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Reinvigorate your secondary English teaching and classroom with John Marsden 2024095F

Nov 19, 2024 - Dec 31, 2024

$770 Enrol

Full course description

Date and time

Tuesday 19 November 2024, 9.30 am to 3.30 pm

Delivery mode

In person at ISV, 40 Rosslyn St, West Melbourne


Secondary School Educator, Leader


The line, the dearest freshness deep down things by the 19th-century poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, known for his innovative use of language and imagery sets the scene for this exclusive opportunity to join John Marsden as he challenges secondary English teachers and school leaders to reinvigorate English teaching in the classroom.

Language makes us and shapes us, but a lack of language can break us. As Jane Gardam says, every child is a poet until the age of eight. But rare is the person who leaves school still able to communicate thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions in a voice which is distinctive and true.

English teachers are exceptionally powerful agents in enabling children to retain and even increase their language skills. Without these skills, people’s lives are at risk, in tangible and intangible ways.

John Marsden will outline the basic principle upon which he believes English teachers should initiate their approach, and that is that there are no rules in English, just conventions. We teach the conventions because it is useful to know them: they are often an effective way to communicate. But simultaneously with the teaching of conventions should be the empowering of students to use language with verve, with emotion, and with truth. To develop what we like to call 'personal voice.'


Key takeaways

  • greater understanding of how to teach students to think and feel and observe at the same time as they talk and write
  • strategies to help students experiment with language, be adventurous and to be unafraid
  • tools to take away such as new English lessons and activities.


Presenter information

John Marsden

John Marsden was born in Victoria, Australia in 1950.  He went to many different primary schools, and from an early age enjoyed the journeys into magical worlds that reading could provide.  His teachers in Grade 4 and Grade 6 encouraged him to write, and at the age of nine he decided he wanted to become an author.

For seven years he attended The King's School Parramatta, a strict military school in Sydney, and from there went on to the University of Sydney.  However, he soon decided that a career in law looked too boring, so he dropped out and drifted around for nearly 10 years, trying different jobs, and earning just enough money to support himself.

When he was 28, he began a teaching course, which he loved from the start. Embarking on a teaching career, he also became more and more interested in writing, and in 1987 succeeded in getting his first book, "So Much to Tell You", published.  A string of huge hits followed, highlighted by the Tomorrow series and Ellie chronicles. John has now sold more than 2 and a half million books in Australia alone, but is an international best-seller, with many major awards to his credit.

John's interest in education has never waned. In 1998, he bought the Tye Estate, 850 acres of natural bush on the northern edge of Melbourne, and later added the property next door.  For eight years he ran enormously popular writers' courses and camps at Tye, before starting his own school there, Candlebark, in 2006. Then in 2016 he opened Candlebark’s sibling school, Alice Miller for students in Years 7-12.


Link(s) to relevant VRQA Standards

  • Curriculum and Student Learning – Student learning outcomes