islPAL - International Society for Leadership in Pedagogy and Learning

Pedagogies and Learning

Abstract Titles

(Click on title to read abstract)

The literacy demands of multimodal texts: Are we deepening literacy learning?
Presenter: Shirley O'Neill 2:00 pm Friday 25 September

Exploration of pre-service teachers' perspectives: Learning to work with Aboriginal Australian students, their families and communities
Presenters: Maria Bennet and Beverley Moriarty  1:15 pm Saturday 25 September

Academic Support for the 21st Century Student
Presenter: Fatima Tayel  11:00 am Friday 25 September

Developing critical thinking in the Australian Curriculum: Pedagogical implications and critical elements 
Presenter: M Akshir Ab Kadir  
11:15 am at September

Technology as a catalyst for authentic learning - WORKSHOP 
Presenter: Peter Cottle  11:30 am Friday 25 September

Generating deep conversations and capacity building: The hidden power of using assessment for teaching - WORKSHOP
Presenter: Danielle Hutchinson  2:15 pm Saturday 26 September

Building students literacy capacity: Being literate in the language of learning - WORKSHOP 
Presenters: Shauna Petersen, Shirley O'Neill and Deborah Geoghegan  11:30 am Friday 25 September

To infinity and beyond: What counts as literary literacy in new times 
Presenter: Lisbeth Kitson  
cancelled due to ill health

Personal experience narratives written in blogs and wikis in the middle school 
Presenter: Mutuota Kigotho  
10:30 am Friday 25 September

Pedagogy in the facilitation of positive student identity and engagement in learning 
Presenters: Mia O'Brien and Levon Blue  
3:20 pm Friday 25 September

Middle leaders: Negotiating vision and practice 
Presenter: Robyn Jorgensen  
2:30 pm Friday 25 September

Changing beliefs, Changing pedagogies: Researching the outcomes of relational professional learning and development 
Presenter: Di Nailon  
11:15 am Saturday 26 September

Preparation for the profession: Learning from parents 
Presenters: Wendy Beamish, Denis Meadows, Emily Alexander and Matthew Prime  
cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances

Playful aggression in early childhood settings 
Presenters: Jennifer Hart and Michelle Tannock  
2:45 pm Saturday 25 September

EConnections: Demonstrating safe social media use in early childhood education 
Presenters: Si Fan, Bronwyn Reynolds and Jinjin Lu  
2:15 pm Saturday 26 September

Ensuring curricula justice in NSW Education 
Presenter: Dalal Oubani  
3:20 pm Friday 25 September

Overview of intelligent computer-assisted Language Learning and its activity design issues and pedagogical considerations 
Presenter: Inseok Kim  
3:20 pm Friday 25 September

Preservice teachers' values and sense of confidence in supporting diversity 
Presenters: Amanda Mergler, Suzanne Carrington, Megan Kimber and Derek Bland
3:20 pm Friday 25 September

Mirror, mirror: The use of self-reflection in the development of first year education students personalised pedagogy of self 
Presenters: Lisa Albion, Sharn Donnison and Sorrel Penn-Edwards  
1:45 pm Saturday 26 September

New learning spaces for teaching social change in the MENA region - SNAPSHOT OF PEDAGOGY 
Presenter: Deneille Emans   1:15 pm Saturday 26 September

Growing use of english as a language of instruction in Nepal's schools: Toward pre-conflict 
Presenter: Lekh Nath Baral  
11:15 am Saturday 26 September



Presenter Abstracts

1. Personal experience narratives written in blogs and wikis in the middle school

Mutuota Kigotho

Abstract: Following Michael Halliday’s functional grammar theory many linguists in Australia and abroad underscore the value of studying language in context. This paper reports on a study aimed at improving writing proficiency among girls aged fifteen and sixteen studying in a private school. A variety of platforms using personal experience narratives were used by the researcher. The platforms included personal experience narratives written by White settlers in Australia, narratives told to the girls and then the girls being asked to assume the roles of characters in the stories and write personal experience narratives based on imagined experiences of these characters. In another platform students were asked to read a historical novel, Hitler’s Daughter. They were then asked to choose one of the characters in the novel and talk about them.  

Students were asked to watch a sci-fi movie and then using wikispaces post responses to the movie. As a final writing task students wrote personal experience narratives based on abstract topics of faith, fear, courage, democracy, passion and discovery. The texts were analysed for writing quality using functional theory model against measures of structure at the textual and at the sentence levels. The analysis shows that the use of personal experience narratives positively influenced the students’ writing quality.

Affiliation: English & Literacies Education, School of Education, University of New England.

Bio: Dr Mutuota Kigothohas seven years experience as a lecturer in Literacies Education at the University of New England. Dr Kigotho has also taught English in secondary schools in Australia and overseas. His interests include digital and multimodal literacies, distance and online learning and how students learn when engaged in study abroad programs. He is National Vice President – Open and Distance Learning Association of Australia (ODLAA).

2. Preparation for the profession: Learning from parents.

Wendy Beamish, Denis Meadows, Emily Alexander, Matthew Prime

Abstract: This presentation is focused on a home-based intervention research project in which families of young children with communication difficulties and preservice teachers were key participants. A mini iPad was used by each family to support their child’s learning of self-care skills in the morning using visual displays on the Choiceworks app. Parents were coached on the technical and pedagogical aspects of the intervention by 4th year preservice teachers completing the Bachelor of Education (Special Education) at Griffith University.

