Connected Learning

Jarrod Lamshed


Noticing the ‘good stuff’

It’s easy to notice the things that people do that bother us. We don’t even have to try. When someone behaves in a way you don’t like, it draws your attention and drives you crazy. It’s easy to let this stuff take over your day and quickly become a bit of a grump! On top of this, we are bombarded with bad news stories on TV and radio and every time we go online we are greeted with something horrific that someone has done somewhere in the world. It’s different than when I grew up. The only news bulletin I ever saw was at 6pm each day and I’m sure that my parents were able to shield me from the really bad stuff by turning off the one screen we had. With the amazing benefit of the instant information we have today comes the downside of not being able to restrict the flow of ‘bad news’ to our children as well as we could before. This isn’t the end of the world… but it’s something to think about.

With this in mind, it’s really important to teach our kids to notice the ‘good stuff’. We try and make this a part of everyday in our classroom. Making the time to pause and notice someone doing something good takes a conscious effort! Like everyone else, I more naturally notice the student repeatedly tapping their pen on the table before I notice the student quietly getting on with their work. By making the effort to stop and publicly notice the positive it slowly becomes part of the culture in our classroom. Doing this at home is even more tricky! In our house it feels like we are ALWAYS rushing off to something and always running late. At these times I still fall into the role of cranky dad… but I’m trying!

This is particularly important for our boys. When you look at statistics around our boys and young men, it’s not great news. Suicide rates are incredibly high for boys and men aged 14 – 35 compared to women and we have all seen data around domestic violence that says that our young men are becoming perpetrators. As a parent of a son AND a daughter I find this slightly terrifying! There’s not a simple answer to these problems but it’s a conversation that we need to keep having.

In our class we attempt to promote a positive outlook in lots of different ways. We try to promote our failures and mistakes as something we do publicly and without shame. This helps to break down the stigma around ‘messing things up’ and creates a willingness for our boys to ask for help and support when they feel like they need it. Another way we do this is by making regular times to formally and genuinely acknowledge people for the good things they do. This doesn’t mean only things like ‘getting a good mark in a test’ but also for trying to improve at something or showing courage and persistence in a tricky situation. As a teacher, this is a pleasure to see!

Our boys have agreed to show you a snapshot of these acknowledgements in the video below.



Bridging Gender Gap in a Brave New World

In last weeks Messenger Newspaper, Amy Moran wrote an article discussing the idea that gender education is the key to reducing domestic and sexual abuse statistics. After a discussion about the article on Twitter, Amy asked if, colleague, Aimee Aparicio and I would be a part of a follow up story looking at the gender learning program we have started with our classes. It’s always an interesting experience to be involved in something like this but the article is a positive one, and we are glad to be a part of the discussion.


Messenger Community News


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Activating the Hidden Talent

The-greatest-leader-is-not-necessarily-the-one-who-does-the-greatest-things.-He-is-the-one-that-gets-the-people-to-do-the-greatest-thingsI’ve presented a lot of workshops over the years I’ve been teaching. It’s a great experience that forces me to critically reflect on my practice. When you stand in front of an audience you need be ready to back up what your saying and answer the curly questions that are thrown at you. You need to know your stuff.

This doesn’t mean that we need to be the all knowing expert on everything, but we need to have looked at our own practice through a critical lens and have a good understanding of why we do things the way we do.

Something that I need to better as a leader is to activate opportunities for other staff at my school to be able to do the same. There are many times that we run small professional development sessions within our school that other staff could be a part of. With a consistently long list of ‘things’ to do, it’s easy to use this excuse to just run these sessions myself. I guess this is the leadership version of the ‘default mode’ that we all fall back to when we get stressed or busy. Instead of taking this easy way out, I need to be making more time to activate those around me.

Our schools are full of hidden talent. I say hidden because a lot of the magic happens behind closed doors, and many teachers don’t automatically feel comfortable sharing the great practice that is happening in their classrooms. As a leader in the school, I need to be having conversations with these teachers and support them to share with others as often as I can. When I began teaching I had leaders that helped me find opportunities to share and develop this side of my learning. Without that, I wouldn’t have had the opportunities that have been so important in developing my teaching. This is something that I need to a better job at from now on.


One Punch


Someone punched my son today. I’m not going to over dramatise and call it a ‘king hit’ or a ‘cowards punch’ but nonetheless my son was hit by another human being.

