Past ATESOL ACT events


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Term 3 2018 Meet & Greet – 31 August 2018

ATESOL ACT’s Term 3 social/networking event for anyone who teaches English to speakers of other languages (whether that be in the adult sector, an independent school, a catholic school or a public school). This was held at The Duxton in O’Connor

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Advocacy Roundtable with Politicians and Senior Public Servants – 25 August 2018

The Advocacy Working Party of the ATESOL ACT Committee has been conscientiously striving all year to secure an opportunity for association members to discuss potential issues within English language provision in both school and adult sectors with our elected representatives. In August we invited local and national politicians and senior public servants to address issues on English Language Provision in the School and Adult Sectors. Members were invited to come along and support our local EAL/D professional association, have their say, listen to responses and hear about the ACT EAL/D school survey results.

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Diverse Voices of Advocacy – 22 August 2018

Dr Polina Vinogradova, Director of the TESOL Program at the American University in Washington DC, presented a workshop on the importance of advocacy in TESOL, under the title: Diverse Voices of Advocacy: Preparing to Support Students, Colleagues and the TESOL Profession

Building on advocacy work and results of a qualitative study, Dr Vinogradova offered some definitions of advocacy, provided insights into how power and contextual factors impact beliefs about advocacy for English language learners and helped attendees prepare a realistic advocacy plan

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Multimedia language learning, assessment and feedback – 30 June 2018

ATESOL ACT were excited to present Joe Dale, colloquially known as the ‘app-smashing man’ for a 3 hour TQI accredited workshop on using multimedia applications to enhance English language learning. Joe hails from the Isle of Wight in the UK and started his professional life as a foreign language teacher. He came to realise how digital applications were helping his students so set off to explore the dynamic digital world for himself. 20180630_091304

Joe led participants through a range of applications including Adobe Spark video, using QR codes to create a ‘talking wall’, Padlet and Book Creator. The beauty of using multimedia applications with our students is the adaptability of the settings to match particular outcomes that we want to achieve. Participants left the workshop feeling invigorated to implement one, some or many applications in their classrooms.36340442_10158053497522228_8231644013531234304_n

Joe assisted President Bronwyn Singh to draw the members’ competition for registration at the ACTA 2018 Conference in Adelaide in October. Congratulations to Natarsha and Antony!

Article by Bronwyn Singh

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Using Social Media for Informal Professional Learning – 20 June 2018

ATESOL ACT member Lesley Cioccarelli shared her passion for using social media platforms as a way of developing one’s own professional learning. The connectivity available through social media such as Twitter and Facebook is ideal for discussion and enquiry on a range of topics, particularly in the TESOL world. Useful links can be found here. Attendees were greatly interested in the Facebook groups

And of course, you can find ATESOL ACT on Facebook and Twitter.

Article by Bronwyn Singh

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Social/Networking Events – Terms 2, 3 and 4, 2017

2017 saw ATESOL ACT initiate regular events to provide a social and networking opportunity for professionals working in the TESOL field. These events occurred once a term on a Friday afternoon – in Terms 2 and 4 at EQ Cafe in Deakin and in Term 3 at The Duxton in O’Connor.

These events are continuing in 2018, on Friday of Week 6 in each school term.

2018 AGM

In Term 1 the networking event was combined with the Annual General Meeting at The Duxton. There was a large gathering of interested professionals, some of whom were elected to the 2018 committee.

Report by Bronwyn Singh

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ACARA EAL/D Progression + What do I do now? – 9 September + 28 October 2017

Jennifer Mayers, EAL/D consultant, was thanked by ATESOL ACT president Fern Hyde
Jennifer Mayers, EAL/D consultant, was thanked by ATESOL ACT president Fern Hyde

Jennifer Mayers, EAL/D consultant, led participants in a dual-session professional learning experience to unpack the ACARA EAL/D Language Progression and its effectiveness as a tool to differentiate for EAL/D learners.

In the first session Jennifer explained the core idea of having four broad phases to describe the progression of learning English as an additional language. The specific descriptions in the phases for each mode of language (listening, speaking, reading/viewing and writing) provide pointers to guide teachers in knowing the next thing that will help a learner make progress towards language proficiency. Having understood the broad premise of the phases, participants were guided to identify classroom factors that contribute to support of learners situated within each phase. To conclude, Jennifer provided participants with examples of sentences to ignite discussion around why there are layers of complexity within English syntax.

The second session commenced with an exploration of ideas around differentiation for EAL/D learners. A helpful framework to do this is to consider content, process and product:

  • Content: modifying nature of informational resources
  • Process: varying learning activities and instructional strategies, developing different ways students can participate
  • Product: varying type and complexity of product created to demonstrate learning

A case study of differentiation was provided by Fern Hyde, Laurel Rodrigues and Bronwyn Singh. Starting with knowing the particular curriculum content description the identified phase of progression of the students assists with providing appropriate information with correlating lexical density, designing learning experiences to extend students in developing proficiency and outlining the product that students will produce.

Participants gained a deeper insight of how the EAL/D Progression is a valuable asset in describing individual students’ learning need.

The EAL/D Progression is available on the Australian Curriculum website:

Report by Bronwyn Singh

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The Role of Classroom Talk – 13 May 2017


On 13 May, 2017 Dr Jennifer Hammond held a three hour workshop on the role of classroom talk in building curriculum knowledge, and the implications for working with EAL/D students in mainstream classes. The ATESOL session was targeted for practicing EAL/D teachers, and mainstream teachers with an interest in EAL/D issues. While Dr Hammond drew on research findings from studies in primary schools, the material was relevant across teaching sectors.

Dr Hammond is an honorary associate professor in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney. She has taught for many years in the fields of language and literacy education, EAL education and research design. Her research interests are in literacy development; classroom interaction, and the implications of socio-cultural and systemic theories of language and learning in EAL education. She has published widely in these areas. She is currently involved in research addressing the needs of newly arrived EAL and refugee students in Australian schools.

