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students up to three years behind Asian teens THE AUSTRALIAN FEBRUARY 6, 2016 12:00AM Natasha Bita Teacher mentor Sonia Byrnes with Emma Campbell and students Caitlin Hinh, Joseph Millwork and James Johnstone. Picture: Hollie Adams Chinese students have leapfrogged Australian teenagers by nearly three years in maths and are 18 months ahead in reading and science. Australian teenagers also lag behind high school students in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada. Learning First, an Australian education research group, has crunched data from the OECD Program for International Student Assessment, which tested the basic skills 500,000 15-year-old students in 65 industrialised countries in 2012. It found that in maths, Australian students’ learning had fallen 32 months behind that of students in Shanghai and 17 months behind Hong Kong. Singaporean students were 20 months ahead of Australian teenagers, and high school kids in the Canadian province of British Columbia were five months ahead of Australians. Australia is producing more low-performing students, and fewer top-of-the-class students. MORE: Master teachers must lead the way MORE: School diversity should be praised The proportion of students who were in the top categories of ­mathematical ability in the PISA tests fell from 20 per cent in 2003 to 15 per cent in 2012. At the same time, the proportion of lowest-performing students rose from 14 per cent to 20 per cent. The report, to be published today, shows that family income has a bigger impact on academic performance in Australia than in most other developed countries. “This means that students from low-income backgrounds are not getting the education they deserve,’’ it says. Learning First chief executive Ben Jensen said yesterday Australia must improve teaching quality, in line with the high-performing countries. He said principals should be accountable for the performance of classroom teachers. “Teacher professional learning in high-performing education systems is not an add-on or something done on a Friday afternoon or for a few days at the end of the school year,’’ Dr Jensen said. “Too many teachers feel underprepared in classrooms, and the millions of dollars we invest in teacher professional development is too often viewed as a waste of time.’’ Dr Jensen said young Aus­tralian teachers required more feedback on their teaching. Professional development for Australian teachers is focused on workshops, conferences and online training. The NSW, Victorian and Queensland education departments have formal mentoring programs for experienced teachers to help new recruits. Casula Public School, in Sydney’s south, has used NSW government funding to hire a “team teacher’’ one day a week, to mentor 14 junior teachers on short-term contracts. The senior teacher, 42-year-old Sonia Byrnes, has 22 years’ classroom experience and now helps beginner teachers at five schools in Sydney’s southwest. “They just need reassurance they’re doing the right thing in the classroom,’’ Ms Byrnes said yesterday. “It’s important for them to ­establish classroom routines, to be consistent and fair with the children. Once they’ve got behaviour management under control, students stay engaged for a longer ­period of time. “I also build the teachers’ questioning skills, so they get children to think outside the square.’’ First-year teacher Emma Campbell, 22, has found her first weeks teaching a Year 4 class “a bit scary’’ and is grateful for advice from an experienced colleague. “It gives me reassurance I’m doing the right thing and I have feedback on my teaching and how I can improve it,’’ Ms Campbell said. “When I was teaching an Eng­lish lesson, Sonia suggested I try not to get the kids to put their hands up, but to choose them randomly to answer questions.’’ Australian Education Union president Correna Haythorpe said teachers needed more time away from the classroom to learn and collaborate. “Australian teachers have some of the largest workloads in the developed world and spend far more time teaching than the OECD average,’’ she said. Ms Haythorpe said the union’s survey of principals had found most schools were using their extra “Gonski’’ funding for professional development. “That is allowing teachers the time to develop their skills and knowledge, to collaborate and share what works, and to translate that into more effectively meeting the individual needs of students,’’ she said. Productivity Commission data released this week shows that federal, state and territory governments spent a record $50bn on schools in 2013-14. Funding to private schools rose five times faster than spending on public schools between 2009-10 and 2013-14.
