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Summary

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)

Presentation PDF: Knowing who you are: Heritage language, identity and safe space in a bilingual kindergarten, Dr Kerry Taylor-Leech and Dr Eseta Tualaulelei 

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Languages in Early Childhood Education: Launch of special TESOL in Context edition

May 5 from 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm
Virtual Event

Editors: Dr Yvette Slaughter, Dr Anne Keary, Dr Gillian Pennington, Dr Gary Bonar

The special early childhood edition of TESOL in Context was launched via a webinair on Thursday May 5th. The launch highlighted the wide range of work being undertaken into pedagogical and policy practices that see multilingualism (including home languages, English as an additional language and additional languages) as lived and dynamic.

An outline was given of the work of Prof Shelley Stagg Peterson, Yvette Manitowabi, and Jacinta Manitowabi who in their paper discuss The Niichii Project: Revitalizing Indigenous Language in Northern Canada.

Assoc Prof Caroline Cohrssen on behalf of the research team including herself, Dr Yvette Slaughter and Dr Edith Nicolas presented on Leveraging Languages for Learning: Incorporating Plurilingual Pedagogies in Early Childhood Education and Care. Assoc Prof Jane Page and Assoc Prof Janet Scull presented on behalf of the project team on their study into Mothers as First Teachers: Exploring the Features of Mother child Interactions That Support Young Aboriginal Children’s Multilingual Learning at Playgroup. The final presentation was about Knowing Who You Are: Heritage Language, Identity and Safe Space in a Bilingual Kindergarten which was presented by Dr Kerry Taylor-Leech and  Dr Eseta Tualaulelei.

The presentations raised key questions about how to grow strong social and cultural identities of children. The importance of children participating in early childhood programs that engage with the rich repertoires of languages of families and communities was a key take away message from this sharing of research in this emerging field.

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Dr Julie Choi and Ms Kailin Liu presented a session on 24 March entitled: Enacting translation and translanguaging collaboratively between teachers and learners for knowledge building. In this session they prompted us to consider translation and translanguaging as a collaboration and explained that this can take place on a number of levels. Talking about it in relation to learning, we were shown texts in which there were examples of a number of translation strategies used by learners. One was a reading text, where students had not only written words they had translated in the margins, but had also made notes about their translations of larger concepts that appeared within the texts. They also showed us a student notebook explaining that these kinds of texts are intricate spaces where we can observe students and the ways they use translation. They demonstrated that translation isn’t simply a case of converting a word or phrase from Language Code A to Language Code B but is a more complex process involving moving back and forth between languages to find the best fit for meaning. As I understood, this is where translation engages with translanguaging whereby learners and other plurilinguals bring to the fore their knowledge of all languages, or their combined language repertoire, in order to make meaning.

The presenters emphasised the value of collaborative dialogue in which speakers “[engage] in problem solving and knowledge building” (Swain, 2000) involving negotiation of meaning and knowledge building. They then shared with us their own experiences of collaborative dialogue that they themselves had engaged in as part of exploring a language translation issue related to the word “besides”  – a vocabulary item in English often inappropriately used by students in their writing.

The session was highly engaging and informative and offered many practical ideas for teachers for working collaboratively with language learners to explore and develop skills in translation and translanguaging. Thank you Julie and Kailin!

 

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On Wednesday 9 March, 373 EAL practitioners from the adult sector participated in a webinar hosted by VicTESOL. Attendees zoomed in from all states of Australia, from both regional and metropolitan regions. Recent changes to the Adult Migrant English Program has lead to the Victorian EAL Framework curriculum being mandated for use. VicTESOL decided to develop this webinar as a “101” introduction to the curriculum for those new to it.

The Victorian Curriculum Maintenance Manager responsible for the EAL Framework, Nadia Casarotto,  presented a thorough overview of the curriculum, its rationale and structure. A back-to-basics explanation of Units of Competency was presented by VicTESOL Vice President Angela Di Sciascio who highlighted some of the particular features that appear in Units from the curriculum.

This was then followed by a dynamic panel discussion, with panel members drawn from a range of providers across Victoria: regional and metro, large and small, TAFE and ACE. The panel members shared their experiences of designing programs using the Framework in a spirit of openness that was greatly appreciated by attendees. There was lots of chatter in the chat room and a broad range of questions asked.

Stay tuned for further PL events on the Victorian EAL Framework Curriculum!

The VCAA Chief Assessor for VCE EAL, Glynis Rose, and Assistant Chief Assessors, Rosemary McLoughlin, Jenna Gomes and Michael E Daniel, presented an overview of the 2021 VCE EAL exam. Glynis and Rosemary detailed what the assessors are looking for in each section of the exam and provided suggestions for how we can best prepare…

This content is available for VicTESOL members.
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