Posts Tagged ‘challenges’

There’s nothing like a good competition to spur students interest and enthusiasm for learning and exploring.


The National History Challenge, promoted by the History Teachers’ Association of Australia (HTAA), is open to Year 1 to Year 12 students across Australia.  As noted on their website:

The National History Challenge ….. is an exciting contest that encourages students to use research and inquiry-based learning to discover more about the past. Students are the historians. They can investigate their community, explore their own and their family’s past and consider ideas throughout history. The NHC encourages the use of primary and secondary sources and offers a variety of presentation styles. It rewards students with generous cash prizes and travel opportunities.

Complete registration details online to get an Information Kit and encourage students to start thinking now about a suitable project.

Keep an eye on the Key Dates page though, as closing dates are not yet available.

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Most often, the start of a school year is busy and hectic.

This year is much the same as any other but with the one huge exception!   Instead of being busy and hectic, the pace of my work life has been galloping along at an incredibly frantic rate!

Unexpectedly, numerous exciting challenges have landed on my desk.  And those that know me, know that I just love challenges!   Challenges are the fodder that keep us thinking, seeing how things can be done differently, how information can be imparted to others and most especially, challenges allow us the opportunity to connect with others, to inspire each other so that we can in turn be inspired ourselves.

While I’m not going to bore you with the details of the many tasks that are facing me on the work front, I do want to talk about the process.    Taking a step out as I do every now and then – maybe it’s that ‘cone time’ that Julia Gillard confessed to early on in her Prime Ministership! – to think and ponder on the nature of what I am doing and how I may do it differently, that I realized the common factor to all that I’m doing is not necessarily the challenge that each task presents but the inspiration it engenders within me.

Be it engaging reluctant readers, figuring out how to maximize resources within the school, planning events or considering how best to impart my thoughts to others, the inspiration I gain from these many challenges is the underlying common denominator.  Focusing on this issue makes me start to think that in fact ‘challenges’ and ‘inspiration’ are the flip side of each other.  A subset of ‘inspiration’ may well be ‘motivation’.

I have written before about the importance of success.

I know only too well from my own life experience, that a flame of desire must be ignited within me before I make time in my busy life for new ventures.   Once the desire is sparked, an insatiable hunger to learn and conquer new skills sprouts.  And from there, a self perpetuating cycle is put in place.  Success leads to more desire, which leads to a deeper hunger to learn and conquer new skills.

10 tips to help convert the unconverted! (NovaNews: June 1, 2011)

To help express my thoughts better, I even created a graphic to represent the cyclical impact that success has on learning:

Leanring begets learning inc C
It is with all these thoughts – and tasks – filling my head at the moment that I started to realize that inspiration comes from many different sources:

  1. tasks presented to us
  2. coming up with activities/programs to implement tasks
  3. researching ideas/solutions to facilitate the implementation of activities/programs
    • listening to podcasts
    • watching videos
    • reading a range of different sources
  4. brainstorming with colleagues
    • those in the work place
    • those in your PLN – your Online Network
  5. interactions with unexpected new ‘acquaintances’ made in the course of all of the above
  6. stepping out of your comfort zone to approach the new
  7. being told that an idea cannot possibly work!
  8. taking a risk: believing that doing “it” a different way could work!
  9. following the ‘can’ philosophy (you can do this, this can work)
  10. and oh yes – did I mention reading?  ….. the power of reading? ….. the ideas that can be derived from reading absolutely anything?!

While ‘thinking’ just now, I’ve spent some time listening, watching and reading.  Here are just a couple of sources that inspired me.

John Von Achen’s video: Maybe, the most inspirational video ever ….. has been viewed by well over three million others, so I guess it has a pretty valuable message for us all:

A TED talk by Matt Cutts ‘Try something new for 30 days” throws down a tantalizing gauntlet to be inspired about almost anything!

What feeds your inspiration?  How do you maintain your inspiration?

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