Posts by Alex Christopher

How to enjoy the EPAAs with your colleagues from the safety of your own lounge room

The EPAAs are fast approaching, and this year we will be streaming the winning announcements online (for something a bit different).

Why not organise an office or team watch party? 

Put on your most comfortable ugg boots or dress up in your fanciest cocktail outfit – or both! – and settle down to chat with your colleagues while you watch the awards.

If you need a little help figuring this out, you can find instructions on how to use Google Hangouts or Zoom to watch together.

The awards are streaming live on YouTube at 4 pm (AEST) on Thursday 3 September. You can find out all the information right here.

We’ve been working hard to put together a visually creative and fun-to-watch way to see:

  • teacher keynotes
  • thoughts from publishers
  • a peek at winning resources
  • all the awards.

It will also be up on YouTube, so if you can’t make it for the live event, it’ll be there to watch later. Subscribe to get a notification when the broadcast begins or bookmark this webpage.

Link to save the date.

 

Keynote introduction : Yasodai Selvakumaran

One of two keynote speakers for the online Educational Publishing Awards ceremony this year is a western Sydney humanities teacher who is the first Teacher Ambassador for the New South Wales Department of Education. Her students call her Ms Selva. 

Yasodai Selvakumaran at school in Rooty Hill

Yasodai Selvakumaran has been teaching at Rooty Hill High School for ten years where the student population spans more than 40 language backgrounds. Yasodai juggles classroom teaching with leadership positions, such as her current role as acting Head Teacher Mentor supporting and inducting beginner teachers. In the following interview Yasodai shares her experience transitioning teaching online, how she chooses topical and relevant learning resources for her students, and touches on where she is dedicating her energy to see change in the sector through greater stakeholder involvement.

What has it been like for your school and Covid? Have there been any blessings in disguise with the disruption to online learning?

Transitioning to teaching online during the pandemic highlighted just how important adaptability is in teaching. My colleagues and I learnt what worked and what didn’t work online quite rapidly at each phase. New lessons in the transition when we went to back to face-to-face learning were found too. My passion for teaching has become stronger despite the challenges. I’ve been energised by the pace of teacher collaboration which I’ve never seen before, and it’s on-going. From working with colleagues in my school to teacher forums online nationally and internationally, teachers are continuing to seek out professional learning and to support each other to do the best for students.

With the diversity of your student community, how do you go about selecting resources for your students? What are you ultimately looking for?

With the nature of Humanities teaching, I integrate contemporary events with texts that cover historical, sociological and anthropological content. I supplement published texts with relevant media links to create case studies reflective of what is current in the discipline. I sometimes adapt a planned lesson that morning, depending on what is in the news! Resources that link directly to the diversity of my students or present opportunities for a transnational historical link or cross-cultural study are particularly useful. Inquiry based suggestions in resources are fantastic as the nature of open-ended questions and debates spark new strategies and enables me to further personalise the learning and offer choice to my students. I also look for resources that cater for different levels of learning to help differentiate in the classroom.

What have you found to be most helpful in resources you have used or are using?

I always find it helpful when there is an overarching narrative that captures an explanation with engaging visuals, key terms and questions that are ‘chunked’ down appropriately and visually not too far from the sources and written text. (This is to deter students from flicking through multiple pages to find their ). I look for tasks that enable critical and creative thinking and enable the teacher to adapt tasks for the needs of their students. I also find it helpful when the curriculum links are clear to a range of case studies that link directly to outcomes and syllabus content.

Where would you like to see resources improving to be more reflective of your students? How do you see that being achieved?

I would like to see resources improving to include broader case studies and ‘untold’ stories that reflect the diversity in Australia today. I see this being achieved with broadening narratives to include more examples from a number of perspectives and backgrounds and context links to other parts of the world.This is crucial to develop empathy and broader worldviews. It also presents opportunities for more of our students to see themselves and reflect on experiences that they can relate to. I would also like resources to consider the various literacy levels of students to ensure that language is academic and the layout of texts are accessible, especially in the junior secondary years.

Covid-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement have presented two topical subject areas to draw from in your classes. How do you do incorporate fast emerging topics into your lesson plans when traditional resources may not be available to work from?

