Archives News


How A CSR Pilot Program Became A Key Business Imperative At Tyson Foods

As the largest protein company in the U.S., Tyson Foods employs more than 122,000 people. Most of them are front-line workers in our plants and many are immigrants or new Americans. In fact, at some of our plant locations, up to 40 or 50 different countries may be represented under one roof.

Language and cultural barriers, along with varying levels of education and limited access to social resources, have created challenges at home and at work for some of our team members. Things many of us take for granted—like opening a bank account or filling out a form—can be daunting obstacles.

Launching a Workplace Education Pilot

To address some of these challenges, in 2016 Tyson partnered with adult education providers and nonprofits to launch a workplace education pilot in two plants near our corporate headquarters in Springdale, Arkansas. This pilot offered our team members free access to classes in English, high school equivalency, U.S. citizenship, and training on other life skills. To increase accessibility, we offered the classes in our plants immediately before and after shifts, which minimized conflicts around transportation and childcare and provided a trusted, familiar atmosphere in which to learn.

Initially expecting a small percentage of workers to enroll, we were surprised when nearly half the workforce signed up for the program at one of the pilot locations.

Those who enrolled reported the classes allowed them to more fully participate at work, home and in the community. English classes enabled them to help their kids with homework and to better communicate with co-workers and supervisors. One student, who had relocated to the U.S. 20 years before but had never learned English, told us she was able to make a doctor’s appointment by herself for the very first time.

Measuring the ROI

After expanding the pilot and seeing similar degrees of success, we formalized it into a workplace education program called Upward Academy. Our mission is to reduce the impact of social challenges for frontline team members and their families.

We had a feeling that, in addition to marked social improvements, the program might also have other positive impacts on the business. And, as with any business initiative, we needed to prove the return on investment. So, we partnered with the University of Arkansas to conduct ongoing studies to measure Upward Academy’s social and business impacts.

The University performed a Workforce Education Data Analysis. Over a six-month period, they studied a sample of 517 team members enrolled across 16 Arkansas locations, compared to a general pool of similar team members at the same locations.

The results were overwhelmingly positive. From a soft-skills perspective, students reported they felt more independent and better equipped to carry out responsibilities at home and work. They reported increased confidence at work, higher job satisfaction, and increased connection and inclusion in the workplace.

And thanks to our participation in FSG's Talent Rewire Innovation Laband support of the ROI Institute, we were able to calculate the business ROI measuring employee retention. While we were expecting the ROI to be positive, we were pleasantly surprised when it came back at 123 percent. For every dollar invested in our team members, we see a $1.23 return to the company in saved expenses.

Expanding the Program Across Our Footprint

Although our sample study population was comparatively small, we’re encouraged by the results. We’re proud of the progress we’ve made since we launched that first pilot in 2016. Tyson is now offering Upward Academy in 35 locations across five states, and we continue to launch in a new plant every couple of weeks. Around 2,000 team members are currently enrolled in classes, and our adult education partners have logged over 130,000 instructional hours. Tyson’s executive leadership team has made a public commitment to make Upward Academy available to all U.S. team members within the next few years.

We encourage other companies to test similar workplace programs in their businesses. Regardless of the end goal, whether it be improving the quality of life for employees or increasing the bottom line for the business, the benefits are worth the investment.

Read More


Not Just For Back-To-School: Teachers Need Help Getting Supplies All Year Long

School has started again and students across the nation have brought in supplies. But it won’t be enough. It’s never enough. Parents could buy everything on a teacher’s wish list and it wouldn’t last a year. And those lists don’t always have everything a teacher needs, either. At some point in the year, the underpaid teacher will inevitably have to replace the supplies themselves.

According to the fifth Annual Teacher Shopping Survey from Agile Education Marketing and SheerID, in 2018 teachers spent an average of $652 of their own money on classroom supplies. This was up 39% from 2017 and was the highest amount since the survey started in 2013. The amount that individual teachers spend is, of course, a range, but at the highest end of this range, one teacher surveyed spent $7000 over the course of the year.

This is going to keep happening if school districts don’t provide the materials teachers really need. Some districts may provide textbooks and instructional materials, but those materials don’t always fit the needs of teachers’ diverse students. If a teacher wants to do a new instructional unit, take a field trip, or provide students with art instruction, they often have to fund the materials themselves.

Since adequately-funded public education sadly seems like a far-off dream, know that there are other ways to help. Certainly having parents continue to buy supplies for their children’s teachers is one way. But there are other ways for people to get supplies for teachers both inside and outside of their local communities.

Donors Choose, started in 2000 by a public high school teacher, gives everyone the opportunity to fund public school teachers’ projects. Thousands of teachers have posted projects on the site. Donors can choose from a variety of projects, from technology to musical instruments to basic school supplies, and ]also donate any amount they want. is another way to help teachers buy supplies. Instead of coming up with specific projects, this site has teacher register for donations. Donors can find specific teachers, give to teachers in their community, or contribute to a larger fund. When teachers receive the money, they have the freedom to decide which classroom supplies to purchase.

Yoobi founder Leffler gives students school supplies

Taking a different approach, Yoobi is a school supply company that is built on a “buy one, give one” model. For every Yoobi item purchased, they give a Yoobi item to a classroom in need. Yoobi was started in 2014 by Ido Leffler, the son of a school teacher, with a mission to give back to teachers. They have now donated free school supplies to over 3.5 million students across the country.

“There’s nothing more important than investing in the development of our students, and teachers shouldn’t have to bear undue responsibility when budget shortfalls or other factors get in the way of providing basic learning tools,” Leffler says.

Read More


The Role of the Student-Teacher Relationship in the Formation of Physicians


Relationship-Centered Care acknowledges the central importance of relationships in medical care. In a similar fashion, relationships hold a central position in medical education, and are critical for achieving favorable learning outcomes. However, there is little empirical work in the medical literature that explores the development and meaning of relationships in medical education. In this essay, we explore the growing body of work on the culture of medical school, often termed the “hidden curriculum.” We suggest that relationships are a critical mediating factor in the hidden curriculum. We explore evidence from the educational literature with respect to the student-teacher relationship, and the relevance that these studies hold for medical education. We conclude with suggestions for future research on student-teacher relationships in medical education settings.

Keywords: education, medical, culture, professional role, students, medical, relationship-centered care

A growing body of research and long tradition of clinical practice demonstrate that relationships in medical care play a critical role in the healing process.19 The term “Relationship-Centered Care” acknowledges the importance of these relationships, and expands the sphere of relevant relationships beyond the practitioner-patient relationship to include those that occur among practitioners, other health care personnel, families, communities, and others.10 In Relationship-Centered Care, all participants ideally appreciate the importance and uniqueness of their relationship to one another. As defined by Beach and Inui,11 Relationship-Centered Care is founded upon several core principles: (a) relationships in health care ought to include the personhood of the participants, (b) affect and emotion are important components of relationships, and (c) all health care relationships occur in the context of reciprocal influence.