A student in his class thought (wrongly according to witnesses) that my son had been throwing bits of eraser at him during a science lesson. After school, this child waited for my son and punched him. He was punched in the head and knocked to the ground. A friend who tried to intervene was punched in the face, also knocked to the ground with injuries to his mouth. Obviously, this was a pretty ugly situation, but the school handled it really well. Even though it happened after school, they gathered what information they could and let me know straight away so I could contact my child and make sure he was ok…. He was. We went home and iced his injuries to be left with a nasty bump on his head and, it looks like, a black eye by morning.

This is where the story turns. Once we were home my son’s phone took on a life of it’s own. Messages from his friends came in thick and fast. “Are you ok?” was met equally as often with “You took that punch like a boss!” (What ever that means… I must ask my boss tomorrow). It wasn’t long before his sore head faded and he was almost basking in his new celebrity status. As the texts went on his mates and various other acquaintances caught up in the frenzy started vowing retribution toward his attacker with messages like “next time I’ll fight for you” and “He better watch his back!”. I kept an eye on the messages coming in, but stayed out of it, curious to see where things went. Thankfully my son responded to his friends with calls to be calm… let the teachers handle it, doing something dumb will just make it worse. Phew.

For me, the aftermath of the punch was more worrying than the physical attack itself. Without my son’s cool head, things could have really turned nasty. This one event could very well have escalated and had the potential to go on indefinitely. This really worries me. We are in a place where our boys and young men’s first response to violence is to meet it with more violence. I don’t know how we combat this. All that we get from ‘an eye for an eye’ approach is a lot of people missing an eye. No real resolution, and a cycle of violence bound to repeat itself.

Recently I saw a statistic (admittedly I haven’t fact checked) that 13 women have been killed in the last 7 weeks by a current or former male partner. This pattern of violence in our boys becomes violence in our men. It’s something that needs much more discussion. We seem to be going around in circles and the situation stays the same. This isn’t new information. We just aren’t doing anything about it.

Before my current teaching role, I helped to establish a successful program for boys at my school. In this program we explicitly addressed male stereotypes and identified issues of significance for boys. We addressed violence and worked really hard to change this behaviour in the young men we worked with. We weren’t successful with every child, but we certainly had a lot of success. These programs are hard to maintain. Money becomes an issue and these programs are cut back and eventually seem to disappear altogether. Instead, we need to see these programs expand. Funding to offer these programs and explicitly target violence with boys from primary school and into high school are vital. If we want to reduce this type of horrible statistic we need to start supporting proactive rather than reactive approaches. I’m not holding my breath, but if nothing changes… nothing changes.



Man Up

Today is ‘White Ribbon Day’. A day designed to remind us that domestic violence is a problem. It bothers me that we need reminding. Domestic violence and, in particular, violence against women is on the rise. This is a huge problem. What’s worse is that we never hear about it in the ‘news’. Maybe it’s not sensational enough. As a father (and a man), this is a topic that has been important to me for a long time. Through my work with boys in schools and kids in foster care, this has been equally as important to me. Earlier this year I wrote this post and figured that it was apt today. I’ve edited it slightly and reposted below.


I worry about my kids. Everyday there are stories on the news that terrify me. Terrorism, extreme violence, child abusers on the loose… you could just about be forgiven for locking your kids up tight and throwing away the key in the name of safety.

I worry about my kids. My son has started high school this year and, if I believe the news, there’s a good chance that he will be bashed, kidnapped or abused because I dare to let him catch the bus to school on his own.

I worry about my kids. The news tells me that even if he miraculously makes it to school alive there’s a strong likelihood that he will be bullied to the point of inflicting self harm AND will probably receive a less than acceptable education along the way (I saw the terrible NAPLAN results on TV).

I worry about my kids. Even if they somehow make it through all of this, the job market is terrible (I know because it was on the news) and they will probably be unemployed and live a miserable existence… that is if they don’t go out for a night with their friends and get ‘king hit’ by a drunk and end up in hospital.. or dead. I worry about my kids.

Earlier this year I read a blog post on the Mamma Mia website titled ‘Charlie Pickering Wants to Talk to You About Priorities’. In his post, Pickering talks about the priorities of media outlets when selecting which stories to focus on and which to ignore. He highlights the sensationalist nature of stories like those I mentioned and puts them into some perspective. He confirms that in reality these things don’t really happen that often and that it’s probably ok to relax a little. Later in the post, Pickering pointed out sexual violence against women as an example of a story that doesn’t get enough attention in the media.

