Stage 6 conference reflection

It has been over a week since our Third Annual Stage 6 Conference and we thought it was timely to check in with our members and delegates about the exciting new ideas, resources and knowledge that was shared at the conference.

Firstly, on behalf of the ACHPER NSW Board, members and delegates I would like to thank our experienced presenters who took time out of their busy schedules to share their expertise, advice and support for PDHPE and CAFS teachers at the conference. We are extremely lucky to have such a vast number of teachers who were willing to share. If you think you might like to present at any of our events in the future, please do not hesitate to contact our Executive Officer Julie Percival at

It is important to ponder on the purpose of the professional learning offered by our Stage 6 Conference. Cole (2012) describes professional learning as the formal and informal learning experiences undertaken by teachers and school leaders to improve their individual teaching practice and the school’s’ collective effectiveness as measured by improved student engagement and learning outcomes.

What have you done back at school to experiment with any of the ideas that were shared?

How have you used these ideas to improve your own learning journey?

When have you used the resources that were showcased to improve student learning?

During my welcome at the conference I said that teachers are valuable. The networks they make throughout their journey not only benefit them professionally, but have a huge impact on the learning outcomes of their students. I truly believe that teachers and members of our PDHPE community can greatly benefit from working together by learning, networking, sharing and collaborating. To be inspired by each other’s passion and commitment to be the best they can be and to share positive messages with the young people with whom they work.

The concept of teachers using their colleagues as resources to maintain and improve their work can be further supported in Harris’ (2014) interview with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) where she states “collaboration amongst teachers is the most powerful form of professional learning that we have”.

Fullan (2005) refers to collaboration across schools as ‘lateral capacity building’. He believes this pays dividends in relation to new knowledge and wider commitments. In Turnaround Leadership Fullan (2006) discusses external commitments to form partnerships with other schools and suggests that clusters or networks of schools work together in community.

This open exchange, allows networked interactions where teachers share their own practice, rather than being the passive recipients of expert knowledge; such interactions provide opportunities for useful discourse related to practice (Mackey & Evans, 2011).

I urge teachers to use what was shared at the conference now, not next week, not next month, but now. Cole (2012) and Lumpe (2007) discuss the impact of professional development and make it clear that for professional learning to be effective, it must include follow-up and not just a one shot approach. It is imperative for teachers to reflect on their learning and apply what they learn during workshops straight away.

The challenge is for teachers (academics and health professionals) to continue to learn from each other, develop collaboration amongst peers to “work smarter, not harder” (thanks Nat Littler), keep up the networking and support each other in various ways.
So, now it is time for teachers to showcase what they have done to use the ideas and resources in their classes that they learned from the Stage 6 Conference. These can be shared via @ACHPERNSW, on Facebook and by using #achpernsw

Please feel free to send through any additional feedback, ideas or thoughts about the conference to the ACHPER NSW office.

Yours in health and wellbeing,

Kelly Bell
Nagle College, Blacktown South

President of ACHPER NSW

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