Second national teaching summit a success

By Damita Whiteley

Catholic Education Tasmania has again led the way in the Australian educational sector, hosting their second annual Teaching Matters: Science of Learning National Summit.

In conjunction with Catholic Education Canberra Goulburn, around 500 system leaders and educators from across the country attended Teaching Matters 2024, held at Wrest Point in Hobart from 24 to 26 March.

Attendees had the opportunity to learn from leading international and national experts who presented topics based on the scientific, evidence-based, high impact teaching practice called the Science of Learning. 

The premise of the Science of Learning is to break down all learning tasks into small, bite-sized pieces, which are then taught sequentially, with frequent check-ins for student understanding – otherwise known as explicit, direct instruction. 

Catholic Education Tasmania Executive Director Dr Gerard Gaskin, presenting at Teaching Matters 2024. Photo: Supplied

Among the expert presenters were Dr Lorraine Hammond of Edith Cowan University; educational linguist and author Lyn Stone; Professor Pamela Snow of La Trobe University; education consultant Tom Sherrington; Director of Catholic Education, Canberra and Goulburn, Ross Fox; Dr Jordana Hunter of the Grattan Institute, instructional coach and writer Dr Nathaniel Swain; education consultant and host of the Knowledge for Teachers Podcast, Brendan Lee; and many more. 

Other highlights of Teaching Matters 2024 included the formal Gala dinner, where guests were treated to an evening of fine dining and dancing; and a Breakfast With The Experts, offering a stellar line-up of presenters and a gourmet buffet breakfast.

Ross Fox, Director at Catholic Education, Archdiocese of Canberra and Goulburn, speaking at Teaching Matters 2024. Photo: Supplied

Dr Gerard Gaskin, Executive Director of Catholic Education Tasmania, said a key message of the summit was that studies in neuroscience have proven that explicit, direct instruction was the most successful method for teaching.

“The long-running pedagogical debates of the past, about experiential learning as opposed to explicit instruction have been resolved by the evidence of neuroscience,” Dr Gaskin said.

“All humans learn in the same way. The Science of Learning taps into this fundamental reality.”

Over the three days of Teaching Matters 2024, attendees heard from Keynote Speakers, In Conversation presentations and panel discussions.

International literacy expert Dr Jan Hasbrouck from the USA was a Keynote Speaker at Teaching Matters 2024. Photo: Supplied

Keynote Speaker Dr Jan Hasbrouck from the USA, who is an international literacy specialist, related how explicit, direct instruction is key to solving declining reading rates nation-wide.

“Compelling evidence from a convergence of reading research clearly indicates that approximately 95 per cent of all students can be taught to read at or approaching grade level proficiency in Grades 1 and 2,” Dr Jan Hasbrouck said.

“Early instruction makes a world of difference for our students. Early success breeds continued success and early struggles makes what is already a challenging process for many students seem impossible, and they are discouraged to even try.”

Catholic Education Tasmania were honoured to once again host a successful summit, with the Science of Learning being a central component of curriculum in our 38 Catholic schools across Tasmania.

Presenting at Teaching Matters 2024 were (left to right) CET Executive Director Dr Gerard Gaskin, international literacy expert Dr Jan Hasbrouck, Dr Lorraine Hammond from Edith Cowan University, and CET System Lead of Curriculum and Pedagogy Jennifer White. Photo: Supplied
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