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-3Nowadays, more people are finally waking up and realizing that us, humans are living in such a distructive way. Let's face it, and let's be real for just a couple of minutes, THE EARTH IS DIEING! I know that now you think that I'm just being negative and overreacing but no I am just being real. And guess what ? WE ARE THE ONES WHO CAUSED IT. Don't we all remember the famous Chernobyl disaster when in Chernobyl I April 26, 1986. Reactor 4 was scheduled to be shut down, but a decision was made to use the shut-down as an opportunity to test a theory. It had never been proven that cooling could be maintained in the event of an external power failure. Engineers believed that residual energy from the turbine rotation could be used to pump cooling water until emergency generators kicked in. Unfortunately, the test was poorly conceived and badly executed. The resulting run-away nuclear reaction, fire and explosion released more than 400-fold the amount of radiation from the Hiroshima bomb, hitting Belarus hardest and extending as far as Ireland. A total of 56 deaths and over 4,000 cancer cases are attributed directly to the accident. The greatest lessons arising from this event involve the response: Emergency personnel were not informed of the risk, and the public was put at greater exposure due to poor evacuation measures. Today, a 30-kilometer exclusion zone remains unoccupied around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, where large amounts of nuclear material in a decaying sarcophagus continue to incite concern. And believe this just one of many many other disasters caused by mans stupidity and selfishness. I'm afraid that when we eat the last fish, drink the last drop of water, we are going to realize that money can't feed us. If trees gave us internet, we would be planting them everywhere we go and whenever we got the chance, but unfortunatly trees only produce the oxygen we breath. You see, marks humans leave are too often scars. But if only more of us could see how beautiful nature actually is, fewer and fewer the dameges will be. On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it. Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are axcelent school masters, and teach some of us more than we can ever learn from books. You should realize that every flower is a soul blossoming in nature all you have to do is look deep into nature and you will understand everything better. When I first started looking for solutions to prevent the massive disasters we are heading to, it was very hard, because everytime i find a logical solution, it hits me again that humans will never learn, they will keep doig the same mistake over and over again untill there are no longer "second chances" , i mean we already had our second, third, forth .... Millionth chance but through the years, we never came to a real solution, we had millions and millions of years but did we really improve anything ? did we actually change ? well maybe for the worse. All we seem to do is destroy, destroy and destroy, we are like heartless soulless machines of massive destruction. But then I decided to use my imagination a little bit, and let my hope guide me for a while, as they say : hope is the only bee that makes honey without flowers. I said to myself What if we changed ? what if we finally woke up and realized what really matters in this world ? because if we really wanted to save the earth, solutions won't be that difficult to find, we could celebrate the earth day everyday, not once a year, because earth doesn't only feed and chatters us for one day every year now does it ? no, earth never stoped being earth, not even for a second, so why can't everyday be the earth day ? why can't we plant trees more often, why can't we stop destroying nature for no good reason ? we can also use less harmful means of transport and be more interested in animals, not just hunt them for stupid reasons like making hand bags and shoes ... Don't you feel extremly stupid for killing the only thing that is keeping you alive ? One of the most tragic things I know about human nature is that all of us tend to put off living. We are all dreaming of some magical rose garden over the horizon instead of enjoying the roses that are blooming outside our windows today. There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture in the lonely shore, there is society where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not Man the less, but Nature more. visit my blog : http://yasminelephant.skyrock.com/
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-1Let me begin by saying that i'm completely unsure about the origin of the prevailing attitude of self-righteousness, that has made its home in the minds of, at one time, a compassionate and understanding people. Not only are we ignoring the problems, pain, and suffering of poverty, unemployment, and starvation, but now it seems that it has become fashionable to belittle and degrade the poor as well. Facts are also facts, and i know more than few people who, had it not been for the system that they now want to deny others access to, they would not be here today. The percentage that will agree is miniscule at best, but right is right and we all know whats right in our heart of hearts. Beginning around 1620, a ship full of homeless people, fleeing from oppression, poverty, and the tyrannical rule of an elitist government, and economical