Four research questions framed the project with the intervention. The final two were:
1. Does the use of the iPad and its visual display of morning activities facilitate the learning of self-care skills for these young children?
2. What professional learnings do preservice teachers gain when they engage with parents in a home-based intervention program?

Preservice teachers kept a weekly reflective log on their interactions with parents across a 10-week period. Two preservice teachers will share the pedagogies they used to support parents and facilitate the child’s learning. They will also report how this experience strengthened their skill set in relation to the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

Bio: Dr Wendy Beamish and Dr Denis Meadows teach into the Special Education undergraduate and postgraduate programs at the School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University. They are both experienced researchers in early childhood intervention and are members of Griffith Institute for Educational Research.

Ms Emily Alexander and Mr Matthew Prime are high achieving 4th year preservice teachers completing the Bachelor of Education (Special Education) at Mt Gravatt Campus. They are both members of Griffith Honours College.

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3. To infinity and beyond: What counts as literary literacy in new times

 Lisbeth Kitson         

Abstract: The place of literature is alive and evident in the Australian Curriculum: English (ACARA, 2012). Whilst literature is more often considered those texts that use aesthetic language and have enduring artistic value, literature is becoming increasingly electronic in the twenty-first century. Electronic literature or e-literature, which may include more contemporary popular texts is acknowledged in the curriculum, but what opportunities do they offer for developing outcomes for language and literacy? This paper analyses the opportunities of a new series of texts, ‘Infinity Ring’ (Scholastic, 2012), which is a series of electronically augmented literary texts, where students read the book or audio book, explore supplementary multimodal material and then play a computer game. The affordances and constraints of the book, audio book, supplementary material and game are examined for their opportunities for developing upper primary students’ literary literacy.

Bio: Dr Lisbeth Kitson is a lecturer at Griffith University at the Gold Coast, Queensland. She teaches in both undergraduate and postgraduate primary courses in Literacy and English Education, multiliteracies and middle years English Curriculum. Her areas of research interest are related to literacy, curriculum literacies, and multiliteracies, with a particular focus on the integration of Information and Communication technologies and multimodal texts, including e-literature, into teaching practices. 

4. Pre-service teachers’ values and sense of confidence in supporting diversity

Amanda Mergler, Suzanne Carrington, Megan Kimber and Derek Bland

Abstract: Since the turn of the century there has been an increasing focus on inclusive education in Australian schools, and growing interest in understanding how the values and beliefs of pre-service teachers impact on how successful they are in upholding inclusive principles in their future classrooms (Kraska & Boyle, 2014). The current qualitative study explored the values and views toward diversity and inclusion of pre-service teachers in first and fourth year at one university in Queensland, Australia. Results showed that first and fourth year pre-service teachers hold similar ideas about the values that teachers should have, and show congruence between their own personal values and teacher values. Fourth year students who had undertaken an inclusive education minor placed greater emphasis on the importance of inclusion, and felt more confident about supporting this diversity in their future classrooms, than those fourth years who had not undertaken this minor. The findings from this study will inform future planning in preparing teachers for inclusive work in schools.

Bio: Dr Amanda Mergler is a Lecturer in the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at QUT. As a registered psychologist, Amanda teaches undergraduate and postgraduate students in human development, educational psychology, educational counselling and behaviour management. Her research interests include values education, personal responsibility and inclusion.

Professor Suzanne Carrington is the Head of the School of Cultural and Professional Learning. She has conducted research and published in international journals in the areas of inclusive culture, policy and practice, learning support, autistic spectrum disorder, teaching/professional development and service learning.

Dr Megan Kimber is a Senior Researcher in the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at QUT. Her research traverses Australian politics, democratic theory, public management, ethical dilemmas, education policy, and inclusive education. With Neil Cranston and Lisa Ehrich, she has published on the ethical dilemmas faced by leaders. With Derek Bland, Suzanne Carrington, and Louise Mercer, she has published on service learning. She is particularly interested in the impact of policies and practices based on neo-liberal thinking on Australia's public institutions.

Dr Derek Bland is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Cultural and Professional Learning at QUT. As a researcher and practitioner he focuses on the intersection of low socio-economic status and education. Building on his practical experience, he currently teaches undergraduate and post graduate courses in inclusive education, coordinating a 4th Year core unit and two school/university projects improving educational outcomes for “at-risk” groups.

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5. Playful aggression in early childhood settings

Jennifer Hart and Michelle Tannock

Abstract: Aggressive behaviour, more often observed in young boys, is a relatively common factor of sociodramatic play recognised in literature to be beneficial for child development. While educators are often uncomfortable with this form of play, it may be argued that the omission of aggressive play in early childhood programs fosters the underdevelopment of social, emotional, physical, cognitive, and communicative abilities in young children. This is particularly relevant for preschool-aged boys because they engage in aggressive sociodramatic play more often than girls. Without a full understanding of the distinct differences between serious and symbolic aggression educational practice and policy typically ban all forms of aggressive behaviour. This presentation aims to: a) define serious aggression and playful aggression, b) conceptualise the importance of various forms of aggressive sociodramatic play in child development, and c) implement strategies to support aggressive sociodramatic play in indoor and outdoor environments. Early childhood educators will gain specific strategies to manage aggressive play (i.e., superhero play, play fighting, and rough-and-tumble play) as it relates to space, supervision, accessories, group size, and rules. This presentation provides educators a foundation for including playful aggressive opportunities that will afford young children - particularly young boys - valuable experiences for their growth and development.

