EDFD459 Prototype

Section A) 

depression quote

The learning space that I have designed focuses on supporting the needs of a year 9 student with depression within a mainstream classroom. Depression is defined as a mental illness in which a person experiences intense feelings of sadness, loneliness, worthlessness, hopelessness and guilt for long periods (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2001). Depression is one of the most prevalent mental health disorders in children and adolescents. However, very often it remains unidentified and untreated. If left undetected and untreated, it can have serious long-term effects on a child or adolescents social relationships, academic performance and physical and psychological well being (Huberty, 2010). It is important to note that teachers are not qualified to counsel a student suffering from depression. However, teachers can support the needs of children and adolescents with depression by creating school and classroom environments that are sensitive to their needs (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2001).

Symptoms of Depression (British Columbia Ministry of Education, 2001)

  • Intense feelings of sadness, guilt, hopelessness, loneliness and worthlessness
  • Decreased energy and motivation
  • Quick-tempered and easily irritated
  • Changes in eating and sleeping patterns
  • Loss of  interest in hobbies or everyday activities 
  • Thoughts of death or harm to oneself or others

Section B)

high school depression

Adolescents who have been diagnosed with depression are more likely to have difficulties engaging with their schooling, completing assignments, concentrating and feeling motivated to participate in the classroom, often causing poor academic performance compared to peers who do not suffer from a mental disorder (South Australia Department of Education, 2019). StatisticsDepression affects 1 in 20 adolescents aged 12-17. 5.6% of females in years 7-12, and 4.1% of males in years 7-12 have been been diagnosed with depression (Young Lives Matter, 2017). Therefore, it is very likely that at least one (if not more) student in each high school class is suffering from depression. Ultimately, schools will not be able to achieve their academic objectives, if they do not take every measure possible to ensure that their students are healthy both physically and mentally (Young Lives Matter, 2017).

Along with a moral obligation to ensure the participation of all students with diverse learning needs, we as educators have a legal obligation under the Disability Standards for Education 2005 to ensure that reasonable adjustments are made for students diagnosed with depression. The standards were created to ensure that students with disabilities have the same opportunities to participate in education on the same basis as their peers without a disability (Australian Government Department of Education and Training, 2014). Similarly, Professional Teaching Standard 1.6 ensures that education providers offer support for students with disabilities by designing and implementing activities that foster the active participation and support the learning of students with disabilities (AITSL, 2017).

Section C)

After reading my peer review feedback, I only made one drastic change to my original plan because my choice of the collaborative learning space for my chosen learning need was agreed upon. The feedback reinforced the importance of creating a supportive environment for students with depression in the mainstream classroom, and the importance of awareness on mental illness for 21st century teachers. One of the points made in my feedback  was that as teachers we need to ensure that the classroom is a safe and supportive environment, free from psychological and physical bullying for all students but particularly those with depression (Fraser, 2001). After reading this comment, I made the decision to focus solely on the collaborative learning space. Originally I aimed to also focus on the personal learning space. While, I see the importance of focusing on this learning space for students with depression, this comment reinforced the importance of encouraging supportive social interactions and situations for students with depression. 

Section D)

group work.jpgSocially, adolescents with depression often withdraw from social situations, experience social skill deficits and have difficulties maintaining friendships as a result of mood fluctuations (Huberty, 2010). Therefore, by focusing on the group and collaborative learning space, I aim to provide students with multiple opportunities to engage in social interactions with peers in a safe and supportive environment. The success of cooperative group work is based on the belief that students learn more by working collaboratively than by working independently or passively absorbing information delivered by the teacher (Killen, 2015).

The use of collaborative activities in the classroom distributes the cognitive responsibility among peers, alleviating some of the stress experienced by students with depression about engaging in and completing work independently (Crundwell & Killu, 2010). Collaborative activities foster peer mentoring and offer students with depression an opportunity to participate in a group context without having the pressure of having to contribute in a whole class or large group setting. In comparison with individual learning or direct instruction, cooperative learning ‘typically results in higher achievement and greater productivity, more caring, supportive, and committed relationships; and greater psychological health, social competence, and self-esteem,’ all aspects which are particularly important for adolescents with depression (Laal & Ghodsi, 2012, p.489).  As students actively interact with each other in the cooperative learning space, they become better accustomed to dealing with social problems and differences which may arise. This creates a stronger social support system in the classroom (Laal & Ghodsi, 2012). 