Despite the recent interest in Relationship-Centered Care, medicine in our society has suffered from an erosion of public trust.12 An increasing number of voices have decried the “dehumanization” of medical practice in the U.S. health care system.1315 In the past 2 decades, medical schools have responded by developing formal education programs that address aspects of Relationship-Centered Care.16 Courses at schools around the country now focus on a variety of content areas that include communications skills, ethics, arts and literature, and the history of medicine. In addition to such courses, many schools have also begun to incorporate formal rituals, such as the administration of the Hippocratic Oath or the “White Coat Ceremony,” into their slate of student activities.17,18 With the presence of such course content and ritual, one might assume that the formal training of students would lead to graduates that are compassionate, humanistic, and that develop high-quality relationships with patients, the health care team, and the community. However, available research suggests that this is not the case. A number of studies document an erosion of skills and attitudes during the medical school years.1923 This “disconnect” between formal curricula and activities and graduates' demonstrated attitudes and skills has been reported to be the effect of another, “hidden” curriculum that exists in medical schools.24 In this essay, we will discuss research and observations to date about the hidden curriculum and the culture of medical education. We will then apply Relationship-Centered Care principles to the student-teacher relationship. We conclude by making suggestions for future research on the hidden curriculum and the significance of relationships in the formation of doctors.

Culture of Medicine: Content

From a narrative point of view, culture has been described as a group of individuals all enacting a shared story.25 The story itself can have many, even contradictory, layers, and is based on a set of premises that are taken for granted by all who tell and enact it.26 For example, North American culture defines specific parameters of conversational engagement that are based on the premise of the inviolability of personal space. When someone enters into a conversation and stands too close to his or her partner, the partner will often automatically and unconsciously back away until a comfortable distance exists between the conversants. In this way, the premise of inviolability of personal space has been maintained and enacted, even though no conscious thought was given to it by either conversant.27 In similar fashion, much of allopathic medical care is informed and directed by a set of premises that go undetected in professional oaths, mission statements, course syllabi and other artifacts of the explicit medical curriculum. This set of implicit premises has been called a number of names in the medical literature, including the “informal curriculum,” the “meta-curriculum,” and the “hidden curriculum.”24,28,29

The culture of medicine has a profound influence on the behaviors of practicing physicians, because it shapes basic assumptions about what are “acceptable” and what are “unacceptable” medical practices.24 In the table, we present some content examples, in the form of assumptions, from the culture of medicine. The particular assumptions and their wordings were generated by medical school faculty members during a recent seminar by one of the authors (P.H.); these assumptions and others have been described in the body of sociological and anthropological work on the hidden curriculum.24,3035Table 1also presents some of the cultural premises that underlie these assumptions. Understanding these premises is important, because they are the foundation of the story that is being enacted by faculty, residents, administration, hospital personnel, and students in medical schools across the country. While the assumptions such as those in Table 1 are often apparent to the individuals in a medical school, the premises often are not as easily recognized.36 Rather, they exist as a kind of “white noise” in the background, shaping behavior without being noticed. It is the premises that lead individuals to adopt the assumptions, because the premises frame the assumptions as “nothing to worry about; this is just how things are in the real world,” and suggest that it is folly to question or contradict the assumptions.25 Understanding and changing the premises, then, becomes a key task for those attempting to change medical school culture, because modification of premises represents a modification of the fundamental story being enacted by the individuals in the medical school. Recent work to reform the culture at several schools represents an attempt to understand and explicitly define the premises of the story being enacted.16,37

Culture of Medical Education: Process

Many of the hidden curriculum's premises about patient care are also translated to the processes of teaching and learning in medical school. Thus, in a medical school environment, one often encounters a demand for “right” answers (avoidance of uncertainty); intimidation, public shaming, and humiliation (doctors must be perfect); the treatment of students as objects to be “filled up” with knowledge and facts (outcome is more important than process); unhealthy competition (medicine takes priority over everything else), and deference to experts, regardless of their teaching abilities (hierarchy is necessary).34,38,39Consider the following scenario described by a former medical student:

Pimping is teaching by intimidation. I had my first personal introduction to it my very first day of my very first rotation during my third year as a medical student … We all solemnly entered the conference room and sat down around the table. In came the chief of the medicine service. He put a CAT scan of the head up on the viewing box and turned on the light. The only CAT scan I'd ever seen before was on “Ben Casey” on TV! It was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop. His first words were, “Give me a differential diagnosis for what you see.” He looked around the table, then his eyes zeroed in on me: “You, give me a differential diagnosis.” My mouth went dry. What was I supposed to be able to say? I'd never before even seen one of those things up close. I said, “Brain tumor.” He snapped back, “No shit!” Then he persisted: “That's not a differential. Give me a list of all the possible diagnoses you should think of when you see a CAT scan of the head that looks like this.” I sat there dazed. How was I supposed to be able to do this on the first day? I didn't even know where the bathroom was on the medicine service, let alone know what pathologies of the head could present like that picture. I finally said, “I don't know.” I knew he thought he won a victory because the goal of pimping is to keep somebody under the gun long enough that they break under the strain, to find a vulnerable spot where they're deficient, and to make a show of it to everyone at the conference.29

In a study of intimidation in medical education, Mary Seabrook40 observed both emotional and learning effects among students who had been in similar scenarios. As we discuss below, emotions play an important role in students' retention of knowledge, conceptualization of phenomena, and future behaviors. In her study, Seabrook noted that the embarrassment, shame, and self-blame that students felt in response to being intimidated by their teachers led to their hiding what they did not know and fostered an environment where students were afraid to ask questions and clarify issues that they did not understand. Seabrook's findings are echoed by a long line of research that suggests historical depth and continuity in the culture of American medical education.2835,38,39,4146

Traditionally, medical education practices often place teachers and students into adversarial relationships.47The sum total of numerous relationships in which the student does not have a voice, is positioned as unimportant in the care of the patient, and is at best emotionally disconnected and at worst emotionally attacked by the teacher fosters the adoption of a professional stance that is emotionally distant from patients and from anyone who is beneath the student in the hierarchy of medical education. As Hafferty48has shown, this distancing, in the name of “professionalism,” occurs already in the preclinical years as well as in the later clinical years. Often, the result is a fragile student physician who has the seemingly impossible task of relating compassionately to fellow human beings called patients. The relational processes of the hidden curriculum assure the perpetuation of its content.

Go to:

Importance of Relationships in Adult Education

Educators around the country have begun to engage in activities to modify the hidden curriculum by changing institutional culture with respect to medical practice.16,37,49 The core principles of Relationship-Centered Care suggest that such efforts will only succeed in as much as they foster improvement in relationships between teachers and students. Empirical and theoretical work on adult education underscores the importance of these core principles. Below, we discuss each of the core principles as they relate to the student-teacher relationship.

Go to:

Relationships Ought to Include the Personhood of the Participants

A commonly held assumption is that a central task of teaching is to deliver (or, as in a computer, to download) content to students, who then store that content in their minds for future retrieval and use.50 The personhood of the teacher and student in such a paradigm is lost, because the major focus of the educational activity becomes content delivery rather than creating an interpersonal context that fosters learning. A number of theorists have challenged the “downloading” assumption, arguing that learning is constructed, rather than merely delivered.50,51 In this alternate paradigm, students who are exposed to content and ideas delivered by the teacher will construct meaning from those ideas, connecting them to previous experience and knowledge, evaluating them, and making judgments about them.52 In such a paradigm, relationships become important, because they provide the context that shapes the construction of meaning, and thus, the construction of learning. Richard Tiberius describes the importance of relationship in this process:

The relationship between teachers and learners can be viewed as a set of filters, interpretive screens, or expectations that determine the effectiveness of interaction between teacher and student … within [effective] relationships, learners are willing to disclose their lack of understanding rather than hide it from their teachers; learners are more attentive, ask more questions, are more actively engaged … learning is contextual, and one of the most important contexts for human beings is other people who said it and what is the relationship of the learner to the teacher.53

A number of theorists and researchers in the education literature have observed that high-quality student-teacher relationships are associated with students' intrinsic motivation to learn.5458 Such relationships have important effects both on learning and on students' sense of social identification.59,60 This “identity forming” aspect of the student-teacher relationship can have powerful effects on students' professional choices and behaviors, and can be harnessed by the teacher who attends to the personhood of themselves and the student.15,61,62

Go to:

Affect and Emotion Are Important Components of Relationships

Research on learning and neurobiology suggests that the human brain's centers that process emotions are intimately connected with those that process and store incoming information.63 In other words, lessons learned in the context of strong emotions are altered by those emotions. Negative emotions such as anger or anxiety may interfere with the process of learning, because they alter the student's ability to efficiently process information.64 Similarly, positive emotions may lessen anxiety and lead the student to take more risks and pursue positive learning behaviors such as asking questions, challenging assumptions, and testing hypotheses.65 As emotional bonding is a fundamental aspect of human relationships,66 the emotional landscape of the student-teacher relationship provides a critically important context for the messages that the teacher is implicitly or explicitly communicating.

