UNDA School of Education

Undergraduate Newsletter. Vol. 1/13

A message from our Dean - Professor Michael O'Neill

Dean’s Welcome

Welcome to the first edition of the School of Education Undergraduate Newsletter for 2013.

As usual each year the first semester is full of a myriad of experiences for a wide variety of students.

First years are coming to terms with the requirements of University life and fourth years are preparing for their final internship, while second and third years will be reading this on practicum.

I join with all of the staff in wishing you a fulfilling year. In the lead up to the Federal election, education and the $16 billion Gonski review will be a hot topic of conversation. I encourage you to get involved in debates about your profession from an informed perspective. Defend the vocation of teaching every opportunity you get and use your experience here to hopefully justify why it should be so high on the political and community agenda. Please enjoy what follows:

An Education Society Update

Lou’s Top Tips for Practicum/Internship

An Introduction and Welcome to our New Associate Dean

Bon Voyage to Christine McGunnigle

The New Research Group – RELATE

The Retreat Leader’s Training Programme

Creative Arts in Religious Education

Mobile Learning in Early Childhood Education

The Evolving Programme within ED4146

The School of Education Mass

Service Learning with the Tjuntjuntjara Community

The 2013 Recreational Reading Programme

Best Wishes

Michael O'Neill

The Education Society

The Education Society has had a great start to 2013. As a student run group, we aim to provide opportunities for Education Students to participate in the university community through social events, professional development and through supporting social justice causes.

So far this year there have been a number of events held to fundraise for our focus charity of 2013 'The Smith Family'. On the 22nd of March, students went to 'Battlezone' in Forrestdale, where they spent 2 hours playing combat games in the bush. It was a great fun day out and a good opportunity to socialise with other students.

The Society has also recently held our second annual Bake Sale. This event was hosted on campus and was a huge success. The Society would like to thank everyone who participated by baking or donating goods, by buying a delicious treat or by simply spreading the word. Your participation helped to fundraise a total of $714.80. All of which will be donated to The Smith Family at the completion of semester.

Coming up, there is a fantastic professional development opportunity being held in conjunction with Royal Life Saving Australia. It is a one day Senior First Aid Course. The course will be held on Monday 8th July from 9-4pm. If you would like more information on this or you would like to become a member of the Education Society please contact:

Kiara Robinson - 20091039@nd.edu.au or check the information board downstairs in ND36.

Many thanks, The Executive Team 2013

Worried about your Practicum?

Lou’s 15 Top Tips for Practicum and Internship

1. Begin your Teaching Practice by identifying the daily routines, rules and organisational techniques used by your mentor teacher.

2. Pay particular attention to: identifying the methods used for gaining student attention, the rationale behind seating arrangements and the reward systems used.

3. Discuss organisational ideas of your own with your mentor teacher first and plan on implementing them after the first three weeks.

4. Remember that your capacity to manage student behaviour will be directly related to the nature of the relationships you establish with them during the first two weeks of your Teaching Practice.

5. Get to know their names. Whenever you ask questions during this time get the child to respond by first stating their names and then giving their response. Tell your students that you want to see how many names you can recall at the end of week one. Don’t be frightened to use name tags displayed on children’s desks

6. Remember that negative reinforcement only STOPS behaviour; Positive reinforcement CHANGES behaviour.

7. Observe children’s behaviour carefully, initially looking for positive characteristics; identify their interests, strengths, positive attitudes, work habits and personalities.

8. Find any characteristic you can respond to positively. Don’t just think the positive also find an opportunity to share the thought with the child.

9. Cast your eye over the roll at the end of each teaching day; tick the children you shared a positive comment with; identify the children to focus on the next day.

10. Don’t forget the importance of; displaying respect, being consistent and being fair.

11. Don’t distance yourself ‘out of their reach’.

12. Practise ‘reflective listening’ whilst engaging with the children. Ensure they feel listened to; use paraphrasing (saying back to them what they have shared with you).

13. Communicate your performance boundaries and rules prior to taking a lesson or implementing your plan of work. Check that your mentor teacher concurs with these.

14. Observe the interaction techniques and strategies your mentor teacher uses and model those that you feel comfortable with.

15. When monitoring student outcomes, ask yourself the following questions; did I achieve my lesson objectives? If not what do I need to do? Will I need to reteach a certain section? Will I need to focus more specifically on the needs of individual students? Do I need to communicate in a different manner? Do I need to reset my outcome expectations? Do I need to use different resources? Do I need to manage student behaviour differently?

