Past ATESOL ACT events



What teachers should know about spelling ... and probably don't - 2 November 2013

It was a wonderful way to finish our professional development for the year – Misty Adoniou presenting on her favourite topic; the English language and how to teach it (on this occasion the topic was Spelling).

She teased us with the notion that many of our perceptions about English spelling are wrong, or at least flawed: English spelling is not crazy; being a good speller is not linked to some genetic code (which some have and others don’t); and that phonics and visual skills, though valuable, are perhaps the least important elements that make up a good speller. She exemplified this last point by highlighting that though we have only five vowels, those five vowels make 20 vowel sounds and have over 218 spelling patterns.

So what can we use to help learners to spell well? And what do good spellers all have in common? Luckily, the answer lies in the fascinating make-up of the English language. It is a language that is morpho-phonemic (words are formed by their meanings as well as their sounds), and it is also a language which has a lengthy and continuing evolution (words reflect their origin and history). These two elements, if explicitly taught and embedded across the curriculum, can inform and engage learners and give them skills and strategies to attack spelling.

Drawing on the work of Apel, Masterson et al. 2004 and Nunes, Bryant et al. 2006, Misty suggested a six-pronged approach to good spelling:

  1. semantic knowledge (knowing what words mean)
  2. phonological knowledge (including phonemic awareness),
  3. orthographic knowledge (understanding what is possible in letter order)
  4. etymological knowledge (knowing where words come from)
  5. morphological knowledge (knowing the meaningful parts of the word)
  6. visual knowledge (recognising the correct look of a word)
    Adapted from Apel et al (2004)

Misty believes that classroom practice needs to change. The promise that we give children and adults by saying that the two strategies of sounding out (phonics) and remembering the look of a word (Look, Cover, Write) will give us the keys to good spelling is a lie. She believes that we should:

  1. teach all types of spelling knowledge to all children (unlike Jolly Phonics, Soundwaves etc)
  2. embed spelling instruction into all curriculum areas (unlike pre-published lists of words for children to learn)
  3. focus on developing strategies and knowledge to spell and not on learning an imagined list of ‘necessary’ words; teach strategies via words, not words via strategies

Like Apel and Masterson propose, Misty believes that spelling should not be taught in stage-based programs (where for example, phonics needs to be mastered before learners are introduced to other facets of linguistic knowledge). Rather it should be delivered as a repertoire or suite of skills that can be delivered to children of all ages and at all levels of development. Furthermore, it should be taught using words-in-context within all subject areas and not, as is often the case, as a discrete and isolated part of the school day.

For Misty, the best source of materials will not be found in the graded reading schemes, but in ‘real’ books because: 

  1. they provide contextual diversity – the variety of concepts that a word is encountered in
  2. contextual diversity is more important than word frequency as an aid to word memory
  3. children’s literature provides greater contextual diversity than a reading scheme.

For me, good professional development gives new knowledge and greater insights, it reminds us of what we already know, and extends our awareness. It gives us ideas and/or strategies and makes us reflect on our own practice. Misty’s presentations always deliver in these areas and in yet another that for me holds the key to an excellent session – she has the ability to inspire and believe in the possibility of continual improvement for the benefit of our learners.

If you missed the session, be sure to attend her next one, and always keep your eye on our website, newsletters and emails for notification of our PD offerings for next year. There are some great events happening, including our first on 15th March which will focus on using songs in the classroom.

Want to hear more from Misty? She recently wrote an article for the online newspaper The Conversation - essential reading for all teachers...
Lost for words: why the best literacy approaches are not reaching the classroom

Misty’s References:

Apel, K., Masterson, J., & Hart, P. (2004). Integration of Language Components in Spelling. In E. Silliman & P. Wilkinson (Eds.), Language and Literacy Learning in Schools. New York: Guildford Press.

Nunes, T., Bryant, P., Hurry, J., & Pretzlik, U. (2006). Why morphemes are useful in primary school literacy. In I. o. Education (Ed.), Teaching and Learning Research Programme (Vol. 4). London.

Summary of Misty's session written by Tina Williamson, ATESOL ACT Vice President

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Annual Dinner - 5 September 2013

At our 2013 Annual Dinner, special guest speaker Richard Towle, the Regional Representative for the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) shared the experiences of the UNHCR in promoting and protecting refugee rights in the region, including Papua New Guinea and the Pacific.