At about this point in the article, something started to happen. More and more often, I read something that brings on an extreme response from within. This happens particularly with things that I feel relate to my kids or my work. This issue touched on both and I haven’t really been able to let it go since.

Violence against women is touted as a women’s issue. It’s seen to be ‘very bad’ but beyond that, it’s not really talked about often enough. Pickering says in his blog post that around 70 women in Australia die each year at the hands of someone they trust. Let that sink in… Not from random crazy people on the street, but from people they trust and usually a man. His data says that one in three women over the age of 15 will be the victim of physical or sexual violence at the hands of a trusted male during their lifetime… one in three. THIS is something that I SHOULD be worrying about.

A quick google search shows that it’s not just we Australian’s with this problem. Almost half of women over the age of 18 in Canada have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of men. In the USA around 235,000 women were raped or sexually abused last year and that’s just those that were reported. A survey from France shows that just over 76% of all victims there were attacked by men that they knew and trusted. The list goes on. THIS is something that we ALL need to be worried about.

Sexual violence is not a ‘Women’s Issue’. As Jackson Katz says in his TED Talk below, women are the victims here, but the perpetrators are men. Katz presents the view that rather than being a ‘women’s issue’ that sexual violence is actually a ‘men’s issue’.



In my opinion, Katz is on the right track. But, rather than a ‘men’s issue’, I think that this is an issue for our BOYS. Once men are men there has been a lot of learning done along the way. This learning has been very effective and is very hard to undo. If we want to truly change what’s happening here we need to get to our son’s early. Nobody thinks that their son is going to grow up to be a rapist or to commit violence against women but, looking at the statistics, many people’s sons are doing just this. As parent of a son and a daughter… THIS is terrifying.

So where are we going wrong? Where does the violence come from? In general, nobody sets out to train their boys to be violent, surely? I think we are all guilty of it anyway. Stereotypes are alive and well and, as much as we are aware of this, we all still fall into the trap of ‘dolls for girls’ and ‘trucks for boys’. This in itself probably isn’t going to cause our sons to become perpetrators but we throw in some ‘Man up’, ‘Don’t be a wimp’, ‘punch him back’ and the ever classy ‘don’t be a pussy’ & ‘grow some balls’. Now we are starting to develop boys that feel the need to be ‘tough’. ‘Tough’ often comes with ‘aggressive’.

As they grow up there is ongoing pressure to ‘be a man’. ‘No crying’ and ‘suck it up’ get added to pile and we are really starting to do some damage. We watch movies with our sons and nearly all of them show him that he needs to be in charge and save they day. Most of the time he will be rewarded by ‘getting the girl’ who, by the way, is too weak to save herself and really NEEDS the man to tell her what to do. Each of these on their own seem harmless, but combined they send a dangerous message to our sons. Watch:



So what do we do about it? Big question. I certainly don’t have the answer except that we need to start early.

We need to talk to our sons and the boys around us about this stuff. We need to point out that the guys in movies are not realistic. We need to find movies that show a different type of guy to mix in with the usual stuff we watch. We need to teach boys how to be sensitive and think of others. We need to model to them the right way to treat those around them, including (and especially) women. We need to show them that emotions are not only ok but vitally important. We need to let them choose the doll or the pink t-shirt if that’s what they want. In all of this we need to be explicit, and not just assume that they’ll ‘pick it up’.

We need redefine the words ‘MAN UP’.

I worry for my daughter. I worry for my son. Something needs to change and it starts with all of us.


’10 responses to Man UP’ – *Course language at the beginning*


Boys will be Boys

The argument that “boys will be boys” carries the ‘anti-male’ implication that we should expect bad behaviour from boys and men. The assumption is that they are somehow not capable of acting appropriately or treating girls and women with respect.

Jackson Katz

Every now and then, I come across a quote that really resinates with me. The quote above is one of those. As a teacher of an all boys class, I believe that this is really important. Over many years, I have heard many adults brush away poor behaviour with the “boys will be boys” excuse.

A big focus of our boys program is around challenging stereotypes. We work intensively with our boys to identify how boys and men are seen by society. We look at which parts of this are positive and which parts are not. We then take this information and look at what we can do to challenge the negatives and nurture a more positive view of boys in our local and wider community.

