(subject to change without notice)

“Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.”

Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

In this National Year of Reading 2012, we have taken our conference themes from a play on Paolo Freire’s notions of reading the world to read the word; from concepts of reading as empowering learners to engage with the demands of contemporary life; and that literacy and numeracy practices involve reading 'worlds' both external and internal.

The 2012 conference program will focus on practical and applied ways of teaching and enhancing learning through stimulating workshop activities. Affirming good practice in diverse settings and finding new ways of working in sustainable and ongoing ways are fundamental to the aims of the conference.

8.15 a.m.

Registration opens

8.45 a.m.


John Radalj, VALBEC President



Chris Falk

Chris Falk currently leads Singing groups in the western suburbs of Melbourne, including a group called SINGLISH where participants come to practice their English through singing. Chris also teaches singing privately, and runs a voice clinic for singers and speakers who want to improve the sound of their voices. Chris is also a teacher of Yoga.

All these pursuits are imbued with her skills and knowledge as an Alexander Technique Teacher.

9.15  – 10.20 a.m.

National Year of Reading overview

Karen Ward-Smith, The Library Agency


Achievements and Developments in ‘Learn Local World’

Ms Rowena Allen, ACFE Chairperson

Rowena Allen, ACFE ChairRowena Allen is the Chairperson of the Adult, Community and Further Education Board.  Rowena is contracted through Hudson Sales and Marketing to Skills Victoria as the Regional Market Facilitation Manager for the Hume region.  She was formerly the CEO of UnitingCare – Cutting Edge, a Uniting Church welfare agency in the Goulburn Valley.  Rowena has a passion for social justice and social inclusion and has held positions in the area of community development and direct youth services with rural and metropolitan local governments. 

Rowena is a former Chair of the Victorian Green Skills Task Force, the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria and prior to her appointment to the ACFE Board, Rowena had been Acting Chairperson of the Victorian Skills Commission for fifteen months. 

In 2009 Rowena was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll for Women and is also the recipient of a Centenary Award for services to the community.


Numeracy network resource project

John Radalj

10.25 – 10.55 a.m.

Morning Tea

11.00 – 12.00 noon

Session A  11.00 a.m. – 12.00 noon (Choose one)

A1 Speaking in the World: Public Speaking For You and Your Students

Rob Mc Cormack, Victoria University

Everyone can learn lots about how to read, how to write and about using language effectively from a study of rhetoric—public speaking. This session is a hands-on workshop in which we will learn a small number of powerful text patterns and use them to consciously construct some speeches. You should be able to adapt these activities for your students. It will also help you notice and hear the powerful meanings created by the patterning of sounds in language.

Dr Rob McCormack has been involved in language and literacy education for over 35 years including secondary literacy, adult basic education, tertiary preparation and academic literacy for university students. From 1996-2003 he worked at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, NT where he used rhetoric as an approach to teaching indigenous students. He has written a number of publications, many articles for Fine Print and is a regular presenter at both ACAL and VALBEC conference.

A2 Extending the World View: developing LLN capacity in VET

Tricia Bowen, NMIT

This workshop will describe the 'story so far' in relation to a project funded by TDC being undertaken by Tricia Bowen at NMIT. The project itself aims to develop the LLN capacity of a small group of VET teachers working in different departments across the Institute from Horticulture to Health and Community Studies, from Building Structures and Services to Business. This group will be encouraged to share stories of work, teaching, and the literacy and numeracy practices that shape their world view, with the intention of heightening their awareness as to the application of LLN skills in each of their industries. This workshop will present some of the insights gathered to date. From there, workshop discussion will centre on how we as educators can continue to extend our view of the possibilities of literacy and numeracy teaching, in order to provide stimulating, empowering and meaningful learning opportunities for all our students.

Tricia Bowen is a teacher, writer and researcher with many years experience in the adult literacy field. She recently completed the VALBEC learner stories project, A Fuller Sense of Self.

