Colony to Nation – Bridging the Gap for EAL Learners

Presented by NGV Learn and VicTESOL

Thursday 22 July 2021

Explore the new suite of Colony to Nation resources for English as an Additional Language (EAL) learners. Featuring practical EAL teaching strategies, they are flexibly designed to develop your confidence in engaging students with Australian history through works in the NGV Collection. Apply your knowledge to further adapt Colony to Nation content for a more accessible and enriching teaching and learning program.

This professional learning program was designed for EAL and classroom teachers delivering the Level 5-6 History curriculum in Victorian schools and/or using the Colony to Nation resources. The content was also relevant to teachers of EAL learners in other year levels keen to develop EAL teaching strategies and techniques.

Presented by specialists from Blackburn English Language School and NGV Educators in collaboration with VicTESOL.

Learning objectives

  • Outline key components of the Colony to Nation resources.
  • Develop practical EAL teaching strategies to engage students with artworks in the NGV Collection before, during and after visiting the gallery.
  • Collaborate and share ideas to further adapt the content in the Colony to Nation resources to support the needs of EAL learners.

We encourage you to access and familiarise yourself with the Colony to Nation resources that were explored during the program. The original resources, along with the EAL adaptations, can be found here:

Participants can also access upcoming NGV teacher and student programs and events here:

Download (PDF, 3.96MB)

Dr Anne Keary, immediate past president of VicTESOL, has generously shared a number of recordings used in the education of pre-service primary school teachers at Monash University.

VicTESOL thanks Anne and Monash University for making these available.

Michelle Andrews, EAL Teacher Preston North East Primary – Planning

Michelle shares with us an insight into the planning of teachers at Preston North East Primary School. She shows the viewer her school’s Individual Learning Improvement Plan document, highlighting the importance of setting goals and planning lessons in a way that involves students and families.


Mairead Hannan, Assistant Principal, Collingwood English Language School – Getting to know your learners

Mairead discusses the processes in place for getting to know newly-arrived students at Collingwood English Language school. She takes the viewer through the student profile documents used, highlighting information that can be useful to gather, such as: socio-lingual context, language background, visa codes, nationality, cultural group, position in family, siblings, religion, prior learning, settlement services involvement, and well-being. Mairead also reflects on the need for teachers to not assume anything about their learners and emphasises the need to ask questions to get as good a picture of the student’s prior learning as possible.


Rosemary Abboud, Dandenong North Primary School, Developing Programs

Rosemary describes the range of programs running at Dandenong High School, including the EAL program and the transition program.


David Rothstadt, Principal, Noble Park Primary School

David talks about how he and the staff at Noble Park Primary School have adapted to remote learning over the last 18 months. He highlights the flexibility and sheer hard work of teachers to get online programs up and running in a short amount of time, and how teachers supported each other in the transition. David concludes that one of his key learnings from these uncertain times is that the value of face-to-face teacher/student relationships cannot be underestimated or replaced by technologies.

These resources have been created as scaffolding tasks to support initial comprehension through to critical analysis via collaborative meaning-making activities for Units 1 and 3, Outcome 1. Students are encouraged to use both English and their common home language to complete these tasks. It is important to note that these documents are not stand alone supports – they should be used in conjunction with a synopsis, extensive discussion about visuals relating to the time and place as well as a range of graphic organisers and models to scaffold writing. However, the nature of the tasks can be adapted for multiple year levels and cohorts when analysing novels, films or plays that are considered challenging for your EAL/D or low SES and multiculturally diverse learners.  

Resources contributed by April Edwards.

Burial Rites Quiz

Download (DOCX, 21KB)

Class Reading Grid

Download (DOCX, 20KB)

Group Reading Task Example 1

Download (DOCX, 17KB)

Group Reading Task Example 2

Download (DOCX, 20KB)

Theme Task

Download (DOCX, 15KB)

Character Quotes Task

Download (DOCX, 18KB)

Symbolism Task (Class generated)

Download (DOCX, 16KB)

Pre and Post Reading Task

Download (DOCX, 17KB)

Discussion Questions

What questions emerged from the presentation for you?

