TaNuj^'s Weblog

Im sorry I do realise I haven’t been blogging for quite a while now, exam were on my head, so had to study and try to keep up with other work. Anyways another school term has ended and like many terms this one brought along something new and something exciting. So many things have happened in so limited time, it was as though I would blink and a day would finish- I guess this is what winter brings along. Through this blog I want to highlight a very special thing that happened to me in the period of 3 months…

Face Of Education

Two months ago at school I was asked to meet and give an interview to a couple people from the Catholic Education Office. The main theme of this interview evolved around the aspect of CHANGE IN EDUCATION. I spoke greatly of our school and the educational reform that has been put into practise- PBL (Project Based Learning). The first point that I talked about was the perspective of teamwork put into a classroom scenario, I gave this a great deal of importance as this has a enormous effect in a workplace. Its a topic around which all the project and content learning evolves.

Picture above – http://www.nrp.org.uk/cms_images/PBL%20LOGO%20300%20dpi.jpg

Next point that I choose to explore was based upon engagement/ motivation of a student in his/her learning. In the section I provided with my own story, my journey of becoming and enthusiastic learner- a lazy student who always sat at the end of the classroom, always chatting with mates and giving education hardly any importance, EVOLVES into a self motivated and an ‘information hungry’ learner. Its something I’m embarrassed/proud off…embarrassed because I was that blind not to see the hidden potential within me and proud because I managed to open my eyes in the nick of time and realise the person I am and the abilities that I consist. Another branch of engagement looked upon the use of technology, softwares and various websites which of course provided teachers with a foundation to create appealing activities, which lead to the bigger picture, compelling through a project. I also mentioned about the student-teacher relationship, which obviously played an important role in carving up my own success and the success of many individual like me. For me teacher-student relationship lurks upon the basics of providing feedback, it’s a simple fundamental more feedback  = better the results… either provide encouraging words to push a student forward, or hit him/her hard with truth, letting them know the negatives and showing a path to improve.

Other points that ware talked about were collaboration and self-reflection. The example that I provided was based around…a student goes home and rights a blog or a journal describing information that he/she has gained. From that writing material, students develop a curiosity to explore and in doing so quite often they ask question and provide/share new information- this process offcourse is given the name, ‘collaboration’…Self-reflection provides a lot more, it helps a student to become more organised, it tells him/her how they know? Where do they stand? Where to improve? How to improve? This interview made me backtrack, and all the memories came back…

Fast-forwarding…One random morning, one the teachers, who is much a part of PBL- Mr. Bruce Carr came up to me to deliver a message, a message that totally shocked me. I was told that in a week’s time I would be needing to go to CEO (catholic education office) alongside him. I was told that I had impressed the interviewees so much that they had chosen me become the poster boy for the ‘modernised’ education.

At the CEO (filming room) Mr.Carr and I were filmed for about two hours or so, they asked me questions (based on my interview) and I replied to them. It was quite hard as I had no script and more difficult when I was told to repeat the lines that I had made from top of my head. PHEW some how I managed to pull it off! I must say I was quite impressed and couldn’t help feel a bit intimidated, as Mr. Carr just stole show, wow he was amazing. We were given a super-star’s treatment, the make up artist even put make-up on my face (geez it was hard to take it off…hey im not a girl so im not used to it) But all in all it was a wonderful day, and I’am truly thankful to all for giving me such an opportunity…it really made me realise how far I had come!

Picture above- http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/w-w/local-resources/images/filming.jpg

This studio filming was nothing but a massive reflection for me and an experience that I will never forget…looking forward to the dvd…and once again thankyou to all

Amendments have to be made for the sake of excelling. Project Based Learning has changed my life, my vision, and my thinking towards education, many students and teachers still argue whether this has been a good step in order to attain success. From my observation there are powerful arguments from both sides of the table, my personal believe is that no system is bad, it depends upon which better suits the student, each individual has different capabilities, different strengths/ weakness, different mindsets, and a different thought process. However the aspect that differentiates between an outstanding student and a good student is ability to cope and adapt to different scenarios, they may also include different methods of teaching. I have now experienced one and half years of PBL, it has become a part of my life, I have witnessed education revolutionize, yet there are many aspects that need to be improved. Many people that I have encountered say there isn’t such a word as ‘perfect’, I say the opposite, things could be perfected only if the correct practise has been put into place.

From a student’s viewpoint, many changes have to be made to the PBL system at my school in order to grasp the title of ‘perfection’. First thing on my hit list is that aspect of equity across the grade, this leads onto marks /ranking (teacher play an important role in this), expectations and content learning.

