Conference Speakers



Kath Murdoch

Kath Murdoch is an experienced teacher, author, university lecturer and popular consultant who has worked for many years in schools throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, America and Europe. She is widely respected for her work in the field of inquiry based learning and integrative curriculum in which she has taught, researched and published for well over 20 years. Kath’s fascination in how students’ construct their understandings and her interest in the way questions and big ideas could drive curriculum has led to her passion for integrative and inquiry based methodologies. The methodologies in which Kath specialises are now central to curriculum frameworks in many parts of the world – including the popular International Baccalaureate, PYP program.


Jenni Connor


Jenni Connor has ‘a passion for narrative’ that has set the trajectory for her life and career. She has been state and national president of The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA), a Board Member of CBCA, and twice acted as Judge for the Book of the Year Awards. Jenni has held the positions of Publications Manager and national president for ALEA and been Chair of the Literature and Community Arts panels for Arts Tasmania. For eight years she was a member of the Publications Committee for Early Childhood Australia (ECA) and she has authored books, journals and newsletters for that organisation. With Chris Topfer, Jenni co-authored the recent ECA publication Supporting literacy learning in the early years. She has managed curriculum and equity programs and written curriculum documents at state and national level, including being involved with the development of the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Australian Curriculum: English.  

Jenni currently works in research, editing and writing in a freelance capacity, undertaking projects for ECA and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) and conducting professional learning programs for government and independent school systems. Jenni is regularly invited to present at conferences, seminars and master classes on literature, literacy, curriculum and young children’s learning across Australia and overseas. 



Barbara Comber

Barbara Comber is a Research Professor in the Faculty of Education at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. She is particularly interested in literacy education and social justice. She has conducted longitudinal ethnographic studies and collaborative action research with teachers working in high poverty and culturally diverse communities. Her research examines the kinds of teaching that make a difference to young people's learning trajectories. Her current work explores ethical educational leadership, teachers’ work in literacy classrooms, the affordances of place-conscious pedagogies for developing critical and creative literacies, and, children learning to write in contemporary classrooms. She has also undertaken an institutional ethnography focussing on mandated literacy assessment and the reorganisation of teachers' work. She has co-edited a number of books including the International Handbook of Research in Children's Literacy, Learning and Culture (Hall, Cremin, Comber & Moll, 2013), Literacies in Place: Teaching environmental communications (Comber, Nixon & Reid, 2007) and Turn-around pedagogies: Literacy interventions for at-risk students (Comber & Kamler, 2005). Her new book, Literacy, place and pedagogies of possibility, was published in 2015. 

Misty Adoniou


Misty Adoniou is an Associate Professor in Language, Literacy and TESOL at the University of Canberra. She has received numerous teaching awards, including an OLT National Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning and the 2014 Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence. 
She was a lead writer for the national English as an Additional Language Teachers Resource which accompanies the Australian Curriculum and has served on several national advisory boards including ACARA’s Equity and Diversity Advisory Group and the Orientation Consultative Committee advising the Federal government on the settlement needs of refugees.

She believes in the advocacy power of professional voices and the importance of professional associations in corralling that strength. She has served as the President of two national teachers associations – TESOL Greece, and the Australian Council of TESOL Associations. She is currently on the board of Directors of TESOL International, an affiliation of 105 teachers associations around the globe. Her most recent research projects have been curriculum reviews conducted for the International Baccalaureate Organisation and the International Organisation for Migration. She also works closely with schools around the country leading professional learning in spelling, grammar and writing.

Melanie Shoffner

Melanie Shoffner is Associate Professor of English Education at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana (US), where she holds a joint appointment in the Departments of English and Curriculum & Instruction.  She completed her PhD in Education at the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, after earning an AB (English and History) and MAT (English) from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.  Melanie is Chair of the Conference on English Education (CEE) and editor of Contemporary Issues in Technology and Teacher Education (CITE): English.

