Shivali Nayak, ABC Education
Thursday 21 November

The digital age presents some new and interesting learning opportunities for EAL learners. How can teachers harness the power of digital resources to engage students in the classroom and provide them with self-learning opportunities? ABC Education Learn English creates innovative digital content for culturally and linguistically diverse learners. Find out how you can use these support materials in your classroom to complement EAL teaching and learning in this free online webinar.

Shivali Nayak is the senior content producer for ABC Education Learn English. She has led the development of creative digital content on a range of topics such as everyday English, weather, grammar, commonly confused words and daily conversations. Learn English is the ABC’s educational resource for people learning English as an Additional Language. Learn English has close to 5 million followers on social media, making it the ABC’s largest Facebook community.

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Professor Rhonda Oliver, Curtin University
Monday 28 October, 7-8pm (Australian Eastern Standard Daylight Savings Time)

Australian Aboriginal people interact in diverse ways and this is especially the case for those who grow up and live in rural and remote locations. In such locations Standard Australian English (SAE) is often not spoken as the residents’ first language or dialect, instead they may have either traditional Indigenous language(s) or an English-lexified creole as their first language (L1), or they may have Aboriginal English (AE) as their first dialect. In addition, most will also use AE as the lingua franca to communicate with other Aboriginal people who do not share their home language. For Aboriginal people, particularly those living in the rural and remote communities, the importance of language (i.e., traditional languages, creoles and AE), both for the maintenance of culture and as a marker of Aboriginality, should not be underestimated. For younger people in particular, their Aboriginal languages contribute in significant ways to the formation of their self-identity. At the same time, however, to fully participate in mainstream Australian society Aboriginal people also need to develop an awareness of and have skills in using SAE. This is especially the case for those studying in schools and universities. To address this need, Aboriginal students have been encouraged and, at times, explicitly taught to codeswitch – changing from their home language to SAE within the classroom. This has been implemented on the assumption that written literacy development will emerge from such a foundation. Yet despite this, educational outcomes (e.g., NAPLAN results) show they continue to achieve under the national standard in language and literacy (ACARA, 2012). While formal success in SAE seems elusive, many Aboriginal speakers, including children, demonstrate a complex linguistic repertoire. Rather than simply switching from one language to another they move fluidly between their various linguistic codes and do so as required by the context, audience, and the learning environment. In this presentation I will describe various observational data showing the diverse ways and various modes in which they do this and make suggestions for how pedagogy (including assessment) can move beyond our current monolinguistic hegemony to one that is Informed by a translanguaging perspective (Garcia & Wei, 2014).

Professor Rhonda Oliver is Head of the School of Education at Curtin University, Perth, Australia. She is widely published in the area of second language acquisition with more than 4,000 citations to her publications. Internationally she is best known for her work in relation to child language learners. As well as work within the interactionist paradigm, she has also conducted numerous studies on language learners in schools and universities. She has also undertaken work in the area of Aboriginal education, particularly for those students who have Standard Australia English as their second language or dialect.

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Elena Di Mascolo & Liaqat Gulzari

Dandenong High School

Wednesday 4 September, 4-5pm

In this workshop, Elena and Liaqat shared their experiences establishing and implementing specialised programs for recently-arrived EAL students in a culturally-diverse secondary school setting, from Year 7-10. They explained the features of the various academic and non-academic programs, including both embedded and parallel EAL academic programs, community programs and transition processes. There was a particular focus on the “Connect” program, designed to support recently-arrived EAL students over 16 years of age. They shared their pedagogical approaches and the related strategies they employ and look at measures of success. Resources and processes were also shared in order to assist schools to develop programs tailored to their own settings.

Elena is a Learning Specialist at Dandenong High School. She has been teaching in the areas of EAL and Learning Difficulties for about 20 years and has worked at Dandenong High School for ten of those years. She is interested in school structures and pedagogical approaches that support the learning of recently-arrived EAL students who require specialised support to thrive in mainstream secondary school settings.

Liaqat is a Learning Intervention Officer at Dandenong High School. He has been supporting students at the school for two years. He is interested in supporting the learning of students in a mainstream secondary school setting.

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Incorporating Action Research in the Classroom with Low Language and Literacy Learners

Rebecca Grimaud, Hân Trinh, Hayley Black – Carringbush Adult Education

In this workshop Rebecca, Han and Hayley shared their experience incorporating action research into the classroom. They explored approaches to teaching digital and traditional literacy skills to low language and literacy learners. They shared ideas and activities that they have trialled, including using technology, gestures, learner-centred tasks and students’ L1 in the classroom to help students to learn English.

Rebecca has been a teacher in a variety of settings in England, France and Australia for over ten years. She joined Carringbush as a literacy volunteer in 2017 and now teaches low level literacy learners two days a week. Rebecca also teaches French at a local Primary school. She is interested in the use of gestures and explicit pronunciation to help learners increase their confidence in speaking.

Hân has worked as an ESL teacher in Vietnam and Australia for more than 5 years. She studied her Masters of TESOL in Melbourne and joined Carringbush teaching team in 2018. Hân has mainly worked with low level literacy learner groups at Carringbush and is interested in teaching explicit pronunciation and incorporating multilingual teaching approaches into her practice.

Hayley Black is an EAL teacher with a secondary school media and EAL teaching background and a Masters in TESOL. She currently teaches beginner level EAL classes at Carringbush Adult Education. Hayley has taught in the Victorian school system as well as teaching and volunteering overseas in Korea, Nepal and Japan. Her professional interests focus on pedagogical development for teachers working with adults at the Foundation level.

