Teachers Talking Teaching

John Catterson (@jfcatto) and Pete Whiting (@mr_van_w) are two Australian Flipped Educators. Together they talk education, pedagogy and current practice. Find more of Pete and John: Website - YouTube - YouTube -
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Teachers Talking Teaching



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Sep 27, 2018

In a disjointed partially lost episode; John (@jfcatto) criticises the practice of behavior charts as they sound crazy. Then realises that he basically does the same thing. Pete (@mr_van_w) then questions whether students should be able to question the relevance of learning. The answer is "yes and teachers should have an answer".


John: Tear Down Your Behavior Chart! - Lee Ann Jung and Dominique Smith!.aspx


Pete: Five Ways to Help Student Find the Relevance in Your Lessons - Dan Jones 

Sep 15, 2018

This week (a little late - soz about that) Pete (@mr_van_w) sits down with some very special guests to run through the many things that we learned at RESCon this year.

We sit down with @MrMCimino, Steven Kolber (@Steven_kolber) and @ShawtimaSmiles.

It was a great time and a good listen. Not so much on the audio quality - it's four friends sitting in a hotel room talking smack. Not in our usual podcast studio.


Sep 6, 2018

This week Pete (@mr_van_w) makes comment on an interview with  Jane Caro by one of our AEON stable-mates.

John (@jfcatto) keeps us up to date on the developments in NSW Education and some recent comments made by the Honourable and Handsome Rob Stokes.


Pete: TER #118 Jane Caro on Education - Dan Haesler


John: New NSW teachers to require a credit average, 'superior' intelligence - Jordan Baker


New NSW curriculum on the way - Dominica Sanda


Sep 4, 2018

In an almost-full-episode-but-really-a-part-deux Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto) discuss the comments made by everybody's second-favourite astrophysicist Professor Brian Cox about the broken education system. Comments that are obviously ludicrous and he has no right to make in the first place, according to edutwitter.


John: Stressed teenagers should think about Mars, not exams, says star physicist Brian Cox - Sian Griffiths     

Aug 30, 2018

In a short episode in a busy week/term, Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto) discuss the new depth studies that have been added to the Stage 6 syllabus in Biology, Chemistry and Physics. 

Aug 23, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) wonders over the sheer volume of assessment tasks we expect HSC student to juggle. All the time taking day to day lesson seriously and maintaining a love of learning for the sake of learning.


John (@jfcatto) looks at two articles in the news this week. The ATAR and current format of HSC has outlived its usefulness and some believe is on it's way out. Fresh hope: Professor Geoff Masters may be the one to burn it all to the ground and build it better. 


Pete: The Educational Grind - Pete Whiting


John: ATAR gone in 10 years and 'dire' HSC unfit for future: CEOs, Educator - Pallavi Singhal


Rebuilding the wall: what the major NSW curriculum review will at - Pallavi Singhal



Aug 23, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) wonders over the sheer volume of assessment tasks we expect HSC student to juggle. All the time taking day to day lesson seriously and maintaining a love of learning for the sake of learning.


John (@jfcatto) looks at two articles in the news this week. The ATAR and current format of HSC has outlived its usefulness and some believe is on it's way out. Fresh hope: Professor Geoff Masters may be the one to burn it all to the ground and build it better. 


Pete: The Educational Grind - Pete Whiting


John: ATAR gone in 10 years and 'dire' HSC unfit for future: CEOs, Educator - Pallavi Singhal


Rebuilding the wall: what the major NSW curriculum review will at - Pallavi Singhal



Aug 17, 2018

This week John (@jfcatto) brings his sultry best to dispel this week's misrepresentation regarding ATAR entrance scores for teaching degrees. Something Birmo seems unable to do.

Pete (@mr_van_w) highlights the increase in students who parents identify them as "No religion" and hopes this may mean an end to scripture classes in public schools.   


John: Students with low ATAR scores accepted for teaching degrees


Pete: Religion in Decline in Australian Schools - Pallavi Singhal

Aug 9, 2018

A return to form for Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto).

Pete highlights another one of his blog posts based on his experiences at CONASTA. He considers the seemingly misfitted keynotes for the audience and the value of "outsiders" on the education conversation. 

John discusses ways to train students to effectively use technology for taking notes within the classroom.     


Pete: Education to feed the economic machine - Mr Van W


John: Note Taking With Technology - Beth Holland 

Aug 2, 2018

In this barely-an-episode-filler John (@jfcatto) introduces the idea of conducting an Action Research to demonstrate standards of teaching. Something we may be hearing him bang on a bit more over the next year or so. 

