Master Class (Day 2)

Main Stage (Day 1)

Day 1 Concurrent Sessions & Workshops


John Marsden


John Marsden



9.00 – 9.30

Opening Keynote Presentation


A special keynote presentation from one of Australia’s best known authors and principals, John Marsden.


The Power of Language


Language is the most powerful tool humans have. The person who can use language to convey information, to express feelings, to argue a case or give reasons or state an opinion, to convey a sense of himself to others, is more likely to have a satisfying and fulfilling life than the person who is intimidated by language.


Sophisticated thinking is impossible without the ability to use language at a sophisticated level.


As teachers and parents we constantly give young people incorrect messages about language. We perpetuate misunderstandings that came from our parents and teachers. The results are heard all too often in that familiar despairing cry of "I can't describe it!" or seen all too often in the stock figure of the mumbling, bumbling, inarticulate adolescent.


John's presentation is designed to give a new understanding of language and to suggest techniques which teachers can use to help their students become better language-users. As teachers, we should aim for classrooms full of young people who can speak and write fluently, efficiently, creatively and powerfully. We want our students to recognize the infinite flexibility of the English language and to use it for their own empowerment.


About John


John is the author of 40 books, mostly for young people. They include

Tomorrow When the War Began, published in 1993 and chosen in 2013 by two national polls as Australia's most loved book. However for 35 years John has also maintained a teaching career, in schools as diverse as Geelong Grammar, and Fitzroy Community School Melbourne.


In 2006 John opened his own school, Candlebark, in Victoria's Macedon ranges. Fast-tracking his application for Principal he appointed himself to the position, and has been in charge ever since. Candlebark ( )  is a P-10 school, located in 1200 acres of beautiful forest. Its motto is "take risks", and John's personal motto as Principal is "Say yes to everything".


In 2014 Candlebark will enrol 150 students but it has a waiting list of more than 100.


John is married; he and his wife Kris have six sons, aged from 9 to 19.