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.

VicTESOL Symposium – August 2019

Steven delivered a hands on and engaging workshop where participants learned about the idea of using gestures to teach new vocabulary to EAL students. He spoke about the connection between speech and gestures and in this workshop. Among other things, participants experienced learning a new language using gestures to represent phonics (sounds on fingers), phrases and sentences (words on fingers) and to elicit sounds or words from students. Steven’s presentation left participants with new ideas to consider using with their own EAL students.

Session summary by Yan Yao Choong, VicTESOL committee member

VicTESOL Symposium – August 2019

Jodie Whitehurst took us on a captivating journey during her interactive workshop “Using drama techniques in the teaching of adult EAL” by inviting us to participate in several authentic drama-based activities. The room was filled with a sense of excitement and trust and the participants transformed into the learners who had to perform and act in order to see in action the empowerment of drama activities in the classroom. Jodie offered us her insights and knowledge that comes from her personal expertise and experience with drama in an EAL classroom. Plus, working with others gave us the opportunity to come out of our comfort zone, open our mind and have fun as we all worked collaborative to achieve the same goal: optimal learning experience for our learners!

Session summary by Leah Kontos, VicTESOL committee member

Matt Rodger and Greg Gow from Foundation House introduced the Schools Support Program that their organisation provides. They then explained the research project and resulting report: School is where you need to be equal and learn. Gaining insights from students of refugee backgrounds was the aim of this project. Greg and Matt described how this was done through focus groups with students from three Victorian schools. One of the key findings of the report was the importance of teachers in creating a classroom where all students feel supported and are about to contribute. A copy of the report is available at: http://www.foundationhouse.org.au/

VicTESOL Symposium – August 2019

In this inspiring presentation, Carolyn shared her experience and insights into supporting newly arrived migrants and refugees in a school setting. She began with a look at what constitutes an “I can” rather than an “I can’t” mindset, then outlined ideas about how to gather information, value stories and build relationships with new families. She then introduced some practical resources for teachers to use in planning and implementing programs to support students in their settlement and English language learning. Positive and constructive, this session reassured teachers that they can make, and are making, a difference to each student every day.

Session Summary by Michelle Andrews, VicTESOL Committee Member

VicTESOL Symposium – August 2019

Fiona, Brooke and Susan spoke about the teaching and learning cycle that they use with their EAL students following participation in Margaret Nutbean’s intensive TYCEMC workshops. Participants were able to see how ideas from the workshop were modified to meet the learning needs of the EAL students in their setting. The ideas presented at their workshop were practical, relevant and demonstrated how the teaching and learning cycle supported the EAL students through recycling and reinforcing language. An engaging presentation that left participants with ideas to consider using in their own classrooms.  

Session summary by Yan Yao Choong, VicTESOL committee member

VicTESOL Symposium – August 2019

Kate Plant demonstrated how she works with the teachers in Newbury Primary School to set up a program that places student wellbeing at the forefront. provides an optimum learning environment for the EAL students in her school. She discussed using strategies such as using standard visual displays across the school and consistent classroom routines to reduce the cognitive load on the EAL students. She also talked about how she structures her timetable to ensure that EAL students receive EAL instruction according to their level of support required. Kate also talked about how she engages families in their children’s learning. Participants came out of the workshop equipped with practical ideas that can be implemented in their own schools.