Pete (@mr_van_w) checks the TTT mailbox ( and answers some questions from Early Career Teacher Uten.

Jul 26, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto) mispronounce some words and take a guess at some acronyms that they probably should know but apparently don't. 

Eventually John looks at a great article about education being more "teacher-centred". Insofar as that education should primarily support teachers to do their job and do their job well. 

Pete then reflects on a blog post where he reflected on the keynotes from the recent ConASTA 67. He questions the purpose of teaching Science in School and who Science Educator should be looking up to as role models. 


John: Schools should be more teacher centred - Tom Sherrington 


Pete: Teachers - you da real MVP - Pete (@mr_van_w) 


For anyone interested it is: Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory 

Jun 28, 2018

A milestone episode: One tenth the number of The Beast \m/  

John (@jfcatto) examines the alluring yet non-demonstrable concept f VARK Learning Styles. A beautiful and empowering theory that doesn't seem to hold water.

The boys spruik Mini Gear as a scaffolded STEM PBL project. 

Pete (@mr_van_w) addresses some issues that have had him thinking recently. Including; talking to students about drug amidst changing legalities and modes of testing, teachers struggling to self-fund resources for their classroom, and when to schedule routine doctor appointments. 


John: The Myth of 'Learning Styles' - Olga Khazan @olgakhazan 


Mini Gear 


Pete: Talking about drugs   (@MrsLoeschen)   (@MsJachymiak)

Jun 21, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) asks "What subject specific skills does your subject have that are transferable to all disciplines?"

Pete looks for some balance in an article from Jo Facer (@jo_facer) (formerly?) of the Michaela Community School. Highlighting the benefits of Consistency for students and Sustainability for teachers.

John (@jfcatto) looks at a few of the things school leaders can do to support Early Career Teachers. Providing they are guided in sustaining the tireless job of teaching in the first place.  

Tips to teachers: Here a twitter thread for Early Career Teachers to check out. "Be inspired but not pressured"  



Pete: We Should Teach All Students, in Every Discipline, to Think Like Scientists - Peter Salovey 


We Have Overcomplicated Teaching: Research Ed 2016 - Jo Facer


John: Five things that work in early teacher' development - Cat Scutt 


Tips To Teachers: (@TeachMrReed) 

Jun 14, 2018

In a effort to avoid writing report John (@jfcatto) relates some different teachers ideas on how to encourage students to learn from their mistakes in when returning exams. He also links this to an article on how to write a clutter free marking rubric.

Pete (@mr_van_w) drinks the Cult-of-Dweck kool-aid and tells the story of a school who use "report assemblies" to highlight areas for growth and setting tangible goals.  


John: Your Rubrik is a Hot Mess; Here's How to Fix It- Jennifer Gonzalez (@cultofpedagogy)


Pete: Metacognitive Reflection at Report Card Time - Julie Nariman (@julienariman) 

Jun 7, 2018

In the middle of a busy term John (@jfcatto) and Pete (@mr_van_w) manage to squeeze in a quick podcast with crappy sound quality.  

Pete lauds Central West teacher Aaron Ellis for teaching Wiradjuri as the compulsory Year 7 and 8 language at Young High School. 

John explains clear steps to "like a class". Perhaps highlighting some useful steps even if the sentiment could be considered flawed. 


Pete: Wiradjuri Language Taught at Young High School - Aaron Ellis (not the actual article) 


John: How to Like a Class - StrictlyPositiveTeaching 


May 31, 2018

This week Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto) find some synergy in their holistic digital projections. Embracing the uber-efficient strategic programming of a blended asset matrix approach to "blue-sky" policy processing. It's king of our brand.

They also talk about the culture of teacher "wellbeing"; both within a personal and school-wide context.


Pete: Building a Positive Staff Culture Takes Work - Mary Davenport


John: Why it's important to switch off from work - Rebecca Vukovic 

"Wellbeing" is a weasel word [sic] - @RobWard79 


Apologies for the sound quality this week. The work experience kid (John) was left in charge of monitoring the audio. The self absorbed millennial that he is only really listened to himself, who sounds great BTW - On reflection, I'm not sure that was even an apology. 

May 24, 2018

This week Pete (@mr_van_w) talks about Malcolm Roberts' idea to restrict K-3 teaching to cover only Literacy/English and Maths/Numeracy. By his reasoning, these concepts are mostly interchangable and isolated to any context. Pete has other thoughts.


