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2 models of education

This is a lecture that I gave to 4th year Education students at the university of Newcastle, Port Macquarie Campus.

Guuji Yiguu

Stand Breath in – Breath out – some ideas that may inspire you? May also challenge and frustrate you – remember, if feel that way, breathe in/out keep listening and remember, what you DO with what I tell you today is completely up to you. Your choice.


What if I told you that in my past 20 years of experience as an educator, I had come across just 2 models of education that I believe actually work to engage, inspire and motivate young people to become life-long learners?


And what if I told you that IF you could learn these models and embed them as a part of your teaching practice,:

· you would eliminate up to 90% of your discipline problems,

· you would drastically improve the mental-health and wellbeing of your students to the point where kids who were once dependant on medication now can stop taking it and be free from the side effect and stigma that comes with it?

· You would transform YOUR experience of the teaching profession – and ultimately transform the way education is done in the shifting world of the 21st century

Would you be interested?

My name is Andrew Lord – I am an educator, life-coach and entrepreneur. And I’ve been asked to come and speak with you today about my experience with these 2 models of education

But before we dive into that – I think we need to take a step BACK and ask why are YOU here?

HOW did you get here?

You see YOU represent a link in a chain that has been going on for well over a century now –

  • You were once a student – at a school – right?

  • Now you are a student of education and you hope to one day become a teacher

  • and you will teach kids who some of whom will enjoy education and want to be a part of the cycle

  • and so they will study hard, and apply to an educational institution who will teach them how to teach and so the cycle continues…

· All the while people get paid.

Teaching is an industry.

But what about EDUCATION? What IS education? What’s it for?

To answer that, I think we need to take a look at the history of education:

10:50 – 12:40

That is our roots – that is how our CURRENT model of education came about and it was designed for an industrial economy –


The way our education system was designed was to look at LIFE (in particular, the work life) and backward mapped from there.

System of education matched the factory or the military – where the values of:

  • Conformity

  • Uniformity

  • Obedience

Were highly valued.

But what if life doesn’t look like that anymore?

What IF we are all following a script where the plan is – I’m going to have a safe/stable job, so that you can get a safe/stable mortgage to buy a safe/stable house and raise a safe/stable family, with safe/stable kids so I can send them to the safe/stable school where they are going to learn uniformity, conformity and obedience and get a safe/stable education, get accepted into a safe/stable career path so that THEY can get a safe and stable job. …

But what if – the future is not that safe and stable and predictable ?


The dynamics of our world are shifting faster than ever before – and I believe that it is TIME for us to take a NEW look at education – the whole model – the same way that we looked at it back in the late 1800s

A bit about me:

  • Grew up in small country town, my father was dux of the school and successful businessman – high expectations, that I rarely lived up to. But he definitely motivated me to strive to be my best.

  • My mum was quite up front about feeling completely out of her depth in raising a child – I was the eldest of 4 and I remember her saying to me when I first had kids, yes you make all your mistakes with your first one...

  • I was NOT academic – not in my early years

  • Loved building and creating things

  • Studied Industrial Design at University of Newcastle (met my wife)

  • Later teaching – to avoid having to move to Sydney

  • 2000 – started teaching and given the role of Year Advisor

  • 2003 – moved to Wauchope (family) – casual teaching – program business

  • 2004 – co-authored 6 textbooks on the design process

  • Back to teaching in 2005 – quit again in 2006

  • Back to teaching in 2007 – quit again 2008

  • Back to teaching in 2009 – not in a classroom but working 1/1 with students - stuck with it for a while

  • In and out of teaching and business over last 20 years

  • 2012 – won 2 awards for my ‘Outstanding Contribution to Public Education’ – worked with both Primary and Secondary schools on a number of projects including the ‘Digital PLPs for all’ project

  • 2013 – Head Teacher Aboriginal Student Engagement

  • 2014 – (getting ready to quit again) started studying Life Coaching

  • 2015 – Learning Centre @ Port Macquarie Youth Hub

  • 2016 – Lead Teacher at the Tutorial Centre (students year 4 to year 8)

  • 2016 – consulted on the panel for the LEAP Academy Hastings Secondary College

  • 2016 – Completed Stronger Smarter Leadership Training

  • 2017 – Became the Program Specialist at the new Nautilus School

  • 2018 – Full time Life Coaching, started a number of Youth Programs

o Project Space

o Young Hero’s Adventure Quest


All through those years – from when I was writing teaching programs and textbooks through to studying life coaching, looking at LIFE, looking at education and thinking – these 2 don’t line up?


Think about YOUR life – your hopes and dreams?

What do YOU want out of life?


