Learning & Teaching Symposium 2018

School Improvement- It starts with quality instruction!

A coherent and comprehensive improvement strategy must focus on the importance of improving curriculum and classroom instruction. Join us at the Learning and Teaching Symposium in 2018 and be introduced to Australian speakers and researchers, their ideas and strategies, about what works and be ready to raise the performance of your students.


  • Discover research-based, innovative strategies that are classroom ready
  • Deepen your understanding of quality teaching practice
  • Extend your teaching repertoire to include strategies that will work for all students
  • Engage in learning and discussions with fellow educators that will extend your thinking about current paradigms and practices in our schools.

Early Bird* Registration - $275; Full Registration - $302.50 *Early Bird price ends on Friday 27 April 2018
Group bookings are available & all prices are inclusive of GST
Catering include: Arrival, Morning Tea and Lunch


Introduction - 8:30-8:45am
Welcome & symposium overview

Keynote 1: From the labratory to the classroom - The big ideas

8.45am – 10.15am
Speaker: Dr Jared Cooney Horvath
Cognitive Neuroscientist with expertise in human learning, memory and brain stimulation, Researcher, The University Of Melbourne

Read more about Jared here

Session overview
Is neuroscience really important to education, or is it simply another fad? Is intelligence bestowed by our parents and their genes? Is the purpose of education to ensure students are employable?
In this session, we will explore several BIG philosophical ideas that under-gird any and every attempt to evolve educational practice. More specifically, we will explore how scientific research can (and can not!) impact practice, experience the power that 'stories' can exert on our (and our students') perception of the world, dissect the myth of genius, and assess the underlying philosophy of emerging educational concepts (Visible Learning, Thinking Routines, MOOCs, etc.). By the end of this sessions, participants will understand the importance of clarifying the 'Why' behind their ideas and classroom choices.

Participants will learn to:

  • Define 'translation' and describe the process of 'emergence'
  • Contrast bottom-up vs top-down processing
  • Recognize the philosophy underlying several key educational movements
  • Identify the interrelated roles of prediction and coding on thinking and learning

Morning Tea - 10:15am – 10:45am

Concurrent Session 1: Effective Inclusive Education Practice in Secondary Mathematics: What does it look like for students with learning difficulties?

10.50am – 11.50am
Speaker: Rhonda Faragher
Senior Lecturer in Inclusive and Special Education at the University of Queensland

Read more about Rhonda here

Session Overview
All students can learn mathematics, but finding the way to support those who struggle in diverse secondary classrooms can be a challenge. This session will draw on some initial findings of a research project studying the approaches used by effective teachers in those contexts. Inclusive practice will be defined through a brief overview of the research literature. Methods for adjusting year level mathematics to support all learners in the classroom will be shared.

Participants will:

  • Gain an understanding of inclusive practice in secondary mathematics as an approach to learning that welcomes, values and supports learners in shared, general classrooms
  • Understand generalised findings from the work of effective teachers in secondary mathematics
  • Adjust secondary mathematics content for learners with mathematics learning difficulties and disabilities.
  • Consider effective approaches to working with other members of the teaching team, such as learning support assistants.

Concurrent Session 2: "Solvable challenges": Tackling the real literacy challenge in Australia - The middle years of schooling

10.50am – 11.50am
Speaker: Misty Adoniou
Associate Professor in Language, Literacy and TESOL
University of Canberra

Read more about Misty here

Session Overview
National and international testing of literacy shows good gains are being made in lower primary across most of Australia. However there is a sharp decline in Writing scores from Year 5 and to Year 9. A sharp dip in Reading scores occurs in Year 7 and continues through to Year 9.
It is clearly in the middle years of schooling that our students are falling behind, yet our system interventions very rarely tackle these years. As schools search for solutions their only options are interventions designed for early primary students, which fail to address the issue. Our failing middle school students are not in need of ‘the basics’. Indeed, ‘the basics’ is all they have. They need tuition in ‘the complex’.
In this presentation we look at what is ‘complex’ about reading and writing in the middle years of schooling, why our students struggle with those complexities and how we can support them in their reading and writing.

Participants will:

  • Understand why we have declining literacy results in the middle years of schooling
  • Gain an insight into the shift in language skills required to move from ‘basic’ to ‘complex’ reading and writing
  • Experience some strategies that demonstrate how we can teach students to read and write in sophisticated ways, through explicit instruction and exposure to authentic and challenging texts

Concurrent Session 3: Deep Learning: Dialogic Pedagogies for Literacy Learning: Understanding what counts as quality instructional talk and What interaction

10.50am – 11.50am
Dr Christine Edwards Groves & Dr Christina Davidson
Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Read more about Christine here and Christina here

Session Overview
Dialogic pedagogies seek to promote classroom talk that contributes to children's language use, cognitive development and academic achievement. Central to dialogic approach is the importance of teachers' understanding of classroom talk, and how their contributions to instructional dialogue may promote students' learning. Yet, how to improve the quality of instructional talk remains a fundamental concern for educators across the globe.

