Conference Online

2016 National Summit on Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour

In 2013, a PISA report noting that Australia scored higher than the OECD average on classroom noise and disorder reinvigorated calls for a return to “traditional” teacher-centred styles of teaching and increased power to allow principals to suspend “repeat offenders” (Donnelly, 2013). The following year some commentators advocated bringing back the cane; a call that reverberated around the world (Perlman, 2014).

​Now, in 2016, a new 'School Discipline Party' is seeking to run Senate candidates at the upcoming Federal election. Among their policies is an end to grade progression for "lazy" students, confiscation/destruction of students' mobile phones, cessation of social security payments to parents of disruptive students, CCTV cameras in classrooms, increased exclusion in the form of off-site detention centres, and cancellation of enrolment for “students displaying a notable lack of cooperation or endeavour” once they turn 15 (Duff, 2016).


The 2016 National Summit on Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour will be hosted by Queensland University of Technology (QUT) on the 28th and 29th of June.

It will feature presentations by international experts in school discipline policy and practice. These experts will examine where and how measures like those listed above have been tried previously, why they failed, and what we can and should do instead. The event is sponsored by QUT’s Faculty of Education, the Queensland Government Department of Education Metropolitan Region, and Springer Publishing.

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The Summit has two key aims:

  • The first is to highlight the relationships between school culture, quality teaching, the design of learning experiences, and student engagement, behaviour and learning.
  • The second is to promote quality evidence-based practices and to build stronger collaborative networks between schools, education providers and researchers. 

To achieve this, the Summit will bring together leading researchers in these fields and will showcase schools in which positive approaches have worked and are effective. 

The program includes keynote presentations by Professor Stephen Lamb from Victoria University’s Centre for International Research on Education Systems, an expert in educational systems, early school leaving and post-school outcomes.

Also joining us from Victoria is Mr Peter Hutton, Principal of Templestowe College (better known as TC) where students direct their own learning and where enrolments have increased 63% in 6 years! In his keynote presentation, Peter will explain how TC engages students by providing curriculum choice and how all schools can drive achievement by transforming attitudes to learning.

Between these keynote presentations are samples of research by research academics who are seeking to understand the associations between teaching practice and student engagement. The featured research asks:

  • How does severely disruptive behaviour develop and what can we DO about it?  Is gender a factor and, if so, why?
  • If relationships are the “glue” that holds student engagement, teaching and learning together, how can we build those relationships? What are their constituent parts?
  • What do emotion and social bonds have to do with teaching and student achievement? Especially in “academic” subjects like science?

In addition to research presentations, the Summit will this year feature a variety of breakout workshops designed to enable greater time and space for professional learning, collaboration, conversation and (dare we say it…) FUN!

The two days of the Summit are linked through an evening keynote featuring Professor Russell Skiba, an international expert in school discipline, Positive Behaviour for Learning, the effects of zero-tolerance policies, and the disproportionate representation of minorities in school disciplinary data.

Russell brings extensive experience and research expertise from the United States where approaches that are sometimes recommended here have been tried and some of which have failed.

The evening keynote will be followed by a reception sponsored by QUT’s Vice Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake.

Only 280 seats are available, so please book early to avoid disappointment!

Please direct enquiries to:

Associate Professor Linda Graham
Summit Convenor