Class act: ending the education wars

By Maxine McKew. Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 2014

“Through a series of conversations and case studies Maxine McKew documents the transformation that’s now underway in classrooms around Australia and examines the strategies that are helping to lift academic performance, particularly in some of Australia’s most challenged schools” (back cover). The book includes chapters on public schools, including Toronto High School (NSW) and Garran Primary School (ACT), interviews with, among others, Linda Darling-Hammond, Ken Boston and John Hattie, and an introductory note by David Gonski.

Curriculum and assessment: storylines (second edition)

By Robyn Ewing. South Melbourne, Vic: Oxford University Press, 2013

“Should curriculum mirror society or help transform it? How do the current debates about quality teaching and learning relate to curriculum planning, implementation and assessment? What do we mean by authentic assessment? How do we assess for learning as well as for learning outcomes? How can we achieve an equitable education for all Australians? [This book] explores the many curriculum and assessment storylines that emerge and re-emerge as part of an overall picture of Australian society’s values around education” (back cover).

When writing with technology matters

By Carol Bedard and Charles Fuhrken. Portland, Me: Stenhouse, 2013

This book “provides teachers with theory that supports the need for technology in classrooms and strategies on how to integrate technology into the English Language Arts curriculum. This timely book addresses twenty-first-century themes — critical thinking, collaboration, engagement, and empowerment — and targets current educational foci — genre knowledge, research, the importance of process, and the need to make learning relevant” (back cover).

The smartest kids in the world: and how they got that way

By Amanda Ripley. New York; Sydney: Simon & Schuster, 2013

Journalist Amanda Ripley follows three American teenagers who chose to spend one school year living in Finland, South Korea and Poland. “Through these young informants, Ripley meets battle-scarred reformers, sleep-deprived zombie students, and a teacher who earns $4 million a year. Their stories, along with ground-breaking research into learning in other cultures, reveal a pattern of startling transformation: none of these countries had many ‘smart’ kids a few decades ago” (book jacket).

Bully for them

Edited by Fiona Scott-Norman. South Melbourne, Vic: Affirm Press, 2014

“One of the most difficult things about being bullied is the feeling that nobody else knows what it’s like. Twenty-two of Australia’s most talented and successful people [including Penny Wong, Adam Goodes and Hazem El Masri] know exactly what it’s like. In candid and entertaining interviews, leading lights from across Australian life recount how they were bullied and shunned at school just for being different. Not only did they survive the ordeal but their experiences helped shape them into the remarkable individuals they are today” (back cover).