VicTESOL Symposium 2019 Session Selection

VicTESOL Symposium – Session 1

During ticket registration you will be required to select from the following sessions:

Session 1 (10:20 – 11:00am) – Early Childhood/Primary
Kate Plant, EAL leader, Newbury Primary School

Establishing an EAL program in a mainstream primary school

Want to know where to begin with setting up and implementing an effective EAL program in a school? This session outlines how to set up an EAL program from scratch. It can also be useful for staff who wish to revamp or change the way they cater for EAL learners at their school. Topics covered will include; how do you decide who to see for EAL intervention? How can we make sure all EAL learners are being catered for? How do we upskill staff in strategies for EAL learners? These can be hard questions to answer from both a whole school and classroom teacher’s perspective. This session will focus on how I worked with administrators, leadership and staff to best provide effective EAL intervention and professional learning for teachers’ across the school. Learn about how we structure our program using the response to intervention model and how we make sure all teachers are catering for EAL learners in their classroom.

Find out how we provide information to classroom teachers on who their EAL children are and how we transition New Arrival students into the mainstream classroom using a sociolinguistic profiles to gain background information. This session will also cover how we use visuals in the school and classroom to cater for EAL learners and their families.  This session is best suited for primary school teachers.

Kate Plant is in her 19th year of teaching. She is currently the EAL Support and Intervention Leader at Newbury Primary School in Craigieburn. She set up the EAL program from scratch in a brand new rapidly growing school.  She spent many years at a small school teaching all year levels and specialist classes. Kate then moved to a very large school with a very different demographic. She is currently finishing her certificate IV in TESOL and she has just started her Masters of Inclusive Education through Deakin.  She is a busy working mum of three who loves her job and has a passion for teaching and working with new arrival families.

Session 1 (10:20 – 11:00am) – Secondary
Jessie Sambell, Leah Kontos and Sarah Martin, Blackburn English Language School

Supporting students to self-edit through functional grammar

In this session, participants will learn how to use functional grammar colour coding to help students identify and correct mistakes in their writing. The presenters will share strategies used with S1 and S2 language level students, and will demonstrate how functional grammar can be used as a highly effective complement to traditional grammar when giving feedback. By learning how to correct their own work, students developed confidence in their writing and a greater sense of autonomy.

Leah Kontos is currently the Learning Specialist at Blackburn English Language School. After completing her studies in TESOL, she began working in the Northern Region New Arrivals Program in 2003 teaching newly arrived secondary students. She has also taken different leadership roles including Professional Learning Leader (New Arrivals Program) and the AIZ (Achievement Improvement Zone) Leader in mainstream schools. She has participated and facilitated different projects like Creativity in Schools for new arrival students. She is a passionate teacher and she likes to inspire her EAL students to become lifelong learners.

Jessie Sambell has been teaching secondary new arrival students at Blackburn English Language School since 2015. She has completed her Master of Teaching in 2014, specialising in TESOL and LOTE, and is currently completing a Master of Literacy Education at Melbourne University. Jessie is an active member of the VicTESOL committee, working mainly in the area of communications. She is passionate about supporting students to develop their confidence and independence in using English though student-centred teaching and learning.

Sarah Martin is a secondary EAL teacher working at Blackburn English Language School, who has also taught VCE Literature and mainstream English. She holds a Master of Teaching specialising in TESOL, English, and LOTE, as well as a Master of Studies in Linguistics and a Graduate Certificate in Educational Research. Sarah enjoys exploring different approaches to teaching, and has a current interest in how functional grammar can help to deepen EAL students’ understanding of language.

Session 1 (10:20 – 11:00am) – Adult/ Community
Jigar Adhyaru, Chisholm TAFE

SWOT analysis of digital literacy in EAL class for adults

Technology has made a huge impact on teaching and assessing methods around the world. Digital literacy has become a must in today’s educational environment. However, digital literacy creates an extra dimension of teaching and learning process. It can become quite challenging to teach digital literacy in EAL classrooms for adults, especially if the learners come from different socioeconomic backgrounds and age groups.