Alice Cottee performed ‘Third World’ and other songs.

Everyday English: interactions for new arrivals - 15 June 2013


On the 15 June, ATESOL presented its second professional development for the year: Everyday English – interactions for new arrivals. Theodora (Dora) Lafkas, from APELS (Australian Postgraduate English Language Services) was our guest presenter. Dora has developed strategies to address the primary settlement issues for ESL learners such as housing, health, access to services and transport through an interactive program of English activities.

At the start of the session we were treated to a lesson in some “easy” Greek (name, where we’re from etc). We tried to follow her instructions (all in Greek) and copy her speaking. We even attempted to read and write in Greek. We then reflected on the experience, noting the way we approached the task. We were effectively placed in the hot seat and made to feel like a language learner – an invaluable experience for any ESL teacher. With the learner’s perspective up front and centre, she moved on to the key points of her presentation:

  • Many migrants and refugees are excluded from the workforce due to fossilisation in literacy, numeracy and language.
  • Teachers are often faced with classes of disparate learners, both in terms of their language level, and in terms of their educational and cultural background.
  • Context is at the heart of resource and lesson design (What experience/knowledge do the learners have in a given topic? How relevant is the topic/resource to our students’ lives?).
  • Teachers need to really get to know their learners (their backgrounds, educational experiences, interests, needs, wants) and design activities around these areas.
  • Scaffolding (and the teaching and learning cycle) is central to assisting learners to move from dependent to independent production of language.
  • Provide students with as much opportunity as possible to communicate.
  • Teach study skills (eg how to record, store and retrieve materials)
  • Each lesson should contain as many of the following elements as possible or appropriate (speaking, pronunciation, listening, reading, handwriting, writing, and grammar) – an integrated approach.
  • Teachers should reduce the pace at which new language and concepts are introduced – especially for students with no or low literacy in L1.
  • Reduce the number of worksheets we give to low level learners.
  • Discourage the use of bilingual dictionaries.
  • With regards to pace, she recommended no more than one (at the most, two) worksheets per hour of face-to-face instruction, which is achievable by providing appropriate and extensive scaffolding.

Though much of what Dora had to tell us would already be embedded in most ESL teachers’ practice, it was good to be reminded of these key principles, and it was difficult not to be taken with and inspired by Dora’s enthusiasm and commitment.

See our ESL Resources page for information on ordering Dora's books. Please contact Lesley if you'd like to write a review of the book for our ESL Resources Reviews page.

Summary of Dora's session written by Tina Williamson, ATESOL ACT Vice President



TESOL and iPads - 22 May 2013

Are you intrigued, intimidated, interested or undecided about iPads and ESL/EALD learners?

This session held on Wednesday 22nd May at Gungahlin Library Hub gave participants some insights into the world of apps and touchy screens via the NBN Hub and the ACT Library service. Several ATESOL ACT members presented a brief overview of iPads and showcased some of their favourite apps. Participants without their own iPad had the opportunity to try out some of these apps using the iPads at the Digital Hub.

 Please add your comments and ideas to our TodaysMeet page

Links to follow up on the workshop:

 [NOTE: These are all Google Drive documents.  You should be able to view all of them (plus edit the last one) without a Google account.  If you experience any problems, please send an email to Lesley at: info (AT) ]


ATESOL ACT AGM and An EALD Perspective at the National Botanic Gardens - 20 March 2013


Following our AGM, Australian National Botanic Gardens (ANBG) Education Officer Sally Bowman provided information and guided teachers through the current programs and resources available at the ANBG.  She outlined how the ANBG includes EALD perspectives in their programs, described some of the resources available to teachers, and explained how EALD teachers can use this local treasure to enhance our programs.

Here are some links to more information and resources

      ATESOL ACT members enjoying the presentation at ANBG

Scaffolding Literacy AND Core Skills for Work - 1 December 2012

A bumper end-of-year edition combinging two terrific sessions:

Core Skills for Work: Josie Allocca from CIT shared the work being done currently on developing a framework of employability skills in a short presentation.

