Is all learning quantifiable?

If anyone has ever seen an episode of The Office you would know that most scenes are steeped in many hilarious and rich interactions between colleagues, often within small confines such as around the water cooler or photocopier. Whilst the show offers an over the top view of the myriad of smaller discussions that consistently pepper our workplaces, it also offers pause for consideration into the simultaneous meanings and messages that can be found within these exchanges.

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ACHPER NSW Strategic Priorities

ACHPER NSW are pleased to officially announce our Strategic Priorities for 2017 – 2019.

We would like to acknowledge past Presidents, Board members and administration staff as well as our delegates and members who have continued to encourage ACHPER NSW to pursue the missions of our non-profit organisation. The establishment of clear strategic priorities will move our organisation further forward in a challenging time for educators, academics, researchers and other individuals in the PDHPE, health, recreation, dance, fitness and sport arena.

At ACHPER NSW our strategic priorities are aligned with the ACHPER National Strategic Priorities and are built on:

Purpose: To create strong advocacy for PDHPE across NSW and support ACHPER National to promote healthy lifestyles for all Australians.
People: To develop positive relationships and connections with key stakeholders across all areas of health, wellbeing, PE and sport.
Processes: To foster partnerships with key stakeholders in health, physical education and wellbeing as well as the greater community.
Products and practices: To improve the position of ACHPER NSW in advocating for PDHPE and health lifestyles throughout NSW and Australia.

Our overarching priorities are ADVOCATE, EDUCATE and SUPPORT, encapsulating what is reflected in the work of ACHPER NSW since the 1950s.

We would love to hear from our members, delegates and other interested community members about how we can work together to promote healthy lifestyles. You can read all about our Strategic Priorities 2017 – 2019 here.

Yours in health and wellbeing,

Kelly Bell
President of ACHPER NSW

A balance at exam time

Students who study any subject within the PDHPE Key Learning Area know about the importance of balance. This can be easily applied to the preparation that goes into sitting any exam for students. Below are some simple strategies for students to adopt before, during and after exam time.


  • Develop a realistic study timetable
  • Using a variety of study techniques
  • Colour code your syllabus and notes
  • Revise individually or in groups
  • Understand the differences between the NESA Glossary of Key Words
  • Use Glossary of Key Words scaffolds
  • Use writing structures to help guide your responses
  • Practice answering examination questions
  • Answer questions under examination conditions
  • Seek feedback from teachers and peers. 


  • Ensure you have the right date and time
  • Take black pens into the examination
  • Get plenty of rest the night before
  • Have a healthy breakfast and drink plenty of water
  • Be aware of clocks or wear a watch
  • Practice some relaxation and stress management techniques
  • Check you have the whole examination in front of you
  • Use your reading time wisely
  • Plan your time and take your time
  • Start developing answers in your head while reading
  • Answer every question
  • Instead of putting a cross through possible incorrect work, put it in brackets
  • Write your school centre and student number on every page
  • Label all questions carefully
  • Try your absolute best. 


  • Seek support from your peers
  • Ask for additional support from your class teacher
  • Get plenty of feedback from your class teacher and/or other teachers
  • Discuss with your family your goals, hopes and intentions for your exams
  • Revise with your peers
  • Use additional materials to further support your skills
  • Seek support from Year/Stage/Pastoral/Welfare/House Coordinators
  • Research support through organisations such as ReachOut, Beyond Blue
  • Go to the NESA website for documents pertaining to the syllabus, performance descriptors, past papers, marking criteria, answers, notes from the marking centre and sample answers. 

    (Adapted from the ACHPER NSW, HSC CAFS Enrichment Day, 2017) 


    ACHPER NSW wishes all students the very best in their upcoming examinations. You can check out our PDHPE and CAFS webinars available on our website to further support your preparation.

    Yours in health and wellbeing,

    Kelly Bell
    Nagle College, Blacktown South
    President of ACHPER NSW

Learners need endless feedback, more than they need endless teaching

“Learners need endless feedback, more than they need endless teaching”. (Grant Wiggins)


Trial HSC Examinations across NSW have either just finished or about to begin. Students prepare for their trials, they sit them, teachers mark their exams and give them back their results, students spend about one minute looking at their marks.

This is a common cycle that exists in not only HSC classrooms, but in classrooms all over the world with summative tasks. Students deserve better, they deserve to get explicit feedback from their teacher/s about how they did in their examination. After all, in most HSC exams- including PDHPE and CAFS they complete a three hour paper!

For the feedback to be effective, William (2011) reminds us that it MUST provide a recipe for future action and for this to happen it must be designed so as to progress learning. Like in sport, feedback must provide information for students to break down into components and they need to be practiced until fluency is reached.

Hattie and Timperely (2007, p.86) suggest irrespective of the source of feedback, any feedback provided by students/peer or the teacher must answer the following pertinent questions:

1. Where am I going? (What are the goals)

2. How am I going? (What progress is being made toward the goal?)
3. Where to next? (What activities need to be undertaken to make better progress?)