Marks, Ranking and Expectation

This is one topic that I reckon I have been harshly done by, not saying that I deserve more marks or a higher ranking, it’s just that others deserved less. Marks are something that tend to set a standard not only in class but grades. At the end of each exam or presentation students often wait eagerly to receive their marks, to see whether they have done themselves proud. Excelling ones own expectation tends to bring along a smile that lasts forever, similarly on the other hand by failing students are liable to be clocked by sheer embarrassment.

Different teachers have different mindsets, for example if the rubric states,” effectively analyse”, these two words might mean something totally different to you, as what it means to me. As a result one teacher might think the student has answered a question reasonably well and give him/her 100%, whilst the other teacher may think that the same student hasn’t answered the question well, and much rather issue him/her with only 60%. This inequality causes a lot of variation, slowly this builds up frustration within a student, until all the patience is lost.

This may also result in a greater scattering of student’s ranking across the subject. Let me take myself as an example, I’ am currently ranked 1st in my class for social studies, however I’am ranked 8th across the grade. I have seen the final end product that was produced by those students that are beating me in terms of ranking, not being biased my work was far more advanced , its  much more sophisticated and more complex, yet I sit on 8th position. WHY?… I’ am just one of the students, I feel sorry for all the other students who suffer from this sort of frustration, no matter how high I tend to jump, I’am still not able to reach the goal.

Content Learning

Whole purpose of school is to gain knowledge, information, and experience. Each and every teacher has a different method of teaching, some are more effective than others, the tools and resources hold a great meaning to this aspect. At times I seem to fall in the trap of insecurity about the content being passed onto me, it makes me wonder, am I learning the exact same thing in the same manner as other students in my grade are? Are all the students being provided the equal platform no matter which teacher they have? Have I been given as good understanding of a topic as other students from different classes?

How to get a student back on track?

Currently I have been lacking motivation and enthusiasm in my PBL classes (excluding CST/IST). Lately I have doing work from out of fear, not enjoyment. For many weeks now I have tried to figure out where might that spark come from, a spark that will ignite my engine, so I have found these solutions…

– Set bench mark/goal/expectation

– Create a feel of competition within classes

– Provide with better guidelines/pathway

– Build a healthy relationship between teacher and student

– Provide with more feedback

– Collaborate as a grade

– Try something new (computer software/ Internet websites)

I haven’t been enjoying my projects as such, they do not attract me, not even one bit. To be honest I don’t how or what will motivate me, I just have my finger crossed and search for answers, answer that will get me back on track. Who knows what might happen tomorrow, will I get motivated? Stay tuned for the answer…

Wondering what I have been upto?

Another kick-off start to a year of social studies in PBL. The old year 9’s have aged into yr 10’s. Whereas the hustling, and anxious yr 8’s have matured into yr 9’s. Welcome to another year at Marist. Another year which is bound to overflow with rigorous learning and ample laughter.

Learning, educating and development of year 9 and 10 students, has taken a leap into what we call PBL (Project/Problem Based Learning). Its system, which raising various questions upon the aspect of education. PBL is a step forward in the era of technology, and social studies is one the branches that includes the subjects- English, History and Geography. Many developed and developing countries are slowly but steadily adopting this system. Numerous schools are looking ahead, in educating their learners through this process of PBL, in order for their pupils to compete globally.

Teachers at our school are really starting to blossom as 21st century tutors. A major part of being a group of talented teachers, undertaking PBL( problem/project based learning) for first time in Australia, is that they are learning alongside students. But they realise, and look at the projects from the perspective of students. Projects that are designed in Social studies are well beyond our lavishing dreams. They are not only aimed to be informative and contentful, but alongside fun and enjoyable.

While the duration of various projects that are conducted in social studies, students are given a entry document, which underlines what needs to be done in a particular project. Students are also shown the process of organisation, as they are asked to use various types of planners, but also they need to write meeting minutes to keep track of the work conducted. Whilst the project is being undertaken, teachers often set out few smaller activities which then leads onto the final product (the bigger picture). In these smaller activities if a student has any problems, then teacher would simply show him the direction or the pathway he can take in order to complete the given task. Students are pushed to use there own creative minds, with the aspect of self-initiative kept underneath the microscope.

So lets see what an accomplished and a successful PBL teacher has to say, upon social studies…

Miss. Lucy Gresser (assistant PBL co-ordinator, and a leading Social studies teacher)

“Social Studies is an integrated course that combines English, History and Geography across Year 9 and 10 PBL classes at Parramatta Marist. The subject was designed this way in order to create multi-layered projects that are designed to engage our students on a number of levels through varying teaching and learning strategies that addresses compulsory content set by the BOS (Board Of Studies) yet allowing students to be critical thinkers and essentially activemembers of the learning process in a positive learning environment.