This session will aim to conduct a SWOT (strength, weakness, opportunities and threats) analysis of digital literacy in EAL classrooms for adults from a teacher’s perspective. It will discuss how technology can work in favour of teachers in and out of classroom settings and what other opportunities it might offer. It will also shed some light on the drawbacks of using technology in and out of classrooms and what other possible threats it poses. This session will highlight outcomes of some of the research done in the field.

This will be an interactive and informative session, providing participants with a platform to share their experiences, ideas, concerns and different strategies used by them in the classroom to deal with digital literacy SWOTs.   

Jigar Adhyaru has been working as an English language educator for over a decade. He has worked with a variety of education providers including Not-for-profit organisations, Universities, TAFEs and Multinational institutions. He holds a Master of TESOL and a Diploma in Computer Engineering amongst other qualifications. He has worked with NESB learners in the US, India and Australia. A qualified computer engineer, he is keen to learn and focus on positive as well as negative aspects of using technology in learning process.

Session 1 (10:20 – 11:00am) – Across the Sectors
Dr Julie Choi, University of Melbourne

Learning about EAL learners’ English language learning experiences through language learning trajectory grids

The ‘Multilingual Turn’ (Choi & Ollerhead, 2018; Conteh & Meier, 2014; May, 2014) has opened up a variety of creative, participatory methods for researchers and educators to explore language learners’ linguistic repertoires, language practices and resources, and linguistic experiences (Busch, 2012; D’warte, 2018; Kalaja & Melo-Pfeifer, 2019). In this presentation, Dr Julie Choi draws on data from a Year 10 EAL secondary school classroom in Melbourne, Australia where she used, what she calls, ‘language learning trajectory grids’ to learn about EAL students’ English language learning experiences. The grid activity involves plotting learners’ emotions, practices, relationships, and life circumstances with their resources, practices and historical events onto a chronological grid. Drawing on the findings, Julie will discuss learner-centred pedagogical possibilities that build learners’ experiences into pedagogy in order to open up a space for teachers and learners to critically reflect on the complexities and vibrancy of contemporary multilingual language learning journeys.

Dr Julie Choi is Senior Lecturer in Education (Additional Languages) at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She is co-author of Language and Culture: Reflective Narratives and the Emergence of Identity (2010) and Plurilingualism in Teaching and Learning: Complexities across Contexts (2018), and sole author of Creating a Multivocal Self: Autoethnography as Method (2017).

VicTESOL Symposium – Session 2

During ticket registration you will be required to select from the following sessions:

Session 2 (11:35am – 12:15pm) – Early Childhood/Primary
Fiona Ackerly, Susan Govett, and Brooke Henderson with Margaret Nutbean

Teaching Young Children in English in Multilingual Contexts (TYCMC)

Many mainstream teachers are now primarily responsible for their EAL students’ English language development and academic instruction. Teachers need to feel confident and empowered to meet all their students’ needs in their classroom knowing that EAL instructional strategies are good for all their students.

Teaching young children in English in multilingual contexts (TYCEMC) is one of a suite of professional development programs for teachers developed by Lexis Education ( to support them in the implementation of pedagogically sound teaching practices that create innovative, engaging and ultimately successful learning environments. This course is organised into seven modules, designed to support EAL teachers and mainstream teachers with EAL students in their classroom.

In this session, three recent program participants, Brooke, Fiona, and Susan will present alongside program facilitator Margaret Nutbean. They will discuss their key learnings from the course and the work that they did in their primary school classrooms.

