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Teaching Matters Summit: Day Two unveils Varied Perspectives and Innovative Ideas

Mar 2024

After a knowledge rich first day, the second day of the Summit saw delegates enjoy a relaxed breakfast accompanied by engaging conversation with the experts. This provided an opportunity for delegates to ask questions stimulated by day one’s presentations and draw on the vast national and international expertise.

Dr Nathaniel Swain networking with delegates at breakfast

Dr Lorraine Hammond in conversation with with a delegate

Day Two’s headline keynote speaker, Jan Hasbrouck PHD, presented on how comprehension can impact the success of fluency. Her key tip to for developing students’ comprehension skills was to ensure educators focussed on letter, letter-pattern and word levels plus semantic and syntactic processes at the word, phrase, and sentence level. She also delved into automaticity, whereby reading becomes as fluent as speaking, which can be assessed by using Oral Reading Fluency (ORF), a tool which Hasbrouck highly recommends that educators use to help predict comprehension ability.  

Jan Hasbrouck Ph.D

Dr Hasbrouck was then joined by Dr Lorraine Hammond to address questions that arose from her keynote. The conversation started with a discussion around recommended assessment tools for fluency. Both Dr Hasbrouck and Dr Hammond agreed that the most important element of literacy was to continue to practice phonics, fluency and comprehension. The pair recommended daily reviews to check for understanding before moving on to more challenging content.

Jan Hasbrouck PH.D and Dr Lorraine Hammond in conversation

Delegates listening to Jan Hasbrouck PH.D and Dr Lorraine Hammond

Host of the podcast Knowledge for Teachers, Brendan Lee, provided practical strategies to support teachers in achieving productive learning in mathematics. Brendan acknowledged that while mathematics is a complex subject, the role of the teacher is to make connections in learning for students. A framework he believes is useful when understanding how to teach mathematics is Instructional Hierarchy: Stages of Learning. The three steps to follow are acquisition, fluency and generalisation. It is important for educators to remember that mathematics is like learning another language.

Brendan was followed by author and educator, Toni Hatten-Roberts who continued the numeracy theme, informing delegates on how to increase student confidence, understanding and achievement through embracing maths fluency. Toni delved into the key insights from her published paper ‘The Need for Speed: why fluency counts for maths learning’, including the impact of using the hierarchy of maths learning, the three stages modelling (Explicit Instruction), immediate corrective feedback and practice for sufficient accuracy.

Brendan Lee presenting his keynote on mathematics

Toni Hatten-Roberts, COGLearn

The afternoon session commenced with an insightful presentation from Rebecca Birch, an English Teacher and Director of Research and Practice, that focussed on student wellbeing in implementation of a Science of Learning (SoL) teaching approach. Rebecca emphasised how explicit teaching structures can mitigate behavioral issues, enhance student self-confidence, and reduce stress through effective study strategies. Delving into the self-determination theory, Rebecca encouraged educators to prioritise meeting all human needs, including autonomy, competence, and relatedness. She elaborated on her personal implementation of these strategies within her college.

The concluding keynote address was presented by Dr Jennifer Buckingham PH.D FRSN,
Director of Strategy and Senior Research Fellow, focusing on the significant reforms in Initial Teacher Education (ITE). Dr Buckingham commenced her presentation by providing an overview of the educational landscape in Australia, noting the extensive array of higher education programs available. She delved into the insights of the Strong Beginnings: Report of the Teacher Education Expert Panel, and emphasised the recommendation to enhance ITE programs by enforcing core content mandates and augmenting them accordingly.

As two insightful and inspiring days of education drew to a close, Glenn Fahey, Program Director at The Centre for Independent Studies, led the second panel discussion on the Science of Learning. This panel included Rebecca Birch, Lyn Stone, Dr. Nathaniel Swain, Brendan Lee, Dr Jan Hasbrouck and Michael Roberts. The discussion commenced with a vibrant exchange on the challenges of implementing the Science of Learning, with Lyn Stone highlighting the importance of finding a supportive school environment conducive to growth. Subsequently, the panel explored the primary considerations essential for understanding the Science of Learning within a classroom context, elucidating the advantageous aspects observable in such environments.

To close out the Summit, CET Executive Director Dr Gerard Gaskin took to the stage to thank and acknowledge all staff, experts and delegates for their involvement.

“You can see from the talents and enthusiasm of generations of speakers, we are part of a ground swell that is the Science of Learning and Reading” he said. 

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