Dr Hastie moderates the often controversial panel discussion at the last UNSW Literacy Conference
Alphacrucis Associate Dean of Education, David Hastie, has been part of a multi-sector steering committee, putting The ‘Literacy, what works and why’ conference, to be held 26 June 2018. The premium lit education event at UNSW attracted over 500 delegates in 2016, and includes top international literacy specialists, including Ian Wilkinson, Professor, Teaching and Learning, OHIO State University (Quality Talk about Text: Research-Based Practices for High-Level Comprehension); Jann Farmer-Hailey, Consultant, Literacy Leadership (Professional Learning Conversations To Lift Student Outcomes); Janet Gaffney, Professor, Educational Psychology – Literacy. Director, Marie Clay Research Centre, Auckland University (A Systems Approach To Literacy Intervention: An Insider’s Research Story).
The event is widely attended across DET, Catholic Education, and Independent schools, and x2 workshops are being run by Christian School specialists, including Jeff Davis (Principal, Hillcrest Christian School), and Sharon Williams (Support Educaiton, Danebank School). Dr Hastie is once again taking on the delicate role of chairing the QA panel, in this most controversial educational topic...book now, spaces are filling up fast!
Registration: By Friday June 8, 2018 Cost: $ 280 (Full time students $160)
See full details and Register NOW at
Two academics from Southern Cross University recently wrote an article called “Seven Reasons People no longer want to be teachers”. They were careful to place research links to most of their claims as they outlined their suggestion that if people were leaving the teaching profession, or were not wanting to train as a teacher, there were at least seven good reasons why.
Soon after this article was posted, Mr Gonski and colleagues released a report, commissioned by the Government, called Through Growth to Achievement: Report of the review to achieve educational excellence in Australian Schools. It outlined three priorities, accompanied by recommendations across five areas to address the priorities.
Does the ‘Gonski 2.0’ plan give us cause to be optimistic in the face of critiques like those by Drs Bahr and Ferreira? Or are in we for more of what Seymour Sarason described in his now somewhat classic text, The Culture of Schools and the Problem of Change, (1982), that the “more things change the more they stay the same”? (p. 116)
Some commentators (e.g. Bill Louden 2018) have already noted some shortcomings, such as not recognising that part of what is being recommended is already occurring. Others (e.g. Glenn C Savage) have noted that the report ignores other previous significant reports (like the 2014 Donnelly and Wiltshire review of the National Curriculum), and that it is repetitive of certain (ideological) educational thrusts of recent times.
Whilst it is encouraging to see our political leaders committed to education for our young, and for them to be concerned to improve outcomes for all students, an almost tragic aspect of the report is that it manifests a profound incapacity, perhaps from unwillingness, to discuss education philosophically. There are many unstated assumptions within this report, and perhaps one of the most dangerous is that education is simply about knowledge and skills.
For example, if one reads through the twenty-three recommendations and seventeen findings, one can see that there is no reflection on character, beyond achievement of competencies that tend to be process oriented. This is represented through the language of ‘general capabilities’. Such rhetoric, in turn, reflects a withdrawal from the consideration of the relationship between core sequential knowledge, capacities, and commitment.
The report is utterly silent about this last aspect – commitment. It carries within it the assumption that simply giving people more of what they believe they need – students and teachers – must improve results. If that were true, then the millions of dollars spent over the last decades would not have resulted in such a decline of results. A deeper reflection would see a report that also recognises that the character of people and the character of the social structures in which they undertake educational tasks is critical to understanding the cultures of schools and resultant possible change processes.
In contrast to the reductionist approach of this latest Government report, James Davison Hunter noted that in earlier times character was linked to an explicitly moral standard of conduct, but that currently in the West, a vision of personhood is dominated by “emancipation for the purposes of expression, fulfilment, and gratification.” (p. 7)
He mapped how:
The content of moral instruction changed – from the “objective” moral truths of divine Scriptures and the laws of Nature, to the conventions of a democratic society, to the subjective values of the individual person…. Finally, there has been a transformation in the purpose of moral education itself – from mastery over the soul in service of God and neighbour, to the training of character to serve the needs of civic life, to the cultivation of personality toward the end of well-being. (pp. 146-7)
This report does not make explicit the moral purpose of the educational reforms, beyond a vague form of egalitarianism that assumes that equality means the same outcomes for everyone. Even if that were desirable and achievable (and both of those assumptions need deeper discussion and testing), what is to be done with these possible achievements?