I’m a life coach and most people want just a handful of things:

Happiness – Security – Status – Connection/Belonging – Peace – Freedom – Self-expression


To get this we need:

• Positive attitude

• Growth Mindset

• Courage

• Embrace individuality & creativity

• Communication

• Collaboration skills

• Risk Taking

• Willingness to challenge expectations

If we look at school in its current form – is this the BEST WAY to develop these qualities OR could there be a better way?


Meet Brodie

· Brodie suffers from generalised anxiety

· His attendance at school hovers around 60-70%

· His teachers are frustrated with his apparent lack of enthusiasm for classwork

· Literacy and listening skills are below average

· But oral communication is strong

Meet Leena

· Nina has dyslexia

· She has poor literacy skills and low self-esteem about her abilities

· Both parents are university educated but have not been able to help her keep pace with her peers

· Nina is very creative

Meet Jonathon

· Jonathan is very academically inclined

· He finds classwork easy but can be rude and arrogant to peers

· It’s likely Jonathan is on the spectrum

· He is passionate about video games

· Jonathan does not do a lot of physical exercise and is overweight


These are 3 REAL students that have experienced success on the 2 programs that I’m going to share with you today.


Brodie has been told he no longer needs to take medication and can put his improvement down to nothing other than his participation in the program

Leena at age 12 has started a business screen printing t-shirts to campaign and raise money to save the forests against ne clear-fell logging laws

Jonathan has improved his fitness and now has friends who value his strengths.

First program is Project Space.

Project Space is:

· Small numbers – max 12 students

· Each student goes through a process of mind mapping their interest areas

· Once we decide on an interest area – we either do a pre-determined rich task OR we do a free task – map the interest area to the curriculum.

· Ages range from 10 -16

· Mindset training every week

· End of semester, showcase, public exhibition

· No government funding – primarily homeschoolers who pay

Project Space is built on a Big Picture Model of Project Based Learning

Big Picture has been around about 25 years in USA and about 15 years in Australia, but I only came across it in 2014 when I was frustrated with the education system and began researching principles of student engagement and personalised learning.

Big Picture is built around a personalised learning experience for EVERY child.

Staff argument (that’s OK for one or two but can’t do that for every student)

When I did come across Big Picture, I was blown away by how much the 10 distinguishing principles made sense and aligned with what I had seen working well in the last 15 years:

· One student at a time

· Advisory Structure

· Learning Through Interests (& internships)

· Parent & Family Engagement

· Authentic Assessment

· School Organisation, Leadership & Culture

· Leadership

· Post-Secondary planning

· Professional Development

School Organisation, Leadership & Culture

2016 – Stronger Smarter

Gave me a simple way to understand the cultural dynamics that I was seeing in the school system



All knowledge, power, responsibility and control…

Learning Through Interests (& internships)

Where’s the fun?

As I studied Life Coaching, I began to learn more and more about the importance of positivity in helping our brains to perform at their optimum level – and it made so much sense – after years of working with disengaged students, I now was learning the science behind why a mind switches off. And so I began creating learning experiences that started with the question:

Who are YOU?

And guiding students on a process of self-discovery to unlock their inner passions and use that as our context for learning.

One student at a time

Advisory Structure

had to deal with the objection – can’t do that for all students, what I had to do was stop teaching content and start teaching students HOW to learn

Let go of ego. No longer a holder of knowledge/control

Give students the parameters on how to best learn together.

Parent & Family Engagement

From my time working in depth in Aboriginal education I learned the value of family as the number one resource that is often overlooked in the current education model.

We currently see the SCHOOL as the place where learning happens, we under-value the learning that happens at home – if we’re not careful, that thinking will cause us to do things like set homework that attempts to extend the time they are learning our academic content and reduce the time that

Authentic Assessment

What is authentic assessment?

One thing if you get a piece of paper back and you have a series of ticks and crosses to show you where you went right or wrong – that is one learning experience

It’s a totally different experience if we say that we are putting on an event and your work is going to be on display and we are going to invite all your friends and family and your families friends and some experts in the community to come and see what you’ve done – THAT is a very different kind of assessment and that is AUTHENTIC assessment – because its real!

Post-Secondary planning

Professional Development


· Start with the student – not the outcome

· Help THEM decide the outcome

· Help THEM decide the context

· Help them to manage time and resources

· You are the leader – your job is to create culture

· Mindset matters

· Authentic Assessment - Showcase


For those staying for the tutorial and I hope you all are, we’ll be digging deeper into how to develop these sorts of programs for yourself

2nd program

Adventure Quest

Completely different – but still built on same quality teaching principles

- Significance

- Quality Learning environment

- Often when WE think of significance – what we think they SHOULD be interested in

- Vs what they actually are interested in – very different

- Also – quality learning environment – what we think is a quality learning environment is different to what they think a quality learning environment is

Excursion = meaningful experience = fun = maximised learning

- Academic rigour – 12 year olds doing stage 5 trigonometry

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