We have had a great deal of success with this, but excuses like the one mentioned above can quickly unravel the work that we do. We need to work harder to educate our community and look at why we just accept undesirable behaviour from men and boys.

The acceptance of ‘man’ behaviours is hard to change with constant reinforcement in the media and our everyday lives. Not so long ago, I spent some time at the local footy club and I quickly made the decision that my daughter would only be spending time here over my dead body! The overt leering and sexualised comments directed at the girls and young women at the club was terrible. The worst part of this was that it seemed to be accepted by everyone, including the female patrons.

I guess it’s not really surprising. In the last few months, we have heard many of our male politicians and media personalities speak in a completely derogatory and demeaning manner towards our (now former) female Prime Minister. It happens so often that it’s just become acceptable.

As a man and a father I am completely horrified by this. The images and role modelling that my son receives while he is out and about scares me. Just about everything he sees, tells him that this behaviour is ok. These images are not of the man I want him to grow up to be. As for my daughter, anyone using ‘boys will be boys’ to excuse poor behaviour directed at her will not be met with my acceptance or good humour.


Saturday Morning Adventures

Apple openingGetting up at 6am is not usually my idea of the ideal start to a Saturday morning, but today it marked the beginning of ‘man time’ with my son, Matt (@mlamshed). After some relentless badgering (although I really didn’t need much of a push) we decided we would brave the opening of Adelaide’s first Apple Store. At first I wasn’t convinced that it was a fantastic idea. Early morning, crowds of people, waiting in line… not my favourite things. In the end though, I’m glad we made the effort.

We arrived to a smaller crowd than I was expecting and we quickly counted that we were around the 50th Apple geeks in the line, well within the safe zone to collect a souvenir t-shirt. We chatted in line with the truly dedicated who had camped overnight and all agreed that it was about time that Apple had arrived in SA. The crown grew quickly and after some free subway cookie advertising and a successful ‘rev up’ of the crowd the doors opened and the fun began. With a very enthusiastic greeting from Apple staff the crowd was welcomed to the store’s first day of trading.

I wandered like a kid in a toyshop while Matt got down to business and wrote a blog post from an Apple Store iMac. With self checkout apps and the friendliest staff I have ever seen, it was a great experience overall and one that I am glad I got to share with my son.

The no cost workshops and school programs will make the Apple store a very valuable addition to our city. I look forward to seeing how it can support learning in my family and classroom.


5 Positive Things

This week has been a tough one. I haven’t done a very good job of ‘letting go’ and some student wellbeing issues have been effecting my ‘mental health’. So as I sit here preparing for the night’s slumber, a thought from a long ago conversation entered my mind. I was speaking with a colleague and they said that they find that they reflect at the end of each week on 5 positive things that are going on for them right now. So here goes…

1. Family
My family is my happy place. I am continually amazed at what my kids can do and I am ridiculously proud of who they are becoming. They love learning and love life. My wife forces me to do the things I don’t want to do, but need to do to keep myself sane. She is an amazing support and gives me the time I need to do the stuff that comes with the job, even when it seems to take up too many hours. I appreciate everything she does. I love them and I am very lucky.

2. ‘The team’
Some exciting things are happening at Hackham East at the moment and I feel lucky to be working with a fantastic team of teachers that are committed to improving learning for kids. Although the ‘craziness’ can be overwhelming at times, it is exciting and rewarding everyday.

3. Our School Leadership
I feel lucky to be working with leadership in our school that challenge and support what we do everyday. Our single sex program and now our steps towards flexible learning spaces wouldn’t have happened without the trust of our Principal, Bob Thiele. Our new Deputy Principal, Sally Slattery, has breathed some life into our literacy program and some really exciting learning is happening around classroom libraries and reading programs. Jacinta Wade, our counsellor is a huge support and seems to be able to read every frown or confused look that crosses my face!

4. Music
I am enjoying rediscovering playing music at the moment thanks to an upcoming school band reunion. It will be interesting to see where it goes.

5. The Blogging Process
Although it sounds a bit like I’m ‘clutching at straws’, I am really enjoying the writing and reflection process at he moment. A great way to reflect and improve my practice but also to help settle the thoughts before trying to get a good night’s sleep.

Speaking of which…


AITSL – Illustration of Practice

Last year, I was contacted by AITSL about our school participating in an Illustration of Practice project. It was certainly a worthwhile project for us to be involved in. Being involved with AITSL has improved my teaching without a doubt. The reflection process is an important one and the AITSL Standards for Teachers give me something to reflect against.

