Being, becoming, belonging

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Monday 3 April 2023

Elizabeth Hayden, Noongar Elder, commenced her Welcome to Country with: Where did you get your theme for this conference? That is Aboriginal culture BUT I would swap the words around – first you need to belong. With that, the tone of the 32nd WA Teaching and Learning Forum was set.

The theme Being, Becoming and Belonging calls for participants to consider the collective building of self-efficacy, self-awareness and self-knowledge, well-being, and resilience for learning success. So it was appropriate that keynote speaker Professor Sally Kift took us on an eye-opening, evidence-infused, broad spectrum exploration of agitating being, becoming and belonging in higher education. Dr Bep Uink, Noongar woman and Dean of Indigenous Knowledges, explored the theme from the perspective of successes for Murdoch’s Kulbardi Aboriginal Centre through embracing belonging. Both keynote speakers advocated the pedagogical warmth that belonging, becoming, and being can represent.

A record 255 participants, 101 presentations and a belonging buzz ensued from the start to the end of the Forum. Students were event coordinators, conference assistants, interns, panelists (pictured), change agents, and presenters.

As a sharing and showcasing practice and scholarship, our four types of presentations continue to provide the balance and variety that enables collective sharing and learning. In addition to scholarly presentations and highly interactive workshops, we have the signature Nuts and Bolts sessions where presenters share a 3 minute presentation of an ‘issue’, and participants discuss and provide insight. We also have the Immersive Teaching Bites sessions in which participants engage with specific learning activities in an expo style set up. These sessions bring learning and teaching questions and practice to light. I particularly enjoyed the simlab, virtual reality headsets, and getting my finger prints taken.

Photo: L to R student panelists Luke Morgan, Kanwal Jehangir, and Tobias Tomb, with Dr Megan Paull and Deputy Vice Chancellor Education, Helen Wildy.


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