Potential Challenges for Educators & Solutions

The cooperative learning space can have various benefits for teachers and students, but it can also introduce challenges that the teacher should consider carefully.  In the classroom, cooperative learning is effective because students learn more from one another. However, if students do not know how to effectively learn through cooperative activities, this method of learning becomes less effective than direct instruction (Killen, 2015). Educators cannot assume that students possess the social skills needed to work cooperatively and effectively delegate tasks and responsibilities. Therefore, teachers must:

  1. Teach students how to work proactively in groups by helping develop the skills they need to help one another learn. The teacher should start with a discussion on the rules and expectations of working cooperatively and the purpose and learning objectives of the activity specifically
  2. The teacher must discuss and model effective listening skills and appropriate methods of giving and receiving constructive criticism
  3. The educator must discuss appropriate methods to manage conflict and disagreements within the group (Burke, 2011).

Cooperative learning can be time-consuming. It requires rigorous structure and careful planning. Teachers need to plan the instructions of the activity, choose group members purposefully and develop marking guidelines. However, teaching is a collaborative process. It is important that teachers share resources and ideas that have been effective to alleviate some of the planning required to implement cooperative activities.

Another challenge for educators in the cooperative learning space is finding an appropriate and effective grading system. Often students will feel like they are not being marked fairly for their contributions in a group task. Group grades alone can hide significant differences in learning. Therefore, it is most effective to include two separate marks for group tasks, a mark for individual contributions and a group grade. Assessing the groups’ collaboration skills and group dynamic is often more difficult than assessing individual contribution. The use of peer feedback and self-evaluations can assist in developing group grades (Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.). Questions to ask can include:

  • How well did your group work together on this task?
  • What are three changes the group could make to improve the outcome of the task?
  • What are some of the problems that you faced as a group?

Potential Challenges for the Chosen Student Cohort & Solutions

For students with depression, working cooperatively can be a daunting prospect. Students with depression experience difficulties interacting with their peers and their constant mood and energy fluctuation may impact on their participation in the collaborative space (Crundwell & Killu, 2010). Therefore, they may find the cooperative learning space overwhelming, causing them to withdraw and become isolated. Similarly, if a student is dominating the conversation, the student with depression can feel alienated in the group decision process. Furthermore, students with depression may feel pressure from their group members to conform to the majority opinion. The student may not feel comfortable voicing their opinion. Therefore, they simply agree with their group members to avoid standing out (Burke, 2011). To avoid overwhelming the student, the cooperative learning space must be introduced slowly. Start with a think-pair-share or a simple jigsaw activity before transitioning to more complex, assessment cooperative tasks. Teachers must select group members based on the known attributes of the students (Burke, 2011). The student with depression will quickly become overwhelmed if they are grouped several students who have dominant personalities. Instead, choose the groups strategically. For example, group students with dominant personalities together so that they do not dominate the conversation and shy students together to ensure that they feel comfortable voicing their opinions.

In the cooperative learning space, students often feel that not all group members put in the same amount of work and effort and often worry that their contributions will not be marked fairly (University of New South Wales, 2019). Freeriding is a term used to refer to a group member that does not pull their weight and instead relies on the rest of the group to complete the work. Social loafing refers to group members who put in less work and effort because of a reduced sense of accountability associated with cooperative activities. Both free riders and social loafers will decrease group morale and cause conflicts within the group (Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.). To avoid this issue, the instructor (or the group members themselves) must assign a role to each group member, and within each role, each student will have specific tasks or responsibilities which they must complete (Burke, 2011). Use team contracts to set ground rules and encourage students to establish roles and expectations before commencing the task (Carnegie Mellon University, n.d.). Make sure that the team contact includes guidelines regarding individual contributions and steps to take when a group member is not adhering to their roles and responsibilities. 

