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Creative Physical Education: Integrating Curriculum Through Innovative PE Projects offers a creative extended learning experience centered on the development, performance, organization, and analysis of teamwork, student-created games, a season, and practice activities. This book is suitable for use in both primary and secondary classrooms and for use by generalist and specialist teachers.
by Professor Karen Starr
The major theme of what drives me as a mathematics educator can be summarised in one word: Engagement. Much has been written on students’ sense of alienation in the mathematics classroom. My research and teaching explores ways to ignite in others the passion I feel for mathematics. Some of my earliest memories are of exploring ways to make mathematics fun. At the age of four I was creating card games to play with the family. As a primary school teacher I would develop explore the links between visual art and mathematics in my class. My interest in engaging students grew and I researched game-playing in the classroom. My PhD was titled The impact of mathematical games on learning, attitudes, and behaviours. A couple of years ago, while attending a mathematics education conference in Greece, I met a “geocacher” from Slovakia. He introduced me and a colleague at the University of British Columbia, Canada to GEOCACHING. We were intrigued.
Geocaching is a global treasure hunt that invites people of all ages to discover actively the beauty of their environment through the assistance of a Global Positioning System (GPS), mathematical know-how, and a bit of foraging. Geocache comes from the term Geo = earth and Cache = hidden supply or treasure (Christie, 2007). The ‘geocacher’ is equipped with a GPS device, locates hidden containers called ‘geocaches’ in the environment and shares his/her experience online with the geocaching community. Geocaching was started in 2000 by a technology enthusiast in Oregon, U.S.A. wanting to test out the accuracy of his GPS. The bug for hiding and finding treasures soon took off with fellow GPS enthusiasts in hot pursuit. Today the leading geocaching website geocaching.com boasts over one and a half million active geocaches around the world (www.geocaching.com). A geocache is typically a small watertight container that holds a log book, pencil and little ‘treasures’. The treasures inside the geocache are usually inexpensive toys and trinkets. The geocache location coordinates and clues are posted on the internet for interested seekers. The understood protocol is that the finder enters their name in the log book, takes one item and replaces it with something of equal or greater value, and re-hides the geocache for the next geocacher. The seeker logs his/her find online for others to view.
Last year, in conjunction with a school in Melbourne’s south-eastern suburbs, I developed a mathematical geocaching program to engage the students across all levels of the primary school. The students participating in the project were switched on and having fun. I have never seen kids so excited and engaged in mathematics. Along with teachers at the school, we decided to share the program with teachers across Australia and wrote Geocaching: A mathematical treasure hunt. Middle and Upper Primary. The junior version of the book will be published soon.
We are currently researching the impact of the geocaching program on mathematical learning for primary school children across three countries, Australia, Canada and Slovakia. If you are interested in finding out more about geocaching please do not hesitate to contact me.
Happy treasure hunting! Dr Leicha A Bragg
Piet-Hein van de Ven
Radboud University, Nijmegen, The Netherlands
Brenton Doecke (Eds.)
Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia
Literary Praxis: A Conversational Inquiry into the Teaching of Literature explores the teaching of literature in secondary schools. It does this from the vantage point of educators in a range of settings around the world, as they engage in dialogue with one another in order to capture the nature of their professional commitment, the knowledge they bring to their work as literature teachers, and the challenges of their professional practice as they interact with their students.
The core of the book comprises accounts of their day-to-day teaching by Dutch and Australian educators. These teachers do more than capture the immediacy of the here-and-now of their classrooms; they attempt to understand those classrooms relationally, exploring the ways in which their professional practice is mediated by government policies, national literary traditions and existing traditions of curriculum and pedagogy. They thereby enact a form of literary ‘praxis’ that grapples with major ideological issues, most notably the impact of standards-based reforms on their work. Educators from other countries then comment on the cases written by the Dutch and Australian teachers, thus taking the concept of ‘praxis’ to a new level, as part of a comparative inquiry that acknowledges the richly specific c character of the cases and resists viewing teaching around the world as though it lends itself unproblematically to the same standards of measurement (as in the fetish made of PISA). They step back from a judgmental stance, and try to understand what it means to teach literature in other educational settings than their own. The essays in this collection show the complexities of literature teaching as a form of professional praxis, exploring the intensely reflexive learning in which teachers engage, as they induct their students into reading literary texts, and reflect on the socio-cultural contexts of their work.
Brenton Doecke and Douglas McClenaghan
Confronting Practice: Classroom Investigations into Language and Learning comprises stories by Douglas McClenaghan, in which he provides richly detailed accounts of his work as an English teacher in a state secondary school in Melbourne.
These stories are juxtaposed with writing of a more analytical character that teases out their significance for understanding teaching and learning. The book begins with the everyday world of Douglas’s professional practice, and continually returns to this world in an effort to trace the larger structures and relationships that mediate his pedagogy in the local setting in which he works.
The book offers a fresh look at issues in English language education, offering an original synthesis of ideas and intellectual traditions in the field. This dimension of the inquiry gives rise to another set of questions, specifically related to English curriculum and pedagogy:
How can English teachers enable their students to experience a rich and meaningful curriculum vis-a-vis the forms of accountability imposed by standardized testing and a competitive academic curriculum?
What perspective do students’ out-of-school literacy practices provide on the literacy practices that they are obliged to perform in schools? What can English teachers learn from the out-of-school literacy practices in which students engage?
How can English teachers enable students to develop a critical perspective on their lives and the society around them?
In tackling these questions, this book takes its place alongside key studies that have contributed to an understanding of the ways in which students engage in the English curriculum and schooling in general.