Biographies: Dr. Jennifer Hart is an associate lecturer at the University of the Sunshine Coast. Dr. Hart has 10 years of teaching experience in the United States that includes inclusive education within early childhood programmes, and training and mentoring early childhood teachers pursuing a higher degree. The focus of her current research is on young boys’ sociodramatic aggressive play behaviour. Dr. Hart’s findings have been published internationally and include the perceptions and benefits of all types of aggressive play, the developmental impact this play has on young children - particularly boys - and the needed reformation of policies that ban such play.

Dr. Michelle Tannock is an early childhood educator and renowned researcher. She is currently an Adjunct Professor of Early Childhood Education at the University of Victoria in affiliation with the Centre for Early Childhood Research and Policy. As a researcher, she coordinated a series of seminal studies examining the role of rough and tumble play in early childhood settings, the results of which have formed the basis for numerous international publications and presentations. Dr. Tannock’s current projects include exploration of the form and use of early childhood policy, outdoor programming, and the effects of guided mentoring on educator practice.

6. ECconnections: Demonstrating safe social media use in early childhood education

Si Fan, Bronwyn Reynolds and Jinjin Lu

Abstract: Social media technologies have had a large impact on how collaboration and communication is achieved in the past decade. Their social and interactive aspects lead to the possibility to establish active, sustainable and capacity building Community of Practice (CoP); however, their use for educational purposes remains debatable, due to the potential risks in relation to confidentiality. As an exploration of safe social media adoption, this study developed an interactive website, ECconnections, to facilitate the collaboration and communication between early childhood (EC) professionals and families of young children attending child education and care centres. The website was featured with various functionalities, including online discussions boards, the ability to create private groups and resource uploading. Through interactive workshops, the website was introduced to EC professionals and families from 6 centres in Tasmania, Australia. The participants’ evaluations and level of acceptance of this pilot website were sought through a follow up questionnaire and interviews. Findings of the study revealed a strong interest in adopting ECconnections by both EC professionals and families. Suggestions for future improvement obtained, including strategies for maintaining confidentiality, enhancing usability, and engaging the wider community, guide good practice in safe social media adoption, for EC education or wider contexts.

Biographies: Si Fan is a lecturer in early childhood education at the University of Tasmania. She completed her PhD at the same university in 2011. She has a passion for promoting learning for young learners, which extends to her involvement in publications and research projects concerning early childhood education, web-based learning and educational technology.

Dr Bronwyn Reynolds is a Senior Lecturer in Early Childhood Education at the University of Tasmania, Australia and for the past few years has co-ordinated the Bachelor of Education (Early Childhood) program. She is a qualified and experienced teacher who over the past 25 years has held a number of teaching positions in the early childhood, primary and higher education sectors. Her research interests include young children’s learning, effective documentation, leadership in early childhood and, action research and reflection.

Jinjin Lu (PhD) completed her PhD at the University of Tasmania in 2014. Her research is on intercultural education and language education. She has been involved in a number of research projects in these areas.

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7. Generating deep conversations and capacity building: The hidden power of using assessment for teaching

Danielle Hutchinson                                                         Workshop

Abstract: Typically rubrics have enormous power as instructional tools for students as they articulate behaviours along a pathway of increasing competence and as such often demystify the learning process. However, what has become increasingly apparent is the power of the rubric development phase to generate deep conversation and capacity building amongst educators. Early findings suggest that one of the main reasons for this is that the process requires participants to explicitly articulate their understanding about the nature of learning and the way in which it manifests in particular discipline areas. This can often be unexpectedly revealing and provide fertile ground for authentic professional dialogue. This workshop will unpack the Assessment for Teaching rubric writing process and provide insights as to how the generation of developmental and reliable rubrics can be used as a powerful enabler of rich conversation and capacity building amongst education professionals. 

Bio: Danielle is a lecturer within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She is also the Program Coordinator for Assessment for Teaching, a core subject in the Master of Teaching (primary and secondary). Danielle was a contributing author to Assessment for Teaching edited by Prof. Patrick Griffin. Danielle has worked on a range of projects including the creation of Reliable Rubrics She also contributed to the development of the AITSL Principal leadership profiles. Further information about Danielle’s publication record can be found at

8. Mirror, mirror: The use of self-reflection in the development of first year education students’ personalised pedagogy of self.

