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Pre Conference Master Classes

  • 31 Aug 2023
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
  • St John's Anglican College, Forest Lake, Brisbane



Embark on a transformative learning journey with our exclusive Pre Conference Masterclasses. Designed for educators, leaders, and enthusiastic individuals, these immersive experiences delve into the intricacies of fostering academic and personal growth during the crucial middle years. Led by esteemed experts, these four masterclasses explore innovative pedagogical and student development approaches tailored to this unique developmental stage. Gain invaluable insights, practical tools, and best practices to create engaging learning environments that nurture curiosity, resilience, and lifelong learning habits. Whether you are seeking to enhance your teaching skills or revolutionize your school's middle years program, our masterclasses are your gateway to unlocking the full potential of your students and shaping their future success. Enrol today and become a catalyst for transformative education in the middle years.

The Experience of Learning in the Middle

Dr Phil Cummins will investigate in depth with participants the implications of the findings of the CIRCLE Global Educational Research program on the experience of today’s learning for tomorrow’s world for our learners in the middle. Phil will start by sharing what he and his team have learned about a model for experiential education and the potential impact of this on the formation of character. He will then encourage participants to reflect on and articulate what it means to build an experience of “a time to explore” for learners in the middle through the development of voice, agency and advocacy. After lunch, Phil will guide participants through the decisions they might make as they co-construct the curriculum, pedagogy and assessment of a unit of study that calls on students to consider their purpose and put it into practice in how they learn lead, live and work.

About Phil Cummins

Phil Cummins is an educator by trade and conviction. For over three decades, he's been teaching, thinking, writing, speaking, and leading in schools and tertiary institutions all over the world.

In his daily role now as Managing Partner at a School for tomorrow, he helps schools across the globe honour the new social contract for education: today's learning for tomorrow's world. He believes that an education for character, competency and wellness is the reason why we do “school”; it's the whole work of a school. Phil is also an Associate Professor of Education and Enterprise at Alphacrucis University College, Managing Director at CIRCLE - The Centre for Innovation, Research, Creativity and Leadership in Education, Vice President & Global Head of Education at Voyage, and co-host of the Game Changers podcast. He's the author of over thirty books on history, leadership, and education; in 2022 he co-authored Game Changers: Leading Today's Learning For Tomorrow's World for Hawker Brownlow Education, signed copies of which will be available for sale at the conference bookstore.

Authentic Student Leadership Development for the Middle Years

This captivating and interactive presentation aims to highlight the essential "shifts" that every effective leader needs to embrace. By exploring a range of personal and leadership transformations, we will empower our students to cultivate authenticity, expand their influence, and make meaningful contributions throughout their educational journey. Attendees will have the opportunity to delve into enhancing the student leadership development process, encompassing nomination, selection, and actionable steps, utilizing the comprehensive 10-step framework known as the Authentic Student Leadership Development Process.

 About Luke McKenna

Unleashing Personal Potential (UPP) founder and Director, Luke McKenna is an educator and author who specialises in working with schools to build growth mindsets, grit, wellbeing and leadership for all students. Over the last 15 years, Luke has worked as a classroom teacher, middle leader and Assistant Principal. He has worked with educators and students across Australian Primary and Secondary schools from the Independent, Catholic and Public sectors. He holds degrees in Business and Education, a Masters of Educational Leadership, and a Professional Certificate in Positive Education. Luke has spoken at The Positive Schools Conference; the Adolescent Success Conference; Griffith University's Professional Development Network Conference; and ACU's Advisory Conferences in Canberra and Brisbane. His work has been published in the Australian Journal of Middle Schooling, Happy Schools and The Positive Times, and he is also the author of "Thrive: Unlocking the truth about student performance" (2015), Making Wellbeing Practical (2019) and Making the Shift- Becoming a Leader worth Following (2022).

Meet the Learning Disposition Wheel Explore How to Build Capacities for Self-Direction, Engagement, Wellbeing and Agency.

