Prof Donna Pendergast
Dean and head, School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University
Professor Donna Pendergast is Dean and Head of the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. She commenced her career as a secondary trained classroom teacher. Her expertise includes student engagement and teacher professional learning. Donna led the team preparing Queensland government schools for the introduction of Junior Secondary phase and the shift of Year 7 into secondary in 2015. She undertook similar work in South Australia across sectors for the shift in 2022.
Donna works at state and national levels in education policy shaping including as: a member of the Board of AITSL; Chair of the Teacher Education Expert Standing Committee of AITSL; Chair of QELi; Chair of the Queensland Council of Deans of Education and Vice President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education. Donna is also on the National Council for Be You.
Donna has been acknowledged for her leadership impact and is the recipient of the Vice Chancellor’s Research Supervision Award for Excellence (2016) and in 2018 was awarded the Australian Council for Educational Leadership Miller-Grassie Award for Outstanding Leadership in Education.
Special Guest Opening Address: "Now, more than ever. Middle years education in Australia"
On March 11 2020, the world as we know it changed. This is the day the World Health Organization [WHO] (2020) officially declared the viral infection emanating from the novel coronavirus COVID-19 to be a global pandemic. Every aspect of our lives has been affected since then. Teachers’ work, schooling, in fact ninety-one percent of school students worldwide, or 1.6 billion children and young people, experienced school closure, in some cases for more than 12 months. As we gradually emerge with the armour of vaccination, it is apparent that innovative disruption fuelled by necessity in an emergency education context ensures we will not be returning to ‘normal’. We are rapidly shifting towards what has been popularly coined ‘the new normal’. There is an appetite – and need - to embed innovative disruptions that have led to new ways of doing things that are part of our preferred future. Now, more than ever, the need to focus on young adolescent learners in the middle years must be a focus for this attention. With Gen Z occupying the middle years in schools today and about to be pushed out by the Alpha generation, understanding what, why and how we go about middle years education in Australia is crucial.
Dr Peter Ellerton
Peter Ellerton is Curriculum Director of the University of Queensland Critical Thinking Project, Senior Lecturer in the school of Historical and Philosophical Inquiry and an affiliate in the School of Education. Peter’s areas of focus include Public Reasoning, Science Communication, Argumentation and Critical Thinking in Education. Peter has been a teacher, teacher educator and a syllabus designer for the International Baccalaureate Organisation, the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) and the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Peter was one of a small team of academics engaged to revise and rewrite the ACARA critical and creative thinking general capabilities in 2021. He has consulted and produced papers for a variety of organisations including the European Commission Joint Research Centre, the NSW Department of Education, QCCA and has delivered professional development in Teaching for Thinking throughout Australia and internationally. Peter’s passion is working with educators to enable a teaching for Thinking focus across all year levels and subject areas.
Keynote Address: "How critical thinking can be taught (and why it should be)"
Critical thinking is more than a by-product of teaching content knowledge. This presentation concerns the connection between critical thinking and the use and development of content knowledge, recognising that understanding this connection is essential for teachers to act with precision and intentionality in learning experience and assessment design. This precision includes planning for student cognitive activity in detail comparable to how we might prepare for the learning of content, and creating better alignment between learning and assessment of thinking. By discovering the relationship between learning and thinking we put to rest any false dichotomy between thinking and content development that frames critical thinking as tangential to core business or ‘extra work’ for teachers. We will also consider what kind of language is best suited to metacognitive work in the classroom and what ways of organising our knowledge about teaching for thinking can produce the most actionable results regardless of year level or discipline contexts.
Ewan McIntosh founded consulting firm NoTosh a decade ago from his kitchen table in Edinburgh, growing it to offices in Melbourne, Adelaide, New York and Toronto. He and his team work with people in schools, universities and companies to help them identify and overcome their greatest challenges, to work better together and rethink the environment in which they learn.
Keynote address: "Leading from the Middle"
It's impossible to be agile enough for the current climate without quality leaders throughout the system. What does it mean to Lead from the Middle? In this keynote, Ewan McIntosh gives a taste of the middle leader successes, from some of the 300 who have participated inNoTosh’s award-winning programme, Leading from the Middle. The stories will excite and enable aspiring leaders, as well as those working in senior positions today: understanding how to make decisions with and for students, their families, and the reputation of your school is the responsibility of everyone.
"I've learned how to get people to buy in to my project, while also seeing that I don't need to have it all figured out: the best thing to do is just start and see what happens."- Greta Stacy, American School of Doha
Daniela Falecki is the founder of Teacher Wellbeing, known as the 'keep-it-real' teacher. Specialising in Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology with more than 20 years' experience as a teacher. Masters in Education (Leadership), Bachelor of Education (HPE), Certified in Rudolf Steiner Education, licensed Mental Toughness practitioner, Executive Coach and member of the International Coach Federation and International Psychology Association, Daniela has lectured at Sydney University and Western Sydney University.
Keynote Address: "RECHARGE - Tools for Teacher Wellbeing"
Teachers have experienced greater stress than normal over the past two years. Research shows teachers are tired and overwhelmed. In this keynote, we unpack the complexities of wellbeing in organisations and begin building a language to better Notice, Nourish and Nurture wellbeing. We draw on research from Positive Psychology to plan practical ways of restoring our energy so we can have more time to do what we love - teach the children we care about.
Dr Jenny Poskitt
A career focus on applied research in educational assessment, adolescent learning, and teacher professional learning with the purpose of benefitting teachers and students started when Associate Professor Jenny Poskitt was a primary school teacher. Since that time, involvement in multiple research and professional development contracts and advisory groups, tertiary teaching, various management, and leadership roles at Massey University, have enabled her to influence policy and practice, nationally and internationally. She is an independent expert on academic and assessment matters for the Royal NZ College of General Practitioners, current president of the New Zealand Assessment Institute, and New Zealand academic representative on the International Educational Assessment Network.
Keynote Address: "From diving to thriving: COVID impact and challenge for adolescent learning and assessing"
How did teachers and adolescent students experience the COVID pandemic, and what impact did it have on learning, teaching, and assessing? Results from a research investigation into the experiences of a New Zealand secondary school are shared and examined to reveal the practical realities, the opportunities, and challenges for what is learned and assessed, how and when.