Scaffolding Literacy: Misty Adoniou from the University of Canberra presented a 3 hour workshop to introduce us to an exciting, totally integrated approach to teaching literacy that uses quality literature to teach both reading and writing. Scaffolding Literacy comprises a sequence of lessons that provides a high challenge, high support environment where learners work with authentic literature, increasing engagement and enjoyment and giving real purpose to learning. Particular attention is paid to teaching knowledge about language (grammar) explicitly but in the context of well-written literature. This workshop introduced participants to the Scaffolding Literacy pedagogy. Scaffolding Literacy is an exciting, totally integrated approach to teaching literacy that uses quality literature to teach both reading and writing.

Saturday 1st December, 9am-1pm

ATESOL ACT Annual Spring Dinner - 31 October 2012

Our annual dinner saw around 30 members enjoy a warm evening with views over the lake, good company, delicious food and a charming guest speaker.

Dr Jeremy Jones, a lecturer in TESOL at the University of Canberra and a long time friend of ATESOL ACT, entertained us with his talk entitled Think different: a talk about discourse, from Steve Jobs and K-pop to Tiger Woods and the Bra Boys.

Jeremy gave us an overview of some topics considered by his undergrad students in their studies of discourse and culture, then focussed on three areas. An engaging discussion followed, fuelled by coffee and chocolates.

Here are some links that might be of interest following on from this fabulous talk:

Decorative English

Online Disinhibition Effect

Creating audience affiliation

Question tags are for babyboomers, aren't they?
In the discussion about speaker affinity with audiences Jeremy had us reflecting on who uses sentence tags, didn't he? And said that Gen Y no longer tend to use them, unless they are in Britain, innit? Or use other versions, right? One teacher there bemoaned her wasted lesson just that day! So it seems that if your students are under 50, yeah?  And maybe use high rising tones? And have adopted other ways of gathering "listenership" (Do you know what I mean?) That you can skip that bit of the text book. Don't you think!?
For a terrific demonstration of the 'high rising terminal' watch this clip from The Sounds of Aus of Mary-Anne Fahey (aka Kylie Mole from The Big Gig) on YouTube

Sponsoring Cambodian provincial teachers to attend CamTESOL 2013

At the dinner, we also raised funds to sponsor 5 Cambodian provincial teachers to attend CamTESOL 2013. Dinner guests gave generously, and the donations made on the evening were matched dollar for dollar from ATESOL ACT funds, so we are able to donate US$ 350 to pay for the registration of 5 Cambodian provinical teachers.

More about the Sponsorship of Cambodian Provincial Teachers:

These are CamTESOL’s least privileged participants. Through partnership with the Cambodian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, the conference helps to arrange transport to Phnom Penh, accommodation and a per diem for a limited number of these teachers; your support by paying their registration fee would give them access to great professional development in ELT and the chance to meet international colleagues. For more information please visit the Teacher Sponsorship webpage: or e-mail Ms SRUN Sovan at
Supporters are acknowledged in the Conference Handbook.

ATESOL ACT will have another presence at CamTESOL 2013 as member Lesley Cioccarelli is conducting a workshop on: Connect with teachers around the world: How to use the internet to develop a personal learning network (PLN). She is co-presenting with Andrea Wade, a British teacher who is manager of the General English Programme at Eastern International University in Binh Duong, Vietnam. A truly international collaboration!

Visit the CamTESOL 2013 website

Aboriginal Englishes. Why the plural? - 8 September 2012

What support can we give Indigenous students who are learning Standard English in the classroom?
What are Aboriginal Englishes?
How is culture reflected through these dialects of English?

Professor Wendy Brady Director of Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra
Marina Martiniello from the Yurauna Centre at the Canberra Institute of Technology

Unfortunately our presenters didn't turn up, but ATESOL ACT's very own Iwona Hawke did a fabulous presentation on cross-cultrual communication and shared a Koori IQ test.  ATESOL ACT Vice President Sue Amundsen then led a fascinating discussion amongst participants on the topic of indigenous language, culture and more, highlighting the wonderful expertise we have in our small but vibrant community.

One of the people mentioned by many teachers was:
Duncan Smith of Wiradjuri Echoes: Aboriginal dance, music, art and consultancy

Background Reading:
'Some Consequences of Attributing “English” (i.e. standard English) to Aboriginal English Speakers' by Ian G. Malcolm


Pronunciation Tools for Fostering Intelligibility and Communication Success - 7 July 2012

What is it about intonation that we need to know so we can help our learners ? We understand that we can say: “He’s my brother.” or “Why don’t you?” with different intonations for totally different meanings (especially if we have anything to do with teenagers!) But what else do we need to know?