Go to:

Relationships Occur in the Context of Reciprocal Influence

A number of authors have suggested that ideal student-teacher relationships are characterized by qualities such as flexibility, collaboration, mutuality, emotional investment, interdependence, and support for one's own identity.54,6769 A central thread to these ideals is the concept of reciprocal influence, meaning that the learning interaction can lead to growth for both learner and teacher. In The Courage to Teach, Parker Palmer70 describes an ideal educational setting as the “community of truth,” asserting that such settings challenge the traditional roles of teacher as “expert” and student as “tabula rasa.” Rather, in the community of truth, all members present take on the role of “knower” as they gather around the subject of learning and interact with it and each other. The community of truth embodies reciprocal influence by acknowledging that students bring their own experiences to the learning interaction, and, in the process of engaging directly with the subject, the teacher, and each other, they may generate new insights not only among themselves, but in the teacher as well.

Go to:

Future Directions for Research in Relationship-centered Medical Education

The literature on hidden curricula is increasingly illuminating the premises and processes of the culture of medical education.71 The literature on relationships in medical and adult education similarly illuminates the effects of relationships on learning of explicit curricular content.50,54 We conclude this essay with a call for research that integrates the lessons learned from these 2 lines of inquiry. By investigating the processes of the culture of medical education through the “lens” of student-teacher relationships, medical educators may be able to harness the power of relationships to modify students' adoption of the prevailing premises of the medical culture. In other words, educators need data that fosters an understanding of the relational processes that will help students to gain control over the story that they are enacting. We offer several initial questions for research along these lines: to what extent do positive or negative student teacher relationships mediate students' adoption of the implicit premises of the medical culture? What common themes characterize students' networks of relationships during medical school, and how do these themes impact the professional choices and behaviors of those students? To what extent do the relational behaviors of influential role models shape the relational behaviors of students with current or future patients? What characterizes the inner, unconscious elaborations of students' interactions with their teachers? How are current teacher-student relationships modified by students' internalized relationships with parents or other early emotionally crucial persons? What fundamental differences exist in relationships during the preclinical years as compared with the clinical years, and how do such differences affect the educational approaches used by teachers in these settings?

Go to:


Most medical students, at some time in their training, will be told about the parallel meanings of the words “teacher” and “physician.” Most medical students will also be told that “patient education” is a core function of the medical interview. In a sense, we teachers are participating in the formation of not only diagnosticians or problem-solvers, but educators as well. The relationships we form with our students will be key sources of experience that those students will draw upon when they find themselves in the role of teacher with their patients.

Go to:


The authors would like to acknowledge members of the Baylor College of Medicine Academy of Distinguished Educators for their participation in the brainstorming session that provided the examples of assumptions/messages of the hidden curriculum.

This work was supported by the Relationship-Centered Care Research Initiative, an initiative of the Fetzer Institute, Kalamazoo, Michigan. Dr. Haidet was supported by a career development award from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The opinions expressed herein reflect those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Baylor College of Medicine, or the University of Oklahoma.

Go to:


1. Frankel RM. Relationship-centered care and the patient-physician relationship. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19:1163–5. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

2. Nolan MR, Davies S, Brown J, Keady J, Nolan J. Beyond person-centered care: a new vision for gerontological nursing. J Clin Nurs. 2004;13:45–53. [PubMed]

3. Wylie JL, Wagenfield-Heintz E. Development of relationship-centered care. J Healthcare Qual. 2004;26:14–21. [PubMed]

4. Worley-Louis MM, Schommer JC, Finnegan JR. Construct identification and measure development for investigating pharmacist-patient relationships. Patient Educ Couns. 2003;51:229–38. [PubMed]

5. Beckman HB, Frankel RM. Training practitioners to communicate effectively in cancer care: it is the relationship that counts. Patient Educ Couns. 2003;50:85–9. [PubMed]

6. Riper M. Family-provider relationships and well-being in families with preterm infants in the NICU. Heart Lung. 2001;30:74–84. [PubMed]

7. Roter D. The enduring and evolving nature of the patient-physician relationship. Patient Educ Couns. 2000;39:5–15. [PubMed]

8. Walker PH, Baldwin D, Fitzpatrick Building community: developing skills for interprofessional health professions education and relationship-centered care. J Am Acad Nurse Pract. 1997;9:413–8. [PubMed]

9. Inui TS. What are the sciences of relationship-centered primary care? J Fam Pract. 1996;42:171–7.[PubMed]

10. Tresolini CP The Pew-Fetzer Task Force. Health Professions Education and Relationship-Centered Care. San Francisco: Pew Health Professions Commission; 1994.

11. Beach MC, Inui TS Relationship-Centered Care Research Network. the Relationship-centered care: a constructive reframing. J Gen Intern Med. 2006;21:S3–S8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

12. Schroeder SA, Zones JS, Showstack JA. Academic medicine as a public trust. JAMA. 1989;262:803–12. [PubMed]

13. Lown B. The Lost Art of Healing: Practicing Compassion in Medicine. Boston: Houghton Mifflin; 1996.

14. Branch WT, Jr, Kern D, Haidet P. Teaching the human dimensions of care in clinical settings. JAMA. 2001;286:1067–74. [PubMed]

15. Gracey CF, Haidet P, Branch WT. Precepting humanism: strategies for fostering the human dimensions of care in ambulatory settings. Acad Med. 2005;80:21–8. [PubMed]

16. Suchman AL, Williamson PR, Litzelman DK, Frankel RM, Mossbarger DL, Inui TS The Relationship-Centered Care Discovery Team. Toward an informal curriculum that teaches professionalism: transforming the social environment of a medical school. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19:501–4. [PMC free article][PubMed]

17. Kao AC, Parsi KP. Content analyses of oaths administered at US medical schools in 2000. Acad Med. 2004;79:882–7. [PubMed]

18. Huber SJ. The white coat ceremony: a contemporary medical ritual. J Med Ethics. 2003;29:364–6.[PMC free article] [PubMed]

19. Pfeiffer C, Madray H, Ardolino A, Willms J. The rise and fall of students' skill in obtaining a medical history. Med Educ. 1998;32:283–8. [PubMed]

20. Craig JL. Retention of interviewing skills learned by first year medical students: a longitudinal study. Med Educ. 1992;26:276–81. [PubMed]

21. Engler CM, Saltzman GA, Walker ML, Wolf FM. Medical student acquisition and retention of communication and interviewing skills. J Med Educ. 1981;56:572–9. [PubMed]