Hattie and Timperley (2007, p.102) believe that the answers to these questions also “enhance learning when there is a discrepancy between what is understood and what is aimed to be understood”. This also has been described by Sadler (1989) in his feedback model where the interpretation of the evidence of learning is used to identify the gap and adaptations/responses are made to learning needs when executed successfully, close the gap in student learning. Similarly, Wiliam and Leahy (2015) discuss the need to provide feedback especially when educators find out that students have not learned what was intended. This sort of discovery needs intervention and often feedback provides that way forward.

This all sounds great, but as busy teachers our time is limited as we attempt to manage our multiple commitments. Here are some simple strategies that have been trialled extensively in my own classroom over the last few years.

1. Provide WIN Feedback (Bell, 2014).
W– What you did well.
I– Improvements to be made.
N– Necessary actions to make those improvements.

At the end of the student’s exam paper, you can write the three letters and simply provide the student with a couple of points per area of feedback. Including the students in the feedback is also a great way to improve a Growth Mindset as they attempt to complete any area of feedback as self-reflection.

2. Use a data tracker. By tracking student responses and crunching some statistics you are simulating what the NESA RAP packages do. You can get an overall picture of how each student has performed, look for patterns in their understanding and even more powerful is the feedback that the data can give you to help you improve as a teacher.

3. Share exemplar responses amongst the class. This is another great way to empower your students and mirrors what can be done with the NESA PDHPE and CAFS standard materials. 

With their permission, it is very beneficial to share well-answered responses that students in your class wrote. This has a twofold effect, firstly other students can see what the expected standard was and secondly the class can seek assistance from those students who are writing well to help improve their knowledge, understanding and skills.

4. Have students resubmit responses to see if they can implement the changes and provide feedback on their resubmissions.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

This goes without saying. Show your students where they can find past HSC questions on the NESA website, purchase or develop multiple trial examinations for your students to use as practice and then provide feedback on the responses that your students submit.

There are a plethora of other ideas that teachers and their students can use to improve their results after the trial examinations. If you want to discover some more strategies to move your students forward, we would love for you to come along to either of our Improving Student Performance workshops! More details can be found here:

Let’s work smarter and not harder (thanks Nat Littler!) and share some more ideas with each other via our social media pages on Facebook and Twitter

To get you on your way, here are some simple CAFS samples that you can use.

Yours in health and wellbeing,

Kelly Bell
Nagle College, Blacktown South
President of ACHPER NSW



Hattie, J. and Timperely, H. (2007). The power of feedback. Review of Educational Research, 77, 81-112.

Saddler, D. R. (1989). Formative assessment and the design of instructional systems. Instructional Science, 18, 119-144.

William, D. and Leahy, S. (2015).
Embedding Formative Assessment. Victoria, Australia: Hawker Brownlow Education.

Wiliam, D. (2011).
Embedded Formative Assessment. Bloomington, IN, USA: Solution Tree Press.



Drawing from the well – taking care of the care taker

As the end of the term draws to a close, you probably have one eye glued to the calendar as you will yourself into the holidays. Often at this stage of the year, fatigue is battling with the seemingly never ending lists of tasks to be completed – you’ve been working hard on reports, registers, meetings, professional development, planning, assessment setting and / or marking … need we go on?

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Preparation is the key to good results

As #CAFS NSW students begin to think about preparing for their HSC trials, it is timely to discuss what they can do to give the exams their best shot.

1. Know the syllabus

This goes without saying. Knowing the syllabus intimately is a key component to achieving good results in CAFS (and for any other subject for that matter). Successful CAFS students demonstrate a strong interconnectedness between concepts and their application of knowledge in their exam responses. It is because of this interconnection that students, with the guidance of their teachers should examine the relationship between the ‘Learn about’ and ‘Learn to’ objectives.

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Staff meeting process for gathering feedback on the draft PDHPE syllabus

Last month saw the release of the draft K-10 PDHPE syllabus for consultation. The release provides an exciting opportunity for teachers to have input into the future directions of the PDHPE learning area.

ACHPER NSW and the PDHPE Teachers’ Association will be submitting formal feedback based on input from their members.

In order to support teachers to explore the draft K-10 PDHPE syllabus and provide us with your feedback on the draft syllabus, we have put together a step-by-step process with guided discussion questions. The process has been designed to be run in a staff meeting or faculty meeting and could be used on the upcoming staff development day.

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ACHPER NSW 2016 Annual Report

ACHPER NSW continues to be the leading provider of professional learning for educators teaching courses under the PDHPE Key Learning Area (KLA) across NSW. 2016 saw ACHPER NSW lead over 1800 primary and secondary educators through our workshops and conferences as well as supporting over 560 HSC students during our HSC Enrichment Days.