Lisa Albion, Sharn Donnison and Sorrel Penn-Edwards

Abstract: This paper extends the work of Donnison, Penn-Edwards and Albion (2014) who argued that first year in higher education curriculum should support first year students academically and holistically. In this paper, we further examine first year preservice teacher engagement with a course (EDU105 Professional Practice: Building Community Connection) that had been designed to empower and prepare them for their future professional lives. Drawing upon a framework developed by McIlveen et al. (2011) we discuss how the course facilitated the preservice teachers’ “personalised pedagogy of self” (p. 158). Course content, pedagogy and assessment were specifically designed to encourage a process of “self-managed learning and growth” (McIlveen et al., 2011, p. 158) within a context of being a future primary school teacher. Using the model of the two way mirror, we describe how the course provided a mirror for reflection that enabled the learner to self-evaluate their abilities, skills and attributes against the structural and cultural expectations of their future work context and to develop and enact a Professional Development Action Plan. Through this examination we identify the challenges associated with transition and highlight how students’ readiness and willingness to engage in reflective practice impacts on their “personalised pedagogy of self” (p.158).

Biographies: Lisa Albion (School of Education, University of the Sunshine Coast)

Lisa Albion has over 25 years of experience working in the field of early childhood, primary and higher education. She has experience working cross-culturally in schools, training teachers, developing curriculum and implementing education projects, in the Pacific, SE Asia, the Balkans, Canada and Australia. Her current position is Associate Lecturer in the School of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast where she is teaching into the First Year Teacher Education program.

Sharn Donnison (School of Education, University of the Sunshine Coast)

Dr Sharn Donnison is a lecturer in education in the School of Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast.  Her area of research is focused on the First Year in Higher Education and teacher education. Currently, she is investigating teaching and learning and curriculum approaches to best support first year teacher education students. Her previous work has focused on various aspects of the pre-service teachers such as their cultural models and discourses about technologies, lifelong learning, and the future.

Sorrel Penn- Edwards (School of Education and Professional Studies, Griffith University)

Dr Sorrel Penn-Edwards currently teaches English, literature, media, and communication to undergraduate preservice secondary teaching students. Past subjects taught include drama, scripting, history of film, video production, and primary English. She holds qualifications in science, film & TV production, literature, drama, and teaching and has a research interest in video, multimedia & hypertext production and use; media; literature; English & Media curriculum; communication; student learning styles; Montessori education; and the First Year Experience at Higher Education.

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9. New learning spaces for teaching social change in the MENA Region

Denielle Emans                                                Snapshot of pedagogy

Abstract: University classrooms can operate as transformative arenas promoting positive social change when instructors serve as a link between students and the community. Extrapolating from current scholarly literature on blended learning, digital technology and interdisciplinary collaboration, this presentation will share a pedagogical model for social change instruction in the MENA region. The discussion will introduce the notion of hybrid-learning and collabor-active team-teaching based on classroom observation and student interviews from a course titled “Design for Social Change.” The presentation will also provide an overview of completed projects over three semesters using Adobe Creative Suite, iMovie and iBooks Author, along with employing outcomes in an exhibition environment.

VCUQatar ( is the Qatar campus of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Established in 1998 through a partnership with the Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, VCUQatar offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design, graphic design, interior design and painting & printmaking; Bachelor of Arts in art history, and, a Master of Fine Arts degree in design studies. Located in Doha, the capital city of Qatar, VCUQatar is fully accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art & Design, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Council for Interior Design Accreditation. The current student body represents a diverse range of nationalities with students coming from more than 40 different countries. VCUQatar strives to provide an engaged, learner-centered environment that fosters inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global setting.

Bio: Denielle Emans is an Assistant Professor in the Graphic Design department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar. She specializes in the area of experiential design in relation to the conceptualization, development, and execution of visual messages for social change and sustainability. She has been involved in several competitive research grants and presented her work at a number of national and international conferences. Denielle is currently a PhD Candidate at the University of Queensland's Centre for Communication and Social Change and holds a Master’s degree in Graphic Design from North Carolina State University’s College of Design. She completed a BA in Communications at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in the United States.   

10. Growing use of English as a language of instruction in Nepal's schools: Toward pre-conflict

Lekh Nath Baral                


Despite growing recognition of the need to offer education in the mother tongue or in a familiar language, there is a growing trend to adopt a foreign language (more particularly English) as a language of instruction. In Nepal, the language of instruction (English vs Nepali) has been one of the major factors that distinguish private schools from state schools. In recent years, however, there is a new trend among government schools to switch to English. In this presentation, I present the findings of a study that sought to critically examine how English as a language of instruction has affected the quality of teaching and learning. The study is the result of qualitative field research, conducted in three cities in Nepal (viz. Kathmandu, Pokhara and Surkhet) in June 2014 that includes the voices of practicing teachers. It is also supplemented by the researcher’s observation notes and interactions with gatekeepers and local contacts. Although Nepal’s English medium schools have been able to secure good examination results for their students, the results of the study indicate that adoption of English has not only limited students’ creativity, but has also hindered implementation of student centered classroom teaching. Lack of teachers’ proficiency and sub-standard text materials have further compounded the problem thereby seriously limiting classroom interaction, and dialogue. The conclusion of this study is that the current trend of growth of budget English medium schools and expansion of English as a language of instruction to government schools does not address the need to educational reform and end the two-tier inequality so as to contribute to a post-conflict transformation. 