As an example, last term my colleagues in Society and Culture re-designed an assessment task for the Year 11 topic of Personal and Social Identity to consider the impact of COVID-19 this topic. Students were asked to publish a Time magazine type feature article that compared the impact of COVID-19 on personal and social identity in Australia with another culture or country of their own choosing. We then mapped lessons in class that included: “Language of the pandemic: public health or panic?” and teachers modelled writing that explored the impact COVID-19 had on our own lives for students to consider their own.

For my Year 12 Society and Culture class, I was teaching the topic of Hip hop as a focus study last term for Popular Culture. Black Lives Matter in the media enabled us to link and explore the power of protest songs today and throughout History. This term, I am teaching the topic of Social Inclusion and Social Exclusion and have programmed media case studies and academic journals that link directly to Black Lives Matter in the United States of America with the impact it is having around the world, including in Australia. Traditional resources still played a crucial role for background information, theoretical explanations, teaching key vocabulary and drawing links to historical, sociological and anthropological case studies.

You were a Global Teacher Prize finalist last year – big congrats! It’s been stated on the GTP website that you would like to, in the long term, “lead greater sharing of what teachers and schools are currently doing to work effectively with stakeholders, including governments, students, and parents.” Can you see educational publishers being added to this list of stakeholders? What benefits could you see with all stakeholders better working together?

Thank you so much. It was an incredible opportunity and I’m thankful for everything that has come since as well including the opportunity to speak at the Education Publishing Awards.

I absolutely see educational publishers being a part of this as a crucial link in connecting curriculum and pedagogy. Stakeholders working together in publishing can ensure that resources reflect current approaches in Education and current scholarship in disciplinary understandings.

Professor Lee Schulman speaks about “what counts as knowledge in a field and how things become known” when speaking on signature pedagogies. I believe the power of publishing is in fostering empathy, and individual and collective belonging and wellbeing, as we promote the knowledge, skills and dispositions our students need.

To hear more from Yasodai, be sure to tune into the Educational Publishing Awards when they screen on 3 September. Bookmark this page to tune in!

The 27th Educational Publishing Awards Shortlist

 

Announcing the 27th Educational Publishing Awards Australia (EPAA) shortlist.

Organised by the Australian Publishers Association and sponsored by Copyright Agency, the prestigious EPAAs recognise excellence and innovation within the educational publishing industry.

We would like to thank those who submitted their titles for consideration.

Many thanks also go to our fantastic judging panel, and, finally, a big congratulations to those shortlisted.

As we take the awards ceremony online this year, we invite you to join us in celebrating at our free digital event on Thursday 3 September 2020. Details to follow.

Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2020 Shortlist

 

 

ALSO! A friendly reminder that the 2020 Mike Horsley Award nominations are also open. You can use nominate using this form.

Primary Award Categories 

 

Student Resource – Arts/Science/Humanities/Social Sciences/Technologies/Health and Physical Education/Languages 

Design and Technologies: Project Based Learning – Box

R.I.C Publications

 

Our Land, Our Stories

Sally Lawrence, Lisa Fuller, Josie, Orlando and Shae et al.

Cengage Australia partnered with AIATSIS

 

Playing with Collage

Jeannie Baker

Walker Books

 

Yarn Circles Wellbeing Cards

Krystal Randall and Sharlene G. Coombs

Knowledge Books Software

 

Student Resource – English (Literacy/Literature/Language)

Effective Spelling

Christine Topfer, Emma Warren and Bethany Woolnough

Nelson – A Cengage Company

 

History of the First Australians 3 – ‘Our Stories’

Sharlene G. Coombs et al.

Knowledge Books and Software

 

PM Benchmark Literacy Assessment 1

Annette Smith, Jill MacDougall, Debbie Croft et al.

Nelson – A Cengage Company

 

Student Resource – Mathematics (Numeracy) 

A shortlist for this category will be announced at the Educational Publishing Awards ceremony.

 

Teaching Resource (Primary)

Design and Technologies: Project-based Learning

R.I.C Publications

 

InitiaLit-Foundation, InitiaLit-1 and InitiaLit-2

MultiLit Pty Ltd

 

Tocal Farms picture books and supporting resources

Jo Hathway and Jess Green

NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

Reference Resource

Exploring How Texts Work: Second Edition

Beverly Derewianka

Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

 

Teaching with Intent 2: Literature-based literacy teaching and learning

Dr Bronwyn Parkin, Dr Helen Harper

Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

 

Educational Picture or Chapter Book

Fauna: Australia’s Most Curious Creatures
Tania McCartney

National Library of Australia (NLA Publishing)

 

Love Your Body

Jessica Sanders

Five Mile Press

 

One Careless Night

Christina Booth

Walker Books Australia

 

The Dingle Dangle Jungle

Mark Carthew, Dave Atze

Ford Street Publishing

 

Wilam

Aunty Joy Murphy, Andrew Kelly, Lisa Kennedy

Walker Books Australia

 

Secondary

 

Student Resource – Junior –  English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education

Ganz Klasse!

