For educators who care about young adolescents

 







Concurrent Workshops 

Friday 9th August

Session 1: 11:10 - 11:55am

Talking Transformations

As Middle Years educators, we know how hard it can be to motivate and engage adolescents. Through immersive experiences, we have found a way to captivate and excite our students. These experiences can be as simple as an "out of the box" lesson or can involve transforming your entire classroom for a day, a week or even a term. Are you ready to experience the level of anticipation your students will when they realise their "typical" lesson will not be so typical?

Paige Cathcart

Passionate Middle Years educator, teaching Year 6 for the fifth year in a row. Showcasing her classroom and creative teaching practices through Instagram @Teaching6.



Rachel Lowe

Passionate Middle Years educator, with experience in teaching Year 6 and 7. She is enthusiastic about curriculum development and sharing her teaching ideas and experiences with the world through her blog - Miss Lowe in the Middle. 



The Impact of High Yield Strategies on Resistant Learners

Students on the Autism Spectrum need to be ready to face the future. How can educators intervene to change the trajectory for these students who often face challenges associated with poor intercommunication skills, quirky behaviours, inability to remain focussed in class and limited academic success? Early intervention and high yield strategies can reduce passive resistant behaviours, low self- esteem and the tendency, especially in boys, to develop technology addictions.  We will be presenting two case studies involving a current year 7 student, and a past year 7 student (2018) in which we have observed improved levels of engagement, autonomy and relationships with teachers and peers. 

Sue Webb

Sue is a secondary English teacher with over 20 years’ experience in the classroom, and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. She has also held the positions of English co-ordinator, Pastoral Leader, Acting Deputy Principal and APRE. She loves being in the classroom and learns something new from her students every day. 


Josh Maudsley 

Josh Maudsley is currently the Year 7 Pastoral Leader at Siena, and has been teaching for 4 years. He has a degree in Psychology as well as a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership. Josh is very passionate about student wellbeing both in and out of the classroom and is constantly looking to improve upon his practice by experimenting with different pedagogies, particularly with students who pose additional challenges. 


Sue and Josh have worked together since the implementation of 7 to Secondary in QLD, to plan and facilitate pedagogies that impact learning for resistant learners, some of whom are on the Autism Spectrum. Through sharing the stories of 2 students in particular, we would like to showcase the journey of high yield strategies which led to greater student engagement and better readiness for a future beyond school.


Connected Content, Connect Communities

Learner agency is paramount to success in preparing students to be active, engaged and responsible citizens. Therefore, effective, impactful and lifelong learning, must connect students to their communities. It must provide them opportunities to influence the world around them and for their voice to be heard. Integrated, project-based learning tasks provide a theoretical model to enhance student agency and impact student learning outcomes. An exploration of a Year 7 Geography Unit on Town Planning will be discussed with specific reference to how community partnerships with local Council enhanced learning outcomes, increased learner agency and enabled students to be agents of change within their local communities. Additionally, the impact of expert engagement on teaching quality and pedagogical understanding and the flow on effect on student outcomes will be explored. 

Josh Counsel

Josh is passionate about seeing students find a love for learning by being part of dynamic, integrated and relational learning communities. He sees schools and learning as powerful vehicles to enact change, through interconnected approaches to learning and assessment. Josh is a husband, father, coach and currently Dean of Year 7 at Redlands College, a P-12 independent school in Queensland.


Adam Ayling

Adam is passionate about seeing students be part of a thriving community, that is built on strong relationships between staff, parents and students and seeks, in every way, to form students into young men and women who will positively and powerfully impact the world. Adam is a dynamic educator who works across all core disciplines within Middle School and is committed to finding engaging ways to connect knowledge to practical applications where students have the opportunity to impact their community.


21st Century Skills - setting your students up for a successful future 

The 4Cs  collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking within your classroom. 

In todays society, it is vital that our students are able to communicate & collaborate effectively. In the ever-changing working world, it will be the skills of creativity & critical thinking that will set our students apart. The world is clearly becoming more IT focused, but in turn more disconnected than ever, the explicit teaching of the four Cs is imperative for future success. It is our role as educators to ensure that students engage in these live long learning skills at school, in order to be the most successful adults they can be. 

This workshop will explore the explicit teaching and assessment of 21st Century Skills component of a teaching & learning framework called CAP21 (Cooperative Authentic Productions, with 21st century skills). 

The workshop will focus on:


*How to use cooperative structures in your lessons to improve collaboration


*How to use seminars that help build relationships & communication amongst your students 


* How you can create benchmarks that will formally assess critical thinking skills & creativity. 


The 3 designers of CAP21 have trialled & are now mentoring the rest of their College in this framework to re-design units of work & assess the 21st Century Skills as a stand-alone subject.


Kristy Matthew

Kristy Matthew is a differentiation specialist with a pastoral care focus, using data to improve the social and emotional outcomes of students. Kristy believes teaching is more than just academics, but a focus on the child as an individual.


Mr Tim Hadfield

Yr 8 CAP21 teacher and Head of Positive Education of Riverside Christian College

Tim Hadfield has a passion for engaging students and growing their thinking skills and positive perspectives though developing a better understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Tim is a Positive Psychology specialist, seeking to improve emotional outcomes of staff and students.


Mr Larry McKeown

Year 8 and 9 CAP21 teacher of Riverside Christian College

Larry McKeown is a Cooperative Learning specialist. In addition to using cooperative learning in the classroom he mentors others in their practice to make learning in the middle years 'stick'.




Bridge Builders - Equipping young people to resolve everyday conflicts and reduce bullying

Relationships are the foundation of communities and an essential part of creating successful, respectful and collaboratively learning communities. However conflict is a part of everyday life in schools and poorly or unresolved conflict can lead to reduced outcomes, mental health issues and bullying. Jocelyne has developed a unique whole-school approach which empowers all levels of the community to have a common understanding, consistent language and skills to build resilience, resolve conflict and reduce bullying. The BRIDGE BUILDERS® Leadership Program prepares young people for life. This session will provide an overview of how your school can have a point of difference and create a proactive and educative approach to emotional and social skills. 

Jocelyne Chirnside

Jocelyne has been a teacher for over 30 years and SEL consultant for the past 23 years. She has developed and delivered SEL programs in over 100 state, private and Catholic schools nationally. Jocelyne is an author, researcher, educator and presenter. She is the founder of EMPOWERING Life Skills, the creator of the BRIDGE BUILDERS® Program for Early Years, Primary and High Schools and the author of the book; Empowered for Life – Equipping children to deal with every day conflict and bullying. Jocelyne uses her extensive educational experience, ongoing data collection and research to effect positive cultural change in whole-school communities.

Session 2: 12:00 - 12:45 

Create: Impact : Build: - growing dynamic middle learning communities

Nothing is more important in middle level education than developing the right team. Empowering staff to develop powerful teams creates cultures that impact in the holistic development of middle schoolers. Creating team culture and staff quality is a key pillar to successful schooling structures as Caldwells global research clearly articulates. This is particularly true for middle level education where relationships play such a crucial determining factor on culture and outcomes.  Inspiring teachers to be equipped and empowered to develop and work in powerful teams and foster dynamic learning communities is a critical factor for school leaders to consider in creating a culture that makes a difference. In the lives of these young adolescents, it is important to create cultures that powerfully connect them in relationships and that engage them in deep learning for the life ahead.   This session will explore how to develop Hargreaves & Fullans idea of Professional Capital with staff to create powerful teams, impact culture and build learning communities. This will involve looking at two scenarios where this was used as a basis for development and by providing space to discuss, reflect and connect with colleagues working in comparative contexts.

