Cavendish Road State High School
Julie Mitchell has led the way in implementing the Philosophy in Schools program not just in her own school, but also in schools across the wider cluster.
The Philosophy in Schools program aims to develop a ‘community of enquiry’ in classrooms by equipping young learners with critical, creative, caring, and collaborative thinking skills so that schools can move from a ‘learning culture’ to a ‘thinking culture.’
Julie was chosen to implement the Philosophy in Schools program at Cavendish Road State High School, which saw her integrate the program into the Humanities and Science curriculums. She has created pioneering units of work for the Humanities and Science departments that all focus on developing students’ critical, creative, caring, and collaborative thinking skills.
The program’s success at Cavendish Road was dependent upon Julie’s ability to authentically embed new collaborative philosophical inquiry processes into teaching units across a wide range of subjects. In turn, students and teachers valued the program deeply because it wasn’t seen as merely another ‘bolt on’ to the curriculum.
Julie has consistently sought feedback on the units she has written in order to provide teachers and students with units of work that are engaging, relevant, logical, and though provoking.
“Julie is treasured by the staff she leads and is renowned for her selfless devotion to the success of the program and building the capacity of our staff,” supervisor Strak Kosanovic said.
“The Philosophy in Schools units Julie has created are not only innovative, they are a Queensland and an Australian first. No other school is leading the embedding of these crucial skills into the high school curriculum as seamlessly as Julie,” he said.
Julie’s expertise is now being sought by other schools in the cluster, and even from interstate, that are looking to implement the Philosophy in Schools program.
Since joining Cavendish Road State High School in 2016, Julie has already trained and mentored over 100 teachers from their cluster group.
She has engaged and supported them in reflecting on and broadening their current pedagogical repertoire, allowing them to learn the content and skills required to engage students in collaborative philosophical inquiry.
Julie is now identifying other staff within the school to receive teacher educator training to build capacity within the Cavendish Road State High School teaching team and ensure the sustainability of the program.
She mentors and encourages her colleagues extensively and is characterised by the organised, reliable, thoughtful, and supportive approach she brings to the team.
Congratulations Julie on your nomination.
By Claudia Farhart.