Edda Kampues, Sarah May, Jenny Jeffery et al.

Nelson – A Cengage Company

 

Jacaranda Humanities Alive 7-10 series for the Victorian Curriculum 2e – Print & learnON

Robert Darlington et al.

Jacaranda

 

Jacaranda New Concepts in Commerce New South Wales Curriculum 4e Print & learnON

Stephen Chapman et al. 

Jacaranda

 

Oxford Big Ideas Humanities & Social Sciences 7-10 WA Curriculum Skills and Activities Books

Leo Conti, Kirstin Woodard, Anna Griffin et al.

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Welcome to Country youth edition

Marcia Langton

Hardie Grant Travel

 

Student Resource – Junior – Mathematics/Science

Cambridge Science for the Victorian Curriculum

Victoria Shaw, Kerrie Ardley, Eddy de Jong et al.

Cambridge University Press

 

Good Science

Emma Craven, Rebecca Cashmere, Haris Harbas et al.

Matilda Education

 

Pearson Stage 4 & 5 Skills and Assessment books

Zoe Armstrong, Tracey Fisher, Laurence Wooding et al.

Pearson

 

Student Resource – Senior – Mathematics/Science

Chemistry for Queensland Unit 1-4 Student Workbooks

Carloyn Drenen, Philip Sharpe, Kate Adriaans

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Jacaranda VCE Chemistry 1 Units 1&2 2E + studyON and Jacaranda VCE Chemistry Units 3&4 2E + studyON

Neale Taylor, Angela Stubbs, Robert Stokes et al.

Jacaranda

 

Nelson QMaths 12 Essential Mathematics

Sue Thomson, Judy Binns

Nelson – A Cengage Company

 

New Century Physics for Queensland Units 1-4 Student Workbook

Deanne O’Callaghan, Richard Walding, Graham Anderson et al.

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Psychology for Queensland Units 1-4 Student Workbook

Joey Saunders, Melissa Rossiter

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Student Resource – Senior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education

Analysing and Presenting Arguments Units 1-4 Student book + obook assess, Analysing and Presenting Arguments Units 1-4 Student obook assess, Analysing and Presenting Arguments Units 1-4 Teacher obook assess.

Ryan Johnstone

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Jacaranda Key concepts in VCE Health and Human Development 6e

Andrew Beaumont, Meredith Fettling et al.

Jacaranda

 

Quoi de neuf? Senior

Annabel Gassmann, Philippe Vallantin et al.

Pearson Australia

 

Year 12 English: Western Australia

Adam Kealley et al.

Insight Publications

 

Teaching Resource (Secondary)

A shortlist for this category will be announced at the Educational Publishing Awards ceremony.

 

Reference Resource

Australian Student’s Oxford Dictionary

Mark Gwynn

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Macmillan Global Atlas for Australian Students Fifth Edition Student Book + Digital

Rob Berry, Lorraine Chaffer, Katrina Spencer

Matilda Education Australia

 

Tertiary and TAFE

 

Scholarly Non-Fiction Book of the Year

A River with a City Problem

Margaret Cook
University of Queensland Press

 

Australianama

Samia Khatun
University of Queensland Press

 

White Tears/Brown Scars

Ruby Hamad

Melbourne University Publishing

 

Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning – print 

For the Love of Language

Kate Burridge, Tonya N. Stebbins

Cambridge University Press

 

Integrated Marketing Communications

Max Winchester, Peter Ling, Lara Stocchi et al. 

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Public Relations and Strategic Communication

Karen Sutherland, Saira Ali, Dr Umi Khattab

Oxford University Press Australia & New Zealand

 

Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning  – blended learning

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education, 3rd edition

Kaye Price, Jessa Rogers

Cambridge University Press

 

An Introduction to Accounting: Accounting in Organisations and Society 1e with MindTap

Craig Deegan

Cengage

 

Financial Accounting 9e

Craig Deegan

McGraw Hill

 

Teaching the Arts, 3rd edition

David Roy et al.