Focusing on secondary English teacher preparation, her research explores issues of reflective practice, dispositional development and meaningful integration of technology, interests that first developed while teaching high school English Language Arts in North Carolina and Arizona. Her current projects include the edited book Exploring Teachers in Fiction and Film (Routledge) and the co-edited book Preparing English Language Arts Teachers to Teach English Language Learners (Palgrave Macmillan).  Working primarily with undergraduate preservice teachers, she has won several university teaching awards and frequently leads a study abroad program to London, England.  

Kirsten Malmkjær

Kirsten Malmkjær holds a BA in English and Philosophy (1981) and a PhD (1984) from Birmingham University. She taught at the Universities of Birmingham, Cambridge and Middlesex before taking up her current post as Professor of Translation Studies at the University of Leicester in 2010, where she established the Research Centre for Translation and Interpreting Studies and the MA in Translation Studies. Her research interests include translation theory, translation studies, translation in language teaching, translation and language, translation and philosophy, and Hans Christian Andersen’s language and literary production in Danish and in translations into English. She is the author of Linguistics and the Language of Translation (Edinburgh 2005), Translation in Undergraduate Degree Programmes (Amsterdam and Philadelphia 2004), Translation in Language Teaching (Manchester 1998) and, with Murray Knowles, Language and Control in Children’s Literature (London 1996). She is editor of The Linguistics Encyclopedia (London 1991; second edition 2002; third edition 2010) and, with Kevin Windle, of The Oxford Handbook of Translation Studies (2011). Among her most recent publications, with Anthony Pym, Maria del Mar Gutiérrez-Colón Plana, Alberto Lombardero and Fiona Soliman is Translation and language learning: The role of translation in the teaching of languages in the European Union. Studies on translation and multilingualism series. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union (2013).


David Caldwell 

Dr David Caldwell is a Lecturer in English Language and Literacy in the School of Education at the University of South Australia. David completed his Bachelor of Teaching, Bachelor of Arts(Hons) and Master of Arts in linguistics at Deakin University (Melbourne), and his PhD in linguistics at the University of Sydney. He recently completed a two-year post in Singapore where he worked as an Assistant Professor at the National Institute of Education in the School of English Language and Literature.

David is particularly interested in the application of Systemic Functional Linguistics to contemporary language contexts. These have included post-match interviews with AFL footballers, medical consultations with hospital patients, and Kanye West's rap music. He is currently investigating a range of language contexts, including literacy pedagogy in the APY Lands, English wordings on t-shirts in South-East Asia, and the on-field language practices of sports people.

David has over ten years’ experience teaching at a tertiary level, where he has taught a range of subjects in English language, literacy, and social linguistics. He has worked extensively training English language teachers for primary, secondary, and tertiary level education in Australia and overseas. During his postgraduate studies, David also taught in numerous primary school classrooms throughout Melbourne and Sydney.  He is currently providing professional learning sessions in English language and literacy to teachers in South Australia.


Sheena Cameron and Louise Dempsey


Sheena Cameron is an experienced teacher who has taught in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States. She has taught at primary, intermediate and tertiary levels. Sheena currently facilitates literacy workshops both in New Zealand and internationally and is the author of a number of books including Teaching Reading Comprehension Strategies (2009) and The Writing Book (with Louise Dempsey), (2013).

Louise Dempsey is an experienced teacher, consultant and trainer who has worked in New Zealand and the United Kingdom. She facilitates literacy training and professional learning around New Zealand and Australia and has completed a range of writing projects for NZ and English publishers, including the Department of Education in the United Kingdom. 


 John Yandell

John Yandell taught in inner London secondary schools for twenty years before moving to the Institute of Education, University College London, where he has worked since 2003.  As a teacher and a teacher educator, he has written extensively on policy and pedagogy, curriculum and assessment. He has a longstanding interest in school students as active and collaborative makers of meaning, and a commitment to investigating and representing classrooms as complex sites of cultural production.

He is the editor of the journal, Changing English: Studies in Culture and Education and the author of The Social Construction of Meaning: reading literature in urban English classrooms (Routledge, 2013). Other recent publications include Critical Practice in Teacher Education: a study of professional learning, which he co-edited with Ruth Heilbronn.  He edited Socialist Teacher for twelve years and contributes regularly to Education for Liberation.


