In February, the teachers attending the coaching course were able to examine the Topic Activity Units that have been produced by the International Future Problem Solving team. These units provide more support for each unit and provide the students with examples of strong and weak challenges as well as the difficult area of underlying problems. The Topic Activity Units also strongly support the use of research and provide a practice scene. For example, in the recently completed Culture of Celebrity topic, the practice scene focused on student celebrities and a Wall of Fame at the Hollywood High School Celebrity Academy. Issues in the scene involved counselling and guidance programmes and coping with paparazzi, netiquette, schadenfreude, parasocial relationships and failure.
Coaches are encouraged to regularly attend the coaching sessions to learn more about the upcoming topics and creative ways to increase their teams' success. All aspects of the programmes are explained including Community Problem Solving, Scenario Performance and Scenario Writing, the action based problem solving programme for the junior classes and the ever popular Global Issues Problem Solving category.
The recently held evaluators training day attracted a mixture of senior college students, new and experienced coaches. Students from Mt St Michael's College, Stuartholme School and St Joseph's Gregory Terrace were enthusiastic about the unveiling of the mystique of evaluating. The structure of the evaluators training session involves working through the six steps of the Global Issues competitive booklet competition.
As a group, they work through a training booklet that has obvious flaws in the challenges and underlying problem. This assists the trainee evaluators as they then complete a booklet independently and send it to the National office for assessment. From this step, the evaluators are then invited to evaluate at several levels under the guidance of regional mentors who assist them in recognising restatements and shifts in the underlying problems. Undertaking the evaluator training assists coaches in providing clarification for their teams about the feedback that is provided by the national evaluators.
Lesley Sutherland, Queensland Convenor
It has taken over 12 months, but my meeting with our Minister for Education in February 2012 has at last borne a modicum of fruit. The Department of Education has allocated a modest amount of funding for FPS promotion and training through their Professional learning Institute. Training days have been advertised to all schooling sectors and are scheduled for 21 May in Hobart and 23 May in Devonport. It is very exciting to have the support of the DoE in highlighting the potential for FPS within the Australian Curriculum. My aim is to have some teachers commit their school to engaging with FPS in 2014, and to provide further mentoring support to those schools in the remainder of 2013.
In the meantime it is a struggle to maintain schools' involvement as significant staff move on. This is a major issue with government schools here in Tasmania, as is finding time and space for FPS in an environment of increasing requirements mandated from above.
Perhaps holding a National Final here would be an excellent carrot! I have been making tentative inquiries with a couple of our major independent schools in relation to the 2015 finals. Watch this space.
Jenny Tayler, Tasmania Convenor
In November last year we ran the Coach Training course for the GIPS program, and in February this year we ran the Coach Training for the CmPS program. In December we also ran a Student Training Course and Coach Training for and individual school.
We are hoping to run the Evaluator training course soon, and are currently organizing the exact details of this event. We also plan on running the Coach Training course for GIPS in November this year.
Please don't hesitate to contact us about future training events for this year.
Jo-Anne Starkie & Simon Treadgold, WA Co-Convenors
New South Wales
On Saturday March 9th a Coach Training Day was held at Kambala. Most of the teachers who attended were new to Future Problem Solving and it was quite an intensive day, devoted to getting their heads around the six-step problem solving process. However the enthusiasm for the program by the end of the day was palpable: it's great to see new schools enrolling in the competition, or ‘putting their toes in the water' by registering in the non-competitive section.
We plan to hold another Coach and Evaluator Training day towards the end of Term 4, in preparation for a good start in 2014.
There are also plans afoot to have a Study Day on Megacities before we all write our Qualifying Problem Booklets. We hope to run the day at a school in the centre of Sydney, to provide easier transport access for schools across Sydney and in the regions. More news on that front soon!
We look forward to a rewarding and challenging year in FPS, in the best possible way!
Margaret Witts & Jean Burton, NSW Co-Convenors
With the support of our National Director, Niranjan, we held a successful coach training day at Ivanhoe Girls' Grammar School on 2 March. The committee is working towards a Vic Info Day on the Qualifying topic of Megacities on 15 June at Ivanhoe Girls Grammar School. We have managed to secure as speakers: Professor Richard Tomlinson at The University of Melbourne and Carolyn Giles is working on accessing at least one other via her sources. Thanks Carolyn.
Fran Devine has kindly offered to host an Information Day at St Leonard's College on 19 April for the Victorian GIPS teams attending IC. Thank you Fran for this wonderful support of our students.
Christine Burley, Victoria Convenor