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  • Workshops > Stream: Learning & Teaching

    Stream: Learning and Teaching  
    Workshop Title/Session(s)  Description  Presenter(s) 

    Catholic Regional College Sydenham: 35th Anniversary Art Project 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3 
    • Workshop 4
      Pre-Function Space 

    2017 marks the 35th anniversary of Catholic Regional College (CRC) Sydenham. To mark the occasion, CRC Sydenham are embarking on a major art project that focuses on the traditional 14 Stations of the Cross, with the addition of a 15th Resurrection Station. It is envisaged that at the end of the project, there will be 15 individual pieces of art in a variety of mediums, each 2 metres x 4 metres in size, which will form a prayerful, meditative and artistic entrance to the college property from the existing Trade Trading Centre car park.
    As a senior secondary Catholic college affiliated with Mercy Education, the overall theme of the project is sourced from the Church’s 2016 Jubilee theme centred on the Mercy of God. CRC Sydenham hopes to capture through 15 pieces of Art of Jesus’ passion, death and resurrection, a variety of contemporary and culturally diverse images of the ‘Face of Mercy’.

    These sessions will be presented by students of Catholic Regional College Sydenham, who are designing and creating the 15 pieces of art.

    Combining Religious Education and Inquiry Learning: Navigating the Intersections 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3 
    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 9 

    The teachers and leaders at St Paul’s Kealba Catholic School, Kealba, undertook an inquiry to answer the question: How do we make genuine links between Religious Education and Inquiry to support our learners to engage in a faith-based interpretation of their world? Their goal was to ‘support our learners to engage in a faith interpretation of their world’ and ‘through our curriculum and pedagogy, encourage and foster the formation of a faith-driven community at St Paul’s’.

    Matthew Stead has been teaching at St Paul’s Kealba Catholic School for the past eight years. He is religious education leader and deputy principal and has been involved in the Navigating the Intersections school inquiry since its inception.

    Tina Segulin has worked at St Paul’s Kealba for the past nine years in various roles including classroom teacher, literacy leader and, as of 2015, learning and teaching leader. Tina joined the Navigating the Intersections school inquiry project in 2015.

    Denis Daly joined St Paul’s Kealba Catholic School as Principal at the beginning of 2015, having been religious education leader and deputy principal at Mary Mackillop Primary School, Keilor Downs. He is also a part of the Navigating the Intersections school inquiry.

    Digital Enrichment: To Know, Worship and Love – The Secondary Tasks and Primary Planning 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 8 

    The task of converting To Know, Worship and Love into a digital format afforded James Goold House Publishing an opportunity to craft some new resources. Some 15 units from the books have been expanded upon and given the new form of (interactive) Enrichment Resources that reside alongside the book digital content.
    This workshop intends to share this ‘fresh new undertaking’ that bears witness to the Roman Catholic narrative. By outlining the history and rationale for the project and sharing some examples, this workshop will prompt a lively sharing of ideas.
    The enrichment material not only includes digital folios for each student but also teacher notes that will offer a background for a collaborative planning of classroom activities. The place of interactive resources in the classroom is a vital conversation for religious educators today.

    Pat Sully is the Executive Officer of James Goold House Publications and oversees the Religious Education Texts Project. Pat, with a strong IT background, has worked in this office for over seven years and guides the planning and implementation of digital Enrichment Resources.
    Matthew Castanelli is Product Manager. He is the lead developer of To Know, Worship and Love (KWL) Digital Enrichment Units and is responsible for all of our KWL Digital Publications. Matthew and his team work with the writing teams to create the interactive components of the enriched KWL texts.
    Kathryn Bowden is the Resource Writer in Religious Education and Theology at Catholic Education Melbourne. Kathryn is a member of the Secondary Writing team that has produced the interactive digital resources for James Goold House Publishing.
    Joe Doolan is a Theology and Religious Education writer who collaborates with the KWL Digital Project. Joe has a background in liturgical studies and secondary Religious Education.

    Embracing Life – A conversation about palliative care 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1 
      Studio 1 

    Embracing Life is a short film (12 minutes) about a group of students and what they discover as they engage in the world of palliative care. Through this journey, they experience God’s mercy in revealing ways and are able express their deeper understanding of the human condition and the sacredness of life.

    This workshop will be introduced by three students from Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Oakleigh, who participated in the program at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem.