A project consists of both individual and group work tasks that are originally revealed in the entry document of the project. In Social Studies we haveadopted a system whereby the entry document should incorporate some element of what we expect our students to be able to achieve, for example the program we would like them to use this links strongly to my belief of modelling our expectations to our students as an essential component of PBL. Each project we design also includes links to necessary skills of preparing our students for the real world by relying heavily on communication and collaboration.

The focus in Social Studies is primarily on the content yet in order to effectively connect with our tech-savvy students we incorporate the use of web 2.0 tools as a component of the task. We have to recognise that our students are growing up in a world where skills associated with technology are crucial to any employment outside of school. It just needs to be the right tool so students to demonstrate their learning effectively to their teachers and their fellow students.

I think it’s important to note that there are so many possibilities for our 21stCentury learner. Education is not merely the passing on of knowledge from teacher to student, like in a transmission-style learning environment. Education is far more than that. It is the way in which we allow our students to immerse themselves in a culture of learning that moves beyond content. It is extremely rewarding to see our students actively engaged in their studies working within an environment that involves collaboration and certainly a healthy environment of competition.

So far this year, our new Year 9 students have undertaken a number of rigorous projects that have included “Shake Things Up”, “Scorched” and most recently “An Inconvenient Reply”. These have involved our students in a number of tasks included creating a trailer for a modernised version of a Shakespearean play, a news broadcast on some of aspects of the harsh Australian environment and now engaging in sophisticated dialogue through social networking discussion forums and composing thoughtful and well researched blogs. Our students are feeling connected.

Our second year PBLers(Yr 10 2009) are continuing their learning through projects “Voices of the Others” where they traced the experience of a chosen migrant group to Australia and submitted their work through creating an E-archive. Students also studied the art of advertising through exploring our global links through our “Globalisation” project and we have just recently released “Famous Dismissals” where students will explore the Whitlam years in government and create a newspaper supplement.

So it has certainly been a busy year so far, with many more exciting experiences to reflect on!”

As highlight above by Lucy; so far yr. 9’s have conducted 3 projects – Scorched, Shake Things Up and An Inconvenient Reply. So lets hear it from few of the year 9 students, as they provide an insightful evaluation upon their chosen social studies project-

Benjamin Khabib- yr. 9- “Scorched”

 “Scorched” was one of the most enjoyable projects in PBL. It provided a challenge for students & concentrated on investigating real-life issues like bushfires & droughts. “Scorched” was a project that was geography-based. I enjoyed the project because, firstly: It taught me a lot & secondly: It was more organized then other projects. In “Scorched” I learnt about real-life issues, which made the project even more exciting & educational, since a lot of the information that I took in from this project, will come useful to me in the future. I was lucky to get a good group of students, who were all outstanding during the project. The task required all groups to create a news broadcast that concentrates on defining bushfires & droughts (Australia’s main natural hazards) & assessing, how does the government, groups & individuals handle these natural hazards. Another important part of the task was designing a solution to manage these natural hazards.

The fact that we had to create a video broadcast excited me all the way through the project & gave me & my team motivation to put all of our efforts into creating not just an educational & correctly structured news report, but also engaging & high quality video that would use its appeal to attract many viewers & address the issues. All around the class, I saw people, including me & my group coming up with fantastic ideas for their videos. Through this I saw the way how PBLwas effective: It drove everyone to come up with fantastic ideas independently & share them around, rather then having just one idea being taught to a whole cohort for many years without change. “Scorched” changed the whole light, in which I saw PBL. At first, I saw PBL as an enemy to peaceful learning as I was never happy with sharing my ideas with others, but everything changed. After “Scorched” I got into the vibe of PBLbecause this time I learnt a lot from my peers & instead of just sharing my ideas like in other projects, I received ideas & information from other people when they were presenting their news reports. The reliability of the information presented in other people’s news broadcasts amazed me. My group & me also produced a decent news report. I took the initiative of using the green screen technology & my group stood out as the only ones that used the green screen. Through this, we were able to create exciting backgrounds behind our “presenter” (Me) & our “reporters” & “victims” as well learn new technology for future projects. My group unfortunately received 30/50. I did not create perfect news broadcast, but I am ready to take teachers’ feedback into consideration & do better next time. “Scorched” was a pleasurable project, despite people saying that we didn’t learn enough, but it is probably the fact that they didn’t try hard enough to learn everything that was on offer. Many people expected PBL to be easy, but it isn’t, because even in PBL you haveto work hard & put effort to achieve good results, as to the project itself, it was very organized & educational.

