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    Personal Story

     Learning-and-Teaching 

    Catherine Scheffer
    Year 12 Siena College, Camberwell

    Along with six other Siena students and two teachers, I embarked on an immersion to South Africa for two weeks last year, living with a host family while learning of the history and culture of the country. 

    I noticed that despite all the hardships of the women of Kopanang, they were some of the happiest people I had ever met. The children stood out in particular for me; happy over the slightest of things. 

    For example, the other students and I brought balloons, pencils and stickers, which had them ecstatic for days on end. 

    This ability to draw happiness from poverty and quite often, hunger and pain, motivated me to produce a series of drawings under the title Happy Sadness which will be featured in the 2015 Visual Arts Display during Catholic Education Week. 

    A young boy named Tyron, who was a member of my host family, personally inspired me as he was always happy despite the conditions he lived in. I grew very close to Tyron, as well as having a strong connection to other children I encountered.

    It was after my time at Kopanang that I realised how much we take for granted; food, water, safety, education and much more. 

    Without knowing the children it is impossible to depict their current state of poverty. These children’s facial expressions show us that money is not the key to happiness. 

    It is my duty to tell my Siena school community that ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.’  

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    Professional Learning

    General Overview

    The Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) recognises that continuing professional learning is an essential component of school improvement and staff development. In particular, Professional Learning is a major contributing factor towards improvement in student learning outcomes. 

    In 2014 the CEOM offered 405 activities to school staff via the Integrated Professional Learning System (IPLS), with a total of 6,529 unique participants. 

    Main Activities

    Leading Languages Professional Learning Program (LLPLP)

    In 2014, the LLPLP engaged 60 primary principals and teachers from across Victoria in a four-day professional learning program culminating in new Languages Implementation plans for participating schools. Focused on cutting-edge research into emerging pedagogies, the LLPLP was facilitated by the University of Melbourne and engaged internationally renowned Languages experts to build each school leadership team’s understanding of the way second-language learning supports first-language literacy for all students.

    Multilingual Language Learning Communities

    Throughout  2014, seven school-based language communities were established to connect language teachers across schools. The networks will support teachers in adopting contemporary approaches to language education.

    Science (STaL) project: Emerging Pedagogical Leaders

    The first cohort of 21 leading teachers in the Emerging Pedagogical Leaders Program began their five-day course in pedagogical leadership through Monash University. Participants completed Phase 1 of the three-year project. The pedagogical leaders will become expert teacher leaders for the Archdiocese of Melbourne.

    Graduate Teacher Welcome Function

    The 2014 Graduate Teacher Welcome Function was held on 2 April with 135 graduate teachers from archdiocesan primary and secondary schools in attendance. The event addressed key systemic requirements and the educational ministry of the graduates was affirmed with the celebration of the Eucharist; a welcome reception followed. 

    Secondary Curriculum Renewal Project – Postgraduate Certificate in Curriculum Leadership

    In 2014, a new cohort of 29 teachers undertook the Postgraduate Certificate in Curriculum Leadership. This credentialled study through Melbourne University provided opportunities for curriculum leaders to build their capacity to lead curriculum change within their school.

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    Other Initiatives

    • Starting Science: Primary Connections project
    • AusVELS in Catholic secondary schools briefings
    • Education for Sustainability
    • Navigating Intersections: Learning & Teaching in Catholic schools.

    Professional Learning Programs


    Program or Initiative  Primary  Secondary  Total 
    AusVELS in Catholic Secondary Schools briefings 306 76 382
    Contemporary Approaches to Primary Science (CAPS) 51 0 51
    Education for Sustainability  13 8 21
    Leading Languages Professional Learning Program 54 0 54
    Multilingual Language Learning Communities 73 25 98
    Languages Partnership Grants 47 26 73
    Navigating Intersections: Learning & Teaching in Catholic schools 15 8 23
    Science (STaL) project: Emerging Pedagogical Leaders 10 11 21
    Science Partnership Grants  142 68 210
    Secondary Curriculum Renewal Project (incorporating Postgraduate Certificate in Curriculum Leadership, University of Melbourne) 0 29 29
    Starting Science: Primary Connections Project 11 0 11

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