Cambridge University Press

 

Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning – digital only

Study Ready Orientation

Chris Swan, Naomi Holding, Kathy McInnes

La Trobe University in partnership with Didasko

 

The Didasko Learning Portal, featuring ‘Working with Others’
Chris Swan, Kathy McInnes
La Trobe University in partnership with Didasko

 

Tertiary (Adaptations) Teaching and Learning  – print or blended learning 

Contemporary International Business in the Asia Pacific Region

Alain Verbeke

Cambridge University Press

 

Essentials of Corporate Finance 5e

Rowan Trayler, UTS, Gerhard Hambusch, UTS, Charles Koh, UTS, et al.

McGraw Hill

 

Health Assessment and Physical Examination 3e with MindTap

Pauline Calleja, Karen Theobald, Theresa Harvey et al.

Cengage

 

MGMT4 with MindTap

Chuck Williams, Alan McWilliams, Rob Lawrence et al.

Cengage

 

Primary and Middle Years Mathematics: Teaching Developmentally

John van de Walle, Amy Brass, Sharyn Livy et al.

Pearson Australia

 

Tertiary (Adaptations) Teaching and Learning – digital only

Essentials of Economics

Glen Hubbard, Anne M. Garnett, Philip Lewis et al.

Pearson

 

MindTap for Human Resources Management 10e

Alan Nankervis, Marian Baird et al.

Cengage

 

MindTap for Understanding Nutrition 4e

Ellie Whitney, Tim Crowe, Adam Walsh et al.

Cengage

 

TAFE & Vocational Education Teaching and Learning – print or blended learning 

Supporting Education 3e with MindTap

Karen Kearns

Cengage

 

SITHCCC012 Prepare poultry dishes

Australian Training Products

 

TAFE & Vocational Education Teaching and Learning – digital only

BSBCUE301 Use multiple information systems

Australian Training Products

 

Honey: Harvesting and Extracting 

Tocal College, NSW Department of Primary Industries

 

 

 

With thanks to our major sponsor The Copyright Agency

The first Mike Horsley Award recipient – Peter Stannard

In September 2019, the educational publishing community awarded the first Mike Horsley Award in memory of the man who established the EPAAs and inspired so many. The inaugural recipient is Queensland-based author, publisher and teacher, Peter Stannard of Firefly Education who we hear from below. 

Read Peter’s reflections on the progression of his career and some highlights, and also the thoughts of those in his team, showing the family man and leader behind all the great literacy and education work he has been involved with for forty-odd years. 

Peter Stannard with his trophy at the Educational Publishing Awards Australia 2019 – at The Arts Centre, Melbourne.

About Professor Mike Horsley

I first met Mike briefly in 2006 and then again at an Educational Publishing Awards ceremony in 2007 where we had a long conversation about why I should be actively involved in the APA. He was very keen to get home-grown Australian publishing companies involved in the APA. I then suggested that I come up to Noosa to chat with him since it’s only a 45 minute drive from the Firefly office. We spent a very fruitful couple of hours talking about teaching, schools and educational publishing beside the Noosa River at Noosaville where he lived. We had a number of these get-togethers on the river and during these times I got to understand his drive and passion to help kids learn.

Teaching and writing

After graduating in 1967, I became a science teacher at Noosa District State High School. Three years later I was appointed Head of Department (Science) at Aspley High School in Brisbane. During this time I submitted a manuscript for a series of science activity books to Macmillan Education. A week later I was signed up and then started the serious work of perfecting the manuscripts.

I worked as a Head of Department in two other schools over the next eighteen years, as well as writing and, at the start of 1989, I finally hung up my teaching hat to became a full-time writer.

The inspiration for my writing came from my style of teaching. I always believed that students need to be totally and actively involved in any lesson. They need to discuss, ask questions, clarify any uncertainties and be active in the classroom. The manuscripts of my science books reflected that style.

Over 43 years Macmillan Australia published more than 60 titles written by my co-author, Ken Williamson, and me. Notable titles include Exploring Science, Science Now, Science Alive, many editions of ScienceWorld and Secondary Science. In 1998 Ken and I received an award from Macmillan for 1 million copies sold.

Firefly Publishing

In 1988 my partner Ann and I and teaching colleague Lesley Englert established Firefly Productions, where we self-published school musicals.

Soon after, I recognised an opportunity to publish educational resources. In 1992 Firefly Education (initially Firefly Press) was born with the publication of literacy companion workbooks written by Lesley for a number of my science series.