This workshop held on Saturday 7th July 2012 guided us through the world of suprasegmental features of pronunciation, looked at some ways to help our students learn to hear and use intonation and contrastive stress to provide them with access to a greater range of English communication.

We examined practical ways to integrate pronunciation into lessons within a broader framework of current research and latest practices.

Presenter: Dr Marnie Reed Associate Professor, Program in Applied Linguistics, Graduate TESOL Program, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA. Dr Reed’s thirty-year career in the field includes classroom teaching, teacher training, and curriculum design both overseas and in the United States. The focus of her research has been on second language acquisition, and she has a particular interest in the relationship between speech production and perception. A particular area of interest is the role of auditory feedback in speech perception. She has co-authored the books Sound Concepts: An Integrated Pronunciation Course (2005, McGraw-Hill) and its accompanying Teacher’s Manual (2006), and Goal-Driven Lesson Planning for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (2010, University of Michigan Press), which incorporates her work on pronunciation instruction.

Marnie Read has generously shared her resource packet from the PD with ATESOL ACT members.
Download here in PDF format (2 Mb):
Pronunciation Tools for Fostering Intelligibility and Communication Success

Support Networks for English Language Teachers: local, national & global - 15 June 2012

You are not alone…
Teachers can feel like they work in isolation, but there is very powerful support for English language teachers. It can connect them; offer support, teaching ideas and resources; advocate for their students and their teaching roles and much more.

Where do you start?
Our speakers (see below) shared their knowledge of organisations that are national (ACTA); international (TESOL International and TESOL) and global (online networks).

Our speakers:

Misty Adoniou is a Senior Lecturer in Language, Literacy and TESL at the University of Canberra and currently serves on the Affiliate Leadership Council of TESOL International representing 100 Professional Associations for TESOL worldwide.

Lesley Cioccarelli teaches adult ESL at CIT and is an enthusiastic networker locally, nationally and globally. She is a member of ATESOL ACT, TESOL International and IATEFL, and many informal networks for English language teachers via Twitter, Facebook, Yahoo Groups, Ning, and more!

ATESOL - AGM, Awards and more - 8 March 2012

This was was a great opportunity to hear from colleagues who have taught ESL/EFL overseas. We also had our AGM including our ATESOL ACT TESL and TESOL Student Awards Ceremony.  Click Here to read the President's Annual Report

Canberra Languages Education Mini-Conference - 3 December 2011

The Languages Education Mini-Conference offered local English, ESL and Languages teachers and other language education professionals the opportunity to hear some of the key presenters of ALAA-ALANZ 2011 conference speaking on languages education issues.

The mini-conference was held at The Australian National University (ANU). This event was sponsored jointly by ALAA-ALANZ 2011, the ATESOL ACT and the MLTA ACT.

Click here for the ATESOL ACT invitation (pdf. format)

It’s all in the name: Exploring intercultural awareness through names - Saturday, 22 October 2011

What’s your name? Such a simple question, yet the answer can be so complicated when cultural and linguistic differences are involved. In this panel discussion, we heard from Arabic, Indian, European and Asian background speakers. They talked about naming traditions and conventions, pronouncing names, choosing children’s names and changing names.

Understanding naming conventions helps teachers better understand the needs of students facing form filling tasks and introductions of self, friends and family. Exploring other facets of ‘what’s in a name’ may develop deeper intercultural understanding.

The event concluded with a session for sharing ideas for using names in a variety of lessons.

One of the things shared was Lesley's blogpost - What's in a Name in an ESL class? - which includes a link to an interesting article on the about the practice English language learners choosing (or having chosen for them) an English name; lesson ideas and classroom activities and other links shared through comments on the blog.

The Virtual Staffroom: sharing across the ethersphere - 5 August 2011

This session encouraged teachers to harness Web 2.0 tools to increase their PD opportunities 100-fold!  Lesley shared her passion for networking with other English language teachers across the world to discuss ideas and issues, share lesson plans, solve problems and more.

