Co-author of the QCE English series
How long have you been in the education industry?
I have been teaching since 1974 when I started at Mount Isa SHS in North West Queensland.
How have you noticed your teaching style change over the years? Why do you think this is?
My teaching style has changed – always subject to “fashion” or theory, context, class. When
I began teaching was very prescriptive in terms of what my subject master wanted i.e. set poems,
pages of Word Mastery. After that the fashion was 'Learning by Writing' so students read
small stimulus extracts organised in themes writing creative responses – there was little
directed teaching. Then we did genre teaching which, while explicit, was also restrictive and
limiting in certain ways. Then we focused on reading practices and approaches. Teaching
style changes because the pedagogical fashions change; it changes because the teacher
becomes more skilful and confident; it changes because the clientele changes.
What is the importance to you of good educational resources?
Good resources are great sources of inspiration and are better when they open up possibilities.
What has been your favourite part of writing an education resource?
The collegiality - particularly the strengthening of my friendship with Robyn. We think very differently but share many similar attitudes and beliefs. Seeing my students' reactions to the books is another pleasure.
What is your favourite part of being a teacher?
The interaction with students.
What are three things people wouldn’t know about you?
I've got four for you! I like to travel, I like the bush, I like art galleries and bookshops. And I’m a bit of a bower-bird.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching (or writing)?
II read, stitch (i.e. quilt), write poetry. I like to sit in the coffee shop with a latte and do crosswords and Sudoku.
Who are three people, living or dead, you’d love to have dinner with?
William Shakespeare (who wouldn’t), Mary Wollstonecraft and Virginia Woolf. Should go well.
What is your favourite book and why?
'Middlemarch' by George Eliot. She slices and dices.
Do you follow a sports team?
Good God. No. Why does an academic, literary contemplative even have to answer a question like that? Why wasn’t I asked about my favourite library – because people would snort? Well, it’s in Dublin.