Link to previous blog post on the group, cooperative and cooperative learning space

Section E)

The sad reality is mental illness is on the rise. We must understand that addressing the social and psychological development of students is equally as important as teaching academic content and skills because a student’s emotional well being is a prerequisite for their academic success (Brooks, 2001). Therefore, as teachers, we must create learning spaces to support and nurture the needs of students with mental illnesses.



Australian Government Department of Education and Training. (2014) Disability Standards for Education 2005. Retrieved from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/dse-fact-sheet-2-dse_0.pdf

Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership [AITSL]. (2017). Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www.aitsl.edu.au/teach/standards

British Columbia Ministry of Education. (2001). Teaching Students with Mental Health Disorders: Resources for Teachers. Retrieved from https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/education/kindergarten-to-grade-12/teach/teaching-tools/inclusive/mental-health-disorders-vol2.pdf

Brooks, R. (2001). Fostering motivation, hope, and resilience in children with learning disorders. Annals of Dyslexia, 51(1), 9-20.

Burke, A. (2011) Group Work: How to Use Groups Effectively. The Journal of Effective Teaching, 11(2), 87-95.

Carnegie Mellon University. (n.d.) What are the challenges of group work and how can I address them? Retrived from https://www.cmu.edu/teaching/designteach/teach/instructionalstrategies/groupprojects/challenges.html

Crundwell, R., & Killu, K. (2010). Responding to a Student’s Depression. Educational Leadership, 68(2), 46-51.

Fraser, D. (2001). Developing classroom culture: setting the climate for learning. In C. McGee & D. Fraser (Eds.), The professional practice of teaching (pp. 15-34). Palmerston North: Dunmore Press.

Huberty, T. (2010). Depression: Supporting students at school. Helping children at home and school III: Handouts for educators. Bethesda, MD: National Association of School Psychologists.

Killen, R. (2015). Effective teaching strategies : Lessons from research and practice (Seventh ed.). Victoria: Cengage Learning Australia.

Laal, M., & Ghodsi, S. (2012). Benefits of collaborative learning. Procedia-social and behavioral sciences, 31, 486-490.

South Australia Department of Education. (2019) Depression. Retrieved from https://www.education.sa.gov.au/supporting-students/health-e-safety-and-wellbeing/health-support-planning/managing-health-education-and-care/neurodiversity/depression

University of New South Wales. (2019). Dealing with Group Work Issues. Retrieved from https://teaching.unsw.edu.au/dealing-with-group-work-issues

Young Minds Matter. (2017). The Mental Health of Australian Children and Adolescents: Educational Outcomes. Retrived from https://youngmindsmatter.telethonkids.org.au/siteassets/media-docs—young-minds-matter/summarybookletweb.pdf

Visionary Imagination Summative Entry

Over the past 12 weeks, we have studied the transcendental visions of William Blake, Brett Whitely and Patrick White. In analysing their prophetic work, I have developed a deeper perception of the world in a materialistic and corrupt society that aims to suppress visionary imagination.


Through his artistic creations, William Blake set out to condone a rationalist understanding of the world which left little room for imagination promoted by the authoritarianism of church and state. Blake saw the bible being used to condone injustice, control human behaviour and promote a hierarchical view of religion. This encouraged me to reflect on my understanding of the bible. The bible is used not to restrain or control me but to empower and free me. Often people will buy a guidebook when they are exploring a foreign city or country. The bible is my guidebook because the world can be a foreign (and often terrifying) place. While most of us have become blind to it in our contemporary society, we all possess the ability ‘to see a World in a Grain of Sand. And a Heaven in a Wild Flower.’ But this transcendental vision requires us to rid ourselves of ‘the mind-forg’d manacles’ and to force our imagination into profound and unfamiliar directions.


