Kylie Bice is a renown educational consultant, specialising in gifted education, differentiation, thinking skills, and educating diverse student groups. She will be heading up the Inclusive Learning stream at the Better Education Conference.
We asked her some questions:
Can you tell us a little about your school days?
Most of my primary schooling was spent in a tiny school in a remote indigenous mining town. It was very multi-cultural, so I had friends from the local indigenous community and from countries around the world. I came to Perth to complete high school at Lesmurdie Senior High School and have been in Perth ever since.
What lead you to your chosen field?
I am the oldest of three children in my family, so ‘teaching’ (or perhaps bossy-ness!) was always going to be in my future. My mother worked with students with disabilities, so we regularly had visitors with disabilities at the house and so I have always been interested in working with people with different learning challenges. I started doing work experience in Year 9, teaching drama to students my own age with disabilities, and when I began my formal teaching career I was determined to figure out how to ensure all my students were able to learn, regardless of their ability, behaviour or other quirks and issues.
What do you see as the role of teachers in today’s society?
To be the compassionate, safe role-model in every child’s life, regardless of each child’s differences, and to build our young people into compassionate adults who love learning and building up others.
What do you see as the most fundamental skill a great teacher needs?
Compassion and a love for students first, and after that it has to be differentiation. I visit so many schools and classrooms, and to be a teacher in Australia in 2016 and beyond means to have a diverse classroom where all students learn differently. In this climate, teachers must be able to differentiate their teaching practice and curriculum in order to be effective and value the uniqueness of every child.
What will SCEA staff walk away with after attending your workshops?
Hopefully an improved understanding of why students behave and learn as they do, an increased awareness of the need to respond to diversity in the classroom, and key strategies to inform differentiated practice.