    Teaching and Learning Opportunities 

    Embracing Life is a sensitive and beautifully crafted short film that you are welcome to use in a variety of ways in a number of learning domains. It is a valuable learning tool that can promote crucial conversations in enrichment environments such as retreats, reflection days, middle-school programs, career programs and student wellness programs. The themes that may emerge include:

    • journey as experiential learning
    • the power of intergenerational learning
    • resilience in the face of loss
    • social justice and caring for others
    • meaning-making through service.

    How to use this Short Film 

    Embracing Life is a joint venture between Calvary Health Care Bethlehem, Palliative Care Victoria and La Trobe University. It has been trialled with secondary school students and evaluated by La Trobe University (a link to the evaluation is available in your information pack). The student evaluations were overwhelmingly positive and so we are confident in offering this resource to you.

    Staff Professional Development 

    Calvary Health Care Bethlehem is offering health promotion educators to come to your school and provide professional development to teaching staff about ways to use Embracing Life. We believe that it is teachers who best know their students and can facilitate their learning in a safe and familiar learning environment.

    Students from Sacred Heart Girls’ College, Oakleigh 

    John de Bono (volunteer at Calvary Health Care Bethlehem) began his professional life as a teacher. He was a religious education coordinator at secondary schools before becoming principal of a special school for children living with a range of complex medical and learning needs. He has since worked in the area of professional development in a variety of education, welfare, disability, aged care and health service contexts, including holding the position of Director of Mission, Calvary Health Care Bethlehem.

    Cath Behan is a secondary teacher who has worked in secondary schools and, until recently, at Catholic Education Melbourne in the Wellbeing Unit. Her work in wellbeing involved working with both primary and secondary teachers to empower them to improve the wellbeing of all members of the school community. Her particular focus in wellbeing was health issues, especially mental health.

    Enabling Full Flourishing: Student wellbeing, grace and mercy 

    15 July  


    • Workshop 3
      Studio 2 


    The mission, and privilege, of the Catholic school is to build a community where authentic relationships based on respect, acceptance, compassion and justice provide the means and the support for all students to flourish and grow into the fullness of life. Grounded in the belief that wellbeing is dynamic, integral to learning and ‘everyone’s business’, this workshop explores the essence of grace and mercy as foundational to building inclusive, safe and supportive learning environments where young people’s sense of belonging, self-worth and resiliency are strengthened.
    Drawing on Pope Francis’ comments that ‘what matters most is our relationships with God and each other’, participants will explore how increasing the relational capacity of staff, students and families to engage and connect around the principle of unconditional positive regard nurtures understanding and trust to support and promote the social, emotional, spiritual, physical and cognitive dimensions of young people’s wellbeing.

    Dennis Torpy: In his role as Manager, Wellbeing, at Catholic Education Melbourne, Dennis draws on 20 years of broad experience in Catholic and public sector education, media and journalism to promote and enhance student outcomes. Working at multiple levels across schools, agencies, community organisations, Commonwealth and State governments and Ministers’ offices, Dennis focuses on driving improvements and responding to challenges in broad policy areas such as student wellbeing and health, inclusion and parent and community engagement. Dennis is a current Board Member for CatholicCare and represents the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) on the Victorian Catholic Schools Parent Body. He complements this role by serving as one of two Victorian representatives on the national parent stakeholder body, Catholic School Parents Australia, as well as representing the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) on assorted Commonwealth wellbeing and child safety initiatives.

    Lina Di Paolo: Through a teaching career of 15 years, school leadership positions and in her current role as Team Leader, Wellbeing, at Catholic Education Melbourne, Lina has contributed to the design, delivery and implementation of student wellbeing policies, strategies and practices in primary and secondary schools. She represents Catholic Education Melbourne and the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria Ltd (CECV) on a range of statewide reference groups associated with student wellbeing, engagement and health. Lina is the National Catholic Education Commission (NCEC) representative on the Countering Violent Extremism Working Group. She is a Fellow of the Fairley Community Leadership Program and recently completed her doctoral studies at the University of Melbourne focusing on school, family and community engagement.

    Tom Brunzell has over 15 years of experience as a teacher, school leader, and education advisor in New York City and Melbourne. Currently he is the Senior Advisor, Education, and the leader of the Berry Street Education Model at the Berry Street Childhood Institute, Victoria. Tom presents internationally on topics of transforming school cultures, high expectations for differentiated instruction, trauma-informed practice, wellbeing and the application of positive psychology, and effective school leadership.  He is also a PhD candidate at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne, studying trauma-informed pedagogy and positive psychology, and their impacts on workplace meaning.