The lack of reflection of these deeper purposes, that are inherent in educational practice, has direct implications for what happens in our schools:
The problem in democratic theory is that it leads to indefensible propositions about the neutrality of the
state. The distinction most regularly made is between ‘neutral’ secularity and ‘partisan’ sectarianism.
Though some continue to press this distinction, ever since Polanyi, it has been less and less tenable… The
public school will represent and attempt to inculcate values that a particular family may find abhorrent to
its own basic beliefs and way of life. The family is then faced with the choice of (1) abandoning its beliefs in
order to gain the benefit of a state subsidized education, or (2) forfeiting the proffered government
benefit in order to preserve the family belief structure from government interference. (Last section by
Stephen Arons 1976) [Footnote 12 on 295,296]
Dr. Stephen Fyson
Centre for the Future of Schooling/ AC
 Seven reasons people no longer want to be teachers, from The Conversation.
By Nan Bahr and Jo-Anne Ferreira Posted 16 Apr 2018, 8:47am
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-04-16/seven-reasons-people-no-longer-want-to-be-teachers/9661878 [Downloaded 2/05/2018]
 Gonski, E. et al. (2018). Report of the Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools. Commonwealth of Australia
 Hunter, JD (2000). The Death of Character: moral education in an age without good or evil. Basic Books
 Rappaport, J. (2000). Community narratives: Tales of terror and joy. American Journal of Community Psychology, 28, 1-24.
One would have thought that founding a major schooling sector, and helping thousands of Christian educators around the globe, would have been enough for one lifetime. Not for Bob Frisken. Hundreds of the family members and friends of Alphacrucis College were captured by Bob's fatherly, Christ-honouring speech in acceptance of the honorary doctorate bestowed upon him by the Council of the College at its 2018 Graduation in the Riverside Theatre, Parramatta on 28 April. Referring to his age, Bob contrasted his own career with the over 650 graduates emerging with AC degrees on that day. 'For your interest, I am 84', he chuckled, and then went on to declare that he was determined that neither age nor circumstance would stop him from embracing the opportunities he still had before him in the years to come. As AC faculty member Dr Stephen Fyson (who was 17 when he first heard Bob speak at the beginning of the foundation of Christian schools in Regent's Park in 1975-76) declared, 'The depth of Bob's humility and spirituality has never failed, and indeed has been one of the secrets of his long-lasting impact, both in Australia and around the world.'
The Chair of AC Council, in the presence of the CEO (Dr. Daniel Pampuch) and Executive Officer of Christian Schools Australia (Mark Spencer), read the citation, and bestowed upon the now Rev. Dr. R. J. Frisken AM, the title of Doctor of Education (honoris causa). The challenge to hundreds of young graduates before whom this took place--to serve Christ faithfully under the creative hand of the Spirit--reinforced the address by Rev. Alun Davies, Vice President of the Australian Christian Churches, in which they were likewise stirred to 'bring home the gold' (the gifts, the callings) which had been given to them by God.
Photographs: Dr. Daniel Pampuch, CEO, Christian Schools of Australia with Bob Frisken at the graduation; Dr Stephen Fyson, Mark Spencer and Bob just prior to processing into the event.
Dr David Hastie with Tim Martin, Australian Trade Commissioner at the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, along with education trade directors Siska Wiliyhana and Aswinny Sudhiani
Alphacrucis has been exploring new markets for Hubs in Indonesia, including working with Austrade to assist in opening up markets and liaising with the Indonesian education credentialing authorities. Dr David Hastie met with Tim Martin, Australian Trade Commissioner, at the Australian Embassy when he was in Jakarta, along with education trade directors Siska Wiliyhana and Aswinny Sudhiani. AC is exploring new tertiary training partnership opportunities with a range of Indonesian Christian higher education providers, in theology, teacher training and business. With around 25 million officially recognized Christians in Indonesia, the largest sector being Protestant at 16 million, the potential scale of this work is exciting.