Next in line was a project that looked upon Shakespearean re-make…

Balkaran Mann- yr. 9- “Shake Things Up”

“Shake things up was our first project and we were excited to get a taste of the PBL version of English. Before we started the project we knew it was about Shakespeare and had done some work on Shakespeare. There were mixed reactions before the project started with some people ready to divulge into learning the works of man of the millennium – William Shakespeare whilst others were not sure after their bad experience with Shakespeare in year 7.

But now comes PBL after being bored by studying Shakespeare in 2007 and finding it hard to understand, project based learning should change that. In short PBLwill allow us to learn Shakespeare through a creative medium (which was the mainly the trailer) that would make the process enjoyable and stick in our heads.

Since this project required us to make a movie trailer of a Shakespeare play it instantly received a great reaction since the filming and editing of the trailer was going to be very a very enjoyable and creative task that would allow us to film, learn, expand on software skills and socialize with friends. Talking about friends I think that we should be able to pick our own groups now and then to have fun and be in comfort.

I’ll expand on the tasks in the project:

1) Story board: it was a great way to organise and plan out our trailer so the trailer could go according to plan and we knew what we had to instead of making scenes on the spot.

2) Translated scene: it was a good test of our Shakespearean skills.

3) Trailer: as we filmed the trailer we expanded our knowledge on Shakespeare and learnt so it would stay in our minds. The trailer also allowed us to learn other skills as well.”

Global-Warming seems to a topic that has everyone wondering, lets see what the third project was about…

Ashish Sood – year 9- “An Inconvenient Reply”

“One of the project that I have carried out for Social Studies is ‘An Inconvenient Truth’. We were told that we have to come up with blueprints and maps for an environmentally friendly city that would help defeat global warming. But before all of this, we saw the film (An Inconvenient Truth), which was made by AL Gore, it was a documentary on Global Warming and its effects on the world. It made us think for the first time about our effects on Earth, while AL Gore provided evidence, facts and statistics for the happenings of it.

After watching the movie, we signed up for Ning (a social networking site, used for collaborating information) and started blogging, which is a process of reflecting and recounting. We got assigned homework that was based on adding information and thoughts on forums discussions or composing blog posts. All the work carried out looked upon creating more sustainable solutions for various things that are having a huge effect on our beautiful planet.

I found this topic very interesting as it gave PBLa new meaning. It evolved education in such a manner that it made us think, and make good use our creative mind, but offcourse main thing was that is was FUN! Ning presents education in a much more radical way – a way that I think should be the concept of the whole PBL system.”

It’s evident that year 9 students much love social studies, not only because they are learning various amount things, but also they are enjoying working with fellow peers and technology.

Year 10 is a step up in terms of PBL and social studies; we are now expected to not only exceed our own expectations but the teacher’s as well. Year 10’s have nicely settled into this new system, and are looking forward to new challenges. The first project that year 10 had lined up for them was called, “Voices Of The Other”.

First project looked upon students examining the aspect of Vietnam War and the role Australia played in it. The entry document was designed using Zoho Notebook which modelled for the students the expectations of teachers, ZohoNotebook was the tool that was used through the duration of this project. So through the study of Vietnam War it tied in nicely with looking at the overall migrant experience of different groups to Australia. The final product of the project involved the students collaborating within their groups in order to create an e-archive, a collection of resources that needed to be located or created. This collaboration of resources included letters, interviews, newspaper, poems and photos.

“…For this project, you are required to construct an e-archive using ZOHONotebook that highlights the impact of international events on the migrant experience in Australia. Your product must be based on the stories and experiences of one particular migrant group to Australia. Individually, you must create a montage which includes a collection of images with an accompanying audio that portrays the migrant experience of the Vietnamese and this is to be included in your overall e-archive….”- portion of the entry document.

Example of writing that was carried out in this project…

“I’m scared. I’ve been scared for a while. Death is now the only thing i think about. Being blown into pieces because I took a bad step or was at the wrong place at the wrong time. It’s been getting to me and this book is the only book I have left. My house, my clothes, my friends, MY RIGHTS gone! They were taken away from me today!!

It all happened so fast. All I remember is entering my house with dad, mum, and my younger brother. We had all gone out because dad had finished his time in the army even though the war is still going on. I can still hear the echoes of bombs and gunfire as I sit in a tent made out of newspaper and the rubble of blown up buildings. We came back all tired and happy about the night. Dad had been awarded medals while me and my brother ate the left over oregano pizza we were able to take home. I didn’t even enter our house before dad was yelling to get out. I was right at the door and that’s when the smell hit me.

