New Zealand business. As McGuire points out, roughly 35 per cent of students will enrol in university without an ATAR. Universities are now offering a multitude of ways to achieve one’s goal, including bridging courses, embedded courses and mature-age entry. On the career front, however, McGuire does hold genuine concerns for the stability of young people, principally brought on by the GIG economy. He also stated that, however much their budgets are suffering, universities must find a way to keep their top pool of talent employed and sharing the ideas of tomorrow. Micro credentialing was another topic addressed in the podcast, which will become increasingly more common and will, as McGuire states, teach those skills that are essential but not necessarily taught and assessed in a formal qualification, such as soft skills and certain dispositions.See for privacy information.


'They're hope machines': How schools and teachers can support distressed students - Podcast

The hellish summer bushfires and the current COVID-19 pandemic has made 2020 a year most of us would rather forget. But one group, in particular, might find 'moving on' slightly more difficult than the rest of the population: students. Not only have the above events and school closures disrupted their lives, they, like many of us, are experiencing bouts of trauma and distress. To understand these issues more and what schools and teachers can do to improve student wellbeing, Campus Review spoke to Professor Helen Cahill from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. Cahill and her colleagues recently published a report on the subject, titled 'Natural disasters and pandemic: supporting student and teacher wellbeing after a crisis.' In this podcast, Cahill underscores the centrality of the school in helping students deal with distress and trauma. As she says, “Often for children it’s their school teachers who are the only other significant adults in their lives." Cahill also calls schools "hope machines for the future" and places where students can escape the worries of the world and focus on routine learning to help ground them. The podcast also includes excellent tips for maintaining both student and teacher wellbeing, such as acknowledging good work by students and naming and modelling effective coping practices for students when they feel distressed and overwhelmed. For teachers, Cahill urges them "to take their foot off the pedal" when required in the learning environment, be realistic about what is achievable, and try not to internalise any blame and shame. After all, "teachers are first responders" as Cahilll rightly points out.See for privacy information.


Will 2020 help or hinder Year 12 students? Professor John Hattie - Podcast

2020 has been a challenging and disruptive year for everyone with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, but one group that is often thought about is students – particularly those completing Year 12 this year. To explore this issue more, Education Review spoke to Professor John Hattie from the University of Melbourne. Although he acknowledges that many Year 12s might be suffering socially this year as the final year of schooling is considered “a rite of passage”, Hattie sees many benefits associated with a remote or online model of learning. Firstly, he points out that thousands of students across Australia have studied online successfully for years. Hattie also adds that students learn to “self-regulate and own their learning” while learning remotely. The Visible Learning founder also refers to a recent study that found many Year 12s felt that could learn more efficiently in a remote learning context. Also, in light of many higher and vocational education courses being delivered online, Hattie sees the remote learning experience as “incredible preparation”. On the topics of ATARs and university entry, while Hattie says there is no need to drop ATAR, states and territories may look at other ways of calculating “what goes into it” and this may alleviate some of the anxiety and stress facing students. He also said that ATAR is often not the sole determiner for university entry; indeed, "for the last decade universities have used multiple indicators" to select applicants.See for privacy information.


Parents and teachers perceptions of schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic: Podcast

Dr Adam Fraser is a peak performance expert and director of research company E-LAB. Recently Fraser collaborated with Deakin University to explore parents' perceptions of teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has involved remote learning for many schools, especially in the eastern states. In the study of more than 1000 parents of children in NSW primary schools, Fraser and the other researchers were pleasantly surprised that the parents - who came from vastly different ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds - were extremely satisfied with how teachers were handling the education of their children during the pandemic. Indeed, the survey revealed that 91 per cent of parents surveyed had a greater respect for their children's teacher, and an almost perfect 99.7 per cent were satisfied with the work of their child's teacher. The survey also revealed some other positive information, including parents realising the difficulty of the profession and getting to know their child's teacher more. However, while the study was remarkably positive in a number of ways, it also revealed the difficulty many teachers had in demarcating their professional and personal lives, and how parents also struggled with high expectations and feelings of guilt.See for privacy information.