'Still Glides the Stream' Sessions

The program is subject to change without notice. This web site will be the most up-to-date version.

Pre-conference sessions (3.00 pm Thursday, May 15, 2008)

P1 Everyday Percentages

Ruth Goddard, Glenroy Neighbourhood Learning Centre, CAE

Percentages are a common problem for teachers and learners and often evoke fear and dread. This workshop looks at why there is a problem and some ways of teaching and learning that can be fun and engaging for diverse groups of learners.

Ruth has many years of numeracy teaching at ACE organisations, CAE and TAFE. She has conducted workshops at the Maths Association of Victoria conference and written numeracy materials and resources.


P2 Creating the Connections: Project-based learning, digital stories and literacy development

Lynda Achren, AMES and Barb Cockroft, Goulburn Ovens TAFE

This workshop will explore a new digital stories teacher resource kit developed by Adult Multicultural Education Services (AMES) and Goulburn Ovens TAFE (GOTAFE) to assist adult literacy teachers to integrate digital story telling into their teaching and learning strategies. The workshop will demonstrate how the kit, 'Creating the Connections', guides teachers through the process of developing students’ language and literacy skills, ICT skills and teamwork skills so that they can successfully complete digital story-projects. Piloted at AMES and GOTAFE, participants will also hear about the piloting process with a group of CGEA students and the resulting student learning outcomes. In-built flexibility means the kit is suitable for students in a range of settings and locations and participants will have the opportunity to consider how they could use the resource in their own teaching context. Participants can also get a free copy of the DEST-funded teacher resource kit on CD-Rom for their organisation.

Lynda Achren has worked with adult language and literacy learners and teachers in Australia and South East Asia. She is currently working in the Research and Learning Innovation Unit in AMES Victoria, where she managed the 'Creating the Connections' project. Barb Cockroft piloted the resource kit at GOTAFE. She has been teaching the CGEA to adult literacy students for fourteen years but had not previously worked with digital stories before this project.


Q1 Engaging with Science and the CGEA

Maria Santburn, CAE and NMIT and Jo Ross, Holmesglen TAFE

Vital, fascinating, practical, fun, surprising - these are words that so easily apply to both the process and the outcomes of science in the adult experience. Science can now be integrated into the CGEA you deliver. Talk to teachers, who have worked with Science for adults and in particular how science and the CGEA have worked over the past 2 years. Join the fun, discuss the units, do some hands on activities and get some feedback on and look at the how and why of engaging with the new CGEA Science Units.

Maria Santburn is a Science /Maths teacher working at CAE and NMIT and was a member of original writing team of CSA curriculum document and of SCIWEB. She was also of the writers involved in the rewrite of the CSA modules to CGEA units. Jo Ross is a Science /Maths teacher working at Holmesglen TAFE and was one of writers involved in the rewrite of the CSA modules to CGEA units


Q2 Milking it for what it is worth

Chris Tully and Vicki Doukas, Kangan Batman TAFE

This session will look at an everyday object (milk carton) and how to use it in the Numeracy class room. Is it possible to use a milk carton in algebra or geometry? We can show you how to. We will present a practical hand-on session to showcase ideas on how to assess different levels and different modules of the new CGEA using one resource. We will also explore ideas for using a milk carton to generate discussion and problem solving in the classroom. The session will finish with exploring other objects and how they can be put to use in the Numeracy classes. Participants are encouraged to bring along any ideas or objects they have used successfully.

Chris Tully has taught numeracy at Kangan Batman TAFE for 15 years. She has been involved in the many changes to CGEA over the years and teaches across a range of Numeracy and mathematics subjects including all levels of the CGEA and some VCE subjects. Vicki Doukas has been with Kangan Batman TAFE for 4 years. She comes from a biology maths background and has been delivering both the science and numeracy areas of the CGEA as well as VCE biology.

