Posts Tagged ‘education’

Two languages are better than one

Posted: October 24, 2012 by Amy Johnston in Education
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Bayswater South Primary School is a school with a difference.  However it is not the students or the staff that are the point of difference.  It is the school’s curriculum, or more specifically their bilingual program which has raised the profile of the school beyond that of other schools in the outer eastern suburbs.

The school prides itself on its Bilingual Immersion Program, which involves the teaching of subjects such as Visual Arts, Science, Humanities and Design in both German and English.


Bayswater South Primary School celebrates its 40th birthday. Photo courtesy Knox Leader.

The Bilingual Immersion program prompted the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) to publish a report on the program, praising the school’s 25 years of excellence in bilingual education.

The report found that the strategies implemented by the school, such as increased interaction between students, and the integration of LOTE with discipline based subjects, is highly beneficial to language learning.

The methods used by Bayswater South Primary School are seen to be noticeably more effective than traditional methods of LOTE teaching, with students participating in immersion programs developing language skills at a faster and more comprehensive rate according to the DEECD.

Leading teacher of LOTE at the school, Linton Roe, believes bilingual immersion programs are far more effective at encouraging children to continue with LOTE subjects into secondary school, due to the integration of language learning into content of subjects such as science and humanities.

In relation to the Government’s recently proposed educational reform, Mr Roe believes that more of a focus should be placed on funding language programs, if we are to keep up with the rest of the world

A majority of people in the world are using two or more languages every day.  A minority of people such as those in Australia and the Unites States seem to have the attitude that English is all you need…When in fact Australians are disadvantaging themselves by not knowing more languages.

Despite the Federal Government dedicating millions of dollars to improving Australia’s extremely low organ donation rates there have been no clear improvements since the reform was implemented in 2009.

In 2008 the Australian Federal Government introduced a reform package with significant results expected over four years.

According to the Australian and New Zealand Organ Donor Registry (ANZOD) there were 337 donors in 2011 whose organs and tissues were donated to 1001 recipients.

Unfortunately, in the past year, organ donor rates have plateaued and donor numbers are now in decline.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) ranked Australia 24th in the world last year.

In 2004 102 children died in Australia that weren’t organ donors.

In the same year, young Zaidee Turner and her family had been registered organ donors for over 5 years. A blood vessel burst in her brain causing her to suddenly die.

As a registered organ donor, Zaidee became one of the youngest Australians to donate her organs and tissues at just 7 years old.

Zaidee’s Rainbow Foundation, partnered with DonateLife, was developed by Zaidee’s parents Kim and Allan Turner in an effort to raise national awareness of organ and tissue donation.

“Today the foundation is at the forefront of educating families about the need for more people to donate at the end of life.” – Zaidee’s dad, Allan Turner

Zaidee’s rainbow shoelaces have become a symbol of hope across Australia for those people on the transplant waiting lists, and are worn proudly by sporting heroes.

“Australia has one of the lowest donation rates in the developed world.” – DonateLife.

In Australia the family will always be asked to confirm the donation wishes of the deceased for the transplant donation to proceed. Unfortunately today only 60% of families give consent for organ and tissue donation to go ahead.

Unlike any other organ, humans can survive with just one kidney, however the official processes that possible donors must go through before donating their kidney is extremely taxing and time consuming.

If an individual’s family is not eligible to donate, whether it is due to disease or poor kidney function, the individual will be placed on the waiting list which on average can take anywhere between 6 months to 4 years.

In April 2000 at the age of nine Tate Goldsmith was diagnosed with Nephrotic Syndrome FSGS.  The disease rapidly progressed and by October of 2001 she had started dialysis for renal failure.

Thankfully Tate was able to receive her Mum’s kidney via transplant in November 2002.

Dad’s kidney function wasn’t the best so if Mum couldn’t donate I would have had to go onto the waiting list which can really be a luck of the draw.” 

“Without a transplant I would require hospitalization 3 times a week for a minimum of 5 hours, and I wouldn’t be able to really drink anything as I’d have a fluid restriction of around 1 litre per day. It doesnt sound much but that includes ice cream, jelly, soup, anything with liquid. Also – I wouldn’t be able to eat a large majority of foods because my body wouldn’t be able to excrete potassium – no potatoes, tomatoes, chocolate, bananas…”

“If more people donate it really just gives them the opportunity to have a greater quality of life that cannot be achieved if someone has organ failure. I don’t think that anyone could undersand until the individual or someone immediate to them was in the situation.”

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There are currently around 1600 people on the organ donation waiting list.

Sadly, hundreds die waiting.

“The most important thing that helps a family’s decision is knowing the wishes of their loved one…” according to Jo Harrison, a spokesperson for DonateLife Victoria. “43% of Australian’s do not know or are unsure of their loved ones wishes.”

Will Chapman is suffering with progressive heart and lung failure at just nineteen years old. Without a heart and double lung transplant Will won’t make Christmas.

With the help from friends and family Will has produced a series of videos to urge more people to register and share their organ donation wishes.

Released in September 2012 Will’s Don’t Bury Me campaign highlights the dire need for change in order to save the lives of those on the waiting lists.

Below is a shortened version of Will’s video. For the full movie ‘A Gracious Gift‘ please go here.

To register as an organ donor please visit: Medicare Australia

For more information about organ donation please visit: DonateLife

The  last few months has seen a renaissance of protesting, sit-ins and political unrest at la Trobe University in response to 500 plus proposed cuts to the humanities and social science faculties.

The students are concerned about the university’s plans to cut 45 academic staff jobs and 500 subjects from its humanities and social science departments due to depleted enrolment.

The university announced the plans in a document released June 20 with Humanities and Social Science Dean, Tim Murray declaring a final decision will be made sometime this month.

