Online Courses

Science of Learning, Reading and Writing Masterclass 3 (PD461)


In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.”

Abraham Maslow

On six consecutive occasions , six powerful agents of change delivered a 75 minute live talk. Those talks were recorded.

Our first four talks were given by individual speakers, and our last two talks were a collaborative effort by Professor Pamela Snow and Dr Tanya Serry of La Trobe University.

In this online version, you will be able to see all the videos from the live events, you will have all the handouts and you will also be able to participate in quizzes and forums relating to the material.

Note: Prices are inclusive of 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) for all Australian residents.

Session 1 - Reid Smith

Session 2 -Rebecca Urban

Session 3 - Greg Clement

Session 4 - Nathaniel Swain

Session 5 - Pamela Snow and Tanya Serry

Session 6 - Pamela Snow and Tanya Serry

Session details

Session 1 

“Catalysts, Curriculum, Culture, and Change”

Change is never easy, even when it is driven by moral purpose and supported by colleagues. Over time, changes in our circumstances or the need to do better in the service of our students demand that we examine our beliefs and attitudes. In this session, Reid will describe how some of his beliefs and opinions have changed over time due to gaining certain knowledge about how humans learn. He will focus on what the catalysts for the change were, how the changes in knowledge impacted his work in and outside the classroom, and what challenges he encountered as a result.  He will discuss changes in pedagogy, changes in curriculum, and changes in school culture and organisation.

Reid is a primary teacher and Head of Curriculum, Assessment and Instruction at Ballarat Clarendon College. He is a PhD candidate at La Trobe university, studying the relationship between knowledge accessibility and reading comprehension, and is a member of the La Trobe Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab.

Session 2 – Rebecca Urban 

“Are we there yet?”


 The past few decades have brought considerable progress in our understanding of how children learn to read and recent policy developments in Australia are finally paving the way for this knowledge to start informing classroom instruction.

While appetite for change is strong, so too are the pillars of resistance that stand in the way – the university education faculties, education bureaucrats and school system leaders.

Fortunately, evidence-informed teachers and principals are taking matters into their own hands. We need them to share their stories.

Session 3 – Greg Clement

“Tips for Transformation: A principal’s view of successful change management”


Greg Clement has been in education for nearly 20 years, with the last 5 of those as a primary school principal. Greg has made significant changes in teaching practice as a principal moving towards an evidence-based approach to the teaching of reading. In that time, his school has seen massive gains in academic results, student motivation, and teacher morale and efficacy.

More recently, Greg has made the move to a consultancy role with Decodable Readers Australia in order to have a far bigger reach in transforming schools to the Science of Reading. Greg presents to schools on ways to improve teaching practice, how to use resources linked to the research, and also works with leadership teams to create action plans moving forward.


“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

-Dan Millman


Greg has implemented the Science of Reading as principal of two schools – with great success. He has seen first hand what it takes to bring staff along for the ride, get parent and community buy-in, and navigate all of the challenges associated with ‘change’.

In Greg’s talk, he will discuss the strategies he used to;

  • lessen the load on staff
  • get immediate buy-in from all stakeholders
  • distribute the research to teams
  • improve efficiency in planning
  • create an achievable action plan going forward
  • celebrate the successes along the way!

Session 4 – Nathaniel Swain 

“Changing what matters, when it matters most”


Dr Nathaniel Swain is a teacher, instructional coach and researcher. He works in the primary school sector supporting schools to continue their Science of Learning journeys. With expertise in linguistics and cognitive science, Dr Swain’s mission is for all students to develop “life-changing” language and literacy skills, through effective and engaging teaching. To this end, he has founded a national community of educators who see “literacy for all” as a means to social equity: Think Forward Educators. Nathaniel is passionate about language, knowledge-rich curricula and social justice.

“What good is an idea if it remains an idea? Try. Experiment. Fail. Try again. Change the world.”

-Simon Sinek

Many teachers and schools are embracing change of all kinds as they navigate their Science of Learning journey. While every experience of change is unique, the clear-cut similarities between the wins and stumbling blocks of such journeys are evident. Join teacher and instructional coach, Dr Nathaniel Swain, on this deep dive into the myriad of things teachers and schools are seeking to change as they move away from the educational status quo. He will incorporate the countless tips and tricks accumulated from changing practice in his own schools and sharing in transformation stories in the Think Forward Educators community. While you cannot change everything at once, you will learn about the high priority practices and strategies that can have the greatest effects on your students, within a satisfyingly brief turnaround.

Sessions 5 & 6- Pamela Snow and Tanya Serry 

“Translating reading science into classroom practice and whole school culture: Challenges and opportunities.”


Pamela is a registered psychologist, having qualified originally in speech pathology. Her research has been funded by nationally competitive schemes such as the ARC Discovery Program, ARC Linkage Program, and the Criminology Research Council, and spans various aspects of risk in childhood and adolescence, in particular: the oral language skills of high-risk young people (youth offenders and those in the state care system), and the role of oral language competence as an academic and mental health protective factor in childhood and adolescence; applying evidence in the language-to-literacy transition in the early years of school; and, linguistic aspects of investigative interviewing with children / adolescents as witnesses, suspects, victims in criminal investigations. Pamela has taught a wide range of undergraduate health professionals, and also has experience in undergraduate and postgraduate teacher education. She has research links with the education, welfare and justice sectors, and her research has been published in a wide range of international journals. She is frequently called upon to address education, health, welfare, and forensic audiences. Pamela has over 180 publications, comprising refereed papers, book chapters, monographs and research reports. In 2017, Pamela was a member of the National Year 1 Literacy and Numeracy Panel, convened by the then Federal Minister for Education, the Hon. Simon Birmingham. In 2020, Pamela established, with her colleague, Associate Professor Tanya Serry, the Science of Language and Reading (SOLAR) Lab in the School of Education at La Trobe University. The SOLAR Lab is a platform for research, teaching, advocacy and postgraduate supervision on a wide range of topics pertaining to developmental language and the transition to reading, writing and spelling in the school years. In 2020 Pamela was also a recipient the award of Life Membership of Speech Pathology Australia.


We can’t discover new oceans unless we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.

-Simon Sinek

“Change begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

– Roy T. Bennett

In these presentations, Tanya and Pam will share their experiences supporting schools on their journeys away from Balanced Literacy towards structured, explicit reading, writing and spelling instruction. As researchers and on-the-ground coaches, they will discuss the importance of building teacher capacity via whole-school professional learning, strong leadership support and resourcing, and processes in instigating and sustaining change. Common enablers and barriers at the policy, sector and practice levels will be identified and discussed.


Tanya Serry is the Associate Professor (Literacy and Reading) in the School of Education In 2020. She co-founded the SOLAR Lab (Science of Language and Reading) with Professor Pamela Snow. Her research interests centre on the policy and practices of evidence-based reading instruction and intervention practices for students across the educational lifespan. She is particularly interested in addressing the social gradient that exists for students’ reading capacity as well as the experiences of parents, educators and allied professionals who engage with the Science of Reading. She is the recent past editor-in-chief of the Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties and currently serves on the editorial board. She is an elected board member of the Ethics Board for Speech Pathology Australia. She is an active researcher and a member of a number of interdisciplinary research teams both within and external to La Trobe University.


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We have special deals for schools wishing to have whole staff trained in this program.

If Paying by Invoice

Please choose the invoice option and we will send you an invoice. To ensure your place, you will have seven days from invoice date to pay.