It is hard to believe that Term 1 is almost done and dusted. We know you’re busy, so this week on School Stream, we’ve curated an essential reading list of all the news making waves in education media this week. From a huge STEM push for girls to the recent results of the Principal’s Wellbeing Survey and everything in between, you won’t miss a thing.
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1. Principal Wellbeing Survey Results
The findings of the tenth annual Australian Principal Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Survey were released mid-March and, if you’re an educator, you won’t be surprised to hear that a combination of ‘extremely long hours and constant exposure to stress’ drove Principals to exhaustion and burnout in 2020. School Principals are the key to creating a positive school culture and are passionate about what they do, but huge workloads and competing demands, alongside a worrying increase of physical threats are all reasons to be concerned for the ongoing wellbeing of Principals. We will revisit the findings and recommendations of this report in more detail early in Term 2.
2. STEM news
STEM has been back in the headlines in a major way in recent weeks, with articles focusing on the intersection of STEM, girls and women in both Teacher Magazine and The Conversation. The Conversation examines new research that counters an oft-cited assertion that the key barrier to women participating in STEM careers is a lack confidence in their technical skills. This is an extremely readable and interesting article that will be of interest to anyone concerned about the gender gap in STEM subjects. For another viewpoint, Teacher Magazine speaks to Trudi Wynn, the Digital and Media Technologies teacher at Cedar College in South Australia about the evidence-based approaches they are using to attract more girls to STEM. Trudi’s enthusiasm and persistence for encouraging girls to embrace STEM and digital technologies really shines through:
“I’m fairly excited; this is my 11th year here and I’m not losing hope, we can only adjust and then assess how that goes, and then adjust again,’
3. How teachers mitigate stress in students
If you feel like a big part of your day is spent in incidental counselling or supporting students in other ways, this report is for you. The Australian Journal of Education report “The role of teachers in mitigating stress to progress learning” explores how educators manage student wellbeing needs and academic performance, the support structures available in their school context, and the causes of stress in students. The key findings can be accessed online and many educators will be able to relate.
4. Game Changers
Influential education podcast Game Changers just racked up an impressive 70,000 listens. While based in Australia, the pod regularly features expert guests from across the globe. If you’re interested in innovative approaches to 21st Century education, consider adding this to your podcast playlist.
5. The future is…. Microcredential
What is a microcredential, you ask? Microcredentials are a short, flexible and affordable way to update your skills in a very targeted niche or skill set. The duration of a microcredential can range from one hour to 60 hours. Hence, ‘micro’. The other key component of microcredentials is that they are, in fact, ‘credentialed’. This could come in the form of Recognition of Prior learning as part of a larger degree or post graduate course, or as a digital certificate. It is thought that microcredentials are going to be big news for educators in the not too distant future and universities are already assessing how they will enact them as part of their broader, traditional assessment processes.
6. The Chess Effect
A recent study by Monash and Deakin Universities found children who were taught chess and played regularly over time were more likely to be less risk-averse than their peers and playing chess could also boost maths and rational thinking skills. Paul Rikmanis from Port Macquarie’s St Columba Anglican School oversees the school’s chess club and he had this to say about the benefits of chess:
“Playing chess is just problem-solving exercise, after problem-solving exercise, so students are always looking for patterns, connecting ideas, they are analysing the board, they are trying to think ahead of what they are doing and what their opponent is doing.”
This report is really interesting and quite zeitgeisty, thanks to The Queen’s Gambit. With all these benefits, now could be the time to start a chess club.
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