A different kind of conference…

There are 44,500 people under 25 homeless every night in Australia. A few years ago, Bianca was one of them. Now she is working in her dream job, helping homeless youth.


Mike is a basketball coach who works with disabled and disadvantaged kids in the Helping Hoops Program, which helps build confidence, teaches respect and trust, promotes social inclusion and develops teamwork skills.


A huge amount of fresh food goes to waste every day and yet many people cannot afford enough food to eat – especially healthy fresh food. Sarah works for SecondBite, who redistribute fresh food to ensure that people who are homeless or living in poverty get fresh food every day.


In many places, girls don’t go to school, missing out on important opportunities to escape poverty. But girls are the solution to problems too. Through her work at CARE Australia, Lyrian works to help women and girls lift themselves, and their families, out of poverty.


These and a dozen other speakers will present interactive sessions to ninety Year 6 students this week at our Equity Conference. This is the second year, we have arranged this very different way for our students to learn and it’s exciting to plan better learning opportunities each time. The idea developed last year from an idle thought first into a plan and then into a powerful learning experience.

The conference is the start of our Year 6 PYP Exhibition unit.

The central idea: ‘Developing awareness and understanding of inequity empowers us to act’. Students will spend the next two months inquiring into this conceptual idea. It will provide the context within which they will find something they care deeply about to explore, culminating in the exhibition, where they will share their learning with parents and guests.

The aims of the conference:

  • To expose learners to all kinds of  issues of ‘inequity’ and to provoke thinking on a range of related issues.
  • To provide the opportunity to hear from people who have worked in areas that are taking action to right inequities.
  • To help students develop convictions about what is right, what is wrong, and what needs to change.

In between sessions, students will gather in small groups to process and reflect on what they have heard and experienced. They will be encouraged to ask themselves: What does it make me feel? What does it make me wonder? What does it make me wish? What do I believe about this?  They will share their thinking with their groups and consider each of the issues in terms of the concentric circles modelDoes this relate to the world? The local community? My family? How might it connect to me?

At the end of the day, there will be an opportunity for students to express their feelings in any way they like. Stations will include a graffiti wall, art materials, tools for oral, written or video reflection… and learners will be free to choose one or more media through which to express themselves.

The day will embody all our learning principles and promote all the attributes of the IB learner profile.

And it’s only the beginning of the learning…

8 thoughts on “A different kind of conference…

  1. I am so looking forward to dropping in during the day and seeing this in action! I can’t wait to see how the students will turn their learning and compassion into investigation, reflection and action! Best of all, they will be my students next year 🙂


  2. I love this idea! And so interesting to look back through your links and see the progression of central ideas and how they’ve grown stronger over the last two years but still include the element of action within them. What a great group of presenters for this years conference and a fantastic provocation for the exhibition. I can’t wait to hear how it goes!


  3. This is excellent. I would like to mimick this concept in. my new inquiry based K-8 school this year. What and awesome UNESCO ASP Net school project this would also be.


  4. What great provovations. It sounds like it will be a great PYPX.

    I’d live to hook up our Year 5s ( my class from last year who your students skyped with a few tumes) who begin their academic year in August so they can see an exhibition from another school early in the year.

    Perhaps my guys could ‘attend’ virtually

    I look forward to hearing how it progresses


  5. Hi Edna

    This is brilliant. I love the range of speakers you used.

    What trans theme does your exhibition fall under this year?

    Would love to know your thoughts about a conference like this based around the “How the world works” trans theme. What sort of guest speakers would you get?




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