Bio:Lekh Nath Baral has over 12 years experience teaching at all level of education- from pre-school to university- both in Nepal and overseas. He has also worked as head-teacher and a teacher trainer. He has participated and presented at several conferences and workshops in education and English Language Teaching. His research interests are on sociology of education, role of language in quality learning, education and empowerment. He is a life member of the Nepal English Language Teachers Association (NELTA), and Student Researcher at University of Tromsø, Norway.

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11. Pedagogy in the facilitation of positive student identity and engagement in learning

Mia O’Brien and Levon Blue

Abstract: Teachers play a central role in children’s cognitive, academic and social-emotional development (Hughes et al, 2014); and the pedagogies they facilitate qualitatively shape student’s experiences of learning (Pianta & Stuhlman, 2014).

In this paper we outline the relationship between pedagogy and children’s experiences of positivity and engagement in learning.  The research is part of a three year, competitively funded program undertaken in Primary school classrooms across four different schools, collected over a two-year period. Data is drawn from a range of sources, including videoed learning episodes, student produced work samples, student produced drawings and annotations, and focus group interviews.                           

The study is informed by a conceptual framework developed by the first author that integrates evidence-based research in positive psychology with classroom pedagogy (O’Brien, under review).  The framework draws heavily from Fredrickson’s (2006; 2009) work on positivity, which foregrounds positive cognitions, positive emotions and the resultant expansion of positive capabilities; as well as Dweck’s (2006) research on growth mindsets. 

In the first section of analysis we use practice theory (Kemmis et al, 2014; Schatzki, 2001) to illustrate how ‘student engagement’ is co-created in the sayings, doings, and relatings of students in response to the pedagogical arrangements and patterns of interactions made available in the classroom. In the second section we employ the notion of lifeworlds (Sandberg & Dall’Alba, 2009) to theorise how - through Heidegger’s (1927) lens of the personal-social experience of ‘learning to be’ – students can participate in pedagogical interactions as an act of identity building, expression and affirmation. On this basis we surmise that particular kinds of pedagogies can powerfully facilitate a positive learning identity for children in classrooms.

Dall’Alba, G., & Sandberg, J. (2014). A phenomenological perspective on
Researching work and learning. In S. Billett, C. Harteis, & H. Gruber (Eds.),
Handbook of research in professional and practice-based learning (pp. 279-304).
Dordrecht & New York: Springer.
Fredrickson, B. (2006). Unpacking positive emotions: investigating the seeds of human flourishing. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 1(2), 57-59.
Fredrickson, B. (2009). Positivity. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.
Hughes, K., Bullock, A., & Coplan, R. J. (2014). A person-centred analysis of teacher-child relationships in early childhood. British Journal of Educational Psychology, 84, 253-267.
Kemmis, S., Wilkinson, J., Edwards-Groves, C., Hardy, I., Grootenboer, P., & Bristol, L. (2014). Changing education, changing practices. Singapore: Springer. 
Pianta, R. C. & Stuhlman, M. W. (2004). Teacher-child relationships and children’s success in the first years of school. School Psychology Review, 33(3), 444-458.
Schatzki, T. (2001). Introduction: Practice theory. In T. Schatzki, K. Knorr-Cetina, & E. von Savigny (Eds.), The practice turn in contemporary theory (pp. 10–23). London: Routledge.

Biographies: Dr Mia O’Brien – Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University

Bio: Mia O’Brien is the Coordinator of Initial Teacher Education and Professional Practice, in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University.  Her research investigates the relatedness between innovative pedagogical practices and student engagement, and she is particularly interested in the potential of positive psychology initiatives for enhancing student learning experiences and the professional learning of teachers in classrooms.  Mia has been involved in a number of competitively funded research projects, and is currently lead researcher in the ARC Discovery Grant Love Maths, Why Not? Developing Students’ Positive Learning Identities and Engagement in Mathematics. The research reported here is partially drawn from this project, and in part supported by the Griffith University, GIER New Staff Research Development Fund.

Dr Levon Blue – Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University

Bio: Levon Blue is the inaugural Molly Budtz-Olsen Fellow.  She is currently completing a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) at Griffith University in the School of Education and Professional Studies. Her PhD explores the financial literacy education practices in a Canadian First Nation community in Canada. Levon is a Senior Research Assistantwith Dr Mia O’Brien (GU) and Dr Katie Makar (UQ) on the ARC Discovery Grant titled Love Maths, Why Not? Developing Students’ Positive Learning Identities and Engagement in Mathematics.

12. Building students’ literacy capacity: Being literate in the language of learning!

Shauna Petersen, Shirley O’Neill and Deborah Geoghegan           Workshop

Abstract: This presentation will examine how two primary schools, that had significantly improved students’ literacy outcomes in reading, over a three-year period, as shown by national testing results, achieved consistency in their pedagogical approach across the school, from which was derived a common language for learning. It will demonstrate the vital importance of ‘mutuality’ in teachers’ and students’ acquisition and use of such a common language for learning and how this ensures the building of students’ capacity to learn. It will be shown how, through these schools’ collaborative development of their schoolwide pedagogical frameworks and their teachers’ leadership of pedagogical change, that involved both students’ and parents’ views, new knowledge, strategies and artifacts to support learning were created, with which students were deeply engaged and which gave them a voice in their learning. This draws upon the researchers’ one day Institute presentation at the International Literacy Association Conference in St Louis, Missouri, USA, July 2015.