Ian Reid

Ian Reid, an Adjunct Professor in Humanities at the University of Western Australia and Emeritus Professor of Education at Curtin, has written extensively on various topics from literary theory to education policy and curriculum reform. He has also been a consultant to schools, universities and education authorities as well as to a range of other clients across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors, and was the foundation CEO of the community service organisation Leadership Western Australia. 

Ian has a dozen books to his name – fiction, non-fiction and poetry – along with hundreds of articles in magazines, newspapers and periodicals. AATE issued his influential book The Making of Literature: Texts, Context and Classroom Practices in 1984 and he continues to publish in the field of English education, having contributed chapters to the AATE books English Teachers at Work and Teaching Australian Literature and articles to journals such as English in AustraliaHis writings, some of which have been translated into several languages and won international awards, include three historical novels, The End of Longing, That Untravelled World and The Mind’s Own Place.


Bill Green

Bill Green is Emeritus Professor of Education at Charles Sturt University, Bathurst, New South Wales. He has a long history of involvement in English teaching, as a classroom teacher initially in Western Australia and subsequently as an academic. He has published widely in both English teaching and curriculum inquiry, and has particular interests in literacy studies and English curriculum history. Among his publication are Teaching the English Subjects: Essays in English Curriculum History and Australian Schooling (1996), co-edited with Catherine Beavis, and two edited collections of Garth Boomer’s essays – Metaphors and Meanings (AATE, 1988) and Designs on Learning (1999). His recent book publications include Literacy in 3D: An Integrated Perspective in Theory and Practice (2012), co-edited with Catherine Beavis, Rethinking Rural Literacies: Transnational Perspectives (2013), co-edited with Michael Corbett, and The Body in Professional Practice, Learning and Education: Body/Practice (2015), co-edited with Nick Hopwood. He is currently working on a book seeking to bring together curriculum theory and English education.   He is a former editor of the UK-based journal Changing English (2009-2013).


Robyn Ewing AM

Initially a primary teacher, Robyn Ewing joined the then Faculty of Education at the University of Sydney in 1989 and is currently Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts. She lectures in Curriculum, English, Literacy and Drama across pre-service and postgraduate teacher education programs. She is passionate about the role that the Arts can play in transforming learning and has a commitment to creative pedagogy at all levels of education. She particularly enjoys working with educators interested in reforming their curriculum practices.

Robyn’s teaching, research and extensive publications include a focus on the use of drama strategies with literature to enhance students’ English and critical literacy learning. Teacher education, especially the experiences of early career teachers and the role of mentoring, sustaining curriculum innovation and evaluation, inquiry and case based learning and the use of arts informed, particularly narrative, inquiry in educational research are also current research interests.  She has worked in partnership with Sydney Theatre Company on the School Drama project since 2009 to develop primary teachers' confidence and expertise in using drama with quality literature to enhance student English and literacy outcomes. She was National President of the Australian Literacy Educators Association from 2011-15, and is Vice President of the Sydney Story Factory Board and a Council Member of the Australian Film, Television and Radio School (AFTRS).

Robyn is a recipient of a NSW Minister’s/Australian College of Educators Quality Teaching Award (2002),  the Director-General’s Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education (1995), and the Lady Cutler Award for distinguished service to children’s literature (2012). She was made a Fellow of the Australian College of Education in 2013 and a Member of the Order of Australia in 2015. 


Christopher Walsh

Christopher Walsh is an Associate Professor and Director of Education Programs at Torrens University Australia. He researches widely in the field of literacy education and international development. He has published 2 co-edited books, 5 co-edited textbooks and over 100 refereed journal articles, book chapters, research reports and conference papers. He also edits Digital Culture & Education (DCE). Christopher’s primary concern is to enhance teacher education through applied research and by developing frameworks for analysing and conceptualising alternative visions of education in a time of unprecedented social and technological change.  He does this intentionally to theorise and build sustainable educational futures that explicitly focus on improving literacy learning, schooling, student learning outcomes and fostering creativity.


