Professional Learning Forums

It is all about you - exploring strategies for educator wellbeing

A Professional Learning session presented by VALBEC (Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council).

In this session Gilly Robson will guide educators to reflect on teacher well-being and discuss some strategies to make boundaries your friend.

Gilly Robson is an experienced educator in the areas of EAL and support for students with additional needs in education settings.

She is currently working in the Professional Teaching Practice team at Melbourne Polytechnic where she supports educator capability through mentoring, coaching and professional learning.

She also supports staff to understand and manage their workload requirements and wellbeing as part of her union representative role with the AEU. 

We look forward to seeing you there.
Valbec PL Forums Team

Who  Gilly Robson

When: Wednesday 21st June 2023, 5.30-6.30 pm AEST

Where: Zoom

Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25


Why context is the critical starting point in numeracy

A Professional Learning session presented by VALBEC (Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council).

Real-world contexts are critical for engaging learners and providing the purpose for learning about how to use and apply maths in the real world. Starting with the real-world in teaching maths and numeracy provides numerous benefits in enhancing our learner’ successful learning and understanding of numeracy and maths skills and can overcome our learner’s anxiety to the world of mathematics.

This session will look at why and how this works in practice, both in your planning and in your teaching. It will use examples such as shopping, food, and sport to illustrate how this can work. 

Dave is an adult and youth LLN educator who is particularly interested in making mathematics relevant, interesting, and fun for all students, and is recognised as one of Australia's leading numeracy personnel with over 50 years' experience working across schools, TAFEs, community providers, universities, national education bodies and workplaces.

He has worked at a state, national and international level in research, curriculum, assessment, and professional development. Dave has written many numeracy and maths curriculum, teaching, and PD resources, and is also an author of the Australian Core Skills Framework.

Dave has been involved in international numeracy assessments including the OECD's PIAAC and PISA surveys of adults and young people. 

Who  Dave Tout

When: Tuesday 16th May 2023, 5-6 pm AEST

Where: Zoom

Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25

Fostering self-efficacy and autonomy in the classroom

Now that classrooms are returning to ‘normal’, it’s important to focus on ways of supporting our students in their educational pursuits.

In this Professional Learning session Liam Frost-Camilleri, academic at Federation University and President of VALBEC, will share research and strategies that will help you to foster student self-efficacy and autonomy.

Belief in the self is a key ingredient for student engagement and success in the classroom as is the ability to create independent leaners who are able to take control of their learning.

Using strategies that help to expose thinking, develop rapport, and engage students, Liam will use his professional experience teaching in TAFE classrooms and university enabling programs to highlight the best ways a teacher can foster self-efficacy and autonomy in their students.

Liam is an early career researcher in the education space. He is an academic at Federation University, lecturing in the Master of Teaching and enabling programs and is the current President at VALBEC.

Liam completed his Masters in 2018 on VCAL teachers and how they navigate the core skills and compliance space, which led him to his current doctoral study topic; reengagement of early school leavers in second chance education institutions. A passionate educator, Liam has spent his career working in secondary schools (public and private) teaching at Primary level as well as alternative education settings, in Vocational Education and more recently in Higher Education.

Who  Liam Frost-Camilleri

When: Wednesday 3rd May 2023, 5-6 pm AEST

Where: Zoom

Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25

Engaging classroom activities to address trauma informed learning

Dan has been teaching in the AMEP for 8 years. He is currently based at Chisholm Dandenong, teaching a Youth Class. His other interests include hanging out with his family, singing in choirs and at weddings.

Dan has a stack of activities that he has amassed after researching for ways to improve outcomes in his AMEP Youth Class. He had significant behavioural and learning issues and he needed to find more creative ways to address these.

Guided by a Trauma-Informed Learning Guide from Foundation House, Dan became a member of a team-building group called 'Playmeo', got some mentoring from its director and went through a stack of 'old school' Drama Games for EAL books.

From this he has collated activities for the different outcomes, experimented with a lot of them and now he is here to disseminate!

Who Dan Greig

When: Wednesday 30th November 2022, 5-6 pm AEST

Where: Zoom

Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25


Plagiarism: Establish, Educate & Eradicate

As part of VALBEC’s next Professional Learning Forum, Lalitha and Vidhya are co-presenting on the topic “Plagiarism: Establish, Educate & Eradicate” to equip teachers to better manage plagiarism in the classrooms.  

Lalitha Gurram and Vidhya Govindarajan have been teaching English as an Additional Language to migrant students for a long time. They currently teach in the AMEP Program at Chisholm Institute, predominantly EAL Certificates 2, 3 and 4. They have been encountering the issue of plagiarism in their classes, frequently. 

Hence, they researched the topic of plagiarism as a part of the problems in practice in their recent Graduate Certificate in Adult Vocational Education and Training. 

Presenters: Lalitha Gurram and Vidhya Govindarajan
When: Monday, 14th November 2022  5-6 pm AEST
Where: Zoom
Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25

Application of numeracy in controlling the pandemic

Numeracy in the pandemic is a fast-growing, well-recognized field and is the most exciting modern application of mathematics. It helps us to understand the dynamic processes involved and in making practical predictions.

