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.

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

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.

 

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.

Greg Gow, Program Coordinator, Schools Support Program & Matt Rodger, Schools Support Officer West Region, Schools Support Program

‘School is where you need to be equal and learn’: Insights from students of refugee backgrounds on learning and engagement in Victorian secondary schools (2019)

This report presents the findings of a research project conducted by the Schools Support Program at the Victorian Foundation for Survivors of Torture (Foundation House). This project sought out the insights of students of refugee backgrounds on the barriers and facilitators to learning and engagement at school. Focus groups were conducted at three Victorian secondary schools, with 51 students (aged 13-19). The students were all from refugee backgrounds and had arrived in Australia within the past seven years. Through this project the Schools Support Program was able to learn directly from students of refugee backgrounds and position them, through their lived experience, as experts on ‘what works’ to support them at school.

In this webinar, Greg and Matt take you through the findings of this report and provide insights into how this report can inform practice at your school.

 

 

 

Michelle Andrews, Giuliana Mecoli & Rebekah Jones de Villagran

VicTESOL assembled a panel of experts in primary school EAL teaching to answer your questions, offer advice and support, and discuss best practice in primary school EAL teaching. In this online Q&A session, Michelle, Giuliana and Rebekah tailored their discussion around your specific needs. They answered both live questions and questions gathered in the registration process.

Panel Members

Michelle Andrews, Preston North East Primary School
Michelle Andrews is currently working as the EAL specialist at Preston North East Primary school. An experienced Primary EAL teacher, she taught for more than 12 years in the New Arrivals program, undertaking a variety of roles including curriculum leadership. She is an active member of the VicTESOL committee, working mainly in the area of Professional Learning. Passionate about working with other teachers to build excellence in practice, her recent move back into a mainstream Primary school has reinforced her enthusiasm to support student learning and engagement through effective EAL teaching.

Giuliana Mecoli, Department of Education and Training
Giuliana is currently working as the EAL Project Officer in DET, North West Victorian Regional Office and previously was in the same role in the South West Victorian Region for a number of years. In this role she is responsible for providing EAL policy and strategic advice at regional, school and teacher level. She has extensive experience working in the EAL and Literacy fields with teachers across state and independent education sectors at primary, secondary and adult levels. She has worked as a university lecturer in TESOL, classroom teacher, EAL specialist, network leader and literacy coach/mentor at primary and secondary levels.

The key passion that has driven Giuliana’s work over the years has been her commitment to improving teacher’s knowledge about language and to build their skills and capacity to improve the English learning outcomes for EAL students in schools.

Rebekah Jones de Villagran, Blackburn English Language School
Rebekah is the Primary Curriculum Leader at Blackburn English Language School. She has been working in the New Arrivals program since 2015 where she has taught mostly in the upper primary year levels. With over 13 years of experience in primary and English language teaching and a Masters in TEFL/TESL from the University of Birmingham, she has taught over 40 different nationalities in a range of teaching and learning contexts, across Australia, Japan and Guatemala. This has given her a comprehensive understanding of the cultural, social and linguistic issues in EAL teaching and language acquisition.