What might it look like to promote learner agency in the TESOL classroom?

To what extent do you think it matters what kind of motivational orientation learners have?

Tuesday March 30, 4:30-6:00 pm

Online Event

VicTESOL held an afternoon of sharing on the topic of multimedia use in the adult TESOL classroom. The session began with three teachers sharing how they use multimedia in their practice.

Fiona Norquay from Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre demonstrated how she uses ABC’s ‘90 second news’ program with intermediate level students. Angela Fourtounis from RMIT shared her knowledge of useful apps for learning – Padlet and Mentimeter. And Fran Conron from The Gordon showed how she uses Tropfest videos in the classroom.

We then broke into small groups to discuss and share ideas for how multimedia can support and enhance the learning of Adult EAL learners.

Resources from the session

Fran Conran – Using TropFest Films in the classroom

Download (PDF, 236KB)

Download (DOCX, 37KB)

Fiona Norquay – 90 Second ABC News

Download (DOCX, 16KB)

Angela Fourtounis

Angela spoke about two apps she uses in the classroom. Here are the links.

Padlet – and

Mentimeter –

Jenny Robins

Thursday 4 March 2021, 4-5:30 pm (AEDT)

Online Event

Jenny Robins began as a volunteer in 2011, then became a qualified teacher, working with adult migrants, people from refugee backgrounds and people seeking asylum to help them improve their English.

In 2017 Jenny decided to improve her skills and enrolled in a Masters of Learning Intervention in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne. She has found this invaluable as the course’s students are encouraged to tailor the subjects’ assignments to their context and needs and those of their students. Jenny currently works at Yarraville Community Centre.

In her Masters’ literacy subject students had to design, implement and report on an intervention with their students. Jenny chose to help her students with their spelling, and this presentation describes the intervention she designed and delivered. The intervention’s activities revolved around the multiple ways long vowels can be spelt, but its main focus was on teaching the students spelling strategies which they could apply later.

Jenny presented on her experience with teaching adults, however the session was open to teachers from all sectors and the ideas in the session are transferable and applicable to all age groups.

Recording of the presentation

Presentation Documents

Download (PDF, 676KB)

Useful Resources

These are some resources recommended by the presenter and some participants during the session. Some of these resources are freely available, and some can be accessed through university libraries. Often Alumni can access their university’s library for a small fee each year.

Annesley, M. (2009). Sounds Right Looks Right. South Australia: TAFE SA.

Bear, D., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2016). Words their way. Word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction. (6th ed.). Boston: Pearson.

Wardle, J. (2017). Sound spelling workbook: a teacher resource to support the writing skills of adult LLN learners. Melbourne: AMES.

Reading Rockets, (n.d). How spelling supports reading. Retrieved from

Australian spelling

Henderson, C.  (1994). The Sound Way to Spelling, Writing and Reading.

American Spelling

Spalding, Romelda. (2003). The writing road to reading : the Spalding method for teaching speech, spelling, writing, and reading. New York: Harper Resource


Jane Passey’s Cued articulation.  I use this video for her gestures:

Achren, L. & William, A. (2006). Teaching Issues 8: Fact sheet – learners with low literacy in the AMEP. Sydney: Adult Migrant English Program Research Centre, Macquarie University. Retrieved from:


Power, M. (2008). Passages to English 1. Fitzroy: The Bookery.

Power, M. (2008). Passages to English 2. Fitzroy: The Bookery.

Power, M. (2013). Passages to English 3. Fitzroy: The Bookery.

Reading Rockets, n.d. How spelling supports reading. Retrieved from:

Adult Migrant English Program Research Centre (adult learners)

  • Fact Sheets
  • Prospect (journal)
  • Conferences
  • Professional Development Resources including ebooks that includes Teachers’ Voices – 8 volumes of action research project reports 1995 – 2005