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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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

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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 to provide 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.

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https://www.digitalliteracies.info/

 

This toolkit has been developed as part of the 2016 VicTESOL Research Grant project Improving refugee students’ access to digital literacies: integrating transmedia storytelling in an EAL (Year 7) classroom.  The project aimed to develop and disseminate a web-based toolkit for EAL practitioners consisting of a flexible framework and a set of teaching resources to support teaching digital literacies which are of particular importance for refugee students.

Download a PDF of the presentation here:

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.