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Phillip O'Brien

Co-author of Good Humanities 9

How long have you been in the education industry?
I’ve been in education for almost twenty years in a variety of contexts, including primary, secondary and tertiary in Australia, Brazil and Japan.

How have you noticed your teaching style change over the years? Why do you think this is?
My style has definitely changed over the years! I try to better integrate technology these days, it’s just such so increasingly ever present in our lives. Also, I’ve become more experienced; you develop a good sense of which topics/activities need greater depth and how to scaffold more effectively.

What is the importance to you of good educational resources?
Resources are a wonderful ‘backbone’ to planning and delivery. A good resource is definitely one that is inclusive of learners at all levels, yet can also act as a springboard to extension and personalised learning. They also play an important role in consistency across classrooms, especially in a large school!

What has been your favourite part of writing an education resource?
It’s been lovely to think about the things I always wished to see in a textbook. I constantly tried to visualise how I would use such a resource in my own classroom and included sources and elements that I knew would help to ‘hook’ learners.

What is your favourite part of being a teacher?
Every single day is different. It’s quite special to build a rapport with students as you work with them that lasts long after the class has ended; when students in Year 12 talk about that Year 8 History class you had them for. It’s wonderful to work with other teachers too, such diversity of ideas and experiences!

What are three things people wouldn’t know about you?
Three things? Hmm. When I was little I dreamed of being Indiana Jones, I even studied archaeology and history at university! I like writing creatively too and have been involved in some projects for role-playing games, including Dungeons & Dragons and Call of Cthulhu. Finally, we speak Portuguese at home.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching (or writing)?

I like cooking, reading and traveling, but sadly don’t have time to do as much as I’d like.

Who are three people, living or dead, you'd love to have dinner with?
I’m quite interested in genealogy actually, so I wish I could sit down with some of my ancestors. I only know small pieces of their lives, it would be great to be able to learn more and to understand how their lives overlapped with key moments in history.

What is your favourite book and why?
As a child I loved 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit', but as an adult I’ve gravitated more towards non-fiction. I enjoy reading about history – there’s always so much more to know!

Do you follow a sports team?
I do! Melbourne Victory, although we haven’t been doing too well this year. Hopefully there’ll be some new players and better consistency next year.