The School of Total Education, Warwick, Queensland, Australia


photo: Shane Power

Welcome to the Summer 2013 Email Newsletter from The School of Total Education.

In this issue there are three new articles on our website.

When psychologist and author Dr Michael Carr-Gregg visited the school in May this year, he captivated the audience of parents and teachers with his dynamic presentation about parenting teenagers. You can read a summary of his talk in the article “The Greatest Challenges of Parenting”.

Our second article is by Claire Waters, a teacher at The School of Total Education, in which she shares the school’s experience of “Helping Students with Learning Difficulties”.

Thirdly, we’ve again dug into the archives to find an insightful article “Understanding Adolescence”, by Melbourne psychologist Dr Peter Cantwell, originally published in 1977, the year that The School of Total Education was founded in Melbourne.

To top off a busy year, the the senior grades at the school presented an excellent production of “Fiddler On The Roof” in October. You can read more in our News section below.

We also have some new blog posts from the Total Education Blog and from Richard Waters’ Blog, as well podcasts you can listen to, and information about books available on the school website.

We’re always happy to receive enquiries from parents or teachers interested to learn more about the school and the Total Education program. There’s a good overview on the school’s website at: Please call or email us if you would like to find out more or arrange a visit.

We thank you for your interest over the past year and look forward to being in touch again in 2014.

Shane Power


The Greatest Challenges of Parenting

Well-known child and adolescent psychologist, author and media personality, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, visited The School of Total Education in May 2013 where he presented an informative and entertaining talk to school parents and guests. Dr Carr-Gregg began his talk by flagging the “Six Deadly Sins of Parenting” then focused on five topics which he regarded as crucial in the life of an adolescent: Sleep, Happiness, Alcohol Risks, Cybersafety and Resilience.

“Sleep is the greatest challenge for the adolescent. Good sleep is essential for health, however more than 68% of adolescents don’t get enough of it.” Read more…

Helping Students with Learning Difficulties

Claire Waters, a teacher of English, History, and Literacy at The School of Total Education, reflects on how the school’s culture and approach has been successful in helping students to overcome learning difficulties.

“Generally, many students who come to SOTE with diagnosed learning difficulties settle down very quickly. When their behaviour settles, when they are happy, it is easier to see where the learning must begin. A teacher remarked about a young boy who had enrolled at SOTE only a few weeks earlier: ‘his whole face has changed and he is standing taller and he seems quieter’.” Read more…

From the Archives: Understanding Adolescence

This insightful article by Melbourne psychologist Dr Peter Cantwell was originally published in 1977, yet it remains fresh and relevant to contemporary parenting.

“The principle, then, that each of us needs others to become himself, is of central concern for the teenager. And the teenager who has the surest guarantee of a happy resolution of the varied human relationships at this time is the one who has experienced from both parent and educator that warmth and acceptance and understanding which precludes any need to prove to oneself or others that one is worthy of trust, worthy of respect, and worthy of love.” Read more…


Senior School Production of “Fiddler On The Roof”

During October, the Senior Secondary students at The School of Total Education presented a production of “Fiddler on the Roof” written by Stein, Harnick and Bock and set in Tsarist Russia in 1905. The cast of 30 students worked hard for two months to pull together an excellent production which ran for three nights in the school auditorium. A review in the Warwick Daily News stated: “This school does a great job of theatrical productions. The dancing scenes were bright and lively with a cast obviously having a great time. Congratulations to the whole production.”

Photo of Fiddler On The Roof Cast

The cast and production crew of “Fiddler On The Roof”

Parents Seminar and Graduation

The School of Total Education annual Parents Seminar and Graduation was held on Sunday 17th November in the Vijayadev Yogendra Auditorium. The graduation ceremony was preceded by a parents’ seminar with guest speaker Father Hal Ranger from St Patrick’s Cathedral in Toowoomba who spoke on the topic “Being Yourself — Holding True to Your Values”. (Read more about the graduation in this blog post.)

Photo of 2013 School of Total Education Year 12 graduates together with guest speaker Father Hal Ranger

The 2013 School of Total Education Year 12 graduates together with guest speaker Father Hal Ranger (at left)

Year 7 Out Students Visit Canberra, Dubbo and the Pilliga

The “Time Out” program at The School of Total Education spans years 7 and 8. In October the Year 7 Out grade travelled by school bus to Canberra to visit many of the important iconic places of interest there. The students visited Parliament House, the National Science Centre Questacon, the Australian Institute of Sport, The Royal Australian Mint and The Australian War Memorial. During their travels the students also visited the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo and the Pilliga Pottery, in the Pilliga Forest just north of Coonabarabran.

Teacher Development Workshop with Grant Sarra

As with many professions, school teachers are expected to undertake regular professional development activities. Many of our teachers at the School of Total Education attend off-site “in-service” programs to keep them up to date with current teaching practice and subject knowledge. However, we also conduct an in-house Teacher Development Program for our teachers which focuses more on personal development and refining understanding of the principles upon which the school was founded.

Last September holidays, indigenous mentor and facilitator Grant Sarra facilitated a one day workshop for teachers. Mr Sarra had an entertaining manner and used role plays to help the mostly non-indigenous audience understand how indigenous Australians had been impacted by contact with European culture. The workshop highlighted issues of prejudice and injustice and was challenging but rewarding for all participants.


The Total Education Blog presents short articles about the School and contemporary issues in education.

An Intimate and Heartfelt Graduation

Reflections on the 2013 School of Total Education Graduation. Read more…

Lizzie Wagner and Loving Yourself

Some worthwhile take away messages from the visit to the school of consultant Lizzie Wagner. Read more…

Love in Education

How the Vice Chancellor of the University of Southern Queensland talked to educators about the importance of love in leadership. Read more…


Richard Waters, who is the Foundation Principal at the school, also writes a regular blog on the Institute of Total Education website. Here are some recent posts:

What does it take to be emotionally ready to learn?

How the intuition and experience of the teacher can create the emotional climate where the student feels confident to learn. Read more…

Education for a Good Life?

Teaching children how to treat others with kindness and respect doesn’t have to be a special subject, it is built into how we interact every day and it is just as important as the academic curriculum. Read more…

Parents value more than test scores

How recent research calls into question the great “Testing, Scoring and Comparing” regime established by governments around the world in the last few years. Read more…

Children do not learn well where there is tension

Tension doesn’t just come from teachers, it can permeate a school — created by the school leadership, pressure from government and expectations of the local community. Read more…

Why the Teacher-Student Relationship is central

Great Teachers are not just those with the best academic qualifications — the most effective teachers are those that build positive relationships with their students. Read more…

Interviews available:

Laura Weaver and Batya Greenwald — The Soul of Education

Jan Dugan and Jan Gudkovs — The Focused Child

Michael Funder — Reflections of a SOTE Teacher

Satish Kumar — Small Schools and Nurturing the Spirit in Education

Click here to read more and listen to or download the interviews.

Some of the available books on our website

Books Available On Our Website

A range of books on Total Education and related topics can be purchased from the School of Total Education website. Click here to find out more.