A3 Working towards a Sustainable World: resources for teaching

Sarah Poole, Jessica Jones and Michelle Morgan, Lalor Living and Learning Centre

Our Environment was developed by Sarah Poole, Jessica Jones and Michelle Morgan who came together at LLLC to develop and trial activities and ideas around the topic of 'living more sustainably'. Together they represent three generations and therefore offer three perspectives on what 'living more sustainably' actually means to the average person. Working closely with enthusiastic teachers at LLLC, they gradually turned the ideas into ESL Teaching Materials.

In this workshop participants will be invited to discuss how they can utilise these resources and integrate Sustainable practices into the learning environment and their students’ lives.

Six Teaching Units, with corresponding Teacher's Notes and Image Support Files, cover the topics: Understanding Climate Change; Energy Efficiency at Home; Managing Household Waste; Being Wise with Water; Smarter Shopping and Sustainable Transport. Our Environment was piloted at LLLC, NMIT Epping and RMIT Brunswick with AMEP students and CSWE students and will be free to download from the Sustainability Victoria website and the LLLC website after its launch on Tuesday 15 May.

Sarah Poole is a secondary teacher with experience in working on environmental issues. Jessica Jones has just completed a Degree in Environments at Melbourne University. Michelle Morgan completed her course in permaculture several years ago and is interested in further developing the skills she learnt through teaching others. Sarah is also an artist, Michelle is a musician and Jessica has shown great creativity and skill with the graphic design and the electronically savvy elements of the Teaching Materials.

A4 Reading (and writing and numbers) through the web – new LLN resources

Debbie Soccio, National Projects Manager, eWorks

The Broadband Content Services Business Activity, within the National VET E-Learning Strategy, continues to develop nationally funded content, including ready made resources for teachers and trainers working with LLN clients,.These resources are available to explore, share and build their own content easily - and, in most instances, for free!
In this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to explore some of this content, including new Toolboxes in the areas of Numeracy, ESL and resources that support trainers new to working with LLN clients. There will also be the chance to look at some of the new learning objects that have been developed for use across a multiple of training environments and find out how to customise these to suit your training environment.

Participants will take-away a whole lot of resources ready to access and use in their training environments.

Debbie Soccio currently works for eWorks as the Broadband Content Services Business Activity for the National VET E-Learning Strategy. She has worked in the vocational education sector, both in industry, with private RTOs, in the adult literacy sector and within TAFE for 17 years. Her many experiences include focussing on the embedding of e-learning into businesses and training, working with marginalised groups in implementing effective e-learning and managing the development of nationally funded content for the VET sector. Debbie's current role includes the management of significant e-learning content development for the National VET E-Learning Strategy.

A5 Theorising about reading the world: ensuring our students continue to be heard

Pauline O’Maley, Victoria University

Based on a Freirean notion of literacy as dialogical (1972), this session has been conceived to run as a dialogue; a pedagogical conversation. Participants will be able to take the opportunity to talk about the implications of working with students in reading the world/reading the word. Freire suggests teaching ‘necessarily demands a critical way of comprehending and of realising the reading of the word and that of the world, the reading of the text and of context’ (2005, p40). Let’s talk about the ways in which we do this and reflect on how we can continue to do this in a way that ensures our students’ voices can confidently be raised and heard.

Pauline O’Maley is an Educational Developer, Language, Literacy and Numeracy Strategy within the Arts, Education and Human Development faculty of Victoria University. She teaches an ALBE/ ESL subject in the Post Graduate program and is passionate about integrating theory and practice in teaching. Previously, Pauline worked with the Salvation Army in a range of teaching and management roles. Pauline is a long standing VALBEC and ACAL executive committee member, holding terms in the position of secretary for both organisations and a term as ACAL co-president (2004-2005).

12.00 – 1.00 p.m.