Blake’s The Songs of Innocence and Experience explore two contrasting states of the human experience. In the state of innocence, the child demonstrates naïve faith and purity because it has little knowledge of the dark and repressive nature of the world. Whereas, The Songs of Experience focus on the repression and suffering of humans at the hands of rigid institutions which seek to control human behaviour. The joyful and optimistic state of innocence juxtaposes with the dark and bleak nature of experience. However, innocence and experience do not represent good and evil, one state is not more important than the other. But both innocence and experience are necessary to reach a deeper state of visionary understanding, for ‘without contraries is no progression.’

When I was younger, I desperately wanted to be an adult. But now the reality of adulthood, makes me yearn for the simplicity of childhood. Through studying Blake’s work, I have come to view contrary states in a different light. I now understand the interconnectedness of contrary states. While both have values and limitations, both are necessary and can never be completely separated from the other.




Brett Whiteley’s 18-panel artwork, Alchemy is not one that can be unnoticed, the vivid colours and surrealist forms jump out at you from across the room. However, upon closer examination, I was able to appreciate the extreme intricacies of the artwork. The artwork is seen as a representation of life’s journey from birth to death within the depths of a corrupt and materialistic world. Similar to Blake, Whiteley endeavours to offer a new way of seeing the world through his art. Whiteley encourages us to remove the blinding lenses of materialism and corruption and see the world in its pure, natural state.


Like Blake, Patrick White held a subversive view of religion in that he was pro-spirituality but anti-Christianity. While the Bible failed to convince White of the merits of dogmatic Christianity, it was successful in rousing his imagination, and it is through his imagination and art that he was able to connect with the divine. In Riders of the Chariot, Alf Dubbo has turned away from Christianity as a consequence of a traumatic experience. However, ultimately it is his visionary imagination that reconnects him with his spirituality, illuminating a Blakean theology of art which is underpinned by a belief in the power of the human imagination in connecting with the divine. Today our lives are constantly filled with noise and chaos. But, Blake and White remind us that our visionary imagination can connect us with something more profound and sacred within ourselves and in the cosmos.

Blake, White and Whitely emphasise the ability of our visionary imagination to connect with the divine, ultimately changing the way that I view the world. Who would have thought that a literature unit could open up so many questions and provide a profound understanding of myself, my spirituality and the world around me. 

Best Critical Blog

Best Creative Blog


Blake, William. “Auguries of Innocence.” Blake’s Poetry and Designs: Illuminated Works, Other Writings, Criticism, edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant, 2nd edition, Norton, 2008, pp. 403.  


Blake, William. “London.” Blake’s Poetry and Designs: Illuminated Works, Other Writings, Criticism, edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant, 2nd edition, Norton, 2008, pp. 41. 


Blake, William. “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.” Blake’s Poetry and Designs: Illuminated Works, Other Writings, Criticism, edited by Mary Lynn Johnson and John E. Grant, 2nd edition, Norton, 2008, pp. 69.

Visionary Imagination Blog 4

Brett Whiteley’s religious stance and how this is reflected in the character Alf Dubbo



Patrick White held a revolutionary view of religion in that he has turned away from rigid, institutionalised religion because he was not convinced of the merits of dogmatic Christianity, but he was deeply spiritual. Thus, questions of purity, goodness, spirituality and the origins of the world plagued him throughout his life. He continuously searched for answers that would make sense of the chaos which he was seeing in the world. Thus, religion (although not the conventional style) was an integral element in White’ work. For White institutionalised religion had destroyed the essence of Christianity. But through his artistic imagination, he was able to connect with something profound within himself and within the cosmos.

White writes, ‘What I am interested in is the relationship between the blundering human and God. I belong to no church, but I have a religious faith’ (White 19). The relationship in which White is interested is explored through Alf Dubbo in Riders of the Chariot. Through Alf, White depicts the true meaning of Christianity before institutionalisation.

