‘Tournament’ brings young creative thinkers to UNE

Published 06 September 2011

mindsMore than 200 school students travelled to the University of New England late last month to test their problem-solving skills at the North-West Regional Finals of the annual “Tournament of Minds”.

“‘Tournament of Minds” (TOM) is an international competition for schools in which primary and secondary students provide creative responses to problem-solving tasks,” said Dr Susen Smith, the TOM host at UNE. “Small groups of students from 6 to 16 years of age solve open-ended problems within one of four key categories – Mathematics/Engineering, Language/Literature, Applied Technology, and Social Sciences – and prepare presentations over a five-week period.

“TOM provides unique opportunities for students to be challenged in innumerable ways. They use creative thinking, dramatising, oral communication, dance, role-play, cooperative learning, and technologies to address chosen and spontaneous challenges.”

Dr Smith thanked the school principals, teachers, and community volunteers who, as TOM judges and helpers for the day, supported students in achieving their responses to the challenges. And she particularly thanked the UNE staff members and students who supported the event, including Kathy Jenkins, Linley Cornish, Ray Smith, Bing Ngu, Julie Godwin, Judd Newton, Matt Vaughn, and Sarah Foster.

The director and organiser of the event, Judy Docksey from the Department of Education and Training (DET), also thanked the many teachers, parents, judges and helpers who gave up their free time to support the students through the TOM process, saying that without them the event would not have been possible.

Mr Peter Pickett, the DET School Educational Director, attended the event to help acknowledge the award winners, who will now go on to compete at the State finals in Sydney in early September.

The secondary school winners were Guyra Central School (Applied Technology), Calrossy Anglican School, Tamworth (Mathematics/Engineering), and O’Connor Catholic College, Armidale (Language/Literature). The primary school winners were Calrossy Anglican School (Applied Technology and Language and Literature), St Nicholas’ Primary School, Tamworth (Mathematics/Engineering), and St Lawrence’s Central School, Coonabarabran (Social Science).

Associate Professor Steve Tobias, Head of  UNE’s School of Education, said that it had been “a terrific community event and a wonderful example of how the School of Education at UNE interacts with our local schools”.

Dr Smith said that the TOM program was complementary to programs such as the School of Education’s “TalentED Enrichment” programs and the “UNE Accelerated Pathways” program.

For any inquiries about professional learning for teachers, enrichment programs for students, differentiation projects or community mentoring programs, please contact Dr Smith: <!–[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–> <!–[endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–><!–[if gte mso 9]> <![endif]–>susen.smith@une.edu.au