Lian Davies is an educator and leader with a passion for global educational systems and strategies focussing on student centred learning. Lian has worked in both Scottish and English schools in the UK, developing her leadership skills while navigating a new country and education system she became an Assistant Principal and Acting Principal in NZ in 2011. Lian moved to become Assistant Principal at Templestowe College in 2016. Continuing to develop an innovative model of education, Lian is now Principal at Whittlesea Secondary College. Lian was the winner of The Educator Rising Star Awards 2018.
Lian is one of two keynote speakers for the Educational Publishing Awards Australia in 2019. She shares her thoughts on educational products below.
What first inspired you to embark on a career in education? Is that what keeps you there today?
I first considered education when I was studying at university. I became part of a peer mentoring program for students who were in earlier years of our degree course. I realised how much I enjoyed helping others learn as well as how much more I understood the work through teaching it. I signed up for a post graduate teaching course after completing my honours degree and have never looked back. The pleasure of helping young people learn is a strong driver and I love to continue learning myself.
You’ve worked in a few countries. What differences have you observed about educational publishing products and purchasing them across these countries (if any)?
I have worked in Scotland, England, New Zealand and Australia. Each has its own educational systems but a common theme is the need for good quality resources to support educators in delivering engaging and challenging learning experiences for students. As the years have gone on what these resources might look like has gradually changed from the standard text book to more interactive materials. Australia and New Zealand have some strong publishers and materials that are used on both sides of the ditch and educators know they can rely on them for quality and supporting students to engage with the curriculum knowledge.
You are passionate about student-centred learning. For those who may not know what this is could you please explain it briefly?
Student centred learning is focussed on designing learning experiences that recognise and respond to the individual needs of each student. It is moving away from the previous methods of the teacher being the front and centre and all students following the lead.
Student centred educators and schools are working to understand and support student learning, rather than focusing on how best to teach or how to cover the curriculum.
We aim to actively create opportunities for families and communities to participate as equal partners in their children’s education and empower students to lead their own learning as much as possible.
How and where do you see this reflected in Australian learning resources (if at all)? What further knowledge needs to be shared to make learning resources for this model/approach? Or is this being done really well already?
Learning resources are starting to reflect this by providing a variety of media for our learners to engage with. An example would be a text book having a digital version or an audio version. I know a large number of my students who use text to speech software to support them in listening to books whilst studying. I have also seen interactive activities with some digital resources that engage our learners in a way they feel is interesting and stimulating. This shift to multiple media creates opportunities for learners to engage and experience learning differently.
Another thing you are dedicated to is about empowering students to take control of their own learning. How do learning resources help students feel empowered? Are resources helping towards this end?
As mentioned above by providing a variety of mixed media resources that students can engage with to suit their needs is a key to empowering our young people. In an age where we are understanding more around neurodiversity we want to be able to provide options for our students to engage with a range of quality materials. Flipped learning is a popular tool and allows young people to research, watch or engage with learning topics before they come into the classroom and explore these ideas further.
When it comes to choosing educational resources for your school, what features do you look out for? Why?
This can be a complex one as it depends on the subjects, the teams who are teaching and using the resources as well as the students themselves. The ability to cover key curriculum areas, whilst not limiting to only that information is often looked at. We want to support our learners to find key information but engage their thinking and learning to relevance in the real world. Engaging them through high quality diagrams, or online pictures often allows them to see things we may not have within the classroom environment. Having links to media they can look at engages our young digital natives into an environment they are familiar with and can learn from quickly.
Is there a particular Australian resource that you really value? What aspects of it really work for you, your staff and your students?
As a science educator I always appreciated the resources that considered not only the students with books and ebooks or apps, but also provided support notes for technicians or teachers to help with practical experiments and activities. Some of the resources had clearly spent a great deal of time considering all aspects of the learning outcomes and how to ensure everyone referring to the resources were best equipped to deliver this effectively.
