Monthly Archives: August 2010

Excuse the Ominous Silence

So it has been a while since my last post. A couple of reasons for this. Firstly, two of my subjects this session has resulted in me spending my Fridays variously hula hooping, learning a Hair routine, teaching people hockey, choreographing a piece of interpretive dance, grazing my knee playing Stuck in the Mud, and other distractions. While Dance and PE are vital parts of the curriculum I will readily admit that they haven't given me too much to discurse pretentiously on.

The second reason is that between uni, work and trying to organise TEDxYouth@Sydney, I haven't had much time – oddly enough! TEDxYouth is an amazing learning experience, a great introduction to getting my hands dirty in the education sector, as well as a crash course in not-for-profit event wrangling. But hopefully more on that later.

For the next few weeks I do have a little more time, as my full-time colleagues are on 'professional experience' at various schools (which I won't get to do until next year). In lieu of this I have to explore a little project of my own – and mine is about independent 'alternative/progressive' schools.

On the one hand I often wonder why there is not a wider spread of alternative schooling offers available. On the other hand, my very limited contact with independent schools seems to suggest that they are often created in ways that don't lend themself to rapid spreading. Schools seem to be the creation of small groups of parents and/or teachers, aiming to service specific communities.

To test this thought, and to give myself some more exposure to independent schools, I will be visiting a handful and speaking to people there about their 'origin narrative'. How did the school come about? Who was instrumental in creating it? What was their vision? What will happen if that goal is one day achieved?

I will be interested to see how much commonality and variance there is in the few schools I have the time to see. Currently I am definitely planning to speak to people at Reddam House, MLC Burwood, and Kinma. I am also considering getting in touch with a few others, time permitting.

TEDxYouth@Sydney – an ideas conference for 12-16 year olds

So I find myself in the position of organising TEDxYouth@Sydney, an event in November this year where young people will come together to share ideas in a similar style to other TED and TEDx events. If you don’t know what a TED event is, visit and education yourself. Now. No, seriously, now.

The event will be on November 20th at the Powerhouse Museum. Participation will be open to anyone aged 12 to 16, on the basis of a written and video submission. Presentations will be by young people, for young people. Other than that, we are still in the planning stages and negotiating the finer details.

Many people I mention this to express a desire to help, which is absolutely awesome, but this early there are not necessarily a lot of things it is easy to help with. However, there are several very specific areas I would be very open to assistance with should you be interested in contributing to the project. If you are keen and have skills/experience in these areas (or want to put me in touch with someone who does), drop me an email at

  • Securing sponsorship to cover costs of the event
  • Writing a number of teachers resources that help teachers (and other people working with kids) understand how they can integrate creating and submitting ideas into their student’s activities
  • Writing a inspiring and engaging kit that explains to kids what the conference is all about and how they can get involved
  • Securing media coverage of the event
  • Liaising with selected schools to get them engaged with the project
  • Building required web functionality for online submission
  • Building and maintaining a branded social media presence (specifically in Facebook and Twitter)

As the project evolves, I will post here if there are other areas that we are looking for help with. We will be particularly keen to get as much help as we can in a few weeks when we have material promoting the conference that we want to get to as many people in and around the education sector as possible.

Spread the word. Much obliged.



Brett Rolfe
Executive Producer

TEDxYouth@Sydney | ph. 0414 455 530 |