Small group discussion questions:

  1. What are your experiences – good and bad – delivering online learning to your EAL Learners?
  2. What technology (ie, devices, platforms) and activities do you find are the most effective for your learners to improve their English language and digital literacy skills?
  3. How do you support your learners to learn and apply the digital literacy skills necessary for engaging in online learning?
  4. Will the long COVID restrictions and the consequent emergence of online learning permanently change the way you plan and deliver your EAL programs into the future?

Jacky Springall
Tuesday 10 November 2020, 4:00-5:30pm AEDT
Online Workshop

This practical workshop was based on the premise that EAL teachers need to be pro-active in integrating a focus on pronunciation at all levels of teaching with the main goal of instruction being achieving intelligibility.  The session gave a brief overview of the different components of pronunciation that students need to master to both make sense of what they hear and to be understood when they speak, and then provided some ideas for the adult EAL classroom which relate to larger units of speech (suprasegmental elements) primarily stress, rhythm and intonation.  Most of these activities can be adapted to any level or context. Jacky’s presentation was followed by Q&A and small group discussions.

Jacky Springall has spent most of her EAL career working with new adult migrants and refugees in the Adult Migrant English Program.  This has included classroom teaching, curriculum and professional development roles and coordination of delivery programs. One of her enduring interests has been the integration of pronunciation teaching in everyday EAL programs and its significance for the acquisition of oral language skills.  Jacky was involved in several collaborations on teaching pronunciation with Dr. Lynda Yates in the golden days of the AMEP Research Centre resulting in Teaching Pronunciation fact sheets and a professional development kit for assessing intelligibility. Jacky is currently working for Box Hill Institute coordinating the AMEP and SEE programs at Lilydale and Ringwood.

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In the breakout groups, the participants discussed:

When teaching pronunciation how do you cater for students from different linguistic backgrounds in terms of addressing their different needs and issues?


What model of English do you select when presenting oral texts for pronunciation activities?

LMERC information can be accessed by clicking here.  Find out about the collection, services, loan periods and instructions for joining.

During your discussion, the time is yours as a group to use it in any way you see fit. The following questions are there to provide stimulus.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Introduce yourself, your school or institution, and one resource that you are looking for for your classroom.
  2. What resources have worked well for you in EAL classrooms?
  3. How did you use this resource with students?
  4. What resources do you recommend for reading, writing, speaking and listening?
  5. What multilingual resources have you found helpful?
  6. What LMERC resources have you borrowed and how have you used them?
  7. What suggestions do you have in terms of resources you would find useful for LMERC to acquire which you could then borrow?
  8. Share on the Padlet

Remember to share your resource suggestions and documents on the Padlet page. A link to this page will be provided in the email we send you the day after the event. Here is a link to the Padlet:


Glynis Rose & Rosemary McLoughlin

Tuesday 11 February 2020, 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 how the exam is assessed. They also suggested ways to prepare students for the 2020 exam.

Glynis Rose is the chief assessor and Rosemary McLoughlin is the assistant chief assessor of the 2019 VCE EAL Examination.

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Part 2 – Choosing Culturally Diverse Literature Resource auditing and recommendation session with LMERC and SLAV librarians

Tuesday 15 September, 4:00 – 5:00 pm (Online Event)

In part 2, we discussed possible ways to audit your current text lists or collections, and give resource recommendations for you to consider introducing at your school or institution.

Jennifer Peck took participants through the resources available through LMERC, including lists of culturally diverse texts.

Stella Schools Manager Lenny Robinson introduced the audience to two resources developed by Stella Schools to support diversity in text selection: The Read Up Reading Guide, developed in partnership with the Victorian Government, and the Stella Sparks Reading Guide, one of several resources included in their Resource Kit for Stella Sparks schools program.

We then split into groups facilitated by SLAV and LMERC librarians who took participants through some resource recommendations. This part of the session was not recorded.

Jennifer Peck’s presentation 

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For information on Stella resources, go to their website –

Breakout Room Presentation Resources

6-12 year old readers– Raff Grasso

13-14 year old readers – Hope Do

15-18 year old readers – Erin Wamala

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LMERC text lists

Culturally diverse fiction K-12 list

Culturally diverse fiction -adults (EAL)

LMERC Suppliers list (Languages, EAL, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives and culturally diverse fiction)


Prior to the session, participants were asked to read the following article – ‘Assessing and selecting culturally diverse literature for the classroom’ by Helen Adam and Laurie Harper (2016) prior to attending the professional learning event: Culturally Diverse Literature Professional Learning Series – Part 2: Choosing culturally diverse literature (Tuesday 15th September 4:00-5:00pm AEST).  

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Reference: Adam, H., & Harper, L. (2016). Assessing and selecting culturally diverse literature for the classroom. Retrieved from

Upcoming professional learning events:


Culturally Diverse Literature Professional Learning Series: Part 3 – Making changes at my school or institution

Online discussion rooms – Wednesday 7 October, 4:00-5:00pm


You may also be interested in the following events:

Powering Learning: Supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives – ONLINE

A joint event:

  • School Library Association of Victoria (SLAV)
  • Language and Multicultural Education Resource Centre (LMERC)

Friday 13th November 9.30am to 12.30pm

This event is currently being changed to an online format so the current format may change slightly.

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Readers, Stories, Literacy A forum for learning and discussion – ONLINE

4pm for 4.15 start to 6.00pm 29th October – Book Talking

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Picture Book Showcase – ONLINE

October 8 2020 4.00pm to 5.30pm

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Dr Sue Ollerhead, Macquarie University

Wednesday 5 August 2020, 4:00-5:00pm

Online Webinar

In this workshop, Sue discussed the important role that students’ home languages play in their classroom learning. She explored the rationale for using translanguaging as a pedagogical approach and present some key classroom translanguaging strategies used by teachers to create more inclusive and engaging learning experiences for multilingual learners.

The session was aimed mostly at upper primary and secondary teachers, but the principles can be applied in wide range of contexts.

Dr Sue Ollerhead is a lecturer in Languages Education at the School of Education at Macquarie University. She has worked extensively as a teacher, teacher trainer and researcher in South Africa, Egypt, the United Kingdom, India and Australia. Her current research focuses on translanguaging pedagogies in culturally and linguistically diverse classrooms. Sue is co-editor of the book Plurilingualism in Teaching and Learning: Complexities across Contexts (2018) and the special issue of the Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics: Translanguaging as a resource in teaching and learning (2020).

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Julia Lippold, Lauriston Girls School

Thursday 30 July, 3:45-5:15 pm

Online webinar

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Thank you for attending this event.  Please complete the evaluation survey. This will help VicTESOL to ensure that the professional learning we offer is relevant and useful, and help us provide feedback to the presenter. The survey takes about 2-5 minutes to complete. Thank you.


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.