Margaret Nutbean has over 39 years teaching and leadership experience supporting EAL/D students and their teachers.  Her roles have included Co-ordinator – EAL/New Arrivals Program and a Literacy Educator with the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria, EAL/New Arrivals teacher and Coordinator, Literacy Leader and classroom teacher.  She recently completed a Masters of Education, with a focus on the EAL learner, and lectured in ‘The Professional Certificate in EAL’ at Melbourne University. Margaret is currently working as an independent EAL Consultant alongside classroom teachers/leaders as a mentor and facilitating Professional Learning sessions/courses to support them with EAL/New Arrival/ Refugee students in mainstream classrooms.  She has also facilitated the ‘Teaching ESL Students in Mainstream Classrooms (Yr. 3-Yr 9)’ course in Primary and Secondary schools for the past nine years and more recently the ‘Teaching Young Children in Multilingual Contexts (Foundation -Yr. 4)’ course. Margaret has presented at a number of VicTESOL and ALEA Conferences over the years and has written units of work, alongside mainstream teachers, for the recently published TEAL Website (Tools to Enhance Literacy Assessment for Teachers of English As an Additional Language).

Brooke Henderson is a primary educator at The Knox School with more than 15 years professional experience. She has held classroom teaching roles from Years 2 to 7 in addition to accepting leadership roles in the areas of curriculum development and student wellbeing. Brooke has spent the past three years developing an array of teaching skills and strategies to enhance the learning experiences of EAL students.  Brooke’s teaching philosophy focuses on the development of a deep rapport with students in order to cater for their learning needs. She is conscious of the need to differentiate and this is evident in the professional learning she has engaged in. In planning and developing her lessons, Brooke aims to find a balance between meeting the fundamental educational needs of her students, as well as providing them with a range of meaningful learning experiences.

Fiona Ackerly has over 20 years of experience as a primary school teacher in Australia and the UK.  After many years of working in the classroom setting, Fiona moved into the role of EAL Teacher and has been in this position at Eastwood Primary School for the last four years.  With a passion for helping EAL students reach their fullest potential, Fiona has a particular interest in the areas of pedagogy, curriculum and student wellbeing. Fiona’s recent participation in “Teaching Young Children English in Multilingual Contexts” provided her with many valuable learnings around EAL pedagogy. In particular, the strategies that teachers can utilise to help embed new concepts has had a profound effect on the way in which she now approaches her teaching of English as an  Additional Language.

Susan Govett graduated from the University of Melbourne with a Bachelor of Education (Primary) in 2002.  In 2016, Craigieburn Primary School was in the middle of one of the highest Syrian and Iraqi refugee settlement areas in Victoria. She was in unfamiliar territory as a classroom teacher. However, she found it extremely rewarding to help her students learn to communicate in a new language.  In 2017, after a serious illness, her principal suggested she take on the role of the school’s third EAL teacher. The curiosity and enthusiasm of her EAL students continues to amaze her and is the reason for her renewed enthusiasm for teaching.

Session 2 (11:35am – 12:15pm) – Secondary
Matt Rodger & Greg Gow, Foundation House

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

Greg Gow & Matt Rodger work for Foundation House which provides services to advance the health, wellbeing and human rights of people of refugee backgrounds in Victoria who have experienced torture or other traumatic events in their country of origin or while fleeing those countries. Greg is Program Coordinator and Matt is the Schools Support Officer West Region in the Schools Support Program.

Session 2 (11:35am – 12:15pm) – Adult/ Community
Jodie Whitehurst, Williamstown Community and Education Centre

Using Drama Techniques in the teaching of adult EAL

Using drama techniques in the teaching of adult EAL provides learners with authentic, meaningful contexts in which to practise the language, while increasing their motivation and speaking confidence. Drama can also energise a class and build a sense of trust, empowering students to take more risks and develop their communication skills. In this interactive workshop, participants will learn some useful drama-based activities which can easily be adapted for various language levels. You don’t need to be an actor, an extrovert or have a background in drama teaching; just bring an open mind and a sense of fun!

