From work-readiness trends and education reputation management to navigating culture and curriculum
2019 CIS Australia Conference Melbourne

We’re a few weeks away from heading south to our 11th CIS Australia Conference, in Melbourne from 28-30 August (final places available, go register!). It’s a regional CIS conference that brings together CIS member schools and universities from across Australia and beyond. What do they have in common? A shared commitment to international education and global citizenship.

We have a great line up of keynote speakers who are experts in their fields and promise sessions on a diverse range of hot topics, all relating to the theme of ‘International Education: Positioning Education in a Converging World.’ We got to know them a little bit in the following bite-size interviews.


We first asked our speakers to describe the meaning of ‘culture’—what does it mean to them?

Shanton Chang, Associate Dean at the Melbourne School of Engineering, University of Melbourne, will talk about Preparing Students for a Career in the 21st Century: Culture includes looking at the norms, practices and values that underpin the way a society, or how an organisation functions. It includes accepted biases that influence that society's or organisations' processes and systems, decision making, and perspectives.

Niranjan Casinader, Senior Lecturer in Curriculum and Assessment from the Faculty of Education, Monash University will present on Teaching cultural understanding: professional readiness in the 21st Century: In my research, I argue that culture needs to be redefined in a manner that is appropriate for the 21st century. This will be a key part of my presentation, but I will be referring to ideas such as traditional ethnographic definitions, individual perspectives, attitudes to the world, and cultural identity.

Dr Stephen Holmes, Principal and Founder of The 5 Rs Partnership, will present on Positioning Internationally Through Teaching and Pedagogy: Culture is the basis for truly understanding and developing a school—its behaviours, practices and processes, reasons for being, mindset and outlook. Culture management involves building meaning aligned to a school’s intent and providing clear cues and direction about what is a priority and what is not. Orchestrating culture is both strategic and critical for school leaders and their executives to achieve genuine and authentic identity and shared direction of travel. Alignment of culture is a precondition for strong and engaging school identity.


We then asked them about their areas of expertise and their conference presentations ...

Shanton, what take-aways can your audience expect from your session “Preparing Students for a Career in the 21st Century”?—I hope that attendees will come away with new perspectives on how careers and employment trends are very different in the early 21st century. While the media talks about the rapidity of change and the impact of digitisation, it doesn't always talk about strategies going forward. This session seeks to discuss some of these trends and possible strategies.

Niranjan, what was the most surprising thing you discovered as part of your research on the impact of transnationalism and globalisation on education?—I work specifically in the area of how globalisation impacts upon curriculum and the teaching of cultural understanding. I would not call this surprising, as such, but my research has highlighted a concern that educators tend to underestimate the complexity of teaching cultural understanding Internationally. While there are several areas of commonality that need to be addressed, the nuances of difference between peoples and places mean that cultural education cannot be simplified and commoditised as easily as many seem to believe. There are far too assumptions about the process of cultural education, some of which I will raise in my conference session.

I’ll also talk about the importance of school leadership developing cultural understanding in students. I’ve seen greater interest in its importance, but there are gaps that I’ll be addressing in my presentation.

Stephen, in the competitive environment of schools and universities having to promote their students and institutions, do you have some bite-size top tips to help them get started or adapt and succeed in their marketing?—Here are a few things for school leadership to consider for enhancing, improving or starting their marketing activities:

  • Determine your marketing goals and make them more of a priority in your wider strategic planning.
  • Review your marketing messages to ensure your stakeholders understand and align with them—it’s often the content itself rather than the mediums of communication that are the source of marketing weaknesses.
  • You do not have to cover all bases in your marketing messages and positioning.
  • Fewer messages with clear examples are better. Speak about how you are extending your strengths and include two-to-three core attributes that can be thematically linked.
  • Link messages to an overarching theme or apex proposition.
  • Word of mouth is the ultimate marketing tool and evaluator of marketing.
  • Traditional marketing is less effective and impactful than most think in education.
  • Measure the impacts and influence of your marketing to assess return on investment.

Stephen, how do you think CIS is having the most impact in relation to teaching and learning in a converging world?—CIS is influencing pedagogies through an international perspective on curriculum and through center staging issues across traditional geographic boundaries. Through connecting schools and universities, it is and will continue to bring institutions to common ground, understanding that student mobility is increasingly the norm and how skill development over content will reshape learning and pedagogical approaches.


Thanks …

… to our speakers for providing some insight into their areas of expertise and session highlights. Other conference keynote speakers include Susanne Gervay OAM and Ann Straub. Susanne is the author of the I Am Jack, a young fiction series of rites-of-passage books focusing on school bullying. Ann Straub is a CIS International Advisor who will be helping attendees explore their own intercultural competence via the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI).

Will we see you in Melbourne? Find out more and register for the CIS Australia Conference 2019.