Life stories great for Social and Emotional Learning

This story appeared in the November 2017 edition of Australian Teacher Magazine. Click here for link. Emotions have a profound impact on our memory and our learning. In his book, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, Eric Jensen asserts, “mind and emotions are not separate; emotions, thinking and learning are all linked”.  This year, I […]

PBL Making Learning Memorable

Article published on Education HQ, August 2017 (link to article). I remember a project in Year 11 in which I worked with peers and a local primary school to write, direct and film an anti-bullying video. The memory of this experience is still vivid to me 15 years on. As a high school teacher with […]

Student Engagement: A Dynamic Process

This article was published on the EducationHQ website, June 2017: https://au.educationhq.com/news/40144/student-engagement-its-not-just-about-gimmicks-and-smoke-machines/ Teachers are working as hard as they ever have, yet schools across Australia are struggling to engage students. This year, a Grattan Institute study revealed that 40% of Australian students are passively disengaged from school. The study suggests this disengagement could be a result of […]

All In The Same Boat

Below is an updated version of a post I wrote last year about cynicism. I’ve tweaked it for the start of a new year to focus on positivity and collegial support in schools. UPDATE: I was really excited to learn that this article was published in the Queensland Teachers Journal in their March 2017 issue.  Melanie Ralph […]

Cheers to tough love

On Friday night, I kicked back with some lovely champagne, which was a gift to me from a student. As the year wraps up, I have been given a few little treats from students; mostly chocolates. Thankfully, one student bucked this trend and went for an alcoholic treat. Cheers! What’s most rewarding, though, is the […]

Hold Your Tongue

One school holiday I took a pottery class. While attempting to shape a ceramic cereal bowl on a pottery wheel, the instructor asked me “Are you a teacher?” Shocked that he could pick this so easily, I told him I was. He replied, “I can tell. You are trying so hard to control the clay instead […]

No Hidden Agenda: Safe Schools simply promotes safer schools

When reminiscing back to your sexual education experience in school, what images and emotions come to mind? At my regional Queensland high school in the late-1990s, sexual education involved being subjected to generic information about heterosexual relationships, how to use contraception, and how to label anatomical diagrams of penises and vaginas. For the straight students, […]

On ‘expert’ vs ‘experienced’

A few months ago I came across a very short video in which education researcher and professor John Hattie explains the difference between ‘experienced’ teachers and ‘expert’ teachers. This interested me as I have often felt that many people assume that older teachers are more effective than either the first-year teachers or those in the […]

The Learning Zone

While taking a tour around Ross Parker’s blog recently, I came across his lovely graphic of “The Learning Zone” – another term to describe what Vygotsky essentially outlines with his “Zone of Proximal Development” concept. I won’t lie: I haven’t thought about Vygotsky since my uni days – so this mini refresher was really useful! […]