    Religious Education Curriculum Framework Renewal: Stories of practice 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3 
    • Workshop 4
      Studio 3 

    In the renewal process of the Religious Education Curriculum Framework in the Archdiocese of Melbourne, ‘Focus Schools’ were invited to explore a hermeneutical approach to learning and teaching through schools’ own inquiry into their pedagogy and faith formation of staff. This workshop explores one school’s inquiry process, highlighting their struggles and their learning. They engage student, teacher and leader voices in their learning, identifying ways the renewed curriculum framework is re-energising their approach in Religious Education.
    Learning Consultants, Religious Education, work regionally leading and supporting schools to progress practice in the area of Religious Education.

    Louise Harris  is part of the Catholic Education Melbourne team in the role of Learning Consultant, Religious Education, based in the Eastern Region. She comes to this conference with a passion for learning and supporting students and leaders in Catholic schools, sharing her learning story in an environment of hope and trust.

    Mary Jones has worked as a Learning Consultant, Religious Education, for Catholic Education Melbourne since August 2014. She loves the diversity of the role and the many opportunities to engage with schools on a variety of levels, from planning and learning design to the school improvement process. Prior to this, Mary was Religious Education Leader at Holy Spirit Community School, returning to work here after having children. She has completed a Masters in Religious Education and Educational Leadership and enjoys engaging with other educators through social media. Mary has a strong focus on pedagogy in her work and loves the opportunity to use technology and its limitless possibilities to engage learners in authentic, purposeful and connected learning.

    Cathy Dimitrakopoulos is currently the Learning and Teaching Leader at Sacred Heart School, Croydon. Her teaching and learning philosophy is based on building relationships with students, staff and the wider community. She believes in the ‘full flourishing’ of each individual and sees the potential in each person. Her leadership philosophy is centred on building the capacity of the staff she works with. She believes that when teachers are provided with optimal conditions and access to professional learning and dialogue, and continually asked to reflect on their current practice, they are well placed to exceed what they believe possible: an inclusive, personalised, faith-based curriculum that enables learners to understand, participate and to make a difference in our world.

    Religious Education, Inquiry and Hermeneutical Learning 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3 
      Studio 8 

    Religious Education is undergoing a renewal in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. As teachers we are coming to terms with how Religious Education engages students with the richness of the Catholic religious tradition as a specific learning area, while at the same time explicitly linking aspects of a Catholic world view to other learning domains. This two-fold responsibility presents opportunities for teachers in Religious Education to explore how best to design learning that engages students in both aspects.

    Catechists and experienced teachers will be able to grapple with ways Religious Education can be brought to life through a variety of approaches. It challenges participants to hold in tension the issues in the students’ world and society and the Religious Education curriculum content as well as cross-curricular links.

    This workshop opens up discussion about ways individual teachers or schools may address this dual aspect of Religious Education. This workshop focuses on pedagogy and on unpacking the RE teachers’ role in a hermeneutical approach to learning which engages students in deep dialogue.

    Margaret Waldeck: After graduating as a mature-age student from the Institute of Catholic Education (Christ Campus), Margaret went on to teach for over 20 years in schools in the Eastern Region of the Archdiocese of Melbourne, 12 of them as Religious Education Leader. The work of intersecting Religious Education with all other areas of the curriculum has been a career-long passion and this practice fits well with her belief in Inquiry Learning as the most effective pedagogy. Having acquired a Master’s Degree in Religious Education at Australian Catholic University, Margaret went on to work for Catholic Education Melbourne where she has worked with schools and office staff to explore what contemporary learning and teaching in Religious Education might look like.

    Ingrid Green has worked as a teacher and leader in Religious Education, Teaching and Learning and as Deputy Principal in schools in the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne for over 25 years. She currently holds the position of Learning Consultant, Religious Education, at Catholic Education Melbourne, Southern Region, where she has worked for the past five years.