The program addressed the role of classroom talk in developing higher mental processes and deep learning. It explored implications for teachers working with EAL/D students in their mainstream classrooms, including the need to balance talking to learn and learning to talk. Examples highlighted the need to provide all students, but especially EAL/D students, with access to high levels of support to ensure they are able to participate in high challenge curriculum programs. Dr Hammond noted that not all group work and talk is constructive; for talk to be useful, both teachers and students need to explore the central purposes of the lesson in depth. Achieving this requires scaffolding to be planned into lessons, and to be provided at points of need as lessons unfold.

The presentation drew on data from curriculum programs where teachers deliberately designed-in opportunities for their EAL/D students to engage in sustained talk in learning, while they also drew on notions of scaffolding and message abundancy to provide support for their students’ language and literacy development. Dr Hammond argued that the kind of balance achieved in these programs is a necessary pre-requisite for EAL/D students in their development of higher mental processes and deep learning. She also argued that a balance of talking to learn and learning to talk provides a solid basis for students’ academic literacy development. Student engagement in extended and in-depth “literate talk” supports learning academic English, which in turn supports the development of reading and writing.

Group work by workshop participants identified the importance of teachers identifying oral language requirements and explicitly developing oral skills. In referring to work by Pauline Gibbons, Dr Hammond suggested that teachers should interact with all students, including EAL/D students, as if they are worthy conversational partners.

During the workshop Dr Hammond set out how this approach is supported by major educational and language learning theories, including Alexander’s work on dialogic teaching, Vygotskian theories of learning, and on Halliday’s systemic functional linguistics. For those interested in further study, Dr Hammond provided the references included below:

Alexander, R (2008a) Toward Dialogic Teaching: Rethinking classroom talk (4th ed) York, Dialogos, Thirsk, UK Ltd.
Alexander, R. (2008b) Essays on Pedagogy. London, Routledge.
Hammond, J. (2016) Dialogic space: intersections between dialogic teaching and systemic functional linguistics. Research Papers in Education. 31(1), 5-22.
Hammond J. & Miller J. (eds) (2015) Classrooms of possibility: Supporting at-risk EAL students. Newtown, Primary English Teaching Association Australia.
Hammond, J. (2015) Teaching and Learning Practices with at-risk EAL students. In Hammond J. & Miller J. (eds) Classrooms of possibility: Supporting at-risk EAL students. Newtown, Primary English Teaching Association Australia.
Hammond, J. (2014a) The Transition of Refugee Students from Intensive English Centres to Mainstream High Schools: Current Practices and future possibilities. Sydney, NSW Department of Education and Communities.
Hammond, J. (2014b). An Australian perspective on Standards-Based Education, Teacher Knowledge and English as an Additional Language students. TESOL Quarterly, 48(3), 507-532.
Vyotsky, L. (1978) Mind in Society: The development of higher psychological processes. Edited by M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner & E. Souberman. Cambridge MA: Harvard University Press.

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ATESOL ACT AGM at Canberra Museum and Gallery – 3 March 2017

President Fern Hyde presenting Tash White from the University of Canberra with the Outstanding Award for TESOL Education
President Fern Hyde presenting Tash White from the University of Canberra with the Outstanding Award for TESOL Education

ATESOL ACT held the 2017 Annual General Meeting held at Canberra Museum and Gallery (CMAG) on Friday 3rd March. Fern Hyde was elected unopposed to continue as President following on from 2016. Tash White from the University of Canberra received the Outstanding Award for TESOL Education.

Memory of the World exhibition
Memory of the World exhibition
President Fern Hyde, Treasurer Lena Britton, Secretary Laurel Rodrigues, Tash White
President Fern Hyde, Treasurer Lena Britton, Secretary Laurel Rodrigues, Tash White

Attendees were then treated to a walk-through of the exhibition ‘Memory of the World in Canberra’. The exhibition was inspired by the UNESCO Memory of the World programme and brings together items of documentary heritage held in Canberra’s cultural institutions. The display of items is organized around themes that range from Australia on film to planning the ‘ideal city’. The collected group was awe-struck by some of the items, including an Academy Award ‘Oscar’ for Best Documentary 1942 for the Film, ‘Kokoda Front Line’!

CMAG is a treasured location to visit that highlights so many special things about our capital city and its connection to the world.

Report by Bronwyn Singh

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Spelling it out – Associate Professor Misty Adoniou – 18 February 2017

Associate Professor Misty Adoniou presented her ground-breaking approach to teaching spelling.  The session explored phonology, etymology, morphology, and spelling pedagogies.

If you would like to purchase Misty’s new book, Spelling It Out – How Words Work and How to Teach Them, here are some links;

Angus and Robertson –

Booktopia –

Book Depository –

Amazon –

Follow this link to download Misty’s slide;

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Bilingual tools to enhance EAL/D students’ language development – 30 July 2016

Presented by Mallika Das (Auburn Public School)

With over 18 years of experience, Mallika has participated in PIEP (Primary Intensive English Program) for Refugees, Using Mobile devices for EAL/D learners, Multicultural Story-box Project, Leadership Project as well as Developing Student’s Linguistic Repertoires for Language development project.

On Saturday 30th July 2016, a highly motivated group of teachers gathered at Duffy Primary School to take part in a most informative presentation by Mallika Das, an EAL/D teacher mentor at Auburn Public School in Western Sydney – a school with a population of 99% EAL/D students.

Mallika started by providing a rationale for bilingual reading programs at her school.  We heard all about her research based evidence that reading in the home language can positively affect reading ability in the target language.  She also touched on the positive effects for parents as they gain knowledge of how Australian school systems function.

