VicTESOL Annual General Meeting & End of Year Celebration

Online Event – Guest Speaker: Leah Santilli – NGV – Monday 4 December 2023, 4.30-5.30pm AEDT

At the AGM we will hear about VicTESOL’s achievements from the last year, share in awarding the 2023 VicTESOL Research Grant to the successful applicants and hear from the guest speaker, Leah Santilli from the NGV.

VicTESOL AGM 2023 Agenda:

Download (PDF, 291KB)

VicTESOL AGM 2022 Draft Minutes:

Download (PDF, 203KB)

Audit Report:

VicTESOL Profit & Loss, Balance Sheet & Notes to the Financial Statements:

Download (PDF, 2.27MB)

Leah Santilli is a Gallery Teacher from Outreach Education at the National Gallery of Victoria.
There will be time for some Q&A following her presentation.

The role of schools in supporting settlement: Focusing on wellbeing in migrant and refugee education.

August 30 from 3:30 pm – 5:00 pm, Virtual Event


This session explored the vital role schools play in the settlement journey of migrant and refugee-background students. Mollie Daphne (Secondary School Teacher & PhD candidate, Victoria University) unpacked key frameworks which support the conceptualisation of settlement as a multifaceted, multidirectional process shaped by various factors. Throughout the session, participants were invited to consider the roles schools can play, through collaboration with other services, towards supporting the academic and social and emotional needs of newly arrived children and young people.

The session also including an engaging panel of presenters who all currently work in schools, supporting newly arrived students: Elena Di Mascolo, Sarah Douglas, Meagan Becker and Megan Salter. The panel discussed the challenges schools face in seeking to address settlement needs and shared examples from their own extensive professional experience of practical ways schools can advocate for and support young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.



Download (PDF, 971KB)

Using Chat GPT to support EAL teaching and planning

Introducing a new series of three videos from VicTESOL on using Chat GPT to support EAL teaching and planning. Join us as we explore how to use Chat GPT to create a range of educational materials that are tailored to the needs of EAL learners. In these videos, we will show you how to create a worksheet, a differentiated model text, and a science unit for EAL learners on the topic of climate change. Watch and learn as we demonstrate how Chat GPT can help you to provide engaging and effective learning experiences for your EAL students.

Please note the above description was generated by Chat GPT!

Using Chat GPT to create a worksheet

Using Chat GPT to create a differentiated model text

Using Chat GPT To create a unit of work

As the EAL Unit and VicTESOL say farewell and thank you to Christine Finch, Blackburn English Language School Principal Mark Melican took the opportunity to lead her through a series of reflective questions.

What are your earliest memories of schooling?

I didn’t attend kindergarten, but have many very strong and happy memories of my primary schooling at Horsham North Primary School, including reciting the Oath of Allegiance to the Queen at Monday morning assembly. My earliest memory is of my mortification for getting in trouble, probably just being spoken to, for pushing in line with Shireen in Prep. I remember my amazement when Miss Smith explained to me in Grade 1 that ‘this morning’ was in fact two words, not ‘dismorning’, Singing and Listening ABC music lessons being broadcast over the classroom loudspeaker, quiet reading time, Cuisenaire rods, free government-provided milk (1/3 pint daily, left in the sun until we drank it), oral Sabin and many injections, and learning both the imperial and metric measurement systems.

At what age did you decide you wanted to be a teacher and what prompted that thought/decision?

Teaching was always in the background as an option. My mother was a teacher and I was one of those kids who love school. I decided to do a Diploma in Education after my Bachelor of Arts (for a number of complex and not terribly interesting reasons) and because of my interest in languages and linguistics, and working with EAL learners (see below) it was a no-brainer to select EAL as a method.

Where was your first teaching appointment and how do you remember the experience?

My first teaching appointment in 1984 was at Hopetoun High School, in the Mallee, as an English teacher. It was an excellent place to start a career and hone my teaching skills. It’s a small community, and the school was a strong part of that. As well as teaching English, I worked with students on all sorts of extra-curricular activities such as the school magazine and drama performances, coached sport, learnt to drive a wheat truck so I could drive school buses on camps. Cultural diversity was not an obvious element of the town and I recall someone saying ‘Are you a migrant?’ with some amazement when I told them I was a Migrant English teacher (as EAL was then known).

When and where in your career did EAL teaching come to prominence and what was the stimulus that led you to this field?

At university, a friend got me involved with a volunteer group. We went to the homes of recently arrived adults and children to support them with language learning. The students I remember most vividly were two Vietnamese refugee orphans, boys in Year 11, who had lost their parents and travelled to Australia in circumstances that I found staggering. Here they were, a year or two younger than me, and they had survived all that and were positive and forward-looking and trying to make the best of their new lives. And I could help them, because of the relatively privileged life and education I had had. I learnt as much from them as they did from me, obviously in a very different way, and really enjoyed the challenge and the reward of working with them.