Luke Ralph

Luke is passionate about seeing Middle Schoolers thrive and flourish by being engaged in learning communities that are dynamic, relevant and relational. For nearly 20 years, with over half that time in educational leadership, Luke has been working with middle school students and staff. Luke serves on the advisory boards of two universities, the National Council for the Australian College of Educators and has previously served on the Education Committee for ISQ. He is a member of ACE, ACEL and a Fellow of IML. As a husband, father and educator, Luke is committed to the belief that the most powerful education happens when meaningful relationships are enabled to form that encourage and inspire a culture of life-long learning. Luke is the Head of Middle School (Grades 6-9) at Redlands College.


Under Construction - how middle years teachers can lay the most significant building blocks in creating Future Ready Students

What are the most important attributes and dispositions that students need to develop for future success both at school and in adult life? How can I be confident that the learning experiences my colleagues and I devise for OUR middle years students are impacting powerfully on these developments. AMLE’s seminal position paper “This We Believe” has long inspired middle years educators in their passion for facilitating the development of young adolescents. Do we still “believe” in 2019? How can we marry our core convictions with practical strategies that work?  Teachers attending this facilitated discussion will leave with a refreshed vision for their most important purpose and a suite of ideas that may affirm or challenge their current practices. While the presenter will briefly offer some thoughts grounded in literature, experience and current action research, the challenging content will come primarily from other passionate middle years educators. New contacts and thought-provoking conversations will be welcome by-products.

Four key questions will be used to steer the discussion –

1. Why is early adolescence the most important time for creating future ready students?

2. What are the attributes and dispositions needed now to create future success?

3. What are some practical strategies that can be used tomorrow to develop these?

4. How can I tell whether these strategies are making a difference?

Ian Grice

Ian is a passionate advocate of Middle Schooling, Formerly a Chartered Accountant and Senior Secondary Legal Studies, Accounting and Economics teacher, Ian has been a teacher in the Brisbane Grammar School Middle School since its inception in 2003. He has been a consistent attendee and presenter at Adolescent Success Conferences over this time. He is currently the Head of Middle School Curriculum at BGS. Ian believes that the Middle Years of schooling are the most significant in determining ultimate student outcomes, but that the simultaneous pursuit of disciplinary specialisation and high pastoral care render the teaching of young adolescents challenging. As a result, he highly values the opportunity to mix with other middle years teachers at adolescent success conferences.



Digital Wellbeing - the next frontier of wellbeing education

Managing and supporting Digital Wellbeing is a 21st Century Skill and needs to be a part of educational practices involving adolescents. This session will introduce attendees to the concept of Digital Wellbeing and how it can be supported, maintained and improved during the Middle Years. Participants will be provided with approaches, techniques and programs that will enhance the ability of their school and their staff, to educate about the benefits of taking care of your Digital Wellbeing.  Participants will undertake a brief Digital Wellbeing Audit, as well as being supplied with a more comprehensive version, which they can then use in their own schools to identify areas of Digital Wellbeing strength and support. Participants will also hear about the most current research on Digital Wellbeing, before being shown specific tools and approaches that can be used to improve and enhance Digital Wellbeing.  By the end of the session, participants will have a clearer understanding of the increasing significance of Digital Wellbeing in Middle Years education.

Adam Somes

Adam is currently the Head of Middle School at Kingswood College in Melbourne. He is a strong advocate of Project-Based Learning and Digital Wellbeing. He is currently developing a series of resources and approaches that will assist educators in providing programs and structures to support a student's Digital Wellbeing. Adam has served as the Communications Manager for Adolescent Success since 2015.



Looking Beyond the Window - engaging students outside the classroom

St Andrews Anglican College has implemented a programme that embodies deep academic learning, cultural insight, independence, social and personal challenge, community mindedness, adventure and celebration. This manifests itself in two core components; three mid-term week-long experiential learning experiences (called Connections), and embedded CLT (Connected Learning Time) in the curriculum. The two aspects of the programme are built on the foundation of the research paper by Cole, Vindurampulle and Oanh. (2006), although contextualised into a framework to suit our context. The Connections aspect provides students a week long off-campus academic experience exploring three different locations over 3 terms; Brisbane, Melbourne, and Stradbroke Island. Each experience incorporates aspects of the full teaching and learning programme at the College and presents students with real-world problems to examine and explore. Further, embedded is Connected Learning Time, whereby students are mentored to begin the process of becoming autonomous learners. In addition to the 4 lessons a week provided by the core subjects, students are brought together into a common space to map their own learning journey and develop the skills to become confident and independent learners. This conference presentation will focus on the two core aspects and examine the journey the College has been on, and how similar programmes may be established in other schools.

Jonathan Harding

Spanning 20 years, Jonathan has a vast range of experience in working with students in the middle years . Currently the Year 9 Connections Co-ordinator at St Andrew's Anglican College, he has previously been an Assistant Head of Middle School - Teaching and Learning, and Year 8 Head at Pulteney Grammar School, Adelaide.




Hooking Students into Learning - in all curriculum areas

Making good use of school time is the single most egalitarian function the schools perform, because for disadvantaged children, school time is the only academic learning time, whereas advantaged students can learn a lot outside of school. (Hirsch, 2003). It is critical, therefore, that lessons begin with meaningful and purposeful learning activities that are relevant and engaging. Anticipatory sets, hooks or lesson starters set the scene for the learning that will occur in the lesson. Their purposes include awakening interest in the topic of the lesson, consolidating skills, moving key facts from short to long term memory and the development of collaborative learning strategies. They set the tone of the lesson and settle students into learning. During the session, Pat will share a number of activities that can be used as hooks into learning. They include such areas as vocabulary development, reading, writing, punctuation, spelling and paragraph writing. These activities can be used by teachers in all curriculum areas as a way of improving essential skills. With external assessment for senior students just around the corner, it is important that students can write well under ‘cold’ examination conditions. These will require greater automaticity of skill recall so strengthening skills in the middle years is an area worthy of close attention. 

Patricia Hipwell

Patricia Hipwell is an independent literacy consultant for her own Brisbane-based company, logonliteracy. She has provided professional development to teachers since 2005. Her focus has been assisting teachers to be content area specialists and literacy teachers in ways that enhance students' subject knowledge and skills development. Patricia's areas of interest include curriculum planning and assessment; reading and writing in the high school years; and vocabulary development. Her sessions are relevant and practical and teachers are sure to leave them with a number of purposeful and worthwhile learning activities. Patricia is author and co-author of the How to Write What You Want to Say Series and recently released, Hooking Students into Learning ... in all curriculum areas.



Service Learning - building personal and social capabilities for the future

In a rapidly changing learning landscape Service Learning is the vital heart beat of educating young people for the future. With the potential to connect all aspects of adolescent development and learning, Service Learning may well be the unsung hero of education today.  Service Learning in the Middle Years has the potential to inspire, connect and affect adolescents, at a crucial time in their learning journey. In an educational era where qualities such as empathy, collaboration, problem solving and creativity, are espoused as necessary skills for a future ready workforce, service learning projects are not only an effective means of connecting students to real life experiences, where they can identify and grow these skills, but can also support their overall wellbeing. Too often, the important benefits of well-designed service learning projects are unrecognised, misunderstood, undervalued and confused with narrowly defined community service initiatives. This presentation will seek to inspire educators to explore the potential of holistic service learning, particularly for students in the Middle Years.

