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Our education system faces significant challenges. Young people are signalling their discontent through declining attendance, increasing disruptive behaviour, and concerning levels of mental health issues - tangible expressions of the desire for an educational experience that better resonates with the aspirations and the demands of the contemporary world. The rising numbers of school refusers raises questions about the current curriculum narrative . Over three-quarters of Australian students have reported they didn’t fully try in the latest Pisa tests . ATAR is now not used by more than 75% of our young people. Perhaps not so disconnected, renowned ...
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The Australian Council for Educational Leaders (New England Branch) and the New England Education Cooperative celebrated World Teachers Day in Australia on Friday 27 October 2023 with their Annual Awards evening. The function was held at the Armidale Golf Club and was attended by more than one hundred people from the New England and North West area of New South Wales. Teachers and educational leaders from public schools, private schools, Catholic schools and the University of New England were recognised for their outstanding work as teachers and leaders in a number of categories. Educational programs which have made a significant difference ...
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Welcome to the final edition of AEL for 2023 – our final nod to our golden jubilee - 50 years since the founding of ACEL. As a result, our focus this year has been on honouring the past, acknowledging and giving thanks for the present, and looking to the future. Fifty years pales into insignificance compared to our country’s Indigenous history. Our first teachers, our first educators, and our first storytellers have set the direction and the tone for our nation – the wisdom around “two-way learning,” listening before speaking, and slowing down to engage in the complexity inherent in any community. Taking the time to honour those who have gone before, and ...
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As our 50th Anniversary draws to a close, it has been an honour to be part of a community of pioneers as well as nextgeners, all contributing vibrantly to conversations, provocations, and celebration! The inspirational history shared through Patron Frank Crowther’s Commemorative Monograph showcased ACEA/ACEL as a deeply human organisation: “it’s in our DNA.” In the monograph I was taken by the vision of the pioneering presidents, with their emphasis on personalised dialogue in addressing key challenges of the day and engaging in professional learning by choice and not imposition. Their message continues to be central to ACEL’s mission and vision, energising ...
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As the end of the 2023 school year fast approaches, educators need to take a moment to reflect on a truly remarkable year in the realm of education. During ever-shifting challenges stemming from NSW curriculum changes to the enduring weight of teacher workloads, post-pandemic complexities, teacher shortages, and the ongoing mission to support educators and leaders at all levels, one essential element shines through – the paramount importance of professional learning. The Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL), in celebration of its 50th year, has consistently been at the forefront, providing educators with excellent opportunities for professional ...
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Time for Reflection

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ACEL Queensland’s ‘Time for Reflection’ is an initiative of the ACELQ Branch Executive members. From time to time, we send through an original reflective piece – something that has prompted our thinking, inspired us, or given us cause for deeper reflection. The aim is to provide our members with something to read as their own ‘time for reflection.’ The following reflection is from Tameika Grist, ACELQ Executive member and Principal, St Mary’s College, Maryborough. Sometimes, opportunities come up out of nowhere and before you know it, you’ve gone and said ‘yes’ to something, because ‘it scares you’. At least that is how I felt about being invited ...
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Announcing ACEL Directors and Branch Presidents Please join me in congratulating the following group of talented, committed and esteemed educators who have been elected as our new Branch Presidents in each state or territory. Their formal term begins on October 1, 2023 during which time they will also serve as Directors on the Board of ACEL, for a three year period. In addition to Branch Presidents, as per the Constitution the ACEL Board has the option to appoint up to 4 Members as Independent Directors. Independent Directors have specific skills, capabilities and/or experience that the Board believes are appropriate for the Board in terms of diversity and ...
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In July, the ACEL Victoria Patron's Oration marked a momentous occasion—the celebration of ACEL's 50th Anniversary. Dr. Frank Crowther, ACEL National Patron, eloquently traced ACEL's remarkable journey, acknowledging the undeniable influence Victorians have had on its growth from the very beginning. This milestone event offered ACEL members a unique opportunity to connect across generations with inspirational educators like Frank, whose pioneering efforts paved the way for the present and future. ACEL has seen remarkable growth, with around 80,000 members since inception. Throughout its history, prominent figures have left indelible impacts and invaluable lessons. ...
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Ask The Kids

