Teachers at the History K–6 course in Parkes discuss how to incorporate the study of artefacts into the primary classroom. From left, Peter Bryson, Shandel Curtis, Laura Carter, Sonia Dukes and Kerri Parkes

Teachers glad of CPL's spread to central west

Kathy Deacon
Duncan McDonald

Teachers in the Central West welcomed the expansion of Centre for Professional Learning (CPL) courses in the region, saying it was good to have quality presenters sent to support teachers in rural areas.

A total of 230 participants attended courses in Parkes from many schools in communities such as Goodooga, Lightning Ridge, Bourke, Cobar, Orange, Condobolin, Parkes, Forbes, Dubbo, Griffith and Trundle.

“Thank you, CPL, for coming out to the Central West,” one course participant said.

Six courses were conducted in Parkes during July and August, including three courses to support the implementation of the English and Mathematics K–6 Syllabus, the Lifting Achievement in Years 7–12 course and both the History K–6 and 7–10 courses.

A Music K–6 course was also conducted in partnership with The Association of NSW Regional Conservatoriums in Dubbo.

Mary-Ellen Betts, Jenny Williams and Sandra Rowen from Trio Professional Learning returned to Parkes after a successful inaugural visit last year, and conducted the maths and English courses for primary teachers which were designed to deepen participants’ knowledge of the syllabus documents. Evaluations were overwhelmingly positive.

Professor Wayne Sawyer, Joanne Jarvis and Jane Sherlock presented the Lifting Achievement in Years 7–12 course, which focused on developing approaches to improve student performance in public high schools.

“It was a fantastic course,” said one participant. “I would highly recommend it for faculty heads and deputy principals to attend, especially if they are focusing on school improvement.”

Members were given a wide range of strategies that would be transferable back to school and said they had been given great advice and excellent resources.

The course highlighted what was being done well and which areas needed development to continue a program of improvement across the secondary faculties, teachers noted.

“It was great to have time to compare notes with colleagues relating to strategies and solutions to common problems and issues. The course reinforced what good practice looks like and gave valuable ideas, based on solid research, for both faculty and classroom leadership,” one participant said.

Kate Cameron and Jennifer Lawless presented courses for primary and secondary teachers to provide them with an understanding of the new History syllabus documents and approaches to enhance the quality of history teaching.

“It was great to have quality presenters visit a rural setting like Parkes. I now have a clearer understanding of the History syllabus,” a participant said.

“The calibre of the presenters was outstanding and the course reinforced that our school is on track with the History syllabus implementation,” another teacher stated. Participants agreed that it was “a very informative course with useful information and excellent resources” that could be used in the classroom.

Kathy Deacon is the Director, Centre for Professional Learning and Duncan McDonald is a Country Organiser.