Join us as we reveal the accomplished education experts who will be facilitating two days of insightful, inspiring learning at our conference!
Helen’s research addresses the role and importance of quality inclusive literature in the social and emotional and educational wellbeing of the child, with a particular focus on the importance of authentic representations and inclusion of cultural diversity in children’s literature. Helen’s work has a particular focus on promoting socially just and equitable education through the promotion of the publication and use of authentically diverse and inclusive literature as one way to break down barriers of prejudice and misunderstanding in society. Her work is published in internationally renowned research journals. Helen has served as a judge for the Children’s Book Council Book of the Year Awards and is frequently called on for expert comment in the media and as a presenter to diverse audiences of educators and academics. She is the author of the EPAA highly commended PETAA text Transforming Practice: Transforming Lives Through Diverse Children's Literature.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is an Australian poet and writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. She is the ABIA and Indie award-winning author of Carrying the World (2016), Foreign Soil (2017) and The Hate Race (2018). She is the author of five books for children, including the CBCA and Boston Globe/Horn Prize award-winning picture book The Patchwork Bike (2016, illustrated by Van T Rudd), and the critically acclaimed Wide Big World (2018, illustrated by Isobel Knowles). Maxine is the author-illustrator of two picture books, Fashionista (2019) and When We Say Black Lives Matter (2020). She also illustrated the picture book 11 Words for Love (2022), written by Randa Abdel-Fattah.
Jon is an experienced teacher, having worked in primary schools, universities and in professional development for teachers. His areas of expertise include primary English and literacy teaching. His research areas include visual literacy, multimodality, the use of ICT to support literacy and multimodal learning, as well as student creativity and engagement. As a professional literacy consultant, he has worked alongside teachers in their classrooms, in Australia and the US. He is passionate about engaging and equitable education for all his students. Jon's key reference text for teachers, The Shape of Text to Come: How Image and Text Work, will be published in an updated and expanded edition by PETAA in 2023.
Dr Helen Cozmescu is Lecturer in Primary Language and Literacy at Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She is an experienced primary teacher and school leader. Her PhD studies, completed in 2021, used constructivist grounded theory methodology and the scholarship of Paulo Freire and Lorenzo Milani to investigate the intersection of critical literacy, Indigenous perspectives and the early years of schooling. Helen has written several teacher reference materials published by PETAA, including teaching units of work based on quality texts. Currently, Helen lectures and co-ordinates subjects in the Master of Teaching and Master of Education programs. She also works within the Melbourne Graduate School of Education partnership with Orbis, providing professional development to teachers in South Australia.
Dr Helen Harper is a Senior Lecturer in English, Literacies and Language Education at the University of New England. She has previously worked as a researcher, lecturer and mentor in literacy education, as a linguist in remote Indigenous communities, and as an EAL/D teacher. Helen spent more than two decades in the Northern Territory. Initially she went to study Aboriginal languages, but over time she was drawn more to primary education, and to questions about how schooling can best support children to become effective users of language and literacy. Helen’s current research interests include collaborating with teachers to apply principles of scaffolding language both in the literacy block and across the curriculum. In 2016-2017 she was a co-recipient, with Bronwyn Parkin, of the Primary English Teaching Association of Australia (PETAA) Research Grant.
Alison Lester is one of Australia's most popular and bestselling creators of children's books. She is also an educator. Alison was awarded the inaugural Australian Children's Laureate position in 2011. She has received multiple awards, including multiple CBCA Book of the Year awards, the Dromkeen Medal and the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature. She became a Member of the Order of Australia in the 2019 Australia Day honours. Alison lives on a farm in the Victorian countryside. She spends part of each year travelling to schools around Australia, helping students and teachers develop their own stories.
Lorraine is the author of the highly successful PETAA publication A Literature Companion for Teachers, which has been significantly expanded in a revised in her brand new edition published March 2023. She is currently Honorary Fellow, School of Education, Australian Catholic University (ACU), Sydney. Lorraine, a former classroom teacher, has taught pre- and postgraduate teachers in Literacy Education, Linguistics, ESL and Literature for Children and Young Adults. She is a regular presenter at international conferences and currently is teaching at ACU and the University of New England, NSW. When not teaching or presenting engaging and innovative workshops and addresses for PETAA, Lorraine indulges in her other love — travelling.
Kath Murdoch is an experienced teacher, writer, university lecturer and popular consultant who has worked for many years with teachers and students in schools throughout Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Africa, Canada,The United States, The UK and Europe. Author of 15 books and numerous articles for teachers – including the best selling ‘The Power of Inquiry’ (2015), Kath is widely respected for her work in the field of inquiry-based learning in which she has taught, researched and published for well over 30 years.
Jasmine Seymour is a Dharug woman belonging to the Burubiranggal people. She is a Dharug language teacher, researcher and activist. Jasmine is a registered primary school teacher (BEd) with a Masters degree in Indigenous Languages Education (University of Sydney). She teaches Dharug language at her school and also delivers Dharug lessons in community to adults. Jasmine is the author/illustrator of Baby Business, winner of the CBCA Best New Illustrator Award in 2020, the author of the 2020 Prime Minister’s Literary Award winning children’s title, Cooee Mittigar, illustrated by Leanne Mulgo Watson and also the author illustrator of Open Your Heart To Country. As a researcher, she is engaged with documenting Dharug language, has collaborated with Grace Karskens on the Real Secret River project and is a co-curator for the Dyarubin exhibition at the State Library of NSW. Jasmine is the secretary of the Da Murrytoola Aboriginal Education Consultancy Group (AECG). She is currently studying a Masters by Research at Western Sydney University
Martina is a language and literacy lecturer at the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education where she also coordinates the Early Childhood and Primary course. Martina’s research interests include literacy assessment, neoliberalism in education, the transition between early childhood and primary education and language and literacy learning and teaching in the early years of schooling. Her doctoral research explored teachers' literacy assessment autonomy and agency in the early years of schooling. She found that teachers were implementing a range of commercially produced assessment tools to assess a narrow range of literacy skills. Many of these tools did not require teacher judgement and additionally the assessment often became the curriculum. Her research also highlighted the tension early years teachers face with greater expectations being placed on them to prepare children for formal assessments such as NAPLAN.
Tim worked with Department of Education & Training (Vic) as a Project Manager on the Shepparton Education Plan. This was a plan for transformational change in the outcomes and opportunities for the young people of Greater Shepparton. He is a former Principal of Gowrie St Primary School in Shepparton. Earlier in his career, he taught Legal Studies and Humanities at Wanganui Park Secondary College. Tim has led and supported a number of Indigenous education and cultural awareness strategies which have been launched in schools across the Murray Goulburn Valley region. He was the Project Co-ordinator for the Kaiela Dhungala First Peoples Curriculum and is on the boards of Ganbina and Boundless, two organisations aimed at supporting the aspirations of our young people.