Conference Sessions (Friday, May 16, 2008)


"A History of VALBEC: from mud-map to mainstream"

Bev CampbellVALBEC was established in 1978 as a professional organisation. Its journal Fine Print began publication soon afterwards in 1979. VALBEC and Fine Print through their presence, have provided a mirror to the adult literacy field, reflecting trends and changes, and at the same time helping to shape those trends through professional development activities and the many articles published.

In 2007, the VALBEC committee commissioned Bev to undertake the research and writing of a history of VALBEC using Fine Print as a primary source. Bev’s presentation gives an overview of the VALBEC History Project, through a close analysis of thirty years of Fine Print.

Two eras emerged from her research, 'The Bootstraps Era' (1979-1993), the establishment phase of the organisation of the field, when VALBEC and the field were almost synonymous, and 'Voices and Versions of the Literacy Story' (1993-to the present), when VALBEC became just one voice among many in the field. Through a VALBEC and Fine Print lens, the presentation will focus particularly on the first era to explore some of the pervasive themes shaping that time.

The publication as an outcome of the VALBEC history project will be available later this year.

Dr Beverley Campbell has been involved in education for thirty-five years, twenty-five of those in adult literacy education. In that time she held positions as community co-ordinator with Glenroy Adult Literacy Program (1984-89), co-ordinator with the CATALPA Project (1990-92), lecturer at La Trobe University (1992-96) and state coordinator of the adult literacy research network (1994-99). She is a past president of VALBEC (1988-91) and a former member of the Adult Community and Further Education Board.

In 2004 she completed doctoral studies at Monash University, with a study entitled, Acting in the middle: the dialogic struggle for professional identity in adult literacy and basic education in Victoria. She is the author of More than life itself: a handbook for tutors of adult literacy (VALBEC 1991), and is contributor to and co-editor of Fancy Footwork: adult educators thinking on their feet (VALBEC 2007). She is currently working on compiling a history of VALBEC and presented at the RAPAL conference in 2007 and will again in 2008.


Session A - 60 minutes - choose 1 of 3


A1 ALLS the story continues: Interrogating the results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALLS) survey - Panel session

Panel Chair, Pauline O’Maley; Dave Tout, Centre for Adult Education; Chris Duncan, Australian Bureau of Statistics; Dr Rob Simons, The Smith Family

This panel session will look at the results of the Adult Literacy and Life Skills (ALLS) survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in Australia in 2006/2007 and consider implications for current and future adult literacy and numeracy programs and other community education and development programs. The ABS figures released in late November 2007 showed that 7 million adult Australians (46.4%) lacked the literacy skills to cope with the demands of modern life and work. The figures were worse in other domains of the survey including in numeracy and problem solving. Key results of the survey data will be presented, including figures for Victoria, across different age groups, gender differences and what factors seem to impact most on attainment of literacy and life skills. Factors in health literacy will be discussed along with systematic approaches to breaking the cycles of intergenerational literacy, health and socio-economic disadvantage.

Panel Chair, Pauline O’Maley, Co-ordinator Community Re -integration Program, Salvation Army; Dave Tout, Centre for Adult Education, and a member of the international numeracy team responsible for developing the numeracy component of the survey and a member of the Reference Group for ALLS in Australia; Chris Duncan, Director, National Centre for Education and Training Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics; Dr Rob Simons, Head of Research and Evaluation, The Smith Family.


A2 Positive psychology in Adult Learning

Wayne Jencke, Innate Intelligence

Positive psychology is a relatively new area of psychology that focuses on the characteristics of people who thrive. This workshop will focus on how positive psychology can be used to build resilience in Adult Learning Teaching Professional and their students. The program includes the use of software that has been used throughout America to successfully address test anxiety that is commonly experienced by students.

Wayne Jencke is the product development manager for Innate Intelligence - a business that specialises in the science of thriving. Wayne has previously worked in the TAFE and University sectors for more than 10 years.