John (@jfcatto) looks at the difference between item teaching and curriculum teaching. Apparently one is good for students learning and the other raises school results. Unsurprisingly, Pete thinks that  one of these is more important than the other. 


Pete: Malcolm Roberts Academic Review 


John: Why Teaching to the Test is Educational Malpractice - Steven Singer 

May 17, 2018

This week Pete (@mr_van_w) examines the tempting lure of building lessons around the current fad in student culture. This happens to be Fortnite at the moment, it was Pokemon a couple of years ago and it will be something else next time you teach the topic. 

John (@jfcatto) highlights the need for teachers old and new to have a mentor to support them and their teaching. #findyourmarigold


Pete: Teachers and Parents Share Stories From Inside the 'Fortnite' Phenomenon - Patrick Klepak 


Forego Fortnite - Doug Robertson 


John: Every Teacher Needs a Mentor - Heather Walport-Gawron 

May 10, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) talks about anxiety and depression and its effect on teacher burnout. Sometimes maybe a change is as good as a holiday and experiences may vary. 

John (@jfcatto) delves into some of Australia's Chief Scientist's criticism of the ATAR.   




Pete: Breakdown, reach out, recover - Victoria @mrshumanities 


John: ATAR should be simplified or even abolished, says chief scientist Alan Finkel - Michael Koziol 

May 3, 2018

This week John (@jfcatto) brings in an article that he is really conflicted about and put down to the difference in application of Flipped Learning rather than the pedagogy itself. 

Pete (@mr_van_w) managed to finish the full 150 pages of Gonski 2.0 (BTW in no way building upon or related to any other reports that may have been written by the same person and referred to by a very similar name) and gives us his take on the key recommendations.


John: Is Flipped Learning looking at education the wrong way? - Melanie Ralph @lustreeducation 


Pete: Through Growth to Achievement - David Gonski et. al. 


May 1, 2018

John (@jfcatto) and Pete (@mr_van_w) are back from holidays to answer listener questions that have been coming in over the last couple of weeks. 

Despite John's "fat voice" they manage to talk about:

  • Primary school teachers using music for good 
  • Social media accounts for teachers
  • The disappearance of the catfisheducation website.  
  • Some advice being a new teacher and knowing that there is a better way to teach but not seeing anybody doing it. 


New website: 

Old website: 


Apr 13, 2018

In this episode of Lefty Teachers Talking Teaching our guest-John, Matt Smedley (@SmedBoule), tells us how our children can best outsmart NAPLAN as if it is a thing that matters. He also points out some problems with the test in general. Pete (@mr_van_W) doesn't have much of an opinion about it really.


Pete enjoyed the controversy of another article in the SMH this week, except this one didn't suck - we all just took it a little too personally. 

Apr 5, 2018

On this weeks episode of Pete (@mr_van_w) and John (@jfcatto) both rage against some things that we feel are wrong in education, or at least within our little bubbles.


Pete: Secular groups call for review of 'blatantly discriminatory' school chaplains program Paul Karp 

John: Flipping teaching on it's head - Linda Morris


Mar 29, 2018

First up Pete (@mr_van_w) gives a shout out to our local university Charles Sturt (CSU), who have don some cool innovation in teaching in the School of Engineering 

John (@jfcatto) realises that the research kind of goes against his use of music in the classroom. He then tries to justify himself and eventually ends up questioning his current practice. 

Pete then brings it home with a criticism of beloved Progressive EduGuru Sir Ken Robinson. 



Pete: NSW uni course with no exams or lectures named among top 4 i the world by MIT - Pallavi Singhal 


John: Listening to Music while Studying: a Good or a Bad Idea - Carolina Kueppa-Tetzel 


Pete: We don't need no Sir Ken Robinson 

Learning salsa as important as maths, education expert says - Henrietta Cook 

Mar 22, 2018

This week Pete (@mr_van_w) calls on Eddie Woo to reaffirm the importance of schools and the importance of relationships within those schools. 

John (@jfcatto) has a look at some new research that shows the ATAR is about as relevant as we thought but much less so than most students or parents realise. 


Pete: Raising a child is mission impossible. That's why it takes a school. - Eddie Woo (@mrwootube)


John: ATAR relevance questioned as report finds fewer students admitted based on rank - Shalailah Medhora 


ATARs losing relevance for university admission but students are still hooked - Megan O'Connell 


A quarter of grads think their uni courses are useless, survey finds - Shalailah Medhora 

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