Mei French, Ashima Suri and Rita Alexander

In multicultural and multilingual school contexts, it is beneficial for all teachers to develop strong intercultural relationship skills and understand the role of multilingualism in the classroom in order to support English learning across the curriculum. As colleagues in a South Australian secondary school, Mei, Ashima, and Rita, designed and delivered a whole-school professional learning program which addressed this need. They advocated for EALD students as individuals and experts, and invited colleagues to learn more about the lives, strengths and resources of the EALD learners in their classes. Over the course of a school year, teachers were encouraged to take on the role of learner, to listen to students’ stories, and to learn new skills from them. Teachers reported improved understanding of their students’ life experiences, deeper empathy, more positive relationships, and adopted more creative approaches to pedagogy that support English learning across the curriculum. While the EALD specialists running these workshops reported feeling re-energised by their role in the program. This professional learning program was memorable, sustainable and allowed all teachers to rethink themselves as co-learners with EALD students.

In this webinar, Mei, Ashima and Rita outline the program they conducted in the school, and give advice to webinar participants about planning a professional learning program for their own context, drawing on the EALD elaborations to the AITSL standards.

Presenters
Mei, Ashima and Rita worked together teaching multilingual young women at a South Australian secondary school.

Now based in Canberra, Mei French is an EALD specialist, who combines secondary school teaching with teacher education and curriculum development. She has been an active contributor to advocacy and professional learning through TESOL associations. Her PhD investigated the complex and purposeful multilingual practices of secondary school students and their teachers, and the implications for practice and policy.

Ashima Suri is an EAL and Science teacher. As an EAL network teacher in Adelaide, Ashima has worked across different schools, supporting both students and staff to use different pedagogies to support the development of academic English for students. She takes particular interest in the many ways multilingual students contribute significantly to the school community.

Rita Alexander is an experienced teacher who has worked with EAL learners at all stages of schooling from early childhood to Year 12. Rita’s career has seen her work in a broad range of contexts across South Australia. Rita takes particular interest in harnessing students’ varied cultural and linguistic experiences to construct positive learning identities and supporting the learning of English language across the curriculum.

Greg Gow, Program Coordinator, Schools Support Program & Matt Rodger, Schools Support Officer West Region, Schools Support Program

‘School is where you need to be equal and learn’: Insights from students of refugee backgrounds on learning and engagement in Victorian secondary schools (2019)

This report presents the findings of a research project conducted by the Schools Support Program at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House). This project sought out the insights of students of refugee backgrounds on the barriers and facilitators to learning and engagement at school. Focus groups were conducted at three Victorian secondary schools, with 51 students (aged 13-19). The students were all from refugee backgrounds and had arrived in Australia within the past seven years. Through this project the Schools Support Program was able to learn directly from students of refugee backgrounds and position them, through their lived experience, as experts on ‘what works’ to support them at school.

In this webinar, Greg and Matt take you through the findings of this report and provide insights into how this report can inform practice at your school.

 

 

 

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Michelle Andrews, Giuliana Mecoli & Rebekah Jones de Villagran

VicTESOL assembled a panel of experts in primary school EAL teaching to answer your questions, offer advice and support, and discuss best practice in primary school EAL teaching. In this online Q&A session, Michelle, Giuliana and Rebekah tailored their discussion around your specific needs. They answered both live questions and questions gathered in the registration process.

Panel Members

Michelle Andrews, Preston North East Primary School
Michelle Andrews is currently working as the EAL specialist at Preston North East Primary school. An experienced Primary EAL teacher, she taught for more than 12 years in the New Arrivals program, undertaking a variety of roles including curriculum leadership. She is an active member of the VicTESOL committee, working mainly in the area of Professional Learning. Passionate about working with other teachers to build excellence in practice, her recent move back into a mainstream Primary school has reinforced her enthusiasm to support student learning and engagement through effective EAL teaching.

Giuliana Mecoli, Department of Education and Training
Giuliana is currently working as the EAL Project Officer in DET, North West Victorian Regional Office and previously was in the same role in the South West Victorian Region for a number of years. In this role she is responsible for providing EAL policy and strategic advice at regional, school and teacher level. She has extensive experience working in the EAL and Literacy fields with teachers across state and independent education sectors at primary, secondary and adult levels. She has worked as a university lecturer in TESOL, classroom teacher, EAL specialist, network leader and literacy coach/mentor at primary and secondary levels.

The key passion that has driven Giuliana’s work over the years has been her commitment to improving teacher’s knowledge about language and to build their skills and capacity to improve the English learning outcomes for EAL students in schools.

Rebekah Jones de Villagran, Blackburn English Language School
Rebekah is the Primary Curriculum Leader at Blackburn English Language School. She has been working in the New Arrivals program since 2015 where she has taught mostly in the upper primary year levels. With over 13 years of experience in primary and English language teaching and a Masters in TEFL/TESL from the University of Birmingham, she has taught over 40 different nationalities in a range of teaching and learning contexts, across Australia, Japan and Guatemala. This has given her a comprehensive understanding of the cultural, social and linguistic issues in EAL teaching and language acquisition.

The draft EAL Curriculum has now been released for familiarisation and optional implementation. To support the release of the EAL Curriculum, the VCAA in partnership with VicTESOL, are offering a mix of face-to-face and webinar professional learning sessions over May and June 2019 beginning 16 May. For information and registration details, please go to the VCAA website: Professional Learning/English as an Additional Language.

The VCAA is also welcoming feedback via an online form which can be found here, with feedback closing on 29 August 2019.