A3 Connect, collaborate, create: learning in community

Liz Suda, Melbourne Museum

The recently launched Melbourne Gallery at Melbourne Museum provides a feast of learning for adults. It explores the development of Melbourne from the first white settlement to the present day with a diverse range of interactive and immersive displays and objects. This session will explore the possibilities for building authentic content into language and literacy programs, from the changing nature of work, to the people, places and events that make a city. Museum education programs view learning as a process of active engagement with experience, a means to making sense of the world. ‘Learning in Community’ suggests that learning is a collaborative process that happens in a community of enquiry, a group of people who go beyond the classroom and into community learning spaces, such as the museum, to seek answers to their questions. It will explore how adult learners can benefit from engaging in enquiry based learning in the community.

Liz Suda is currently Program Co-ordinator, Humanities at Melbourne Museum where she is responsible for developing programs for primary, secondary and adult learners. She has extensive experience working in the Adult Literacy and ESL field both in the community and in the tertiary sector, as well as recent experience working with secondary schools on strategies for learning beyond the classroom.


Session B - 50 minutes - choose 1 of 4


B1 AccessACE clever uses of ICT in ACE: lessons learned in blended learning

Josie Rose, Southern Metropolitan Region, ACFE and Michael Chalk, PRACE

This workshop will report on the outcomes of the AccessACE project funded by the ACFE Board during 2007. This project researched clever uses of ICT in ACE. It will report on the lessons learned as contributed by the 10 ACE organisations who participated in the project trials. Participants will receive a guide for future reference and will be introduced to the interactive project support wiki.

Josie Rose has worked in the ACE sector for the past 20 years as an adult literacy and ESL tutor, and for the past 7 years as ICT professional development co-ordinator. For the past 3 years Josie has worked with the Australian Flexible Learning Framework's nationally funded Community Engagement project team as PD facilitator. She has also managed various ICT projects for ACFE.


B2 Social capital and economic outcomes of language, literacy and numeracy courses

Venny Smolich, Victoria University TAFE

When looking at the outcomes of our language, literacy and numeracy courses we tend to focus mainly on the specific course outcomes as defined by the curriculum. We tend not to look at the broader outcomes of these courses for our students, and we don’t generally explore and quantify the impact that these courses have on students’ lives and on the community. In recent years there has been significant research looking at how we might identify, acknowledge and even measure some of these social capital and economic outcomes. This workshop will present an overview of current research which looks at the social, community and economic benefits of adult language, literacy and numeracy courses.

Venny Smolich has taught in TAFE Access programs for many years. Currently she is the Program Manager of Women's Programs at Victoria University TAFE. Recently she has worked on a number of projects including integrating Learning in the Community and Employability Skills into CGEA courses and setting up ESL mentoring for language students. She has a particular interest in the broader outcomes of ACFE courses and the impact that ACFE courses have on students' lives.


B3 Community leadership through learning and partnerships

Elena Sheldon, Springvale Learning & Activities Centre Inc., Kor Pouc, Sudanese community leader and youth worker, and Leanne Malcolm, City of Greater Dandenong

The workshop will focus on achieving successful learning outcomes by applying strategies based on community development approach to adult education and partnerships. The workshop will explore the ways to start and build partnerships and the role of local government as it sets the strategic direction for the municipality along with key outcomes for strong, vibrant, sustainable communities. ELLA (English Language and Literacy Access) exemplifies successful partnership by bringing together government, ACE, TAFE and schools in the City of Greater Dandenong.

The presenters will provide and overview of the 2007 ACE Award winning, innovative Community Learning Partnership Project in the Southern Metropolitan Melbourne aimed at building capacity for Sudanese youth. Local Government, Victoria Police and a range of ACE and non-profit organisations worked together to achieve learning outcomes for all parties involved. The workshop participants will have an opportunity to constructively critique, discuss, evaluate the presented strategies and extrapolate from the learnings on to how they can be applied in other areas for different learner cohorts.

Elena Sheldon - Manager of the Springvale Learning & Activities Centre, Leanne Malcolm - Community Development Officer, City of Greater Dandenong, Annie Le - Project Worker, Springvale Learning & Activities Centre


B4 Literacy, work and global economies

Lesley Farrell, Associate Professor, School of Education, Monash University

In this session we will focus on the role of adult literacy education, and adult literacy educators, in keeping the global economy ticking along. We will begin by considering how and why the global economy relies on literate workers and how it demands new kinds of (English) literacies from workers at every level. These new literate practices don’t just add to the skill repertoire of workers or workforces; they change the ways people work, the ways they relate with each other at work, and the levels of autonomy and authority people have in their workplaces. These changes are not always welcomed in established workplaces, indeed, they are sometimes greeted with real hostility. Adult literacy educators (whether specifically involved in workplace education or not) play a critical role in the global economy, but the implications of that role are not always obvious.  In the second part of this session we discuss what role adult literacy educators can, or should, play in making the global economy happen.


Session C - 50 minutes - choose 1 of 6


C1 Utilising new literacies in the classroom: an online teacher resource

Kerrin Pryor, Upper Yarra Community House

You know that young people love the new literacies such as mobile phones, messenger and computer games but did you know that mobile phone texting and playing computer games can be used to teach spelling and critical thinking? Upper Yarra Community House, as part of a DEST funded Literacy Project will launch a web site in June that will inform teachers about the new literacies and how youth use them in their daily lives. The web site will also provide trialled new literacy activities that teachers can implement in their classroom. Come and learn about this innovative and contemporary resource for teachers.

Kerrin Pryor is Project Manager for the "Integrating New Literacies Into Classroom Practice” Project. She is interested in the burgeoning changing forms of literacy. She teaches Return to Study Skills and units in the Community Services Training Package. Kerrin has a social science degree and graduate diploma in education (literacy studies).


C2 Making reasonable adjustments within an educational setting for adults diagnosed with a mental illness

Bernadette Doyle, Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria

Reasonable adjustment, sometimes called reasonable accommodation or allowable adjustment is designed to ensure that all people are treated equally in the learning process. This means, that wherever possible, ‘reasonable’ adjustments are made to the delivery and assessment process to meet the individual needs of participants within a nationally recognised training package. Four participants enrolled in a Certificate 11 in General Education for Adults describe how when a learning provider makes reasonable adjustments to the delivery of the curriculum it enables them to maintain regular attendance, accomplish learning outcomes, gain confidence in seeking employment or education beyond the supported environment of the RTO.

In this qualitative study, the four participants diagnosed with a mental illness viewed reasonable adjustment as an opportunity to transition back into the adult learner role and prepare them for further studies and or employment. This paper examines in detail the adjustments made to the assessment process for this group of learners and examples of alternate assessment methods which enabled each student access to valid, reliable, fair and flexible assessment principles.

Bernadette is then Manager of Education Services Mental Illness Fellowship Victoria with a background in Secondary Education, Counselling and Adult Education and has presented papers at Vic Serv conference, Themhs Conference.


C3 Community enterprises as sites for adult learning: the Healthy Canteen project 2007- 08

Frances Newell, Victoria University

This case study will describe how a group of mainly mature age African women successfully studied Certificate II in Hospitality in the context of operating a healthy, multi-cultural canteen at a primary school.
From 2004 to 2007, Victoria University managed the Braybrook Maidstone Employment and Learning Coordinator (ELC) program. Through this Department of Human Services Neighbourhood Renewal program, the ELC team worked with residents, Maribyrnong Council, and community groups to develop a number of community enterprises including the Healthy, Multi-cultural Canteen at a local Primary School.

Currently Frances is employed in the School of Education at Victoria University where she has managed a number of employment, learning and research projects. Previously Frances coordinated a TAFE VCAL program and a neighbourhood learning centre.


