Teaching thinking in Victorian schools (VELS)

Holidays are over and now it’s back to school tomorrow in Victoria where ‘thinking’ is now on the school curriculum.

Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”

Teaching thinking skills is all about ‘having new eyes’.

The Thinking Processes domain as mapped out in the Victorian Essential Learning Standards (VELS) encompasses a range of cognitive and metacognitive knowledge, skills and behaviours which are essential for students to function effectively in society, both within and beyond school.

Victorian Essential Learning Standards banner with students engaged in physical education

Where Fifth Avenue meets St Kilda Road …

New York’s Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now is exclusive to the National Gallery of Victoria and will not travel to any other Australian city, or anywhere else in the world.

Guggenheim Museum

Guggenheim Collection: 1940s to Now, features iconic artworks from the 1940s to the present by internationally renowned artists such as Jackson Pollock, Alberto Giacometti, Mark Rothko, Dan Flavin, Jeff Koons and Cindy Sherman, and also introduces some new names to Australian audiences such as Sarah Anne Johnson and Suling Wang.

A selection of the Guggenheim’s recent acquisitions are also here in Melbourne.

‘The Policeman’s Dilemma’

The Dilemma: A policeman arrives at a burning truck where the driver is trapped and is about to burn to death. To save him this final agony, should the policeman shoot him?

What do YOU think?

Bishop Harries and Richard Dawkins have collaborated on several occasions to promote the proper teaching of science in UK classrooms. They discuss the Policeman’s Dilemma and mercy kiling and other strong questions of religion, science and ethics including faith schools, homosexuality and Christianity, the school curriculum and the media. They also do it rationally and respectfully.


To Richard Dawkins believing in God is like believing in a teapot orbiting Mars. Although, Dawkins says he is ‘a member of Atheists for Jesus’.

This is a fascinating video interview with Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford by Richard Dawkins, the famed evolutionary biologist, atheist and popular science writer.

Dawkins holds the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University, a position created for him in 1995 by Charles Simonyi, the Microsoft millionaire.

Watch the interview on video here …

Matt Ridley lectures in Melbourne

Matt Ridley, the celebrated British science writer, almost filled the great room of the Melbourne Town Hall last night for his 2007 Deakin Lecture,
“Nature? Nurture? What makes us human?”


He will be giving another lecture tomorrow night at Melbourne University called, “Physics had Einstein, Biology had Crick”.

Time and Date : 6:00PM, Thursday 12th July 2007
Venue : Prince Phillip Theatre, Architecture Building.

Read the New York Times review of FRANCIS CRICK, Discoverer of the Genetic Code by Matt Ridley by clicking here …

Study finds alcohol doesn’t kill off brain cells

NEW research, to be revealed at a conference of some of the world’s top neuroscientists in Cairns today, has found alcohol does not kill off brain cells as always thought.

For years imbibers have been told a big night on the drink wipes out entire sections of human brain cell function with much the same destructive equivalent as a napalm bombing strike.

According to Queensland Brain Institute director Professor Perry Bartlett, this is not true.

Latest Brain-Teasing Video Games

FOX NEWS.COM: The fastest growing genre in video games is “brain training,” a genre no one had even heard of before last year.

But it only takes one smash hit – in this case, Nintendo’s “Brain Age” – to launch an armada of imitators.


Nintendo’s rivals have tried to hop on the “Brain Age” bandwagon with copycats like “Brain Boost,” “Brain Genius,” “Brain Juice,” “Brain Challenge” and (for the sake of variety) “Mind Quiz.”  More …

Thinker of Year says ‘science is a detective story’ …

Last night the Australian Thinker of the Year 2007 was awarded to Professor Jenny Graves in recognition of her world class innovations in comparative genomics and her research into the function and evolution of human genes, particularly those genes responsible for determining a baby’s sex.

Professor Graves of The Australian National University and Melbourne University has also provided leadership and encouragement both nationally and globally for teaching better science to children and for better opportunities for women in science.

Leaders from universities, from government, from the arts, sciences, industry and media attended a reception at the Melbourne Convention Centre’s de luxe Clarendon Room–Melbourne’s most ‘Melbourne’ room.

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson presented the annual award on behalf of the School of Thinking.

On receiving her award, Jenny said: “Science is not easy but it’s incredibly exciting. It’s a detective story and an adventure story”.


Professor Jenny Graves receives her award.


Leigh Harry CEO of MECC, Jenny and Michael.

The World Thinking Congress: August 2010.

This is your invitation to come to Melbourne for an unforgettable week that will change your life in August 2010!

The School of Thinking is pleased to announce that it will host the World Thinking Congress at the new Melbourne Convention Centre on Monday 16, Tuesday 17 and Wednesday 18 August 2010.

Melbourne is the home base of the School of Thinking and was recently named by the UN as the City of Literature.

What: WTC 2010 — The World Thinking Congress, 2010.
The theme of WTC 2010 will be: Escape + Search = Think
Why: The purpose of WTC is to promote better thinking in the world.
When: 16-18 August, 2010 for 3 Days of Program.
Where: The new Melbourne Convention Centre.
– Audience: Science — Business — Family.
– Speakers: World’s top headline speakers in these three sectors.
– Delegates: International. National. State Capital and Regions.
How: The 1500 tickets for each of the three days will be on sale from August 2009.


