Peter Botsman Award 2004

John Thomas

John is a teacher who is deeply committed to the teaching of the subject English, intellectually stimulating, always challenging us into thinking what English teaching was about. He is prepared to apply, and inspires his teachers to apply, cutting edge ideas about teaching topics/issues associated with the teaching of English in the classroom.

John is inspirational because of the breadth and depth of his knowledge of critical language theory and his dedication to implementing it in the classroom. Throughout the nineties, his intelligence, insights (and dry wit) lifted the quality of discussions at panel sessions and his contributions to Panel were appreciated and respected by his colleagues.

In 1991 members of English syllabus sub-committee were amazed at the insight and depth of the syllabus feedback submitted by John. Around that time he also meticulously developed and documented a unit of work on literature for Year 10 which represented a very early attempt to translate post-structuralist theory into practice. His work has found its way into Words’Worth and University courses.

One of us was lucky to teach with John Thomas at Woree State High in Cairns during the early to mid 1990s.

During this time he introduced me to Critical Literacy Theory – a person well ahead of his times. As a result of his leadership, a team of us began to apply the ideas associated with this theory in the classroom – no mean feat given it was a time when no support materials were in place for our use. Ne encouraged and supported wide reading, collegial support and risk taking. We were able to create and sustain a network that included visits from Wendy Morgan and Colin Lankshear. At seminars, we show cased with other teachers in the region, what we had developed.

We were also inspired by him to engage in advocacy, meeting with local politicians and advisers to the Minister of Education whenever an educational issue of concern arose.

His sense of social justice is noteworthy as well. He supported us in recognising the needs of troubled students, helping us cope with the stress of working with them with regular doses of his loony bird humour. He also motivated us to see that effective application of Critical Literacy provided an opportunity to giving voice to these students – an opportunity for them to make a new meaning out of school.

John has an insatiable appetite for all things English. This is no more evident than in his adoption of Hallidayan approaches and more recently those of Kress and van Leeuwin on visual literacy to the extent that he has introduced his son to Kress and van Leeuwin to help him at the College of Art.

Perhaps the most significant aspect of John’s approach to English teaching has been his capacity to absorb new ideas, come to terms with their complexity, and to exploit their worth. A consuming interest with language across the curriculum has been apparent in his involvement in language projects over the past 25 years beginning with LTLTR and continuing now with New Basics. In conclusion referees were unanimous in their support for John’s leadership and advocacy for English education, as one wrote:

We absolutely commend John as a nominee for a Botsman Award 2004. It couldn’t go to a more deserving person.

Upcoming Events

An Afternoon with Lindsay Williams

An Afternoon with Lindsay Williams and the Analytical Essay will be held at Centenary Heights State High School, Performing Arts Complex on Wednesday 16th October  2019 from 3:15 to 5:45 pm. A Certificate of Participation for 2 hours CPD will be issued to participants. Afternoon tea will be served from 3:15 to 3:45. For furt...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   3:15 PM
Date:   Wednesday 16th October 2019
Venue:   Centenary Hts SHS
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Thou wouldst be great

Charlie Thomson, Amy Proud and Rosie Maguire  present their findings from the Bell Shakespeare Regional Teacher Mentorship on Saturday 19 October, 2019 from 9:00 till 11:30.

For all the details, download the flyer

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 19th October 2019
Venue:   St Paricks College on the Strand
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Early Career Conference

The Early Career Conference will be held at the University of Southern Queensland, Springfield Campus.  The program is now available here and will be mailed to members later this week. Registrations are now open and will close on Friday 18th October, 2019. You may register online or by completing the registration form and mailing it ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 26th October 2019
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Venue Address:   USQ Springfield Campus, 37 Sinnathamby Blvd, Springfield Central 4300
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


An Afternoon of Moderation

The Darling Downs Branch will present an afternoon of moderation on Wednesday 30 October from 3:30 - 5:30. This will allow members and teachers to participate in an afternoon of moderation.  These professional conversations will be conducted in a collegial manner, and allow teachers to read responses to FIA4 written by a range of stu...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   3:30 PM
Date:   Wednesday 30th October 2019
Venue:   Fairholme College
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day 2019

ETAQ will be condudcting another of the very successful grammar days on Saturday 9th November  at Iona College, Wynnum. Download the flyer for further information. Registrations will open on Monday 30 September and close on Monday 28 October 2019.   ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 9th November 2019
Venue:   Iona College


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