Keywords: Active pedagogy, language for learning, mainstream English as a second language, school improvement, schoolwide pedagogy, improving reading

Objectives: ·         To describe how schools created a schoolwide approach to literacy pedagogy to achieve consistency in teaching and learning.

·         To highlight and critically discuss the important role of the language of learning in ensuring students’ engagement with the literacy program.

·         To understand the concept of ‘mutuality’ in terms of both teachers and students being pedagogically engaged through their use of a common language for learning and how this underpins the building of students’ capacity to learn.

·         To recognize the collaborative nature of pedagogical change and the way students can be more deeply engaged in literacy learning.

Biographies: Shauna Petersen is a lecturer in Literacy Education in the School of Linguistics, Adult and Special Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba. Shauna engages with research and consultancy as a member of the Literacy Pedagogies and Learning Group in Leadership Research International (LRI). Her research interests lie at the intersection of school improvement, literacy and specifically teacher leadership, which is the focus of her (almost complete) PhD thesis. Email:

Shirley O’Neill, is Associate Professor of Language and Literacies in the School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, and Associate Director Literacy Pedagogies and Learning in the Leadership Research International (LRI) group at the University of Southern Queensland. She has a special interest in reading and writing, and classroom dialogue and her research and teaching relates to literacy learning and assessment, school improvement, English as a second language and service learning in pre-service teacher education.   Email:  shirley.o’

Deborah Geoghegan lectures in the School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood at the University of Southern Queensland in foundations of language and literacy as well as curriculum and pedagogy in the early years of school. She is also a member of the Literacy, Pedagogies and Learning group in Leadership Research International (LRI). Her research interests are in language and literacies education, early childhood curriculum and pedagogy, classroom discourse and teacher capacity building which is the focus of her PhD (almost completed). Deborah has extensive experience teaching in schools both in the public and private sectors within Australia and the United States. Email:

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13. Changing beliefs, changing pedagogies: Researching the outcomes of relational professional learning and development

Di Nailon

Abstract: In recent years considerable effort has centred on upgrading the knowledge and skills of educators working in the early childhood education and care (ECEC) sector as part of a quality agenda. Australia’s Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) incorporated pedagogical leadership as a desired attribute of all educators among its recommendations for quality improvement. In this context, pedagogical leadership is underpinned by constructivist and critical theories, which involve reflective collaborations with children, families, other educators and the community around pedagogical decision-making. This paper reports on a study, which examined family day care educators’ beliefs associated with pedagogical decision-making, namely their epistemological beliefs (beliefs about knowledge/knowing) and ontological beliefs (beliefs about the nature of reality/being). The study identified changes in their beliefs when educators participated in a series of relational ‘focused’ conversations on early childhood topics associated with the EYLF. Outcomes showed that educators’ shifts in thinking tended towards holding more ‘evaluativistic’ beliefs linked to constructivist principles and practices. The study illustrates the need to adopt relational professional learning and development by highlighting changes in thinking necessary to implement pedagogy and learning innovations such as EYLF.

Affiliation: Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Newnham Campus, Launceston, Tasmania, 7249. Northern Children’s Network, Amy Rd., Newstead, PO BOX 724, Kings Meadows, Tasmania. 7249.

Bio: Di Nailon has a long history as a lecturer and consultant in early childhood education and care in Queensland and more recently in Tasmania. Di is undertaking her doctoral studies at UTas, while also providing educational leadership consulting to a large multi-service organisation, Northern Children’s Network, based in Launceston. Di’s research builds on her practical links with the field and her passion for finding out ‘what works’ in developing pedagogical leadership, decision-making and practice. Her interest in family day care as one of the least studied sectors of education led her to the research she is presenting here. 

14. Middle leaders: negotiating vision and practice

Robyn Jorgensen

Abstract: In this presentation, I share the findings from a national study on practices in remote and very remote schools that are experiencing success in the teaching of numeracy/mathematics. The study is a national research project that will draw on at least 32 case studies to identify 'what is working' in schools and classrooms. This presentation focuses on the work undertaken across a number of schools (across a number of states) where there has been a strong focus on middle leadership in building effective numeracy strategies. The middle leaders have liaised with the management team in order to enact the vision, while ensuring that teachers at the grassroots level have the necessary skills and dispositions to enact successful practices in their classrooms. The practices may vary in form across sites but there are some elements that are also common across sites – including intentions, philosophical grounds for reforming practice, support for teaching and learning. These will be shared in the session. While the focus of this study has been on remote and very remote Indigenous communities, the learners from the project have implications for other disadvantaged contexts.

Bio: Robyn Jorgensen (Zevenbergen) is a Professor of Education: Equity and Pedagogy at the University of Canberra. Her work has spanned more than two decades where she has focused on issues of equity and inclusion in mathematics education. She has received numerous Australian Research Council Grants, and is very well published. Her work has focused on practice with the intent to explore the nuanced actions of teachers and learners so as to build better understandings of how to create stronger learning environments for those students most at risk of failing school mathematics. She also works in innovative settings, having recently completed the first international study on the benefits of swimming for under-5s.

