Sydney School of Education and Social Work events – 2015 Archive

This page is no longer updated. Page archived at: Tue, 18 Mar 2015

Colloquium on participation and engagement

30 January 2015

This event, organised and hosted by the Social and Educational Participation and Engagement Research Network, aims to provide a forum for raising issues of definition, evaluation and challenges in understanding participation and engagement. While participation and engagement are core elements and objectives of social and educational inclusion, they are not often problematised in terms of how they are defined, or scrutinised in terms of their implementation.

The colloquium is organised with a series of invited presentations and opportunities for discussion amongst presenters and invited participants. Participants will be representatives from different educational sectors, scholars, master and higher-degree research students.

Beyond the day, we hope to continue discussions and research in the area of participation and engagement. As a result of this ongoing, collaborative work, we envisage the production of relevant publications to inform the debate in the wider field.








Participation and engagement: popular buzzwords but what might we call into being when we use them?

Presenter: Linda J. Graham


Engaging New Knowledges: Disability and Political Participation

Presenters: Dinesh Wadiwel and
Gerard Goggin


“It takes two to tango” – unpacking the concept of engagement and its relevance to working with individuals with intellectual disability

Presenter: Margaret Spencer



Discussant: David Evans




(mis)Recognising exclusion. Reflections on the principals’ role in the participation and engagement of students with disruptive behaviour in primary schools

Presenter: Paul Wood


The role of teacher attitudes in the social inclusion of students with autism- spectrum disorder

Presenter: Cathy Little


Disability antidiscrimination legislation in education; Implications for participation and engagement

Presenter: Ilektra Spandagou



Discussant: Michelle Bonati


Conclusions and way forward

Event details

  • When: 9am–4.15pm

  • Where: Room 638, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney

  • Cost: Free

  • Contact: Associate Professor David Evans
    Convenor, Social and Educational Participation and Engagement research network
    Sydney School of Education and Social Work
    T: +61 2 9351 8463 | E:

  • Speakers: Associate Professor Linda J. Graham is principal research fellow in the Faculty of Education, Queensland University of Technology (QUT). She is the editor of The Australian Educational Researcher and co-editor of the International Journal on School Disaffection. Her work focuses on institutional contributions to disruptive student behaviour and the improvement of responses to children who are difficult to teach. She is currently leading a prospective longitudinal study of children’s school liking, language, learning and behaviour in the early years of school funded by the Financial Markets Foundation for Children.

    Dr Dinesh Wadiwel is a lecturer in human rights and sociolegal studies and director of the Master of Human Rights at the University of Sydney. He has previously taught in sociology and politics at the University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University and the University of Notre Dame Australia. Dinesh has 15-years’ experience working within the non-government sector. Between 2002 and 2007 he was employed as senior policy officer at the Council of Social Service of NSW (NCOSS). He has significant experience within the disability rights movement, and was a previous executive officer of National Ethnic Disability Alliance (NEDA), the national peak organisation representing people from Non-English Speaking Backgrounds who have a disability.

    Professor Gerard Goggin is the inaugural Professor of Media and Communications at the University of Sydney, a position he has held since 2011. Previous appointments include Professor of Digital Communications at University of New South Wales (2007–2010), the University of Queensland, Southern Cross University, and, as visiting professor, the University of Barcelona. His research focuses on social, cultural, and political aspects of digital technologies, especially the internet, mobile phones and media. He has published 13 books and more than 140 journal articles and book chapters. As well as his academic roles, Professor Goggin has had a 20-year involvement in communications and telecommunications policy, including appointments as a board member of the Disability Studies and Research Institute (DsaRI), foundation board member of the peak organisation Australian Consumer Communication Action Network (ACCAN), deputy chair of the self-regulatory body Telephone Information Services Standards Council (TISSC), and member of the Australian e-Research Infrastructure Council (AeRIC).

    Dr Margaret Spencer lectures in the Social Work Program at University of Sydney and sits as a tribunal member within the Guardianship Division of the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. She started her career as a nurse. In addition to her nursing qualifications, Dr Spencer holds degrees in theology and social work. She has a particular interest in the rights of people with cognitive disabilities and, more specifically, the outcomes and experiences of families where the parents have intellectual disability. Her doctoral dissertation was on understanding and planning support by collaborating with parents with intellectual disability. Dr Spencer worked for more than 25 years in inner Sydney with people transitioning out of – or at risk of – homelessness, and who had been labelled as being “hard to engage”. In recent years she worked at Intellectual Disability Right Services, supporting parents with intellectual disability involved in care proceedings.

    Associate Professor David Evans convenes special and inclusive education in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney, which delivers courses to more than 600 preservice and postgraduate students annually. His research interests include design of curriculum to meet the needs of students with special education needs, and evidence-based practices in special education.

    Paul Wood is an educator with more than 20-years’ experience, spanning primary, secondary and special education and has been a school principal for the past 15 years across three school settings. His PhD is currently under examination. The thesis is an exploration of principal leadership, knowledge construction and the inclusion of students with disruptive behaviour. Mr Wood has a strong interest in relational understanding of practice being influenced by critical social theory and the 'thinking tools' of Pierre Bourdieu. He has recently been appointed to the role of Principal, School Leadership, in the High Performance Unit in the Department of Education and Communities. Mr Wood has taught in special education and student behaviour at Macquarie University and UTS. Most recently he lectured on inclusive education in the MEd, BEd and MTeach programs at the University of Sydney.

    Cathy Little is interested in the areas of autistic spectrum disorder, high support needs, and positive behaviour support. She lectures at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and is supervising a number of research students. Prior to taking up her position at the University, Cathy was assistant principal of a four-class support unit attached to a regular primary school in the Western Sydney Region. She has had many years' experience teaching in early-childhood settings, primary schools and the special-education sector. Cathy has taught students with autistic spectrum disorder, behaviour disorder and high support needs, in regular and support-unit classes. She continues to have a close relationship with several schools in Western Sydney Region.

    Dr Ilektra Spandagou is a senior lecturer at the Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney. She has been involved in teacher education in special and inclusive education both in Greece and Australia. She has experience working with teachers in the area of theories of inclusive education, and the nexus of policy and school practice. Dr Spandagou's research interests include inclusion, disability, comparative education and classroom diversity. Her publications include the book Inclusive Education: International Policy & Practice (co-authored with A.C. Armstrong and D. Armstrong) and published by Sage in 2010.

    Dr Michelle Bonati is an associate lecturer in special and inclusive education at the University of Sydney. Her doctorate in special education is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US. Her research interests include examining inclusive service-learning as a potential context for increasing peer interactions and providing life skills and academic instruction for students with complex support needs within inclusive settings. Her aim is to improve post-school outcomes for students with the most significant disabilities.

Colloquium on participation and engagement

Where Room 638, Education Building A35, Manning Rd, University of Sydney


30 January 2015

Outlook / iCal Yahoo! Windows Live! Google