Bob Frisken AM, is to receive an Honorary Doctorate at the Alphacrucis Graduation Ceremony on 28 April. Along with Peter Hester, Bob founded the Christian Community Schools movement in 1976, an organization out of which Christian Schools Australia was to emerge. According to AC Dean of Education, Professor Mark Hutchinson. “Hundreds of thousands of young Australians have benefited from Bob’s pioneering of the third largest educational system in Australia after the public and Catholic systems.” The movement sparked a national wave of school planting in Churches and halls: “Bob’s work created a significant symbolic part in the great shift in the Australian social contract over the last 40 years,” said Dr David Hastie, AC Associate Dean of Education. “Parent choice in Australian schooling now ranks highest in the OECD, with the 5th highest per capita access to non-government schools in the world.” CSA’s current CEO, Dr Daniel Pampuch, also congratulated Bob Frisken on the honour: “CSA honours Bob’s rich and enduring contribution to Christian schooling in Australia, and congratulates him on this honorary award that celebrates his legacy and achievements as a leader of Christian schooling in this nation”.
After 12 years of successfully pioneering CCHS, in 1988 Bob Frisken took up the role of Education Director with Christian Community Schools Limited (CCSL), and in 1991 he was appointed President. In 2001 he oversaw the closure of CCSL so as to start Christian Schools Australia (CSA), of which he was founding Executive Secretary and CEO. In 2002, with his wife Maryanne, he established New Hope International, to distribute affordable Christian schooling around the world through ‘Effective Education’, ‘Sustainable Community Development’, and Transformational Leadership Training’ that will helps raise new grassroots leadership and equip leaders to bring change to their country. He remains founding President of NHI, a work which has brought help and succour to thousands of teachers and schools in the majority world. His international reputation and significant impact on education in Australia was recognised in 2002, when he was named to the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Bob Frisken has made a significant contribution alike to Australian society, to the spread of the Gospel, and to the health and strength of Christian communities both in Australia and abroad. In a period of declining church membership among some traditions, his contribution may well turn out to be one of great historic importance in the history of the Christian faith in Australia.
In 1989 I was told 'don't ever teach, you are hopeless at it' Lynn Morrison reports as she graduates in this year’s AC Masters of Teaching Award.
I came to Alphacrucis with a whole lot of baggage regarding Tertiary learning and tertiary institutions.
My first tertiary experience of achieving my teaching degree, for which I was so passionate and had such of strong sense of call, left me devastated when after four years of learning, I was told 'don't ever teach, you are hopeless at it'.
Lynn was doing her final internship as a young graduate and soon realized that she was ‘set up’ in one of the worst schools to fulfil their own verdict that she was ‘hopeless.’ School supervisory staff were primed to watch out for her every fault. Needless to say, Lynn faltered and ready to drop out, spoke to the Dean of Education. She was told ‘You can defer if you like, just don't ever teach!’
I walked away from the dream and the calling for a couple of years until God made a way for me to teach in a school, who saw my heart, gifting and call to teach. He has once again orchestrated a way, through Alphacrucis and your compassion as learning leaders, to open tertiary learning for the completing of the good work of equipping me for the calling and the fulfilling of his purposes. I am able to dream again of the possibilities that God has for me, hopefully as an 'influencer' in Christian education.
I am thankful that God connects people to our hearts who just understand us and spur us on to be the best that we can be.
Lynn did become a teacher -- and more! She has recently left her position as Head of Teaching and Learning at Mackay Christian College (Qld), to become Principal at Bairnsdale Christian College (Vic).