Since hearing of the news students have partaken in overnight occupations of their university grounds, protests, marches and a series of petitions to combat these changes.


Under the threat of expulsion and weeks of peaceful protests, the raging debate reached a tension filled apex as the Stop HUSS Cuts Collective  and Occupy La Trobe grew forceful in their frustrations.

Escalating from peaceful to pushy, a La Trobe University Professor was forced to use an underground network to escape the student’s wrath.

Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar was ushered into a room by security staff during La Trobe’s annual Open Day when students protesting against proposed cuts confronted and reportedly hounded him into a building at the university’s Bundoora campus.

Student protestors and media take over the Bundoora campus Humanities and Social Sciences building

Since this time significant changes have been made to the proposal including a decline in the number subject and staff redundancies.

 As it stands La Trobe University are planning to cut 37 jobs by the end of this year along with the dismissal of 370 subjects.

La Trobe University Professor John Dewar released a statement  on the reviewed proposal late last month.

  “We may all wish it were otherwise, but we must recognise that traditional arts degrees are no longer sufficiently enticing nor relevant to school leavers and employers alike, and students have been voting, in effect, for a smaller humanities faculty with their feet.” He stated.

Morgan Cummings, a third year arts student at La Trobe University and student union representative believes the battle is far from over.  Morgan took the time to answer a few questions about the future of the movement.

With a final decision still looming on what will come from the tireless protests and student efforts, Occupy Latrobe have implored the university to enter into negotiations with the National Tertiary Education Union in good faith, to create a shift in focus from saving money to saving jobs and for a redistribution of executive pay to save other jobs at the university.

Grace Stevens, Madeleine Gray and Caitlyn Kelly pictured at the La Trobe Agora showing support for the No Cuts protest.

Madeleine Gray (pictured above), a third year International Relations student at La Trobe University  and active member of Stop Huss Cuts considers this to be a positive step forward in the ongoing movement but one that still has far to go in ensuring their beloved institution is maintained.

With negotiations still surging it will be some time before the impassioned students and staff of La Trobe University receives final word on the proposed cuts. For the students and faculty members this will be a fight not soon to slow down.

By Madison Chodziesner

On September 5th 2012 thousands of teachers flocked to the Melbourne CBD, striking as part of the Australian Education Union’s ‘keep the promise’ campaign. Meanwhile, schools were left to cancel classes and parents left to decide on childcare options.

Victorian media has paid a lot of attention to the strike, the fight and the long term goals for our teachers but what happens to the schools, the parents and the students when these teachers leave the classroom?

Aspendale Gardens Primary (AGPS), a Victorian school of 670 students, had a total of 15 cancelled classes due to striking teachers. Principle Cheryl Osborne was reluctant to discuss the strike, making it clear that the missing teachers caused a disruption to the curriculum.

“We get directives from the department of education on whether we should cancel classes. We then send out information to the parents a couple of days in advance,” Ms Osborne explained.“We give them the option to send their kids, who will be put in another class, to school if they have no other option.”

Aspendale Gardens Primary had 15 cancelled classes due to the strike.

Julie Cutting, a parent with two children currently attending AGPS, said that the days off are an inconvenience for parents yet a necessary one. “Some kids need routine and these days off can disrupt their learning, but what else can the teachers do?” Mrs Cutting said.

“It’s not like they [the teachers] just have holidays. They do activities out of school and have had a lot of added responsibilities. They’ve been promised a lot of things that haven’t happened.”

The strike has also raised concern over whether students should be informed about why their teachers are absent. “Teachers aren’t supposed to explain to the students what the strike is about,” said Ms Osborne. Yet parents at AGPS disagree.“I think the teachers owe it to the kids to tell them about it,” Mrs Cutting stated. “It’s their learning that’s being disrupted.”

The September 5th strike was the second one this year and with a strong possibility of more to come, Principle Osborne is unsure about whether this will mean more cancelled classes at AGPS. Although many parents are supportive of the union’s campaign at the moment, it’s clear that further disruption to their children’s education will not be met with such support.


In September, Melbourne witnessed the biggest teachers strike in Victorian history as thousands of protestors packed into Rod Laver Arena to protest against the Baillieu government, forcing over 350 school closures.

The ongoing dispute has reached fever pitch as teachers across Victoria have collectively rejected the Ballieu government’s proposed performance pay model and a 2.5 percent pay increase deemed far short of the 10 per cent promised.

Strikers, who included professionals from all levels of the education sector, then marched to parliament house calling on Ted Baillieu to honour his pre election promise that he would make Victorian teachers the highest paid in Australia.

AEU president Mary Bluett addressed the packed out stadium, all decked out in red clothing, and explained that over 35,000 education professionals had joined the strike.
“By the strong support of teachers and support staff across the state we will hold Mr Baillieu accountable” she told the protestors.

It was then a sea of red as the protestors marched from Rod Laver Arena and converged on parliament house waving banners and yelling anti-government chant like “Baillieu, Baillieu he is going to fail you”.

Simon Pocervina, a teacher at Laverton College in Melboune’s west, described the strike and the march on parliament’s steps as imperative to the future of education in Victoria.

“Education and the quality of teachers in this state isn’t going to improve with performance based incentives, we’re teachers because we love it, pushing us to our limits for more money that’s already not worth it seems backwards’ he said

Cassie McCauley a primary school teacher in Melbourne’s east echoed her peer’s statement and explained that the thousands of protesters felt completely united.

“With the support of the teaching community and the public we are going to make things right in this state, and give our children the best education possible” She said

Those gathered at Rod Laver Arena voted to continue the campaign against the Bailliue government, with further strikes to come.