Lesley's Follow-up Message to The Virtual Staffroom session - and not only for those who were there!:
I encourage you all to join Twitter and start connecting and sharing with teachers all around the world.  Please tweet using #ATESOLACT so we can connect and share.  If you don't feel confident to share more widely just yet, that's fine, I'll retweet to my PLN so anything you share will be spread to English language teachers across the world.

Please visit my blog where I have listed most of the links I shared at the session on Friday and I will continue to add links that I think will be of interest.

If you have any questions, please send me a tweet @cioccas or add a comment to the blogpost mentioned above.

ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner - 26 May 2011

Our speaker for the evening was Robert Macklin. Rob is a well known and respected local writer. He is best known as the author of The Big Fella: the Rise and Rise of BHP Billiton (with Peter Thompson), which won the 2009 Blake Dawson Prize for Business Literature. He is also the biographer of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

Robert’s latest work is My Favourite Teacher, ‘in which famous and not-so-famous Australians write about the teachers who changed their minds, the teachers who changed the idea of the person they thought they could be, and the teachers who changed their lives’. It includes contributions from people such as Quentin Bryce, Kathy Lette, Mem Fox, Anh Do and an ACT ESL teacher, Marguerite Gloster.

Continuums and Curriculums: Writing and ESL Learners - 13 May 2011



This session by Dr Beverly Derewianka looked at the challenges faced by ESL learners as they move along the mode continuum from spoken to written language and how a supportive curriculum can scaffold them into the dense, complex grammar of the written mode.

Dr Beverly Derewianka is a much respected author, researcher, academic and contributor to the National Curriculum.


Tour of Companion House and AGM - 24 February 2011

We assembled at The Community Hub, 41 Templeton St, Cook (Old Cook Primary School, Cook), and were given a tour of the new premises for Companion House.  We then held the The ATESOL ACT Annual General Meeting and a new committee was elected.  Bronwyn Rose retired as treasurer and her significant contribution to ATESOL ACT was acknowledged and a token of our appreciation presented to her.  The TESL and TESOL students for 2010 were also announced.

Pronunciation Workshop with Dr Beth Zielinski - 8 May 2010

A highly interesting and interactive workshop on Pronunciation was held on Saturday, 8 May 2010.  It explored the challenges for speakers to improve intelligibility of communication and for teachers to present pronunciation in relevant, timely and fun ways.  The session also answered the question 'What makes it difficult for EALD (English as an additional Language or Dialect) speakers to make themselves easily understood when they speak?'

With extensive experience in this field, our presenter, Dr Beth Zielinski, helped us discover features of pronunciation and ways to help our students.

For more more information on teaching Pronunciation see the following:

ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner - 9 September 2010

Our stylish annual dinner is always a chance to catch up with old friends and mingle with members of the local ESL community.  In 2010 it was a delightful three course affair held at the CIT Tourism and Hotel Management Centre Restaurant.

Our speaker for the evening was Rachel Letts.  Rachel has taught ESL and Communications, run a B&B, written a book about some of Canberra’s oldest residents and is in demand as a writer for environmental lobby groups. She gave us insight into the traps and joys of some of these endeavours.

Incorporating Indigenous Language Perspectives in the new Australian Curriculum - 18 September 2010

Nyaru, 2007
by Brandy Tjungurrayi,
Warlayirti Artists


On Saturday, 18 September 2010, Assistant Professor Jakelin Troy lead a workshop on Indigenous language issues to help educators prepare for teaching the new Australian Curriculum. Jaky is a Ngarigu woman. Her PhD was in Linguistics at the ANU. She teaches Indigenous studies, Indigenous education, visual art education and literacy at the University of Canberra. She is a co-writer of the Scoping Paper for Languages in the Australian Curriculum. She has worked on major government initiatives in Indigenous affairs including developing and writing the Native Title Act, managing Commonwealth land rights legislation, and managing national languages and broadcasting programs.

Click here for Jaky's powerpoint presentation for this event.

Click here to download 'Some Consequences of Attributing “English” (i.e. standard English) to Aboriginal English Speakers' by Ian G. Malcolm.

The session was held at the National Museum of Australia and included an introduction to the fantastic 'Yiwarra Kuju - Canning Stock Route' exhibition.



Grammar rules! - 30 October 2010

We explored grammar in two sessions and were encouraged to understand what grammar is, and what else it can be; how to make it fun and engaging for us as well as our students.