22. Wright AD, Green ID, Fleetwood-Walker PM, Bishop JM, Wishart EH, Swire H. Patterns of acquisition of interview skills by medical students. Lancet. 1980;2:964–6. [PubMed]

23. Haidet P, Dains JE, Paterniti DA. Medical student attitudes toward the doctor-patient relationship. Med Educ. 2002;36:568–74. [PubMed]

24. Hafferty FW. Beyond curriculum reform: confronting medicine's hidden curriculum. Acad Med. 1998;73:403–7. [PubMed]

25. Quinn D. Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit. New York: Bantam/Turner; 1992.

26. Hall ET. The Silent Language. New York: Anchor; 1973.

27. Tubbs L, Moss S. Human Communication. New York: McGraw-Hill; 1994.

28. Stern DT. In search of the informal curriculum: when and where professional values are taught. Acad Med. 1998;73(suppl 10):S28–30. [PubMed]

29. Stein HF. American Medicine as Culture. Boulder, CO: Westview Press; 1990.

30. Shem S. House of God. New York: Delta; 2003.

31. Seabrook MA. Medical teachers' concerns about the clinical teaching context. Med Educ. 2003;37:213–22. [PubMed]

32. Konner M. Becoming a Doctor: A Journey of Initiation in Medical School. New York: Penguin Books; 1988.

33. Broadhead RS. The Private Lives and Professional Identity of Medical Students. New Brunswick: Transaction Books; 1983.

34. DelVecchio-Good MJ. American Medicine: The Quest for Competence. Berkeley: University of California Press; 1995.

35. Good BJ. Medicine, Rationality, and Experience: An Anthropological Perspective. New York: Cambridge University Press; 1994.

36. Marinker M. Myth, paradox, and the hidden curriculum. Med Educ. 1997;31:293–8. [PubMed]

37. Bordes CL. Teaching, digression, and implicit curriculum. Teach Learn Med. 2004;16:212–4.[PubMed]

38. Coombs RH. Mastering Medicine: Professional Socialization in Medical School. New York: Free Press; 1978.

39. Haas J, Shaffir W. Becoming Doctors: The Adoption of a Cloak of Competence. Greenwich, CT: JAI Press; 1991.

40. Seabrook MA. Intimidation in medical education: students' and teachers' perspectives. Stud Higher Educ. 2004;29:59–74.

41. Becker HS, Geer B, Hughes EC, Strauss AL. Boys in White: Student Culture in Medical School.Chicago: University of Chicago Press; 1961.

42. Merton RK, Reader GG, Kendal PI, editors. The Student-Physician: Introductory Studies in the Sociology of Medical Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 1957.

43. Fox RC. Essays in Medical Sociology: Journeys into the Field. New Brunswick: Transaction Books; 1988.

44. Braddock CH, Eckstrom E, Haidet P. The ‘new revolution’ in medical education: fostering professionalism and patient-centered communication in the contemporary environment. J Gen Intern Med. 2004;19:610–1. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

45. Vecchio-Good MJ, Good BJ, Becker AE. The culture of medicine and racial, ethnic, and class disparities in healthcare. In: Smedley BD, Stith AY, Nelson AR, editors. Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Committee on Understanding and Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press; 2003.

46. Good BJ, Vecchio-Good MJ. “Fiction” and “historicity” in doctors' stories: social and narrative dimensions of learning medicine Narrative and the Cultural Construction of Illness and Healing. In: Mattingly C, Garro LC, editors. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press;

47. Cassell EJ. Consent or obedience? Power and authority in medicine. N Engl J Med. 2005;352:328–30.[PubMed]

48. Hafferty FW. Into the Valley: Death and the Socialization of Medical Students. New Haven: Yale University Press; 1991.

49. Charon R. Narrative and medicine. N Engl J Med. 2004;350:862–4. [PubMed]

50. Tiberius RG, Sinai J, Flak EA. The role of teacher-learner relationships in medical education. In: Norman GR, Vleuten M, Newble DI, editors. International Handbook of Research in Medical Education.Dordrecht: Kluwer; 2002.

51. Bransford JD, Brown AL, Cocking RR, editors. How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, School.Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 2000.

52. Tiberius RG, Billson JM. The social context of teaching and learning. In: Menges RJ, Svinicki MD, editors. College Teaching: From Theory to Practice. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass; 1991.

53. Tiberius RG. The why of teacher/student relationships. Essays on teaching excellence: the professional and organizational development network in higher education. 1994. [12/1/04].

54. Westberg J, Jason H. Collaborative Clinical Education: The Foundation of Effective Health Care.Berlin: Springer; 1992.

55. Chene A. The concept of autonomy in adult education: a philosophical discussion. Adult Educ Q. 1983;34:38–47.

56. Tough A. The Adult's Learning Projects. Toronto: Ontario Institute for Studies in Education; 1971.

57. Davis H. Conceptualizing the role and influence of student-teacher relationships on children's social and cognitive development. Educ Psychologist. 2003;38:207–34.

58. Williams GC, Wiener MW, Markakis KM, Reeve JM, Deci EL. Medical students' motivation for internal medicine. J Gen Intern Med. 1994;9:327–33. [PubMed]

59. Wortham S. The interdependence of social identification and learning. Am Educ Res J. 2004;41:715–50.

60. Wilkes M, Raven BH. Understanding social influence in medical education. Acad Med. 2002;77:481–8. [PubMed]

61. Wright SM, Kern DE, Kobdner K, Howard DM, Brancati FL. Attributes of excellent attending-physician role models. N Engl J Med. 1998;339:1986–93. [PubMed]

62. Kern DE, Wright SM, Carrese JA. Personal growth in medical faculty: a qualitative study. West J Med. 2001;175:92–8. [PMC free article] [PubMed]

63. Zull JE. The brain, the body, learning, and teaching. Natl Teaching Learning Forum. 1998;7:1–5.

64. Goleman D. Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More than IQ. New York: Basic Books; 1994.

65. Caine RN, Caine G. Making Connections: Teaching and the Human Brain. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley; 1994.

66. Perlman HH. Relationship: The Heart of Helping People. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press; 1979.

67. Kern DE, Branch WT, Jr, Jackson JL. Teaching the psychosocial aspects of care in the clinical setting: practical recommendations. Acad Med. 2005;80:8–20. [PubMed]

68. Branch WT, Jr, Paranjape A. Feedback and reflection: teaching methods for clinical settings. Acad Med. 2002;77:1185–8. [PubMed]

69. Bain K. What the Best College Teachers Do. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2004.

70. Palmer P. The Courage to Teach. San Francisco: Jossey Bass; 1998.

71. Haidet P, Kelly PA Chou C for the C3Investigators. Characterizing the patient centeredness of medical schools' hidden curricula: development and validation of a new measure. Acad Med. 2005;80:44–50.[PubMed]

Read More


Supporting Students with Disabilities

Welcome to the Supporting Students with Disabilities course and resource site. This site has been designed as a resource for postsecondary education faculty and Accessibility Centre/Disability Services Office support staff, tutors, and mentors, particularly in New Brunswick, Canada, but is offered free of charge to anyone, anywhere who has an interest in the subject area.

The site has been developed by the Anglophone postsecondary institutions of New Brunswick, Canada, indicated in the title bar above. It is an English version of a similar online course developed in French by the Université de Moncton.

You can consider this a course made up of 11 modules including an introduction, up-to-date content, case studies, videos of students and instructors talking about their accommodation experiences, and reference material.