Session B 12.00 – 1.00 (Choose one)

B1 Combining worlds of education and career: Integrating Literacy (and some Numeracy) into VET delivery

Sandra Jardine, Sunraysia Institute of TAFE

This presentation will provide an overview of processes followed in the introduction of integrated literacy support to students at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE. A trial in 2011, within the Hospitality unit, involved Certificate II in Kitchen Operations students attending an additional literacy/ language support class. Students of varying literacy ability levels, including a number of ESL/ International students, were involved. For 2012, due to the success of the trial, Hospitality teachers requested an extension to full literacy support for all students. As a result, as Literacy (and base level Numeracy) specialist, I provide individual and whole class support in the VET Hospitality classrooms, in a team teaching situation. The presentation will explain / document how VET core curriculum for each class is supplemented by the additional enrolment of students in five Foundation skills CGEA units. These emphasise reading and writing a range of text types, as well as communication skills for learning and the workplace. The purpose of this integrated teaching approach is to build literacy and communication skills for future employment, using the recommended model outlined by Stephen Black and Keiko Yasukawa at the 2011 VALBEC Conference.

Sandra Jardine has been teaching Literacy and Numeracy in a range of education settings over many years. She is currently employed at Sunraysia Institute of TAFE within the Hospitality Unit, where a program of integration of Literacy (and some Numeracy) into a diverse range of core VET classes is being fully trialled and evaluated.

B2 Engaging in civic worlds: practical ways to encourage student participation

Daryl Evans and Suzie Luddon, Education and Community Engagement Unit, Parliament of Victoria

Learning about parliamentary government can be interesting! Perhaps CGEA students can confront their local State Parliament MP with questions about workplace bullying ... or hoon driving ... or compulsory voting. Or include a tour of Parliament House as part of a day of visits to the Melbourne CBD. In recent years, the Education and Community Engagement Unit at the Parliament of Victoria has developed learning material appropriate to adult and young adult students. These resources involve students in experience relevant to increasing their knowledge about parliamentary life, and associated issues. Resources and information will be freely available at this workshop. The 2012 innovations include online program usage and an increased range of practical activities.

Daryl Evans has an extensive background in adult and tertiary education. Suzie Luddon has worked in various capacities within the parliamentary environment for over eight years.

B3 Writing for others: with the words shining and the spelling perfect and invisible

Sue Paull and Frida Dean, Diamond Valley Learning Centre (DVLC)

According to Mark Twain, 'The English alphabet is pure insanity; it can hardly spell any word in the language with any degree of certainty.'  It's little surprise that English takes longer to learn to read than any language with an alphabet. And even after mastering reading, 50% of English speakers have problems with spelling.

This difficulty with spelling prevents many people from writing, and limits their opportunities for work, study and daily life. For 13 years at DVLC, we have run spelling workshops and had a strong focus on spelling in our language and literacy classes. Although some of our approaches to teaching spelling have changed over this time, many have remained constant. We've collected these key approaches in a Spelling Guide which is now in its final stages of publication. In the workshop we would like to introduce the Spelling Guide, demonstrate how it can be used, share our approaches to teaching spelling and encourage workshop participants to share theirs.

Sue Paull is a teacher with an extensive background in primary, adult literacy and ESL education and is the Adult Literacy/ESL Coordinator at the DVLC, Greensborough. For over 20 years she has taught classes at CAE, TAFE and a number of community education providers. Frida Dean is a teacher at DVLC with a background in primary education. She has been an adult
literacy and ESL teacher for more than 15 years, having taught at RMIT and other community providers.

B4 Flyphonics - a moment in rhyme

Marianna Codognotto, Jesuit Social Services: Pat Marks (aka MC Pataphysics)

Flyphonics is a ten week program focusing on English language learning through hip-hop. It operates at the Artful Dodgers Studios (ADS), which supports young people between the ages of 15-27, who have been disengaged from the mainstream education system, with a focus on CALD communities. Flyphonics aims to strengthen capacity for engagement and connectedness to family, community and other young people. The workshop will be interactive and will include a creative exercise utilised in the workshop process, video footage, a brief overview of the program, what we have learnt so far and access to all lesson plans via the Flyphonics website (currently under construction). Flyphonics will support young people to build confidence and increase skills in the English language; learn about hip hop culture, upgrade their hip hop skills and give participants the opportunity to record or perform their own rap live.

