Skye Playsted

Thursday 14 May 2020

When we think of the term ‘culture’, it can be easy to focus on concrete elements such as art, music, clothing or food. However, these visible aspects are only the tip of the cultural iceberg (Ting-Toomey & Chung, 2011). Deeper cultural assumptions are hidden from view and are not as easy to identify. These can include our beliefs about learning and teaching, expectations of politeness, values, social norms or unspoken conversational ‘taboos’. Misunderstandings can easily occur across cultures in these areas. A deeper understanding of the ways in which culture and language influence our views of the world and how we communicate is needed (DeCapua & Wintergerst, 2016). Drawing on DeCapua’s (2018) Culture Myths: Applying Second Language Research to Classroom Teaching, this session offered teachers an opportunity to consider and ‘unpack’ some commonly held ‘myths’ about culture which affect learning and teaching in the adult EAL classroom.

Skye Playsted is an educator with over 20 years of teaching experience as a second language and music teacher in Australian schools. She has taught English to adult students as a volunteer in community refugee support groups, and has been teaching in vocational colleges and university academic English programs in the Refugee Welcome Zone of Toowoomba, Queensland. Skye completed her M Ed (TESOL) via distance through the University of Wollongong, NSW, and has recently moved to Brisbane with her family. She has been awarded a PhD scholarship through the Australian government research training program, to research reflective practice, teacher cognition and oral communication pedagogy in beginner adult English language teaching.


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Session summary by David Kezilas (VicTESOL Professional Learning Coordinator):

Structured around Andrea DeCapua’s ‘Culture Myths: Applying Second Language Research in Classroom Teaching’, Skye set about explaining a lot of the myths and misunderstandings which can commonly occur in cross-cultural communication.

Thoroughly researched and drawing on a wide variety of sources, the presentation covered many helpful concepts including big ‘C’ and little ‘C’ culture, the cultural iceberg, cultural lenses, high and low context communication, and collectivism vs individualism.

We thank Skye for all her work and for volunteering her time to present. We also thank participants for attending and sharing their reflections and questions on intercultural communication throughout the session.

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Listening skills are ones we all employ, both passively and actively, but how do we teach and evaluate them as part of VCE EAL assessment?

In this session you will consider how to develop and embed valid EAL listening assessment into every outcome of Units 1-4 through the completion and analysis of an existing assessment tool and subsequent creation of a task based on evidence-based listening assessment practices.

As a passionate EAL, Spanish and 7-12 English teacher as well as an active VicTESOL committee member and second language learner, April is highly experienced in the areas of first and additional languages education. She completed her Masters thesis on VCE listening task assessment at the University of Melbourne and is currently training undergraduate and post graduate teachers at La Trobe University in literacy, secondary EAL pedagogy and curriculum and interdisciplinary education. She recently developed materials for the DET Koorie Outcomes Unit to promote the use of EAL teaching practices for improved social and academic outcomes for Victoria’s Indigenous students.

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Wednesday 4 March

Functional Multilingualism/Translanguaging are currently popular terms being researched, discussed and adapted to diverse learning settings. This webinar was a practical response to the current interest in Translanguaging, suggesting ways this might look in EALD classrooms and what teachers might consider when developing Translanguaging activities. With the intention of bringing students’ linguistic and cultural knowledge to the fore through redesigning Australian Curriculum and SACE task, four tasks, along with samples of student work, were presented and discussed.

Janet Armitage currently works for the South Australian Department for Education in the role of EAL/D Hub Coach supporting teachers in professional development that recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander EALD learners. Janet undertook action research in a large secondary school in South Australia where she was an EALD teacher and EALD & Languages Coordinator. She is also a PhD candidate in Applied Linguistics with the University of South Australia and has been part of a team providing professional development to Languages teachers across the state.

Glynis Rose & Rosemary McLoughlin Tuesday 11 February, 4-5:30 pm, Online event In this session, Glynis and Rosemary provided feedback on student performance in the 2019 VCE EAL exam, including analysis of student performance in each section and examples of student responses. There were opportunities for participants to ask questions and gain valuable insight into…

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11 February 2019

Glynis Rose is chief assessor of the VCE EAL exam. In this presentation she gives her reflections on the 2018 EAL exam and offers strategies for teaching students the skills needed in the exam.

ACTA is holding its annual general meeting on Thursday 18 April, 7pm. Please contact the ACTA secretary if you wish to participate.



ACTA is the national coordinating body for all associations of Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) across Australia. Membership of ACTA comes automatically through membership of one of its constituent associations.

All members of TESOL associations are welcome to attend the AGM.

ACTA is made up of councillors from each state and territory association. Councillors, need to be nominated by state and territory TESOL associations. Only TESOL association councillors or their designated proxies are entitled to vote at the AGM.

ACTA Objectives

  • to represent and support the interests of teachers of English to speakers of other languages and dialects and their students
  • to ensure access to appropriate English language instruction for speakers of other languages and dialects
  • to encourage implementation and delivery of quality professional programs at all levels
  • to promote study, research and development of TESOL at local, regional, national and international levels.

Please click here for further information.

Please be advised that the VicTESOL office is closed from COB on Friday 21 December until Monday 21 January.  We will respond to emails as soon as possible once we return to work after this holiday period.  

Thursday, 6 December, 2018
5.30 – 8pm

Languages and Multicultural Education Resource Centre
Level 1, CO.AS.IT Building, 189 Faraday St, Carlton VIC 3053 

5.30 – 6.00pm  Launch of Teaching & Learning Cycle website
6.00 – 6.30pm  VicTESOL AGM
6.30 – 7.00pm  Guest speaker
7.00 – 8.00pm  Canapés and drinks


VicTESOL Association Officer
Email: victesol [at]

  • Please contact the VicTESOL Association Officer to RSVP or for further details. 
  • Completed VicTESOL Nomination Forms & Proxy Forms must be emailed to the VicTESOL Association Officer by 5pm on the 29 November, 2018.

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Applications are now open for the 17th British Council ELTons Awards for Innovation in English language teaching!

The British Council is, once again, looking for the latest and most innovative resources to learn and teach English, across the full breadth of media (non-digital or digital) and from a wide variety of contexts worldwide.  If you, your colleagues, or someone in your network, has been involved in the production of new and original courses, publications, projects, apps, platforms and more in support of high quality English language education in the last two years, we trust this opportunity would be of interest.

The ELTons’ call for applications are now open for entries across five award categories, including for courses, teacher and learner resources, for digital innovation and for local innovation.

The deadline for submission is Friday 2 November, 23:59 (UK time).
Click here for further information or email