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15. Technology as a catalyst for authentic learning

Peter Cottle                                                                              Workshop

Abstract: The ability to engage students in learning experiences that are both authentic and relevant to their experience as young people today can be paramount to its success. Young learners today are too often criticized for lacking rigour academically and the ability to maintain sustained engagement in learning activities. The finger is pointed at technology as the cause of some of these problems, with social media, gaming and the 24/7 connected nature of the lives of young people having a profound impact on they way they engage with their worlds. Like most tools however, technology used incorrectly, can promote a lack of engagement and in turn, poor student outcomes. The key is to find tools that are relevant and work as catalysts to engage students and foster their inherent curiosity and interest. Using emerging technologies such as Augmented and Virtual Reality, this workshop will explore some of the ways educators can harness the power of mobile devices for authentic learning with a focus on the Humanities.

Bio:Peter Cottle is Head of ELearning and Research Services at St Margaret's Anglican Girls School. He is responsible for leading staff in the development and implementation of all aspects of ELearning and Research including digital pedagogies, curriculum development, learning management integration and cyber safety. He is particularly interested in emerging technologies and mobile learning, to leverage the capacity of technology, both in and out of the classroom to facilitate and enhance authentic learning.

16. Ensuring curricular justice in NSW Education

 Dalal Oubani

Abstract: As the demographics of the Australian population changes, it is essential for the public education system to not just cater for the needs of the new community groups that form but also to help ensure that education is used as a vehicle to facilitate social harmony, understanding and equality. The link between disadvantaged and marginalised ethno-religious groups in the Australian community and their relative exclusion in NSW education curriculums’ cannot be underestimated, specifically the English and History curriculums which play a significant role in shaping our understanding and empathy of ‘others’.  It is evident from growing research on discrimination and the disadvantage of Australia’s Muslim population especially where education and employment are concerned, that very little has been done by our educational systems to increase understanding and equality for this minority group.

This paper aims to give a brief overview of how by failing to include ‘Muslim voices’ in school curricula, Australian educational policies and curriculums contribute to both the marginalisation and alienation of the Australian Muslim community and the inequality that results. Thus inclusion of the Muslim experience in these curriculums is recommended not just to ensure that as Australians they receive a ‘fair go’ but to prevent future Cronulla riots and social unrest which result from a lack of cross-cultural awareness and understanding and inevitably mar Australia’s international multicultural reputation.

Bio:Dalal Oubani is currently working at the University of Western Sydney College, teaching Academic English Fast Track for school leavers. Dalal has almost one decade experience teaching in secondary schools and helping schools to improve their literacy programs and strategies as a specialized literacy teacher. Dalal's recommendations were included in the consultation report for the Australian Curriculum and is currently working on an academic monograph focusing on the link between social disadvantage and school curriculums.

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17. Developing critical thinking in the Australian curriculum: Pedagogical implications and critical elements(?)

M Akshir Ab Kadir

Abstract: Critical and creative thinking is one of the essential 'general capabilities' that school leavers need to develop in the Australian curriculum. It is also described as a key dimension in preparing 'students to live and work in the 21st century' and is seen as 'fundamental to effective learning'. All this underscores the importance of teachers having to successfully teach students to think critically and creatively. As the agents of change, it is what teachers ultimately do in this regard in the classroom that will most likely determine the efficacy of developing this key capability. However, research suggests that teachers who incorporate critical thinking usually do so unconsciously or without making it explicit to learners. As a result, classroom instruction often marginalises the importance of fostering a culture of thinking and of explicitly teaching students to think critically, putting at risk the successful development of this capability. Based on a body of research on critical thinking, this paper aims to draw the pedagogical implications for teachers and posits what might be the pivotal elements for them to take into the classroom to successfully develop students' ability to think critically, an undoubtedly essential 21st century skill.

Bio:Akshir is Lecturer of Pedagogy and Learning at Monash University. He had the privilege of undertaking various roles in education previously - from teacher to researcher to educational consultant and staff professional developer - and has been enriched by the rich experiences of working with teachers and students from diverse backgrounds in various parts of the world. His current research interests include teacher knowledge and beliefs and teacher learning; curriculum, pedagogy and assessment; and student engagement. He finds motivation and purpose in the notion of praxis in education in which knowledge is enacted and leads to transformative positive change.

18. Overview of intelligent Computer-assisted Language Learning and its activity design issues and pedagogical considerations

Inseok Kim

Abstract: Intelligent computer-assisted language learning(ICALL) can be defined in a number of ways, but one understanding of the term is that of CALL incorporating language technology (LT) for analyzing language learners’ language production, in order to provide the learners with the intelligent feedback and guidance in their language learning process. Research in Intelligent CALL has explored techniques and tools from Natural Language Processing (NLP) for this purpose, such as tokenizers, morphological analyzers, part-of-speech taggers, chunkers, parsers, or semantic analysis tools.

