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VET Fast 5 - Michelle Charlton on Bad Press

July 12, 2018

Michelle is a VET consultant who works alongside VET PD Group, a community committed to sharing educational strategies and improving capability within the Australian vocational sector. Michelle is an experienced speaker who will be presenting at the National VET Conference later this year. She is also the driver of Write On Resources, specialising in bespoke, written-to-order course materials.

1. What’s the most overrated topic in education right now?

As a believer in education for all and the benefits it brings, my immediate thought is "what could possibly be overrated when it comes to education?"

Then when I stop and analyse further, in terms of education in the VET sector, I think it might be the bad press associated with VET.  It's been, it's done, and it's time to keep moving forward.

The more focus or attention we give to instances of bad press, the more salient it becomes. Our reputation as a whole is what we make it—and really, our vocational education and training sector has much to offer and I think this should be our positive focus.

My comments don't condone those instances when a few have displayed poor ethics and performance, but fortunately, in my experience, the majority of people in our sector are working with genuine intentions and are doing great things for learners and industry.

2. Does technology motivate creativity?

I don't know about motivating creativity, but certainly I think technology can facilitate creativity. I guess it comes down to whose creative brain we're talking about. Ultimately, I think creativity is a human trait and technology is merely a tool we can use to express our ideas.

3. What app can’t you live without?

Hmmmm… literally, Word.  I generate my living using words in Word. Not so literally speaking, I reckon it might be Words with Friends.

4. What events from your own experience as a learner have informed your approach to your work in education?

In one of my degrees we had to write about how our own circumstances (familial, socio-economic, etc.) have shaped our access to resources, including education. That project stuck with me as the research into the theories underpinning that topic really opened my eyes—not only to myself, but to others, and the opportunities and attitudes different people have when it comes to education.  I learned that when you see the issue through solid middle class, protestant work ethic eyes, it is very easy to (wrongly) believe that everyone has equal opportunity and it's up to them as to whether they take it.  

5. Which actor would play you in the movie about your life?

I'm tempted to say Dustin Hoffman, as I too was allowed to drive the car on the driveway when I was younger, but I think I'll go with Sandra Bullock. We both have dark hair ;)

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