Page 4760 - Week 15 - Tuesday, 13 December 2005

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them out, and to manage relationships, as she lost her job as opposition whip and manager of opposition business.

Mrs Dunne covers up the obvious fact that she does not have the foggiest idea what she is talking about by making the odd reference to the various levels of help. As Mr Corbell said, Mrs Dunne not only continually undermines our public school education system, our teachers and our educationalists, but also now wants to undermine and demoralise our young students. She says, from what I just heard, that they are not capable of thinking, negotiating or commenting on their desire to learn in a certain way or the progress of their learning.

Mrs Dunne sits on a committee that is conducting a public hearing into education at the moment and she, along with others on that committee, has heard how important it is to develop positive relationships in the school environment, good relationships between children, good relationships between students and teachers, and good relationships between teachers and teachers, and for the whole school community to develop good relationships with parents. Mrs Dunne, having been given good evidence that if these conditions apply the child’s academic outcomes, previously failing, are amazingly advanced, to the benefit of the student, of course, but also to the benefit of our whole community, maintains today that establishing good relationships is somehow not relevant.

A great deal is written and spoken these days about emotional intelligence. It has been found that, in order to learn and to be able to survive in this very complex world, one needs to have a healthy emotional intelligence. I wonder whether, somewhere along the line, Mrs Dunne missed out on this important learning. It would seem from her negative communication style and her negative vitriol today that this is the case.

I would like to reinforce the words of Mr Corbell in supporting our teachers and the important work they are undertaking to ensure that the school curriculum and teaching practices remain at the cutting edge. The excellent achievements of Canberra students are a reflection of the professional expertise of teachers in our schools. In partnership with parents, teachers have a key role to play in developing our children and our young people as learners, as people and as community members contributing to society, both now and into the future.

Members will recall the many government initiatives and the funding put in place to support education and training in the ACT. That has included a focus on assisting students in the important adolescent years. The middle years study so roundly criticised in this place today by Mrs Dunne is indeed a valuable addition to the professional expertise of our teachers as it brings together the latest in educational research aimed at improving the educational outcomes of our young people. It is a great pity that Mrs Dunne seeks to drag down the middle years study and all those that are working to implement it.

In addition to the other initiatives the government has put in place, it has youth workers for each government high school and provides additional funds to support those most disadvantaged. A key initiative of the government is the school excellence initiative which reinforces the commitment to quality teaching and learning. The ACT has a proud history of being innovative and flexible and of being able to incorporate educational

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