About the Event:

Doing School Differently is an exciting new Australian conference for everyone who is interested in flexible and inclusive education. The conference will bring together educators, researchers, policy makers and young people who are committed to developing and sustaining successful educational opportunities and pathways for disenfranchised young people.  We’re providing a platform for advancing a national conversation on practice and research in flexible and inclusive education. We hope you will join us in Melbourne on September 15th and 16th 2016 and add your voice to the conversation.

Keynote Speakers:

Jennifer A. VadeboncoeurJennifer A. Vadeboncoeur
Associate Professor of Human Development, Learning and Culture
Educational and Counselling Psychology and Special Education
University of British Columbia

Her research includes studies of re-engagement in schooling, including the role of educators in students’ re-engagement in flexible and alternative schools and the experiences of students in this process, as well as the settlement process for refugee children and families in British Columbia.  Associate Professor Vadeboncoeur’s scholarly interests include learning from young people about their engagement and participation in alternative and flexible learning contexts. Her research draws on cultural-historical approaches to learning and teaching, critical theory, ethnographic methods, and critical discourse analysis to explore the ways in which knowledge, identity, and values are woven together in experience.

Her research includes studies of re-engagement in schooling, including the role of educators in students’ re-engagement in flexible and alternative schools and the experiences of students in this process, as well as the settlement process for refugee children and families in British Columbia.

Recent publications include “Learning In and Across Contexts: Reimagining Education”, the National Society for the Study of Education Yearbook, 113(2), in 2014, “Rebuilding attendance practices with youth: The role of social mediation” with Renira Vellos in Educational Studies in 2015, and “Creativity as a practice of freedom: Imaginative play, moral imagination, and the production of culture” with Anthony Perone and Natalia Panina-Beard in the Handbook of creativity and culture research, in 2016.  Her book, Vygotsky for Educators: A Unity of Theory and Practice, was published by Peter Lang in 2016.

Richard A. VillaRichard A. Villa  (B.A., M.Ed., Ed.D, C.A.S.)
President Bayridge Consortium, Inc.

Dr. Richard A. Villa has worked with thousands of teachers and administrators throughout North America and the world, to develop and implement organisational and instructional support systems for educating all students within general education settings.  Rich has been a middle and high school classroom teacher, special educator, special education coordinator, pupil personnel services director, and director of instructional services.

In addition to working with schools, governmental and non-governmental agencies, and advocacy organizations, Rich has authored over a hundred articles and book chapters regarding inclusive education, differentiated instruction, collaborative planning and co-teaching, and school restructuring. Dr. Villa has co-edited seventeen books and developed three multi-media kits for teachers, administrators, and parents.

Dale MurrayDale Murray (BA DipEd, MA ED. Churchill Fellow)
Director, National Flexible Learning Services.
Edmund Rice Education Australia Youth+ (EREA Youth+)

For over 28 years Dale Murray has worked in the area of flexible education provision. Firstly as a teacher then as the Principal of the Flexible Learning Centre Network and now in his current role as Director, EREA Youth+.  EREA Youth+ provides  socially inclusive educational environments for disenfranchised young people of high school age. The centres located around the nation work with community, NGO’s,  Catholic Education Offices and state and federal governments to reengage young people who for complex social reasons are unable to maintain connection with mainstream education services.

Dale has a deep commitment to working with communities, government, families and young people in developing environments that offer disenfranchised young people a socially inclusive educational pathway.

Dale is currently responsible for the development of a range of new educaitonal initiatives around the nation. He is also CEO of the Youth+ RTO, industry partner on four ARC research projects and responsible for the Flexible Learning Arrangements – a reengagement service for young people in the out of home care and juvenile justice system.

Tom BrunzellTom Brunzell
Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning
Berry Street Childhood Institute

PhD Candidate, University of Melbourne, Graduate School of Education
Master of Education, School Leadership, Bank Street College of Education USA
Master of Science, Teaching, Pace University USA
Bachelor of Arts, Yale University USA

Tom Brunzell began his career in education as a Teach for America (TFA) corps member at NYC P.S. #28 in the Bronx. Tom co-founded KIPP Infinity Charter School as Dean of Students and literacy teacher.

He worked with students and their families; supervised teachers through classroom observation and curriculum feedback; supervised KIPP’s guidance staff of social workers and counsellors–eventually serving as chair for all KIPP NYC’s social worker development group. Additionally, he was team leader in the University of Pennsylvania/KIPP/Riverdale Country School three-year partnership to develop character education and the Character Report Card with Dr Martin Seligman and Dr Angela Duckworth.

He now serves as Senior Advisor, Teaching and Learning, for the Berry Street Childhood Institute, working with school leaders, teachers.

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 University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education, supervised by Professor Lea Waters of the Centre for Positive Psychology and Dr Helen Stokes of the Youth Research Centre, studying trauma-informed pedagogy, positive psychology, and their impacts on workplace meaning.

Kitty Te RieleKitty te Riele  (MEd(Hons), GradDip(H.Ed.), PhD)
Professor of Alternative Education
The Victoria Institute for Education, Diversity & Lifelong Learning
Victoria University (Melbourne)

Kitty’s research is focused on ways in which schooling can better engage the most disadvantaged young people in our community. In particular, Kitty focuses her research on innovative alternative and flexible approaches to schooling, that facilitate success for these young people. Results from her national project on flexible learning programs can be accessed at the Dusseldorp Forum website.

Sue McGintySue McGinty (BA, Grad Dip Ed, MA, PhD)     
Professor and Acting Director
The Cairns Institute, James Cook University

Professor McGinty is leading a team of researchers from James Cook University and Victoria University on a project called ‘Gauging the Value of Flexible Learning Options for  Disenfranchised Youth and the Australian Community’.  Professor McGinty and members of her ARC Linkage team will be presenting a number of keynote addresses throughout the conference.


Hosted by:

Youth+ is the arm of Edmund Rice Education Australia that focuses on young people disenfranchised from traditional education pathways and offers education and wellbeing services that are trauma informed in flexible, inclusive learning communities. Youth+ operates a National Network of Flexible Learning Centres supporting thousands of young people.


The Berry Street Childhood Institute is a Knowledge-into-Action centre for improving childhood. We aim to increase the understanding and awareness of what sustains a good childhood; and to contribute to wider and more effective action directed at the amelioration of adverse childhood experiences.  We seek to achieve our aims by collaboratively building & sharing knowledge, encouraging public dialogue; and mobilising leadership.



The Victoria Institute is a research unit at Victoria University (Melbourne) with a focus on inclusive education. In our research we work collaboratively with policy, school and community stakeholders in order to build better learning and greater participation and success for students from diverse and disadvantaged backgrounds.


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©2020 YouthPlus Institute - An initiative of Edmund Rice Education Australia

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