Using my experience in the classroom, I wanted to publish materials that were different from those on the market. My vision was to publish educational materials that encouraged students to make connections between what they learned in class and their everyday lives. At the same time the resources needed to support busy teachers and be easy to use in the classroom. By creating resources that combined these principles, I hoped to foster a love of learning in Australian classrooms.

In the following years, I worked with several authors (who were also practising teachers) to publish resources such as Letters and Sounds, Jigsaw Maths and the well-known Sound Waves and iMaths series. Each of these series focused on the principles and pedagogical approach which originated in my classroom teaching experience.

The Firefly Team

Firefly Education has gone from strength to strength, publishing award-winning books and innovative online resources including Sound Waves, iMaths, Writing Time, Think Mentals, and the digital programs Think Mentals Digital Classroom and English Stars. These products were developed totally in our Buderim offices. Our talented team of writers, editors, designers, programmers, animators and artists collaborate closely to produce world-class educational resources. Then the dedicated marketing team and sales consultants offer our products to Australia and the world.

Our world of publishing has changed over the nearly 30 years we have been in operation. In the early days we published student workbooks and teacher resources. Ten years later we established our online presence, and now we have our own bespoke digital products fully developed in-house.

I feel very privileged to work with such talented people at Firefly. When other people of my age pull the pin on their careers, I feel excited about going to work and sharing the team’s progress in the development of products.

Peter Stannard: Beyond educational publishing 

written by the Firefly team

Peter’s impressive teaching career and contribution to the educational publishing industry is just a small part of what makes him the man he is. Peter’s magnetic enthusiasm for learning is evident in many aspects of his personal life. Here’s just a few insights into what shapes Peter Stannard. 

 

 

Family man 

Peter’s enthusiasm for education comes from a simple joy in helping children reach their full potential. So, it may come as no surprise that Peter and Ann are proud foster-parents. Over a period of 21 years, they welcomed four underprivileged teenagers into their lives. Now, alongside their three biological children, these family ties are as strong as ever.

Business mentor 

In 2014, Peter and Ann travelled to Bali and went on a botany tour in Ubud run by a young local woman named Dewi. Peter quickly formed a connection with Dewi, sharing her passion for science and plants. Over the next few days this friendship flourished as Peter and Ann enjoyed hearing about the local land and customs, and Dewi and partner Dhika enjoyed receiving business advice. These conversations sparked an informal
business mentorship.

True to their nature, Peter and Ann didn’t take this mentorship lightly, enlisting the talent of Firefly Education employees to enhance Dewi’s business. It culminated in a company-wide business development trip to Bali where over 40 Firefly Education staff were able to exchange skills and expertise with Dewi and her team.

A generous leader 

Peter has cultivated a truly positive and enriching environment for staff at Firefly Education. When you visit the head office, it’s immediately apparent that it’s a family-owned business. In fact, it’s not unusual to see a grandchild pop in on the school holidays. Peter has gone above and beyond to create an inclusive and collaborative environment at Firefly. There are daily morning teas, family fun days, AGM team-building adventures and the staff were even invited to Peter’s surprise very big ‘0’ birthday party!

‘I’ve been fortunate enough to work at Firefly for seven years with Peter and Annie at the helm. Our company culture is absolutely led from the top. Peter’s teaching insight, capacity for new ideas and his generosity in mentoring has made, and continues to make, the culture at Firefly Education truly innovative, creative and fun.’ – Carlee Driscoll, General Manager, Firefly Education
‘Having known Peter and Ann for more years than I can remember, I was lucky to observe the early years of Peter’s enormous talent and enthusiasm for his teaching evolve into the publishing company that is the “Firefly family” today. His everyday actions continue as an example of leadership, generosity and compassion to family, friends and colleagues.’ – Lee Lemon, Business Development Officer, Firefly Education

A very deserving recipient for the inaugural Mike Horsley Award. Congratulations Peter! Thanks for all the work you have done on the Schools and Educational Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers Association as well.

Agile and dynamic: independent educational publisher serving educators and students in new markets

Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis - MD Insight Publications

Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis is the Managing Director of Insight Publications – an independent educational publisher that specialises in resources for teaching English. Although traditionally focused on the Victorian market, the company recently launched its first dedicated resource for the Western Australian market. We spoke to De Zoysa-Lewis about the impetus for this interstate expansion and the values and goals that drive this small dynamic company.