After Hopetoun High School, I was appointed, in 1987, to Footscray High School which ran a very large and strong EAL program, and it was there that I had the opportunity to teach students at all secondary levels and stages of English language learning, from both migrant and refugee backgrounds. Our students at that time came largely from Vietnam and what are now the former Yugoslav republics. Over the ten years I worked there, the student cohort changed and included students with no first language literacy as well as those with intact education, so I had the opportunity to broaden and deepen my understanding of student needs and pedagogies to support them.

I heard you say that you joined LMERC in 1999 and how much you loved the work there. What was it about that role that you remember so fondly?

I belonged to LMERC as a teacher and always found great resources, inspiration, enormous expertise and like-minded people to talk to there. When I worked there, we had a shared understanding of the needs of EAL learners and multicultural communities, and a common purpose in working to provide their teachers with resources, advice and professional learning to support them. I loved working with teachers and MEAs across the state, gaining a deeper knowledge of our schools and students and programs, planning and delivering professional learning, developing resources – as well as the unplanned day-to-day questions you would be asked or issues you would need to think about. And all of this focused around EAL and cultural diversity, and used and built on my teaching experience.

At this transition point in your career you have probably reflected on your work and the people you have worked with leading the EAL Unit in the DET. How would you sum up that experience?

It’s very difficult to sum up in a few words. It’s been a privilege to work within the central office of the Department and to lead the work of the EAL Unit. In that role, you learn of the breadth and depth of work done by so many principals, teachers, MEAs and other staff to support EAL learners in Victoria. You get to work with the non-government sector: the professional associations, the tertiary institutions and their staff, settlement support and welfare agencies. And in your core role, you work within and across the Department, ensuring that appropriate supports, funding, resources, data and policies are available for and take into account the needs of EAL learners. Starting out as a classroom teacher, I did not feel any connection to ‘the Department’, and certainly did not realise what was going on behind the scenes to support me being in a classroom, as a specialist teacher, to support those EAL learners.

So much has changed in the field since I began teaching. From Migrant English to ESL to EAL to…emergent bilinguals? From Learning English in Australia to the course advice to the CSF (I and II) to VELS and the ESL companion to the Victorian Curriculum F-10 EAL. From the discourse about non-English speaking background to a curriculum that acknowledges, includes and leverages existing skills and knowledge through the plurilingual strand. From scattered English language centres to a growing new arrivals eco-system with multi-campus schools and a virtual program delivering to students across the state. We’ve come out of the broom closet, as I like to say!

What hasn’t changed is the need of students to learn English and the energy and dedication of the professionals in the EAL field to ensure that they have the best possible chance of success in education and in life. I’ve been incredibly lucky to work with such people in schools and in the government, non-government and not-for-profit sectors for more than 38 years, and to see the positive changes for EAL that have taken place during that time.

2025 ACTA Conference

Sign up to the VicTESOL Ebulletin for updates on the 2025 Melbourne ACTA Conference – TESOL: Shaping the Future

Sign up at the website here and feel free to email VicTESOL at if you have any queries about the conference!

Copy of Presentation

Download (PDF, 941KB)


A wonderfully thorough and informative presentation about the changes to the new English/EAL Study Design was offered by Kellie Heintz from the EAL Division of the VCAA.

She began with an important reminder of the eligibility criteria and Special Circumstances that determine whether students can be assessed in Units 3 & 4 before elaborating how the consultation process undertaken in 2021 together with key EAL principles informed the new Study Design. Many fundamental curricular and assessment differences for EAL students were higlighted, especially around the new Outcomes such as the Personal Response and Writing outcomes as a means to elevate student voice and agency. The role and types of mentor texts were considered as means to explore ideas and Kellie offered wonderful examples of how to plan for use of the Frameworks to inspire future planning. A fantastic resource overall that supports both EAL and English teachers in implementation of Units 1 & 2 in 2023.

Note: A complementary presentation that builds on this presentation and links to assessment will appear later in the year. Also, further VCAA resources relating to the Study can also be viewed below.

VCAA Resources

Click here to view on demand videos relating to VCE English and English as an Additional Language (EAL)

In preparation for the VicTESOL Online Communities of Practice, please download and read this participant guide. We look forward to seeing you there!

Download (DOCX, 68KB)

Thursday November 18, 4-5pm

Online Panel Discussion

What does effective assessment look like? How do we give feedback that shows students their strengths and assists them to improve? How is assessment practice changing to meet current research?

In this session, we looked at the big and small questions about assessment and reporting as it applies to EAL teaching and learning in primary and secondary schools. VicTESOL assembled a panel of primary, secondary and new arrivals teachers, as well as department and university representation to take part in a broad discussion.

The panel includes:

Anna-Lise Wallis, EAL Unit, Department of Education

Prachi Patkar, Noble Park English Language School

Sarah Martin, Blackburn English Language School

Tahnee Dwyer, Dandenong High School

Ute Knoch, Language Testing Research Centre at the University of Melbourne

The panel was hosted by Michelle Andrews, Preston North East Primary School.

Some Resources from the session:

DET EAL Resource Diagram

Download (PDF, 509KB)

Dandenong High School Example

Download (PDF, 121KB)

Download (PDF, 159KB)