“I find it is really clear now and I am not so confused about what I

need to be successful with my learning.”  Taylah, 12

What Taylah is referring to is her use the Learning Disposition Wheel, developed by Professor Michael Anderson and Dr Miranda Jefferson of 4C Transformative Learning. The Learning Disposition Wheel describes innate cognitive, interpersonal, and intrapersonal capacities that can be fostered for self-direction, engagement, deep learning, wellbeing, and agency. Recognising that early adolescence is a key developmental period, this session will focus on how the Learning Disposition Wheel can be used by:

  • learners to become more self-regulated, self-confident, and aware of how they learn;
  • and by educators to consider and create opportunities through their pedagogy for these capacities to be develop.
This workshop will aim to:
  1. Introduce participants to the Learning Disposition Wheel as a tool supporting learner engagement, wellbeing, and agency.
  2. Explore how the Learning Disposition Wheel can be explicitly taught and embedded within curriculum content.
  3. Engage participants in experiential 

About Kirsty McGeoch

Kirsty has been an educator for over 25 years and is energised by ways of teaching and learning that engage creativity alongside the expression of voice and identity.  As a Senior Practice Leader for 4C Transformative Learning, Kirsty enjoys walking alongside teachers and leaders as they build the agentic potential of their learning communities through the 4Cs – communication, collaboration, creativity and critical reflection.  Prior to joining the 4C team, she worked in pre-service teacher education at the University of Sydney in the areas of Pedagogy & Practice, Media Arts and TESOL. Her PhD thesis was in the area of digital storytelling and she has facilitated projects in the education, community languages, community cultural development, social entrepreneurship and disability sectors.  In a previous role for the Widening Participation and Outreach unit at the University of Sydney, she also worked with middle school students on discovering their strengths and sparks, and on student leadership initiatives.  Kirsty has a deep interest in reflective practice, which led her to become a certified facilitator of Courage to Teach and Courage to Lead programs based on the work of writer, educator and activist Parker J. Palmer. Kirsty also holds qualifications in Professional Supervision and works with school leaders to support their ongoing critical reflection and wellbeing.  

Unlocking Minds: Foster Critical, Creative, and Ethical Thinking Through Dynamic Classroom Dialogue and Metacognition

Given the extensive research available it is difficult to raise a case against the importance of teaching thinking skills and metacognition. We know that young adolescents in particular seek intellectual challenge whilst still developing thinking capability.  However, in this era of accountability, standardised testing and obsession with input and output the teaching of thinking skills often goes by the wayside. Now more than ever we need to create the time for greater dialogue, for st

udents to see knowledge as information known so far rather than final and to engage them in their learning, inclusive of skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, collaboration, communication, creativity and purpose.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to teach various thinking skills, including critical, creative, and ethical thinking.
  • Facilitate strong group dialogue amongst students.
  • Explore problem solving and problem posing in order to encourage thinking-skill usage among students.
  • Learn strategies for helping students develop metacognitive skills in general and specific academic areas.
  • Embed practical strategies for teaching thinking skills into everyday classwork.

About Janelle Wills

Janelle Wills, PhD has a passion for education and lifelong learning, which has led her to extensively explore, facilitate, and implement innovative practices in school improvement. She works extensively with educators, school systems and regions to implement research-based strategies known to impact student achievement. With over 30 years of teaching and leadership experience, Janelle currently serves as the Director of Professional Learning for Hawker Brownlow Education. Her previous roles have included Director of Teaching and Learning for Independent Schools Queensland and national Board positions giving her a wide range of experience and contexts from which to draw upon.Janelle has authored and co-authored numerous articles and books including Thinking Protocols for Learning (2020), The Australian Version of the Handbook for High Reliability Schools (2014), Collaborative Teams That Transform Schools (2016) and Transformative Collaboration: Five Commitments for Leading a PLC (2016).


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