Celebrate your successes, have fun, enjoy the children, make the most of the opportunities presented.

Lou Thompson

Student support officer / lecturer

Who's New?

A big welcome to our new Associate Dean.

Associate Professor Doireann (Dee) O’Connor joined The University of Notre Dame Australia from Ireland in February 2013, bringing with her more than 18 years experience in the field of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) within a variety of positions across practice, policy and academia.

Doireann’s Master’s thesis focused on Community-Based Early Years Education. Her Doctoral thesis focused on The Development of Creativity and Innovation through Childhood Education. Doireann’s research interests include children’s play as a medium for learning, creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship development in childhood and holistic approaches to ECEC.

Doireann’s TEDxTALK on The Development of Creativity and Innovation through Childhood Education can be viewed below.

You can also view some of her research papers and publications on her academia.edu homepage using the following link http://nd-au.academia.edu/DoireannOConnor

Developing Creativity and Innovation through Education: Doireann O'Connor at TEDxCIT

What's New?

Christine McGunnigle goes on an exchange to the USA

Whilst some students will be enjoying a break between semesters and others will be out on their practicums, Christine will be venturing to the USA to teach in the early childhood programme at the University of Portland, Oregon. She will be spending 8 weeks living and teaching on campus during their Summer Session, focussing particularly on units in planning and assessment in early childhood and creating effective partnerships with families in the early years. Whilst there, Christine will also be undertaking a comparative study on perceptions of professional status of early childhood teachers between the USA and Australia as part of the new School of Education RELATE Project.

In Christine's absence, please contact the following:

Enrolment queries - Lou Thompson at lou.thompson@nd.edu.au

Practicum queries - Serena Davie at serena.davie@nd.edu.au


Researching Early Learning And Teacher Education

Our Early Childhood team have been busy. They have formed a new research group (R.E.L.AT.E) and are working collaboratively to build new knowledge through research. They are currently working on a 5 year strategy (2013-2018) that will build the School's Early Year's research capacity to international levels.

Currently there are three research projects in progress. The research relates to:

Early Childhood Pre-Service Teachers and their Perceptions of Childcare

Pre-Service Teachers Perceptions of the Status of Teachers in the Community

Early Childhood Pre-Service Teachers Integration of Reflective Practice

If you are contributing to any of these, please accept our sincere gratitude. All support is greatly appreciated.

Retreat Leader's Training Programme

Something Different

Did you enjoy going on camps and retreats when you went to school? Are you thinking about working in a school with a culture that places Christian living camps and retreats as significant experiences for school students? Do you want something special to add to your CV when you apply for jobs in a Catholic or Independent School? Then the Retreat Leaders Training Program (RLTP) may be for you!

The RLTP is a two day course designed to help any final year education students in understanding the nature and activities in school retreat or Christian living camps. The aims of the RLTP are:

  1. To understand the nature and purpose of school retreats;
  2. To provide practical retreat experiences;
  3. To develop leadership skills pertinent to coordinating and facilitating retreats;
  4. To appreciate the significance of the faith paradigm; and,
  5. To experience ritual and prayer as they relate to a retreat program.

Date & Venue:
Thursday 11th July, 9.00am to Friday 12th July, 4.00pm.
Performing Arts Centre (Nd 3), The University of Notre Dame Australia


$50.00 per person. The cost covers venue hire; morning and afternoon teas, and sausage sizzle on Friday. Students will need to provide their own lunch for Thursday. Maximum number to attend is 30.


The program will include some physical activity, reflection, Mass and prayer. Wear warm casual clothing and suitable footwear. If you play a musical instrument bring it along.

Further Details:

Further details about the program are available from Prof Chris Hackett, School of Education. Ph. 9433 0159 or Email: chris.hackett@nd.edu.au

Creative Arts


On the 16th April, students in the 4th year unit 'Principles of Primary Religious Education' explored the role of creative arts in the teaching of religious education. The presenters were Rose Santoro, Damian Doyle and Jacinta Petersen, and the students had the opportunity to explore drama, Godly play, music and visual arts to see how these artforms could inspire the imagination of children and to enhance prayer in the classroom. It was a wonderful day and it is a credit to the students to see the enthusiasm and participation of all of those involved.