The intent of this website is to provide helpful information for instructors in understanding how a wide range of disabilities impact students' learning and assessment environments. The goal of this website is to better equip instructors to support students with disabilities and to identify the institution support entities that provide accommodation assistance to both students and instructors.

This course should provide answers to such questions as:

  • What kinds of disabilities may require accommodation? Why?
  • What are typical accommodations for disabilities?
  • What is the process for setting up accommodation for a student?
  • How will accommodating students impact my work as an instructor?

The information contained in this course has been vetted and verified for accuracy. Some students may have coexisting disabilities. Many disabilities are invisible, and not all students with disabilities will ask for support or accommodation. Accommodation for many types of disabilities takes much less instructor time and effort than is often thought.

Click About This Course for additional background information on the course features and creators.

Universal Design for Learning

Universal Design for Learning/Universal Instructional Design (UDL/UID)1 aims to provide an ideal learning environment for all students. UDL/UID is a curriculum design and delivery model focused on providing accessible and inclusive education; however, it is not meant to address only the needs of students with disabilities.

The theory of UDL/UID is based on the premise that each student is a unique learner with a different set of needs, preferences, interests, motivations, prior knowledge, strengths, and limitations. It also assumes that each of these traits has a significant impact on how an individual responds to the learning environment. According to UDL/UID, by considering the variability of diverse learners at the level of curriculum design, it is possible to deliver flexible and responsive learning experiences that simultaneously minimizes barriers and enhances opportunities amongst all learners.

In order to accomplish this goal, UDL/UID relies on a set of core principles that place value on providing options for how information is presented, how students can express what they know (e.g. assessment), and how interest and motivation may be fostered. In addition to these principles, UDL/UID prescribes a welcoming, interactive, and open learning environment where students feel comfortable and encouraged to participate.

In recent years, UDL/UID has been incorporated to varying degrees by many large postsecondary institutions within Canada.

For more information about UDL/UID, please visit or

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology includes hardware or software that assists a person with a disability in using the computer to access print and other electronic material.

Types of assistive technologies include:

  • Screen reader software, which provides an oral translation of the information on the screen
  • Voice recognition software that allows people to navigate with their voice
  • Input devices such as large keyboards, mouse pedals, and ergonomic furniture

Kurzweil 3000

Kurzweil is a comprehensive reading, writing, and learning software product designed for any struggling reader, including individuals with learning difficulties, such as dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or those who are English Language Learners. It is available on both Mac and Windows platforms.

It is designed to do the following:

Provide access to any curriculum: The software can access virtually any information, whether it is printed, electronic, or on the Web.

Increase reading fluency: It provides the tools students need to improve their reading speed and comprehension.

Help develop study skills: With the aid of visual and auditory feedback, the software helps students keep up with assigned readings, learn critical study skills, and successfully complete writing projects and tests.

Provide decoding support: It reads the words aloud to the student in clear, human-like, synthetic speech, while a dual highlighting feature adds visual reinforcement.

Inspiration Mind Mapping Software

Inspiration is a visual thinking and learning tool those with a learning disability rely on in order to plan, research and complete projects successfully. With integrated Diagram and Outline Views, learners create graphic organizers and expand topics into writing. It is available on both Mac and Windows platforms.

Inspiration is designed to do the following:

Visualize Ideas, Concepts and Relationships: In Diagram View, you can create graphic organizers including concept maps, webs, and idea maps to analyze, compare, and evaluate information. With symbols, links, and a text and multimedia file, Inspiration makes it easy to express ideas, discover relationships, and develop new thoughts and perspectives.

Improve Writing Proficiency: With a mouse click, you can transform your diagram into a hierarchical outline to further organize and develop your thoughts into written reports. Powerful outlining capabilities help refine the writing structure and expand on ideas and notes. Additional tools support more polished written project and streamlined revisions.

Plan, Organize and Complete Projects: You can use Inspiration to successfully plan and organize projects, assignments, and more. Available tools and options support a variety of learning styles and help complete projects, develop thinking skills, and demonstrate knowledge, making Inspiration the essential tool to visualize, think, organize, and learn.

Dictation Software

Speech recognition (also known as automatic speech recognition or computer speech recognition): Converts spoken words to text. The term "voice recognition" is sometimes used to refer to recognition systems that must be trained to a particular speaker, as is the case for most desktop recognition software. Recognizing the speaker can simplify the task of translating speech.

Speed and accuracy: With speech recognition software you can turn your voice into text three times faster than most people type. Just start talking, and the software will recognize your voice instantly, with up to 99% accuracy. It takes only minutes of training to get started, and accuracy will continually improve the more you use the software.

Accessibility: Using speech recognition takes away the mechanical aspects of typing. As speech recognition has improved over the years, more and more people with articulation and pronunciation difficulties can use the software to complete daily tasks.

Other Assistive Technology

In addition to Kurzweil 3000, Inspiration, and dictation software, other very useful assistive software also includes:

  • JAWS (Windows screen reader)
  • ZoomText (Windows screen magnifier)
  • Kurzweil 1000 (Windows text-to-speech for the visually impaired)
  • PCs and Macs with large screen monitors
  • Scanners for capturing text, USB headphones for listening, portable and stationary electronic video magnifiers (CCTV)

Read More


A tsunami of up to three metres has hit a small city on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, collapsing buildings and washing a vessel onto land, after a magnitude-7.5 quake struck offshore, but there has been no word on casualties, officials say.

Authorities received information that Palu had been hit amid a rapid series of aftershocks, Dwikorita Karnawati, who heads Indonesia's meteorology and geophysics agency, BMKG, said.

"The situation is chaotic, people are running on the streets and buildings collapsed. There is a ship washed ashore," Ms Karnawati said.

Videos circulating on social media show a powerful wave hitting the provincial capital, Palu, with people screaming and running in fear.

Indonesian disaster agency spokesman Sutopo Purwo Nugroho said houses were swept away by the tsunami and families had been reported missing.

He said communications with central Sulawesi were down, and the search and rescue effort was being hampered by darkness.

BMKG had earlier issued a tsunami warning, but lifted it within the hour.

"We advise people to remain in safe area, stay away from damaged buildings," Mr Nugroho said in a televised interview.

The national search and rescue agency will deploy a large ship and helicopters to aid with the operation, agency chief Muhammad Syaugi said, adding he had not been able to contact his team in Palu.

Palu, hit by a magnitude-6.2 quake in 2005 which killed one person, is a tourist resort at the end of a narrow bay famous for its beaches and water sports.

In 2004, an earthquake off the northern Indonesian island of Sumatra triggered a tsunami across the Indian Ocean, killing 226,000 people in 13 countries, including more than 120,000 in Indonesia.

Earlier on Friday, the National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) said it was having difficulty reaching some authorities in Palu and the fishing town of Donggala, closest to the epicentre of the quake 80 kilometres away at a shallow 10 kilometres underground.

Palu airport was closed.

The area was hit by a lighter quake earlier in the day, which destroyed some houses, killing one person and injuring at least 10 in Donggala, authorities said.

Some people took to Twitter saying they could not contact loved ones. "My family in Palu is unreachable," Twitter user @noyvionella said.

More than 600,000 people live in Donggala and Palu.

