October 2016

Welcome to our November addition of the VicTESOL e-Bulletin!

There has been lots happening over the past month, and to celebrate the end of another great year we are hosting the VicTESOL AGM at the Immigration Museum – a free event for all members.

We also have reviews of the twilight sessions that happened in October along with much much more.

Don't forget to access resources from Professional Development sessions in the members section on the website.  Enjoy this bumper issue!

Just a note on communication: If you wish to contact VicTESOL please email us at as we no longer have a fixed address to receive post.

If you come across any events, resources or articles that you think the VicTESOL community might get something out of, why not share them in our next e-bulletin? Email by the end of the month and we'll endeavour to include it in the following edition.


VicTESOL Memberships 50% Off

VicTESOL Memberships are now at a 50% pro-rata rate. All memberships are valid until the 31st of March, 2017.

Joining VicTESOL will allow you to attend all our professional learning events for a discounted price, as well as an opportunity to support your state TESOL & EAL association. To join, please click here.


Membership Pro-Rata Prices

  •      Concession Membership - $27.50
  •      Individual Membership - $44
  •      Institutional Membership (1-4 Practitioners) - $132.50
  •      Institutional Membership (5+ Practitioners) - $230
In this issue
  1. VicTESOL Annual General Meeting
  2. VicTESOL Research Grant Awardees 
  3. Professional Learning
  4. News, resources, links and opportunities
  5. VCE Update
  6. ACTA Update
  7. Upcoming Conferences


Wednesday, November 23 2016
5 - 7:30pm, Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St CBD

2016 has been a busy year for the TESOL community in Victoria and we have many events and achievements to celebrate.


Come with us on a private tour of the Immigration Museum, learn more about the Committee’s activities and celebrate with colleagues and VicTESOL members.

We will award the 2016 VicTESOL Research Grant to the successful applicants and network over canapés and drinks at the renowned Trust bar and restaurant. The Trust, winner of a Chef’s Hat, is located directly behind the Museum.


To RSVP, please click here.

All members are welcome! Not a member? Take advantage of our current 50% pro-rata membership offer, become a VicTESOL member.

VicTESOL Research Grant

Congratulations to Dr Katrina Tour and Dr Maria Gindidis

VicTESOL would like to thank the applicants who submitted a research proposal for the Inaugural VicTESOL Research Grant. The Grant Advisory Panel, and an interstate blind reviewer who appraised the evaluation process, carefully considered the applications. All applications had some merit, with each identifying real needs worthy of further investigation.

Congratulations to the successful research proposal which was submitted by a team from the Faculty of Education, Monash University – Dr Katrina Tour and Dr Maria Gindidis with a project entitled


Improving refugee students’ access to digital literacies:
integrating transmedia storytelling in an EAL (Year 7) classroom

The project will pilot a new set of teaching resources specifically focused on developing digital literacies using transmedia storytelling.  It involves the research team and an EAL teacher who will collaborate to plan, implement and evaluate a transmedia storytelling unit for teaching Year 7 refugee students.

The project ultimately aims 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.

We thank all applicants for their interest in the Inaugural VicTESOL Research Grant. We aim to offer a further grant next year and encourage you to apply.

VicTESOL Professional Learning Summaries

Developing Listening Skills Through Song
Thursday, 20 October 2016
Speakers: Carmel Davies & Sharon Duff

Carmel Davies and Sharon Duff, the talented and creative authors of the "Sing with me!" series, presented a fabulous workshop for VicTESOL aimed at developing listening skills through song. They demonstrated a range of engaging activities to teach listening and speaking, with a focus on pronunciation and grammar, through the joys of music and movement. Participants were inspired to take these strategies back to their classrooms and left singing happy tunes. Encore!
Summary contributed by participant Liz Keenan


Urban Lyrebirds’ Carmel Davies and Sharon Duff worked with EAL teachers in a hands-on workshop demonstrating the benefits of learning through song at the Bastow in October. Having now produced the third book in the series “Sing with me”, their workshop focussed on listening skills and the ways in which learning language through song brings learners together through a range of fun classroom activities.

“Sing with me” songs have been developed over many years of Sharon and Carmel’s work with adult migrant learners in Melbourne. They are purpose written and deal with themes that are relevant to settlement in Australia, such as catching a train, using technology, job hunting and raising teens a new culture.

So why song? Research shows that music links strongly to memory to enhance learning. It connects both sides of the brain, which stimulates memory and enables us to store and retrieve our learning for longer than we might have. Learning language through songs allows for very close listening and involves repetition that is not common in other activities.

Songs are good for improving connected speech, intonation, rhythm, and pronunciation skills. They make space for the teacher to highlight and work on difficult sounds and for students to practise them. The repetition involved in learning a song supports students to internalise grammatical structures and features of Australian English in a cultural context.

Sharon and Carmel encourage hand movements to support students to learn and recall lyrics. Songs are often closer to colloquial speech than other texts, and can give access to learning how Australians play with words to create words like “Tassie, barbie, prezzie, bickie” that learners will hear and need for social interaction.

Learning language through song also has health and social benefits – it’s enjoyable, it connects people and creates an accessible, relaxed learning environment for disparate levels and ages in the class. These benefits far outweigh any initial feelings of awkwardness about singing and Sharon and Carmel’s workshops show exactly how to introduce songs and create positive learning experiences that live beyond the classroom.

