Asking the hard questions


Chatterbox Live

For more than a 100 years, there has been a view in schooling that students are empty vessels and teachers need to fill them up with facts, figures and knowledge about the world. Yet we know that even in kindergarten, young people come to school with their own unique experiences and an intense curiosity about the things that interest them. If we look around at the world in which we live, we see that the ‘user experience’ drives business models. However, when it comes to schools we don’t give enough time to understanding and responding to the user which, in our context, is the learner.

Schooling should never be about the adults; it should always be about the learners. That’s why I enjoy the opportunity of going out when I can to schools to talk to students - primary and secondary. I always find they are astute observers and refreshingly honest when you ask them what they like or dislike about the current model of schooling. Even when they offer a critique, they do IT with great respect for their teachers.

Recently, we introduced a new initiative to promote student voice using social media. It is designed to give students the opportunity to directly ask me questions that are important and relevant to them. The event was streamed live via YouTube.

The experience reminded me how interested students are in the future of schooling. Our first group of Year 10 and 11 students from five secondary schools were articulate and critical thinkers who recognise the world has changed even if schools are lagging behind. What they are asking of us - school and system leaders, politicians and even the media - is to focus on creating schools that better reflect what it means to be a learner in today’s world.

We have to find new ways of hearing from students of all ages and involving them more directly with decisions that impact on them. As parents, we can also go beyond the usual ‘How was your day?’ questions by asking them to reflect on what they are learning, what aspects are most challenging and what things teachers and schools can be doing better to make school more meaningful and relevant for them.


Posted By Greg Whitby (NewsLocal) at 8/11/2018 10:45:32 AM

Featured Albums

2019 Stations of the Cross
As schools were finishing Term 1, some took the time to reflect on the meaning of Easter and the story of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. Two schools in particular, St Andrews Primary School, Marayong and Sacred Heart Primary, Mount Druitt, focused their reflection time on the Stations of the Cross. Photos from St Andrews Stations of the Cross tour and finished off with a photo from Sacred Hearts Primary Schools dramatic interpretation.
9 Items
2018-08-22 Showcase Day 2
71 Items
2018-08-21 Showcase Day 1
68 Items
2018-08-20 Showcase Dress Rehearsal
41 Items
2018 Dance for Drought
More than 800 people attended Chisholm Catholic Primary School’s “Dance for Drought” on Thursday night, raising around $4000 for farming families doing it tough in Western NSW.
17 Items
Annual CCD Mass 2018
It was a great celebration of this ministry when over 400 SREs from across the Diocese joined the 300 student SREs from Catholic schools for the Annual Diocesan Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) Mass and Awards Ceremony.
37 Items
An Education Hub
With a focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), the school will be an educational hub for the Science Park and integrate seamlessly with the life and work of the community. Through the use of shared facilities, business-educational partnerships and collaboration on real-world problems, this ‘thinking’ school will prepare students for the STEM-focused knowledge jobs of the future. Mentoring and internships will allow students to apply their learning to real life situations and pursue tertiary and post school opportunities within and beyond the Science Park.
26 Items
2016 Teacher Awards
On Thursday 27 October, 66 leaders and staff from Catholic schools and the education office were recognised for a collective 2570 years of service and 50 years of leadership at a special ceremony at St Patrick’s Cathedral. The Staff Recognition Awards were presented by Episcopal Vicar for Education and Formation, Rev Christopher de Souza EV and Executive Director Greg Whitby at St Patrick’s Cathedral in Parramatta.
145 Items
2016 Principals Masterclass
The annual Principals Masterclass, which is the key professional learning experience for principals and senior leaders from the education office, was held on 20 and 21 October at Rooty Hill RSL.
13 Items
2016 Bishop of Parramatta Award for Student Excellence
The annual Bishop of Parramatta Awards for Student Excellence which recognises the religious and academic achievement of Year 12 students across the Diocese of Parramatta, were presented at St Patrick’s Cathedral on 8 September 2016.
30 Items
2016 Ready, Set…. Read! St Agnes’ Reading Relay
On Thursday 1 September 2016, Year 7 students from St Agnes Catholic High School Rooty Hill participated in the school’s annual Reading Relay.
81 Items
2016 Way of Mercy Cross and Relics
On Monday 8 August 2016, hundreds of students, parish members and Catholic Education staff from around the diocese gathered in St Patrick’s Cathedral, North Parramatta for the official Way of Mercy launch.
26 Items
Page 1 of 14
« First    < 
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10  ... 
>    Last » 
Page 1 of 14
1 2  ... 

Media Enquiries

Media enquiries can be emailed to Please include your contact details, including your phone number and the deadline for your story. Alternatively call Mark Rix on 0417 442 018.

Hidden UpdatePanel, which is used to help with saving state when minimizing, moving and closing docks. This way the docks state is saved faster (no need to update the docking zones).