We moved on to playing a game of Bilingualism – Myth or Fact? We discussed such myths as “Bilingualism causes language delay” and lamented the fact that not all educators recognise that “Parents should discourage use of home language in order to assist their children develop the majority language” is absolutely a myth.  But, it wasn’t all doom and gloom as Mallika assured us of the truth of “Bilinguals are better listeners” and “Bilingualism promotes all areas of cognitive function.”

After reviewing some relevant legislation and policy documents, Mallika went on to detail some of the successful programs in place at her school.  We watched video clips of Bilingual Stories in Class and heard about Community Language Programs.  Mallika explained how classes were structured according to home language in the first year of schooling and consequently how students shared their learning with their parents.

Parents are valued as active participants and Mallika runs various parent information sessions, providing training in how to read with children, ensuring their access to bilingual texts and enlisting their help in creating resources.  They are even assisted in gaining their WWVP cards!
Mallika outlined the school’s Bilingual Story Time program and shared some related activities to enhance comprehension and writing skills.  We saw how Language Maps were used effectively in the classroom and got the chance to draw our own!

As always, we ran out of time and had to farewell Mallika as she made her way back to Sydney.

A huge thank you Mallika for taking the time to share best practice with us here in chilly Canberra!

PL event report by Isabel Winch

Also on the program for the morning were the presentations by ATESOL ACT’s 2016 ACTA Conference registration scholarship winners Jennifer Mayers (School sector winner) and Lesley Cioccarelli (Adult sector winner).  Read their Conference reports on our Blog page.

Minimal English as a Pedagogical Tool: Workshop – 6 May 2016

On Friday 6th May, interested professionals from all sectors gathered at the ANU for a workshop facilitated by Lauren Sadow, a PHD candidate with an extensive background in the fields of Linguistics and TESOL.

Lauren launched us straight into our first activity.  How would we explain the concept of “proof” in our classrooms?  This generated much lively discussion.  Would we use scientific, mathematical or textual examples?  Would we physically demonstrate?   One thing we all agreed upon was the difficulty in explaining concepts which are not directly translatable into other languages or which don’t exist in many languages.  “Proof” is a classic example!

Luckily, Lauren’s work with Minimal English provides a tool to help.  Lauren has built upon Natural Semantic Metalanguage to create a core list of basic vocabulary relating to universal concepts.  Minimal English is a structured approach which is clear, universal and translatable.   Lauren guided us in creating explications, or grammatically correct, if not naturally sounding (to the native ear) sentences for explaining “proof.”

Lauren then led us through another exercise where we applied the Minimal English tool to explain other concepts –  amazing, interesting, fantastic, wonderful, great and terrific.  There was much debate about the nuances of meaning in that list!

Lauren impressed upon us that when applying Minimal English to feelings we needed to bear in mind that every culture has value judgements on emotions, and that this knowledge helps us to create our explications.

There was so much more to explore in Lauren’s research, but sadly, time dictated that our session draw to a close.  Most participants could still be heard debating  the differences between “amazing” and “terrific” as they walked through the door.  We were fortunate  indeed to have Lauren present such cutting edge research which many of us will apply in our classrooms.

report by Isabel Winch

Lauren’s Slides and Handouts from the session:

ME Slides image
Imprisoned in English cover imageM

Imprisoned in English: The Hazards of English as a Default Language
by Anna Wierzbicka

If you’d like to know more about Minimal English and Natural Semantic Metalanguage (NSM),
Lauren has recommended this book as a “great one to get people started … It’s aimed at
non-experts so is really accessible. It is primarily NSM and not Minimal English though, but
the discussion on concepts is still just as valid.”

These two short papers, prepared for a 2015 Symposium by Cliff Goddard and Anna Wierzbicka,
might also be of interest: Global English, Minimal English: Towards better intercultural communication, and What is Minimal English (and how to use it)

At the end of her workshop Lauren gave us a very brief overview of “typographical nuance” on the Internet.  The blog post on ‘no’ that she mentioned can be found here: … how we Young People Today use ~improper~ punctuation/grammar in actually really defined ways to express tone without having to explicitly state tone…

Lauren’s PhD project is to create a teacher’s resource using Minimal English. The resource will work its way through the hierarchy of cultural scripts discussed in the workshop all the way down to the cultural keywords that embody the core values of the master scripts. This resource will also include classroom activities based in Minimal English. The explications, scripts and activities will be developed in consultation with teachers in Semester 2, 2016. If you’re interested in getting involved with this project, watch the ATESOL ACT website and Facebook group!

ATESOL ACT AGM and Youth Coalition of the ACT – 10 March 2016

Our 2016 Annual General Meeting was held on Thursday 10th March 2016 at the Youth Coalition of the ACT, 46 Clianthus St, O’Connor.  2015 President Jennifer Mayers delivered a report on the past year’s activities, our new Committee was elected, and our new Constitution was passed.

Read PRESIDENT’S REPORT    Read about our NEW 2016 COMMITTEE


YouthCoalitionLogo        MYANlogo

Following the 2016 ATESOL ACT AGM, Emma Robertson, Director of the Youth Coalition of the ACT  provided an excellent overview of the work undertaken by the Youth Coalition and its partnership with the Multicultural Youth Affairs Network (MYAN ACT)

While the Youth Coalition website  will provide you with a very comprehensive coverage of the organisation’s objectives and activities, you may decide to go there because:

  1. The Network is a key body for information about policy relating to young people in the ACT
  2. Policy is agreed upon in close consultation with its members, including young people
  3. The Network represents members’ interest to other stakeholders, including the ACT Government, Australian Government and to independent Commissions and statutory bodies
  4. The Network provides relevant information on young people and provides a summary of important activities, events resources and information relating to young people and the youth sector in the ACT.

