Inaugural TeachMeet on social justice is a success

The IEU is hosting more TeachMeets as part of its move to a more dynamic and interactive professional development program.

TeachMeets are sessions where teachers share their ideas for best practice on a particular topic. Talks can either be for two or seven minutes, and the friendly, non-threatening environment means that everyone feels able to share their ideas.

The format was brought to Australia by IEU member Matthew Esterman with assistance from NGS Super. Highly successful TeachMeets are held across Australia by groups of enthusiastic teachers.

On 17 August at IEU’s Ultimo building, the theme of Social Justice was approached in a variety of different ways. Member Geraldine Cullen (Waverley College) spoke about setting up a social justice program in a high school. As the coordinator of social justice programs at her school, she said a social justice program needs to be tailored to the school and its community.

We had a surprise presentation from ‘Harriet’, who is visiting Sydney from Hanover, Germany. His son-in-law, IEU member Frederick Zalloula brought Harrie along, and he spoke of Germany’s move to more integrated schooling, including inclusive education of students with additional needs and integrating refugee students, ensuring that their diverse needs are met (both in learning German, but also the disruption that has occurred to their schooling). It was interesting to hear of two familiar educational issues being described from an international perspective. These are issues many countries are struggling to address.

IEU Assistant Secretary Pam Smith spoke of the IEU’s work seeking equal rights and pay for women, and the Women in Education Committee’s active work. She emphasised that women’s rights are human rights. IEU Organiser Ann-Maree McEwan spoke of the situation in Timor Leste and APHEDA’s continue worked in this area (of which the IEU is a supporter).

Other speakers included:

  • the Refugee Council of Australia (who have a brilliant face to face program see page 4)
  • Santa Sabina College (which described their homework help program – where their students work with refugee children)
  • Together for Humanity (describing their Difference Diversity program and their free online QTC registered PD for teachers)
  • ChilOut (devoted to raising awareness of children in immigration detention)
  • Mary Ward International Australia (who are building schools and training teachers in developing countries), and
  • PTCNSW’s Global Education Project (who have a program that helps integrate social justice active learning projects into the curriculum).

Follow IEU’s TeachMeets Social Justice via Twitter’s #TMSJ. A storify of the event is available here:

TeachMeet Social Justice is available to be hosted in a town near you. All we need are volunteers to speak.

Amy Cotton
Professional Officer