Read More


Emergency and Critical Incident Management

1 Policy Statement

The Department of Education (the Department) principals or site managers are responsible for management of on-site and off-site school related emergencies and critical incidents. The intention is to minimise trauma and distress to students and staff and damage to property and to ensure the teaching and learning program is maintained or resumed

For more Information please visit Department of Education website

Read More


Starting secondary school

Moving from primary to secondary school, or high school, is a big transition. It can be a time full of fun, excitement and new experiences, but it can also be challenging or worrying for many children. You can help by making sure your child is prepared and feels supported.

Going to secondary school: what to expect

Children often have mixed feelings about starting secondary school. They might be:

  • excited about new friends, subjects and teachers
  • nervous about learning new routines, making new friends or wearing a new uniform
  • worried about handling the workload or not fitting in.

You might also worry about these issues, and about whether your child will have the confidence and skills to handle them.

These worries are all normal. Secondary school also means a move from the familiar to the unknown, and a whole new way of doing things.

Your child will need to meet new peers and make new friends, and establish or re-establish her position within a peer group.

Your child will need to adapt to new teaching and assessment styles, cope with a wide range of subjects, adjust to having different teachers in different classrooms, become more responsible for his own learning, manage a heavier and more complicated study and homework load, and learn a new and more complex timetable.

Getting around
Your child will have to adjust to a new school campus, find her way around, get to class on time with the right books and materials, and possibly cope with new transport arrangements.

All these issues might be particularly challenging for some young people living in rural or remote communities. For example, they might need to manage lengthy travel times or move away from their families, friends and local communities to go to boarding school.

When children are making the move to secondary school, you have the biggest influence on how smooth the transition is. Your child’s friends do influence how your child feels about the move, but your support has stronger and longer-lasting effects.

Preparing to start secondary school

You can help to ease any worries your child has about starting secondary school by preparing your child in the months and weeks before term begins.

Practical issues
Here are some ideas for dealing with practical issues:

  • Make sure your child goes to any secondary school transition and orientation programs in the last term of primary school.
  • If your primary school doesn’t run a transition program, find out what transition services and supports your child’s new high school offers.
  • Involve your child in decision-making where possible. For example, you could try talking together about transport options to and from school, and subject electives.

Here are some ideas to deal with mixed feelings and worries:

  • Talk with your child about what he’s most looking forward to and what he’s worried about. Really listen when your child shares his feelings and worries about secondary school. Reassure him that it’s normal to worry about going to secondary school.
  • Encourage your child to look at the positive side of the move to secondary school. For example, you could highlight the new opportunities your child will have by talking about extracurricular activities your child could choose at the new school.
  • Talk with your child about friendships. For example, you could ask what your child’s friends are saying about secondary school. You could also talk about how your child might keep in touch with old friends and make new friends at high school.

During the transition to secondary school

Practical issues
Here are some ideas to help with the practical side of the transition to high school:

  • Try to arrange for a parent, grandparent or other close adult to be home before and after school for the first few weeks after your child starts secondary school.
  • Find out the name of the teacher responsible for your child’s overall care, attendance and social and academic progress. This person might be called a home-room teacher, year advisor or pastoral care teacher. Try to introduce yourself as early as possible.
  • Try to make your home as comfortable for study time as possible. For example, make sure your child has a quiet place to study, away from distractions like the TV or a mobile phone.

These ideas might help with worries about getting to know people and making new friends at high school:

  • Reassure your child that it’s normal to worry about making new friends.
  • Find out whether there’s a buddy system at your child’s new school and encourage your child to be involved in it.
  • Let your child know that new friends are welcome in your home. Encourage your child to invite new friends over, or be ready to transport your child to their houses.
  • Help your child explore new opportunities. Learning a musical instrument, trying a new sport or joining a drama class are great ways for your child to meet new people and get involved in school activities.

You could try these suggestions for handling emotional ups and downs:

  • Be prepared for ups and downs. Adjusting to change takes time, but if things don’t stabilise after the first term, talk to your child’s home-room teacher in the first instance.
  • Remind your child that it’s normal to feel nervous about starting something new – for example, you could share how nervous and excited you feel when starting a new job.
  • Talk to other parents to check whether your child’s experiences and feelings are similar to those of others. Sporting and school events are good opportunities to meet other parents.
  • Try to make sure your child eats well, gets plenty of physical activity and gets plenty of sleep. The change to secondary school is likely to make your child more tired at first.
  • Stay calm. If you’re calm and reassuring you’ll give your child more confidence that she can get through the tough parts of starting high school.

Keep talking with your child about school. If you’re having trouble getting your child to open up, try our tips on talking about school.

Signs your child might be having difficulty at secondary school

If your child is struggling with the transition to secondary school, you might notice that he:

  • doesn’t want to go to school, or refuses to go
  • says he feels sick on Sunday nights
  • doesn’t seem interested in schoolwork or new activities at the new school
  • doesn’t talk with you about school or friends
  • seems low on confidence or self-esteem – your child might say he’s dumb or nobody likes him
  • is getting lower marks than he used to.

If your child is having trouble, don’t wait for things to improve on their own. Try to get your child talking about how she’s feeling, let her know that feeling worried is normal, and see whether you can work out some strategies together.

If things don’t improve within 2-3 weeks, consider speaking with your child’s teacher, year level co-ordinator, welfare co-ordinator or GP.

Children with additional needs starting secondary school

The transition to secondary school is sometimes more challenging for children with additional needs. It’s important to ensure that your child – and your family – are adequately prepared for the change and can get the information you need.

You might need extra time to plan your child’s transition to secondary school, even starting up to a year ahead. Student welfare services at your child’s primary and secondary schools will play an important role in ensuring your child’s needs are supported.

If you’d like extra support or have concerns, you can talk with your child’s teacher, school principal or learning support team. Also contact disability services in your state or territory.

Your feelings about your child starting secondary school

Your child’s transition to secondary school is a big change for you too. Your relationship with your child’s primary school might be ending, and you’re likely to have a different sort of relationship with your child’s secondary school.

It’s normal to have mixed feelings about these changes.

Talking to other parents, particularly those who have gone through high school transition, often helps. It might ease your mind to know that most children find things a little hard at first but settle in during the year.

Also, other parents who are experienced at the school can often answer small questions and give you helpful tips about how things work at your child’s new school.

And don’t be surprised to find that your child doesn’t want you to be as visible at his secondary school as you might have been during the primary years. Remember that he’ll still need your support outside of school, and that it’s all part of the way he develops greater independence.

Your Sincerely

Benjamin Carter

Associate Principal, College Development

Read More


Five Strategies to improve Academic Performance

Is your child struggling to improve their academic performance? Are you looking for some manageable, simple learning strategies to help them improve their academic performance?

Top tutor Scott D has figured out the most effective strategies and techniques, based on his own experiences at university.

He discovered that while some aspects of a student’s academic performance are very unique to them (i.e. their learning styles and natural aptitudes), there are several key strategies which can be applied to accelerate anyone’s performance.

In this post Scott outlines five strategies to improve academic performance. Most of them are simple, but if implemented (and this is the key) they are extremely effective.

  1. Set Goals and Work Backwards

The first step with any new student is to construct a set of goals. Goals enable a student to continuously track their progress and adjust accordingly. It is considerably easier to make small adjustments throughout the year, than to make a huge pivot come exam time (or after mock examination results, as is common). This helps students feel more in control, reducing anxiety during exams.

The process of setting goals also enables students to plan their time more effectively and quantify their progress. This enables students to re-evaluate their performance and determine what they can achieve throughout the year. In the words of Bruce Lee, “Long-term consistency trumps short-term intensity”.