Historic agreement between Alphacrucis and CEN’s National Institute for Christian Education (NICE)
In a bold step forward in the history of Christian Education in Australia, Christian Education National’s (CEN) Tertiary arm, the National Institute for Christian Education (NICE), have reached an in-principle agreement to work towards a third party agreement with Alphacrucis College. “It’s a vote for the common mission of Christian education”, according Alphacrucis Associate Dean of Education, Dr David Hastie, “it completes the box-set of Christian Teacher training: bringing the excellent NICE MEd and MEd (Leadership) into a continuum with the existing Alphacrucis pre-service teaching degrees and research MPhils and PhDs: from beginning teacher to leaders in Christian Education. “It also signals a new era of cooperation between different branches of the Protestant schooling movement, according to AC Dean of education, Professor Mark Hutchinson: “this better positions both organisations to further flourish nationally and internationally amongst various theological groups”.
David Gray, Director of the National Institute, says that “as we move into our 40th year of operation, the opportunity to work alongside an established college such as Alphacrucis will provide the National Institute with the strength, flexibility and support structure that is necessary in this day and age to continually pursue a reformational, ‘all of life’ Biblical perspective, one that will positively impact our teachers, students and tertiary faculty”.
The arrangement would see National Institute degrees accredited through Alphacrucis as Australia’s largest self-accrediting Protestant higher education provider, but also a rich exchange of ideas, research and fellowship. This development and the innovative Alphacrucis Hub model, should indeed lead to interesting developments in the Australian Christian schooling sector. Exciting times, watch this space.
Christian Schools Australia (CSA) / Alphacrucis respond to National Safe Schools Framework: Thriving in Communities
A great meeting of CSA pastoral care experts has moved the crucial Christian School response to the National Safe Schools Framework, towards its national launch in at the Christian Schools National Policy Forum in May. Drawn from NSW, QLD, SA, WA and Vic, this expert group, with extensive practice and qualifications in psychology, youth health and school wellbeing, met on March 15.
The Christian Curriculum resource is being jointly developed by Alphacrucis College and Christian Schools Australia (CSA). It will be centred on notions of ‘Thriving in Community’. This will develop ways of augmenting, extending and reinterpreting current Australian approaches to student well-being articulated in the National Safe Schools Framework. For more details contact Dr David Hastie, AC Associate Dean, Education Development firstname.lastname@example.org and Ken Greenwood, CSA Victoria SEO email@example.com
World renowned Christian Educationalist Professor Trevor Cooling will conduct a research student master class at Alphacrucis Parramatta campus on June 27th. Prof Cooling and the research consultants of the Centre for the Future of Schooling will work closely with attendees, in Christian and technical approaches to framing of topics, research method, and publication. A must for all undertaking PhD’s, Master of Philosophy degrees, or those about to commence research degrees in Christian Education, or working in Christian education research. Numbers are strictly limited, contact Dr David Hastie firstname.lastname@example.org.
Trevor Cooling is Professor of Christian Education at Canterbury Christ Church University, UK, where he works in the National Institute for Christian Education Research (www.canterbury.ac.uk/nicer). He has a brief for research and teaching in the theory and practice of Christian Education with particular reference to Church of England schools. His most recent books, where he was the Principal Investigator and co-authored with other researchers, are Christian Faith in English Church Schools: Research Conversations with Classroom Teachers (Peter Lang, 2016) and Lessons in Spiritual Development: Learning from Leading Christian Ethos Secondary Schools (Church House Publishing, 2017). Trevor has extensive experience of working with doctoral and masters students in Christian Education, including creating the only dedicated professional doctorate programme in the UK. He is Deputy Editor of the International Journal of Christianity and Education. A particular interest of Trevor's is the contribution that Christians can make to public education in an increasingly plural and secularised society. As such he is Chair of the Religious Education Council of England and Wales where he works alongside people of many different faiths and none in planning and supporting the teaching of RE as a subject.
Two initiatives he has had a lot to do with are Deeply Christian, Serving the Common Good, the vision statement of the Church of England, and Religious Education for All, the Interim Report of the Commission on Religious Education in England. See https://www.churchofengland.org/sites/default/files/2017-10/2016%20Church%20of%20England%20Vision%20for%20Education%20WEB%20FINAL.pdf and http://www.commissiononre.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Commission-on-Religious-Education-Interim-Report-2017.pdf
interim report religious education for all