Key points discussed:

What does an embedded Service Learning approach look like and what it is not service learning. 

Why the Middle Years?

Connecting Service Learning projects across curric areas and year levels

Connecting to Professor Martin Seligmans PERMA Wellbeing Model

How does this link to future ready skill

Reflections on current service learning project

Deb Wamsley

Deb is an innovative educator who believes Service Learning is the key to unlocking student learning potential and wellbeing. A Middle Years Specialist at St Andrews Lutheran College, Deb recognises the transition for students to Middle Schooling, as a vital time for building meaningful connections. She is passionate about the value of Service Learning for engaging Middle Years students and developing skills for future citizens and the workforce. Deb draws on experience in teaching and leadership in the public and independent sectors of education, across Primary, Middle Years, Senior and Special Needs. She is completing postgraduate studies at the Australian Catholic University, QLD.


Session 3: 15:00 - 15:45

Inspiring School Leaders to Enhance Teacher Wellbeing

This presentation will involve a facilitation of a discussion on the role of school leaders in enhancing teacher wellbeing which goes beyond the fruit basket. Committed to a whole school approach to wellbeing, we are in the process of embedding a philosophy and framework that will make wellbeing more than a buzz word. 

In doing so, we aim to give our community the opportunity to develop skills and strategies so that they can navigate lifes challenges more effectively by providing our girls and our staff with the right social, emotional and physical resources which will better equip them to create a flourishing life, filled with meaning and purpose.  Wellbeing is not a trend, it is not a fashion, and it will not be out of date next year. It is universally known that, as human beings, if we feel good, we function well, we will be well beings.  Implementing a whole school philosophy has had the cascading effect of bringing into greater focus the need for our leaders to enhance the wellbeing of our staff.  Through a combination of small group discussions and personal reflection time, we will have the opportunity to: consider what works in well in supporting staff wellbeing in schools; discuss how our understanding of positive psychology can enhance teacher wellbeing and the flow-on effect this has on to student wellbeing and learning; debate the advantages of establishing a Staff Wellbeing Committee in schools.


Pacale Drever

Pascale Drever is an educational leader with over twenty-five years of experience in both girls schools and co-educational schools. She has held executive leadership and managerial positions both in Australia and overseas. Pascale is the Deputy Head of Ascham School and in this role assists the Head of School in defining and delivering strategic objectives, as well as in the overall management of the School. Pascale is an Executive Board Member of REELise Incorporated, a not-for-profit community organisation dedicated to promoting and safeguarding the mental health of youth. A particular focus of her governance role is to contribute to the development of educational and leadership programs. Prior to her appointment at Ascham, Pascale was the Head of Middle School at Ravenswood.





Xavier - and now add Sevens!

Xavier is a secondary co-educational Catholic College with a student population of 960, and approximately 100 staff. We are compromised of a semi-rural clientele, mixed with students from the nearby Barossa Valley, Gawler, and outlying Northern suburbs which often have a lower socio-economic status.  About four years ago, Catholic education in South Australia announced that all Year 7 students would transition from Primary settings to Secondary settings, with many schools required to have this process being undertaken in 2019.   And from here, the fun began!  I was always very conscious that that it would be a mistake to simply put a Year 7 cohort into the school and treat them as pseudo Year 8 students. So, I decided to seize this opportunity as a once in a lifetime chance to create an authentic Middle School on our terms for our community.Our presentation would narrate our story and include the following:

1. Our unique Pastoral Care System

2. Getting the battle weary teachers back on board

3. Engaging the disengaged - our Year 9 students 

4. Introduction of Project Based Learning

5. Specific skill development in Literacy and Numeracy - Targeted Teaching using data

6. Transitioning of students - when they werent expecting it yet!

7. Building leadership capacity in staff 

I would acknowledge the work of Pendergast and Grattan Institute research to tell our story.



Janet Coomber

I have been in education for nearly 30 years, and have worked throughout the Northern Territory and South Australia. I have been lucky enough to work in every age level from Preschool to Adult Education in both public and private sectors. I am currently in my fourth year at Xavier College, where I was charged with implementing Year 7 students from a Primary setting into a Secondary setting. I have always been passionate about Middle School, and saw this is a once in a life time chance to forge something amazing for our school community. We have taken on over 180 Year 7 students this year, and have already secured the same amount and have a waiting list for 2020.  Janet is co-presenting with Christian Bateman.






I want to try PBL but don’t know where to start

This workshop is aimed at those new to the PBL journey. The PBL model is valuable to student development and can simultaneously enhance the teaching experience. PBL pedagogy requires a change from traditional teaching methods. Re-developing pre-existing units or designing new tasks to a PBL format can be a mutually beneficial experience between subject areas.  Project Based Learning is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an authentic, engaging, and complex question, problem, or challenge. The Buck Institute for Education, PBL Works.  The learning achieved by students who partake in PBL extends far beyond the cumulative output. Students are engaged, focused and can work at a pace which suits them. The importance of a REAL audience creates an authenticity that cant be replicated when only looking to achieve a simple grade. The PBL model allows for choice and flexibility in the learning process, giving students ownership of their work and motivation to succeed. At a Middle Years level PBL experience can be a game changer.  Participants of this workshop will understand what differs a standard unit of work from one that follows the PBL model. During the session we will provide resources and support for teachers looking to develop their own unit. Teachers will leave the workshop with an appreciation of PBL, confidence and strategies to head out on their own PBL journey.

Sandra Tiepermann

Sandra is a passionate Middle School educator with over 10 Years experience in facilitating and leading stand-alone PBL programs. She has imbedded PBL into many units within the Middle Years Australian Geography curriculum and is always looking to foster the "soft skills" students need later in life but tend to lack through traditional Australian education. Always keen to find engaging ways to bring the outside world into the regular classroom, Sandra is constantly hearing the cries of parents I wish I did things like that when I was at school!








The “I’s have it - Inspire, Innovate, Impact

The power to impact on those in our care (eg students, staff and families) is a huge responsibility that I treasure. Using enthusiasm, experience and a little bit of magic, I will bring to life the book/journal 'MJR24/7 - A book for life', Gemma and I have written for students in middle school. I will also share the online teacher guide (go to www.mjr247.com.au) that explores the 30 engaging topics that students voted as the most relevant issues in their teenage lives. eg To fit in OR not to fit in? That is the question, I am NOT alone, Giving - Going the EXTRA mile, Grit, Mental Health etc.

As a speaker, who recently travelled to Queensland, WA, Newcastle plus all around Tasmania, many principals, leadership teams, staff and students will testify to my enthusiasm, humour, magic and ability to deliver engaging but deep thinking presentations that go way beyond the classroom. 

I use a hands-on, fun approach to show that 'MJR 24/7 - A book for life' is definitely not just for Catholic or Christian schools but for those striving to establish positive relationships/values that are needed to be successful in life. Even though it was only released in 2019, students, staff and parents are using words like 'flourishing', 'integrity', 'respectful', 'tolerant' and 'compassionate' when describing the effects the activities and dialogue are having on those in their care. People who have seen my presentations have used the words 'captivating' and 'life changing' - I hope you do!

