MultiLit researchers feature at Australia’s premier language and literacy conference

Leading researchers from the MultiLit Research Unit (MRU) had a strong presence at the DSF Language, Literacy and Learning Conference in Perth over recent days, including leading a symposium on evidence-informed practice in schools.

Titled ‘Getting evidence-informed practice into and out of schools: trials and tribulations’, the session addressed both the barriers to, and opportunities for, creating and disseminating the evidence base around specific approaches in education.


The delegation, which included MRU Director Robyn Wheldall, founding director Kevin Wheldall, senior research fellows Alison Madelaine, and Jennifer Buckingham, research fellow Nicola Bell, and MultiLit product developer Alison McMurtrie, provided insights from MultiLit’s work in promoting evidence-based classroom spelling instruction to accurately measuring students’ phonic decoding skills.

Discussing the Closing the Gap project, a federally funded initiative managed by MultiLit, Dr Buckingham said it was critical that Australia generate its own education research.

“Research on reading in other countries is useful but may not translate directly into Australian education,” she said.

“Each country has different sociodemographic features and a different context for teaching, and this is particularly true in regional and remote schools – especially schools with high Indigenous populations.”

The conference, held over three days, also provided an opportunity for MultiLit to discuss its role in the transformative Canberra Goulburn ‘Catalyst’ program, including providing system-wide professional learning to boost teachers’ knowledge of evidence-based literacy instruction.

Meanwhile, MultiLit’s Perth-based Speech and Language Specialist Anna Taylor and MRU research fellow Anna Desjardins hosted a workshop on developing oral language to support literacy, which was well attended.

MRU director Robyn Wheldall described the DSF Language, Literacy and Learning Conference as a highlight on the education and research calendar.

“We were excited to be able to share some of the impactful work that we have been doing within the MRU and MultiLit more broadly as well as hear from other leading researchers in the field, including several international researchers who provided keynote presentations,” Dr Wheldall said.

“The scientific research has delivered extensive knowledge that has informed teaching practice over recent decades however the evidence base is continually evolving and there is much more to discover.

“At the MRU, we are continually striving to learn more about how children learn, how to break through the learning difficulties they face, and importantly how to ensure that translates into effective teaching so all children can benefit.”

Featuring international and local speakers, the DSF Language, Literacy and Learning Conference is a drawcard for classroom teachers, school principals, school psychologists, speech pathologists, occupational therapists, tutors, and other key stakeholders concerned with the effective education and support of school-aged children – including those with learning difficulties.

The Conference capped off a busy week for MultiLit, which officially opened the MultiLit Perth Centre on March 20.

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