“Insight Publications was founded by my mother-in-law and her partner many years ago. They were passionate about education and empowering young people across Australia and the globe. Initially a cottage industry operation, the business has grown significantly, especially over the last several years.”

De Zoysa-Lewis has been with Insight Publications for 16 years, having started working there when she was going through law school. “I loved what they did from the beginning. Seeing editors working on manuscripts and the marketing team reaching teachers in schools ignited a new passion for me.”

On completing her studies, De Zoysa-Lewis left Insight to work at a top-tier law firm for six months. But she found the experience unsatisfying: “My heart was back with Insight,” she says, and she soon returned to a full-time position with the company.

The change of career wasn’t without its challenges. “Even back then, publishing was not an easy industry to be in. It’s super competitive for Australian independent publishers and that hasn’t changed; however, I like that we all have a vision to empower educators.”

Relationship-building is a key aspect of the company’s day-to-day and one of the drivers behind its interstate expansion. “We have consolidated on so many years of experience. Our schools trust us to create the best possible English resources for their students. We have focused on building that trust in Victorian schools and recently we saw an opportunity to go across the Nullabor.”

The move was also inspired by the fact that De Zoysa-Lewis became aware of a spike in sales of Insight titles in WA. Although the books didn’t address all the curriculum requirements of WA English, it was clear that teachers found considerable value in them. “We saw there was a need for more tailored resources of this kind, so we wanted to act on that,” she says.

The team took time to thoroughly research and understand the WA curriculum. Year 12 English: Western Australia took two years to produce, from the initial idea to the release of the book. “We ran some focus groups and talked to educators as they’re the ones who stand in front of classrooms every day to teach the course,” says De Zoysa-Lewis. “Our titles are about serving the needs of students and educators and we wanted to tick the boxes for both of those audiences. That’s when things become highly accessible and engaging.”

The news that the company was creating a new, dedicated WA resource generated considerable excitement and anticipation among teachers. “They wanted us to get the book out as soon as possible! And that’s a nice kind of pressure to have.”

 

De Zoysa-Lewis says that the way in which the company created this resource demonstrates one of the best things about independent publishing in the educational space. “I say to my team that we are a bit like a speedboat. We can be really agile and change direction very quickly. So we were able to go ahead and develop this English title for the Year 12 Western Australian ATAR English course. We have now launched the book – we had a great launch event attended by many supportive WA teachers – and the reception has been overwhelming.”

 

Independent educational publishers in Australia are in a unique position, De Zoysa-Lewis says, because of the way in which their smaller size and greater flexibility allows them to service more schools, as well as provide resources to under resourced areas. “We’re a small team and yet our books are used in so many Victorian secondary schools. I’m proud to say we’re doing a great job. We’re successful enough to be able to grow and expand and that’s a great position to be in.”

Student-centered learning and empowering students to drive their own learning are concepts with popular currency. But De Zoysa-Lewis notes that the company has focused on such approaches from the time of its founding by her mother-in-law, and continues to do so. “I’m the daughter of a refugee, and when I came here at the age of seven, I had the privilege of knowing a lot of English. But so many students come to Australia and they’re struggling. Empowering students is something I think about all the time. Educational publishers share a role in helping students to develop those all-important language skills. Without that ability to communicate clearly, to write clearly and to express your thoughts, everything is so much harder.”

Over the years De Zoysa-Lewis has observed the increasing professionalisation of the educational publishing industry. She attributes this development in part to the pressure teachers are under to ensure their students are performing. “There’s improved transparency around what is taught and around student and school results, and that contributes to the pressure on teachers.”

One of the consequences of this is a growing emphasis on relationship-building between teachers and publishers. De Zoysa-Lewis says, “Obviously we can only help students by constantly engaging with the educators who are in front of students every day. It’s the only way we can know exactly what we can do to help teachers and students to achieve the best possible outcomes.”

Following their entry into the Western Australian market, Insight is excited about continuing to draw on its strengths as an independent Australian educational publisher to develop resources by cultivating meaningful relationships with educators and students across the country.

 

**Images courtesy of Insight Publications. Photos taken at the launch of Year 12 English: Western Australia.

1. Mizz De Zoysa-Lewis – Managing Director, Insight Publications. 

2. Adam Kealley, Trish Dowsett, Martin Guest and Maria White – Authors of Year 12 English: Western Australia text book.

3. Melanie Napthine and Robert Beardwood – Publishers at Insight Publications.