Enews 22 June 09 - Inspiring greater things

Big Picture Workshop in Shepparton

TAFE Teacher Geoff Allemand is passionate about the Big Picture approach after doing the Big Picture foundation workshop in Tasmania earlier this year. A small group of his GoTafe students are experiencing personalised learning, advisories, Learning through Internship, mentors and exhibitions as a means to achieving their learning outcomes for intermediate and senior VCAL.

Geoff recently hosted a personalised learning workshop with Viv White as the speaker. One of Geoff's students, Shannon, was invited to tell his story. He had never spoken in front of an audience before. Please read on for Geoff's account of the workshop...

Shannon Jukes – Koori drawing is his passion

Shannon’s story was one of being disengaged with learning, being badly behaved at school and asked to leave during year 12. He decided a few years later to finish his Year 12 and enrolled at TAFE to do his senior VCAL with a cabinet making trade component. While growing up Shannon took to drawing when he was bored and would explore his Koori heritage in his work.

At the Big Picture workshop, Shannon spoke of how much he is enjoying the Big Picture approach and how he has the opportunity to be an assistant to his mentor in a Koori Drawing class at GoTafe. The class was asked to design a mural for the local primary school and both of Shannon’s drawings were the chosen designs. Shannon used powerpoint slides to show his artwork and photos of the class. He also mentioned how he is now keen to exhibit his work in galleries and maybe one day become a Koori art teacher. It was great to see Shannon now talk about his career aspirations.

The audience asked Shannon many questions when he finished and gave him steady applause for such an informative talk and showing courage to talk in front of a group of teachers. Also in attendance were Shannon’s mentor, Robyn Thompson, his younger brother and fellow students.

See Shannon’s talk on YouTube:

Will Crofts – Film Maker

Will is one of Shannon’s classmates and had the job of filming Shannon’s talk. He is currently being mentored by a policeman who is a Youth Resource Officer. His project is to make a promotional DVD of a new Koori Cycling Program. So in order to get some filming practice Will volunteered to film Shannon’s talk and will also edit it. Teachers at GoTafe have volunteered to help him learn filming and editing techniques.

Inspired to travel to America
After hearing Viv talk about Big Picture schools and students in America, Will was inspired to get to America to see it all for himself. He heard there was a group of teachers travelling with Viv to America (and me hopefully), later in the year and asked her if it was possible for him to go too. She said he could if he could raise the money. That night Will posted his thoughts on the class wiki offering to organise fundraising not just for him but for the whole class.

This is a small glimpse of how Big Picture can engage students in learning and be an inspiration to invite them to greater things.

Geoff Allemand


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