Teaching with Agility: Versatile English and Literacy Teaching

Teaching with Agility presenters

Dr Kate de Bruin

Dr Kate de Bruin is a researcher in inclusive education in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. She has taught in secondary school and higher education settings for two decades. In her academic work she has played a central role in developing the Inclusive Education courses in both the Masters of Teaching as well as the Masters of Education programs at Monash University.

Kate’s research focuses on inclusive education in policy and practice, examining classroom, school and system-level practices that are supported by evidence, and that promote quality and equity for all students, with specific attention to students with a disability. She has worked with Commonwealth, State, and Catholic Education Departments on projects such as: the Nationally Consistent Collection of Data for Students with Disabilities Moderation Resource; the Victorian Inclusion Support Program; Models of School Support; and Tier Two Literacy Interventions in Australian Schools. Kate regularly provides professional learning to school teachers, and she writes for both academics as well as readers from the general public. She sits on the Academic Advisory Board for ‘All Means All: The Australian Alliance for Inclusive Education’.

Dr Anita Heiss

Dr Anita Heiss is the author of non-fiction, historical fiction, commercial women's fiction, children’s novels and non-fiction. She is a regular guest at writers' festivals and travels internationally performing her work and lecturing on Aboriginal literature. She is a Lifetime Ambassador of the Indigenous Literacy Foundation and a proud member of the Wiradjuri nation of central NSW.

Anita was a finalist in the 2012 Human Rights Awards for her memoir Am I Black Enough for You? and she was a finalist in the 2013 Australian of the Year Awards. Anita is a Board Member of the State Library of Queensland, and currently divides her time between writing, public speaking, MC’ing and being a 'creative disruptor'. Anita’s novel Barbed Wire and Cherry Blossoms was long-listed for the Dublin International Literary Award, and latest book (as editor) is Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia.

Beverly Derewianka

Dr Beverly Derewianka is an Emeritus Professor at the University of Wollongong, Australia. Beverly has worked as a teacher in primary, secondary and adult contexts and has been a teacher educator for over thirty years. She has played a key role in syllabus development both in Australia and internationally. Her research interests include the relationship between research, policy and practice as well as genre theory, and a functional approach to grammar and literacy development. Her best known teacher publications are Exploring How Texts Work and A New Grammar Companion for Teachers, both published by PETAA. More recently she has written Teaching Language in Context with Pauline Jones (OUP). She currently spends most of her time working with clusters of schools around Australia on long-term inquiry projects investigating the embedding of a literacy focus into curriculum units.

Gill Pennington

Dr Gill Pennington worked as a primary school EAL/D teacher and consultant within the ACT before moving back to Sydney in 2007 to take up the role of Multicultural/ESL consultant in south-western Sydney. She has taught at the University of Sydney, where she completed her PhD in 2018, researching storytelling in a multilingual community. She is currently working as a freelance EAL/D consultant and research assistant, most recently within the NSW Department of Education, where she coordinated a project into the impact of ICT on the teaching of writing in primary schools. She is a council member and past president of the Association of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (ATESOL) NSW.

Rose Pennington

Rose Pennington is a primary school teacher, education consultant and PhD student, passionate about the development of social and emotional skills in children so that they may achieve wellbeing, resilience and academic goals. Her passion was sparked when she was introduced to the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) program at her first school. She has since completed a Masters research thesis about effective implementation of SEL programs and is now completing her PhD researching the classroom practices most conducive to student wellbeing and academic engagement. Rose understands teachers' workloads and has created workshops and resources to make it easy for them to integrate the development of social and emotional skills along with academic outcomes in their lessons. Not only does SEL promote social and emotional wellbeing for the students, but the teachers too; it is vital that both teachers and students are prioritising their own and each other’s wellbeing for all members of the classroom to flourish.

Denise Roberts

Denise Roberts was an English teacher and educational leader for 25 years, working in mixed ability classrooms and with targeted programs for students with specific learning needs, including those identified as gifted and talented. She has also worked in cross-curricular literacy roles, developing activities and units to build students’ literacy across learning areas. She is particularly interested in the capacity of English to offer students the scope to refine their skills of reflection, critical thinking and creativity and the ways in which it provides opportunities for both collaboration and independent endeavours. She believes that the study of English builds in students the capacity for empathy and understanding of experiences beyond their immediate world. Denise is currently the Curriculum Specialist, English at the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA).