Sylvia Walton Oration

The annual Sylvia Walton Oration is a prominent feature of the ACE Victoria calendar. Amongst many roles in education, Sylvia Walton AO was Chancellor of La Trobe University, Principal of Tintern Grammar and Deputy Head of Campus at Caulfield Grammar School Wheelers Hill. The oration is delivered by a prominent contributor to education and highlights contemporary issues faced by the education community.

Past Orations

2018: The Melbourne Indigenous Transition School presented by Edward Tudor

The 2018 Oration was presented by Edward Tudor, Executive Director of the Melbourne Indigenous Transition School.  MITS is a transition school for Indigenous students from remote and regional communities.  Each year, 22 boys and girls come to MITS for Year 7.  It is a place of wellbeing support, and of academic enrichment and extension that supports young people as they take on the challenge of away-from-home schooling.  We have a classroom ratio of 1 teacher to 4 students, ensuring that we can differentiate our program to provide for each student.  In the Boarding House, two thirds of our staff are themselves Indigenous people, and all have experienced the challenge and reward of education away from home.

At the end of their MITS year, our students graduate into scholarship positions at our Partner Schools – now totalling 13 schools across the Independent, Catholic and Government sectors.  Once they have transitioned, we continue to provide support to our alumni, the Melbourne Families they often live with, and their Partner Schools, through our Pathways Program.

2017: Social and emotional learning – from evidence to action presented by Professor Helen Cahill

The 2017 oration was presented by Professor Helen Cahill, Director of the Youth Research Centre, Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne. Professor Cahill leads research and teaching in the area of child and youth wellbeing, specializing in approaches to addressing social health issues relating to gender, mental health and sexuality education. Her body of work includes transformative education programs developed for a range of United Nations agencies working within 15 countries in the Asia-Pacific region, and education systems across Australia. She is the lead author of over 30 education programs designed to advance student wellbeing in the areas of gender rights, sexuality, social and emotional learning, violence prevention, alcohol education, grief education and youth participation. Her 70 academic publications span the disciplines of health and education. Her recent works include the Resilience Rights and Respectful Relationships teaching and learnings resources published by the Department of Education Victoria, developed for use with students from Foundation to Year 12.

The title of the 2017 oration was:

“Social and emotional learning – from evidence to action”

Schools are a key setting through which to build the personal and social capabilities. The OECD defines social and relational skills as the 21st Century skills which are key for success in life and employment. Research demonstrates that social and emotional learning programs can lead to improved academic outcomes and reduced rates of bullying, disengagement, depression and anxiety. The presentation focused on the ways that evidence-informed approaches to social and emotional learning can inform best practice in pedagogy, with emphasis on collaborative learning, relationship-building and metacognitive engagement.

2016: The shifting roles of teachers and students amidst the demand for twenty first century skills by Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffin

The 2016 oration was presented by Emeritus Professor Patrick Griffin of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education (MGSE), who will speak on:  The shifting roles of teachers and students amidst the demand for twenty first century skills.

2015: How to recognise excellent teachers by Professor John Hattie

John Hattie is Director of the Melbourne Educational Research Institute at the University of Melbourne. His areas of interest are measurement models and their applications to educational problems, and models of teaching and learning. John’s previous appointments were in Auckland, North Carolina, Western Australia, and New England. He was Chief Moderator of the NZ Performance Based Research Fund, and is Past President of the International Test Commission and Associate Editor of the British Journal of Educational Psychology and American Educational Research Journal.

2014: National & State Policy developments in education

Bronwyn Pike was the National President of ACE from 2014 – 2016. Ms Pike was Minister for Education in Victoria and was the Member of Parliament for Melbourne from 1999 to 2012. Prior to entering Parliament, Ms Pike worked as a teacher, a community services manager and as the Director of the Unit of Justice and Social Responsibility in the Uniting Church. She is also a former Board Director of Greenpeace Australia. Bronwyn has a long history of advocating for social change, equality and the disadvantaged.

2013: Cross Curriculum Priorities: Engagement with Asia – the moral imperative.

2012: Women in Leadership: Journeys to success

2011: Indigenous Education: teaching teachers to understand aboriginal ways of knowing and being