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






All Episodes
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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 

Mar 15, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) debunks the adage that we need to lecture kids at school because that will prepare them to be lectured to at university.

John (@jfcatto) questions the need for school at all and suggests a radical approach to home-schooling.


Pete: 'Sage on the stage' era of university lecturing 'is over' - Ellie Bothwell 

John: Don't send your kids to school and they'll go on to get a PHD. Wait, what? - Mammamia Team 

Mar 10, 2018

This week we are joined by special guest Brendan Mitchell (C21_Teaching) who happened to be in our area. 

John (@jfcatto) looks at the problems with a very prescribed set of standards to teach to and why we should move away from specific and universal standards full of tidbits of specific information. 

Pete (@mr_van_w) considers different perspectives on the level of violence teachers can both expect and accept in the workplace.  


John: Moving Beyond Facts, Skills and the Right Answers - Alfie Kohn (@alfiekohn)

Pete: Secondary school staff suffer work attacks - BBC News 

Mar 8, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) looks at some of the decisions to make when implementing an effective Blended Learning program.

John (@jfcatto) briefly brings up some of the things to consider when implementing collaborative learning in class and then looks at some really handy tips for people starting out on their teaching journey. 


Pete: What Separates a Good Blended Learning Program From a Bad One - Rebecca Rosso


John: Why I don't like Collaborative Learning Structures - Chris Baker(@mrbakerphysics)


Advice for those starting out as a teacher... - Chris Baker



Mar 1, 2018

John (@jfcatto) takes haven in the safe ground of Edutopia looking at some of the benefits new teachers have over their experienced but perhaps stale colleagues and urges teachers to focus on the positives rather than the negatives of new teachers. 

Pete (@mr_v_w) looks at comments made by former NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli. Apparently parents are also somewhat to blame for their children's school results. Who would have thought?


John: The Advantage of Being a New Teacher - Matthew M. Johnson 


Pete: Former education minister blames complacent parents for school results - Michael Koziol      

Feb 22, 2018

John (@jfcatto) examines a teaching practice significantly different to his and explores some of the motivations behind this pedagogy. In usual TTT style, he comes to record with no preparation at all and mistakenly refers to a teacher named Ben as Mark for half an hour.

John also presents Pete's (@mr_van_w) article where the NSW Education Minister makes some positive sounding submissions to the Gonski review despite revealing the underlying misconceptions of politicians talking about education.


John: Am I allowed to sit at my desk - Ben Newmark (@bennewmark) 

Also John: Reduce HSC pressure in favour of a 'growth mindset', NSW tells David Gonski - Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) 

Feb 15, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) explores some of the many problems with the implementation of the Year 1 Phonics test of made up words in a sometimes tricky language to negotiate.

John (@jfcatto) dips his toe into some of the many ways to differentiate a mixed ability classroom.

Tips to teachers: Automate, choose jobs wisely and accept done is done.    


Pete: 'Plood, pove, moul': teachers push back against year 1 phonics test - Pallavi Singhal


Private school considers banning works of Shakespeare 


John: A Starter Kit for Differentiated Instruction 


"Work Smarter Not Harder" - Crystal Caton 


Feb 8, 2018

Pete (@mr_van_w) is bemused by continued calls for banning mobile phones in classroom. Now in Australia.  Then at an anonymous strawman story of a progressive teacher who lost his way. 

John (@jfcatto) introduces an overarching framework that allows teaching professionals to identify when to apply different learning strategies for different students. 


Pete: Banning mobile phones in classrooms takes education back in time, experts say - Ashleigh Raper and Brooke Wiley

The lure of 21st century skills - (Anonymous via Greg Ashman)

John: Learning strategies: a synthesis and conceptual model - John Hattie and Gregory Montegue

How Do You Know When a Teaching Strategy Is Most Effective? John Hattie Has And Idea - Katrina Schwartz 

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