Presenter Profile - Merilyn Walsh



MERILYN WALSH is a highly respected educator with a reputation that extends well beyond Australia.  Over the past two decades Merilyn has held executive positions ranging from Deputy to the Headmaster, Dean of Teaching and Learning and Head of Senior School.   Merilyn has been a mentor to teaching staff within the Independent and State sector as well as in Catholic Education and has been a respected trailblazer on many important academic committees.

Merilyn has devoted her adult life to the education of children.  It is no surprise that having started out as a teacher of English, Drama and Modern History, her passion and dedication to the teaching of quality communication and presentation skills soon became apparent.  In her early years as a teacher, Merilyn took advantage of the opportunity to produce many plays, musicals, theatre restaurants and became known as a very successful  coach and adjudicator for both debating and public speaking.

Merilyn, in herself, is a very enthusiastic communicator who places great value on the importance of interaction between students and between different cultures.   In this capacity, Merilyn has been responsible for coordinating sister school relationships with educational institutions in both Europe and Asia.  Her visits to Japan greatly enriched and enhanced understanding between teachers and students of those two countries. 

As a member of many educational organisations, Merilyn has contributed greatly, in Queensland, interstate and overseas and is highly respected for her knowledge and leadership.   Moreover, her deep involvement, commitment and great contribution to the Dimensions of Learning (DOL), has created widespread recognition both in Australia and the United States.   The Dimensions of Learning, which provides a framework for the development of a consistent teaching and learning philosophy, optimises the learning environment for the acquisition of all knowledge.  It is this strong background expertise that Merilyn is able to expound.

Merilyn’s contribution to various District Panels of the Queensland Studies Authority, QSA (now Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, QCAA) and the Association of Post Compulsory Educators Queensland Incorporated (APCEQ) have been widely recognised.   Her current and continuing involvement with the Australian College of Educators (ACE), the Australian College of Educational Leaders (ACEL), the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the American organisation, the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) are witness to her dedication and commitment to education and the future wellbeing and interests of this generation of students.  

As an educator, Merilyn feels strongly that all children should have the opportunity ‘to speak’ but in order to be heard, they must first learn how ‘to voice’ their words.   To quote Merilyn, using her ‘voice’… …

“I have always valued the communication skills of listening, reading, writing and speaking. Frequently ‘speaking’ requires the student to provide an immediate response whereby they are asked to answer a question, provide an idea, present the results of research in an oral presentation, speak on assembly or make an introduction.   With all other forms of communication the student has time to plan, check, edit and polish, whereas with speaking, one must ‘speak’.   

For the student who lacks confidence, does not possess natural presentation skills, is shy or nervous in front of a crowd, has low self-esteem and has not yet learnt the basic points of oral communication, it can be quite devastating.  Oral presentations, of which there are a great deal in secondary school, can be an extremely stressful task for many students to manage.

Students who are able to conduct themselves in front of their classmates as confident, articulate speakers who have successfully prepared, will certainly reap the benefits of good marks as well as respect from their teachers and their peers.  It is clearly documented that one of the key skills employers require is ‘effective communication’ across multimedia and for the purpose of teamwork, and future leadership.   Therefore the confident communicator will always be the one that stands out in the crowd.  Happily, good presentation skills can be taught, more importantly, they can be learnt by any student who really wants to learn how to speak with confidence.”

Merilyn’s contribution to education and her in-depth teaching of the Dimensions of Learning (DOL) has been a contributing factor to the success of many teachers and students.