Register to hear Lian Davies speak at the Educational Publishing Awards being held in Melbourne on 4 September 2019.
Brad Gobby and Rebecca Walker are the authors of Powers of Curriculum, a teacher education textbook that was highly commended at the 2018 Educational Publishing Awards. They spoke with us recently about their book, including how it makes a difference for both students and lecturers.
Tell us a bit about yourselves.
Brad: I am senior lecturer in the School of Education at Curtin University. I taught in a number of secondary schools before moving into academia to research education policy and its effects on schools. I have a passion for encouraging service educators to see the bigger picture of education, like how it is shaped by forces beyond itself.
Rebecca: I am also a senior lecturer in the School of Education at Curtin University. Before commencing in academia, I taught in secondary schools in Australia, city and regional areas, and overseas. My areas of interest are assessment, professional experience and online education. Encompassing all of my work is the advocacy and promotion of learning and teaching approaches that support and meet individual learner needs. I relish being able to make a positive contribution to education and the opportunity to make a difference to individuals’ learning.
What is your book Powers of Curriculum about?
Brad: Powers of Curriculum takes a sociological perspective to understanding teaching and learning in educational settings. It starts from the premise that formal education does not occur in a vacuum, and therefore the book explores historical, cultural and political aspects of Australian society that impact on curriculum, learners and teachers.
How does this resource improve educational outcomes for students?
Brad: Pre-service educators must understand the wider context of forces that shape formal education, whether that be early childhood education or formal schooling. Educators cannot adequately understand or go about their work if they do not engage with the social, cultural and political relations impacting on the education system and the lives of learners.
Rebecca: So, instead of treating educators as mere technicians of curriculum, we encourage educators to view themselves as intellectual workers. This means being equipped with the concepts, perspectives and capacity to critically interpret, interrogate and respond productively to those wider forces so as to make a positive difference to the lives of learners.
Brad: The book encourages readers to explore issues that impact on the lives of educators and learners, such as government policy, neoliberalism, poverty, cultural diversity, Indigenous education, popular culture and technology, gender norms and diverse sexualities. We want readers to connect their professional practice to an understanding of these wider forces which are often at play in education but also often ignored.
What difference does your resource make to lecturers?
Brad: We have been university educators for a while now so we appreciate what makes a useful learning resource. We used our experiences teaching in classrooms and online to create a textbook that is accessible to all readers, that carefully guides the reader through key issues, and illustrates its concepts and ideas through case studies that can be explored individually or in groups.
What was one of the highlights of writing Powers of Curriculum?
Brad: We were lucky enough to work with leading and emerging leaders in their fields. In writing their chapter, each contributor has drawn upon their expertise and their knowledge of leading edge research.
How does this resource approach the course material in a different way to others in the market?
Rebecca: This resource positions theory in an accessible and relatable manner making clear its alignment to practice. Reflective prompts, case studies and further reading provide readers with an opportunity to explore in more depth the theories and concepts presented.
Powers of Curriculum: Sociological Perspectives on Education by Brad Gobby, Rebecca Walker is published by Oxford University Press.
Calling all teachers, librarians and booksellers to rate your favourite educational publisher.
Now is your chance to tell us what you really think!
If you buy, sell or use textbooks or other educational resources, we want you to help decide this year’s Australian Primary and Secondary Publisher of the Year.
The Educational Publishing Awards Australia celebrate excellence and innovation in educational publishing, and who better to know which companies are doing this well than our partners in education: educators and booksellers.
Please complete this short survey to have your say about educational publishers. You will be asked to rate publishers on five areas: product quality, field services, company services, marketing and innovation. The survey should take no longer than 10 minutes. The survey closes on Friday 28 June 2019 at 11:59pm AEST.
As a thank you, you will automatically go into the draw to win a $500 David Jones gift card. Your chances of winning are up from last year with the additional two Australian Book Industry
Award prize packs (a pile of new books!) also up for grabs.