Jodie Whitehurst teaches adult EAL classes at Williamstown Community and Education Centre. A former secondary school Drama and English teacher, Jodie has always been interested in the benefits and best practice of bringing drama pedagogy into the adult English language learning space. As a recipient of a 2018 ISS Institute VET International Practitioner Fellowship, Jodie will travel to Europe and Canada in July, 2019 to attend workshops and conferences, observe classes and  meet with experts in this field. She looks forward to returning with a wealth of knowledge and skills to share with other practitioners who are interested in using drama techniques in their EAL classrooms.

Session 2 (11:35am – 12:15pm) – Across the Sectors
Flash Presentation and Round-table Discussion: Using Technology in the EAL classroom

Facilitators- Nathan Chong, Brunswick English Language Centre & Clare Blackman, Blackburn English Language School

Many teachers who consider themselves digital immigrants may struggle to keep up with student digital natives. In addition, there are so many apps and programs available that it is difficult to know which ones are best suited to our learners. This flash presentation will focus on how online tools can foster collaborative and communicative learning environment in our classrooms and show how apps such as Quizlet, Kahoot! and OneNote can gamify the classroom to improve the learning experience for our learners.  This session primarily aims to open up discussions on common experiences, challenges and rewards of having used technology in our EAL classrooms.

Nathan Chong is currently the Transition and ICT Coordinator at Brunswick English Language Centre. While completing his Master’s degree in TESOL from the University of Melbourne in 2015, his research focused on networked-based language learning. From 2016 to 2017, he was involved in the Virtual EAL new arrivals program supporting students in rural school around Victoria through video conferencing systems and digital tools. In 2018, Nathan organised and conducted a holiday program called ‘Code IT + Kick IT’ at the Huddle in North Melbourne. A large part of the program was aimed at exposing EAL students to coding and robotics.   

Clare Blackman began her teaching life as a history/ humanities teacher, however the first position she got was teaching maths and science to asylum seekers in the Regional Processing Centre in Nauru.  She quickly fell in love with teaching EAL students, and when the school closed, decided to go back to uni to study her Masters of TESOL. While she was completing this course, Clare spent some time teaching Certificates I and II EAL and the SEE program to adults, before a period teaching VCAL to disengaged students at a community centre. Clare started working at Blackburn English Language School in 2016, and is currently teaching at the Maroondah campus, where she shares the IT support role.  She is an advocate for the use of a variety of different forms of technology in the classroom, and is always happy to learn about new ways to engage and support students in their language journeys.

VicTESOL Symposium – Session 3

During ticket registration you will be required to select from the following sessions:

Session 3 (12:20 – 1:00pm) – Early Childhood/Primary
Carolyn Elliot, Principal, Doncaster Gardens Primary School

‘I can rather than I can’t’ – supporting students, families and teachers to achieve continued growth

This session will explore how you and your school can support EAL students and their families. Understanding Visa codes, exploring resources, using CASES reports and gathering information, you will be provided with opportunities to understand story and background. Using EAL ‘I can’ statements, success criteria and teaching approaches, you will walk away from this session with ideas and information to implement in your particular school setting.

Carolyn Elliot is the current Principal of Doncaster Gardens Primary School, a high performing school of 800 students in the Eastern suburbs. The school cohort consists of 34 different nationalities, international students and a changing demographic. Prior to this, Carolyn was Principal at a small school in the Outer East. Half of her students were of a refugee background. Carolyn has won national teaching awards in the area of community engagement, Victorian Multicultural Excellence awards and has led the development of a four year old transition program based on Literacy acquisition.

Session 3 (12:20 – 1:00pm) – Secondary
Julia Lippold, Lauriston Girls School

Zealous English: Blogging and Vlogging for middle years EAL

Mobile video consumption has drastically increased in the past decade. Children are very comfortable with this medium so why shouldn’t educators put this format to good use? Having material that is accessible on demand anytime, anywhere is not only functional but also attractive as a learning medium especially for students who are learning English. Videos have become a vital component of today’s and tomorrow’s classrooms. Some of the most popular and successful YouTube channels are created by English language teachers including “mmmEnglish”,” English like a Native”, “Go Natural English” and “Eat Sleep Dream English”.

