Posts Tagged ‘interview’

Interview with Peter Stannard, Firefly Education

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources. We caught up with Peter Stannard from Firefly Education to talk about Think Mentals, a shortlisted entry for the Primary: Student Resource – Mathematics (Numeracy) award.

What challenges do you think teachers face when teaching mental computation?

Maths can be scary for young learners. Without being explicitly taught effective strategies for tackling mental computation students can become overwhelmed and stumble upon everyday maths problems. Given that most of the maths we do every day we do in our heads, mental computation is an essential skill for students to learn. Likewise, teaching mental computation can also be daunting. Unless you’re equipped with a variety of computation strategies it’s difficult to teach students how to solve a maths problem quickly, easily and accurately. Think Mentals provides teachers with a unique and easy-to-use approach to teach mental computation, which in turn gives students an easy-to-understand approach to tackle mental computation.

How does Think Mentals make learning mental computation easy?

Think Mentals is all about making numbers friendly. It teaches students how to use strategies to break maths problems into friendly, manageable chunks so they can calculate answers fluently. The easy-to-follow weekly structure includes worked examples of strategies and carefully graded practice activities. Each Student Workbook builds on the strategies and skills developed in the previous year. The same friendly language and layout is used from Years 1 to 6, so students will learn new skills every year in a familiar context. This consistent approach not only helps students consolidate their learning, it makes life easier for teachers too.

Why does your product deserve to win at this year’s EPAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

I’m sure every product that’s made the shortlist deserves to win, but what’s special about Think Mentals is its innovative approach that systematically teaches students a range of mental computation strategies. Put simply, Think Mentals makes maths friendly. The unique Think Mentals strategies are ‘how-to’ guides for making maths calculations easy. By learning and practising Think Mentals’ friendly strategies, students can train their brains to solve maths problems quickly and easily.

As for acknowledging the efforts of everyone involved in Think Mentals, of course I’d like to thank our team of authors; Mary Serenc who wrote Year 1, and Chris Linthorne, Peter Williams and Sandra Williams who wrote Years 2–6. As with all of Firefly’s programs, the authors are practising Australian teachers which ensures a relevant connection to the classroom. With a manuscript in place, it was over to the Firefly Education team to bring Think Mentals to life. Everything from page layout to refining the strategies and even creating the gang of friendly monsters that feature on the front covers was carefully crafted to create this unique mental computation series.

Good luck and all the best Firefly Education!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.

Interview with Sonia Davoine, Pearson Australia

The Educational Publishing Awards are committed to rewarding excellence and innovation in the publishing industry at primary, secondary and tertiary levels. We have put together a series of interviews with the publishers, editors and individuals involved in the creation and development of educational resources.

We caught up with Sonia Davoine from Pearson Australia to talk about Pearson 7–10 Activity Books, a shortlisted entry for the Secondary: Student Resource – Junior – English/Humanities/Languages/Arts/Technologies/Health and Physical Education award.

What is your current role at Pearson? Could you tell us a little bit about yourself and your interest in publishing.

I work in the Schools Learning Services department at Pearson, in the Literacy and Humanities team as a Senior Content and Learning Specialist. I am in charge of the Languages portfolio, as well as some English, Literacy and, sometimes, Humanities projects, from Foundation to Year 10.

After studying publishing in France, I lived in China and taught ESL and French in years F–12 and at university, and also worked as a freelance translator and editor. When I first started living in Australia, I taught French and Chinese and freelanced for a few educational publishers before starting work at Pearson 8 years ago. This allowed me to combine my passion for learning and developing quality resources that engage students and address the needs of the classroom.

Why do you think Pearson 7–10 Activity Books stand out in the crowd? What does it offer that schools and teachers are looking for?

The Pearson English 7–10 Activity Books have been carefully rewritten for this second edition based on teacher and student feedback and analysis of classroom needs. The Activity Books address the requirements of the latest version of the Australian Curriculum: English and offer updated texts, activities and design. The authors, who are experienced practising teachers and writers, have revised the content of the books to ensure it caters for students of all abilities, including students with English as an Additional Language.

The Activity Books are designed to develop and consolidate students’ knowledge and understanding of the English language and grammar, and integrate cumulative learning in the Language strand of the curriculum, as well as in the Literature and Literacy strands. Students are supported with clear explanations and scaffolded learning. They are exposed to rich and varied literature sources and text types, including contemporary and classic texts, Australian Aboriginal storytelling and news articles. Clear Language explanations are followed by scaffolded activities to use the language in context and build on grammar, vocabulary, spelling, reading and writing skills. At the back of the book, four revision units support students in preparing for summative assessment. Teachers have access to extension activities, tests, pedagogical support and Australian Curriculum correlation charts online for free.

Pearson English 7–10 has been revised and offers updated texts, activities, design and coverage of the Australian Curriculum: English. For those that may not be sure, how do the Activity Books fit within the Pearson English digital and print suite of resources?

The Activity Books tasks can be used in the classroom as part of the English lesson, at the end of a lesson to further practise or extend knowledge, or at home as homework. It is really up to the teacher to decide on how it will best benefit their students’ learning outcomes. The student-friendly language explanations are supported with clear examples, as well as the supporting feature boxes embedded in the pages that allow students to work independently. They can also choose to pair up with a classmate or a friend to complete an activity. The teacher becomes the facilitator in Language learning.

The Pearson Places Teacher ProductLink page for the Pearson English Second Edition Activity Books, available online, includes additional teacher support linked directly with the Activity Book content including: a Teacher Companion (including all answers, teaching and learning strategies, EAL/D teaching notes, extension activities and revision ideas for the classroom and more), Australian Curriculum mapping of the Activity Books, tests and worksheets for extension work.

How do you see digital developing in future classrooms?

I like to believe that in the near future, all students in the Australian classroom will have their own device of choice and access to personalised learning, instant feedback and creative opportunities. Teachers will be able to track their students’ progress, as a class and individually, and adapt instructions accordingly. All students will be challenged at their personal level and supported in order to address their needs. Teachers will facilitate learning and have all the tools they need in one place. Students will take responsibility for their learning and feel empowered.

Why does your product deserve to win at this year’s EPAs? Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge and thank for making this product the success it is?

I think there are some great products presented at this year’s EPAs. It is really hard to say that your product deserves to win over any other. I trust the judges of this year’s EPAs, as per any previous year, have done a great job at assessing all the resources that were submitted for consideration and will choose the product they think best fits the selection criteria.

I would like to thank the team that worked on this project, including the in-house and out-of-house personnel (the project managers, development editor, designer, illustrators, editors, copyright and permissions editor, and everyone else) who believed in this product and worked tirelessly at making it a success.

Good luck and all the best Pearson Australia!

The Educational Publishing Awards are held on Thursday, 6 October at The Pavillion, Arts Centre Melbourne.