EAL/D teachers may find the following resource of assistance if reviewing cultural awareness in their workplaces – MYAN ACT Cultural Competency Good Practice Guide – a resource for both organisations and individual workers to enhance cultural competence and improve supports to multicultural young people. The Guide includes six good practice standards:

  1. Respect and Commitment; 2. Staff Knowledge and Development; 3. Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Workforce and Employment; 4. Culturally Appropriate Service Delivery;   5. Engagement with Communities; 6. Service Development and Evaluation.

You may just be looking for information on what the Youth Coalition and the MYAN are all about, but they seem like a good resource or contact point for anyone working with young people between the ages of 12 – 25.

report by Jennifer Mayers

More information and Links from the Youth Coalition of the ACT and MYAN:

  • Check the Youth Coalition of the ACT YouTube channel for video recordings from the Just Sayin’ event hosted at the ACT Legislative Assembly during National Youth Week in April 2015. Just Sayin’ featured a panel of young people who spoke to their own experience and passions, as well as addressing the question, “Why should decision-makers care what young people have to say?”
  • Rate Canberra – Survey of Young People 
    The Youth Coalition has recently launched Rate Canberra 2016, the biggest survey of young people in the ACT.
    This 10 minute survey of 12 – 25 year olds aims to collect information on what it is really like to live in Canberra as a young person, and the issues that are important to young people.
    Schools and youth services can win $1000 for having young people complete the survey, and prizes are also up for grabs for individual participants.
  • National Youth Week 2016 – 8–17 April
    The Youth Coalition coordinate National Youth Week in the ACT.  Emma mentioned that they are trying to get a Student Ambassador from each school in the ACT. Please contact them via this webpage for more information.

additional links by Lesley Cioccarelli

ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner – 4 November 2015

It’s the end of another successful year.  And another successful ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner! Thanks to all who came along on the night, and an extra big thank you to all the hard working Committee members who helped bring it off.

Our guest speaker this year was Yvette Berry MLA, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister for Housing, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, Minister for Community Services, Minister for Women and Minister assisting the Chief Minister on Social Inclusion and Equality.

The Minister reminded us all how important it is to welcome migrants and refugees in the community by being a friend.  She also shared her own experience of witnessing the value of the old workplace language and literacy program (WELL), and welcomed questions and comments from our members about other topics of interest.

We again raised enough money to sponsor 14 Cambodian provincial teachers to attend CamTESOL in 2016.  I think everyone dug deeper in their pockets after hearing from our special guest Mongkul Tep, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Languages at Western University in Phnom Penh, currently studying TESOL at the University of Canberra.  He spoke about how the money we have raised in the past has helped people like him attend the CamTESOL conference, and how meaningful the sponsorship is to teachers from provincial areas. (Mongkul Tep is from – the remotest part of Cambodia, Ratanakiri Province!).  Thanks to all who donated.

Finally, congratulations to Jennifer Mayers and Lesley Cioccarelli for winning the inaugural ATESOL ACT sponsorship to the ACTA/ACAL 2016 Conference in Perth. Jennifer should have laid a bet on this result as she had dreamt about it!

Mongkul Tep and Yvette Berry MLA
Mongkul Tep and Yvette Berry MLA
ATESOL ACT President Jennifer Mayers welcomes dinner guests
ATESOL ACT President Jennifer Mayers welcomes dinner guests

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 Scaffolding Literacy – Community of Practice – 31 October 2015

Reading imageScaffolding Literacy is an integrated reading and writing pedagogy that uses authenticWriting image literature to teach literacy and language skills.

Several Scaffolding Literacy practitioners shared their practice from ACT classrooms, and lead discussions about working with the Scaffolding Literacy pedagogy.

On Halloween morning, a dedicated group of teachers gathered at the Hughes Primary School Hall to participate in an offering of six different workshops centred around this integrated reading and writing pedagogy.

Laurel Rodrigues and Fern Hyde welcomed us all with an introduction to the fundamentals of Scaffolding Literacy.  The importance of following the sequence was emphasized and many examples were given to demonstrate the effectiveness of this high support inclusive pedagogy as part of a high challenge curriculum.  The sequence is as suitable for adult learners as it is for children and is great for its ability to differentiate for all learners.

Bec Smith spoke to us about the Word Study stage of the sequence.  Her highly informative presentation was jam packed full of examples from her own teaching context and she very generously shared many resource tips and ideas.  Bec stressed the importance of   teaching in context with high quality texts.  We learnt how to use six different knowledges about words and spelling in our Word Study; semantic, visual, morphological, etymological, orthographic and phonological.

Rosemary Radford then led us in a session focused on the Transformations stage of the Scaffolding Literacy sequence.  Rosemary demonstrated a practical lesson using props, giving many teachers plenty of ideas to take back to their classrooms on Monday morning.  Rosemary shared her enjoyment of the practice for its explicitness, its ease of planning in a set structure, its evident high level of engagement by students and its opportunity for creativity.

Finally, Maggie Quigley took us on a journey through Language Orientations and Patterned Writing.  We all took part in her demonstration lesson, involving cutting up sentence strips and carefully analysing her sample paragraph.  Maggie shared a particularly useful, practical tip – when selecting texts, make sure that it contains some good examples which you can use for patterned writing and try them out yourself, before you let them loose on students!

Jennifer Mayers, ATESOL ACT president for 2015, closed this fabulous PD session with a reminder that this whole practice of Scaffolding Literacy is heavily research based.

report by Isabel Winch

See below the photos for more links to information and resources for Scaffolding Literacy


Fern Hyde and Laurel Rodrigues An overview of Scaffolding Literacy
A diagrammatic overview of the teaching sequence
Bec Smith
Kingsford Smith School
Word study
Elizabeth Hook
Turner Primary School
Working with Scaffolding Literacy with non-narrative texts
Rosemary Radford
ETD Central Office
Megan Mears
North Ainslie Primary School
Working with Scaffolding Literacy as part of a broader literacy program
Maggie Quigley
Kaleen Primary School
Language Orientations and Patterned Writing
Jessie Wilson
Harrison School
Experimenting with integrating Scaffolding Literacy with integrated topics

[Click on an image above to view larger photos.]

