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TRB Professional Learning Conference 2015

Thank you to all the speakers for their contribution to a very successful program and, in particular, our Keynote Speakers, Professor John Halsey and Stephen Yarwood. We think you will agree that all the presentations were inspiring and informative.

During the conference, we conducted sessions focussing around discussions on how teachers were undertaking professional learning and what, if any, challenges they faced. You can find the results of the session under Group Discussions. We would like to thank Barbara Smith, Jenny Hocking and Marilyn Large for their time in organising and facilitating the sessions.

Photos and presentations from the conference are also available below.

It was great to see so many teachers exchanging ideas, networking and having the opportunity to listen to some very interesting speakers. Thank you again to all those who attended, organised and contributed to making the professional learning conference such a successful event.


Keynote Speakers

The keynote speakers for the conference were:

Videos of the keynote speakers are available below.

2015 keynote speakers

Group Discussions – "What does professional learning look like to you?"

During the breakout sessions, conference participants were divided into three groups; early childhood, primary and secondary teachers. The groups then discussed professional learning and what it meant to them, concentrating on three main areas; how they accessed professional learning, what their interests were and what challenges they faced.

Below are the answers collated from the three groups.

How have you accessed Professional Learning?

Teachers reported undertaking a variety of different professional learning opportunities with online access a common feature. Whether they stay online or undertake face-to-face learning, online research was a key element for many teachers. Sites like the Teachers Registration Board, CEASA, DECD's Plink, association websites and google were often the first places teachers went to for more information. Other popular options were speaking directly with colleagues, the Board, unions and teacher associations.

The teachers we spoke to had accessed a range of different learning formats including;

  • external face-to-face courses
  • online courses (free & paid) including webinars
  • workshops and conferences
  • reading and researching
  • professional courses from certificates through to postdoctoral
  • in-school training.

What are your Professional Learning interests?

Reflecting the range of teaching professionals at the conference, the professional learning interests discussed varied widely. They included:

  • technology and education
  • presentation skills, (delivering in different environments, technology – pedagogy of use)
  • English as a Second Language
  • learning outside the classroom
  • classroom management
  • contributing to professional and educational authorship
  • differentiation and inclusivity of students
  • working with gifted students, students with disabilities and those with specific learning difficulties
  • IT – how to access and become proficient
  • using technology to communicate with students and parents
  • engaging with students and colleagues as a temporary relief teachers
  • review of current learning theories
  • how to inspire students and develop positive relationships with them
  • culture
  • networking
  • compliance requirements (first-aid, RAN)
  • own interests
  • returning to work from leave
  • Australian Curriculum implementation
  • encouraging independence, autonomy and achieving success in students
  • creativity in the classroom
  • positive psychology, mindfulness, counselling, health and wellbeing
  • health and physical education
  • science
  • design
  • adult education and TAFE.

How have you overcome any challenges?

Challenges to completing professional learning included; time, money, distance, and lack of a permanent role. There was also some confusion among some teachers regarding what type of professional learning is acceptable.

Teachers used a range of methods to address these challenges including:

  • accessing online learning
  • attending free conferences like the TRB professional learning day
  • joining relevant unions
  • accessing networks separate from schools
  • collaborating with schools to access resources and networks, and focussing on building relationships with schools to enable them to join teaching and development days (temporary relief teachers/external teachers)
  • speaking directly with the Teachers Registration Board to further understand professional learning further
  • speaking to peers for advice and information
  • subscribing to associations and Facebook communities.


ClassMovies partnership launched

The conference also saw the launch of our exciting new partnership with ClassMovies, a revolutionary documentary making system that allows educators to capture their classroom practice through the production of an authentic short film without the need for production and editing skills. Find out more...


Professional Learning Providers Panel

The panel comprised of speakers from a range of organisations that can assist teachers to access professional development. Below are links to some of the presentations and websites.


Susan Miels, Acting Manager Performance Standards and Certification in DECD Workforce Development

Susan leads a team within HR Workforce Development with a focus on developing teachers through using the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers. The team offers an extensive professional learning program for DECD teachers at all career stages. Early career teachers, teachers who mentor and those who seek formal recognition as quality teachers are offered specific programs by the team (mostly in term breaks), including a number of workshops focussing on planning for performance & development, professional conversations and developing e-portfolios.

Find out more at

Independent Education Union

Glen Seidel, Secretary 

Glen was a mathematics and science teacher in the Catholic sector for 27 years before moving to union work in 2000. During his teaching career he was active in SSABSA/SACE science curriculum writing, implementation and assessment. Initially he was the training officer at the Independent Education Union (SA) but has been the state general secretary since 2001 with a stronger role in industrial issues. Glen believes the distinction between professional issues and industrial issues is often artificial and can be a sop to middle-class niceness.

Read the full transcript of Glen's speech here.

Find out more at

Gowrie SA

Petrea Smith, BECE; Dip T; Cert IV TAE

Professional Development Program Team Leader

Petrea is a registered teacher in South Australia with teaching experience in a range of rural and metro settings, in area, junior primary and preschools. Her current role at Gowrie SA has a focus of supporting long day care and preschools in the strategic planning of their professional learning.

Find out more at

Australian Education Union

Sam Lisle-Menzel, Organiser, Teaching & Development Coordinator & Daniel Pereira, AEU Lead Organiser

Daniel Pereira and Sam Lisle-Menzel are South Australian trained high school teachers who have worked in country and metropolitan public schools. With teaching and leadership experience they have now transferred their skills to Australian Education Union staff positions, working with education students, new educators, ancillary staff, experienced teachers and leaders. Daniel is the AEU SA Lead Organiser working on campaigns, including “I give a Gonski” and lobbying to increase school funding around areas of disadvantage. Sam is the Acting Training and Development Co-ordinator facilitating, creating and delivering training programs available to all 14,000 AEU SA members.

Find out more at

Council of Education Associations of South Australia

CEASA Committee Member & Teacher at St Peter's Girls' School

Liz currently works with early years learners at St Peter's Girls College. During her career she has worked in both the DECD and independent education sectors, and has been a highly active member of the professional learning community through her roles on the CEASA Board and as a long term leader within the Early Childhood Association. Liz has played a critical role in ensuring that professional learning is at the foreground of educators thinking as they strive to collaborate together to achieve the best learning outcomes for children and young people in this state. As a lifelong learner Liz continues to seek opportunities to engage in professional learning with and for other educators. She holds a Master of Education degree from Uni SA and has maintained an AST1 ranking for the past 20 years.

Find out more at