Have you ever considered starting a blog or a vlog? For me, starting a blog was an idea that I had been ruminating on for a while. Yet it took a lot of courage to put myself out there on the world wide web. Recently I head an entrepreneur say, “If you’re not online you’re not going anywhere”. So, I spoke to my students about their social media usage, in particular YouTube, and they encouraged me to set up my own blog and YouTube channel. From this discussion, ‘Zealous English’ was born. Yet navigating the world of blogging and vlogging was a complete mind field. I had the ideas but no guidebook to show me how to get there. I had to learn everything myself. In this session I will provide practical steps you can take to start your own blog and/or vlog and discuss why social media is the fastest growing learning tool for EAL students. YouTube recently announced it is investing $20 million in educational videos (Business Insider 17/2/19). So why not jump on this exciting bandwagon for the benefit of our EAL learners.

Julia Lippold is a ‘teacherpreneur’; she is the founder and creator of ‘Zealous English’ – a blog and YouTube channel about middle-years EAL. She holds a BA (Languages) with Honours, a Grad Dip of Education (Sec), a Masters of Public and International Law, and is currently completing a Grad Cert of Literary Classics.

Julia is also the EAL Coordinator (Years 7-12) at Lauriston Girls’ School in Melbourne, where she has had an integral role in establishing the EAL program. She also supports mainstream teachers who have EAL students and delivers staff professional learning workshops. Julia has taught in the New Arrivals and Independent School sectors, and in Korea. She was also a Leading Teacher and International Student Coordinator at Blackburn English Language School. She is a member of the Executive Board of the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA), a VicTESOL Committee Member, is actively involved in the Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority (VCAA) EAL Curriculum F-10 for the Victorian Schools Consultation Review and is newly appointed to the VCAA VCE Examination Development EAL Reviewing Panel.

Session 3 (12:20 – 1:00pm) – Adult/ Community
Flash Presentation and Round-table Discussion: Working with Beginner Level Adults

Facilitator- Margaret Corrigan, Carringbush Adult Education

The aim of this session is to stimulate discussion and share knowledge on the topic of ‘Working with Beginner Level Adults’. The session will start with a short, flash presentation followed by a structured round-table discussion in which participants will have the opportunity to share practice, ideas and insights.

Margaret Corrigan is the CEO of Carringbush Adult Education and Secretary of VicTESOL. She has worked in a variety of educational settings in Australia and Asia-Pacific for 30 years, specialising in both commerce and ESL. Margaret worked as a teacher at Carringbush before becoming manager in 2012. She has a real passion for creating an organisational culture in which the students’ lives are enriched in a meaningful way.

Session 3 (12:20 – 1:00pm) – Across the Sectors
Steven Quinn, Carwatha Secondary College

Talk with the hand: Gestures in EAL

This is a practical session in which participants will see and use a variety of gestures to indicate to students what they need to do to improve their speaking.

Research into first language acquisition has shown that gesture and speech develop as a unified system (McNeil). Such is their alignment that, unconsciously, the stroke of a hand gesture always falls exactly on a stressed syllable. Furthermore, entire methods have been built around the conscious use of gesture to aid language acquisition, most notably the Accelerated Integrated Method (AIM).

The conscious use of gesture by teachers asserts a fundamentally different relationship between teachers and students, and students and learning. Whereas the verbal model dictates, the gesture merely evokes, granting students autonomy, responsibility and independence.

Participants will engage in a language learning experience, learning to count in German. Based on the language learning experience, the group will then discuss three categories of gestures:

1.     Gestures for managing class speaking practice

2.     Gestures for building words from sounds

3.     Gestures for phrasing and intonation

The session will conclude with questions and discussion.

Steven Quinn is the EAL coordinator and Intensive English Language Centre (IELC) coordinator at Carwatha College P-12. He has worked with newly-arrived EAL students for over 10 years, first at Noble Park English Language School and now at the IELC which he established. He also teaches VCE EAL.