1. President's report

Last month I was given the opportunity to speak to ABC radio about a current discussion paper on adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy in Australia created by the JSA. I was quite aware of the discussion paper and spoke to ‘Jono’ about whether I thought this would be a good idea or not. As always, the issue is far more complex than this. It is important to think about how the information is collected and what measures are put into place to ensure that the data is actually valid and reliable. Interestingly, though, I was able to pick Jono up on how we view student suitability in the classroom after he said that some students ‘like mechanics’ aren’t suited to the secondary classroom. Classrooms need to cater for student needs, not the other way around. I think this is a lesson we in VET have learned and internalised, but perhaps the general public, media and politicians haven’t quite caught up on that point yet. It seems that there is a lot of information that we can impart on pedagogy and practice that needs to become more commonplace within the wider educational sphere. And speaking and learning and teaching and opportunities for change, our conference is only a few short weeks away!

Hopefully you have already registered and took advantage of the early bird discount. If not, there is still time to register here: https://valbec.org.au/event-5218859. The conference is set to be quite an eye opener in a series of different fields and I must be honest and say I’m having a hard time choosing which of the concurrent sessions to attend. Come see us and engage in some fantastic discussion. I’m really looking forward to seeing you all there.

Liam Frost-Camilleri

VALBEC President

2. Valbec Membership

VALBEC Membership

You can join or renew online.


If you join in August, September or October, deduct 50%. Renewal falls due the following February.

Members receive:

  • Fine Print three times a year – a high quality journal for discussion and debate about good practice, theory and policy issues. Feedback and contributions are actively sought from members about content and issues.
  • eVALBEC – our e-mail communication keeping members informed of professional development activities, general committee activities and more up to date policy changes.

  • Discounts for the Annual Conference and other VALBEC statewide professional development.

  • Issues-based forums.

  • Focus on significant policy issues impacting on the field.

  • Free numeracy resources.

    3. Professional Develpment

    We have two fantastic Professional Learning Sessions lined up for the month of May.

    Professional Learning 1

    Fostering self-efficacy and autonomy in the classroom

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

    Who  Liam Frost-Camilleri

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

    Where: Zoom

    Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25

    Register here: https://valbec.org.au/event-5224988/Registration

    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.

    Professional Learning 2

    Why context is the critical starting point in numeracy

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

    Who  Dave Tout

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

    Where: Zoom

    Cost: VALBEC Members Free; non-Members $25

    Register here: https://valbec.org.au/event-5257641/Registration

    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. 

    4. Resources

    ESL Readers - Multi Level readers 

    A set of stories to accommodate different proficiency levels, ranging from pre-beginner to intermediate.


    Learn Local Resources

    A set of resources for TAFE support, pathways, skills for work and digital support.


    5. Fine Print

    The first issue of Fine Print for 2023 is hot off the press and on its way to your mailbox if you are a VALBEC member.

    Shout out to this issue’s contributors: Caralyn Lammas, Sally Thompson, Pip Mackey, Belinda Bold, Jarrod Tebb, Elizabeth Gunn, Lauren Piovesan, Linno Rhodes, Jo Medlin, Sarah Deasey and Tanja Cuka.

    Make sure you get first access to future issues of Fine Print by keeping your VALBEC membership up-to-date and/or reminding your institution’s library to subscribe.

    Contact fineprintvalbec@gmail.com to suggest an article or to comment on something you’ve read in Fine Print.

    6. Numeracy News and CGEA update

    7. Unions

    8. Special dates


        eVALBEC is the monthly electronic newsletter of (VALBEC) the Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council and is sent to about 1000 practitioners on the first of each month (other than January). It is also available in the ‘News’ section of our web site


        The activities, goods and services mentioned in eVALBEC are not endorsed by Valbec in any way. People should make their own judgment about the suitability of each item.

        How to submit items: https://www.valbec.org.au/evalbec

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