Never-Never pedagogical aspirations

I watched #TheGhan on Sunday here in Australia on the SBS channel. Like many others (181,000 peak time viewers), I found the 17 hour journey enchanting.

Dan Whelan, the writer and producer, said of the film of the 2997 kilometer journey from Adelaide to Darwin:

We set out to achieve three things: first, the feeling of being immersed on the journey; second, to shoot the landscape from the train in a way that would work to blend with text and pictures on screen; and finally, to keep the journey exciting and make the train a character in the documentary.

All three worked for me. I had lots of time to think about how these three characteristics relate to personal learning journeys.

Up in the Northern Territory part of the journey, south of Katherine, one of Dan’s texts really caught my attention … as the Ghan passed 30 kilometers to the west of Elsey Station Mataranka.

It was a quote from Jeannie Gunn‘s We of the Never Never (1908). She wrote about her experiences of living at Elsey Station:

Called the Never-Never, the Maluka loved to say, because they who have lived in it and loved it, Never-Never voluntarily leave it.

I thought this might be a wonderful pedagogical aspiration on a slow learning journey. Dan’s three aims for the Ghan film do translate into a Never-Never pedagogy:

  • Immersed on the journey
  • A shared landscape to blend resources
  • Keeping the journey exciting

… and being patient with each other and engaged on this voyage of discovery.

Photo Credits

The Ghan (Shane Cubis)

Matt Smithson (Twitter)

Supporting playfulness

I was fortunate to spend three days in Penguin, Tasmania over Christmas.

At the west of the town is Johnson’s Beach. I was particularly interested in the layout of the beach area in the context of ongoing discussions in my home town, Braidwood, about how to create play spaces within the town’s heritage area.

There is a skate park at Johnson’s Beach.

I liked the clarity of the code of conduct there:

and the guidelines:

The signs and the space were very well kept and exemplified the ‘RESPECT’ invitation of the signage.

Around the corner from the skate park are some exercise machines (Fit for Parks). They have a beautiful outlook to the west.

The machines are well maintained, have very clear instructions for use and include a QR code for each station that links to a video for further information.

When you have finished the work out or the skate and scooter manoeuvres, there is a place to relax and enjoy the view.

I thought the facilities at Johnson’s Beach were exemplary. Their co-location made it possible to have an inter-generational space. We were there during the school term and saw a small number of young people use the skate park (on scooters). We did see people using the exercise stations and I saw two people use their smart phones to check out the exercises.

The area was very clean and I had a sense that there was a shared responsibility for its upkeep and appearance.

I do think that examples like this can support the conversations we are having in Braidwood about creating play spaces for young people whilst acknowledging the concerns some people have about the town’s heritage.

Photo Credits

Keith Lyons (CC BY 4.0)

National Accreditation Schemes: Australian Sport

On 19 December, the Australian Sports Commission announced national accreditation schemes for sport scientists and strength and conditioning coaches.

The Australian Sports Commission and the Australian Institute of Sport will work in partnership with Exercise & Sports Science Australia and the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association “to apply the high standards of accreditation to Australian sporting organisations over the next 12 months”.

The announcement confirmed that, as a condition of the Australian Sports Commission’s sport investment agreements, all sport science and strength and conditioning staff working with national sporting organisations will be required to have the relevant accreditation with Exercise & Sports Science Australia and Australian Strength and Conditioning Association by the end of 2018.

The announcement added “High Performance managers and Sport Science Sport Medicine managers will also require accreditation with the relevant body where their job requires elements of applied practice”.

Information about sport science and medicine accreditation can be found on the Exercise & Sports Science Australia website. Information about strength and conditioning accreditation can be found on the Australian Strength and Conditioning Association website.

The Australian Institute of Sport will monitor compliance with the accreditation. The announcement noted that the accreditation scheme will be reviewed after two years to reassess progress in Australian sport science and strength and conditioning standards.