Marty Ogle

Marty is a passionate teacher, leader and principal who, for over 30 years, has taught in Tas, NT, WA, NSW and The Philippines in government and catholic sectors. A true believer that 'Relationships' are the key to improvement in and out of the classroom, lead him (and co-author Gemma Thomson) to design a pastoral care journal for year 7/8 students ( also successfully trialled in vertically streamed classes). It is called MJR (Make Jesus Real)24/7 and it focuses on values that teenagers have chosen as their crucial links/worries in their life. It has an online component, a free teacher guide that explores each of the 30 topics - go to www.mjr247.com.au Marty uses magic (literally) and his engaging manner to engage and enthuse so the audience is inspired to positively impact on others.





Explicit Teaching - scaffolding for success

Explicit teaching begins with setting tasks that are clear, with no confusion. The selection of the cognitive verb is critical as it sets the purpose and the direction of the task and the alignment of the appropriate thinking tools and the language that the students will use in their responses. This workshop will offer a thinking skills framework to design explicit tasks and a practical 4-Step process for scaffolding tasks so that ALL students can experience success. The workshop will also offer a selection of feedback strategies that are guaranteed to save you time as well as provide meaningful and sustained feedback to students. Please bring laptops along to this hands-on and enjoyable session. 

Gerard Alford

Gerard is an author and the Director of itc Publications, established in 2002. He has over 20 years’ experience as a full time Secondary School teacher in a range of Independent Schools in three Australian states and the UK. He has held a number of senior positions including Head of Faculty, Director of Studies and Dean of Staff. Gerard is the editor and co-author of the innovative teacher’s companion, which is widely used throughout Australian, New Zealand and Pacific Island schools. He is also the author of the best-selling innovative students’ companion and the beginning teachers’ companion. Gerard is passionate in promoting high-order thinking skills, cooperative learning and engaging and effective evidence-based teaching methods.





What does it mean to be a leader? - perspectives from middle years students

Schools have always had a fundamental obligation to develop young men and women who are knowledgeable and active learners. However schools must also develop confident and creative young people who are energetic and informed citizens with a strong sense of ethical understanding and personal and social capability. One practical way of promoting such attributes in young people is through school-based student leadership. Schools are ideally situated to nurture and support the leadership potential of children during their pre-teen and adolescent years. Hence student leadership matters!

The aim of this research was to explore what middle years students understand by the term ‘leadership’ and the opportunities these students perceived they had to exercise leadership. Recent research has highlighted that student leadership in the middle years is often different from that in the senior years and that student leadership can vary significantly between schools. Moreover, there is a lack of evidence of leadership being described from the students’ point of view.

The significance of this research is twofold. Firstly, the proposed research provided an opportunity for student voice to be heard. Secondly, the research was undertaken at a national level. The project is significant in that it will add to the body of knowledge in the under-researched field of middle school student leadership from the perspective of those most affected by it – the students. 


Anne Coffey

Anne Coffey is the Acting Associate Dean Teaching and Learning. She has over twenty years experience in teaching at the secondary level in a variety of metropolitan and country government schools. Anne has a particular research interest in the area of early adolescence and, in particular, the transition of students from primary to secondary school and middle school student leadership. Other research interests include education policy, school organisation, youth mentoring and educational reform.





Shane Lavery

Shane Lavery, Ed. D., coordinates the Postgraduate programs in the School of Education, The University of Notre Dame, Fremantle Campus. He teaches service-learning, social justice and ecological studies at undergraduate level. He also coordinates the pre-service secondary service-learning program and the pre-service primary service-learning specialisation. He is actively involved with the annual service-learning immersion to a remote Aboriginal school and community at Tjuntjuntjara. Shane is a Red Cross volunteer. His postgraduate teaching areas are educational leadership, research methods in education and ecological studies. He has successfully supervised higher degree by research candidates to completion in the fields of educational leadership, religious education, overseas trained teachers, Indigenous education and study aboard. Shane is published in the fields of educational leadership, service-learning, student leadership and ecological education. He is a member of the editorial board of the eJournal of Catholic Education in Australasia.


Saturday 10th August
Session 4: 10:45 - 11:30

Using Design Thinking to create a shared Vision of Future Ready Graduates

The ability to adapt to change dominates the conversation on the skills our young people need to thrive in the 21st Century, for jobs that have not yet been created, for technologies that have not yet been invented, to solve problems that have not yet been anticipated (OECD 2018). Yet as school communities, we are often less open to the challenge of adapting to change ourselves.   Thomas More College, along with Catholic Education in South Australia, transitioned Year 7 to Secondary in 2019. Our three-year journey of preparing for this transition provided the catalyst for a major rethink of our fundamental purpose as a College.   Integral to this process was our application of design thinking, which we used to respond to the skills and capabilities our students need to be future ready in the context of national and global change. In this presentation, I will illustrate how we enacted the stages of design thinking, alongside action research, developing our picture of the Thomas More Shaped Graduate. Starting with the end in mind, to help staff tackle the question of what skills and capabilities our young people will need to thrive in the futures they will create. I will suggest ways that school leaders can adapt design thinking to help staff realign their pedagogical practices with a shared future-focused purpose. 

Rebecca Baker

Starting my teaching career in the Visual Arts and Design, I have developed a deep love of transformational curriculum, creativity, innovation, community and possibility! My practice is framed by the desire to see school communities, staff and students flourish as change makers and authors of our collective futures. Currently Assistant Principal of Teaching and Learning at Thomas More College, South Australia and occasional practicing artist.





Principles and Attributes to Enhance Assessment Literacy

‘To raise the assessment literacy of teachers there is a need to understand, and practice, the fundamental principles of assessment design’ (Klenowski, 2011: 68). Assessment literate teachers understand and implement the principles and attributes of quality assessment to maximise learning outcomes for all students. The principles of assessment design underpin the fundamental attributes of assessment, they are validity, accessibility and reliability.   In the middle years of schooling, students are at developmental extremes, sometimes affecting their classroom performance. To support middle learners, teachers need to create learning conditions designed to complement young adolescents’ developmental conditions, this includes the methods used to keep students informed about their progress (Stevenson, 1992). To meet students’ needs, teachers need more than a variety of assessment techniques and conditions to engage their students. Teachers need an array of strategies to ensure the assessment they have designed will provide the timely and informative feedback about students’ learning progress they are seeking. 

In this session, participants will:

• explore considerations for assessment that supports middle years learners

• build an understanding of the principles and attributes of quality assessment design.

Emily Ross

Emily Ross is a passionate educator who has led many significant curriculum and assessment initiatives nationally and for Queensland. Emily has extensive experience working with schools to implement the Australian Curriculum having led the development of many of the Queensland policy positions. Her doctoral research studied the curriculum interpretation and implementation process of a Queensland school during the implementation of the Australian Curriculum. Emily is also the current Treasurer of Adolescent Success.