The first session, 'Grammar Matters', was run by Margaret McBride (AMEP @ CIT).  She focused on an eclectic approach to grammar instruction. Various methods of teaching grammar were explored with the aim of providing motivation for both teacher and student.

The second session, 'You start, I’ll follow', was presented by Dr Deborah Hill (UC TESOL).  She focused on incorporating key ideas from language learning, such as 'noticing' and 'risktaking' into a model of grammar teaching. The proposed model works towards integrating two ideas about grammar: Grammar as the language we use, and Grammar as the metalanguage we use to talk about it. A significant organisational feature of the model is time before the class.

End of Year Get-Together - 4 December 2010

Our get-together was Christmassy and relaxed.  We sat, ate, drank and listened to our IT gurus showing us useful websites and other teaching magic.  Others, who have discovered or implemented particularly successful or engaging activities, shared their discoveries.

In the new year (2011) there will be a new password protected 'Members Only' resources section on this website'.  The password will be made available after the AGM in early 2011.

Click here to visit Lesley's wonderful list of useful websites for ESL teachers.

Draft National Teacher Standards: Find out and have your say!

On Thursday, 29 April 2010, a workshop was held to explore whether the proposed Teacher Standards:

  • support desirable entry points and career paths for specialist ESL teachers;
  • allow for what mainstream teachers need to know about the ESL learners in their classrooms; and
  • encourage mainstream teachers to collaborate with ESL specialist teachers.

Thus building up ideas to develop useful feedback on improving this draft.

The workshop included short briefings from:

  • Christine Lucas, Director, Structural Reforms Team within the Teacher Reforms Branch in the Dept. of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations (DEEWR); and
  • Penny Gilmour, Branch Secretary, Australian Education Union, ACT branch.

The National Curriculum: Is there a place for ESL Students?

Added from clipboard at 3/10/2010 9:49 PM.

On Saturday 27 March 2010, Helen Moore led a lively discussion on the draft of Australia's National Curriculum.  Teachers came together to explore the mysteries of the National curriculum website and raise concerns to inform the Australian Council of TESOL Association's submission on the draft.  In concluding the session, it was decided that a follow up session would be organised.

2010 Annual General Meeting and “Translating lives: Living with two languages and cultures”

The 2010 ATESOL ACT AGM was held at Asia Bookroom on Wednesday 17th February.

Retiring President Lona Thwaites presented her president's report and treasurer's report.  Our Vice President Marina Houston presented the ATESOL ACT Student Awards to Rowena Tayler-Henry and Anna James.  A new committee was elected, watch the Contact page for details of our new Committee.

The AGM was followed by a discussion with Professor Anna Wierzbicka, co-editor of “Translating lives: Living with two languages and cultures", and another of the contributors to the book, Dr Kyung Joo Yoon.  They shared how immersion in two cultures affects one’s perspective of the world and relationship with other people. These accounts of childhood recollections, migrant experiences, journeys of self-discovery and feelings of being culturally torn or undefined, reveal the intrinsic links between language, culture and identity.

Many thanks to Asia Bookroom for co-hosting our AGM and the book talk, and also for their generous sponsorship of our Student Awards.

Creating a culture-sensitive classroom where students thrive - Saturday 24th October 2009

Added from clipboard at 10/14/2009 8:14 PM.

On Saturday 24th October 2009 a panel of speakers with experience from different cultures discussed the obstacles that make cultural transitions so difficult for newly arrived students. What is it we need to be aware of in order to help them settle in and feel they belong? How do we avoid misunderstandings? How do we create a climate in which they can get the best out of their learning experience and appreciate different perceptions? 

Companion House is a non profit community based organisation that works with people who have sought refuge in Australia from persecution, torture and war related trauma.  Please visit the Companion House website for more information.

Parliament House Education Program - Friday 18 September 2009

The Education Officers at Parliament House invited ACT TESOL members to come to a special meeting with them in the Parliament on Friday 18 September 2009.  The 20+ members from primary and secondary schools, CIT and UC experienced the kind of educational activities offered in the Parliament to visiting educational groups.

