2017 Academy Photography Fellowship

Awarded to Susan Wyatt – Principal, Mosman High School

The Academy Photography Fellowship provides funding to the amount of $4000 annually to be used for the purpose of educational research.

The aim of Susan’s research is to provide a detailed analysis of similarities between high performing systems in Asia and some areas of Scandinavia and their teaching and learning, and the similarities and differences in NSW government schools.

She writes …

International measurement and data from a variety of longitudinal assessments including PISA results are showing that Australian schools are lagging behind schools in Asia and some areas of Scandinavia. In measurements of literacy and numeracy and recently science Australia’s position in global rankings continues to decline. Many hypotheses have been suggested in a number of recent research papers as to why this is a developing trend. However there are a number of questions that should be asked. Is this a generic problem with pedagogy in Australian schools? Is it a developmental failing of teaching practice starting in early student learning, that either cannot be recovered or is in fact reinforced into early high school or middle school? Are there learning conditions in Australian middle schools that differ significantly from the learning conditions in schools in for example China, Singapore and schools in Scandinavia including the Netherlands that impact on success? Is it relevant to include the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy together and imply the problem is with the pedagogy or can learning in literacy be divorced from learning in numeracy; that is there is an intrinsic issue with the teaching of numeracy that is different from that of literacy and can be investigated and therefore improved independently.


My research will specifically focus on the teaching practice in lower middle and middle schools in Shanghai and Beijing, China, Singapore and similar schools in Amsterdam, Netherlands. The focus will also include the curriculum studied where the emphasis is on literacy and numeracy and the time given to that curriculum emphasis in the different contexts.


Visit a number of top performing schools (as identified by the Ministry of Educations in Shanghai, Beijing, Singapore and Amsterdam.

The focus will include:

  • Classroom observation
  • Discussion with teachers
  • Analysis of Department and school curriculum materials
  • Discussion with principals focusing upon what they identify in their leadership that promotes academic achievement


  • Time spent on a numeracy focus in any lesson
  • Time spent on a literacy focus in any lesson
  • The structure of teaching practice in the classroom and identification of similarities and how teaching practice is built upon
  • Analysis of interviews with teachers and principals

Download a copy of the final research paper here

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