The smell of gas from the stove hit me filling my nostrils and taking over my lungs. My sudden reflex was drop to the ground. While mum jumped to cover the “habibi” of the family, Jean-Paul. Dad being the fit, army experienced, old man he shut the door and jumped to cover me. I closed my eyes and covered my ears as we waited for the bang. It took a few seconds for the bang to happen. When it did i felt all the wind be sucked inwards towards the house before the heat and the debris hit me. The noise lasted for a second but the damage that it did to my ears is still taking its time. As soon as all the debris had rested I pulled myself out. Dad was still alivebut needed a rest. Mum summoned the energy to climb off Jean-Paul. He was fifteen but now he wasn’t recognisable, neither was mum or dad. Their clothes were burnt, their skin covered in ash and cuts, I’m guessing by the looks of shock on their faces we all looked the same. We walked around for a while looking for anything that survived. The only things were a picture of mum and dad’s wedding, my journal and Jean-Paul’s half burnt slingshot. Now I’m here, homeless, bruised and sick and tired of fearing for my life. So far dad has decided that were going to travel to my aunties how were we will live until were back on our feet. Until then, I will be wondering through cities picking up any pens I find on the street and get down when people tell me to. No one deserves this life.”

Reflection upon the Vietnam War…

Next project was called Globalisation, this looked upon learning the aspect of advertisement (English content), and Australia as a whole (Geography content), trough the progression of this project students also covered a great deal of information upon Australia’s global and region links…So How do we sell Australia?

“So you think you can make an ad? You’ve spent plenty of time on the couch thinking you could do the job better than the professionals? Well, here’s your shot. We want you to make an ad for us. And not just for us, but for Australia. For your country. In fact, it’s your patriotic duty to do it. It would be un-Australian not to.

This year’s Consumer’s Revenge challenge asks you to BEAT THE BAZ, to come up with a tourism ad that will sell this wide brown land of ours to the rest of the world.

Here’s how it all works.

Don’t worry that you’re not a filmmaker. We’ve built an online tool to make the whole thing easy for you. We call it the Gruen Admixer. It’s so simple even that gorilla in the chocolate ad could crank out an award winner. Here’s how to use it:

1. Check out our extensive library of video clips. It’s in a pull-down menu marked “Categories”. We’ve loaded more than 100 short clips of Australian scenes and icons: our beaches, our wildlife, our rainforests and much more. You can preview any of the clips by clicking on them.

2. Make your ad by dragging the clips you want to the “Video” timeline bar at the bottom of the Admixer. You can change the order or edit each clip to make it shorter.

3. Click on the “Text” tab up the top. Now you can weave a script around those images. The pictures alone are never going to be enough. We want you to come up with a proper ad, with an unforgettable slogan at the end. That means writing good ad copy. (Hint: think of it as an old-fashioned silent movie – write words that add meaning to the pictures you’ve chosen.) Here’s an example of a slogan: “Australia. Less prone to recession than almost anywhere”.

4. Click on the “Audio” tab and add a soundtrack to your ad. A soundtrack is what stirs our emotions, so it’s pretty important.

5. Consider whether you need to add visual and sound effects. These can be found under the “Effects” tab.

Look, we don’t mind if you want to make a serious tourism ad or a sarcastic one. We don’t care if your ad would lure millions or drive them away. What we want to see is inspiration. We want to see your creativity on display, your understanding of emotions, your ability to tell a story.

To give you an idea of what we’re expecting, the staff at Gruen HQ have had a couple of goes at the Admixer ourselves. Have a look at what we’ve come up with here and here. We think you’ll agree that they’re better than Baz’s (well, cheaper anyway), but still, there’s a lot of room for improvement. Your improvement.

Click through to the Admixer and have a go. Do it for the economy and do it for Australia, and go, you good thing, go!!!”- Entry Document

Example of work which was done…

 

Last but not least was the project so called, “famous dismissals”, with the driving (theme) question: How do individuals and groups wield power over people and politics? In this project we looked upon famous Australian dismissals that included- Jack Lang, Sir. Donald Bradman and Gough Whitlam. This the course of this project, year 10 students undertook a massive research task based on those famous figures…

TASK-

“Newspaper Supplement on the Whitlam Years in Government. In your group of 5 each group member is to take responsibility for an issue relating to the Whitlam years in Government.

– Finance

– Foreign Relations and Immigration

– Aboriginal Affairs, gender and race relations

– Corruption and Scandal

– Impact and Legacy

Over the period of the project each group member is to research and write 3 newspaper articles on your chosen topic. (one per week) which will be submitted via pmonline at weeks end. At projects completion your group will have produced a newspaper supplement, using all the articles previously submitted, documenting the Whitlam Government from election to Dismissal. Your groups supplement should also contain other items that you would commonly find in a newspaper, feature article, advertisements, political cartoons, editorials and letters to the editor.”

