Sydney Opera House Pasi Sahlberg Conversation project is an annual 3-part series of essential talks and discussions about the Australian education and how it could be improved. I have been privileged to host amazing guests during past two years, including Eddie Woo, Chris Sarra, Sarah Donnelley and Sharon Goldfeld.
All these conversations are recorded and slightly edited so that they fit to be shared with those who attended and especially help people who wished they were there to have an idea what was discussed. Here are the 2022 Sydney Opera House Conversations and links to the recorded podcasts (in Spotify):
- “The Gonski Review – Ten Years After” with David Gonski, Denise Lofts & Mim Macdonell. March 10, LINK. I had a real privilege to host David Gonski who was the chair of the panel that conducted the Gonski Review in 2011 and the principal of Ulladulla High School Denise Lofts and her student Mim Macdonell. Time of this conversation coincided the tenth anniversary of publishing the first Gonski Review. In this episode I sit down with David Gonski and return back to the time when that review was carried out and travel back today thinking about what has actually changed. Denise and Mim join the conversation offering perspectives of daily school practice to the our dialogue. Special guest of the night is Angelo Gavrielatos who is the President of NSW Teachers Federation.
- “Can Rock ‘n’ Roll Save Our Schools?” with Sarah Donnelley, Ricky Kradolfer & Friends. June 7th, LINK. My guests in this session were Sarah Donnelley, 2020 ARIA Music Teacher of the Year, author of Big Things Grow (2022) and deputy principal of Wilcannia Central School, and music educator, guitarist and front man of The City Riots, Ricky Kradolfer. With them I discussed (and performed) the lack of music education in the Australian school system. In this episode from June Sarah and Ricky tell their stories about how music inspires and engages kids giving them a different way of expressing themselves, especially those who struggle with traditional methods of learning. There is a lot of music performed collectively by my guests, the audience, and also the host.
- “What If Health Was A 21st Century Skill Taught in Every School?” with Sharon Goldfeld, Ann King, and Will Osborne. October 20th. LINK. In this last 2022 episode I was joined by professor Sharon Goldfeld, a paediatrician and director of the Royal Children’s Hospital Centre for Community Child Health and theme director for Population Health at the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Also joining the conversation were Ann King, parent at Mosman High school, and Year 12 Mosman high school captain, Will Osborne, giving a young person’s perspective to the conversation. The discussion was recorded live at the Sydney Opera House in October 20th, 2022 and it explores the question: What could schools look like if health and wellbeing were taught as similar importance that numeracy and literacy now have in Australian schools in the near future?
Three conversations that took place in 2021 are the following”
- March 2021: “Can Mathematics Be Fun at School?” Together with high school teacher and “WooTube” star Eddie Woo and award-winning mathematician from the University of Sydney Professor Nalini Joshi discuss with me together the challenges we face within maths education in Australia. We outline urgent changes that are required in the way we teach mathematics and represent it to young people as well as what makes maths beautiful and at the same time essential for Australia modern life. LINK.
- June 2021: “Good School for Each and Every Child” Barkindji/Ngiyampaa woman and executive Principal of Menindee Central school Fiona Kelly, and chairman of the Stronger Smart Institute Dr Chris Sarra discuss first nations education in Australia with musical gifts from Menindee children. In this session we examine the changes in thinking and practice that need to be made for all students to be afforded equal education opportunities while maintaining their connections to their community and country. LINK.
- October 2021. “Growing Up Digital in Australia” Harvard Medical School Associate Professor of Paediatrics Michael Rich and Mosman High School Student Evalyn Fechner discuss the latest research on the impacts of screens and the digital world on young people and strategies to strike the best balance between screen time and other activities. LINK.
Heads up for the 2023 Conversation series. April 4th we will discuss how to fix Australian teacher crisis with Geoff Gallop and teachers. June 4th is a celebration of the power of play with guests, children, and music.