DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Leading and Learning through Curiosity and Powerful Learning
Room 203

Presented by: Paul Smith, Claire Sanson, Cheryl Hargreaves
Organisation: Albury North Public School NSW

Defining best practice in teaching and learning, and then subsequently reducing the variability in the quality of teaching occurring in all classrooms, was a significant challenge faced by Albury North Public School. Working with students from diverse backgrounds, complex welfare needs and a transient enrolment, the school explored the evidenced based framework found within the Curiosity and Powerful Learning program as its centrepiece to guide improvement. Whilst only into the second year of implementation, the school has already seen a remarkable shift in the level of teacher professional language being used to describe quality teaching as well as the creation of more consistent teaching and learning protocols. Leaders, teachers and students have become more collaborative, more reflective and more focused on individual learning. This presentation unveils the challenges and successes of Albury North leaders who share their school improvement narrative as well as their key learning moments as they navigated whole school change.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Building and Using Evidence in Education: Lessons from the Thinking Maths Trial
Room 204

Presented by: Pauline Ho, Hilary Hollingsworth, Pauline Carter, Grant Small
Organisation: Evidence for Learning (E4L) VIC, Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), South Australian Department for Education, Grange Primary School (SA)

Teachers benefit from a strong evidence base on what works best to increase student learning and showing how it can be implemented in classrooms. This presentation discusses how the findings from a randomised control trial of a mathematics professional learning program (focused on meta cognition and cognitive engagement) can help all teachers improve their practice by: 1) building capability to critically assess and analyse this kind of education research and 2) considering ways to implement the effective practices confirmed by the robust research methodology. Developed by the South Australian Department for Education (SA Department) and independently evaluated by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), Thinking Maths is a professional learning program for middle years (Years 6-9) maths teachers. Evidence for Learning commissioned and publishes a free, open access report on the trial that was funded and run in partnership with the SA Department and the 167 participating schools in order to improve Australia’s evidence base on this important topic.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Teacher-led Action Research for Instructional Improvement
Room 205

Presented by: Michael Horne
Organisation: Braemar College VIC

The well-worn adage that 'students learn teachers, not subjects' may not express the entire learning and teaching equation, but there is much to suggest that teachers' attitudes to their own learning and improvement heavily influence the values and priorities which surround student learning. If we would like to encourage students who: are attuned to areas of improvement; listen specifically to feedback on their performance; and approach mistakes as opportunities for growth, then we have to also do these things ourselves.

This presentation will chart one school's use of teacher-led, data-informed action research cycles as form of collaborative professional learning, with the dual aims of increasing the relevance of the professional learning program, and sparking within teachers the same desire for introspection and improvement that we want to see in our students.

Drawing parallels with more conventional professional learning programs, this session will interrogate the benefits and hurdles of having staff lead their own research projects into their practice.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Early Childhood Leadership in the Northern Territory: Improvements and Innovation
Room 206

Presented by: Simone Pedder, Heather Ferguson
Organisation: Northern Territory Department of Education NT

Increasing evidence demonstrates that success at school begins at birth. The Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program continues to innovate in early learning to enhance child outcomes in remote communities. FaFT provides quality early learning and support to families with children from birth to four years of age, building parental capacity to ensure children enjoy the best possible start.

The FaFT program combines evidence-based strategies from the Abecedarian Approach Australia (3a) and the ASQ-TRAK (Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Talking about Raising Aboriginal Kids) to achieve adult-child interactions that are individual, intentional and frequent, helping to shape the dynamic process of early years human development.

The strengthening and empowerment of Aboriginal staff to take leadership and ownership of pedagogy in their own communities, the development of individual learning plans designed with the critical involvement of families and continued ongoing engagement with local families strengthens parental involvement in their child's early years development.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Teachers Working With Parents to Achieve Better Outcomes For Students
Room 207

Presented by: Cathy Quinn
Organisation: Aakorn Management QLD

Many principals find communicating with parents a challenge and many teachers report it as their greatest need for professional learning. As professional learning is best done in the school as action research over a period of time, participants will learn of practical examples from action research in primary and secondary schools of ways teachers have worked with parents to improve the academic and wellbeing outcomes of students. The presentation will connect research from education, wellbeing and parent engagement spheres.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Gonski 2.0 and You: Bridging Practice Policy Divides with the 4Cs
Room 208

Presented by: Miranda Jefferson, Jamie Gerlach
Organisation: 4C Transformative Learning

Gonski 2.0 has thrown down the gauntlet for schools to Transform. Creativity, critical reflection, communication and collaboration (the 4Cs) have long been present in education. However, it is the embedding of the 4Cs deeply within our learning, teaching and organisations that will transform schools into dynamic, relevant and exciting learning spaces. While Gonski 2.0 provides the 'why', the 'how' is still elusive. We will discuss how transformation moves from rhetoric to reality in schools through engaging with frameworks that move transformation beyond an aspiration to an actuality. With the support of a school leader, the presentation will explore one school's transformation. The presentation will discuss how school transformation can be enabled through transformation frameworks such as:

  • The Transformation Funnel
  • The Learning Disposition Wheel
  • The 4C coherence makers (including the creativity cascade).