    Working in a Frontier Space 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 5 

    Jenn Brown-Omichi was fortunate enough to hear Professor Didier Pollefeyt speak recently where she heard him say, ‘People in Catholic schools should be searching for what it means to live as Catholics in today’s multicultural society’. This statement enabled Jenn to open the space to dialogue with schools about Faith and Languages.
    When Dr Paul Sharkey speaks about strengthening and enhancing our school’s Catholic identity, he speaks about ‘working in a frontier space’. Frontiers can be walls to divide or separate ‘them’ and ‘us’. They can mark boundaries or mark territories.
    By encountering diverse religious, social, cultural, linguistic, and ethical influences, we are able to challenge the ‘them’ and ‘us’ attitudes and enable learners to explore our Christian anthropology. This presentation will discuss how Languages learning and Religious Education can be an authentic context through which schools encounter ‘the other’.

    Jenn Brown-Omichi
    Early in her career, over a period of ten years, Jennifer lived and worked in Japan, teaching in the primary, secondary and tertiary education sectors. Jennifer joined Catholic Education Melbourne in 2009 to work on the National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP). Now, as Senior Project Officer, Languages, Jennifer’s passion for creativity in learning and teaching continues to drive the direction of the CECV Languages – Finding Your Voice strategy to improve the Languages learning experience for all learners.

    The Year of Mercy: Caritas in action 

    14 July  

    • Workshop 1  
    • Workshop 2 
      Studio 7 

    Caritas Australia is a work of mercy of the Catholic Church in over 35 countries. In this Jubilee Year of Mercy, our gospel values and the principles of Catholic Social Teaching both guide and compel us to strengthen our partnerships with marginalised children, women and men where ‘the poor and the earth are crying out’.
    Caritas Australia enables the corporal works of mercy to be carried out in communities that experience the oppression of poverty daily in our world.
    Caritas’s corporal work involves welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty and sheltering the homeless in 35 countries around the world. Caritas’ spiritual works of mercy include spiritual work of instruction on global issues and Catholic Social Teaching in primary and secondary Catholic schools across Australia.
    Catholic educators see learning as a journey of endless possibilities where all are energised to seek meaning and explore questions about the world around them. Resources for students across all Learning Areas (primary and secondary) will be profiled.

    Megan Bourke has been teaching for more than 30 years with an initial career focus in geography and science. Her teaching practice has spanned F–12 and mentoring of pre-service teachers. For the past 25 years, Megan has been delivering professional learning for Victorian teachers and students across all learning areas, covering a range of global issues. She has spoken at teacher events on many occasions, with an emphasis on global issues such as sustainable futures, poverty alleviation, the Sustainable Development Goals, fair trade, globalisation, health, education, the environment, gender equality and intercultural understanding.
    In 2013 Megan joined the Caritas Australia Global Education team to deepen delivery in the Catholic school sector. She has addressed audiences on global health issues on numerous occasions and most recently led teacher tours of Bolivia, the Philippines and Cambodia to examine the impact of Caritas’s work in those countries. Her work now involves promoting the importance of Catholic learning communities having justice at the heart of their work and encouraging teachers and students to be active in their service to others. Megan’s work is guided by the words of Pope Paul VI: ‘If you want Peace, work for Justice’; and the words of Oscar Romero: ‘Aspire not to HAVE more, but to BE more.’

    Pedagogies of Mercy 

    15 July  

    • Workshop 3  
    • Workshop 4 
      Studio 4 

     Like us, keynote speaker Maureen O’Connell is an educator, called to the same challenging work of actively engaging young people in matters of life and faith.
    As Chair of the Department of Religion at La Salle University in Philadelphia, her work is to prepare students for life in our multicultural and plural times by equipping them with ‘religious literacy’ – understanding the historical developments, contemporary significance, and distinctiveness of the Catholic and other traditions. With her colleagues, she seeks to cultivate students’ capacity to engage with difference in self-reflective and socially conscious ways.

    Graced with a restlessness to grapple with questions, she will continue the dialogue with workshop participants about the question posed in the keynote address: In what ways can mercy shape why we do what we do as teachers and how we do our work in our school communities and classrooms? Join Maureen O’Connell to explore strategies and activities for infusing encounters with mercy into our learning communities.

    Dr Maureen O’Connell is Chair of the Department of Religion at La Salle University in Philadelphia, where she is also an Associate Professor of Christian Ethics. She authored If These Walls Could Talk: Community muralism and the beauty of justice, which won the College Theology Book of the Year Award in 2012 and the Catholic Press Association’s first place for books in theology in 2012. An innovative theologian and dynamic teacher, her current research project explores racial identity formation, racism, and racial justice in Catholic institutions of higher education.

  • 'Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.' (Luke 6: 36)