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Real Talk Australia launches new online learning platform and it starts with human dignity

Online and real: Real Talk Australia primary schools manager Nikki Lysaght talking top parenting tips at an in-school parents and caregivers presentation.

REAL Talk Australia now had the answer teachers had been looking for – and it was only a click away.

“The main question that we get from teachers is – ‘It’s great that you’re coming here and we love having you come in for the day, but what can we do with our kids either before you come to prepare them for the day, what can we do afterwards and how can we assess on the knowledge’,” Real Talk Australia primary schools manager Nikki Lysaght said.

The new online resource Real Talk Education hosted lesson plans, assessment content, video content from the team, teacher notes and more.

Mrs Lysaght said the team had become so busy last year that finding time to build a resource like realtalkeducation.org had become challenging.

“Along comes COVID-19 and schools weren’t able to have us visit as schools were closed and once schools re-opened there were still restrictions relating to outside providers,” Mrs Lysaght said.

“We were in a place of – what are we going to do with our time.”

That’s when the website became a reality.

It had started out as a “little resource” but after two months of work, it had turned into a comprehensive learning platform.

“We are so excited about it,” Mrs Lysaght said.

It addressed a significant need for educators, too. “I think a lot of teachers get worried about how to have these conversations with children in an age-appropriate way,” she said.

“We also know how important it is for teachers to embed a Catholic Christian perspective into these lessons. We have a growing number of Christian schools booking us and looking to use these resources.”

Mrs Lysaght said the first module on the website was about self-image.

“It’s all about how to value ourselves and value other people,” she said. “So the fact that each and every one of us is a gift that’s been given to the world by God – each one of us is sacred, that we all have value, that we were made in the image of God and we have dignity and a purpose.

“Hopefully when kids hear that and learn that about themselves, it then changes the way they treat other people.

“And that’s very much the challenge we give (students) is – if you understand that you are a gift from God and you understand that other people are a gift from God, how does that change the way you’re going to treat them.”

This was central to later modules about sexual relationships and topics like pornography.

Each in-school presentation the team did was accompanied by a parents and caregivers information session, so it was important for the team to keep parents in the loop on the website too.

“The next thing we’re going to be working on is a parent portal of resources,” Mrs Lysaght said.

It would have everything parents needed to know about what their children would learn.

The website was user-friendly too.

This was important because the Real Talk team wanted students to be able to access and use the website independently if required.

There was also the option of having teachers lead students through the lessons.

Having worked as an assistant principal religious education, Mrs Lysaght said she knew many primary schools around the country often did not have big enough budgets to book and pay travel costs for Real Talk presenters based in Queensland, so the website filled that gap too.

“This resource allows (those schools) to have our content and teach it themselves,” she said.

Currently the website offered content for Years 5 to 7, while the content for Years 8 to 12 would be rolled out in the future.

There are 26 lessons across 4 modules for students to work through on Personal Identity, Media and Technology, Relationships and Puberty.

Two free lessons are available on the website.

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