Learning Conversations are part of the tradition of the ASMS. They provide our students with the opportunity to share their reflections on their learning, how they have grown as learners and on their achievements and future plans. Portfolios of work are a key part of this process, a collection of examples that the student uses as examples bring a richness to the conversations. They provide an opportunity for the student to showcase their learning journey and importantly to illustrate their development of capabilities such as critical and creative thinking, intercultural and ethical understanding, personal and social interactions. When you think about it, this process is very much like interviews and application process that industry use.

A key part of the success of our Learning Conversations is the ongoing feedback on their learning that students seek and are supported to access throughout the year. Teachers may provide comments, they may ask the student questions to get them thinking differently about the topic or problem, they may facilitate peer-to-peer discussions that support improvement and in some cases facilitate peer coaching. Of course, this is most successful when the learner is open to the feedback provided. Our Learning Conversations explore how active the students have been in seeking feedback and how they have been able to respond to improve their learning and help them to achieve their learning goals. If you have any reflections on our Learning Conversations, perhaps it is something you thought about that may improve our process or an insight you have as a result of participating in one recently, I would love to hear from you!

In 2019 ASMS teachers are again involved in their own personal research into how they can more effectively support students to seek feedback and how they can better guide and support students in their learning. Strategies such as embedded verbal teacher comments in digital text, using exit-cards at the end of a lesson to check on student’s understanding, providing table-top activities at the start of a lesson and asking students to share how they worked through the activities with each other are just a few examples of what our teachers are trying. We are always looking to improve our professional practice and knowing how important feedback is to learning, have made this a priority for our staff in 2019.

Nominations for the Government of South Australia 2019 Public Education Awards have opened, these awards celebrate the dedication and outstanding contributions made by our staff. I would like to encourage you to consider nominating an ASMS staff member for one or more of the Awards. Categories include: Teachers Health Leadership Award; Secondary Teacher of the Year; School and Preschool Support Award; Innovation of Practice Award & Performance Through Values Award. You can read more about these and make a nomination if you wish at www. Education.sa.gov.au/awards