This term I was introduced to the term kaleidoscope…few weeks ago, I was forced by few of mates to try out  for public speaking (fortunatelly I didn’t make it in…phew), however in the trails I was asked to make speech based upon Kaleidoscope. Today after so many weeks this term flashed back in my mind and the curiosity to further explore this term arouse.

Initially this word only meant an instrument which changed patterns, and was created by the Greeks. But of course my curious mind wouldn’t let me be in piece, so I started to form few thoughts based upon Kaleidoscope. Seeing that its holidays and I’am getting bored , so I thought I should start to compile my thoughts together and form a blog, dedicated to hidden meaning of life represented by a kaleidoscope.

Kaleidoscope is an instrument, which aims to represent countless lessons, which have to be learnt during lifetime. For some it may highlight the aspect of variation in life. We so often refer to the rotational motion of the tube, as it emphasizes on the perspective of a turning point, process of growing up when the inner core of strength is discovered, and just like the changing in patterns, a leap is taken into new experiences. It varies from an unripe child, to an elderly person, each individual embarks on this journey some point in life, and use their own unique methods to adopt the new lifestyle.

Suddenly when individuals are placed in situation, where it’s challenging to relate upon an older experience, many are greeted with shock. It’s a human- nature to act in such a manner, however by obtaining a mindset to take upon such scenarios, makes the new experience much more pleasurable and relaxing. At the beginning it’s likely to feel as though it’s a bumpy ride through another stage in life, but after a few repeat experiences, we tend become more tranquil, as we become accustomed such situations.

This process of understanding new experiences could be shortened if we are lucky enough to possess a guide (Its meant to be a joke!). If not, then I guess process is time-consuming. This longer period time is acceptable if the experience is a positive one, but is very displeasing if it is negative. “Life can only be understood backward, but it must be lived forward.”

At the opportunity to glance at the dazzling shapes, created within a kaleidoscope, does our creativity take over the mind and produce beautiful imagery. Creating real life objects suppressed within shapes and patterns. For many a peek in kaleidoscope is entering a virtual world, place where individuals are grasped by the fascination. It’s a mean to explore and witness objects well beyond the lavishing dreams. An additional learning that we are taught by the theme of a kaleidoscope is- identifying values, facts and feelings, which are concealed within real stories. This aspect looks at upon the saying, “not to judge a book by its cover.” You can’t make a judgment about something based upon its looks; it’s a sin to make a conclusion on someone by the clothes that they wear, the car they drive, or the way that they walk. Repeatedly we are reminded not to trust our eyes, much rather dig deep and investigate until unless each and every question is answered. As a philosopher once said,” everybody has a world, and that world is completely hidden until we begin to inquire. As soon as we do so, that entire world opens to us and yields itself. And then we see how full and complex it is. ”

Another aspect that we are informed of is ‘reflection’, where the theme of self-observation is kept underneath the microscope. Just as colourful beads reflect upon mirrors within a kaleidoscope, similarly actions, behaviour and academic knowledge reflect from individuals. This is a process of reporting inner thoughts, desires and feelings. It is a procedure based upon developing the skill for an individual’s intelligence, it is based on thinking, reasoning, and examining one’s own thoughts, and feelings. In more spiritual cases, one’s soul. Qualities such as meta-reasoning and meta-cognition are closely connected with the introspective experiences. It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.

As stated earlier reflection is ‘looking within’, but of course we do not visually inspect the interiors of our brain. With use of the term introspection we claim that we can recognize our own mental states through some sort of non-visual attention, whose immediate objects are thoughts or sensations within the individual himself. Without reflection, we go blindly on our way, creating more unintended consequences, and failing to achieve anything useful.

Pure experience is the name given to the immediate flux of life, which furnishes the material to our later reflection with its conceptual categories. By the combination of the three methods we are able to learn wisdom- First, by reflection, which is the noblest; second, by Identifying, which is the toughest; and third by experience, which is by far the bitterest.

Many times we take things for granted and do not appreciate the help provided. The only time we realise… “what great thing it was”…is only after we lost the privilege to use it. This topic brings upon a question… What would the world look like if the Internet was never invented?Visualize a world with no Internet. Seriously, close your eyes and try it. No email, no Twitter, no SL or MySpace. No Youtube and certainly no Internet research. For many this sort of scenario would sound like a nightmare, but really would there only be negatives if there was no Internet… c’mon there is got to be some positives…lets embark on a journey to compare and contrast upon this issue…
In small span of time Internet has dramatically changed our ability to gain access to information regarding the whole world, but off course sharing and collaborating information with many throughout the world, has brought upon new way of teaching and learning. Slowly but steadily we are seeing a rise in a system where education is being passed on in a more PBL or PLP type of manner. This is a sort system, heavily depends on sites such Ning, Google docs, Teamspace, Workconnect, Wiki, Wetpaint and Feedmyapp to collaborate, share and experience enjoyable learning. All of this links into a bigger image where it’s right to say students are responsible for their own learning. Alongside other peers and colleagues become the helpline (instead of teachers), side by side its fascinating to see mates criticizing and providing with well analysed feedback.