In this paper, I will review the recent history of ICALL and identify some major challenges that ICALL researchers and system designers face. I will then describe several concrete ways of addressing these challenges and illustrate them, based on the ICALL systems developed by ICALL researchers for the instruction of foreign languages: CASTLE(1997), AutoTutor(1999), ICICLE(2000), E-Tutor(2004), TAGARELA(2006), and Genie Tutor(2014). The focus of discussion will be laid on 1) the relationship between activity design and restrictions needed to make NLP analysis tractable and reliable, and 2) pedagogical considerations and the influence of activity design choices on the integration of ICALL systems into foreign language teaching and learning practice.

Bio: Dr. Inseok Kim graduated from Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with a BA in English Language and Literature in 1980. He earnedan MA degree in the field of TEFL at Southern Illinois University in 1982 and in Bilingual Education and Applied Linguisticsat Teachers College, Columbia University in 1986, respectively. He finally earneda doctoral degree in Applied Linguistics at Teachers College, Columbia Universityin 1988.  He has then maintained a professorship appointment of ESL and Applied Linguistics at Brown University in USA and Dongduk Women’s University in Seoul, Korea. He has been serving as a Committee Member for ELT Encyclopedia Project of Wiley as well as for National English Education Center at Jechu, ROK. 

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19. Exploration of pre-service teachers' perspectives: Learning to work with Aboriginal Australian students, their families and communities

Maria Bennet and Beverley Moriarty

Abstract: In a study that explored second year pre-service teachers’ abilities to teach Aboriginal Australian students in a community setting (Bennet & Lancaster, 2012), it was concluded that developing the knowledge and dispositions needed to engage with Aboriginal students, their families and communities is a lifelong learning endeavour. The present study embraced this challenge by working in partnership with the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) to trial for the first time with first year pre-service-teachers at an Australian university the AECG’s Healthy Culture Healthy Country (HCHC) Program.

Surveys following each of the workshops in the program and focus group interviews explored 9 pre-service teachers’ perspectives about what cultural knowledge they identified as important and what they learned about working with Aboriginal students, families and communities. The findings indicate how the pre-service teachers used key aspects of the HCHC program to develop their cultural competence knowledge and dispositions and their adoption of Delores’ (1996) Four Pillars of Lifelong Learning: learning to know, to do, to live together and with others, and to be. There are implications for community-university partnerships in scaffolding and supporting the learning of pre-service teachers to develop the capacity to work with Aboriginal communities and employ culturally-appropriate pedagogies. 

Bio: Maria Bennet and Beverley Moriarty are colleagues on the Dubbo Campus of Charles Sturt University. They are research partners with a shared interest in how to prepare pre-service teachers to develop cross-cultural relationships with Aboriginal children and their communities. They are working concurrently on several inter-related projects. The authors acknowledge that they write from a non-Aboriginal perspective and also acknowledge funding from the Community-University Partnership at Charles Sturt University and funding from the NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG) for this project.

20. Academic Support for the 21st Century Student

Fatima Tayel 

Abstract: The student in the 21st century has different needs, different tools, and needs different ways to be reached. Nowadays, how to help a university student succeed? What type of support does he need? How to equip him with the 21st century skills? How to reach him? So many questions raised that needed answers. To academically support todays’ student, the Student Academic Success Program (SASP) was recently created at UAEU. SASP comprises three units: Learning Centers, Skills, and Academic Advising. Four types of Learning Centers serve the students: Writing, Speaking, Tutorial, and Independent Learning Centers. The Skills unit develops students’ 21st century skills and promotes and encourages undergraduate research. The Academic Advising orients students until they officially declare their major. Each unit develops a large program of activities. SASP launched a large creative workshops program of 21st century skills. As the program is non-credit and attendance is optional, one of the challenges was how to reach and attract the student? We decided to solve it using the new generation of students’ own means. Within few months, SASP succeeded to promote itself all over the university and received a great support from upper management and all colleges. This paper discusses the different creative activities undergone by the three units of SASP and the innovative ways of informing the students about the different activities and how to engage and reward them. It also explains the new mentoring and coaching system adopted by the Advising unit to advise around 4000 new students admitted every year. Pictures and videos showing the implementation of these projects could be projected during the presentation.

Bio: Ms Tayel is the Director, Student Academic Success Program, United Arab Emirates University, UAE. Ms Tayel has a long experience in higher education. She is interested in curriculum development, student support and co-curricular activities. She contributed to the development of a large number of these activities. She is involved in international accreditation procedures. She is now heading and developing the Student Academic Success Program. 

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21. The literacy demands of multimodal texts: Are we deepening literacy learning?
Shiley O'Neill
Abstract: As educators are faced with the new ubiquity of multimedia and multimodal texts in the literacy practices of today’s digital natives, research suggests these practices reflect differences in cognitive/metacognitive demands and bring a new metalanguage to teaching and learning. The presentation explores this situation through the examination of sample texts. It considers what this means for personal pedagogy, literacy pedagogies and students’ learning.

Keywords:Multimodal texts, literacy practices, digital communication technologies, metacognition

Bio: Shirley O’Neill, PhD,is Associate Professor of Language and Literacies in the School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education, and Associate Director Literacy Pedagogies and Learning in the Leadership Research International (LRI) group at the University of Southern Queensland. She has a special interest in reading and writing, and classroom dialogue and her research and teaching relates to literacy learning and assessment, school improvement, English as a second language and service learning in pre-service teacher education.   Email: