Pre-conference Forum • 'Transitions and Transformations'

Monday 26 September 2011 • Victoria University, City Flinders Campus, Melbourne

(The program is subject to change without notice)

From 8.30 a.m. Registration
9.00 a.m.

Welcome and introduction

Geri Pancini, President, ACAL

9.15 a.m.

Professor Anne Jones

‘Setting the Policy Context for Transitions and Pathways’

10.00 a.m.

Professor Terri Seddon

'Changing territories of work and learning'

10.45 a.m.

Morning tea

11.10 a.m.

LLN’s role in 'Transitions and Transformations' – meeting the challenges

Dave Tout

11.30 a.m.

Panel: Anne Jones, Terri Seddon, Geri Pancini, Dave Tout, Dave Perry and Rosie Wickert

12.00 noon Lunch
1.00 p.m.

Choice of one from the block of sessions

Afternoon tea taken when group agrees


T1 Workplace in Transition

LLN at work: transitioning skills for the workplace

Jenni Oldfield


T2 Tertiary Contexts in Transition 1 - Approaches & Programs

This session presents two examples of curriculum and program development aimed at aiding the transition into tertiary studies. Participants are invited to share their own examples and to discuss further directions and strategies for transition.
Facilitator: Lorraine Sushames

Legal literacies for VE-HE articulating students studying law subjects at Victoria University

Tao Bak and Helen Murphy, Victoria University

Tertiary Transition Education program

Katherine Murphy and Cheryl Humphries, Swinburne University



T3 Tertiary Contexts in Transition 2 - Research

This session presents two examples of recent research on transition in the tertiary context.  In the follow up discussion, participants are invited to share their research or other examples they think are useful and suggest future directions research in this area might consider.
Facilitator: Pauline O’Maley

Further education – the hidden contributor to tertiary success

Fran Newell

Does academic adult literacy research ever reach the classroom?

Sue Ollerhead



T4 Contexts in Transition - Practice

Learning to write better sentences - for yourself and for your students: A practical workshop

Rob McCormack


T5 Numeracy in Transition

Using ‘good’ questions in numeracy teaching: eliciting and building on learners’ funds of knowledge

Keiko Yasukawa


T6 Youth in Transition

Navigating transitions

Jan Hagston

3.30 p.m.

Drinks, wrap up, networking

4.00 p.m. Conclude

Setting the Policy Context for Transitions and Pathways

Ann Jones

Professor Anne Jones, Victoria University

As Deputy Vice-Chancellor Academic and Students  at Victoria University Professor Jones’ portfolio includes responsibility for University’s teaching & learning and students, vocational education strategy, the Victoria University College and VU International.

Professor Jones originally trained as a scientist with qualifications ranging from degrees in Zoology to a doctorate based on research into how VET teachers make professional judgements.  

Professor Jones has worked for the former Bendigo College of Advanced Education, RMIT TAFE, the former Flagstaff College of TAFE and Box Hill Institute where she was Executive Director (Learning and Academic Affairs) until commencement at VU in 2005.  

Professor Jones has a longstanding interest in VET teacher capability development. At VU she has overseen the establishment of the Work-based Education Research Centre (WERC). She is also recognised as a leader in current debate about the future structure and purpose of higher level VET qualifications, their delivery and their role supporting the economic and social inclusion missions of the tertiary education system.

Changing territories of work and learning

Prof Terri Seddon

Professor Terri Seddon, Monash University

Terri Seddon is Professor of Education at Monash University. My research program is examining the changing nature of educators’ work as nation-states restructure their education systems through lifelong learning reforms. The purpose of this research is to document educator’s distinctive ‘educational work’ and the way it contributes to learners’ learning.

In recent studies I have examined educational work that engages, orients and enables learners’ learning in formal education and adult, workplace and community learning spaces. These studies reveal the politics of educational restructuring and the changing terms and conditions of educational work. They also show that educators reshape their ways of working as they navigate partnerships, changes in governance and the effects of intercultural engagements. My most recent book is called Learning and Work and the Politics of Working Life: Global transformations and collective identities in teaching, nursing and social work (with Henriksson & Niemeyer). It examines the way global transformations disturb work and learning in human service workplaces in Australia, Finland, Germany, UK and USA.

LLN’s role in 'Transitions and Transformations' – meeting the challenges

Dave Tout

Dave Tout, ACER

There is a lot of current and significant interest at a government, educational and industry level in the key role that literacy and numeracy plays in education, training and the workplace. In an attempt to explain this current interest, this presentation will briefly report on key data and research about literacy and numeracy and at how this relates to 'Transitions and Transformations'. The presentation will also highlight a number of potential challenges specifically in relation to LLN that an education and training system,  and an individual institution, need to overcome in order to have the capacity to support all learners to 'Transition and Transform' successfully.

Dave has had almost 40 years experience in the education sector and has worked within a range of programs in schools, TAFEs, ACE providers, university, AMES and workplaces.

He has had wide experience not only in teaching and training, but also in working at a state, national and international level in research, curriculum, assessment and materials development. He has written a number of numeracy teaching and training resources, including WELL training materials. He has recently been appointed onto IBSA’s Education Sector Advisory Committee.

Dave has had major responsibility for the numeracy domain of the revised National Reporting System, the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and was also behind much of the numeracy components of both the CGEA and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) for secondary schools in Victoria. He is a member of the numeracy expert group responsible for the numeracy component of the international Adult Literacy and Lifeskills (ALL) survey and it’s new version, the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) for the OECD.

Dave joined ACER in 2008, where he is a Senior Research Fellow in the Assessment and Reporting research program. He is currently managing the international mathematics test development component of PISA 2012 where mathematical literacy is to be the major domain.

Panel member

Rosie Wickert

Dr Rosie Wickert

Rosie Wickert has extensive experience in adult education and training, education management and policy advice and analysis. She has high level qualifications in education, change management and policy and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Rosie was a Professor at the University of Technology where she trained numerous adult educators, furthered research activity in language and literacy education and managed a number of university wide change initiatives.

Rosie has held a number of advisory roles at state and federal levels of government and presided over state and national professional bodies.
More recently, Rosie was Head of Campus at Coffs Harbour campus of Southern Cross University where she became familiar with education and training issues in regional Australia.

Rosie’s particular area of expertise is adult language and literacy education policy as evidenced by her multiple publications in that field, including the ground breaking first national survey of adult literacy in Australia, ‘No Single Measure’ in 1989.

She is Chair of UTS Insearch Academic Board and a member of the North Coast Institute of TAFE Advisory Council.

T1 LLN at work: transitioning skills for the workplace

Jenni Oldfield

Jenni Oldfield, Precision Consultancy

This panel session will include representatives from Industry Skills Councils and reveal recent work to encourage development of LLN skills at work. It will cover two themes:

  • the role of WELL brokers to identify opportunities for LLN training in workplaces, choosing training providers and developing partnerships
  • the work to include foundation skills in training packages, how Industry Skills Councils have approached this task and the implications for practitioners.

Industry Skills Council representatives include: Mark Pincott, WELL Broker for CPSISC, Grant Collis, Training Package Specialist for ForestWorks, Denise Poole, WELL Broker for TLISC and Kerrie-Anne McPhee, Training Package Specialist for TLISC.

After many years of delivering adult LLN programs across a variety of contexts, Jenni now works in resource development and consultancy. Her work often relates to workplace training and to training packages, including training package development, training and assessment material development, and professional development for trainers and assessors across a range of industry areas and including work for several Industry Skills Councils. A lot of Jenni’s current work is focussed on the development of LLN skills in the workplace.

T2 Legal literacies for VE-HE articulating students studying law subjects at Victoria University

Tao Bak Helen Murphy

Tao Bak and Helen Murphy, Victoria University

Law assessment tasks in VE and HE reflect different expectations. The legal literacies requirements in the two sectors vary, with VE law tasks focusing on practical tasks for the workplace, while many HE law assessment tasks involve scholarly critique and argument. Legal literacies are not only about legal content; they are about students understanding the kinds of identities they are being asked to take up in responding to tasks and the employment of particular kinds of textual features which signify their membership of the legal discourse community. Membership of this discourse involves engagement with the practices, values and ways of knowing in law. It will be argued that with increasing numbers of students articulating from VE to HE, a more explicit pedagogy needs to be developed to better align law assessment tasks between the sectors in order to improve student learning outcomes.

Tao has worked with both staff and students studying law based subjects at Victoria University for 6 years. With a background in teaching English for Academic purposes to international students, Tao's work has focused on collaborative cross-disciplinary development of curriculum and pedagogy for the teaching of legal discourse, in both onshore and offshore contexts. He has presented at the FYHE, ALL, AIEC and ALTA conferences on this work. His current role as educational developer involves implementing VU's new LLN strategy in the Faculty of Workforce Development.

Helen has worked with staff and students in law subjects in Business and Law degrees at Victoria University for many years and has a breadth of knowledge regarding the disciplinary practices of law. In collaboration with subject staff, she has contributed to the redesign and delivery of a number of law subjects. She has co-authored four editions of the text How to Study Business Law which supports students studying law subjects, in particular, international and articulating students.

T2 Tertiary Transition Education program

Katherine Murphy and Cheryl Humphries

Katherine Murphy and Cheryl Humphries, Swinburne University

As TAFEs and Universities work to create pathways and create a more seamless tertiary sector in the wake of the Bradley review, we must ensure that these transiting students have sufficient academic literacy and support to ensure success. This case study looks at a program designed to build those academic literacy skills and confidence for transitional students. From initial consultations with academic staff, TAFE staff and students, a training needs analysis revealed the core elements seen as essential to support students accessing undergraduate courses with advanced standing who, by virtue of their credit pathways, forego some of the foundation study skills developed in their first year subjects. Those skills formed the basis for the Tertiary Transition Education program delivered to multiple groups of students across a variety of disciplines. This program is not only a bridge for the students but has begun a scholarly discourse between both sectors with the student at the centre of the conversation

Katherine Murphy and Cheryl Humphries are both experienced LLN teachers with  primary/secondary and VET teaching qualifications.  Katherine is nearing completion of the Graduate Certificate in Education and Training for Sustainability, and Cheryl is midway through a Master degree in TESOL. Katherine and Cheryl have welcomed opportunities to share their enthusiasm and encourage others to embrace the journey of lifelong learning. 
Their collective knowledge and practical experience have culminated in their secondment to the Tertiary Transitions Education Program (TTEP) where they developed and delivered a 2 week intensive TTEP pilot program for students transitioning from Diplomas into degree programs.  The success of this pilot programme informed the development of an accredited course and student learning resource, Start Smart, in collaboration with Pearson Australia. 

T3 Further education – the hidden contributor to tertiary success

Frances Newell

Frances Newell, Victoria University

The workshop will consider the contribution of further education to the achievement of the Federal government’s objective of increasing the proportion of Australians with Bachelor degrees from 32% - 40% by 2025. It will report on the HE completion rates of 79 Further Education (FE) students who enrolled in accredited tertiary preparation programs in 2005. The study found that these FE students have a higher completion rate than ‘Other’ students reported in previous longitudinal studies and that poor academic performance is a minor factor in these students discontinuing their studies. It concludes that FE courses which contextualise academic skills provide strong academic transition support for students and contribute to the achievement of Federal government targets.

Frances Newell is Strategic Advisor Policy and Planning in VU College at Victoria University, Australia. From 2008 – 2011 she has provided policy and planning advice to enhance VU’s provision of foundation, community and LLN programs and services in the context of changing state and federal government policies. Previous roles have included management of neighbourhood renewal programs, delivery of innovative TAFE youth programs and management of an adult learning centre. Currently, she is researching the success of further education students who articulate to vocational and higher education. Her research interests are adult learning, course completion rates and LLN.

T3 Does academic adult literacy research ever reach the classroom?

Sue Ollerhead

Sue Ollerhead, University of New South Wales, Sydney

The Australian Government’s proposed National Foundation Skills Strategy (2010) has prompted the adult literacy and numeracy sector to call for a rights-based approach to literacy education to protect those who are socially and economic disadvantaged (Yasukawa and Black, 2010). They have also stressed the need for pragmatic initiatives, such as partnering with universities to increase opportunities for professional learning for practitioners.

