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Julia Groutsch

Kildare College (SA)

In Empowering Educators, inspiring Aussie educators share how they build and nurture entrepreneurial mindsets in schools and classrooms. Here we ask Julia Groutsh from Kildare College about her inspiration and how she creates creating authentic and connected learning experiences.

Q1: Could you give us three words that describe your life as an educator?

Eventful, energising, exhilarating. 

 Q2. What is the most important skill for young people to learn at school? What’s one way that educators (and/or caregivers) can explicitly build this skill?

Life-long learning.

I believe this is important on so many different levels, from brain development to uncovering passions and new things about yourself. Having the ability to voluntary engage in ongoing learning which is self-motivated cultivates an environment of curiosity for discovery of the self and world around us.

Ways to build life-long learning differs amongst individuals. It can start with something as simple as modelling this and range to encouraging ownership of learning and student agency, turning mistakes into opportunities, and setting goals.

 Q3: What’s one of the best learning experiences you’ve ever delivered (or seen being delivered)?

The annual Fluor Engineering Challenge.

For a bit of company fun and friendly competition, Fluor engineers challenge each other every year in a global, company-wide engineering competition. In 2015, Fluor decided to bring the spirit of their yearly employee competition to students.

The basis of this challenge is the hook used to create some start of year fun and build class comradery in the Middle Years. It also allows students to use their problem-solving skills to design, build, and test solutions. These challenges have also been adapted in our STEM Primary Partnerships program which is a student led leadership program that empowers young women in the field of STEM. The STEM student leaders in Year 9 facilitate inquiry-based activities which foster the General Capabilities to various primary school students.

Head here to see all the challenges from 2015-2022.

 Q4. One thing all teachers and school leaders wish for is more time. Can you suggest one ‘productivity hack’ to save teachers time?

I am guilty of ‘procrasti-baking’ from time to time, because I would rather be stressed with a cupcake, however, my biggest productivity hack would be the humble checklist which allows you to focus and stop multitasking.

Try this exercise to see how multitasking is the invisible time thief! 

Q5: What’s one book, website or podcast you’d recommend to educators keen to build the entrepreneurial mindsets of their students? 

If you’re after a book try The Entrepreneurial Mindset: Preparing Our Next Generation For The Future of Work by Kyle Garman.

If podcasts are more your thing try The Entrepreneurial Mindset Project by Gary Schoeniger.

Meet this week’s Empowering Educator, Julia Groutsch.

Julia Groutshc has been a science teacher for five years and the core message that underpins everything she does in and out of the classroom is “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” – Aristotle. This refers to the importance of not only focusing on developing the cognitive aspects but also all the qualities that make us human.

Currently., Julia is a Future Innovation Coach at Kildare College in South Australia. The role of a Future Innovation Coach is centred on developing school improvement in teaching and learning and focusing on incorporating contemporary and future-focused skills. They’re not only looking at what skills the students require for the jobs of the future, but also what life skills they need to support their future choices.

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