The survey will ask for your email address to ensure we only receive one response per person. However the survey data is completely anonymous. The awards are organised by the Australian Publishers Association and if you have any issues, please contact email@example.com
Thank you for completing the survey, providing our member valuable feedback, and helping us decide the Australian Primary and Secondary educational publishers of 2019.
The Australian Publishers Association
The Educational Publishing Awards Australia celebrate excellence and innovation in educational publishing. The event recognises publishers’ pursuit in creating cutting-edge, groundbreaking and pedagogically sound resources for teachers and students. The most coveted awards on the night are decided by the votes of our partners in education: educators, librarians and booksellers (that’s you!).
The Educational Publishing Awards will be held on Wednesday 4 September 2019 at the Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne. Proudly sponsored by the Copyright Agency.
What resources are you really proud of that you produced recently and you know are making a difference in the classroom?
They could be a print resource such as a textbook or workbook, with or without a supporting teacher book, a digital only resource such as a website, CD/DVD or app), an enhanced eBook, or a blended learning resource. Whatever format they are in… enter them in the EPAAs for 2019!
Entries are open today for Australian educational publishers to submit their best learning resources made and published between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 to the country’s eminent educational publishing awards. Enter now to be in the running!
The Educational Publishing Awards Australia will celebrate – for the 26th year in a row – excellence in producing vital learning tools used by educators and their students across primary, secondary and tertiary sectors.
This year’s awards feature two new categories: one for a scholarly non-fiction publications and the other will be announced shortly!
The venue for the awards night is already booked – The Pavilion, Arts Centre Melbourne – and will take place a little earlier this year, on Wednesday 4 September 2019. Tickets will go on sale soon but get the date into your diary.
The call for entries is now open:
Nominations must be submitted by Friday, 31 May 2019. (NB. This has been extended from 24 May).
Whether you are a traditional publishing company, a niche publisher or a digital start-up, do enter, because we would love to consider and recognise your learning resource.
The awards will be presented in Primary, Secondary, Tertiary and TAFE & Vocational Education categories as well as the Primary and Secondary Publisher of the Year.
Take a look at the list of 2019 categories here.
How do I enter?
Entries are made via this digital platform.
Judging of the awards is a rigorous process for all involved. Back for a fourth year in a row is Chief Judge, Professor Angela Carbone, Associate Dean (Learning Innovation), Faculty of Science, Engineering and Technology at Swinburne University of Technology. An overall winner for each sector (Primary, Secondary and Tertiary and TAFE & Vocational) will be selected by the Chief Judge from the category winners.
Interested to see who won in 2018? Or need a reminder?
Take a look here at the full list of previous winners.
2019 could be your year. Start submitting and we look forward to hosting you in Melbourne on 4 September.
Keep up to date and join the conversation:
The Award for Outstanding Secondary Resource was in 2018 won by Cengage Learning for their French learning text, Tapis Volant. Translated as ‘flying carpet’ referring to the many countries where French is spoken, the series first appeared in 1995 as a student workbook, student book, teacher resource book and audio cassettes.
The Australian Publishers Association, coordinators of the Educational Publishing Awards of Australia, spoke with Catriona McKenzie, Senior publisher of Nelson (a Cengage company) to learn more about transitioning Tapis Volant’s older editions to align with the current Australian curriculum, involving many teachers as authors and advisers.
From Catriona McKenzie:
The original edition of Tapis Volant related its material to a context near where Australian students live (e.g. the Pacific on the east, the Indian Ocean countries on the west). So the first two editions included characters, situations, and cultural information from New Caledonia, Mauritius, Réunion, Vietnam, etc., as well as from France and Australia.
The first three editions took into consideration the range of state syllabus requirements, but the 4th edition, the one which won an EPAA, was written in accordance with the Australian Curriculum and this is one of the major reasons for the update of this series.
A cover change
In Tapis Volant editions 1, 2 and 3 the icon was a person on a flying carpet. However, in the 4th edition, a black cat was chosen as it is a typical French icon reflecting the first cabaret founded in Paris in the mid-19th century.
