Thursday, 12 April 2018 21:26





Sunday, 12 November 2017 18:04

Hope For A Better Future

Progressive Schools 1936



Writing in the Los Angeles "School Journal," on progressive education, Dr. F. Adams states:

The progressives hold that schools should be a place where children live as complete and natural a life as conditions will permit. Teachers should recognise that the intellectual, emotional, and physical life of the child are inherently inter-related, and should make adequate provision for the harmonious development of each element in the personality of the child.

School also should be a place where children are actively experiencing democratic living with sufficient interest, self-expression and responsibility, but with sufficient guidance to help them recognise the rights of the social group.

Each child is a unique entity, and should be treated as such.

Education should build upon the experiences and interests of the child, giving a significant place to play. The work of the school should have intermediate meaning and importance to the child as well as an abiding social value.

Finally, observes Dr. Adams, progressives believe that our social and economic as well as our cultural, conditions is life can be improved, and that the best place to begin is with the education of the child. It is this belief in the potentiality of children, together with a spirit of service, that makes teaching more than a mere profession.

To the progressive, it becomes a hope for a better future life.


Written Eighty One Years Ago. We're Still Hoping !



Sunday, 12 November 2017 12:37

Freedom of Thought Imperilled




"There was less freedom of thought and expression in Australia today than there was in the nineties (ie. 1890s), the Dean of the Faculty of Commerce, Melbourne University Dr. G. L. Wood, said last night at a meeting of the Education First movement at Kew.

People, he said, were afraid of freedom of thought, particularly on education. The concepts of education and democracy were not married, as they needed to be, and the whole education system required to be put on a new basis."

"Teachers needed more training and of a different type, increased salaries and status and more respect from the community.....The system was custom-ridden, the curricula rigid and the classes hopelessly large."

"There was a lot of apathy and hypocrasy and futile bleating about education reform, but there was no real fighting for it as voters. There was no possibility of change taking place in our national education until apathetic parents took an interest in the matter. They were irresponsible about the training for life given to their children."

"It was only by a terrific majority of voters talking to politicians by ballot boxes that the urgently needed reform would come. Parents simply had not grown up and they thought the educational conditions of their day were quite satisfactory for their children."

"They had to bring an outdated education system into line with a modern world."

These quotes are Extracts from the 1945 Article : Full article

Sound Familiar ?

Today Action is Needed to Convince Communities and Governments That Our Education is A Travesty


Saturday, 09 September 2017 10:51

Why Chiron Plus


Patrick White2

 In 1968 we were three very young teachers working with students who were supposed to be developing as young adults. But their development, we observed, was being hindered by the traditional authoritarian system of education.

We wanted to create a better learning environment where young people could develop as responsible and self determining individuals.

In 1969 we did.  Supported by Metropolitan Business College (a major private education provider before the government Technical Colleges) Chiron College was created.

It wasn't based on any existing models or philiosophies. We weren't aware of the progressive movements in the 1920s and 30s. It was simply based on our own observations and awareness of the need for change;  change valuing the innate good qualities of young people.  We often said we wouldn’t really know how successful our approach was until students in later life could look back and evaluate their experience.

The first newspaper article about the college appeared in November 1969 that year. It ends with the comment made by Professor John Loewenthal from Sydney University “If you achieve what you set out to do, and I feel that you should, the you will be filling a huge gap in educational institutions in New South Wales” Sunday Telegraph November 1969.

Over the following 7 years positive coverage continued in Newspapers, Magazines and on Television, and we were invited to give talks on innovation in education at Universities and Colleges in Sydney.

Like most progressive schools Chiron didn't survive the return to conservatism by the 1980s. And the stories of only a few of these progressive schools have yet been told.

However in 2010 browsing on Facebook I came across the Chiron College Birchgrove group. Here after almost 40 years the time to hear what students had to say about their experience had arrived.

Their comments (currently being uploaded onto this site) reveal first and foremost their individuality. Their experience at Chiron had enabled them be themselves and make their own choices.

Why Chiron Plus ?

Around the same time there was growing advocacy for a new system of education with new core values.

Values like those on which Chiron and Others were developed.

ChironPlus provides an Opportunity for more Australian Experiences to be Shared

Voices Supporting Advocacy for Positive Change Today

Saturday, 02 September 2017 14:24

Chiron Moves to Birchgrove


At the beginning of 1973 Chiron College was given the opportunity by the Metropolitan Business College (MBC) to be set up as an independent non-profit company.

We had to find new premises as the building in Dalley Street was to be demolished. We found temporary accommodation in Macquarie Place in a building that had been vacated for renovation.

MBC was willing to purchase suitable premises for us to rent but we were having difficulty getting council permission. As MBC was about to change hands they had to withdraw their offer, but continued to support us with legal advice.

Charles and Barbara Blackman’s son Auguste had enrolled that year. When they heard about our problem they took up the challenge.

It was their generosity that resulted in us moving to Birchgrove and they continued to play a committed management and creative role until it closed.

Here Barbara recalls how it all came about.  


Philip Benham (left) with student Mark Crocker (right)
and other students resting after helping with renovations at Birchgrove during the winter of 1973
photo: Richard Harris


Friday, 01 September 2017 16:28

Aptitude Tests Instead of Exams

Aptitude Exams

Reference :


Seventy one years later Teaching to Testing Dominates in Schools!

