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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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

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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

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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

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