More links of interest:

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Tai Chi and Tennis Balls:
Haptic Techniques for Teaching Pronunciation
19 September 2015


If you’d peeped into the Hughes Primary School Hall on Saturday morning, you’d have been forgiven for wondering why a group of teachers were seemingly flowing through Tai Chi exercises whilst simultaneously tapping tennis balls on their right shoulders and bending forwards. What had this to do with language learning?

It was all part of a fast-paced, hands-on workshop led by Michael Burri from the University of Wollongong on Haptic Pronunciation techniques.

Michael dived straight in with an introduction to prosody and had us all analysing our speech for thought groups and prominence. These are two essential elements for pronunciation teaching and led us to our first exercise – the butterfly position. Michael demonstrated how tapping our shoulders with the tennis ball on the prominent words in a sentence can help speakers with stress, fluency and conversational rhythm.

Michael then led us through a short history of EHIEP (Essential Haptic-integrated English Pronunciation) from the Accent Reduction of the 1980s through to contemporary video and cloud-based technologies.

But there was no time to rest! We soon moved on to the Rhythm Fight Club. This time, the School Hall was filled with teachers punching in front of them and using short jabs forward and away from the body! This kinaesthetic approach certainly had everyone engaged and we could clearly see how valuable these pedagogical movement patterns could be, particularly with learners so concerned to “get it all right” that they lose the conversational flow.

Haptic-pron punching for web
Learning the Rhythm Fight Club technique from our presenter Mike Burri

We explored the teaching of intonation with more hands-on exercises before moving to the diagnosis of learners’ speech. Techniques for enhancing intelligibility were discussed and most teachers left the event with concrete ideas for Monday’s lessons!

Michael raised some thought provoking questions too. Is there better retention of new vocabulary if pronunciation is emphasised? Is there a way to incorporate the sense of smell into Haptic Pronunciation Techniques?!

All in all, Michael presented a hugely successful event on an often neglected area of language learning.

Report by Isabel Winch

Michael Burri is a PhD candidate in the School of Education at the University of Wollongong. He was born in the US, grew up in Switzerland, and has lived, taught and conducted research in a variety of contexts in New Zealand, Japan, Canada and Australia. Michael has presented on pronunciation instruction at national and international conferences.
You can follow him on Twitter @michaelburri or read his blog:

Here are the links Michael mentioned in the session:

We also unveiled our gorgeous new ATESOL ACT banners at the event.  ATESOL ACT often get asked to take part in careers fairs and other events, and we realised we needed something to announce our presence.  So, if you see our big purple logo around town, please come and say hello!

ATESOLACT Committee at HapticPronPD for web
Some of our ATESOL ACT Committee members who organised this fabulous PD practicing their Haptic Pronunciation techniques with our presenter Mike Burri.

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Using the Portraits in the National Portrait Gallery with Students Learning English as Speakers of Other Languages – 14 May 2015

NPG PD image

On Thursday the 14th of May we were very fortunate to have had the experience to participate in a special tour of the Portrait Gallery.  The aim of the tour was to open our eyes to what the gallery could offer English language learners through the use of the space and exhibits.  It was really wonderful to gather with other professionals from different sectors and see how such a great resource could be adapted to suit our respective target audiences. We were guided to consider portraits as a rich source of learning about Australian historical and literary figures and as source, record and narrative.  The message is that we should be all taking advantage of this free resource while it is still available!  If transport is an issue, they can come to you and even offer a livestreaming service! What more could you ask for?

        ATESOL ACT teachers at Portrait Gallery  ATESOL ACT teachers at Portrait Gallery PD

For more information, visit the National Portrait Gallery’s Education Program, Bookings and Resource page

After the dinner, several members attended the CIT Restaurant in Reid to continue our professional discussions and enjoy a delicious three course meal.

Report by Diana Chu, Isabel Winch & Bronwyn Singh

* Did you know that there is a National Capital Teacher Pass which provides free access (and/or other offers) to the attractions in Canberra giving you time to explore the opportunities available for planning a school excursion in Canberra? Find out more on our Places & Events that may interest you & your students page.

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Why Oracy is Critical for Improving Inferential Comprehension – 21 February 2015

There was a buzz of excitement as people filled the Hughes Primary School hall early on Saturday morning, eager to participate in Margery Hertzberg’s workshop on why oracy is critical for improving inferential comprehension.

Margery had us thinking about the difference between literal and interpretive/inferential questioning, and at which points of the teaching sequence that we should include oral language activities (at all points!).  Margery explained how communicative activities can be used when introducing topics and concepts, to discuss developing understandings, and when assessing content knowledge.  The communicative crosswords activity is an excellent example of how single-personal activity (a crossword) can be modified to become a rich language experience that requires content knowledge, topic specific vocabulary and is dependant on oral communication.

Margery provided compelling evidence to show why home language use is beneficial in the classroom, and the importance around carefully selecting partners for group and pair work.  I’m sure many people will be referring to Margery’s evidence to explain their use of friendship grouping for class activities, rather than ability level grouping or splitting up friends for work time.

The scaffolding cycle was explored, with explanations and reasoning around building content knowledge through teacher preparation, getting ready for and into the text, and coming back to the text.  The use of margin prompts was a particularly interesting point, and made explicit the process of modelling comprehension strategies.

The role of drama was a highlight in the workshop as a way to develop comprehension.  We really got into the drama activities and opened up the text in a way that made deep connections.  Margery’s tips on how to make drama successful were noted down eagerly.

The richness of authentic texts as a teaching resource was emphasised throughout the workshop, and I’m sure many people will be rushing out to buy Marianthe’s story: painted words, spoken memories by Aliki to use in their teaching.