Alf Dubbo is an Aboriginal man who was forcibly removed from his mother and home as a child by an Anglican reverent who later sexually abuses him. Through this traumatic lived experience, Dubbo is exposed to the reality of the human condition. Similar to White, Dubbo has turned away from institutionalised Christianity because of the trauma he has experienced at the hands of the reverend (a respected member of the Christian clergy). But he can find spiritual enlightenment and express his deeper, inner thoughts through his art. Dubbo is depicted as an outsider. He is at the lowest level of society. There is nothing seemingly interesting or extraordinary about him. However, this seemingly ordinary man holds the key to the wisdom of which most of the other characters are deprived. Despite his place as an outsider, Dubbo represents the true essence of Christianity before its institutionalisation. Like Jesus Christ, he becomes a source of salvation for a society that has become engulfed by materialism, corruption and spiritual blindness.

David Marr’s interpretation of the life and faith of Patrick White



White, Patrick. Patrick White Speaks. Jonathan Cape, 1990.


Visionary Imagination Peer Review 3

Link to blog: https://claudiabussier.wordpress.com/2019/10/07/blog-4-329

Claudia, I thoroughly enjoyed reading your blog post. The structure of your post works really well in that you began with a short general introduction on Blake’s conception of hell and then you quickly delved into a personal interpretation of the proverb. This elevated the post as you not only explained the meaning of the proverb but connected it to your contemporary context highlighting the enduring value of Blake’s work. There were a couple of minor grammatical errors. But aside from this, your blog post is a simple and engaging articulation of your interpretation of Blake’s work. Overall, it was a delightful read.



Visionary Imagination Blog 3

Take any one of Blake’s “Proverbs of Hell” and expand its significance by describing its relevance to life TODAY. 

“The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction”

Proverbs of Hell

Blake’s theory of contraries was a belief that progression in life is impossible without contraries. In the above proverb, Blake contrasts the wild ferocious tiger, which is the personification of human desires and emotions with the obedient (and naïve) lamb, which represents reason and rationality. According to Blake, both desire and reason are innate qualities within every human being. However, he argues that to escape the repressive nature of conventional morality, one must make an active effort to express less rationality and focus on their emotions and inner desires. Blake showcases the importance of desire. Desire should not be restricted. Instead, it should be embraced because those who surrender to their inner desires will become wiser than those who follow the instructions of others. Blake does not force one to choose between the two contrary states. Instead, he emphasises that within every human resides the passion and energy of the tiger and the obedience of the lamb. But what he clearly opposes is the deprivation of desire based on the social norms and religious beliefs that connote them as wrong and the standards of stifling institutions that aim to control all aspects of human behaviour.

 Over 200 years have passed since Blake wrote the proverbs, but it appears that the conflict between reason and desire, which Blake describes remains relevant in our modern context. In a society that dictates the way we act, dress, speak and feel, there is so much societal pressure to repress our inner desires and follow the crowd. While, it would be unrealistic to give up our sense of rationality and surrender wholly to our desires, we must all take a page out of Blake’s book and go against the status quo to ensure that our inner desires and emotions are met. 


Visionary Imagination Peer Review 2

Link to blog: https://elleniboutsikakisblog.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/visionary-blog-3

Elleni, I thought your description of Whiteley’s renowned piece Alchemy captured the essence of the artwork well. I too agree that the art gallery visits help to contextualise the ideas that we explore throughout the unit and like you, I was immediately drawn to Whiteley’s renowned piece Alchemy. Both Blake and Whiteley had the ability to see the infinite within the ordinary, and I think you effectively highlighted this comparison within your post. There is not much that I can fault from your blog post as you have a clear and well-structured writing style that making your post easy to read and follow.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post.



Reflective Article 7: Critical & Analytical Reflections about Online Learning

I am not exactly sure where the last seven weeks, but here we are. Balancing two jobs, a full load at university and an online unit has its challenges. However, I have made some progress through Salmon’s five-stage model. At the start of this semester, I was in the first stage of Salmon’s model as I felt like I needed copious amounts of information and support to get online and encouragement and self-motivation to apply the necessary effort (Salmon, 2011). 

However, both Kayri and my peers provided support and encouragement to engage and participate in the online learning process helping to ease my anxieties. As the weeks progressed, I became accustomed to the online learning environment. I began to appreciate the broad range of experience, information and ideas that were being shared and this made it easier to engage with the course content (Salmon, 2011). 