Peter Nielsen

Peter Nielsen is an experienced classroom teacher and researcher.  His diverse track record includes design and coordination of whole-school learning support programs for children experiencing literacy learning difficulties to architect of the collaborative, Multilingual Literacy Approach. While at Flinders University he was responsible for delivering the English Curriculum Studies topic for pre-service teachers, design and delivery of two post-graduate topics for teachers and leaders of languages and literacy and mentorship of a range of school and partnership-based professional learning communities. He is passionate about helping young children to seasoned pedagogues harness the power of language to excite and engage and to build their repertoire of literacy teaching and learning practices in order to better understand their worlds and purposely create new ones.

Peter is currently responsible for the primary years’ literacy portfolio in the Department for Education and Child Development. 


 Lisa Kervin

Lisa Kervin is an Associate Professor in Language and Literacy in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Wollongong. Lisa is an experienced primary school teacher and has held literacy consultancy roles.  At UOW, Lisa is an active member of the Early Start Research Institute. Lisa’s current research interests are focused on young children and how they engage with literate practices and she is currently involved in research projects funded by the Australian Research Council focused on young children and writing (DP150101240), digital play (DP140100328) and the development and implementation of the Australian English Curriculum (DP1093826).  She has researched her own teaching and has collaborative research partnerships with teachers and students in tertiary and primary classrooms and prior-to-school settings. Lisa served as the NSW Director for the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association from 2008-2015.


Beryl Exley

Beryl Exley works in teacher education within the Faculty of Education at the Queensland University of Technology. She has a special interest in the teaching of grammar in classroom contexts, especially as it interfaces with multimodal texts (including visual design) and demands for engaging pedagogies that connect to students’ lived realities. Beryl has recently co-authored ‘Playing with Grammar in the early years’ (with Lisa Kervin) and ‘Exploring with grammar in the primary years’ (with Lisa Kervin and Jessica Mantei), both published by the Australian Literacy Educators’ Association. Details of Beryl’s research publications are available at,_Beryl.html.


 Paul Sommer

Paul Sommer’s current research at Curtin University caps 25 years of active contribution to the field of film studies for English teachers. Paul has presented workshops in all states and his professional writing has included 31 editions of Vis, a SAETA newsletter supplement on visual texts. His current interest is in the perception of time in film and the role of editing as the essential, but often undervalued, element in film analysis. It was the communications course at Charles Sturt University that gave him the critical foundations for what was already shaping up to be a lifelong passion for cinema. It also equipped him for work in theatre, journalism and television production early in his career.

 Anne Bayetto

Anne Bayetto has been a mainstream, special class, and adaptive education teacher and a district-wide disability support coordinator. She was the founding member of the South Australian Education Department's Learning Difficulties Support Team and she has worked in the Early Years Literacy Project as well as managing literacy and numeracy action research projects. She has voluntarily tutored students with literacy or numeracy learning difficulties ranging in ages from five to young adult and since 1989 has worked closely with the Specific Learning Difficulties Association of South Australia (SpeldSA). She regularly offers professional learning sessions for teachers, leaders and managers in education sectors across Australia. Anne is the reading expert for the Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALL) program and teaches these professional learning sessions in conjunction with Professor Tony Townsend (Griffith University, Brisbane-Educational Leadership) in different states of Australia. At Flinders University she teaches undergraduate and postgraduate topics focusing on school students who have literacy and/or numeracy difficulties.

Recipient: 2014 Australian Educational Publishing Awards for her work on Oxford Literacy Assess. Bayetto, A. et al. (2013).  South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Program Director, BEd(SpecEd) Singapore

Pauline Harris

Professor Pauline Harris holds the de Lissa Chair, Early Childhood (Research) at the University of South Australia, in partnership with SA Department for Education and Child Development. Pauline has expertise in children's language, literacy and literature; children's voices, participation and citizenship; and matters related to the nexus of early childhood and literacy research, policy and practice. She sits on various advisory boards and is a strong advocate for children’s rights, particularly children’s voices which are at the heart of her research. Pauline has authored five books and is an editor of the international Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. Amongst other research projects, Pauline currently leads an AustralianAID ADRAS Project on fostering children’s literacy development in Fiji communities; an early childhood literacy and citizenship project; and an ARC Discovery project on the Australian Curriculum: English.   


More to come...