Keeping It Real - a middle school teachers reflection on engaging disadvantaged learners

We are fortunate to have a rich culture of students at Thomas More College in northern Adelaide. We have a high population of adolescents who identify as EAL or have low literacy skills and many come from low socioeconomic families. In 2017 I wanted to explore new ways to engage learners so I researched contemporary pedagogies about giving students learning opportunities which relate to their own world. We were studying landforms and landscapes and the impact of natural disasters on the environment and people. In 2015, parts of the Adelaide Hills were destroyed by the Sampson Flat fires in an area quite close to the northern suburbs of Adelaide. Our students would have been able to see the smoke, so I thought this would be an opportunity to explore it as an authentic learning experience. By using topographical maps, meeting victims and observing the impact on the environment the students were able to see the effects on the landscape and people. Using a cross curricula approach between Geography and English, I was able to provide an experience which was not only rich in learning, but also focused on the field skills of Geographers. Students were also able to develop the ethical understanding capability by exploring empathy and allowed them to feel empowered to advocate for the CFS, by writing letters to politicians. This presentation outlines the different aspects of this unit and gives examples of how teachers can engage their local community to provide authentic experiences.

Louise Eldridge

I am a teacher at Thomas More College, a Catholic College in the northern suburbs of Adelaide, and teach in the Middle School. We introduced Yr 7 students into secondary school in South Australia this year, and I have spent the last few years exploring contemporary Middle Schooling pedagogies, such as authentic learning, cross curriculum approaches, thematic teaching and ways of engaging the disengaged learner. I am a lifelong learner with an interest in research (as I was a Librarian in my other life) and enjoy learning new and innovative ways of teaching adolescent learners. I have recently had an article published in the Adolescent Success journal and I continue to research and try innovative new ideas to prepare my students for their future world.




Future Ready Learners - whats thinking got to do with it?

“Research suggests that to meet the demands of the 21st Century, students need more than core subject knowledge (Bruniges 2012); in order to be successful, they need to become lifelong learners and global citizens who create opportunities and are confident in pursuing their passions” (QCAA, 2017).  To become future ready learners, students today need to be able to understand and apply a vast array of thinking skills to access and navigate the world of knowledge in which they live. The Australian Curriculum supports students to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens. Cognitive verbs can be identified in the Australian Curriculum and signal the types of thinking students are expected to use to demonstrate their learning. The challenge for teachers is to ensure that they have clarity regarding the thinking processes they ask of students and be explicit in teaching of those processes to improve and support students’ thinking skills. 

In this session, participants will:

• Identify language used in the Australian Curriculum that signals the thinking students are expected to demonstrate

• Explore considerations and strategies for the explicit teaching of thinking processes to support students’ thinking skills

Hayley Stonham

Haley Stonham is currently Senior Project Officer, Policy and Resource Development at the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority. Haley is passionate educator who has led projects that support teachers, from Prep to Year 10, to plan for a consistent approach for the explicit teaching of thinking skills. Haley is a teacher with 11 years classroom experience and has held various leadership roles including; Curriculum Coordinator and Assistant Principal, leading Australian Curriculum implementation.




Maximising the Potential of Successful Inquiry or PBL

The Adolescent Success Conference in Brisbane 2017 led to building on our successful Inquiry model. We shifted to a Project Based Learning (PBL) model and focused on integrating the STEAM subjects. The benefits to student engagement was visible. This was most evident when projects included an audience (presentation open day) and a deadline. Students and teachers could now reflect and report on Key Competencies (future focused skills) with specific, relevant contexts.  In 2018 our planning focus changed as we realised the engagement with our projects was producing high quality literacy work, however the assessment schedule and reporting format was not always capturing it. In some cases the PBL teaching was overlapping with literacy. This social science PBL showed students producing; essays, reflecting, reading, writing and presenting skills. ( https://youtu.be/pEUitbHwrWk ).  The progression in 2019 is to create a two year cycle of projects that meet the curriculum and engagement needs of our Year 7/8 students. We then started with literacy and designed tasks to go with each PBL, ensuring a good coverage of genre and objectives. This required breaking the New Zealand English curriculum into areas of focus that best suited each PBL literacy task. We then created an assessment schedule that would capture the tasks and could be used to report on. Presenting days are more like 3way interviews. With student learning plans and reflections part of the presentations.

Stuart Cooke

Stuart Cooke Intermediate Team Leader Queenstown Primary School My focus in the leadership team is future focused teaching and learning. I have attended many conferences and professional development programmes that have shaped my practise and facilitated the flow on to other areas of the school. Adolescent Success Brisbane 2017 was very influential. Experience 4 years as a teacher and member of the school leadership team at Queenstown Primary. 2 years School Leader for PBL / Inquiry 6 years teaching at Methven School, 2 years leading Inquiry and EOTC. 4 years other teaching experience.




Controlling the Controllable - leading pedagogical change to create a culture of thinking

Educational leaders face a range of challenges that have the potential to distract and take our eye off the ball of leadership. Creating an environment that supports the development of teachers’ pedagogical expertise is one element that educational leaders can impact. But what are the controllable factors that leaders can shape and influence to nurture pedagogical expertise?  There is growing recognition of the importance of teaching for thinking in formal education. This raises the question what kind of educational environment needs to be created in order to implement teaching for thinking across a school? This presentation will provide insights and share solutions for some of the common challenges schools face in leading pedagogical change. The central theme of this presentation is on how school leadership can support and inhibit the development of teacher expertise. Furthermore, the session will explore the direct and indirect levers of change that leaders can influence. The findings of the research are based on data collected from a study encompassing 6 schools and their varied approaches to implementing Philosophical Inquiry and Project Based Learning into their curriculum. The initiative focused on middle years’ students and teachers, with the intent of improving students capacity to think effectively by changing pedagogy. A key outcome from the program was the establishment of a clear link between professional development, pedagogy and student behaviours.

Adam Kuss

Adam is a member of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project and works with schools to improve teacher expertise in teaching for thinking. His current research is on understanding how educational leaders can create a culture of thinking in their schools. Adam was a founding member of the Cavendish Road SHS – Academy of Ideas, a program designed to promote thinking and collaborative learning in Junior Secondary. The Program was awarded the Education Queensland Showcase for Excellence in Secondary Years. Adam has been a Deputy Principal and Head of Department for Mathematics, Junior Secondary and Teaching and Learning. He was selected in the Courier Mail’s – Queensland’s 50 Best and Brightest and was a finalist for the Queensland College of Teachers – Outstanding Leadership.



How we used The Learning Bar data for School Improvement

Join this workshop to find out how two different schools have implemented the Tell Them From Me survey from The Learning Bar.  Both Deb and Mitch will share their experience as school leaders on how the data was collected, collated and then how they have used this valuable information for school improvement.  Myriam from the Learning Bar will add a depth of knowledge on how schools can best use this tool to enhance learning in your school.

Deb Evans

Debra is currently the Assistant Principal – Student Learning, Data Analysis and logistics at Mount Alvernia College.  She has been an educator for over 30 Years, in many different leadership roles and worked in schools in Brisbane and Far North Queensland.  Whilst in a leadership position, she believes that it is important to teach and has always maintained a teaching role throughout her career.  Debra’s  philosophy is to ensure students are engaged in their learning and progress in their learning.  She understands the importance and significance of using data to inform practice and works to ensure that relevant data and information is utilised around all decisions that impact those students directly in her care and within the College community.


Mitch Ulacco

Mitch Ulacco is an educator of 26 years, teaching across NSW and Queensland in the state and catholic systems. Mitch has established successful and award-winning Middle Years programs and continues to explore ways that Middle Years can be redefined, relevant and contemporary in an ever-changing educational setting. Currently, Mitch is Assistant Principal – Middle Years Focus at St Eugene College Burpengary in Brisbane’s North where he is about to embark on another 5-year strategic plan guiding the transformation of the Middle Years program beyond 2023.


