The great debate

Direct instruction or project based learning?

Recently, the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch held its inaugural Great Debate for members. This is a new form of professional development being held once a term and the plan is for education experts to discuss some of the hot topics. The first debate was about project based learning and direct instruction.

In a new innovative approach for the Union, this event was available face to face at Wattle St, Ultimo, but also live streamed to more than 100 members across NSW and the ACT.

The IEU invited well known experts to contribute to the debate. Bianca and Lee Hewes, teachers and authors, spoke about high quality project based learning. Jo-Anne Dooner, from Get Reading Right spoke about using explicit instruction to teach reading, and Katherine Bates, from University of Technology Sydney, provided an academic perspective.

The second half of the event was an opportunity for participants to ask questions. This included questions from our online participants. The questions covered a range of topics, including the role of student voice and choice, the structure of schools and the plethora of marketing materials advertising particular approaches.

A recording of the event will be available soon via The IEU Zone (

In Term 2, the debate topic is: 21st century skills or content knowledge. To register (either for the face to face event or online), check the IEU website:

Keith Heggart