Pat Marks (aka MC Pataphysics) has worked in various community settings teaching rap, poetry, performance and music. Currently he is running the Flyphonics program at the Artful Dodgers Studios, using hip hop as a vehicle to help navigate the English language. He has also worked at the Hip Hop Academy (Footscray Arts Centre), Parkville Juvenile Justice Centre, RISE (Refugees, Survivors and Ex-detainees), and Kensington Community College in similar capacities.

Marianna Codognotto is the Arts and Culture Coordinator at the Artful Dodgers Studios, a program of Jesuit Social Services. She has over twenty years experience working with various communities, at risk‚ young people, survivors of family violence, indigenous communities, and people from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Her current role is to develop programs that will engage young people who would not ordinarily access the arts to get involved and see themselves not only as important cultural contributors, but as life-long learners.

B5 Practical worlds of learning: applied learning as a framework for literacy resources

Jan Hagston, Multifangled

For the last three years Jan has worked with VCAL teachers, supporting them to implement applied learning and suggesting and developing activities that fit‚ with an applied learning approach. At the same time she has been grappling with questions such as - what really is applied learning? If you start from the practical activity, how do you ensure the learners gain an understanding (including a critical understanding) of the concepts and theoretical underpinnings? How do you ensure they have the skills that underpin the practical activity and remain engaged? As someone who comes from an adult literacy background, she poses the questions to herself in the context of literacy learning. This year she set herself the challenge of developing learning materials that start from a practical activity and incorporate theoretical understanding and help learners to read both the word and the world. Participants will have the chance to use the resources and decide for themselves if Jan has met the challenge she set.

Jan Hagston is Director of Multifangled P/L, an education and training consultancy specialising in adult and youth education. Since 2002, Jan has been closely involved in applied learning programs for young people and from 2008 to the end of 2011 she worked as the Executive Officer for the Victorian Applied Learning Association (VALA), the peak professional organisation for applied learning educators, conducting professional development for teachers of VCAL and other applied learning programs, and managing and contributing to projects that have developed applied learning resources. Jan taught in secondary schools before working in the vocational education and training sector where she has had broad experience in working at a local, regional, state and national level in curriculum and materials development, professional development, and research. She has worked across education sectors - schools, TAFE institutes, adult community education providers, universities, and in workplace programs.

1.00 – 2.00 p.m.


with DEECD Online Assessment Platform

and Numeracy network

2.00  – 3.30 p.m.

Session C 2.00 – 3.30 (Choose 1)

C1 I change myself, I change the world: New pedagogies for a sustainable future

Joy Harley, Victoria University

Global issues including population growth, over consumption, poverty, competition for finite resources, biodiversity loss, rapidly changing technology, climate change and geopolitical instability present global, national and local challenges and are very different from anything we have experienced in our lifetimes so far. So, how do we, as educators equip our learners to engage in this new order? Education for Sustainability (EfS) and Education about Sustainability (EaS) are the new pedagogies being used to demonstrate how we need to consider not only what we are going to teach, but also how we are going to teach to enable our learners to make decisions that will improve quality of life now, without jeopardising future generations. This theoretical and practical presentation reflects on both EfS and EaS principles and how they can be integrated into modules from the Certificate in General Education to Adults (CGEA) course.