Internet has a major impact on nearly all the aspects of our life, for example our social life heavily stands upon the foundation built from 8 letters, that’s right its Internet. We use sites such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Faces, Friendster, and Plurk to stay in touch with friends and family members, alongside we get a chance to meet those who share same interests (eg. same work industry). Again we start to link in with collaboration, it could be either friend-chat sort of a thing or a more deepened conversation with people upon an important aspect.

As the time races past, the younger generations are expected to grasp as much information as possible and further develop upon general knowledge. This is another area, which is immensely affected by Internet. Online research plays such an important role in all of our lives, maybe its an assessment or a question you don’t have an answer to, whatever the case maybe, Internet research comes to our rescue when ever we seem to be trapped.

However no online help. Blocked from collaborating and sharing information. No more of visual and interactive learning. Forget the thought of talking, writing or interacting with an old mate or a professional in your field of interest. All of this sounds as though all the happiness and joy has been stolen away. Its time to step in the ‘darkside’….

In past, books have been an answer to the mean of gathering and gaining information, books have been our first preferences to find answers for various questions. Books are guide with a heap load of valuable, contextual and content based information, they not only increase our general knowledge but also become great references in future life. I would say if there wasn’t to be any Internet I guess books would the answer for receiving education and knowledge. Alongside, newspaper would become a medium to pass on information about events occurring throughout the world. So in summary reading and making notes from various books or newspapers would certainly become a positive aspect if there wasn’t to be any Internet. After all, reading is an essential skill…

As for communicating what better than the old dog and bone (telephone), it would only cost few bucks. Alongside using the post services to send documents and other materials around the globe.

Other positives… No Internet= No Paedophiles+ No Fame Hunters

Well offcourse there are few things that are virtually impossible to be done without the Internet…check out the video it’s amusing…

In the end its fair to say that Internet brings along the fun, interactive and enjoyable mean to spend time, no matter if it’s educative or just for entertainment. Life without Internet would be just so boring, bland and lacklustre. I guess we would eventually learn to live without it, but it will take quite a long time to get used to life with no Internet…

First and foremost, I would like to apologize for my absence on wordpress ever since last few months. Being in year 10 certainly isn’t easy; especially when you are expected to exceed teacher’s own expectations. For me, year 10 is a step-up in terms of PBL (Project Based Learning), we are now treated as young and mature men, workload put upon us is immense, considering that I’ m accelerating in maths as well. However teachers do realise the importance of school-certificate and in order to compel us through this task successfully, we are being pushed to our absolute limits, as they say, “a good beginning makes a good end.”

However over last few lessons I have witnessed few students becoming surface learners and at this point I ‘am reminded of a conversation with Dean Groom, and the questions that he poses…

“I wonder, from your perspective, how your teachers go about trying to find out what motivates you? – Other than yelling, nagging and putting pressure on you through rules? – What do you think teachers need to learn about motivating ‘surface’ learners – to become – not a nerd, but lifelong, successful, deep learner?”-Dean Groom

Well I must say, on the aspect of motivation and teachers, lately I have been on a roller-coaster ride; I have had my ups and downs…

For those inquisitive, ever wondered what exactly is motivation?

I remember not long ago, I was reading an article written by Remez Sasson, where he stated- “Motivation is the inner power or energy that pushes one towards performing a certain action. Motivation has much to do with desire and ambition, and if they are absent, motivation is absent too. Motivation strengthens the ambition, increases initiative and gives direction, courage, energy and the persistence to follow one’s goals. A motivated person takes action and does whatever it needs to achieve his/her goals.”

Being a student undertaking PBL (Project Based Learning), I have been privileged enough to be taught by some of the best that teaching industry has to offer. My philosophy is that all teachers are intellectual, but the thing that sets apart the good ones from not so good ones, is the ability for finding numerous solutions to one multifaceted problem, this links into the perspective of creativity alongside pride and passion for teaching. At my current high-school, teachers reach great heights in order to motivate pupils, they use various means, such as…

· Showing care and appreciation for the work conducted (including rewards)
· Involvement -have students participate
· Making learning more interactive and visual (eg. images and videos)
· Using positive emotions
· On constant bases applying new methods (eg. teamwork activities)
· Capitalizing on needs of a student
· Providing with help to set achievable goals along the year
· Showcasing students inner ability and potential
· Creating competitions and setting benchmarks
· Emphasizing on mastery and learning rather than grades

As Lucy Gresser states, “…when the entry document is ‘unveiled’ the students must find within them, a natural desire to set to work in order to reach or rather ‘create’ the final product….”

