On Monday 19 April Barker was privileged to have Dr Jared Cooney Horvath present to various groups in the School community.

As part of the staff professional learning day, Dr Horvath (Educational Researcher, prominent author and speaker) presented sessions on The Foundations of Learning and The Learning Trajectory to Barker’s entire teaching staff. Staff were inspired, encouraged and challenged to meet the needs of every student, and to prepare them with the one essential skill that will never become redundant – the ability to learn.

Over 400 students attended a second session with Dr Horvath (despite still being on school holiday) which supported them to understand how their brain was changing, growing and responding to learning opportunities at school and at home studying. There was a particular emphasis on the need for focussed attention to learning, along with the clear warning about the myth of multitasking. Students were encouraged to do short, focussed, sessions of learning and were reminded short bursts of regular practice is far more effective than cramming for an exam.

In the evening, the Barker Institute was delighted to host the first in-person event since COVID-19 restrictions began in 2020. It was a delight to welcome over 200 parents to the Leslie Hall to listen to Dr  Cooney Horvath give a Tour of The Teenage Brain. A main message was that all brains are plastic (changing) and this is certainly true of the teenage brain. Teenagers are constantly learning, and sometimes that results in conflict and challenges at home. Rather than focusing on specific tips, Dr Horvath emphasised that parents know their kids and their individual needs best, but that understanding what was going on in their brain might help as they support them through these transitional years. He emphasised the importance of sleep, a caring and supportive home environment with increasing levels of choices as teens matured, and the need for autonomy post school for the transition from a teenage brain to an adult brain to take place.  Similar points are made in the ARTICLE  “Are Teenagers Crazy”.  Three selected videos from Jared are included below.

Selected Videos of Jared Cooney Horvath

Dr Matthew Hill

Dr Matthew Hill is the Director of The Barker Institute with a focus on professional learning, research, and innovation in the school.  He teaches Physics and the new Science Extension course at the School which introduces students to scientific academic research. Matthew's doctorate reflects his passion for science education focussing on Representational Fluency amongst physics students at school and university. He has published in leadership, education, and science journals and been involved in course development and teaching at The University of Sydney and The University of Western Sydney. He has also completed a Graduate Diploma in Divinity at Ridley College in Melbourne.