Joy Harley is an ESL/Literacy teacher working at Victoria University. In 2011 she successfully participated in a pilot professional development program at the National Centre for Sustainability (NCS) at Swinburne University of Technology, in partnership with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) as part of the dual-unit TAE10 Sustainable Practice Skills Set

C2 Accessing student services for ESL students: project work to build student confidence

Serena Seah, Swinburne TAFE

Migrants students often face issues in settlement but do not have the confidence or the know how to access services that would help them. Sometimes they feel that there is a stigma to ask for help. This presentation discusses ways to present information about student services and to scaffold the expectations and skills needed to access a student service at Swinburne TAFE. A unit of work is developed to look at the aim of doing the project, the method of carrying out the project and the results of doing this project. Students first learn how to provide appropriate information to make an appointment. The methods of recording information to present to the service are then discussed. Next, interactive conversation skills are practiced to learn how to communicate about their issues and to express their opinion about strategies that may be discussed. Finally skills about project report writing are taught. This project work benefitted the students in the way they learnt to read and access services and in the confidence they developed to apply in other contexts.

Serena Seah is an ESL teacher to new migrants at Swinburne TAFE who is passionate about exploring new and dynamic ways to teach language and culture.

C3 Teaching learning: a practical workshop for teaching low L1 literacy ESL learners

Emelia Bishop and Chris Morris, Wyndham Community and Education Centre

The needs of low first language (L1) literacy ESL learners often differ from ESL learners with L1 literacy. ESL learners who could be considered pre-literate, non-literate or have had little formal schooling in their L1 present unique challenges to ESL teaching and learning strategies and practices. For these low L1 literacy ESL learners and for the teachers of these learners, ESL classes become as much about teaching how to learn as about teaching ESL. In this practical interactive workshop we aim to demonstrate how we planned and taught a unit of work 'Community Connections' that sought to meet the needs of low L1 literacy ESL learners. Opportunity will be provided for participants to discuss their own successful teaching and learning strategies. The workshop will be hands-on with many take-away resources that can be used in the classroom.

Emelia Bishop is an ESL Teacher at Wyndham Community and Education Centre and Victoria University. Chris Morris has taught ESL overseas and at TAFE and Community Centre settings. She currently teaches ESL at Wyndham Community and Education Centre.

C4 Learning to Learn: Principles and Applications

Rob Mc Cormack and Geri Pancini, Victoria University

This workshop session will explain the 'Learning to Learn' principles behind the long running Return to Study course run by Geri Pancini and Rob McCormack, (as described in the two, now very hard-to-find, Learning to Learn books). Participants will break into groups and explore how they could adapt these principles to their own teaching situations. There will be a report-back so everyone can benefit from everyone else’s ideas.

Dr Rob McCormack has been involved in language and literacy education for over 35 years including secondary literacy, adult basic education, tertiary preparation and academic literacy for university students. He has written a number of publications, including: Learning to Learn: The Next Step: Teaching adults how to read and write academic discourse, Language Australia, Melbourne, 2002; Public Literacy: A Curriculum for Adult Basic Education, ACFEB, Victoria, (with P. Moraitis), 1995; The World of Work: A Reader for Adult Basic Education, DEET, Canberra, 1992; Learning to Learn: Helping Adults understand the Culture, Context, and Conventions of Knowledge - A Manual for Teacher, Language Australia, Melbourne, 1991. Geri Pancini has over thirty years experience in education including schools, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and the University sector. During this time Geri has worked as a teacher, curriculum writer, Program Coordinator, Head of School, and Senior Lecturer in settings ranging through primary and secondary schools, adult and community education, teacher education, learning support in VET and higher education and in Indigenous education in Northern Territory and Victoria. She has a long history and interest in language and literacy education and has been the President of the Australian Council for Adult Literacy (ACAL) since 2010.

3.35 – 3.45 p.m.

Conference Close

Lucky door prizes draw

3.50 – 4.30 p.m.

Annual General Meeting

4.30 – 5.00 p.m.

Networking & Refreshments


The conference is supported by Adult Community and Further Education



Read the word, Read the world - VALBEC 2012 Annual Conference