Teachers share resources and experience

Caring atmosphere: Teachers Lavinia Sullivan and Karen Critchley meet regularly to draw on the strengths of their two schools. Picture: Natalie Roberts

Caring atmosphere: Teachers Lavinia Sullivan and Karen Critchley meet regularly to draw on the strengths of their two schools. Picture: Natalie Roberts

Sharing resources is a highlight for teachers from the Nirimba Learning Community.

About 250 teachers from the nine Blacktown area schools in the network met for a joint staff development day last week.

They spoke about lesson plans, technologies to enhance learning and the continuation of the new national curriculum in year 7 and 9 mathematics, English, science and history classrooms.

Karen Critchley, the history head at Quakers Hill High School, said the event allowed teachers to work more effectively by giving each other access to their teaching resources.

"It's sharing to be smarter about how we do things," she said.

"In our session we had 10 different events. One where teachers talked about how they were teaching geography and history; another group looking at what you can do with iPads and teaching technique.

"PE had football and soccer people come out and talk about what they were doing, and science stood up and did presentations of less than seven minutes.

''It was teaching in fast forward."

Ms Critchley said year 7 students now look at how societies formed across continents, while year 9 studies the Industrial Revolution's impact on the world before discussing human rights and the two world wars.

"It's really about that global context and saying to them, 'collect the evidence and make up your own mind'," she said.

"There is much more emphasis on argument and making decisions. We love it.

''That was one of the things the history and geography teachers talked about, how much fun the students are having back in class exploring things now that we don’t have the school certificate, because we don’t have to regurgitate [content]."

Lavinia Sullivan is Blacktown Girls High School's head teacher of human society and its environment. "The value in the Nirimba day is looking at what people have done beyond the textbook and how we can adapt and modify it for our environments as well," Ms Sullivan said.

'The Nirimba Learning Community includes Wyndham College and Blacktown Boys, Blacktown Girls, Mitchell, Quakers Hill, Riverstone, Seven Hills, Evans and Hills Sports high schools.

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