Urban Lyrebird’s resources are masterful. They provide a CD, online video clips and a resource book with outstanding units of work for each song that teachers can easily pick up, use and revisit regularly with their students. The songs are not only about learning language - they can be used to reach into difficult topics, to discuss cultural norms and tackle emotional issues as a group. And being songs, they can bring the beauty of English language to life. They open learners up to appreciate the English language - its rhymes, patterns and poetic features of the lyrics. Students can then use the songs as a springboard to writing their own lyrics.

Most language students will appreciate what they learnt from songs and I know they trigger my memory and help me to nut out structures and forms. As Ella Fitzgerald said: “The only thing better than singing is more singing”. You really can’t beat it!
Summary contributed by VicTESOL committee member Mairead Hannan


Focus on Feedback
Thursday, 27 October 2016
Speaker: Kathryn Hill

In our busy professional lives, it is a treat to be able to take some time out to reflect on our practice under the guidance of an expert. VicTESOL provided this opportunity in the Focus on Feedback Professional Learning seminar on October 27th.

Kathryn Hill, Lecturer in Learning and Teaching at LaTrobe University, provided a thought-provoking wander through issues surrounding assessment and feedback. She skilfully led participants to consider different types of assessment, their purposes, and the kinds of data they produce.

Kathryn provided opportunities for participants to think about the value of different assessments in informing teacher practice and the importance of effective feedback in improving student learning. She facilitated interesting discussions about just what constitutes effective feedback, and about ensuring that teacher and student understandings about the purpose of an assessment are aligned. An engaging and valuable professional learning experience!
Event summary by VicTESOL committee member Michelle Andrews

To access this session's powerpoint please click here.

News, resources, links and opportunities

Adult EAL - Victorian EAL Framework Update
For teachers using the EAL certificates in adult settings - Version 2 of the 10 EAL Certificate Framework is now, click here to view. The resource is also worth looking through if you teach young adult learners in VCAL or other programs in schools.

Online Foundations Skills Tool
The 2016 Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) is now available for use. It is an interactive online tool designed to identify and measure an individual’s foundation skill levels (English language, literacy and numeracy skills as well as employability skills). These skills are fundamental to participation in the workforce, the community and in adult education and training. Click here to visit the site.

2017 TasTESOL State Conference - Call for Presentations
The Tasmanian TESOL association is inviting expressions of interest from EAL/D educators at their 2017 TasTESOL State Conference. See below, or click here to download the information sheet.


Ingrid Laguna's "New Students" in The Monthly
The full version is now available to read here.

VCE Update

Call for VCE EAL Teachers
VCE English and EAL Day: Friday 17 February 2017
Monash University, Caulfield

We are looking for teachers to present sessions at the VicTESOL VATE VCE Teachers Day. We are planning sessions which are an overview of both Units 1 and 2 as well as Units 3 and 4 plus individual sessions on each of the Areas of Study.

We are all new to the study design so it will be a collaborative process as we learn more about how to approach it. Please consider being involved. There is a small payment, as well as great professional and personal satisfaction in doing so. 

Please contact Debra Icely if you are interested or have questions at:  or phone 03 9389 0654

Meet the Assessors: Tuesday 7 February 2017
Australian Catholic University, Fitzroy
Bookings open 25 November

ACTA Update

ACTA Advocacy
Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) changes set to lower standards

In August 2016, the Australian council of TESOL Associations (ACTA) submitted a response to the commonwealth government’s draft Request for Tender (RTF) for the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) and Skills for Education and Employment Program.

These programs provide a large proportion of adult EAL across Australia. The tender has now been released without amendment, failing to address ACTA’s recommendations. The key concerns are the proposal to split the AMEP into two “streams”: Pre-Employment and Social English.

The Social English stream  (‘conversation classes’) is to be taught by graduates with no teaching qualifications in classes of up to 25 (compared to pre-employment classes of 20). ACTA’s concerns were raised by Senator Cameron on 20th October at the Supplementary Budget Estimates 2016-2017 Committee Meeting.

To read ACTA’s submission, ACTA’s media releases and the transcript of the questions at the senate committee please click here.

Productivity Commission Submission
ACTA tendered a submission to the recent Productivity Commission on National Evidence Base. Michael Michell (President, ACTA) and Margaret Turnbull (Secretary, ACTA) represented ACTA at the Productivity Commission Hearing on October 20th, 2016. ACTA’s summary of the submission evidence which was also presented at a hearing and can be found by clicking here.

Upcoming Conferences

IATEFL and TESOL International Association joint web conference
17–19 November

Exploring the following themes
   Day 1 (17 November): World Englishes 
   Day 2 (18 November): Teacher Identity 
   Day 3 (19 November): Professional Development Through Teacher Associations

For more information please click here.

Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA)  and Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) annual conference

Monash University is delighted to host the 2016 annual conferences of the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) and Australian Linguistic Society (ALS). There will be a combined day on Wednesday the 7th of December that will provide exciting opportunities to engage with current research and other scholars, fostering dialogue, reflection, and new research collaborations.

Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) annual conference
When: 5-7 December, 2016

Australian Linguistic Society (ALS) annual conference
When: 7-9 December 2016

To register click here.


TESOL International Association
Online Participant registration in now open for the Summit on the Future of the TESOL Profession! The Summit will take place in Athens, Greece, 9–10 February 2017. The summit will also feature an online component, allowing you participate from anywhere in the world! Registration is now open. To register click here.

VicTESOL is a professional association committed to promoting excellence in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) and multicultural education, and to fostering and supporting cultural and linguistic diversity. VicTESOL provides support and services to TESOL teachers working in schools and pre-schools, adult and community education, ELICOS centres, and university and industry settings throughout Victoria.
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