— Click here to preview the logo of the World Thinking Congress 2010: world-thinking-cong-logo3


Thinking has the power to change attitudes and lives. The World Thinking Congress 2010 will bring together the world’s most fascinating thinkers. In a fast paced format, the best speakers and thinkers will come alive on stage at the new Melbourne Convention Centre which will be the first 6 Star Green-rated centre in the world.

The Congress will present thoughts and ideas, promote public debate and foster and celebrate innovation in thinking. Covering three main streams of thought: Science; Business and Family, the program will address what people want to know, don’t want to know, do and don’t know.

The Congress presents local, national and international thinkers, alongside speakers, creators and observers over three days where approximately 50 speakers each take 20 minutes to demonstrate to the audience their “best of” thinking. A major international speaker will take the stage to start off the thinking each day, followed by other international and national speakers and experts in their various areas of interest.

The Congress will host nearly 5000 delegates from Australia and around the world. There will be 1500 delegates for each of the three days. Delegates may attend one, two or all three of the days.

School of Thinking members will be given first priority for tickets.

The event will be recorded and edited highlights of each day will be played at the beginning and end of each day. The Congress website will include highlights and full presentations from this event making these insights available free to the public after the event.


SOT is currently conducting negotiations with over 30 world class speakers to cover the three streams of the congress: Science, Business and Family.

Leaders from academic and research institutes will assemble to hear the thoughts of the leading “thinkers” in the world. We will hear about the very biggest ideas in science, medicine, education, psychology, philosophy and the future of life. For example:

Richard Dawkins – evolutionary biologist and popular science author.

Vandana Shiva – one of the world’s most dynamic and provocative thinkers, physicist, ecologist, and activist.

Alain De Botton — author who explores his own experiences and ideas, those of artists, philosophers & thinkers – a ‘philosophy of everyday life.’

Professor Martin Seligman – expert on learned helplessness, on depression, on optimism and pessimism and positive psychology.

Peter Singer – Australian philosopher.

Greg Foliente – considered one of the world’s leading experts in the performance approach in Architecture, Engineering and Construction.

Cheryl Paten – Australian Young Professional Engineer of the Year.

Judi Stewart – currently Managing Director and Chief Executive of the Great Barrier Reef Research Foundation.


Bob Isherwood – worldwide Creative Director of Saatchi & Saatchi

Charles Leadbeater – one of the world’s leading authorities on innovation and creativity in organisations.

Jim Collins – student and teacher of enduring great companies — how they grow, how they attain superior performance, and how good companies can become great companies.

Dr Thomas Barlow – highly respected within the Australian scientific community for his enthusiasm, independent thinking and imagination.

Peter Williams – partner with Deloitte, CEO of the newly formed Deloitte Digital and one of Australia’s thought leaders on Innovation and online, mobile & emerging technology.

Morris Miselowski — business futurist & thinker.


Laura Bush – dedicated to advancing education in the United States and worldwide.

Stephen Pinker – conducts research on language and cognition – author of seven books, including The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, Words and Rules, & The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature.

Jeremy Gutsche – innovation expert, cutting edge speaker and founder of TrendHunter.com, the world’s largest network for trend spotting and innovation.

Richard Neville – Australia’s Most controversial futurist.

Shane Maloney – gritty crime author and passionate advocate of public education.

James Ingram – leader of a task force appointed by the Crawford Fund to analyze the underlying causes of the recent sharp peak in world food prices, to consider their long term implications for global food security and to formulate policy options open to Australia.

Brett Murray – one of Australia’s leading recognised experts in Gen ‘X’, and Gen ‘Y’.

Barbara Pocock – director of the Centre for Work + Life at the University of South Australia.


Post below the name of a speaker whom you would like to see invited to present their best idea at WTC 2010.

So you want to write a book: Some startling statistics

Robyn Jackson writes: Anyone who has ever tried to find an agent or get a manuscript accepted by a publisher knows what a tough business writing is. Even if you do get your book published, there’s no guarantee anyone will buy it. The following statistics were found on the Web site of self-publishing guru Dan Poynter. They’ll give you an idea of what you’re up against if you want to write books for a living.

• 1/3 of high school graduates never read a book for the rest of their lives.
• 42 percent of college graduates never read another book after college.
• 80 percent of U.S. families did not buy or read a book last year.
• 70 percent of U.S. adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
• 57 percent of new books are not read to completion.
• 70 percent of books published do not earn back their advance.
• 70 percent of the books published do not make a profit.

About 120,000 books are published each year in the U.S. A successful fiction book sells 5,000 copies. A successful nonfiction book sells 7,500 copies.

On average, a bookstore browser spends 8 seconds looking at a book’s front cover and 15 seconds looking at the back cover. Each day in the U.S., people spend 4 hours watching TV, 3 hours listening to the radio and 14 minutes reading magazines.

Statistics can be manipulated, and these paint a fairly bleak picture, but don’t give up. Write that novel, pitch that nonfiction book idea to a publisher. Follow your dream. Just don’t kid yourself about how easy it will be to get published. Sure, a lot of crap gets published, but the better your manuscript is, the likelier you’ll be to see it in print.

Publishing is a business, and publishers want books that fit neatly into a genre because they know there’s a huge audience for mysteries and romances, even cookbooks. Books that don’t fit into a genre will have a harder time finding a publisher, no matter how good they might be. It’s all about money, honey.

Copyright 2003, Robyn Jackson
SOURCE: http://www.humorwriters.org/startlingstats.html