Friday, 01 September 2017 15:52

Democratic or Fascist Education

Fascist Democratic2

reference :      


Major General A.H.Ramsay was then the Victorian State Director of Education

He retired in March 1960 and was knighted next year.

He gradually became so disappointed at the militancy of teachers in state schools that he insisted his grandson should be educated at Scotch College, outside the system of which he had long been proud.

 Advocacy for such an approach in schools Continues Today because 64 years later It Still Hasn't Happened




Saturday, 26 August 2017 12:06

Innovation & Leisure Time

b2ap3 large learningEnviron sm

Innovative schools in Australia over the past century have shared three core values : individual development, an engaging learning environment and mutual respect.

None of these were core values in the schools set up during colonization.

Recognisable traits of what was main core then remain today: levels of learning are fixed by age, content by curriculum, environments to classrooms, and respect by status.

"The history of Australian schooling is a history of social control. From the beginning the purpose of schooling was to control the population. Schooling was never intended to foster the development of individual children." Susan Wight, Read More

and see just how manipulative and disrespectful the system has been!

The Abbott government's stand on education was made clear by it's educational consultant, Kevin Donnelly, a self-proclaaimed innovator, who wrote criticising Australia's educational establishment for being

"committed to progressive fads such as constructivism, open classrooms, inquiry-based learning and teaching generic competences" 

and the then Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, agreed

"the history curriculum is substandard: it emphasises indigenous, Asian and environmental perspectives and it accepts uncritically educational fads including inquiry-based learning, where process takes priority over content."

While the current prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, promotes innovation and opposes over-regulation, we aren’t yet seeing actions with regard to either in Australian schools.

This however doesn't mean that we can't take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that 21st Century innovation in technology is creating!

We can ourselves set up online learning environments covering many areas of interest; encouraging curiosity and enquiry, creativity and innovation, and individual development in a friendly environment.

We can connect around the world!

Sound like a leisure-time activity or a career opportunity or both?

before you answer

see what Michael Casey has to say about 'The Creative Economy'. Watch Video


Saturday, 26 August 2017 11:52

Making An Informed Vote

b2ap3 large Thinking Vote Header s 20170501 000314 1

To make an informed vote at Local, State or Federal Government elections we need to consider carefully the policies and proposals made by different parties or independents. To do that we need detailed documentation of promises and how they will be achieved from everyone standing for election.

How often does this happen? Rarely!

The promises are made but the wording is loose! What the public thought was promised is not what the party intended.

The rhetoric employed to win over the public is now often the art of deception.

The aftermath is inevitably the need for public demonstrations and more recently petitions via social networking. Healthy activity in a democracy! But why do we need so much of it?

In most schools students learn nothing about how to make an informed vote. What is more they are discouraged from personal evaluations and opinions on pretty well anything. Data consumption being considered the prime ingredient of their education. Yet many students turning 18 while at school have the right to vote!

At Chiron we considered research and critical evaluation to be fundamental in learning. Students had come to Chiron because they rebelled against the traditional authoritarian schools. They wanted a learning environment where they could develop as self-responsible individuals.

So in 1971 when it was announced that the third moratorium march in Sydney against the Vietnam War would take place in June we asked the students at Chiron if they where considering joining the march. Some said yes, some no and some were unsure. So we decided to have a series of discussions about the moratorium at school. We invited representatives from the political parties to put their point of view and answer questions and guests to give open talks on wars in history, literature and art and the effects of war on community and environment.

We encouraged consideration of differing points of view.

They made up their own minds and respected each others decisions!

By contrast when senior students in other high schools began to take a stand by following the movement initiated by university students they were threatened with suspension or expulsion.

What are today's governments doing to enable young people to learn how to be self-responsible and make their own decisions? 

Saturday, 26 August 2017 11:40

Enquiry Based Learning

b2ap3 large EnquiryNew header sm

Former Australia's Chief Scientist, Professor Ian Chubb, presented a plan to the federal government to increase school students' interest in choosing a career in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (STEM). 21st Century industries are already looking more and more for employees with these skills, but there has been a significant decline in the number of students takings these subjects.

"If we've got young people coming through the system who are interested in science, fascinated by science and understand how awesome science can be, then we'll be better off for it," he said.

Some people recommend that Science and Mathematics be made compulsory but Professor Chubb says 'There's not much point making something compulsory if it's not actually attractive. I would much rather make these subjects so compellingly interesting that students want to do them.' Professor Geoff Prince, Director of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute, has made similar comments.

The Federal Government responded promising 12 million dollars for STEM training in schools.

The positive outcome here is that scientific learning i.e. enquiry based learning is recognised as more important than data consumption. As American National Research Council, 1996 aptley put it:

Students at all grade levels and in every domain of science should have the opportunity to use scientific inquiry and develop the ability to think and act in ways associated with inquiry, including asking questions, planning and conducting investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, thinking critically and logically about relationships between evidence and explanations, constructing and analyzing alternative explanations, and communicating scientific arguments.

The downside is that techniques for developing critical thinking are not being applied to all subjects. We've been through this before in the 1960s and 70s with the absurd battle between the Sciences and the Arts. I studied both at university back then without needing to develop two different types of thinking!

For some very early samples of products of enquiry based learning read Herodotos' History of the Persian Wars, 5 thCentury BC. History is an ancient Greek word meaning 'learn by enquiry'.

In schools the approach to education is out of date but we wont fix it by doing it piecemeal. It needs a thorough overhaul that embraces learning for living life not just for vocational opportunities which is what the current system is built on.

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