Mobile Learning in Early Childhood Education

In late 2012, the School of Education, Notre Dame University, was successful in attracting a Public Education Endowment Trust grant to examine the effectiveness of mobile learning in early childhood education. This study will examine a schools-university partnership in the use of mobile technologies in early childhood education. Qualitative data will be collected and analysed using a longitudinal approach over three years at two local schools. The focus will be on researching the use of mobile learning technologies and the effect of implementing these technologies into early childhood teaching and learning.

The research started this semester with many of our second year early childhood pre-service students developing curriculum in conjunction with the practising teachers at the schools. For example, UNDA students helped early childhood students in the classroom to sequence stories through making a video in SonicPics (taking photos and then narrating their stories) and used Bee-Bots to help with estimation.

What's Growing?

ED4146: We’re Busy Preparing for a Big Future!

This Semester, ED4146: Internship and Preparation for the Transition students have had the opportunity to listen to an interesting range of guest speakers. These speakers have taken centre stage at our Monday lecture, and they have represented a variety of centralised bodies including: the Department of Education, the Catholic Education Office of Western Australia, the State School Teachers' Union, and the Independent School Teachers’ Union. Looking internally, students have had Amelia Long, Careers Officer at UNDA, visit all tutorial classes to deliver a presentation on ‘Writing a Curriculum Vitae and Covering Letter’, which are two central components to the major assignment. After the mid-semester break the fun continues – a guest speaker from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) in Melbourne visited in Week 9 to provide an interactive session to students, who received a certificate of participation for their attendance – as well as the ever popular School Leaders panel in Week 11. Three current school leaders (one from ECE, Primary, and Secondary) have been invited to speak separately to the respective cohorts about pertinent issues such as: employment, interviews, surviving the first year, and establishing yourself within a school community. Of course, students also have a Final Teaching Practicum information session facilitated by our School’s Practicum Officers in Week 10 – this is where practicum documents will be distributed and any last minute questions can be addressed in a plenary session.

Gregory S.C. Hine, Ph.D.

The School of Education Mass

On Wednesday 8th May, students and staff joined together to celebrate the School of Education Mass. The Mass was celebrated by Fr. Thomas Scirghi, an Associate Professor of Theology at Fordham University in the USA, who holds the St Thomas More Chair in Jesuit Studies. Students completing the 4th year unit 'Principles of Primary Religious Education II' actively contributed to the planning and running of this mass, by assisting with duties such as writing the prayers of intercession, and by participating in roles such as Eucharist Ministers, Readings and singing.

Thank you to all involved.

Visiting the Tjuntjuntjara Community

Fogarty Foundation sponsors University of Notre Dame Australia, pre-service teachers to visit the Tjuntjuntjara Community of the Great Victorian Desert 2013

Students and staff from the School of Education are grateful to the Fogarty Foundation for sponsoring a service-learning experience to the Tjuntjuntjara Community in the Great Victorian Desert. In July this year, 8 students and 3 staff will venture into the desert to spend a week living and working in the Aboriginal Community of Tjuntjuntjara. The pre-service teachers will spend time in the school working with the students and contributing to community service-learning projects. The UNDA students and staff will also interact with the community, learning about the culture and life of the Aboriginal people of this area. Mr Wilbur Klein, the school principal has organised a comprehensive immersion program. The aim of the immersion experience for the pre-service teachers is to build knowledge and understanding of the Aboriginal culture whilst supporting the learning of the Tjuntjuntjara students.

UNDA staff and students will travel by train to Kalgoorlie, and then by bus to the Tjuntjuntjara Community, a distance of 1260 km. A 4WD vehicle will also travel in convoy with the bus. The return journey for the students will be on the Indian Pacific, from Rawlinna. Funds from the Fogarty Foundation have made the trip possible with minimal expense to the UNDA students.

We look forward to sharing the experience with others through the Fogarty Foundation website. www.fogartyfoundation.org.au

The 2013 Recreational Reading Programme

Department of Child Protection and School of Education Partnership.

An exciting partnership has been established between the School of Education and the Department of Child Protection whereby pre-service teachers will participate in a recreational reading session with a child in foster care. The purpose of the programme is to support the child through the opportunity to engage with books in a relaxed and exciting way. Each week a University of Notre Dame pre-service teacher will visit the classroom of the child and spend an hour together building a relationship through “Recreational Reading”. It is hoped that the programme will be ongoing and many other UNDA pre-service teachers will volunteer to be a part of this exciting and worthwhile partnership. If you are interested in being a volunteer in the programme please contact Glenda.cain@nd.edu.au for more information.

The School of Education

The University of Notre Dame Australia