At the end of the presentation, participants will have some strategies and approaches to approach transformation as well as experiences from those on the firing line of school transformation.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
How Strong is Your School as a Professional Learning Community?
Room 209

Presented by: Lawrence Ingvarson
Organisation: ACER VIC

Research indicates that it is primarily by building a strong professional community that school leaders improve the quality of teaching and learning in their schools. The ACER Professional Community Framework describes the five domains that characterise schools with a strong professional culture, together with key elements, indicators and rubrics. The Framework is based on the Australian Performance and Development Framework and the Australian Professional Standard for Principals.

Linked to the Framework is the Professional Learning Community Questionnaire, a confidential online staff survey that school leaders can use to gain reliable data about the strength of their school as a professional community. The questionnaire has high levels of internal reliability and the results are a valuable source of feedback for school leaders. Participating schools receive a comprehensive report based on the survey results.

This session will report on the use of the Framework and the Questionnaire with schools in the Northern Territory Department of Education.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Strategies for Successful Schoolwide PPG Development and Implementation
Room 210

Facilitated by: Emeritus Professor Frank Crowther AM; Presented by: Christine Grice, Anthony Speranza, Marcela Huerta Villalobos, Julia Walsh, Tabatha Kellett, Ross McGowan

The emerging concept of Personal Pedagogical Gift (PPG) will be discussed in this panel session by teachers and school leaders who have helped to pioneer it. The five key features of PPG (i.e. the teacher's dominant personality type; subject process affinity; classroom grouping orientation; preferred cognition process; favourite T/L context) will be illustrated by the panel in describing their own PPGs.

Issues to be highlighted by the panel members include:

  • What strategies work well for uncovering and developing PPGs, individually and schoolwide?
  • What does teachers’ awareness of their PPGs do for professional morale?
  • Where does the PPG concept fit with the AITSL Standards?
  • Where does the PPG concept fit with popular Mentoring and Coaching processes?

The panel will also discuss audience questions. This session will be facilitated by Frank Crowther, author of Energising Teaching (ACER 2016) where the PPG concept was first outlined.


DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
A Research Study: Highly Effective Strategies that Improve Student Attendance
Room 211

Presented by: Mike O'Connor,
Organisation: Upper Coomera State College QLD

Declining student attendance at local, national and global levels is a source of ongoing challenge for schools and school policy makers. The need to address this issue has been identified by various stakeholders such as parents, community members and media outlets. This presentation will detail the researcher's mixed methods study that seeks to enhance the available knowledge on this troubling challenge. Part A of this study consists of a population level analysis of student attendance in Queensland state secondary schools, mapped against demographic data, leading to the selection of participants for Part B. Part B consists of the collation of a series of collective stories, and the co-creation of a model or models with the selected schools. This study will yield a rich vein of information to contribute to addressing this current challenge in schools in Queensland, nationally and internationally. The presentation will share the research to date, enabling the audience to gain insight into a contemporary schooling issue.

DAY 3: 10:40 - 11:40am
Leadership in Uncertain Times
Eureka Room 2 & 3

Presented by: David Gurr
Organisation: The University of Melbourne VIC

In times of great change, complexity and uncertainty, school leaders are challenged to adapt and navigate their way through the tide of internal and external forces to create the best positive outcome for students and the school community. This presentation is a research-informed analysis of key capabilities that leaders will need to draw upon in times of uncertainty. Utilising business and education literature, seven domains of practice are outlined: understanding the context, setting direction, developing the organisation, developing people, improving teaching and learning, influencing, and leading self. To accommodate to the multitude of changes, school leaders need to review and adapt the underlying capabilities that shape each domain. While the paper cannot explore all the capabilities that may exist, we identify numerous key capabilities that are likely to lead to a positive outcome for the students and the school. The presentation will interact with a published paper that participants will be able to access utilising their device.