Summary

ACTA has been undertaking a series of briefings on the release of the ACTA National Roadmap for EAL/D Education in Schools. ACTA has been concerned for some years at the erosion of specialist English language provision for over 600,000 Indigenous, migrant and refugee students in Australian schools. This erosion is due to Commonwealth devolving all responsibility for EAL/D education to State and Territory governments and these jurisdictions’ school autonomy policies diverting earmarked (Gonski) funding away from EAL/D learner support though flexible, global school budgets.

The Roadmap aims to ‘build back better’ English language and literacy provision for these students. It identifies key national policy problems and proposes solutions through twelve key actions aligned to the directions and initiatives of the National Schools Reform Agreement.

As Australia emerges from the pandemic and re-opens to the world, national leadership is needed to restore our former leading role and rebuild effective English language and literacy provision so that Australia’s English language learners, including its Indigenous learners, can participate successfully in school education and contribute to a cohesive and prosperous multicultural society.

At the online event for academics and researchers working in the field on the 16th of June, leading researchers in the field of TESOL, including Professor Constant Leung from Kings College, discussed the new ACTA National Roadmap for EAL/D Education in Schools.

At the online event for ACTA members on Monday June 20th, Dr Michael Michell encouraged State and Territory associations to contact political parties, representatives and Commonwealth and State and Territory Education Ministers to commit to implementing Roadmap actions.

At the online event for Professional Associations and Key Organisations in the EAL/D space on Monday 18th July, an extremely productive discussion was held with many suggestions for further actions being made.

Other briefings on the Roadmap have been presented to the Victorian and Queensland Council of Deans of Education, and other relevant parties.

Recordings

16 June 2022 – Academics and Researchers

20 June 2022 – ACTA Members

18 July 2022 -Professional Associations and Key Organisations in the EAL/D space

Documents

The Roadmap

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Media Release

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Summary

On 8 June, the second in VicTESOL’s popular adult sector EAL Framework 101 series was held. 328 attendees from all across Australia were able to learn from a range of presenters experienced in designing programs using Victoria’s EAL Framework curriculum.

Cathy Gill from Carringbush Adult Education presented on how their organisation plans and delivers programs to beginners. This was followed by Lyudmila Theodore from Holmesglen TAFE who spoke about Cert I and II levels and finally Frances La Riccia from Melbourne Polytechnic shared their delivery plan for a Cert III level program.

Attendees were very engaged with the speakers with lots of great questions that led to engaging discussion. Many thanks to the presenters who were so willing and open to share their experience and expertise with attendees. The final session in this series will focus on assessment…stay tuned for more details!

Recording

Presentations

Holmesglen

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Melbourne Polytechnic

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Carringbush

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Summary

The VicTESOL professional learning event ‘Supporting young people from a refugee background in the education system’ offered participants valuable insights into working with refugee-background students.  Allison Greene and Madeleine Giummarra from Foundation House (Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture and Trauma) explored identifying and responding to trauma reactions and trauma disclosures with students, and how supports connected to the recovery goals can benefit children and young people.  Simone Cassidy and Bojana Popovic from Refugee Minor Program (Dep. of Families, Fairness & Housing) built on this understanding of the refugee experience by walking the audience through a case study, unpacking approaches and strategies that can support and empower young people within the education system.  Bojana and Simone guided the group in focussing on how we as educational professionals can work with students as they navigate educational pathways.  Allison and Madeleine also addressed the important and often under emphasised topic of self care.  They equipped the audience with a picture of what it can look like to become over or under involved within this area of work and how we can aim to achieve a balance in our work with students.  This event provided the audience with ideas that they could implement in their schools immediately, thoughts and considerations for future planning, and also ideas about how educational professionals can balance their involvement and be conscious of self care and caring for colleagues within our work.  VicTESOL would like to extend their sincere thanks and appreciation to Allison, Madeleine, Simone and Bojana for providing the opportunity for us to reflect on this aspect of our work within education.

Recording

Presentations

Foundation House

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Refugee Minor Program

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Resources

Foundation House

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Refugee Minor Program

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Summary In this informative and practical session, Rebekah Jones (Primary Curriculum Leader) and Barbara Dahlsen (Primary Learning Specialist) from Blackburn English Language School walked participants through a range of activities…

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On Thursday 19 May, Gurmeet Kaur, the Education Programs Producer at Immigration Museum, shared how the museum’s resources can be best used to engage EAL learners from primary to adult. Gurmeet introduced participants to a range of fantastic resources, both digital and at the museum, including migration stories, cultural stories, objects, timelines and personal stories investigating a myriad of Australian identities. Elsa Brissenden from Bethal Primary School detailed her own experience of taking primary new arrivals students to the museum and how this enhanced a unit of work on identity. Many of the resources highlighted are interactive and enable a high level of engagement. They also provide learners with an opportunity to connect their own story with similar stories of migration to Australia. Participants looked at a range of digital resources and discussed the rich learning opportunities for exploring culture and identity with EAL learners that these resources provide.

Presentation

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Don’t forget that teachers are eligible for membership with Museums Victoria.  This is a free online subscription service for teachers in Victorian schools and education institutions, as well as homeschool teachers designed to give you easy access to all Museum Victoria museums and education services in order to help you plan school group excursions to our venues.

For more information, go to the Museums Victoria website here.

Copy of Presentation

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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….

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