As I reflect on my online learning journey (stage 5 of Salmon’s model), I must consider the ways that this informs my practice as a teacher. My online learning journey has: 

  1. Provided a scaffold for successful online learning which I can transfer into the classroom. (For example, weekly discussion forums to encourage my students to complete readings) 
  2. Highlighted the importance of encouragement, support and guidance for my students who are apprehensive about contributing in an online learning context
  3. Emphasised the importance of encouraging a wide variety of contributions and perspectives by creating activities which allow students to tap into their knowledge, experiences and interests (Salmon, 2013).

Link to reflective article 1 which discusses my initial thoughts on online learning


Salmon, G. (2011). E-moderating: The Key to Teaching and Learning Online (3rd ed.). London: Routledge. 

Salmon, G. (2013). E-tivities: The key to active online learning. Routledge.

Reflective Article 6: Beyond the Classroom

Every time I walk into the classroom, I am shocked by how much it has changed since I left school as a student only four short years ago. Ideally, as educators, we all want to create a learning space that combines functionality and aesthetics to create a harmonious setting for students (Read, 2010). This week’s core readings focus on different types of physical learning spaces. However, this reflection focuses specifically on open plan learning spaces (Biddick, 2014). Before reading Natasha Biddick article, I only considered the challenges associated with open-plan learning spaces such as difficulties managing students in a large open space, noise and distractions and issues that arise from sharing the space with other teachers and students. However, open-plan learning spaces are designed to enable teachers to work together to provide differentiated learning programs that improve student outcomes and meet the diverse learning needs of individual students (Biddick, 2014). However, this doesn’t just happen overnight. The effective use of open-plan learning spaces requires:

  • Collaboration between educators on how the space is going to be effectively utilised
  • Clear instructions for the students about how to work within the open learning space
  • All school staff to adhere to the approach
  • Support for the approach through adequate resourcing, curriculum, planning structures and reporting processes
  • Regular communication with the wider community (Biddick, 2014)

I can now enter an open plan learning space with a deeper appreciation of the advantages of this type of learning space. 


Biddick, N. (2014). Working in open plan learning spaces. Teacher Learning Network Journal, 21(1), 23.

Read, M. (2010). Contemplating design: Listening to children’s preferences about classroom design. Creative Education (2), 75-80.

Reflective Article 5: The Group, Collaborative & Cooperative Learning Space

This weeks core texts focus on group and cooperative learning and the differences between the two. Before this week, I always utilised the terms interchangeably. However, I now understand that there are strong distinctions between the two (Slavin, 2010). 

Group work involves two or more students working together on a set task (McInnerney & Roberts, 2009). Unlike group work, cooperative learning is meticulously structured so that each student has a role and is accountable for a specific section of the task (Tvoparents, 2010). Cooperative learning, when implemented effectively, can develop higher-order thinking, improve participation, assists in closing the achievement gap between high and low achieving students, fosters a more positive class climate and prepares students for an increasingly collaborative workforce (Slavin, 2010). In hindsight, many of my previous attempts at cooperative learning have lacked the structure needed to ensure participation and individual accountability. Therefore, one student ended up completing all of the work. 

The success of cooperative learning in the classroom relies on two components: group goals and individual accountability (Slavin, 2010). Therefore, the next time I want to implement cooperative learning in the classroom I will structure the activity or task in a way that ensures that group goals are met by encouraging each group to devise a list of goals which they will work towards and individual accountability is achieved by assigning each group member with a specific role or task. 

Example of a Cooperative Teaching Strategy


Cult of Pedagogy: (2015, April, 2015). The Jigsaw Method . Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=euhtXUgBEts

McInnerney, J., & Roberts, T. (2009). Collaborative and cooperative Learning. In Encyclopedia of Distance Learning, Second Edition (pp. 319-326). IGI Global.

Slavin, R. (2010). Co-operative learning: what makes group-work work. The nature of learning: Using research to inspire practice, 161-178.

Tvoparents. (2010). Does ‘Group Work’ work?: Is it the best way for children to learn? [Video File]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/Tdt-b4yMp-M 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