Myriam Lopez

Myriam is the Implementation and Engagement Manager at The Learning Bar. With extensive customer relations and resolution experience, Myriam oversees projects end-to-end life cycle activities for clients using The Learning Bar’s innovative school solutions in Australia. Myriam brings to her role a first-hand educator perspective and is responsible at The Learning Bar for researching, developing and delivering professional learning courses and materials. Myriam completed a BA in Management (HR), Sociology and French at the University of Sydney and has specialised in the implementation of learning and development projects in previous HR roles before completing a Masters in Teaching, Secondary Business Studies and Commerce. As a passionate advocate for equity and equality in education, Myriam strongly believes in the transformative role that education plays in children’s lives.

Session 5: 11:35 - 12:20

Ghost Learners - insights from middle years students on classroom passive disengagement

A student’s disengagement or disconnection from classroom learning has implications for their academic outcomes, inclusion, and emotional wellbeing. There has been much research on student disengagement more broadly, however, the bulk of attention has been directed at the more visible signs of disengagement: classroom disruption, truancy, and school dropout. Passive disengagement is more subtle and remains under-researched, leading to a gap in the research and a problem in practice. In this study, I investigated the concept of passive disengagement in the classroom through an ecological understanding of student disengagement which problematized educational context. This study contributes a new methodology, the School Engagement Photo Technique (SEPT), to investigate the experiences of disengagement with middle years students. Participating students suggest that their disengagement with classroom learning is fluid and is affected by teacher-student relationships and teacher pedagogy, recognised as ConnectiveParticipatory, and Differentiated. These insights informed the development of some Middle Years Pedagogical Considerations which aim to support teachers whose responsibility it is to identify and manage disengagement in their classrooms.


Karlie Ross

After five years classroom teaching, my interest in middle years learning Sa- particularly the increase in disengagement during this phase of schooling - motivated my decision to undertake research in this field. In 2017, I began the ethnographic journey to understand more about disengagement, specifically 'passive' disengagement, from the students inside my classes. This journey has influenced me personally by developing more meaningful student-teacher relationships, professionally through improved pedagogy, and academically through the completion of the thesis, 'Hunting for Ghost Learners: Insights from Middle Years Students on Passive Disengagement’.






Teen Agents: Learners and Changemakers

With a generation of teens more connected to each other and the world than ever before, there is nowhere to hide the messy, real world. It seems obvious that at least one of the goals of schooling should be to prepare young people for such a world; there are few in education who would argue that schools should focus on academic outcomes alone. In his book, Counting What Counts: Reframing Education Outcomes, Yong Zhao (2016) makes a compelling case for expanding what we measure. This paper presents mixed-methods action research investigating the impact of the Teen Inquiry Project, on students perceptions of their own agency, as learners and as change-makers. 170 Year Nine students participated in the Teen Inquiry Project, investigating and proposing solutions to a self-selected issue relevant to teenagers. The students perceptions of their own agency was measured at the beginning of the project, throughout the project, and finally, after they pitched their solutions to stakeholders within the community. Students self-reported 10-13% increases in response to several I can statements related to agency. The results of the action research indicated that in learning about things that matter, students discover that they also matter. This paper highlights the capacity of schools to create learning experiences that bolster agency in students, so that the students themselves may enact change in their own lives, now and in the future.


Rachael Williams 

Rachael has been an English, Humanities and Psychology teacher for 18 years in Australia, the United Kingdom and The Bahamas. She has held various leadership positions in curriculum, teaching and learning and pastoral care, and holds a Masters degree in Education. Rachael is committed to improving learning outcomes for students and teachers, and is currently Year 9 Learning Leader at Ballarat Grammar School in Ballarat, Victoria.




Adele Ryan

Adele has taught in both Catholic and Independent Secondary Schools in Victoria over the past 25 years. Her key teaching areas have included Biology, English and Science. She has held leadership roles in curriculum, pastoral care, and teaching and learning. Adele is completing studies in the Masters of Education program at the University of Melbourne and is currently the Coordinator of Middle School Learning at Ballarat Grammar School in Ballarat, Victoria.





Sailing the C’s for an Unknown Future

Cornerstone College is in its third year of transforming the Middle School into a more authentic and engaging learning environment for Middle Years students. Having consolidated the addition of Year 7 into a traditional 8-12 Secondary School, it was time to look forward and implement a new learning structure at Year 8 that would better reflect Middle Schooling philosophies. This phase of our development began in 2017, where a team-teaching structure was trialed with a pilot group. This opened opportunities for integration and inquiry. Based on the Australian Curriculum, two teachers re-designed and re-wrote the Year 8 program in the subjects of Mathematics, Science, English and HASS. A key focus was put on developing the students’ General Capabilities through intentional teaching of the 6Cs (Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication, Collaboration, Control of Learning and Connections).  In 2018 the program was implemented across the whole of Year 8 with six teachers team-teaching in pairs. The purpose-built Middle School building created a flexible and collaborative learning environment.  Challenges have been encountered and mistakes made. Through continual review and reflecting on feedback from our community, adjustments have been made to improve the program. In this session, we will present a snapshot of our journey, both good and bad with a focus on how we deliberately teach the capabilities to prepare students for their future in an ever-changing world. 



Rhett Fielke

I have been teaching at Cornerstone College for 9 years, teaching in the areas of science and mathematics at middle school and biology at senior school. In 2017 I along with a colleague were tasked with re-designing the Year 8 program in the core subjects of science, mathematics, english and humanities & social sciences. This year I have taken up the role of Middle School Learning Leader where I am working to bring more cohesion to our middle school of years 7-9.


Leanne Filmer

Leanne has been the Middle School Wellbeing Leader for 6 years and was heavily involved in setting up the wellbeing structure when Year 7 came on board at Cornerstone College. She believes strongly in teaching the whole child and that quality learning can only take place when students feel safe in the learning environment. She is now part of a team of 3 team-teaching a group of Year 8's in the new program.




Instilling Metacognition and Reflective skills as integral to learning

Adolescence is a period of intense change, socially, emotionally and biologically. The aim of my work undertaken has been to assist students to be active participants and owners of their own learning, with the goal that they will become more connected to self, peers, teachers and caregivers. A focus has been made of failure as integral to the learning process, with reflective practice, strategy development and planning for future pathways.  As a part of learning, an emphasis has been given to teaching students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds the explicit skills to acknowledge their strengths, challenges and tools to assist them to overcome self-imposed and external barriers.  Activities have been designed to empower students with the language to develop metacognitive skills and develop their sense of self as a learner and as an individual. Integral to this is the philosophy of grit and growth, support and stretch when required. Time has been made for processing, discussion and reflection both in wellbeing and curriculum subjects, often with prompts. This has been performed in journals shared only with the teacher.  The workshop would include sharing strategies found to be effective over several years of inquiry and action-based research and reflective professional learning over several years throughout the middle years.

Kathryn Yeates

Adolescence is a period of intense change, socially, emotionally and biologically. The aim of my work undertaken has been to assist students to be active participants and owners of their own learning, with the goal that they will become more connected to self, peers, teachers and caregivers. A focus has been made of failure as integral to the learning process, with reflective practice, strategy development and planning for future pathways. As a part of learning, an emphasis has been given to teaching students from low-socioeconomic backgrounds the explicit skills to acknowledge their strengths, challenges and tools to assist them to overcome self-imposed and external barriers. Activities have been designed to empower students with the language to develop metacognitive skills and develop.




