Clarendon hosts the largest researchED conference in Australia

Dr Greg Ashman at researchED Ballarat 2024

On Saturday 23 March, Clarendon hosted researchED Ballarat for the second year in a row. The event was the largest researchED conference in Australia, with over 300 teachers and educators in attendance.

Having grown frustrated by the cost of education conferences and that they were mostly held during the school day (when teachers cannot attend), Tom Bennett founded researchED in 2013 with a goal to bridge the gap between research and practice in education.

Since then, researchED conferences have been held across the globe. Speakers donate their time to keep tickets low, and the conferences are held on Saturdays to maximise attendance. It is a grass roots movement that aims to connect education researchers with teachers so that teaching can be informed by the best available evidence.

“researchED brings together a special tribe of teachers who are prepared to meet on a Saturday to discuss research evidence,” said Deputy Principal, Dr Greg Ashman. “They are the cutting edge, taking exciting and transformational ideas back to their schools and building the knowledge of the profession. One day, they will not be as special as they are now because by then, evidence will be embedded in the experience of every teacher, from their training onwards.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Dr Tim McDonald, CEO of YMCA Western Australia. With over 20 years of experience in Australian education and youth justice settings, Dr McDonald presented on the significance of teaching behaviour as a means to bridge the disadvantage gap in Australian schools.

Dr Tim McDonald at researchED Ballarat 2024

Prior to the conference, on Friday afternoon, teaching staff at Clarendon were fortunate to participate in a professional learning session with Dr McDonald. The session was a fantastic opportunity for staff to get an early glimpse of researchED Ballarat 2024 while also building on their professional learning days in January about teaching learning behaviours to students.

researchED is known as a high-profile event with high-profile speakers. This year, speakers included Ballarat locals, visitors from Melbourne, Western Australia and Tasmania and researchers from the Australian Education Research Organisation and The Grattan Institute, as well as Clarendon staff.

Deputy Principal, Dr Greg Ashman, dismantled common myths about education, seeking the truth that sits behind them and what that means for teachers.

Head of Mathematics Prep-Year 5 and Psychology, Chris Calleja, explored the work by Dylan William around assessment. Within the context of teaching mathematics at the Junior School, Chris explained the process of evaluating assessments and tracking student progress to optimise the learning of every student.

In a joint presentation, Deputy Head of Middle School and English, Clare Ellis, and Head of English Prep-Year 12 and French, Mark Scruby, highlighted the benefits to incorporating The Writing Revolution strategies in schools. Together, they provided an overview of the ‘Hochman Method’, as well as the key strategies which have helped improve students’ reading comprehension and writing skills at Clarendon.

Final Clarendon speaker, Head of Mathematics Years 8-10, Caiti Wade, provided a roadmap to developing an explicit mathematics curriculum. Drawing on strategies taken from external research, Caiti guided attendees through the process of developing and implementing an explicit mathematics curriculum from scratch.

researchED was created with the aspiration to be more than a talking shop and to influence classroom practice through the dissemination of high-impact teaching strategies. Rather than being abstract or theoretical, researchED is practical and classroom focussed.

The values held by researchED and those who attend the conferences are like the values held by Ballarat Clarendon College. At Clarendon, we are a community of learners with a goal to provide equal learning opportunities to all students while following a curriculum that is evidence-based.

Ballarat Clarendon College is proud to have hosted researchED Ballarat 2024 as an opportunity to bring like-minded individuals together, share best practice and foster a community where learning and growth is celebrated. Thank you to all of the speakers, as well as the teachers, educators and researchers who attended the event.