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It’s easy to see why our schools sometimes feel under siege. It seems that everyone these days has an opinion on the ‘failing’ education system and how to solve the challenges. Naturally this fuels perceptions that education is in a state of constant crisis and in need of drastic reform. Having spent more than four decades in education, I’ve seen just about every reform rolled out. Despite the massive investment of money and time, few if any, have delivered the universal outcomes sought. The recurring theme has always been to impose narrow assessment and reporting regimes or link education funding to student or teacher performance. Such responses fail to recognise ...
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This edition of Australian Educational Leader captures a defining moment in our organisation’s history, as we celebrate half a century since the founding of the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL). Fifty years of growth, of challenges, of successes. Fifty years of investing in the lives of those who have contributed profoundly to our profession. In this edition of AEL, and in leading up to our celebratory national conference, we honour our founders, and those who have contributed to ACEL, making it the organisation and community it is today. Those who had the courage to stand up for our profession, and speak out for education, for teachers, for ...
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Here at ACEL, we are in celebration mode: 50 years of leading, learning, and shaping the future together. So far, we have had an incredible year of acknowledgement and recognition of our professional association; an association to which all of you are an integral part. As I write this piece, we have launched our online community, the ACEL Members’ Lounge. The engagement and commentary are already indicative of high levels of connection at the deepest level that a platform like this provides. We have received very positive messages of congratulations, support, and endorsement. The quote below captures some of the strong affirming sentiments that underscore ...
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How to communicate your authenticity in an interview One of the aspects of my job that I particularly enjoy is interviewing leaders. Having interviewed over 4,000 educational leaders, nationally and internationally, I have been reflecting on the qualities that set some leaders apart. As educational leaders, we navigate through an ever-evolving educational landscape where we are expected to guide, inspire, and influence those we serve. Central to fulfilling these roles effectively is authenticity in leadership. Authenticity stems from a deep-seated commitment to values such as humility, honesty, integrity, and purpose. These are the character qualities that ...
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Are you keen to have the opportunity to contribute to the future of the teaching profession in collaboration with the Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL)? ACEL is a community of educators on a mission to connect, support, and inspire current and future leaders in education across Australia and beyond. We want to highlight diverse millennial voices from across all parts of the country – early career teachers and leaders from all sectors and varying roles representative of a range of educational settings. Our vision here at ACEL is to create a dynamic and collaborative learning community, where educators come together to share ideas and work ...
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Time for Reflection

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Time for reflection Over the past few years, members of the ACEL Qld Branch Executive have volunteered to write a personal reflection piece for our State members. This term, we thank Dr Bruce Addison for sharing his thoughts with us. I have been in the teaching profession for thirty-three years. More of my career is behind me than is in front of me. Recognising this is precious, as it evokes much deep reflection. In the first ten years of my career, I taught some significant events, issues and ideas in History and Legal Studies classes, including the principle of Terra Nullius, the 1967 referendum, both the Mabo and Wik decisions of the High Court, ...
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During 2022 ACEL was delighted to partner with the Australian Learning Lecture (ALL) to engage, share, and learn from schools that are making significant changes in schooling to meet the needs of the future. ALL is a ten-year initiative by Koshland Education Innovation (KEI) designed to bring big ideas and new approaches in education to national attention. Each lecture around a big idea is delivered by an international thought leader and then supported by a two-year impact program. In late 2020, the Australian Learning Lecture delivered its third lecture presented virtually by Valerie Hannon: Seeing is Believing: The Future School is here and a number ...
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Recently I have been contemplating what it means to lead with humanity. Three wise educational leaders have encouraged me to think deeply about my humanity and how my humanity reveals itself in my leadership actions. Specifically, at ACELQ’s Pivotal People, Chrissie Coogan, Principal Coorparoo SHS encouraged me to consider how my leadership creates a welcoming environment for others. Then the next week Tony Maksoud, Assistant Regional Director, Department of Education, reminded me that if I listen carefully my values will always guide me through challenges. And last night at the ACELQ Awards Karen Spiller, Principal John Paul College, challenged leaders to ‘pay ...
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I read a few books over the Christmas and New Year break, and for one I decided to revisit an old friend I first met as a young teenager. You’ve probably met him too. His name is Charles Dickens, and his literary creations are legendary: Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, David Copperfield, A Christmas Carol and A Tale of Two Cities come to mind, with unforgettable characters like Oliver, Miss Havisham, Mr Macawber, Ebeneezer Scrooge, and Sydney Carton. Wonderful, unique characters I had the pleasure to meet over many years. But I didn’t revisit any of those. I went back to a lesser-known novel by Dickens. Hard Times was published in1864, when the factories ...
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In 1959, mathematician, logician and philosopher, Bertrand Russell was asked for what advice he would wish to be remembered by future generations if he assumed his answer would be unearthed in 1,000 years’ time like the Dead Sea Scrolls. His answer, he declared then, was in two parts: intellectual and moral. The intellectual thing I should want to say to them is this: when you are studying any matter or considering any philosophy, ask yourself only what are the facts and what is the truth that the facts bear out. Never let yourself be diverted either by what you wish to believe or by what you think would have beneficent social effects if it were believed. ...
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I once heard an esteemed principal speak at an event for hospital teachers, amongst which I was proud to be. This speaker described her audience in three simple words, words which have remained with me for many years. Those three words were ‘Agents of hope’ . What drew me to my vocation in the first instance was the innate yearning to make a difference, and there is no more powerful calling than that of teaching. What perhaps is even more powerful though, is the context within which that calling unfolds. Teaching in a hospital embodies all that is inspirational about making that difference. Each and every day we bear witness to persistence, resilience and ...
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