After starting his career as a foreign affairs journalist, Cameron Paterson later decided to move into teaching and is currently working at Shore School in Australia. Cameron has developed innovative methods for global and project-based learning, including Skype calls with children in countries being studied in his history classes. One example was a call to Turkey when studying the Gallipoli campaign in World War One – his Australian students discovered that the Turkish view included important information that was not covered in their ‘Western’ textbooks. He was recently nominated as one of the 50 finalists for the Global Education and Teacher’s Award 2019.
“I completed the Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards between 1983 and 1986. I received my Gold Award from Sir Ninian Stephen, the Governor-General of Australia, in 1986. The Award was offered by my school and was co-ordinated by the energetic Mr Les Harvey. I learned the trumpet and played basketball, but most of my memories are of the expeditions. I planned all of them and they included trekking in the Royal National Park, the Blue Mountains, and the Myall Lakes. When I look back I cannot believe how much independence we had on the expeditions. We bush-bashed and learned how to navigate through trial and error. We got sick from drinking untreated creek water and we ran out of drinking water on one occasion. The expeditions taught me a great deal about planning and outdoor skills but the real lessons were about independence and decision-making.
“A good education inculcates the best of the past whilst allowing plenty of scope for finding your own way in an increasingly complicated world. Most of our learning is informal. We usually learn more from casual conversations than in the classroom. We learn through talking, observing others, trial-and-error, and working with good mentors.
I cannot believe how much independence we had on the expeditions. The expeditions taught me a great deal about planning and outdoor skills but the real lessons were about independence and decision-making. We learned through talking, observing others, trial-and-error, and working with good mentors.
“Nowadays being a teacher is a fantastic job. In the future educators will be more guides and mentors than fountains of knowledge. Education is quickly shifting to focus more on dispositions and competencies, the sorts of skills developed by co-curricular activities like the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award. We all now need to be able to cope with a faster rate of change and adapt more readily to changing circumstances.
“We equip and empower young people to be agents of positive change by building opportunities for agency and empowerment both inside and outside our classrooms. Instead of thinking do I know the information for the test, young people should be thinking, where can my idea go?”