I left the workshop with ways to modify my current practice, and new techniques and activities that I am keen to try with my students.  An absolute success for professional learning workshop in my opinion!

Report by Fern Hyde

Teaching English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes cover If you would like to buy Margery’s book, which includes all the ideas she demonstrated to us and many more, you can get the paperback or ebook version from PETAA:
Teaching English Language Learners in Mainstream Classes by Margery Hertzberg

ATESOL ACT Annual Dinner – 26 November 2014

Our Annual Dinner was again held at Canberra Yacht Club.  Our guest speaker was Dr Kim Huynh who is a local, a lecturer at ANU, and was a child migrant who came to Australia fleeing Vietnam in the 70s.

We also honoured and awarded our first Life Membership to Misty Adoniou – read more about that here: Misty Adoniou – ATESOL ACT’s first Life Member

Heather Donohoe, Lesley Cioccarelli, Misty Adoniou & Jakki Cashman

Dr Kim Huynh is a Lecturer in Politics and International Relations at the ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences. He is also a social commentator on radio and in newspapers.  Here is an edited version of the introduction that Lesley Cioccarelli, co-president of ATESOL ACT 2014, gave on the evening for our guest speaker, Kim Huynh:

When I asked Kim if he would come and talk this event, he responded very quickly with this comment: “I am a great admirer of English teachers and am indebted to ESL teachers in particular. It would be an honour and a pleasure to speak to you.”

It seems that we’ve given Kim a promotion in our promotion of this event, as we listed him as a professor, when he is in fact “a ‘lecturer’. I’m not fussed whether you fix it though, as far as I can see the only difference is that the former does more admin.” Since he has received an ANU Vice Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, it might be too long before he’s doing that extra paperwork.

Kim’s teaching and research interests include forced migration, political philosophy, political fiction and international relations, political theory, women’s studies, children and global conflict, and ethnology.

He also writes essays and articles for newspapers and the BBC Vietnamese.  And he does occasional gigs on ABC Radio 666. He spoke recently on about how karaoke helps with in business dealings with people from eastern cultures, and also helpfully explained why Vietnamese people cut fruit outwards – something I’d always wondered about. (See links below)

I’d encourage you to purchase a copy of his book, Where The Sea Takes Us, which tells the story of his family’s journey to and settlement in Australia.  I understand he wrote it as part of his PhD study and has been nominated for awards.  The book is now only available as print-on-demand.  Kim told me that he still gets his royalty for the book, but he passes it on to MSF Doctors Without Borders, so two good reasons to buy a copy!  You can probably order it online, but if you order a copy through Asia Bookroom in Macquarie, you can support a local bookshop at the same time.

Kim obviously knows the power of a good title, as I noted a chapter he wrote titled:   ”If there is hope, it lies with the Bogans”, in a book he co-edited, The Culture Wars: Australian and American Politics in the 21st Century.  I also noted from his bio on ANU website that he is working on another book titled: Vietnam as if…. Tales of youth, love and destiny so I’ll be looking out for that!

Kim’s talk was on Eastern & Western World Views: Which one is better?  As well as plenty to think about, he provided the audience with handouts, in lieu of projection facilities at the venue – Kim’s handout attached. Given the number of questions from the audience after the talk, this is possibly a topic we could continue into the future.

In further response to my question at the dinner about his thoughts on his Western arrows and Eastern circles in relation to teaching, Kim sent me this after the event: “On the way home I came up with a better [answer]: I’ve tried to bring together the creativity and flair of arrow pedagogy with the attention and care that comes with circle pedagogy.”

Dr Kim Huynh with ATESOL ACT 2014 Co-Presidents, Lesley Cioccarelli & Jakki Cashman

[click on image to view larger version]

I’m sure Kim’s talk and other informal conversations on the evening have whetted your appetitie for more.  Here are some links to more about Kim and lots of examples of his work:

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Community and Connections: Support for English Language Learners – 8 November 2014

Teachers and tutors are often asked what language programs and other support and services are available for English language learners, both adults and children.  To help us with this, we heard from representatives of community groups, and teachers from schools and programs for adult migrants, refugees and International students.  They talked about their programs and assistance for adults and children who are learning English as additional language or dialect.

This session was also an excellent opportunity to network with others who are also working with English language learners – many new connections were made!

Many thanks to all those who came along to share information, and also to the participants for your questions and additonal information.

Here are quick links to the programs and services discussed, or download a PDF summary with more detail.

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Expressing Oneself Through Digital Storytelling – 12 September 2014

In this lively and noisy PD event, Dr Carol Hayes and Dr Yuki Itani-Adams from ANU demonstrated a method of better engaging students in their language production through the use of digital storytelling (with examples from ANU’s intermediate Japanese language classes).  They encouraged us to reflect on what makes a good “impactful” story and how image can enhance voice, and clearly illustrated how digital stories — with their cool combination of narrative, image and sound — provide a powerful way of developing student communicative skills.  They unpicked some sample story narratives and discussed how students can use the DS mode to express their emotions, beliefs and thoughts, and also explained how they use DS for assessment.

Digital storytelling Wordle image

In the hands-on session using iPads and the Explain Everything app, the 30+ teachers, from primary to the adult sector, created their own digital stories using simple storyboarding techniques and a lot of humour!

It was terrific to have members from the Modern Language Teachers’ Association of the ACT (MLTA ACT) join us for this session.  We hope it is the first of many shared PD events.

We have created a collaborative document for you to ADD your ideas or resources for using Digital Storytelling with your learners, so the sharing can continue… Expressing Oneself Through Digital Storytelling – ideas & resources shared at our PD on 12 September 2014 (and later)
[NOTE: This is a Google Drive document. You should be able to view and edit it without a Google account. If you experience any problems, please send an email to our Website Editor at: info (AT) ]

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Supporting Teachers of EAL/D or ESL students in Mainstream Classrooms – 16 May 2014

Are you a mainstream teacher teaching EAL/D or ESL students?  Are you an EAL/D  or ESL specialist in the school or TAFE/VET system developing classroom teachers’ capacity to support their EAL/D or ESL learners?  Then this ATESOL workshop was for you!

