Vivi Superusers: How they get the best out of their students

18 May 2021 | By viviedu

Vivi exists because we all had that one teacher who changed our life, who went above and beyond to serve as a role model and sage. Now we get to empower those social, progressive teachers with student engagement technology and hear their tips for how they get the best out of their students. 


Rebecca Power – Emmanuel College 

“Having that positive relationship is even more important than the learning. They need to know that they are in a safe environment and that making mistakes is ok – in fact that’s how you learn.” 


Karen Gunasekara – St Augustine’s College, Brookvale 

“Building positive relationships – showing an interest or trying to get to know them out of class – their interests, sporting pursuits. Once you’ve established a relationship, they genuinely want to do the best for you. This is one of the advantages of primary school over secondary school. Once you have established positive relationships, high expectations and clear routines, you get the best out of them.” 


Wendy Irwin – Thomas Hassall Anglican College 

“Knowing where they’re at in terms of their learning. Formative assessment has a big role to play in that these days in finding that out. You bounce off that. Lots of hands-on. Taking lots of notes, sometimes mental notes. Data is important but you also have to look at the whole child.” 


Annabelle Wood – Thomas Hassall Anglican College 

“Important to get to know the child first and foremost at the beginning of the year so you can develop the relationship. Talk to the child and their parents and find out what works. These days, you’ve got a lot of anxiety, a lot of depression, a lot of issues that you can work with and alongside the parents and students. This year, it’s been about pushing the positive reinforcement. Especially with the young ones, they need that little bit extra because sometimes they can lose confidence. You want to help them stay on the right path and really boost their learning.” 


Erin Johnson – Thomas Hassall Anglican College 

“By providing them an experience that lets them explore and decide where they are going. The more ownership you let your students take, the more they’ll get out of the experience.” 


Thomas Schaab – Ambrose Treacy College 

“I’ve been getting into doing mindfulness with the kids – the German approach is very disciplined and rules based. Outside of Germany, that’s not culturally appropriate. I’ve looked around for other ways and tried to build relationships. I can see the benefits of that and now try to create positive mindsets using music and mindfulness in the classroom.” 


Julia OreoRadford 

“Actively engaging them in their learning, discussing, making a safe classroom where their opinions are valued. A range of opinions or viewpoints are healthy. At our school the students are very confident in discussions. I use visuals a lot and that makes Vivi a really good tool for me. I try to use a variety of things. Catering to different learning styles.” 


Michele Higgins – Waverley Christian College 

“I like to talk, be open with them, give them the chance to push boundaries a little. I think it’s important for them to learn to ask questions while they’re at school. Otherwise, it’ll be much more difficult out in the world. I like them to think out of the box and not take no for an answer. I want them to be able to transfer that skill into whatever they do in life.” 


Dylan Koning – Mount St Michael’s College 

“I’m a big supporter of engagement. You can do it in a lot of ways – group work etc. – but not all students respond. Mainly I want to get students working on a creative task and show it up on the board using Vivi. Whatever suits the student you come to learn as you get to know them.” 


Julie Patchen – Elkhorn Public Schools 

“I have high expectations. Classroom management and respect are important to me. Students know my room is somewhere they can participate without distractions and to do the best they can. I just want them to do the best they can. The repetition, the tools I use – they really seem to enjoy. High expectations, they know what to expect. This is a safe place to perform.”