Let us now hear from few of my teachers, see what they have to say upon this topic…

Gavin Hays

 Lucy Gresser

In my opinion it is important for a teacher to study various characteristic based upon a student before constructing a judgement about him/her. These characteristics may include things like…

· Behaviour
· Work ethic
· Hidden potential
· Passion for learning

Once the tutor has constructed an effective analysis upon a student then its important for the teacher to highlight strengths and weaknesses. Afterwards, its all in the creativity of the educator; he/ she (teacher) has to be clever enough to be able to relate and build upon those weaknesses by putting them into scenarios or sets of activities, which is enjoyed by a particular student. So indirectly with all the fun and enjoyment content is learnt, that too in such a manner that it’s not realized.

Word of advice from chef:

Ingredients for mouth-watering enthusiasm require excitement, slowly stirred with inspiration, and motivation, accompanied with a pinch of creativity.

I’ am not that bad for a 16-year-old cook, ah ! …bahahahah

The term religion is defined in numerous ways, being a member of Marist community, I have been privileged enough to build upon my knowledge about Catholicism everyday. My last few days in Cath. Tec have been based upon grasping knowledge and information on Bible and its contents. My education is not only based upon learning the fundamentals but also applying them in real life scenarios. The most beneficial part of my education is based on the basis of reflecting on my learning, everyday in my Cath. Tec I’ am pushed to strive for academic excellence, moreover I am expected to go beyond my teachers expectations.As I highlighted earlier, reflecting is the key to my learning and today I have been posed a couple of questions based upon my learning of catholic education.

First question looks at the aspect of linking beatitudes to parables but then also relating them to real life situation. -“What current real life story do you think could be used as a parable to teach a specific beatitude for Christian followers?” When I come to think about the term parable, instant words that pop up in my mind are based upon, stories containing a moral (deep meaning). Similarly In my opinion, beatitudes are a cluster of words which put together highlight the pathway, which leads to heaven.

When I close my eyes and visualise this question, my mind simultaneously shows me an image of Glen McGrath. McGrath was a Australian cricketing legend, he is an individual who in recent time has travelled through a road of sorrow, especially after loosing his wife to breast cancer, much rather hiding away his own sadness, he has devoted himself to helping others suffering from breast cancer. He has worked day and night providing financle and emotional help to those in need, in more recent days he has shown the glimpse of light to all by issuing the statement, “Together we can make a difference.”

“Jane McGrath fought recurrent battles with breast cancer. Glenn and Jane jointly established the McGrath Foundation, for which Glenn McGrath utilized his public figure to raise money to fund more Breast Care Nurses in rural and regional Australia, alongside educate young women to become more aware of this horrible disease. Sadly Jane lost a bravely fought battle on 22 June 2008 from complications following a cancer surgery.”

For a human being to be so humble and put aside a loss, of an individual who was meant to be a life-long partner and come out to promote the awareness for the diseases, really is quite inspirational and motivational for all. Events and actions that occurred in Glenn’s life certainly highlight the beatitude, which states, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

“These are people who are humble and who do not think of themselves more highly than they ought. Jesus once said that whoever humbles himself as a little child would be the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. In the book of Proverbs we read that a man’s pride will bring him down, but a lowly spirit will bring him honour.
Change of topic, now it has come upon to look at the second question which was posed to me – “If you were given the opportunity to write a chapter for the bible what would you write about? What messages would you want your readers to take away?”

As I read this question, I’m reminded of the saying, “Treat others, as you want them to treat you because what goes around comes around”. So certainly in my aspect if I were to be given an opportunity to write a chapter in bible, I would compose it based around the topic ‘respecting humanity’. Much of the content, would be clustered, based upon things, such as, taking note of other’s perspective, giving individuals an equal right to express their own opinion and moreover respecting others as human-beings. My messages would be depicted via using the means of examples, as it would make this theme much more easier to understand.

The reason behind my decision to go along with this topic was because if humans are able to understand the deep meaning of this topic, indirectly it will erase terms such as violence, murder, and terrorism. Meaningful understanding of this content would also help in constructing good, healthy relationship amongst individuals, but also this theme would set upon the foundation, which will help a human-being develop socially and emotionally.

“Respect is taking into consideration the views and desires of others, and including it into your decisions. When you respect another, you factor and weigh their thoughts and desires into your planning and balance it into your decision-making.”