Using Social Media Platforms to Engage and Enhance Deeper Understanding

The engagement of students in learning is one of the primary goals of educators and the prevalence and popularity of social media offers a way of achieving this.  Although there is a clear link between student engagement and learning outcomes, many high ability adolescents in mainstream classes do not have their abilities and needs met which leads to a decrease in their motivation and engagement. Some even develop poor study habits such as the tendency to complete tasks for the sake of ticking boxes rather than learning.  The key to engaging and challenging these high ability students for is to provide differentiation. This differentiation needs to allow students to use their creativity, provide the flexibility to have open-ended answers, and make it relevant for the students by having clear links to the real world. Research shows that many of our adolescents are navigating various social-media platforms such as YouTube, Instagram and blogs, and many of them consider them viable careers. Educators can utilize this to hook high ability students to create and share a video to show their deep understanding of a concept.  Teachers will learn how to engage high ability students in the use of social media, such as YouTube videos, including tutorials, talking head videos, presentations, animations and interviews. This promotion of deeper learning through enabling students to direct their knowledge and outcome to an authentic, wider setting epitomises 21st century learning.


Helen Kang

I am in my second year of teaching at Rotorua Intermediate school in New Zealand. I am currently teaching high ability students at a Year 7 level. My interests include Gifted and Talented education and integrating the digital curriculum within the classroom setting.








Clearing the way for meaningful online teaching resources

There is a plethora of interactive e-learning content available today. Take a look at the criteria by which confident decisions on efficacy and value of an online learning platform are being made by schools as they navigate the digital learning landscape. Automation, assessment, differentiation, personalised learning and literacy support are all required aspects of good e-learning tools.  Of particular importance is the role that formative assessments can have to help students become active partners in their learning journey. Ian explains what schools in our network are considering to be vital for authentic online learning to set students up for success and demonstrates the EP approach. 

Ian Pedler

Ian joined the Education Perfect team in 2018. He is a former teacher from the UK having taught Physical Education for 11 years in London and has a strong interest in digital technology to support high quality teaching and learning. Ian now manages schools in Queensland who are trialing the Education Perfect platform.




Session 6: 14:45 - 15:30

It Takes a Village to Raise a Child

In an era of reduced neighbourhood play, lawn-mower parenting and human disconnection due to the digital revolution, the village has been lost.  Given that "Schools are one of the few communities that nearly all of us with children have an association with” we can play an integral role in helping communities and families to rediscover the ancient adage that it ‘takes a village to raise a child’.  Andrew will explain how revisiting some time-honoured processes in both our schools and families can help rebuild the essence of a village in our contemporary times and raise our children to be responsible, respectful, resilient and resourceful young adults.


Andrew Lines

Andrew is first and foremost husband to Becky and father to his four children and 3 step-children. He is also a teacher and educational consultant whose programs and resources (The Rite Journey, The Rite Journey Parenting Plan, Habits of Heart, ManMade and Woman Wise) have been especially developed to build resilience, responsibility, respect, connection and well-being in young people. Over the past decade 100,000 teachers, parents and students have experienced these contemporary methodologies across Australia, NZ, Asia, Mauritius, Europe, US and The Caribbean. 


What are you thinking?  Creating a Middle School Classroom of Thought

Together Lucy Warnock and Louise Cottell have worked to increase the level of deeper thinking in their classrooms across subjects including English, Humanities, Drama and Home Economics. One of the key strategies which they've employed in this endeavour is the use of Visible Thinking Routines. There is no doubt that the use of Visible Thinking Routines is a key tool in improving student learning. This session would complement the master class sessions available focusing on Critical Thinking Pedagogies.  We will outline our experience in the why, and how of introducing Visible Thinking Routines to a Middle School classroom. Raising the understanding of students, developing more engaging classroom discussion, involving all students in higher order thinking and developing greater independence are achieved through the use of Visible Thinking Routines. In this session, participants will see examples of thinking routines in action in the classroom as well as try out some of the routines as part of our time together.

This session links to ACARA's Critical and Creative Thinking Capability. AITSL strands:
1.2 Understand how students learn
3.1 Establish challenging learning goals

3.4 Select and use resources

Louise Cottell

Louise is a Drama, Humanities and English Teacher. Having worked at Immanuel College since 2004 she is now a part of the Advanced Teacher Program with a focus on Inter-disciplinary studies. Louise was a member of Immanuel's Creating Cultures of Thinking team who worked with Ron Ritchhart through AISSA from 2016-18. Louise is a key member of the Middle School team and is constantly seeking to improve outcomes and opportunities for students (much to the chagrin of some of her colleagues!).



Lucy Warnock

Lucy is the Year 8 Year Level Coordinator at Immanuel College. Since 2007 she has been a key member of the Middle School team teaching English and Home Economics in Years 7, 8 and 9. Lucy was a member of the IDEAS team at the College in developing the Learning Principles for the College. She has been a strong advocate in supporting the wellbeing of adolescents and improving educational outcomes for this dynamic age group.




Teaching Students to Build Healthy Relationships

The health of our relationships is fundamental to the health of our society.  Todays youth require skills in how to address the rise in mental health issues, sexual assault rates, infertility, toxic relationships and many other challenges regarding human connections. To truly prepare our students for their future, we must help them learn how to develop healthy and fulfilling relationships, both with themselves and others.  Preparing students to be future ready must start with social-emotional literacy. Navigating relationships and advocating for ones self in an effective way will determine a large portion of our youths future happiness and potential success. While we have never been more connected through technology, our youth are spending less and less time practicing the intrapersonal and interpersonal skills required to develop their personal wellbeing and sustain fulfilling relationships.  Participants will be led through the outline of a comprehensive social-emotional literacy curriculum. This presentation will include suggestions for activities and programs which address each of the five aspects of social and emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social management.  Specific activities and information addressing the negotiation of consent, empowering self-advocacy, understanding the effects of pornography on the adolescent brain and the power imbalance in many interactions and relationships will be covered as well.


Brett Borbely

Brett Borbely grew up in the USA, where her parents cared for over 350 foster teens. Being exposed to the trauma others had experienced and having witnessed how the power of compassion and emotional literacy can transform lives ignited a passion within Brett for social responsibility and wellbeing education. Brett is currently the Wellbeing Coordinator at Huntingtower School, where she established and wrote the curriculum for the schools first Wellbeing education course, and over the years she has continually expanded the scope of Wellbeing programs within the school. Her passion also inspired her to complete a Master of Education, with a focus on student wellbeing. She is always looking for new ways to help students learn how to develop healthy relationships with themselves and others.