The application of numeracy in an epidemic can be helpful to the public health policy makers in taking the right decisions for controlling the rapid outbreak of infectious diseases.

To present this interesting topic we have Dr. Harkaran Singh, Educator in Maths/Numeracy at Chisholm Institute, Dandenong.

He has done PhD on Mathematical modelling in population biology from IKG-Punjab Technical University, India. He has published 10 research papers in the journals of international repute. He is co-author of the book titled “Mathematical Population Dynamics and Epidemiology in Temporal and Spatio-Temporal Domains” published jointly by Taylor & Francis Group and Apple Academic Press.

He is recipient of an Award for Young Investigator from India and Southeast Asia presented by International Society for Infectious Diseases in association with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

Who Dr Harkaran Singh

When: Thursday 6th October 2022, 5-6 pm AEST


The application of Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) approach in TAFE courses

The teaching context of TAFE schools is English as a medium of instruction (EMI). However, a large cohort of students have language levels lower than the required ones. Research has shown that in EMI contexts, students’ language can only be improved if they get explicit language support or corrective feedback during the course ( Do & Nguyen, 2019, Nguyen, 2018, 2019). The question is how to best address students’ needs of language and literacy improvements while teaching other contents and vice versa.

This presentation will provide a brief overview of the Language and Content integrated learning theory (CLIL), then provide examples of how to design a CLIL lesson in a TAFE course.

Ha has been teaching and doing research in language learning, TESOL and literacy for more than 20 years. Content and language integrated learning is one of her main interests.

Who: Ha Do 

When: Tuesday 16 August, 5-6 pm


Funnetics: Putting the /fʌn/ back into phonetics!

Catherine Bunard has been teaching English as an Additional Language to adults for over thirty years... and still finds it hard to pronounce the word "rural" even though she knows exactly how to write it using phonetic symbols!

Funnetics aims to demystify phonetics for teachers who need a little encouragement using pronunciation activities with students. This is followed by 'Funnetic' participation in breakout rooms where teachers try out Catherine’s pronunciation activities. Whatever you thought of phonetics before, this webinar is going to be PHON!

Who: Catherine Bunard and the VALBEC PL Forum Team

When: June 15, 5-6 pm

Recording: Available to Valbec members

VALBEC's first 'Meet the Makers' Webinar for 2022!

Join Clare Harris, Bernard Miles and Lauren Piovesan; three independent Australian publishers, writers and designers of adult learning resources, talking about their resources and the stories behind writing them.

In our first MtM session for the year, Clare, Bernard and Lauren will talk about their LLND resources, the stories behind writing them and answer questions from the audience.

Facilitated by: The VALBEC Professional Learning Team
Date: Wednesday 6 April @ 5pm

Recording: Available to Valbec members

Participants are encouraged to ask questions and share ideas with colleagues during the session. 

Nurturing your Numeracy practice 

Nurturing your Numeracy practice with Dave Tout and Chris Tully.

What are the challenges to teaching numeracy?

Do you sometimes struggle finding different ways to teach numeracy?

This session guides participants discussing their approaches to numeracy teaching. We will explore ways of teaching numeracy with relevant, fun, engaging, and transformative strategies.

It is an interactive session with opportunities for small group discussions about the particular contexts and issues you face. Join numeracy experts Dave Tout and Chris Tully who will provide guidance and feedback to build confidence and strengthen your numeracy teaching practice.

Facilitators: Chris Tully (Melbourne Polytechnic) and Dave Tout (ACER)
Date: Thursday, 24th March, 5-6pm
Recording: Available to Valbec members

A conversation with Jo Medlin, Adam Nobilia, Liam Frost-Camilleri and colleagues about SBS documentary ‘Lost for Words’

Join Valbec and the teachers behind ‘Lost for Words’ for a free, BYO ‘drinks & nibblies’ discussion about documentary making and literacy learning

Panelists: Jo Medlin, Adam Nobilia, Liam Frost-Camilleri and colleagues
When: Wednesday 29th September 2021 @ 6:00 – 7:00pm AEST

‘Lost for Words’ is SBS’s heart warming documentary about learning to read as an adult. Jo and Adam spent a significant part of 2021 advising and appearing in this 3-part series about the challenges and triumphs for adults overcoming reading difficulties. Episode #1 of ‘Lost for Words’ airs on SBS 8.30pm Wednesday 22 September.

Participants should watch Episode 1 before attending this interactive session.

You’ll be invited to have a chat with a group of colleagues from around Australia to share impressions of episode #1 and discuss some practical ways to use the series in your literacy education work.

It’s an informal gathering. Participants can ask questions and share ideas throughout the session. The session will not be recorded. Certificates of attendance are not available.

Webinar – Unpacking numeracy in a pandemic

Presenter: Tina Berghella
When: Wednesday 16th September 2021 @ 6 – 7pm AEST

Recording: Available to Valbec members 

Every day we receive updates of COVID19 data, restrictions and risk advice that is rich in mathematical information. How do we make sense of it? How can we support our learners to make sense of it? Join Tina in a discussion about some of the numeracy demands embedded in public health texts.

