New South Wales


NSW REPORT ON DISCOVERING DEMOCRACY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS CONDUCTED AND PLANNED TO JUNE 2002

  1. SECONDARY HISTORY ADVANCED PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT COURSE

    This course, Discovering Democracy in Stage 5 History, was developed and delivered in conjunction with the NSW History Teachers' Association. It links the Discovering Democracy materials to the Stage 5 mandatory History Syllabus. It includes a video with Dr John Hirst clarifying the links between history and civics and citizenship education.

    During 2001-2002, twenty-nine courses were conducted across the state. Relief was provided and 770 teachers attended. Evaluations have been overwhelmingly positive. Further courses are planned for the second half of 2002.  

  2. SECONDARY GEOGRAPHY

    The links between Discovering Democracy materials and the mandatory Geography Syllabus are not strong, however, we are attempting to initiate relevant professional development activities. Preliminary discussions have been held with the NSW Geography Teachers' Association and a planning meeting is being held to explore links between the Discovering Democracy materials and the Geography Syllabus. The current syllabus is being revised with the possibility that civics and citizenship will be strengthened. More specific support will be provided once the direction of the new syllabus is known.  

  3. PRIMARY HUMAN SOCIETY AND ITS ENVIRONMENT

    The successful primary professional development course developed in 1999 was offered again this year. This course makes explicit the links between Discovering Democracy materials and the NSW K-6 HSIE Syllabus. Academic input and pedagogical and programming strategies have proven to be very popular and much appreciated by participants. To date sixty-six courses have been conducted across the state. The provision of relief has enabled almost 2,500 teachers to attend.  

  4. RESEARCHING HISTORY THE DIGITAL WAY

    This 'hands-on' computer course was developed in 2001 for teachers of Stage 5 History who require some guidance in teaching research skills in the digital context. It is designed to develop the skills to enable teachers and students to use Discovering Democracy materials as a starting point to explore more deeply civics and citizenship issues. The emphasis is on research with a critical edge. Teachers and students are encouraged to critically evaluate material and to produce informed texts about the issues investigated.

    The course was piloted early in 2002 and will be offered to teachers during Term 3 2002.  

  5. SCHOOL INITIATIVE GRANTS

    Some secondary schools have applied for and received grants to enable them to undertake activities to ensure the use of Discovering Democracy materials in school practice.  

  6. CIVICS AND CITIZENSHIP EDUCATION SYMPOSIA

    Universities in NSW were invited to develop and deliver symposia in civics and citizenship education for secondary teachers of History and Geography. The symposia are to focus on the content of Discovering Democracy materials and to encourage their use in classrooms.

    One symposium has been conducted by Newcastle University, three others will be conducted in the forthcoming months. 

  7. NSW DISCOVERING DEMOCRACY WEBSITE (www.abc.net.au/civics)

This website maintains the NSW Discovering Democracy program's communication with schools, listing professional development activities and relevant resources. Services available on the site include syllabus links, school case studies, curriculum resources, discussion papers, website links, key contact people and a teacher forum facility.

School Initiative Projects

Two rounds of Schools Initiatives Grants have been completed, representing 60 schools, primary and secondary, rural and metropolitan, public and independent. Projects ranged from units of work to videos to community based activities. There have been 200 expressions of interest in the third round of Schools Initiatives Grants. The increased interest no doubt due to the fact that HSIE syllabuses and the Discovering Democracy Kits have finally arrived in schools. At least 50 schools will be selected for this final round of grants

As part of the process of Schools Initiatives Grants, Local Forums have been held and are planned, where project schools and non-project schools have a chance to share ideas and to discuss implementation issues faced by teachers. The first was held at James Meehan High School 18th March, the next is to be held at Berkeley Vale Community High School on 24th March. A number of Case Studies resulting from the Schools Initiatives Grants will be published on the NSW Discovering Democracy Professional Development Website. There are some copyright concerns relating to the publication of curriculum resources submitted by some of the project schools.

Alma Mansfield and Sandy Killick are the Project Officers for the Schools Initiatives Grants. Phone (02) 92992845

Advanced Professional Development Program

Three different professional development modules for K-6 teachers were developed and trialled at Sydney University in conjunction with HSIE K-6 Council and the History Teachers Association of NSW. The modules were modified in the light of participants' evaluations and the final arrival in schools of the HSIE K-6 Syllabus and the Discovering Democracy Kits.

The professional development package is currently being printed and should be available for distribution to universities by the end of March. The recommended model of implementation is through universities in association with the relevant teacher professional association, however other professional development providers may also be interested in the package.

Murray Print at Sydney University is the contact person for this project. Phone (02) 9351 32022.

Topical Papers

Five topical papers on Civics and Citizenship have been commissioned. Three have been submitted and are currently in the editing process. They are on "Federation", "Concepts of Democracy" and "Political Campaigning". These papers are written for teachers and aim to generate discussion of issues relating to civics and citizenship. The first three topical papers will be sent to NSW schools at the beginning of term 2 and will be published on the web.

Peter Miller is the contact person for the Topical Papers. Phone (02) 9886 7646

Website

The NSW Discovering Democracy Professional Development Committee is entering into a joint venture with the Australian Broadcasting Commission to develop the NSW Discovering Democracy Professional Development site. The site will be prominently carried within the ABC's Common Good website, comprising a stand-alone section with links to other components of the larger site and on the Web. The ABC will host the site and will carry the content on ABC servers and deliver through normal ABC Online channels. The NSW Department of Education and Training will provide the content for the site and will provide pedagogical guidance. The intended audience for the site will be primarily NSW teachers implementing the Discovering Democracy materials, however teachers from other states and other countries will be able to access the site.

John Gore is the contact person for this project. Phone (02) 9886 7646

Report from Kate Cameron – AFSSSE Representative

 

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