Sunday, April 01, 2012

Australia:  Government schools struggle to attract male teachers as non-government sector scores more men

Because there are fewer of them, they have more choice and many choose schools where they are free to teach, instead of having to spend half their time just trying to get the kids to sit down.  I was pleased to see the number of male teachers  in my son's private High School.  It was because of them that he became enthused about mathematics  -- and he now has a B.Sc. with a First in Mathematics

Australian High Schools are heavily sorted.  With 39% of the kids going to private schools,  all the problem kids are in the State sector.  So those who most need discipline and strong role models are least likely to get that.  If the State schools had reasonable disciplinary policies, the chaos would vanish and a career there for those who really want to teach would be more atttractive

AUSTRALIA'S public schools are in the grip of a man drought.  But it's raining men in the non-government sector, where the number of male teachers has grown 25 per cent since 2001.

At the same time, the number of male teachers has dropped 2 per cent at the nation's public schools, Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal.

Schools have struggled to attract male teachers to the female-dominated profession.

Teachers can earn more money in the non-government sector but there can also be more demands outside school hours, such as Saturday sport.

The New South Wales Department of Education and Communities said the national trend was reflected at the state's schools but they also had a very low resignation rate.

Last year there were 15,274 male teachers at public schools, representing about 27 per cent of teaching staff.

In 2001, male teachers made up about 31 per cent. There were 9734 male teachers in the non-government sector - about 30 per cent of the teaching workforce. In 2001, male teachers represented 23 per cent.

A department spokesman said strategies were in place to recruit more male teachers but quality was more important than gender.

One man happy to be working in the public system is 29-year-old Mark Platt, who teaches Year 6 students at Kellyville Ridge Public School.

The school has almost 800 students from the boom suburbs in Sydney's northwest and nine male teachers - a rarity in the public primary system.

Mr Platt said the pay rate was probably the reason men were attracted to the non-government sector but he enjoyed the challenges of a public school.

"I'm happy where I am and couldn't see myself at another school," he said.

The school's assistant principal, Luke Hogan, said he chose to teach at a public school because he believed in its values.

He said male teachers could provide a positive role model to boys who may not have a man in the family home.

"Every child deserves to have access to an education, whether their families can afford it or not," he said.

James Galea, 24, is the only male teacher in his nine-person faculty at Mitchell High School in Blacktown, which he said reflected the perception that teaching was not an attractive career path for men.

The English and drama teacher said his wife taught in the non-government sector and earned more money than him but the main difference between the two sectors was facilities.


British High School calls in primary teacher to solve its reading crisis as pupils have abilities of a FIVE-year-old

An inner-city secondary school has had to recruit a primary school teacher because so many pupils have the reading and writing skills of a five or six-year-old.

Shocking standards of English among children aged 11 to 13 at the Sirius Academy in Hull led to the pioneering back-to-basics literacy scheme.  It is believed to be the first such scheme in the country in a state-funded mainstream school.

Teacher Liz Atwood is using picture books usually aimed at youngsters barely out of nursery school, working on basic spelling and joining up letters to improve terrible handwriting.

The rise of Facebook and texting are said to be significant factors behind appalling standards of English at some schools.   Teachers say they have encouraged a lazy approach to spelling and grammar as well as the use of abbreviations.

Miss Atwood, 24, is working with 38 children in Year Seven and 24 from Year Eight – around 10 per cent of the pupils in those age groups.

She sees the children in small groups four times a week for 100-minute sessions. ‘Some have a reading age of five years and the reading age is the same age as the writing age,’ she said.

Other schools facing similar problems are said to be monitoring the scheme’s progress with interest.

The teacher was recruited from a local primary school to take up the ‘transitional’ teaching post when the academy opened two-and-a-half years ago.  In that time standards are said to have improved dramatically, with the group’s average reading age increasing by nine months a year.

Some of her students now in Year Eight have advanced three years in reading age since September 2010. Miss Atwood identified ‘routine and repetition’ as the key to improving literacy standards from the previous crisis level.

The bookshelves in her class reflect the primary school level study and include favourites such as Beware Of The Story Book Wolves (recommended for ages four and over), Sam’s Sunflower and several Dr Seuss classics.

The school library also has Don’t You Dare Dragon!, a pop-up style book intended for four-year-olds, and other simple-to-read picture books such as Alfie the Sea Dog.

English teacher Gemma Jackson, 27, said ‘social media’ had a negative impact on school work, with abbreviations such as ‘B4’ frequently being used.

‘When they are reading things on Facebook they do copy the language, so we get a lot of text talk and it can be so difficult to get children to write properly,’ she said.

Commenting on the learning programme, she added: ‘It has made a huge difference and you now see children walking around with books, which you never used to.’

Charlotte Hobbs, 12, has flourished with the extra help and is seen as a success of the system, though her reading level is still  seven years and five months.  She said: ‘It has made a big difference to my life.  'I enjoy school so much I do not want to take a day off.’

Nick Seaton, of the Campaign for Real Education, praised the initiative at the academy school – which has 1,200 pupils – but criticised standards at primary level.

He said: ‘Children should be learning stuff like this when they are five or six, not 11 and 12.  They may say parents need to do more but they have to call the primary schools to account.'


Orthodox Jewish school wants its students off Facebook

Given the safety concerns that Jews reasonably have, this seems an understandable precaution but it surely it should be up to the families to decide

Students at the Orthodox Beth Rivkah High School in Brooklyn, New York, have reportedly been given an ultimatum: Delete individual Facebook profiles and pay a $100 fine or face expulsion.

Considering the negative elements that hold the potential to come as a result of using the social network, the school has apparently decided that the risks outweigh the benefits. This is specifically true when it comes to the potential for the girls to violate the Orthodox code of modesty.

Now, the all-girls school is doubling down on its stance against Facebook and its potential evils.

“Girls are getting killed on the Internet — that’s the reason for it,” explained school administrator Rabbi Benzion Stock in an interview with The New York Post. “The Internet is a good way to ruin marriages and families. We don’t want them there, period.”

The New York Daily News quotes Stock as saying, “We have an eternal ban. A ban from whenever it started.”

Stock went on to claim that the social media platform is “the wrong place for a Jewish girl to be” and that it isn’t a modest tool for the girls to be utilizing.

The Daily News provides more on the latest developments in “Facebookgate”:

    "Administrators cracked down further last week after receiving word that girls were still updating their statuses and sharing photos.      And the renegades were easy enough to find with a search of Facebook, said Stock.     All 33 girls agreed to delete their accounts, Stock said, and paid a $100 fine that will be returned at the end of the school year.    The students didn’t “like” complying, one of the offenders said."

The Post reports that the crackdown initially appeared on, a web site devoted to local news. School officials have countered the news of the ban, which has broken nationally, by claiming that the policy has always been on the books. In fact, the students allegedly sign a contract saying they won’t use social media.

At least one former student has spoken out about the ridiculousness she sees in the crackdown. After being kicked out for using Facebook and dressing without modesty, 17-year-old Chaya Tatik claims that the policy is “not right” and that Facebook helps her communicate with her cousins in Israel.  “Everyone uses Facebook. It’s a way to communicate,” she said.


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