In this presentation, Christine & Christina draw on and consider their own investigation of changing talk in primary classrooms to produce more dialogic instructional practices in literacy lessons. Based on the individual action research projects of twelve teachers, core changes that were evident across a diversity of classrooms are drawn out and explored. Things considered were what counted, in common as quality classroom talk and interaction for literacy learning and teaching across these settings.

Keynote 2: Personalisation, not standardisation: Developing experiential learning pathways for students

11.55am – 12.55pm
Speaker: Richard Owens
Head of Teaching and Learning at Woodleigh School

Read more about Richard here

Session overview
With the industrial-age approach to schooling becoming outdated and often floundering amid the rapid changes brought about by economic globalization, advancing technology, and cultural collision, many educational leaders acknowledge the need for a radical change. This presentation will examine some promising approaches to the reimagining of teaching and learning in schools through the development of personalised, experiential learning pathways for students. The session will feature practical case studies of innovation from schools, including the voices of students, teachers and administrators. The presentation will also explore the theory and practices that can be used to engage all stakeholders in a school community (students, teachers, administrators and parents) in this important work, while providing opportunities for participants to consider the implications for their own context.

Participants will:

  • Examine the challenges for schooling in the 21st century
  • Explore frameworks and models for the development of personalised, experiential learning pathways for students
  • Be exposed to innovative approaches to teaching and learning
  • Investigate a model for leading change in schools, with an emphasis on co-creation and stakeholder engagement
  • Reflect upon their current role and the opportunities for leading change in their context

Keynote 3: Innovations, insights and key research-based strategies for improving mathematics learning in the middle years

11.55am – 12.55pm
Speaker: Ann Gervasoni
Associate Professor, Numeracy at Monash University

Read more about Ann here

Session Overview
Students who successfully engage in creative and collaborative mathematical modelling and problem-solving have many choices about their future education and employment (including STEM). Yet so many struggle with school mathematics learning or give up on mathematics. This session will explore and showcase innovative whole school approaches that assist all students to thrive mathematically. Research that identifies difficult hurdles in middle school mathematics learning will be outlined, followed by suggested teaching approaches and curriculum. The importance of school leadership, with respect to advancing parent engagement, productive student dispositions, creativity, the mathematical imagination, challenge and language, will underpin the discussion.

Participants will:

  • Consider the role of school mathematics for ensuring that students have a full range of choices about their future education and employment;
  • Learn to showcase innovative whole school approaches that assist all students to thrive mathematically;
  • Explore research that identifies difficult hurdles in middle school mathematics learning and teaching approaches and curricula that respond.
  • Learn the importance of school leadership for advancing parent engagement and curriculam that promote productive student dispositions, creativity and mathematical imagination, problem-solving and communication, in ways that maximise mathematical learning.

Keynote 4: What matters in a Literacy Classroom!

11.55am – 12.55pm
Dr Kaye Lowe
Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Read more about Kaye here

Session Overview
Teachers’ in-depth knowledge of their students, the curriculum and their understanding of how assessment informs their daily practices are crucial components in effective literacy classrooms. This presentation explores the connection between these components. Creating communities of readers and writers who passionately share their love of literacy is a key ingredient. Motivating students to engage with reading and writing in relevant and meaningful ways is fundamental.
The presentation introduces reading and writing strategies to address the needs of disengaged and disinterested students. The importance of daily reading and writing, parental involvement, teacher-student conferencing and the use of quality literature are highlighted. Evidence-based strategies that eliminate the stress and anxiety too often experienced by struggling readers are shared. A framework for organising the literacy block so that the needs of all readers are accommodated in the classroom is presented.

Lunch - 12.55pm – 1.55pm

Keynote 5: Language in Teaching and Learning: transforming experience into knowledge

2.00pm – 3.30pm
Speakers: Dr Helen Harper & Dr Bronwyn Parkin
Primary English Teaching Association Australia (PETAA)

Read more about Helen here and Bronwyn here

Session Overview
Powerful language is the most precious learning tool available to teachers and learners. It enables you to negotiate the meaning of new concepts in ways that are not possible simply through engagement with hands-on activities. Language is central to successful teaching and learning.
How do we create powerful language in our classrooms? The keynote draws attention to two important foci of language in the classroom: the powerful language which students have need to appropriate in each learning area; and the teacher’s carefully nuanced pedagogic language, which changes across time as students gain control of new learning. Drawing on our recent research into scaffolding academic language with educationally marginalised students, we use the topic of ‘electric circuits’ to demonstrate the impact of a language-focused approach to teaching and learning.

Symposium close - 3:30pm – 3:45pm


Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre
Enter via The Education Show – Entry door 15
2 Clarendon Street
South Wharf


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