When I first went to university, my initial goal was to get a 2:1. However, when I achieved a high first-class average for my second year, my long-term goal immediately changed. I adjusted what I believed was possible for me and set a new higher goal.

This is how I have seen students jump several grade bounds during a single year. They set a goal, hit it early (which often surprises them, but fills them full of belief) and raise their expectations (and usually their performance). However, without setting a goal in the first place, the student cannot effectively measure, track or adjust their performance as they go. Their education becomes a shot in the dark.

  1. Use A Wider Variety of Learning Resources

Using different resources is significantly more effective than using a single resource. Here are a few reasons why:

You can gain different contexts and/or perspectives

Overall, anything that gives you a different perspective on a theory, idea or problem will act to enhance learning. A good example of this is to look at the earth from a single image. It does give you a perspective of what earth looks like, but you never get the whole picture until you look at it from several different angles (and get several different perspectives).

They can provide different associations and analogies

The same is true of using different associations and analogies. Everyone has had that experience where they haven’t understood something properly, and then suddenly it clicked with an analogy that resonated with them. In my opinion, it is certainly one of the most effective ways to learn more abstract subjects, such as the sciences or maths.

Different learning styles i.e. visual, auditory and/or kinaesthetic are stimulated

In my experience, using resources that engage visualauditory and kinaesthetic have the best results for students.

As a private tutor I will often start with a syllabus textbook and then gradually introduce other subject specific reading materials.

I may also introduce videos, images, varied questioning and testing resources. This I find to be the most effective way for students to learn.

 It can help make learning more enjoyable.

There are two effective ways to memorise information: repetition and variation. While the former is very effective it is also quite tedious, particularly if it is from the same resource. Variation, on the other hand, is not only very effective but it can also make learning more enjoyable. Studies have also found that students learn better through active engagement.

  1. Get Through the ‘Frustration’ Period

There is no doubt about it; trying to learn a new skill or material can be frustrating at first. However, this is a natural process and the friction caused by a lack of understanding will always disappear given enough exposure.

A great analogy for thinking about these stages is learning to drive (or if you haven’t reached that stage, riding a bike).

The ‘learning cycle’ suggests that we all go through four stages of learning. Here are the four stages using this analogy.

Unconscious incompetence (this is when you are grossly incompetent at something because you haven’t been exposed to it before).

When you start learning to drive, you don’t know how anything works. This stage can be very frustrating and you feel completely incompetent for the first couple of lessons.

Conscious incompetence (this is when you know you are not good at something despite having had some exposure to it)

After a few driving lessons you begin to improve but you still cannot not drive independently.

Conscious competence (this is when you become knowingly competent in some area of skill)

You have taken your test and are able to drive on your own. This stage, however, still requires a lot of conscious effort to drive on your own.

Unconscious competence (this is when you can do it on autopilot. It becomes natural and subconscious)

Finally, after a few months, driving becomes subconscious.

One of the key challenges of secondary and higher education is getting a student to the last two stages in the learning cycle. The challenge being that many students are exposed only to new information for a few lessons at most.

The problem arises when students are stuck in the ‘incompetence’ stages of learning. Frustration can lead them to avoid the subject altogether; or worse still, they start to believe they are not smart enough and develop a dislike (or even anxiety) towards that subject. We know, however, if students are able to through this ‘frustration’ phase they will grow in confidence and self belief.

  1. Sharpen Your Examination Techniques

It might sound obvious, but you don’t get good at driving a car by taking the theory test (using my car analogy, again). You have to physically get in the car and start to drive. Likewise, you don’t get good at exams just by learning the content tested in the exams.

Mastering examinations is a skill all of its own, much like essay writing and giving oral presentations. Yet, surprisingly, I have found many students fail to practice the techniques required to do well.

These techniques do depend on the individual’s level of education but typical questioning generally progresses from description to explanation to discussion. At GCSE level, you are focusing much more on the former.

The typical prefix to questions will be:

  • Describe
  • Explain
  • Suggest

These are usually combined with the open-ended questions: what, where, when, why and how. At this level, the examiner is typically looking for keywords.

At higher levels, the questions start to incorporate discussions. These require more thought and structure, typically combined with your own research, opinions and case studies.

Exam technique requires an article of its own. Nevertheless, one useful tip is to always put yourself into the mind of the examiner when answering questions; and when practicing, always have the mark scheme to see exactly what keywords the examiner is looking for.

 5. Practice Exams

In his TED Talk “What do top students do differently?”, Douglas Barton of Elevate Education discussed how top students don’t necessarily get the top grades because they have the highest IQ’s or even because they work the hardest (although there is usually some correlation with the latter). It was because they do more practice exams.

Their study, based on a 13-year process looking into the learning habits of tens of thousands of students, found that they could almost perfectly estimate a student’s results based upon the number of practice exam papers they had done.

I cannot disagree with this. Here are a few of the many benefits associated with practicing exams:

  • Recognisable patterns will begin to form in the questioning and content
  • Applying knowledge to different types of questioning will become easier.
  • Using additional resources supplied with the exam will become more familiar.
  • The structure of the exam will make more sense.
  • You will become faster and less prone to silly mistakes

Ultimately you will sharpen the techniques I discussed in the section above and become more aware of what the examiner (or mark scheme) is looking for.

One of the most common problems I see is when a student is knowledgeable in the subject area but cannot connect that with answering a question. This is simply a symptom of lack of practice.

So there you have it. These are my top  five strategies to improve academic performance. I guarantee that if you apply these strategies from the beginning of the year you will be shocked at how far you progress by the time you have to sit an exam.

If you would like to contact Scott D to arrange private tutoring please contact him through his Tutorfair profile. Scott is a Maths and Science specialist as well as a learning coach with many years experience in tutoring.

ALSO REMEMBER: Congrats to our Year 9 and Year 8 students that has compete their annual maths, science and english Competition that held last week and the week before. Congrats to those that Involved in the events!

Read More


Ros Thomas talks with families to see how their children have adjusted to life as Year 7s in secondary school.

Starting secondary school can be daunting. Who doesn't remember their first few weeks? I was the girl desperate to fit in but afraid of standing out. I missed my friends from primary school. I worried about whether I was likeable enough to make new friends. I was terrified of getting lost in the corridors, of failing to find my class, or worse - having to ask for directions. I panicked about missing the bus home. Or not getting to school on time. And I thought I might not cope with my increased workload, or the demands of so many new teachers. My worries were endless.

Now, 11 and 12-year-olds are starting secondary school in Year 7 instead of Year 8. For the first time, they're the youngest at school rather than the oldest.

Year 7s now need to adjust to life in the secondary school with new classmates and different teachers for different subjects.

Many will be travelling further from home. Some will be catching the bus or the train alone for the first time.

The Year 7 move to secondary school was implemented in public schools across Western Australia in 2015.

Year 7 students, on average, are now six months older than in the years before the school starting age was raised. Nearly half were turning 13 while still in primary school and were considered more than ready for secondary school where they could study a broader range of specialist subjects in the Western Australian Curriculum. Their teachers would be specialists too. They'd have access to facilities and equipment few primary schools could provide.

But starting secondary school a year early meant leaving childhood

"We knew parents were anxious and we understood why," says Nigel Wakefield, principal of Australind Senior High in WA's southwest.

"We had 238 Year 7s coming from 23 different primary schools. That's a lot of kids to settle in."

Nigel says parents' chief concern was what would happen when 11 and 12-year-olds began mixing with 17 and 18-year-olds? Would they be picked on? Would the Year 12s be a bad influence? How would an 11-year-old cope in a sea of 1300 hormonal teenagers?

