Last week I was very fortunate to be able to attend the VAGTC Gifted Education Essentials Tools for Putting Theory into Practice conference which was held at CQ Function Centre Queens St Melbourne on Thursday 21 and Friday 22 May 2015 http://www.vagtc.asn.au/vagtc-conference-2015
Some of the presentations can be read at http://www.vagtc.asn.au/conference-2015-presentations
The conference was officially opened by Judith Graley Member for Narre Warren Sth and Parliamentary Secretary to Hon. James Merlino, the Victorian Deputy Premier and Minister for Education who spoke of collaborating with the VAGTC to make Victoria ‘the Education State’ by acting on the accepted recommendations from the report into the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into the Education of Gifted and Talented Students
Funding has been allocated for increasing opportunities for rural and outer suburban students, Koori students, ESL students and low socio economic group students.
The VAGTC has been contracted by DET to deliver teacher and parent half day seminars in 5 country towns in Victoria. VAGTC are writing an online resource for teachers to be placed on the DET website.
DET were the major sponsor for the conference.
Day 2 was opened by Judy Connell from Catholic Education Office, also sponsors of the conference.
Conference participants were treated to musical performances by Sadie Mustoe 2014 from The Patch Primary School winner of The Maldon Minstrel Award for country music singer-songwriters on Thursday http://www.maldonfolkfestival.com/maldon-minstrel-award.htm
and Alby Sands, a young jazz musician and composer from St Leonards College on Friday.
The excellent opening Keynote address presented by Dr Katherine Hoekman, the Consultant: Academic performance at the Association of Independent Schools NSW was titled Play, Passion and Performance.
Dr Hoekman also presented two mini keynote sessions Creating Agile Learning Spaces to Connect and Support the Community of Learners
and Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) Principles: Creating Opportunities for Depth and Complexity
The Keynote address on Friday 22 May given by Manoj Chandra Handa, a Gifted Education Consultant at Oceans of Excellence http://www.oceansofexcellence.com/ Sydney NSW was titled Building Differentiated Schools of Curious Delight.
He also presented an inspiring session titled Strategies for Identifying and Addressing Underachievement among Gifted Learners
There was a great selection of presentations and workshops.
I enjoyed attending these sessions
Andrea Blake It All Starts with Identification
Christine Ireland Tools, Practical Examples and Important Considerations for Teaching Creatively across Domains
Michele Juratowitch “Boring!” Understanding and Alleviating Tedium
A Parent Seminar was run in conjunction with the conference on Thursday 21 May
At this seminar Jenny Gotz Papillo spoke about her experiences in an excellent presentation titled One journey http://www.vagtc.asn.au/sites/vagtc.asn.au/files/Jenny%20Gotz%20Papillo%20Parent%20Seminar.pdf
Next a panel of experts moderated by Paul Double answered the parents’ questions on issues and concerns relating to parenting and educating gifted children.
The panel comprised Dr Gail Byrne, Andrea Blake, Kate Mitchell Dr Anne Grant and Jenny Gotz Papillo
After lunch the parents were addressed by Derek McCormack of Raising Children Network http://raisingchildren.net.au/
Then Michele Juratowitch of Clearing Skies Brisbane http://www.clearingskies.com.au/index.html presented ‘Gifted and Happy?’
Michele observed that whenever she speaks to parents the thing they most often say to her is “I just want my child to be happy!” Her own research influenced by the work of Dr Martin Seligman, Prof Miraca Gross, Dr Linda Silverman and Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed that students who were suitably placed in terms of educational challenge and true peers could be happy and did not have to make a forced choice.
I really enjoyed the experience of participating in the conference which ran very smoothly and catching up with friends and colleagues, especially the members of the VAGTC Committee, and also meeting and learning from so many people who are passionate about the education of gifted students.