The Policy Pitch

A discussion series presented by the State Library and the Grattan Institute, in which experts and thinkers tackle some of the most important problems facing Australia.

bookings required

02 May 2017, 6:00pm7:15pm
LocationVillage Roadshow Theatrette
Accessibility Has wheelchair access

In this ongoing panel discussion series presented by the State Library and the Grattan Institute, experts and thinkers tackle some of the most important problems facing Australia, from cultural hot-button topics to pressing social concerns.

Engaging students: creating better classroom environments for learning

Tuesday 2 May, 6–7.15pm

When students are engaged in class, they learn more. But too often this is not the case.

Grattan Institute recently published Engaging students: creating classrooms that improve learning. This report found that 40 per cent of Australia’s school students are regularly unproductive in a given year. The main problem is not the aggressive or violent behaviour that attracts media headlines. More common – and more stressful for teachers – are minor disruptions like students talking back, or simply 'switching off' and avoiding work.

When schools and teachers create a positive environment in the classroom, student engagement and learning reinforce each other in a virtuous circle. But classrooms can also get caught in a dangerous spiral of distraction, disruption and further disengagement. 

In this Policy Pitch event, a panel of leading educators will explore questions including: What is happening in Australia’s classrooms? How can schools and teachers create better classroom environments for learning? What policy changes would help schools the most?


  • Linda Graham is an Associate Professor in the School of Early Childhood and Inclusive Education at Queensland University of Technology. Her research focuses on institutional contributions to disruptive behaviour and the improvement of educational responses to children who are difficult to teach. She leads QUT’s Student Engagement, Learning & Behaviour Research Group and a number of research projects. Her Twitter handle is @drlindagraham.
  • Irene Iliadis is Principal at Hume Central Secondary College. She has more than 30 years of experience in education and over 20 years in leadership roles within secondary and regional contexts. Irene takes pride in working in diverse communities, where improved educational outcomes for all learners is the key focus. As an educator she brings an unshakable belief that education does matter and that every student can be supported and challenged to succeed.
  • Jerome Holleman is an English/EAL and Humanities teacher at Keysborough College in South Springvale. He is in his fifth year of teaching and is currently the Year 9 Coordinator and an acting Leading Teacher. Jerome began teaching as part of the Teach For Australia Program. He won the Innovation award at Keysborough for his work on student voice through a Street Art project called Inside Out which also came runner up in the VicSRC’s group action awards. Jerome has also been a key advocate for the Safe Schools Program at his school and has led many of the initiatives based on providing an inclusive environment for LGBTI students. He is currently working on the implementation of the Berry Street Education Model in the Junior School – a program designed to build resilience in young people and help improve their learning confidence.
  • Pete Goss (moderator) is the School Education Program Director at Grattan Institute. He joined Grattan in 2014 with a focus on how education systems and data can help schools and teachers adapt and improve their practice. Prior to this Pete spent more than ten years as a strategy consultant, most recently with the Boston Consulting Group, and worked with Noel Pearson to improve education outcomes for Cape York primary school students. Earlier this year, Pete published Engaging students: creating classrooms that improve learning

About the Policy Pitch

In this engaging seminar series a panel of experts and thinkers tackle some of the most important problems facing Australia, from cultural hot-button topics to pressing social concerns. Join us each month for lively, intelligent and thoughtful debate on subjects that impact us all.

The Policy Pitch is a joint initiative of State Library Victoria and Grattan Institute, an independent think tank dedicated to developing high-quality public policy for Australia’s future.