Denise Angelo, Visiting Fellow at ANU and Manager, Languages Perspectives, Indigenous Schooling Support Unit, Education Queensland, examined the current educational challenges experienced by mainstream classroom teachers supporting EAL/D learners.  She also provided practical suggestions of ways to build these teachers’ capacity and confidence to include language teaching in their repertoires, including front ended assessment and the spiral curriculum approach for recycling language.

We will add a summary report of the session here soon (if you would like to write one, please contact Lesley via info (at)
In the meantime, here is a poster of the framework Denise shared with us at the session:

Break it down, bring it up: A framework for working with EAL/D learners in whole class contexts

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Sing for Your English – 15 March 2014

Sharon Duff and Carmel Davies of Urban Lyrebirds shared their expertise in using song to enhance English learning skills at all levels.

With passion and vigour, they led us through:

  • the why: Singing helps with pronunciation, memory, literacy and grammar. It can be a way to share culture and develop community. And it is fun!
  • the what: We were introduced to a range of warm up exercises and classroom activities, along with their own fabulous original songs.
  • the how: We learnt how to write our own songs to develop a range of language skills. Each group penned and performed some amazingly creative songs.

After the main session (and some delicious morning tea), we had a ‘show and tell’ session where many participants shared a favourite lesson, idea or tip for using songs in class. Some even sang their contribution!

We have created a collaborative document for teachers to ADD their favourite ideas or resources for using songs with your learners , so the sharing can continue…  Sing for Your English resources & ideas shared at our PD on 15 March 2014 (and later)  Also included are the lyrics for the songs created at the PD session by our creative members, and the text from Carmel & Sharon’s presentation slides.
[NOTE: This is a Google Drive document. You should be able to view and edit it without a Google account. If you experience any problems, please send an email to Lesley at: info (AT) ]

Read a detailed report of the session:

Sharon Duff and Carmel Davies are two long-term colleagues who teach with AMES in Victoria. After using songs successfully in the classroom, they decided to join forces under the name Urban Lyrebirds. Together they created some resource materials that feature songs with an Australian flavour. They were inspired to do this because they found that learners, especially at the lower levels, were finding it hard to remember dialogues and formulaic speech patterns. Songs seemed to aid in this process and they provided a fun way into teaching and learning. They also seemed to cross cultural divides.

Sharon and Carmel introduced us to some of their methods: clapping rhythms, humming and guessing phrases, repeating words with particular phonemes and of course, breathing exercises. They even set us the task of quickly coming up with our own topic-based lyrics that we set to common and popular melodies. They showed us how versatile songs can be as we sampled some of the songs and accompanying exercises from their books, Sing with me! 1 & 2.

We were also given a glimpse into the theory behind the use of songs/singing as a strategy for teaching and learning:

  • Songs enable us to include the Arts in the curriculum and have been shown to improve outcomes.
  • Songs help to teach the importance of rhythm, connected speech and intonation in English.
  • By choosing songs or chants with particular phonemes, we can target pronunciation difficulties.
  • Songs aid in the memory process (they have a habit of staying in your head), and they strengthen the learning process.
  • Songs/chants/singing are a part of almost every culture. • Singing increases endorphins and can make learning fun.
  • We can listen to and repeat a song many more times than we would a standard dialogue.
  • Songs can contain language that is much closer to everyday speech.
  • Singing involves several intelligences such as (including linguistic, inter & intra personal, body/kinesthetic, musical).

Sharon and Carmel reflected on how important songs and singing are in most cultures, and on how in ours, we are growing reluctant to sing for fear that we might embarrass ourselves; the sing-alongs around the piano, so common in my growing years, seem to have disappeared from our culture. During the PD session, we were encouraged to reacquaint ourselves with the freedom and joy that singing can offer.

Their books, Sing with me! 1 (for beginners and post beginners) & 2 (for intermediate students) do not just contain a set of songs to be learned and sung. They contain whole units of work that focus on topics within settlement themes such as health, jobs, daily activities, transport, shopping, climate change and love. Exercises follow each song they cover vocabulary grammar, pronunciation, reading & writing and conversation. Sharon and Carmel are in the process of publishing level 3 in the series (for advanced users).

The session was energizing and inspiring, and I can’t wait to try a song or two with my class!

For more:

Watch a video on Facebook from the session of Carmel and Sharon from Urban Lyrebirds leading ATESOL ACT teachers in Barista Blues.
[Thank you to CIT student Rafael Perez Mejia for the video.]

Tina Williamson

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AGM and Mapping Our World Exhibition at the National Library – 20 February 2014

ATESOL ACT Annual General Meeting followed by Mapping Our World Exhibition at the National Library of Australia.

Following the AGM proceedings, NLA Education Officer, Ben Pratten presented on: “How the Mapping Our World concepts can be incorporated into your planning and teaching using EALD perspectives“.

Thank you so much to Ben from the NLA for a comprehensive look at not only the Mapping Exhibition, with special insights into the experiences our ESL students may bring to and also receive from this mind opening exhibition, but also the Treasures Gallery. He also showed us some of the fabulous online resources that you can use from the NLA site and the view from the fourth floor. Library cards free. That view. priceless!

More about Mapping our World: Terra Incognita to Australia

NLA page For teachers and students

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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

[created using]

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Annual Dinner – 5 September 2013

At our annual dinner this year we had over 60 guests attend. Many members of ATESOL ACT attended along with representatives from other community and interested groups including the Mon Society of Canberra, Companion House, schools sector, CIT, the University of Canberra and the Australian Education Union.