Tina Berghella is an independent VET consultant with a science and manufacturing background and an interest in numeracy in the workplace and in real life.


Webinar – Neurodiversity in Adult Learning

Presenter: Linno Rhodes
When: Wednesday 1st September 2021 @ 5:30 – 6:30pm AEST

Recording: Available to Valbec members 

Dyslexia, dyscalculia, dyspraxia and dysgraphia are perhaps the most common specific learning differences we encounter in the adult learning environment. In this webinar, participants will be guided through the manifestations of these learning differences and learn some strategies to expand their teaching toolbox. We will revisit the adult learning principles and look at teaching though a strength-based approach.

Linno Rhodes is an adult literacy educator. She is interested in the transformative power of education and the wonders of the brain and learning.

Webinar - Teaching Literacy to Adults with a Mild Intellectual Disability

Presenter: Christina Evans
When: Friday 23rd July 2021 @ 12:30 – 1:30pm AEST

Recording: Available to Valbec members 

“Teaching Literacy to Adults with a Mild Intellectual Disability” and more specifically, some useful activities, resources, teaching methods and strategies.

Christina has been teaching adult students with mild intellectual disabilities since 2008. Her first job was with La Trobe Lifeskills, teaching the Certificate I in Transition Education. After that, in 2009 she taught at the then Kangan Institute for three years, in their Foundation Studies, Work Education and VCAL Departments. All the while, she was teaching literacy to students with various disabilities. In 2013, she taught VCAL (Literacy focus) at what is now Melbourne Polytechnic’s Heidelberg campus, as well as at Olympic Adult Education in West Heidelberg, as an Adult Literacy teacher. Her next move was to Box Hill Institute, in their Work Education Department and then finally, she landed a job (in 2015) at the now Melbourne Polytechnic Preston Campus, where she is currently teaching a variety of subjects, including Literacy, within their Work Education Programs.

Webinar - English language learners: what works for traumatised students, and everyone else too!

Presenter: Victoria Wilson
When: Wednesday 5th May 2021 @ 6:30 – 7:30pm AEST

This presentation, by veteran ESL/EFL teacher and PhD candidate Victoria (Tori) Wilson, presents the latest research about trauma-informed English language teaching of adults.

Tori will describe how trauma affects learning, and outline trauma-informed principles backed by both neuroscience and social psychiatry. She will also introduce her doctoral research into post-traumatic stress and the adult ESL learning environment. Privileging student voice, this research is based on data from a broad range of adult ESL students in Australia. Uniquely, it includes the experiences and insights of both traumatised and non-traumatised students, with participants falling along various points of the post-traumatic stress continuum. Drawing directly from this qualitative data, Tori will explain how trauma-informed, humanising practices are universally beneficial for all second or other language learners.

2021 AGM and presentation by Pip Williams

Online meeting: Wednesday 21 April 2021, 6:30pm AEST

Members and friends are invited to join the VALBEC Committee for our Annual General Meeting, followed by a presentation by PIP WILLIAMS, author of the highly acclaimed historical novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words.

ALA and Valbec webinar: What does it mean to be numerate?

Presenter: Chris Tully
When: Wednesday 18th November 2020 @ 1:00pm AEDT

Recording: Available to Valbec members 

This webinar is designed for teachers of literacy who also teach some numeracy. It will discuss what are important concepts to understand.  The webinar will look at the common issues learners have with numeracy and mathematics. It will explore some teaching tips on how to help students gain confidence with their numeracy skills. It will also hopefully make numeracy fun for you and the students. Come along with any numeracy concepts that you want to discuss.

Chris Tully has been teaching Numeracy for over 30 years. She has taught in a number of different areas including foundation courses, to first nation peoples, in industry and to VET students in trade areas. Chris has also been involved in the accreditation and re-accreditation of various programs including CGEA, CIALLN, Bachelor of Information Technology and ACSF. She has also delivered a range of professional learning workshops to numeracy and literacy practitioners, Bachelor of teaching students and VET teachers.

Webinar - Shame: Barriers in Adult Education

Presenter: Holly Armstorng
When: Friday 23rd October 2020 @ 9:00am AEDT

Recording: Available to Valbec members 

This presentation is designed for adult educators and anyone who wants to deepen their understanding of the ways that shame may be one of the biggest obstacles for adults in the classroom. Learn practical strategies to help students navigate those obstacles while building shame resilience based on the research of Dr. Brené Brown and the experiences of real adult learners.

Holly Armstrong has supported adult learners in multiple contexts, and for the past 5 years specifically worked with non-traditional and struggling college students. She has also seen shame impact learners in all levels of the U.S. education system as a remedial reading teacher, instructional coach, director of literacy and curriculum, and creating instructional intervention programs. She is now the Head of Student Success for AdvanceEDU, a U.S. nonprofit that aims to increase college and career access by providing personalised and flexible support for students who need it most. 

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VALBEC (Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council) was established in 1978 and is managed by an elected volunteer committee of management.

Incorporated Association No. A00 130 71K

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