ATESOL ACT members role-played the introduction of a Bill to increase school hours to 9-5.  While 'MPs' were given scripts to read some embellished their scripts in an effort to increase pay for hard working teachers (Hear, hear!).  There were moments of tension when some unruly MPs were almost expelled by the Mace-wielding 'Serjeant-at-Arms'.  Fortunately Linda, the PEO Parliamentary Educator, was there to calm things down.  Several 'Government MPs' threatened to cross the floor when an 'Independent MP' amended the Bill to remove the pay-rise.  We all agreed that our 'fair but bossy Speaker' has a future in Parliament - she took to the role like a duck to water! 

See below for the photo album of the ATESOL ACT members in action!

This event was also an opportunity for us to find out more about what is available, provide expert feedback on ESL-specific issues, go behind the scenes, and socialise with both Parliamentary Education Officers and ESL colleagues.  The PEO website has a wide range of excellent resources for teachers and students, including a video of a student role play

And, as we have come to expect from ATESOL ACT events, the afternoon tea was memorable.  Thanks to Committee members Jakki Cashman (the chocolate zucchini cake & orange cakes) and Jill Schaefer (brownies and dried mango). 

Click here for our Parliament House Education Program PHOTO ALBUM

Annual Spring Dinner with guest speaker Bruce Moore - 26 August 2009


        Bruce Moore photo   

ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner

with Guest speaker: Dr Bruce Moore

Reader and Head of Australian National Dictionary Centre, ANU

at Southern Cross Yacht Club 
Alexandrina Drive, Yarralumla

Wednesday 26th August 2009 

 For much of the twentieth century Australian English was regarded as a substandard version of British English.  In his fascinating and recently published book, Speaking our language: the story of Australian English, Bruce Moore looks at the reasons for this attitude, and traces how Australian English became accepted in the final decades of the twentieth century. Dr Moore will talk about this very interesting process and share his perceptions of the future of Australian and other regional Englishes in the context of the globalisation of English.  Dr Moore is currently putting the final touches to a new edition of the Australian National Dictionary and will also be able to reveal some of the new Australian words that will be included in the dictionary for the first time.   Speaking Our Language book cover image


Innovations in Using Technology in ESL Teaching - Saturday 1st August 2009

Technology in ESL Wordle cloud image

Three teachers presented a ‘Show-and-Tell’ of how they use technology in their classrooms and beyond:

Penny Ryder, Chapman Primary School, on blogging, podcasting, mini camcorders and video.  See Penny's blog Teaching Challenges to view her  slideshow and to download her handout.

Robyn Hammond, Tuggeranong Primary Introductory English Centre, on creative uses of interactive whiteboards.  See this PDF document for a summary of Robyn's presentation and all her links - Using an IWB within the Tuggeranong Primary Introductory English Centre.

Lesley Cioccarelli, Adult Migrant English Program, CIT, on virtual (online) classrooms and ‘live video feedback'.  See this PDF document for a linked list of virtual classroom (and voice) tools, and 'live video feedback' - Virtual Classrooms and Live Video Feedback

The image above created using  Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text.  Look on the Web for ideas for using Wordle in education.

Intercultural language teaching and English in Indonesian primary schools - Saturday, 23 May 2009

Dr Chantal Crozet of ANU presented on: Intercultural language teaching aims to fully recognise and teach culture as part of language, not just as an adjunct to language. To achieve intercultural competence you have to understand your own as well as the culture of the target language. How to achieve this in the language class room was the focus of Dr Chantal Crozet’s presentation.

Mochamad Subhan Zein of UC presented on: Should English be made compulsory in Indonesian primary schools? If so, why? Mochamad Subhan Zein, Masters student at UC revealed the perspectives of Indonesian English practitioners, educational specialists, researchers, as well as government officials on this policy question.  Should English be taught at primary level? The Jakarta Post 15/11/2008

2009 Annual General Meeting & PD session: Where to for ESL assessment in the new federal education agenda? & Presentation of the ATESOL ACT Awards

At this year’s ATESOL ACT AGM we awarded 2008's two top students of TESOL and TESL at University of Canberra: Genevieve Hye Yeong Jamieson and Sue Honeyman. 

Following the AGM, Dr. Helen Moore spoke on a topic highly relevant to all of us: "Where to for ESL assessment in the new federal education agenda?" drawing on information presented at the National Symposium on Assessing English as a Second/Additional Language or Dialect in the Australian Context she co-coordinated in Sydney earlier this month. It reviewed assessment issues in the AMEP, ELICOS and school sectors.

