Bingara Central School News, June 16, 2011 (Week 8, Term 2)

June 17, 2011

During this week I have attended the New South Wales Secondary Principal’s Conference in Tamworth. A feature of the conference has been some outstanding student performances by students from schools across New England.

Among these performers have been Year 10 student Ally Dixon playing in the “West of the Divide” band and Year 9 student Emily Price singing as part of a recently formed regional choir. Both group performances were excellent and greatly appreciated by the visiting Principals from across NSW.

Coincidently one of the conference presenters had research data to show that students involved in school arts programs also did better at their other school learning. This is something that teachers have known for a long time.  It is important that the learning we offer at school encompasses more than what is tested in NAPLAN. An engaging curriculum that meets the needs and interests of students leads to high levels of attendance and the best overall learning outcomes.

Other speakers at the conference have presented their thoughts on what constitutes the best teaching practice. Common in all presentations has been the recognition that todays students need to have the freedom and independence to influence their own learning and that the role of the modern teacher is to facilitate their learning.

At Bingara Central School, through the use of technology, group work and supportive teacher/students relationships we endeavour to provide teaching and learning opportunities that allow our students to achieve their goals that will best prepare them for the changing world they will grow into. 

Consistent with the ideas presented at the conference outlined above, many school staff will be involved in two days of training next week for this student wellbeing program. Fortunately the permanent and relief teachers who will take classes on these days will continue our students learning.

In some classes, alternative, authentic activities including harvesting the Gwydir Oval oranges and then preparing them for retail, an introduction to the Primary Industries “Living Classroom” and a local history perspective have been arranged. These classes will ensure that the student’s learning is relevant to their own context and I look forward to hearing of the success of this innovative program. 

Mark Vale