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Festival celebrates the art of teaching


Zuleika Henderson
20 October 2009
Educators from all over Australia and the world will gather this week to celebrate their profession and swap new ideas at the inaugural Festival of Teaching running from this Wednesday, October 21, until Thursday, October 29 at Southern Cross University’s Lismore, Tweed and Coffs Harbour campuses.

The festival will comprise a series of events including workshops, fun activities and presentations from visiting scholars Mick Healey, Professor of Geography and director of the Centre for Active Learning at the University of Gloucester in the United Kingdom and Sally Kift, Professor of Law at QUT, who will both share their insights into teaching.

Dr Adele Wessell, project officer for the Promoting Excellence Initiative at Southern Cross University’s Teaching and Learning Centre, said the theme for educators at the festival was engaging with the community, with students and with each other.

“The festival will bring people together to look at how the University can further its work with the community,” said Dr Wessell.

“People can pitch new ideas about engaging with the community, or draw on their history in an event called ‘Rear Vision’, where people who have been part of the institution for many years will talk about enduring values and fresh approaches.

Staff will showcase their partnerships with the community, the strengths of research with the community and the opportunities for students to do research projects that have a real-world application and are relevant to the community at the same time.

“There will be presentations from highly respected visiting scholars which complement work that we are also doing within the University, so it will be an opportunity to exchange information and build expertise in these areas.

“SCU’s own Associate Professor Karen Martin and Professor Martin Hayden will also speak on how Indigenous perspectives can be embedded into the curriculum.”

The festival, which will also be attended by student representatives, will also feature fun activities such as a ‘Distinguished Educators Framed’ event where local educators who have received awards or grants in the field of teaching and learning will appear in a frame and have a ‘Hollywood minute’ to describe what they have done to deserve their accolades in 60 seconds.

A film night will feature Iranian film-maker Samira Makhmalbaf’s award winning Blackboards, about a group of Kurdish teachers who have become refugees and their struggle to survive.

“The festival is intended as an event to celebrate our teaching and engagement, as well as provide an opportunity to exchange resources and ideas to further and promote good teaching,” said Dr Wessell.

Photo: Dr Adele Wessell (high resolution image available on request)