system, landed here in north america. The rich had the poor doing all the work, but kept the majority of the money so the poor got tired of it and left, and came here. Of course they brought that same attitude with them, for when they got here they eventually took the land from the people who already lived here, and started their own little oppressive country. However, after MUCH bloodshed, mainly by the lesser equipped individuals, we eventually reached a point where things had fairly evened out,not completely, but as close as we had ever been, before, or since. According to all the polls that i could find on the net, the decades of the sixties and seventies are generally considered to be the best, and most balanced time in american history. There was a thriving middle class, a fulcrum if you will, between the rich and the poor. Growth in music and art. Lessons of war were actually being learned, and people were at least TRYING to care about each other, free love and all that. Health care was affordable, more so than it is today. There was food and jobs, people cared about their planet,(their home), and they didn't seem to mind sharing with their fellow man because there was plenty to go around, at least it appeared that way. We even had people that took up the call of unity, Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., John Lennon, to name just a few. Of course, as in every time period, there were dark spots, but they were fewer and and father between than they are today. That brings us to now. Today are many things going on in this country that are not only being swept under the rug, they are being celebrated. The, at one time, balanced economy, is in complete turmoil, due mostly to the fulcrum being broken. The middle class is becoming all but non-existent. Therefor money is harder to get, and even harder to keep. The social security system, put in place to protect us in our old age, is being used to pay bills in the present, thereby eliminating our future nest egg. There are 3.5 million homeless people on the streets, and 39% of that total are children under the working age( so when I hear people say "homeless people need to get a job it really chaps my ass (pardon my english) because a third of them are kids.). Eighty percent of that total, which hads risen since the most recent posting of numbers, live in inner cities, and are regularly, figuratively spat upon be their fellow citizens who now want to make it harder for these people,( again a third of them kids), to get food, money, or medical care, in affect killing their fellow countrymen. The remaining remnants of middle class families, weather they realize it or not, are but one lost job away from joining the homeless ranks. A far cry from the two before mentioned decades. Our government has put us in debt, to the tune of over 16 trillion dollars, and everybody thinks its one guy doing that. It now costs as much, in gas, to get to work in a month as it does to pay your rent. The people are being placated to these issues by technology, which is not only helping to sever the bonds of human contact, but hypnotizing us into a fantasy land, crafted by those with the money so that we don't see the devastation that our indifference is causing. Global warming, overpopulated prisons, uneducated children, false profits, and a citizen base, so focused on keeping their own head above water, that they push the heads of other, less fortunate people under. Unfortunately this is today's America. Now i could go on presenting facts that point to the steady and seemingly irreversible decline of America, however i would rather point in the direction of what can be done to solve this. The fact is, weather you believe it or not, there is only one way out. TOGETHER. If we have two dollars, give one to your neighbor. Sharing and caring. Those who have made it to the top need to reach down and give a hand to those who haven't yet. Regardless of your personal feelings of that person. We are all the same family . Children under the same god. No man left behind. No matter what. Everybody makes excuses for why they don't care about about their fellow man, he doesn't work hard enough, she's not smart enough, they aren't attractive enough, lazy, ignorant, unrefined, not in my league, to tall, to short, not the right color, not a member of this country, it all boils down to one thing, those who think they are better, trying to exile those who aren't, because they fear being one of the outcasts. The fact is we all ignorant. ignorant to this one thing. Throughout history, governments and rulers have used the propaganda of the class war to keep people fighting among themselves while they sit in their thrones, laughing at our stupidity. We are all gods children, and that fact alone entitles us to everything on this planet. Life is not a race to the finish, with most stuff. It's a walk through the park, hand in hand together. Because believe this, if we don't do it together, none of us will make it at all. If we continue this line of thinking there will be nothing to leave to those children and grandchildren that we all say we are trying to protect. History has proven this time, and time, again. When you finally before your maker, and he asks you what you did with your life, and you tell him, I got a house and two cars, made lots of money, and bought all kinds of stuff. He's going to you, what about your brothers and sisters.
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