"Mums, in particular, felt protective," he says. "But we knew our Year 7s needed to be stretched. And you know what? They showed us they were ready for secondary school by flourishing when they got here."

Nigel says planning for the Year 7 move was rigorous.

"Two years out we were holding information nights at primary schools. We offered tours of our school and more than 400 people turned up. We worked closely with the architect on the new Year 7 building. We designed it with a huge communal space in the middle filled with sofas and chairs. We wanted to give Year 7s a place they could hang out."

"By the time they started," Nigel says, "they felt at home. At first, we limited their classroom movements so they wouldn't worry about getting lost. We didn't overwhelm them with too many teachers. We gave mums and dads constant feedback about how each child was settling in. Within a few weeks, we knew things were going well."

For Australind mum Tania Murphy, sending her first child to secondary school in Year 7 was unsettling.

"I was very apprehensive about the transition. I just couldn't see why it was necessary or how it was going to work. Kieren is one of the youngest kids in his year. I knew he'd have to grow up quickly and I didn't think he should have to do that. I wanted him to have a chance at being one of the big kids in primary school - someone to look up to. Instead, he'd end up being a small fish in a big pond all over again."

"I shouldn't have worried," Tania tells me. "He's doing so well. The specialist classes opened so many doors for him - suddenly he was being offered classes like woodwork, metalwork and home economics - he wouldn't have had those opportunities in primary school. We couldn't be happier."

Mother-of-four Jo Campbell speaks for many parents when she says she took some convincing that son Travis would be better off doing Year 7 at secondary school.

"To be honest," she says, "I would've liked him to have completed Year 7 in primary school - and so would he. But Australind Senior High has bent over backwards to accommodate us. There's a great student services team with youth workers available to offer extra support when needed. Travis has managed a lot better than I was expecting. He's doing well. I'd have to say we've been welcomed and supported in the secondary school."

For Jo Daniel, however, the idea of her son moving to secondary school was traumatic.

"Thomas has Aspergers," she explains. "He was freaking out. We all were. He wasn't doing well at primary school so we were very nervous."

But Jo says Australind Senior High was ready for Thomas.

"Half way through Year 6 they introduced him to his new teachers. They walked him through a typical day and showed him where his classes would be.

"The special needs kids had their own safe zone within the Year 7 building - somewhere they could go and chill out and feel like they belonged.

"On the first day of Year 7, Thomas didn't even want me to go into school with him," Jo laughs. "He knew exactly where he needed to be. Now he's a different child. He's thriving and doing far better in secondary school than he ever did in primary school. He feels like one of the big kids and he's matured. For the first time, he's out playing soccer at lunchtime and joining in."

At Wanneroo Secondary College, principal Pauline White says she knew the first intake of parents was always going to be hard to win over.

But after nine years as principal, she says she knew her school community well and understood what the Year 7s would need to feel secure.

"The kids were saying their biggest worry was how to make friends," Pauline tells me. "We knew the faster we could make that happen, the quicker they'd feel secure. So at lunchtimes, we had staff on the lookout for solitary kids. We organised clubs and competitions so they could meet other new students and find common interests.

"In the end, our first year was highly successful," she says.

"The Year 7s settled far better than we expected. There were no big blips. In some areas, teachers had to adjust the curriculum - they were either going too fast or two slow - and they had to keep tabs on whether the kids were coping with the workload.

"But when we did our first surveys at the end of last year, 98 percent of our parents said the changeover was a positive experience."

Pauline says her favourite response was from a parent who wrote: 'A smiling child came home from school and couldn't wait to return.' "That makes our effort all worthwhile, doesn't it?"

Read More


Parents and carers are responsible for their child's safety when travelling to and from school

School's responsibility

Under the Department's Code of Conduct, section 21. Duty of Care, schools have an obligation to provide reasonable care to:

  • provide adequate supervision
  • ensure grounds, premises and equipment are safe for employees, students and the general public. This extends to the entry and exit of students to school grounds. School risk assessments need to factor in the age, ability and maturity level of the students as well as any individual characteristics. These will influence the standard of care required.

Safety of students as road users

Schools need to work with and educate students and the school community about using current traffic infrastructure to ensure students are kept as safe as practically possible.

  1. Curriculum: road safety is a mandatory part of K-10 PDHPE syllabuses and the Stage 6 Crossroads course. Teachers should localise teaching and learning activities to reflect the environmental conditions in which students travel/live.
  2. School community: schools should regularly inform and communicate how they expect parents/carers to act in the school zone traffic environment. This can be done via social media, school newsletters, school website, school brochures, kindergarten orientations.
  3. Working with external agencies: schools should notify others e.g. police, local Council parking rangers/road safety officer/traffic engineer, local businesses if changes to the school zone traffic environment will make it safer for students.

Advice for safe walking

Road safety education, driver education and training policy

Under the Department's policy school staff, parents/carers and students all have a responsibility to take reasonable measures to protect students against risk of injury or harm. This extends to the entry and exit of students to school grounds.

Further information

Centre for Road Safety

Your local council Road Safety Officer

Read More


Our Former Year 12 student that graduated last year she has made an Incredible stories about being a uni student on the fist day of University and That this she had to say

My feelings in first days at university

Changes can make people overwhelm with the newness of the situation. Moving from a high school to a university is one of the largest changes of my life. In this page, I will tell you about some obstacles and negative feelings in my first days at university and how I managed to overcome these things and settled in the university life.

At first, I was very excited, since I finally made it to the university that I had always dreamed about. Also, I had heard many rumors that life in university was very fun and full of freedom, so I was looking forward to my first university class. However, everything was not like what I had heard, and things started to get worse after my first class.

Studying in a university was full of pressure. In class, the professors talked quite fast, and I had to note down necessary things by my own. If I did not read the text books at home, so it would be very hard for me to follow the lectures and understand the lessons. Moreover, I was so overwhelmed by the workload that I had with many individual assignments, group works and research. Also, besides the academic requirement, I had to meet the requirement of extra activities. All these things made me felt so stress and depressed.

Friendship was another important issue in my university life. In university, students usually took various courses in one semester, so it was normal that they studied with different classmates in different courses. Although I met new people every day, almost none of them actually became my friend because we did not spend much time talking to each other besides the introduction about ourselves. Sometimes, I met some nice people, and we had pleasant conversations. However, after that, we could not meet for a week because of our very different schedule.­ Also, I could not keep track with my high school friends anymore, and they already move on and had fun with their university friends. I was so lonely and frustrated. Luckily, I lived with my parents, so I did not have to deal with the homesickness. If I did not have my family by my side, I could have fallen into the abyss of loneliness.

Fortunately, I finally made things better. First, I tried to calm myself down and asked for advices from some of my professors. Thank to their help, I could manage my time better and got all the works finished smoothly. Also, I participated in some clubs that suited my personal interests such as Manga club and handmade club. By participating in club activities, I could make friends with other students that shared the same interests with me and got some credit on my extra activities report. Moreover, I joined in my university social network on the internet. This network was very helpful, since we could make friends and shared our knowledge and experiences.

When I eventually managed to settle myself in university life, I found that it is enjoyable. There is a quote that “No one makes a lock withoutkey; that's why God won't give you problems without solutions.” Negative feeling in first days at university is not a serious problem without solutions. Keep calm and try to deal with it, and then the problem can soon be solved. 

Featured image source:

Your Sincerely

Hope Speak

Former Year 12 Student

Read More