The dinner was held in the Marquee at the Yacht Club at Yarralumla Bay. It proved to be a spectacular venue as guests, on arrival, enjoyed the panoramic views of a glorious sunset over the lake and the music of ‘Fir Croi’. The local duo, Mike Fitzgerald and Brian Duke, entertained us with a collection of Gaelic pieces throughout the evening. There was also a guest appearance by Alice Cottee who performed her single ‘Third World’ as a special contribution to the focus on refugees and to support the work that we do in that area.

During the evening ATESOL ACT provided an award to a University student and collected donations for a teacher based program. The ATESOL award was presented to Florence Farley, kindly sponsored by the Asia Bookroom, for her studies and work in the area of TESOL.

Florence Farley with Sue Amundsen
Florence Farley with Sue Amundsen

A collection was taken for donations to support provincial teachers in Cambodia to attend the CamTESOL annual conference held in Cambodia each year. Last year ATESOL ACT supported 8 teachers with this opportunity. This year, due to the continuing generosity of our members and guests, we are able to support 13 teachers to attend the CamTESOL conference in 2014.The speaker that enticed the members and guests to attend was Richard Towle. Richard Towle is the Regional Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, for Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and the Pacific. The topic of ‘Refugees’ has been much debated in recent times with a media overload on the plight of refugees coming to Australia. Richard provided an insight into the situation and the reasons why these people should continue to be supported by Australia.

Richard Towle

Richard Towle spoke about “The need for solidarity and burden-sharing on the protection of refugees had never been greater than it is today”. Richard also stated that, “Australia has always made a very generous contribution to refugee protection through its resettlement programme and its significant financial support to UNHCR. The number of people relying on help is simply staggering – more than 45 million people forcibly displaced from their homes – so we need the support and solidarity of States like Australia”.Richard also clearly outlined the scale of the situation and the importance of our support, “A fact which is not particularly well understood in this region, is that over 80 per cent of refugees are living in the developing world, in countries that can least afford to look after their own people. And yet these countries willingly and unquestioningly put out the hand of friendship to support and protect hundreds if not millions of people that come from somewhere else. If you’ve witnessed where the true burden of international protection of refugees lies, it’s in those great camps of Kakuma or Dadaab, places of 500,000 or more people, where people have not lived for days, or weeks or months, but even decades. The organisation’s annual Global Trends report covered displacement that occurred during 2012 and found that more people are refugees or internally displaced than at any time since 1994, with the crisis in Syria having emerged as a major new factor of tragic and enormous proportions.”

Richard spoke of his organisations concern over a number of policies and practices for people coming to Australia by boat. In particular, he identified the conditions faced by refugees on Nauru and Manus Island in PNG as “harsh, hot, humid, damp and cramped” and that accommodation for asylum seekers leaves a lot to be desired. Richard stated,“ That the UNHCR’s biggest concern was for the well-being of the children on Manus Island and that the UNHCR had recommended that the refugee claims of children be prioritised, and that they be moved into child-friendly accommodation once preliminary health checks have been completed. UNHCR also recommend that Australia cease transferring children to Manus Island until all appropriate legal and administrative safeguards for their processing and treatment are in place, including their placement in an open centre as opposed to the current environment of detention. The current policy and practice of detaining children should be terminated as a matter of priority.”

Richard talked about the need for a peaceful, political solution to the crisis as the humanitarian response struggles to meet the needs of those forced to flee. “I think in the heated debate in Australia about asylum, around the number of people arriving by boat, it’s extremely important to remember that behind each one of those numbers is a human story just like ours. Each of those people has a narrative of survival, resilience, hope and aspiration for themselves and their families. Despite the important need to protect the borders, all those coming to Australia are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect.”

Our thoughts were reconfirmed and our understanding heightened. Everyone who works with
refugees knows the unique qualities that they bring with them and the positive contributions that they make to our community. The support that we provide as teachers and refugee advocates is invaluable and as Richard stated ‘a shared responsibility’.

Richard was well received by our dinner guests and encouraged the continuing contact between ATESOL ACT and the UNHCR Regional Representatives based in the ACT.

Thank you to the members and guests for making it such a great night and we look forward to seeing you at our 2014 annual dinner.

Sue Amundsen and Rebecca Cacchia

Sue Amundsen with Richard Towle
Sue Amundsen with Richard Towle

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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

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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.

During the session we used to share comments and ideas, but unfortunately it is only a temporary 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) ]


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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

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Scaffolding Literacy AND Core Skills for Work – 1 December 2012

A bumper end-of-year edition combining 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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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.

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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.

‘Some Consequences of Attributing “English” (i.e. standard English) to Aboriginal English Speakers’ by Ian G. Malcolm 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.

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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.

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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.

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Draft National Teacher Standards: Find out and have your say! – 29 April 2010

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.

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The National Curriculum: Is there a place for ESL Students? – 27 March 2010

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.

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2010 Annual General Meeting and “Translating lives: Living with two languages and cultures” – 17 Februray 2010

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.

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Creating a culture-sensitive classroom where students thrive – 24 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.

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Parliament House Education Program – 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).


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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

 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

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Innovations in Using Technology in ESL Teaching – 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.

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Intercultural language teaching and English in Indonesian primary schools – 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

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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)

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Engaging with reading: How to teach reading to students at all levels Presented by Kate Wilson, University of Canberra – 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.

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Spring Dinner with guest speaker Scott Thornbury – 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.

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‘The Best of …ESL teaching’: lessons from the classroom – 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.

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Introduction to Digital Storytelling Workshop – 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:

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Pre-ACTA Conference presentation by three Canberra TESOL practitioners – 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.]

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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.

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Meet the Author: Prof. Anna Wierzbicka discussed her latest book, TRANSLATING LIVES – 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.

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Visit to the exhibition ‘Memory of a Nation’ at the National Archives of Australia – 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.

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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.

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Cross-Cultural Communication workshop – 26 July 2006


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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.