Keynote Speakers

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Our three exciting keynote speakers are Margaret Thorsborne, Shad Moarif and Bonnie Singer, who will focus on behaviour management, maths and executive functioning respectively.

Margaret Thorsborne

Margaret ThorsborneKeynote: Inclusive Restorative Practice: working with children with Special Needs 
This keynote will explore notions of Restorative Practice and how they might be applied so that children with Special Needs can access this approach to problem solving.  Follow on workshops will be offered during the conference.

Bio: Margaret Thorsborne, Managing Director of Margaret Thorsborne & Associates & Transformative Justice Australia, has a strong background in education, counselling and project management. Margaret has highly developed skills as a facilitator, trainer and presenter. She is widely recognised as and international expert on school and workplace bullying and has played a major role in the introduction of restorative practices into schools and workplaces in Australia and internationally. She is an experiences mediator and has expertise in the management of trauma and critical incidents. Her work is informed by a range of disciplines including biology, psychology and social, organisational and management theory.

Shad Moarif

Shad Moarif websiteKeynote: Mathematics: Difficult or Different?
Mathematics stands out as discipline that is inherently difficult. In a sense it is as misunderstood as a child with “Learning Difficulties”. In a highly language-based world, Mathematics always stood out as a discipline that refuses to respond to our most  natural impulse i.e. making meaning linguistically. Mathematics is not a language in the true sense of the word. And yet it communicates powerful ideas and concepts. What is it? Through a continuous stream of animation slides, Shad Moarif will explain how the conflicting mindsets of Mathematics Learning and Language Learning give rise to common misunderstandings, even neural confusion. Consequently, many difficulties associated with Mathematics, Mathematics teaching and Mathematics learning can be traced to such conflicts.

Bio: Shad Moarif is the Founder-Developer of Karismath : an entirely visual Math teaching and learning Program (using animation video clips) for introducing Math concepts, based on a multi-sensory foundation and approach. Shad has a Masters in Psychology from Harvard University. He has worked as Project Director for Knowledge Architecture, a Canadian company pioneering the first On-Line educational initiative in Canada (in Vancouver) to introduce IT-based Project Management Curriculum to Secondary School Students in 4 provinces: Calgary, British Columbia, Quebec and Toronto. Shad has served as Vice President of the International Dyslexia Association (IDA), Vancouver BC, as Member of the Advisory Board, IDA, BC, Canada and as the Principal at Fraser Academy, the largest private school in British Columbia, for Special Needs children, in Vancouver. He has developed a comprehensive Karismath Assessment Protocol for Teachers and Students (Grades1 to 6). Shad has spoken at several conferences, run various workshops across the globe and has published numerous books and papers.

Bonnie Singer

Bonnie Singer

Keynote: Language:  I know it’s important, but what IS it?
Our ability to learn and use language uniquely defines us as “human.”  Language is known to play a central role in all facets of life, yet learning language does not come easily for all children.  Educators charged with teaching such children can find themselves at a loss in the classroom when they don’t have a framework for understanding what language is, let alone how to support its development.  This presentation will define language as consisting of three fundamental components that are influenced by a handful of distinct factors.  By actively identifying what makes communication ineffective, participants will gain greater insight into how they can maximize their students’ language and enhance their success in school and in life.

Bio: Bonnie Singer, PhD, CCC, is the founder and CEO of Architects for Learning, where she provides teacher professional development and school consultation internationally and directs a staff that provides academic intervention services in the greater Boston area. Formerly, she was an instructor in the Communication Sciences and Disorders department at Emerson College. With expertise in language, learning, and literacy in school-age children, she is passionate about working with students who struggle academically, especially with written expression. In partnership with Dr. Anthony Bashir, she developed EmPOWER™, a method for teaching expository writing, as well as Brain Frames®, graphic scaffolds for language, literacy, teaching, and learning. Her primary research and numerous publications focus on the relationship between spoken and written language, cognition, spatial processing, and self-regulated learning.  Dr. Singer currently holds an adjunct teaching position in graduate and professional studies at Endicott College in Massachusetts.