(Thursday 12th March 2009)

Engaging with reading: How to teach reading to students at all levels Presented by Kate Wilson, University of Canberra - Saturday, 18 October 2008

In this interactive presentation Kate Wilson drew from a holistic study of three reading classrooms in English for Academic Purposes. She suggested that scaffolding students’ development of reading practices requires high engagement as well as ‘high challenge and high support” (Hammond and Gibbons 2005). Using features from classrooms she has observed she showed how three teachers were able to create high engagement with text. Although these examples are taken from pre-tertiary settings, she made the presentation applicable to teachers at all levels.

Spring Dinner with guest speaker Scott Thornbury - Thursday, 18 September 2008

Scott Thornbury gave a fascinating and inspiring speech of the sort that goes to the heart and stays. It was just great seeing 30 plus people chatting heartily away, obviously enjoying themselves.

‘The Best of ...ESL teaching’: lessons from the classroom - Saturday, 23 August 2008

At the end of August 2008 we organised a PD session consisting of a panel of teachers from the preschool, primary and adult sectors who presented their “Best Ever Lessons”.  This proved a hit with attendees and is set to become a regular event on the ATESOL ACT calendar.

Introduction to Digital Storytelling Workshop - Saturday, 31 May 2008

In this 4-hour workshop Eulea Kiraly of Tuggeranong Arts Centre introduced participants to techniques for developing Digital Stories - creating storylines through a story circle, storyboarding, and using PhotoStory3 to add images, record anrration and add music to create your final 'movie'.

Interesting links to find out more about Digital Storytelling:

Pre-ACTA Conference presentation by three Canberra TESOL practitioners - Saturday, 3 May 2008

Dr Deborah Hill (UC) - A community of learners

Geoffrey Millar (ADFA) - the art of inclusive teaching.
Conference Paper available from ACTA website - Working with international students: Applied linguistics and the art of inclusive teaching By Geoff Millar [59kb] PDF

Peta Shepherd (SIEC/ Dickson College) - Introductory English Centres – more than English teaching centres 
Conference Paper available from ACTA website - Helping refugee students in Intensive English Centres [Word doc.]

Teacher talk by Merran Martin: 'My Life as an ESL Teacher 1972-2007' - AGM, March 2008

Merran retired recently after many years at CIT. Her ESL experience includes teaching aboard the ships bringing new settlers to Australia. As well as being a highly regarded teacher at CIT, Merran worked in the Home Tutor Service, as a Student Advisor, and with refugees at Companion House.

Meet the Author: Prof. Anna Wierzbicka discussed her latest book, TRANSLATING LIVES - Wednesday, 30 May 2007

This event was held at the Asia Bookroom, Wednesday 30 May 2007.  Edited by Mary Besemeres and Anna Wierzbicka, Translating Lives is an immensely moving collection of personal stories tracing the experiences of twelve people living in Australia who speak more than one language. Contributors including Kim Scott and Eva Sallis show how their experiences of language colour the way they relate to people and the way they see the world. Through their eyes, we learn how language, culture and identity are intrinsically linked. Illuminating and insightful, Translating Lives is an engrossing read for every Australian wanting to understand the complex culture we live in today.

Visit to the exhibition 'Memory of a Nation' at the National Archives of Australia - Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Visit to the exhibition Memory of a Nation at the National Archives of Australia and,

Coming to Canberra - Guest speaker Jorge Bagnini, ACT Multicultural Arts Officer, introduced and presented this short DVD which he produced as part of "Project 1955", the culmination of research and interviews with migrants who were Canberra residents in 1955. The film depicts actors recounting the first-hand experiences of migrants from Italy, Holland, Austria, Poland, the UK, Malta and Greece.

Grammar? Making Sense? workshop with Mary Macken-Horarik - 18 November 2006

Grammar? Making Sense? (in PDF  format) workshop with Mary Macken-Horarik
What is it about the word, ‘grammar’? It is a word that strikes panic into the hearts and minds of teachers widely regarded as expert in their knowledge about language.  

Cross-Cultural Communication workshop - 26 July 2006


Long Service Leave Suggestion: A Tad of Teaching and a Couple of Conferences - February 2006

Long Service Leave Suggestion: A Tad of Teaching and a Couple of Conferences (in PDF  format) By Margie Sainsbury, teacher and home tutor co-ordinator AMEP, CIT.