TAS News

Principal’s Blog

White Rock Junior Chess Championships 2020

Date:August 21, 2020

On Thursday 20 August, a record 112 WRJ students from Year 2-6 participated in the WRJ Chess Championship 2020. All


FNQ Interschool Chess Championships Report Rd 2 2020

Date:June 15, 2020

Round 2 of the Far North Queensland Interschool Chess Championships was held on the 12th of June. The wizardry of


FNQ Interschool Chess Championships Report Rd 1 2020

Date:March 5, 2020

Round 1 of the Far North Queensland Interschool Chess Championships was held on 3 March. The Bishop Centre was bursting


Principal’s Welcome Event- 2020

Date:January 6, 2020

Principal Paul Sjogren and the TAS teaching community would like to welcome all TAS parents, new and existing, to join


FNQ Interschool Chess Championships Finals 2019

Date:August 26, 2019

The Far North Queensland Interschool Chess Finals were held in the Bishop Centre 22 August. Dedication, preparation and good sportsmanship


2019 Gala Concert | Friday 30 August

Date:August 5, 2019

No entry fee – all welcome.    


Parents and Staff – Rethinking TikTok

Date:August 18, 2020

Your privacy matters Currently, there are multiple conversations being held around the world as to the safety, security, privacy, addiction


Leo Lin (Year 12) reflects on his recent QUT STEM Internship

Date:July 23, 2020

Recently Grace Belson & Leo Lin (Year 12), were awarded a place in the QUT STEM Research Internship program. 2020.


Principals Blog: Edition 3, 2020

Date:June 15, 2020

Dear TAS community,  Every now and then I receive an email that I feel the need to share, because it


Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) stance on Year 11 & 12 return to school

Date:April 27, 2020

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) have called on the Queensland Government to allow all Year 11 and 12 students to return


Principals Blog: A deeper look at the data – the story of a regional standout

Date:February 17, 2020

We were delighted to see the TAS class of ’19, the last group to ever receive an OP, placed #24


Principals Blog: Edition 1, 2020

Date:February 4, 2020

Dear TAS community, As a Principal, receiving communications such as the one I recently received is one of the role’s


TAS News

Principal’s Blog – “Sausage Factory” Schooling Model

Date: September 16, 2019    Posted by: Alana Ripepi

I recently had a terrific conversation with a university academic about the schooling model in Australia. Her view was very much that schools followed the “sausage factory” model, where student differences are overlooked and students are prepared for university (ATAR) or work (VET). The students’ personality, experiences, maturity, preferred modes of learning, etc are not effectively catered for. Even more so, the sheer number of students in most schools mean that the sausage meat being fed into the factory is seen as one amorphous, homogenous blob, rather than the unique, wonderful, individual lives each one represents.

The feedback from teachers on classroom structure, the behavior and engagement of students and resulting teacher efficacy is extensive.  Student connectedness to the school, the teacher and the students around them has a measurable impact on student learning and success, both in the academic sense and also with respect to the ‘soft skills’ such as team work, resilience, well-being and decision making.

Some schools have made the change to open-plan learning spaces and larger groups with multiple teachers. The research on the effectiveness of this approach is varied. However, most agree that for this approach to be successful, the teachers need to be knowledgable, enthusiastic, energetic, able to form strong relationships with many students, undertake extensive training and have a positive mindset. Even then, the restrictions of three teachers in a space with 80-90 students means many of the students will not have direct teacher-to-student interactions and those students motivated to avoid accountability are able to do so with relative ease (those able to slip through the cracks).

A strong educational program provides a variety of pedagogical approaches that both cater for the preferred needs of student learning whilst also teaching them to extract benefit from structures that they are not comfortable with. Direct instruction, feedback, individual investigation, experiential learning and small group work are all valuable elements and all require the guidance from a competent and well-trained teacher in order to be successful.

When the focus is on one mode only, then some students thrive and others don’t. If the teaching space is a large open-plan area, the ability to succeed with direct instruction is marginalized. If students are always learning in teams on student-centered, project-based learning, then what of developing their ability to learn in different structured environments? A large campus with extensive spaces allow students to move out of their classrooms and experiential learning to flourish, particularly with respect to our environment, in addition to visits off-campus to different environments and, of course, outstanding outdoor education opportunities that grow character.

It is important to find the right balance between pedagogies so that students experience a number of different modes of learning and become effective learners in each.

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