Since using the standards as a tool for my professional learning, I have been able to identify not only my strengths, but als the areas that I need to focus on more. In conjunction with this blog, I now have a mechanism for regular reflective learning that keeps me accountable to myself as well as a positive industry standard.

Below is one of three final videos produced by AITSL for their Illustrations of Practice collection. I look forward to sharing the other Hackham East Illustrations soon.

It can also be found on the official AITSL website at

Visit the AITSL site and join the discussion.



Moving On

Each year at this time we go through the experience of saying farewell to our year 7 students. This is not something that I enjoy! In our classroom relationships are important, and this works both ways. I know that they are ready for their next challenge and I know that they are all ready to be successful in their high schools. As always, I will miss working with those student and their families and thank them for another supportive and rewarding year.

A tradition at our year 7 graduation is for a student to talk about their teacher. This year I was absolutely privileged to be on the receiving end of the following speeches written and delivered by Raphael and Trent. I am very grateful for their words and would like to share these below. I have included a transcript and recording of both speeches.

I love my job.

Raph’s Speech

Mr Lamshed was more than just an incredible teacher
He was a best friend, loyal to the end
He was a big brother who taught us how to care for each other

Whenever you’re feeling down…
Feel like no one is around
He was the best friend you could open your feelings to..
cry to and just express your feelings in any other way

Because you know he was able to comfort you
Better than your teddy bear and little night lamp when you were 5 years old

Every single day whenever your feeling lost…
you don’t know what to do
you’re stuck on a very important decision and you don’t have a clue
or you’ve just made a vital mistake, he was the big brother to pull you through

He would never force us into doing anything
but he would give us options
and tell us things that only a big brother was able to tell you.

Sometimes when I was talking to Mr Lamshed
I thought I was talking to King Solomon.
King Solomon is to be crowned the wisest man that ever lived…
I believe

As with every big brother, Mr Lamshed would sit us down
and have a conversation with us
about what kind of man we need to be
He taught us everything about respect, manners and responsibility

That made a big impact on the type of man that most of us boys would like to be.

I strongly believe that Mr Lamshed is a dream teacher for every young man
and I am very grateful for spending two years in his class and so should every single student that has ever been in his class.

Thank you.

Trent’s Speech

Mr. Lamshed.

I first met him back in year one when I got put into Ms Hibbert’s class. The class back then was huge and half of the class got split up into his. Not many of the people that got split up from Ms Hibbert’s class were happy about moving from one teacher to a new one. Even though I had only seen him for about an hour that day, I knew I wanted to be in his class. It wasn’t because most of my other friends would be in there it was because of him.

Even back then I could sense he would be the nicest person I have ever known.

That year I wasn’t put in his class. As the years went on he had formed a 3/4 single sex class, but I was one year too young to go into his class, but I desperately wanted to be in there. In 2010 I got put into a 4/5 single sex class with Mr K. I knew when I would finish year 5 and the year 7’s would graduate, I would finally be put into Mr. Lamshed’s class.

In year 6, I really got to know Mr. Lamshed and he really got to know me. He taught me and the other students how to be ourselves and grow up to be respectful men. Without Mr Lamshed I don’t think I would have had the courage to run for Red House Captain, SAPSASA cricket for Onkaparinga, Clippers for Cancer, perform Kapa Haka in front of 2,000 people and choir in front of 2,000 people, have a part in the New Media Awards and be part of the leadership team.

He has combined the class in such a way that no other teacher could do, such as valuing each and every classmate as a unique individual. He respects other people’s opinion and their right to express their points of view. He motivates us to try and accomplish a range of tasks, from it being to our projects to a bigger goal such as trying to become a better you. He has instilled a sense of belonging in a special way. He has made learning great fun and he has a fantastic sense of humor. He has been approachable in every way. We have been able to confide in him about absolutely anything.

In the space of two years I have had great excursions including the camp, lunches at Charlie’s Diner, sleepovers and more. He has spent many hours outside of the classroom helping us and a range of other students from other schools preparing for Choir, and Kapa Haka for us.

His passion for technology has been infectious. All of us boys have had a head start by learning various methods including blogging and KWN media awards. Thanks to him we have all had exclusive one on one use with the iPads which has been really awesome.

I have been so fortunate to have had him as my teacher for the last 2 years in an all boys class. I sincerely will miss you (and the Justin Bieber singing). 

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