Dr Julia Atkins has over 30 years experience working in the education system not only in Australia and New Zealand but through OECD countries, and is currently working with the state government in designing schools to become better places for students to learn.
From the Hilltops region herself, Dr Atkin shared her experience and knowledge with Young High School last week.
Dr Atkins’ visit was to guide teachers in educating their students in the most informed and comprehensive way possible.
“People are questioning the role of education in today’s world and it’s not whether there should be education or not but how today’s education can really suit the needs of contemporary society,” Dr Atkin said.
“In the past a fair degree of pressure was put on students about knowing information, but anyone nowadays can get information, that’s not the challenge anymore.
“The challenge is how you can help a student really develop a deep understanding and be prepared to engage with information to develop that understanding.”
People are constantly learning and adapting, even farmers aren’t using the same practices from 20 years ago, so Dr Atkin believes that the same attitudes need to be implemented in education.
“Just about all the routine manual skills across the OECD are going down,” Dr Atkins said.
“Routine cognitive skills are going down, because something like MYOB or another accounting package automatically does all that routine cognitive or mental work. So the key human skills are creativity and the ability to work with others - to lead others - to really engage in a way to create something new.”
Teaching students how to learn and how to solve problems they’ve never faced before are a passionate key issue for Dr Atkins when visiting a school. She believes the old model of a teacher standing in front of the class and throwing information at them isn’t the best way to teach children.
Dr Julia’s work in education has covered nearly every aspect of teaching and learning and has allowed her to work with staff and teachers to learn how to connect on an academic level with their students to get them to learn better.
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