Professional Learning

Throughout our 2016 Professional Learning Calendar we facilitated twenty-one face to face workshops, six HSC Enrichment Days, five K-6 Conferences and our Annual Stage 6 Conference. In addition, we hosted various webinars and video conferences to support both teachers and students. All of these professional learning opportunities are consistently reviewed and updated after consideration of evaluations, to ensure that they best meet the needs of delegates and members. ACHPER NSW will continue to develop new and innovative professional learning opportunities to address emerging needs of educators who teach courses within the PDHPE KLA.

We would like to extend our thanks and congratulations to the writers, presenters, mentors and reviewers of ACHPER NSW workshops, conference materials and other resources offered in 2016. Teachers and their students across NSW are indebted to you for your professionalism and diligence in developing worthwhile and innovative resources to improve the learning outcomes of students as well as the knowledge and skills of teachers.


2016 saw a number of changes to the ACHPER NSW Board with long standing Board member and President Nadene Kennedy stepping down after ten years. On behalf of the Board, members and the wider ACHPER community we would like to extend our gratitude to Nadene for her leadership and advocacy of PDHPE across NSW over the last decade. Nadene has played a pivotal role in the development and advice of both the Australian and NSW curriculum in a number of subjects. We would like to wish Nadene all the very best as she continues as to support teachers in NSW schools and in her accreditation work, educating teachers who are working towards Highly Accomplished or Lead level.

We would also like to thank Sarah Jackson for her support and leadership of ACHPER NSW throughout the first half of 2016. Sarah was President until she was appointed on the ACHPER National Board. We thank Sarah for her commitment and service to ACHPER NSW over the last five years. We know that she will continue to support and advocate for PDHPE across NSW, especially in her work on student wellbeing.

Congratulations to Dominique Sidaros who joined the ACHPER NSW Board this year until her appointment as Relieving Senior Curriculum Advisor with BOSTES NSW. We thank Dom for her energy and passion in exploring further avenues to support PDHPE teachers across NSW.

Congratulations is also extended to Xanthe Dwyer on her permanent appointment as a PDHPE teacher at Gilroy Catholic College, Castle Hill. Xanthe has worked in the ACHPER NSW office for the last two years and has undertaken various project roles, most notably the K-6 Conferences. Gilroy have gained a very meticulous, hardworking and passionate young teacher.

We would also like to thank our office staff Julie Percival, Executive Officer and Tracy Puckeridge, Administration Officer for the extensive work they do to support the Board and the smooth running of all ACHPER NSW logistics, events, correspondence and materials. Both Julie and Tracy go above and beyond to make every last detail of our events run seamlessly.

Finally we would like to thank the Board members who nominated again for the 2016-2017 period and to the three new members who joined us this year. We feel very humbled and honored to be leading such a dedicated, energetic, passionate and hardworking Board as well as representing ACHPER NSW members, delegates and the wider ACHPER community.

The full 2016 Annual Report can be read and downloaded below.

Download (PDF, Unknown)

How can schools and parents balance screen-time and green-time? Part 3

As earlier stated, digital amputation is not a solution. Teaching our kids healthy media habits is critical. This requires action on behalf of schools, parents and health professionals, which in turn requires learning and upskilling because parents and educators are the first generation of raising and working with digital natives. Put simply, you don’t know what you don’t know. Raising and teaching kids in the digital age is new terrain that we’re (as educators and parents) trying to navigate (and often we’re trying to figure this out on the fly and on the backfoot.)

Here are some simple ideas that you can implement at both home and school to encourage kids to balance their screen- and green-time.

// Plan unplugged times

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Why we need to teach kids to balance screen-time and green-time – Part 2

// Mind-wandering mode

Time unplugged and in nature allows our students’ brains to enter what neuroscientists call ‘mind wandering mode’ which is also considered the ‘default mode’ of thinking. When our students are outdoors, they’re away from their screens (hopefully) and therefore they’re not processing the multitude of sensory input that screens offer (sounds, animations, graphics, text). This allows their prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain that’s responsible for their higher-order thinking) to switch off. As a result, their mind can wander. During this mode of thinking, they can come up with creative solutions to problems, develop new ideas and be creative. (This is also the exact same reason why we often have our best ideas in the shower, after a run, or after a holiday.)

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Why we must teach kids to balance their screen-time and green-time by Dr Kristy Goodwin

Our kids are experiencing digitalised childhoods. Their plugged-in childhoods are impacting their health, development and even the ways that they want and expect to learn. Technology is changing so many things about childhood and adolescence.

For example, we now know that today’s kids are leading more sedentary lives and one of the reasons (it’s certainly not the only reason) is because of their screen infatuation. Teachers throughout Australia are anecdotally reporting changes to students’ fine motor skills and research now confirms that many children learn to tap, swipe and pinch before they’ve learnt to ride a bike, grip a pencil or tie their shoelaces. There are also mounting concerns that young students’ gross motor skill development is also being impacted because of excessive time spent with screens (fundamental movement skills like crawling, hanging off monkey bars and rolling and swinging to develop their vestibular systems are being displaced by screen activities).

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