Middle Years at Emmaus - Learning how to think

From the moment they begin their Year 7 journey, until they head for Senior Studies in Year 10, our Middle Years students (7-9) are active participants in their learning. Using ACARAs General Capabilities and the QCAA Senior Studies Cognitive Verbs, we empower young people with exceptional skills for working in a 21st Century world.  We acknowledge the power of the Self-System (Marzano & Kendall, 2007) to lead students towards or away from learning experiences in every aspect of their lives. Middle Years learners, in particular, are driven by the Self-System than other learners, as evidenced in the wealth of research on Middle Years learning (Pendergast & Bahr, 2010). Through Connected Curriculum (Nayler, 2014), Design Thinking (Notosh, 2018) and Novel Engineering (Novel Engineering, 2018), we lead our students to think about the world they live in, to analyse, to compare, to evaluate, to reflect, to appraise, to experiment, to generate, to propose, to design, to create, to justify, to modify, to predict, all in the pursuit of solutions for a better world. We collaboratively design thematic programs, around topics which spark our students interest: Justice; the Environment; Work; Culture. Our programs are inquiry based, Connected Curriculum (Nayler, 2014), inviting students into the learning process through experiences and interactions. Inquiries include Was life easier in the ancient world?, How could we prevent Romeo & Juliet's Tragedy?" & "How do cultures clash?".


Robyn Coase

Robyn Coase is the Acting Learning and Teaching Leader  Middle School at Emmaus College. Her teaching philosophy is centred around building student self-efficacy through authentic and empowering learning experiences. She is passionate about leading students to be active participants in their communities by teaching the skills of citizenship and collaboration.





School wide Positive Behaviour support in the NT

Centralian Middle School has achieved a sustained reduction in suspensions and inappropriate behaviours from 2016 to 2019 through implementing a School Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework. Suspension incidents have decreased by 46% and the school is a calmer and more learning focussed environment.  Kristi Beynon, Assistant Principal, ad Paul van Holsteyn, Principal, will present the school’s journey and key learnings.  Centralian Middle School is a 7 to 9 school located in Alice Springs with an enrolment of approximately 300 students, 70% of whom are Aboriginal. The schools ISCEA value is 818 which indicates a high concentration of disadvantage in the school community.


Kristi Beynon

Kristi has been an educator in the Northern Territory since 2011. She specialises in working with students with complex behavioural needs and has been involved in school leadership in this area for the past four years. Kristi develops and implements school-wide behaviour systems and processes to best accommodate the needs of students with trauma backgrounds, students with complex behaviours and the broader school community. Since becoming Assistant Principal at Centralian Middle School in 2017, her work has led to a 46% reduction of incidents resulting in suspension and a 34% reduction of total students suspended.



Paul Van Holsteyn

Paul van Holsteyn is the Principal of Centralian Middle School in Alice Springs and previously was the Principal of Bradshaw Primary School. Paul has worked for 12 years in Central Australia, in both remote and urban as well as primary and secondary settings. Paul is passionate about supporting staff to develop their practices, in order to give learners the best possible opportunities.








The importance of teaching relationship skills in adolescence

The impact of well-being learning: Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, soaring suicide rates, binge drinking, youth drug taking, violence among young people, online bullying, trolling and predators, sexting, domestic violence are just some of the issues young adolescents are facing.  There is a bombardment of articles and research relating to young people’s mental health. How do we support and give youth skills and strategies to navigate safely through our current world and keep themselves emotionally safe and spiritually healthy?  Through their interaction in this programme students learn specific skills, knowledge and strategies to gain the awareness and ability to:

  • identify, form and maintain healthy relationships
  • identify unhealthy relationships
  • identify and managing risk
  • who are you, what is positive about you, our core values and beliefs,how these influence our perceptions, experience,responses, biases, and actions  
  • develop and maintain self-belief, awareness, and emotional intelligence
  • develop internet awareness
  • gain an understanding of when they need to be careful on line and what to be aware of
  • how to say “ NO”
  • how to ask for help and where to go to get help
Our program is implemented through discussion, research, healthy debates and using prior and shared knowledge. The collective knowledge of a variety of experts is used, a great advantage of our online world. Students work collaboratively and are grouped to ensure there is a variety of skills, abilities,life experiences, and backgrounds. 

Rachel Hitchens

Rachel is a mother of 4 children and a grandmother of 6, she has been teaching for 20 years. Five years ago she was given the opportunity to teach health in our Kura (school). Discussion with students showed many struggled with changing relationships in and out of school as they moved through adolescence. Much research later and trial and error with aspects of the programme the topics in my abstract started being taught - still a work in progress and changes often to meet the needs of the students. My proudest teaching moments have been when ex students have come up to me on the street or in town and told me how the programme we run has made a difference or helped them with a potentially unsafe situation. I passionately believe this skill and knowledge set should be taught in every class at every school.



Trials + Teaching = Taonga - taking research and quality teachers to develop the treasures of the whole child

Farm Cove Intermediate is an urban Auckland school with a population of 600 students aged between 11 - 13 years. Our Maori and Pasifika students are minority groups with 11% and 5% respectively. The research from MacFarlane and Bishop states that if you can create an environment for a Maori student to succeed, you can have success for all students. Our journey began with school-wide professional learning that stemmed from being culturally responsive; this led to developing a school Well-being curriculum. In New Zealand, the marae is a place where Maori feel connections with their ancestry and is a place where the elders teach the young about many facets of life; to lead, have mana and become a strong and resilient warrior or wahine. The vision evolved from our school values, Maoritanga and Hauora. Hauora focuses on the whole person, encompassing Maori philosophy of health and well-being unique to New Zealand. We envisaged a school where everyone valued who they were and felt that they could contribute positively to the overall culture of the school. The journey has been enlightening. A space was created in the heart of the school.The use of research and having the ability to put the theory into practice has developed the understanding of well-being, developing skills for life through improved attitudes. We do not know what the future holds for our children and through Te Whare Ako has allowed all of our students and to learn who they are and what their life kaupapa is.

Stephanie Young

Deputy principal for 16 years with a focus on IT and special needs. Gained my master of Education in using digital device for learning in 2012 and have now used this knowledge to work on engaging and inspiring students to enhance wellbeing. My work with Maori students has been rewarding as I have instilled the passion for learning in all students through the introduction of te whare ako.

Lewis Anderson

I have been teaching at Farm Cove Intermediate for 4 years. I started as a beginning teacher in 2014 and I am now currently teaching in a Te reo Māori language unit and the class operates within our specialist rotation timetable. We officially launched this māori program in 2016 offering an opportunity to integrate Te reo Māori me ōna tikanga into our school.




The 3R’s of Adolescent Education: Relationship, Relationship and Relationship

As our curriculum becomes fuller, as our work environment becomes busier and as our student cohorts become increasingly affected by societal pressures and expectations, we can find a growing disconnect between the educator and the educated.  What our students need is a school environment where they feel safe, respected and cared for; where real and lasting relationships are the foundation of all we do.  In this session we’ll explore the ‘why’ of relational education, some strategies to build relationship in your classroom and school, some blocks to healthy relationships, and things to avoid.  We’ll look at some research, bounce ideas around, laugh a bit (hopefully) and work on some personal strategies to implement on our return to the whiteboard.

David Wilcox

David Wilcox is a passionate educator with twenty years’ experience in the Middle Years of schooling.  He recognises the value of pastoral and educational relationship in schools as a way of transforming educational outcomes.  David is a dad of 3+1+1, has wife who leaks love and compassion, is a reformed we-are-not-getting-a-dog person, and spends four hours each Saturday morning laughing with / at his co-host on a local radio show.  Oh, and he is the Director of Middle Years at Highlands Christian College and Secretary of Adolescent Success.

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Adolescent Success Inc. (formerly MYSA Middle Years of Schooling Association) 

Adolescent Success,  P.O. Box 2175 Toowong 4066, QLD, Australia

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