Storyline and context
In Tapis Volant 3e the key contexts of the dialogues, the story line and cultural backgrounds shifted back to France, in response to requests from teachers. There were still references and characters from other places where French is spoken, including New Caledonia and Australia as well as Europe (Belgium and Switzerland), Africa (including Mauritius, Madagascar and the Seychelles), North Africa (Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia), the Caribbean and Canada.
Edition 4 additions
Like edition three, along with the usual textbooks and workbooks, there was also a NelsonNetBook component, and a comprehensive website with digital resources for students and teachers.
In every unit of Tapis Volant 4e Student Books and Workbooks, the inclusion of new features such as ‘Find out more’, ‘What do you think’, ‘Reflect and create’, ‘Let’s compare French and English’, ‘Let’s communicate in French’ with associated tasks, provide students with the opportunity to engage in a range of activities and to apply their language learning.
The auto-evaluation section has been enriched by including more grammar problem-solving activities (students are asked to reflect on how the language works rather than being told). A new section, ‘Mise au point’, invites students to reflect on their work and devise strategies to improve their learning (‘learning how to learn’).
Trends in language learning
The current focus on task-based language learning to develop a range of communicative skills and intercultural competencies seems to still prevail in second language acquisition methodology. Reflecting today’s digital teaching and learning, there is a variety of features integrated in the e-book as well as the digital activities on the website, all of which have a range of methodological implications. A diverse range of teaching styles and philosophies is possible, just as there is always a range of ways in which students prefer to learn and/or opportunities for new ways of learning. The 4th edition was carefully designed to respond to these changes with the focus on the student, rather than follow any ‘latest trend’.
The team (including teachers)
Many individuals collaborated on the Tapis Volant 4e series, including authors, teachers, students, curriculum advisers, language consultants and proofreaders, together with more than 20 Cengage employees including editors, designers and illustrators, sales and marketing representatives, production personnel, audio personnel, and digital teams.
The authors have throughout all four editions been indebted to the excellent advice and editing of freelance editor, Ingrid de Baets.
For the 4th edition, Kellie Dickson, a secondary teacher of French at McKinnon Secondary College reviewed the core manuscripts and was a co-author of the Teacher Toolkit. Kellie’s input provided invaluable elements of classroom practicality and awareness of student needs and curriculum requirements.
There has always been extensive teacher involvement throughout all editions of Tapis Volant. The teacher reviewers for the various components of the course have provided suggestions for topics, their sequencing and content, the progression of difficulty of language, the style of exercises, the wording of questions, ideas for assessment, the importance of ‘scaffolding’ for student tasks, and the significance or otherwise of various aspects of the culture.
There has from time to time been student feedback on the engaging nature of the characters and their stories as well as criticism of the characters and their appearance!
The feedback has been very positive. Students are enjoying the updated photographs and content, variety of core skill practice and relevance and interest of topics such as the environment and fashion (Book 2), handy vocabulary lists at the end of each chapter, online activities such as the videos and the comprehensive preparation for senior studies via Workbook tasks which can be completed in French or English.
Thoughts on the EPAA win
The Tapis Volant series has been well received for more than twenty years by teachers of French throughout Australia. This is due in part to the authors’ continued enthusiasm and shared beliefs and educational principles about teaching and learning French, as well as their skill in developing humorous and lively dialogues that students can relate to, linked story lines to maintain student interest, the constant interplay of cultural differences, and contemporary language modelling.
There is also no doubt that the diversity and range of exercises and activities has been pleasing to students and teachers across a wide range of different schools in Australia. There is also a range of supplementary activities, some closely related to the unit language, others more general; videos, audio listening texts, worksheets with scaffolding for speaking activities, extension activities, curriculum support and connections, games, online activities for revision and consolidation, drawing posters, and even making a short film. Students are provided with opportunities for task- based, collaborative and independent learning that can be completed in classrooms or at home.