This presentation will discuss perceived barriers to the formulation of meaningful partnerships between the adult literacy and numeracy sector and universities. It will examine the implications of the current scarcity of such partnerships, such as a dearth of empirically-based research to influence policy-making, and a lack of academic input into classroom-based pedagogy. In discussing these issues, Sue will draw on first-hand experience of the complex relationship between the two sectors gained while collecting data for her doctoral studies into the teaching of very low-literate adults in the greater Sydney area.

Sue Ollerhead is a doctoral student in the School of Education at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. She has worked as an adult literacy teacher and university lecturer in South Africa, and as a TESOL teacher in Africa, Europe and Australia. She has also worked as an English language materials developer and commissioning editor for over ten years. Sue's main research interests are second language acquisition and language in education, with a particular focus on the teaching of very low-literate adults.

T4 Learning to write better sentences - for yourself and for your students: A practical workshop

Dr Rob McCormack

Dr Rob McCormack, Victoria University

This session will be a practical, hands-on workshop exploring strategies for helping students write richer, more complex and more nuanced sentences. We will also explore how different kinds of sentences fit together to create coherent academic prose and also glance at such matters as: academic vocabulary - finding the right words; helping students read difficult material; developing curriculum and resources that help students write better. Participants will be encouraged to share strategies and ideas as well.

Rob 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 1983-93 he worked in a team working to articulate a fruitful pedagogy for young people and second chance adults from the western suburbs of Melbourne. From 1996-2003 he worked at Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education, Northern Territory. Since returning to Victoria University in 2004, Rob’s major responsibility has been establishing a sustainable Student Rover program, however he is now turning his energies back to focus on his lifelong passion — the power of language and literacy to create and support learning pathways.

T5 Using ‘good’ questions in numeracy teaching: eliciting and building on learners’ funds of knowledge

Keiko Yasukawa

Keiko Yasukawa, University of Technology, Sydney

If learning numeracy is to be engaging, relevant and empowering for adult learners, then teachers of numeracy need to foreground the learners’ interests, goals and prior knowledge in their approach to learning. Reliance on ready-made diagnostic tools, worksheets and workbooks can limit the possibilities of the ways the learners can demonstrate their knowledge, as well as come to recognise any misconceptions that they have. Moreover, diagnostics and exercise sheets can bring back negative memories of mathematics learning for those who already come with some fear or anxiety about maths.

In this workshop, we will workshop ideas from some of the literature on ‘quality’ questions (Sullivan and Librum 2004; Walsh and Sattes 2005), and numeracy practices (Street, Baker and Tomlin 2008) to share and reflect on our approaches to teaching numeracy. The session will be interactive and include some hands on activities of ‘learning’ numeracy, constructing ‘quality’ questions, and exploring ways to investigate learners’ funds of knowledge.

Experienced, new and potential numeracy teachers are all welcome.

Keiko Yasukawa is a lecturer in adult education, specialising in adult numeracy at the University of Technology, Sydney. She coordinates the Graduate Certificate in Adult Numeracy Teaching and the Graduate Diploma in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Teaching at the University.

T6 Navigating transitions

Keiko Yasukawa

Jan Hagston, VALA Executive Officer

Young people have a range of transitions to navigate – school to work; school to further study; adolescence to adulthood, etc. For those young people who are disengaged from education (and sometimes the community) the transitions may include school to unemployment, school to the street or sitting at home, home/street to further education, unemployment to further education or school to further education.

Transitions always have an element of risk but they also provide opportunities, one of which is the opportunity to develop and broaden skills, including core (learning, literacy and numeracy) skills. These core skills tend to define the pathways that are open to young people and, therefore, the type of transitions they are likely to experience.

This strand will focus on how different programs assist young, educationally disengaged people to transition to the next stage of their life while developing core (learning, literacy and numeracy) skills.

Jan is an experienced adult educator having worked in the literacy field as, amongst other things, a teacher and curriculum and resource developer. In 2002 Victorian implemented an alternative senior secondary certificate, the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL). VCAL is now delivered in approx 450 education providers (schools, TAFE and ACE) across Victoria to over 20,000 students, mainly young people. Jan was involved in the development of the literacy and numeracy units of VCAL and led the team that delivered the professional development program which supported the implementation of VCAL. She is now the Executive Officer for the Victorian Applied Learning Organisation (VALA), an organisation that supports VCAL and other educators who use an applied learning approach in their teaching practice.