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

Masterclass - Unit 3

This event will allow participants to explore the syllabus and teaching strategies in detail for semester 3. A Unit plan for English  Unit 3 for use in  English on Saturday 19 May and Sunday 20 is now available.  Day one will deal with English and Literature, while day two will repeat the English sessions and also offer...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Wednesday 23rd May 2018
Venue:   University of Queensland
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day 2018

A half day grammar workshop will be presented by Garry Collins at the Springfield Campus of The University of Southern Queensland on Saturday 9th June, 2018. As the venue can accommodate 72, registration will close when we reach that number or Monday 4th June, 2018. If you wish to come, you are advised to register early. For all the d...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   8:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 9th June 2018
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Venue Address:   www.usq.edu.au/springfield
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


AATE/ALEA CONFERENCE 2018

THE ART OF ENGLISH language  -  literature  -  literacy The AATE/ALEA English Literacy National Conference 2018 will be held in Perth from 8 July - 11 July 2018. Download the flyer here, or go to the website englishliteracyconference.com.au for all the latest information.   ...

Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 8th July 2018
Venue:   Perth


Grace Loyden & the new SATE

Grace Loyden will present a session on a aspects of the new SATE at Townsville Grammar School on Saturday 28th July 2018, starting at 9:00 am. Cost is $20 which is to be paid by the website. Download the flyer for all the details. ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 28th July 2018
Venue:   Townsville Grammar School
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 5th August 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


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English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

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Oct 04 2017
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