ALEA / AATE National Conference – an enticing brave new world of teaching and learning awaits the brave

Brave New WorldBrisbane certainly hosted an energizing conference in sparkling warm weather!

So many generous and thought provoking speakers, presenters and trade representatives made for an enjoyable time. From the Poetry Masterclass with Ross Clark – yes, I found your poem on the Poet’s Walk – to Mary Macken-Horarik’s Garth Boomer Address. Her interesting discussion on grammatics and the kill-joy-red-penning of traditional grammar teaching gave  me some confidence in my own teaching, which was enhanced further with Sean Box’s Academic Writing workshop. I certainly know how to improve my lessons on editing and increased clarity. Pam Bartholomaeus discussed different approaches in place-based learning, whilst Terry Locke introduced some interesting ideas and challenges on developing writing teachers. Scott Bulfin, Therese Nolan and Meg Gardiner provided stimulating arguments and evidence. Alison Robertson very generously explored her recent experiences with senior students and poetry, overcoming her discomfort at sharing her teaching video – yes, it is a little weird hearing your own voice, but an important goal I have set for myself this year. Kate Pullinger’s keynote concerning brave new story worlds was inspiring and led to my contribution for the Memory Makes Us writing project for if:books Australia. Peter Holbrook led me on an exciting journey through tradition, authority and innovation, then Pat Hipwell helped me feel confident in extending my students with explicit strategies for higher order thinking. Finally, Allan Luke’s impassioned call to arms for really closing the gap will stay with me, and inform my everyday lessons. We can all do a little more …

The venue, catering, volunteers and committee members made the whole experience memorable. I was heartened by the warm response to my own presentation and am certainly looking forward to next year in Darwin, despite the newspaper headlines and crocs.

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