C4 Literacy through life theatre

Linno Rhodes, Carlton Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Each year for 4 years, the Everyday Literacy class at CNLC has developed and performed a play about topical issues such as train travel, healthy eating, loneliness and accessing communities, and recycling. The plays have enabled learners with intellectual disabilities to access literacy activities that are designed for their specific learning needs. The topics are chosen based on real-life experiences of people in the class. The students use the workshopping aspect of the plays to practise resolving situations that may be problematic. Literacy activities are used in the classroom to connect the students with the topic and to cover CGEA outcomes / units.

The plays include singing and gentle movement and/or exercise. Initially the plays were performed to an audience of learning communities at CNLC, but they have been broadened to include friends and families as well as other learning communities.
The plays have the support of La Mama theatre in Carlton.

This workshop will

• feature a brief slide show of past performances, “Locomotion” about loneliness : “Bin to Work”: about recycling and “Many Happy Returns (consumer rights).

• include example scripts and literacy activities (including CGEA units) for take away use.

• workshop in small groups to write a synopsis for a play on a suggested theme or a theme of the groups own choice for use in the literacy classroom Suitable for teaching in the CGEA initial, intro and level 1 course. Teachers of low level ESL literacy classes may also find the workshop useful as the learning activities and scripts are based on simple, repetitive and predictable language patterns, and the topics are all about connecting with the community.

Linno Rhodes has worked for the last four years as a literacy educator, and has also worked in diverse community settings for twenty years.


C5 Delivering the Certificates in General Education for Adults with a focus on the employability skills

Lisa Bartels and Venny Smolich, Victoria University

This workshop will be of interest to all teachers delivering the Certificates in General Education for Adults. The aims of the workshop will be as follows - To provide a background for the embedding of employability skills into training packages and curriculum documents.- To examine an integrated model for the delivery of the CGEA curriculum with a focus on teaching and assessing the employability skills - To explore and share a range of teaching and assessment strategies which maximise opportunities for students to develop their employability skills.

Lisa Bartels is a Senior Educator for Literacy within the School of General Education Programs and Services at Victoria University. She has been teaching and coordinating Adult Literacy and General Education courses for 14 years. Venny Smolich is the Program Manager for Womens Programs within the School of General Education at Victoria University. Both Venny and Lisa have a strong interest in research and have played an active role in providing professional development to staff during the process of the reaccredtiation of the CGEA and the implementation of the revised curriculum.


C6 Are you hearing what I am saying?

Chris Tully and Vicki Doukas, Kangan Batman TAFE

This session will look at the use of language in the class room. Are your students engaged in what you are doing in the classroom or are they still back trying to working out what planes have to do with Maths? This session will be a hands-on practical session looking at the use of language in the Numeracy and Science areas. We will discuss how both teachers and students make assumptions about language that can hinder the participant’s involvement and understanding of concepts being discussed in class. We hope to offer some insights and solutions to language problems.

Chris Tully has taught at Kangan Batman TAFE for 15 years in various areas of Numeracy and Mathematics including all levels of the CGEA and some VCE. Vicki Doukas has been at Kangan Batman TAFE for 4 years teaching in science and Numeracy in the CGEA and Biology at VCE level.


Afternoon Keynote

"… and shall forever glide: our ever-changing English language"

Professor Kate Burridge, Chair of Linguistics Monash University

To create a work of art such as a standard language is to enter into a partnership with natural processes. Standard English can never be a finished product. As Geoffrey Chaucer expressed it back in the 1300s, “Ye know eek, that in forme of speeche is chaunge” (Troylus and Criseyde). Variability is the vehicle for language evolution. What are often viewed as slipshod pronunciations, mistakes in grammar, coinages, new-fangled meanings — these provide the basis for real change. Some features will drop by the wayside. Some will remain as variation. But there will be others that catch on, be used more and more and eventually become established.

Unfortunately, predicting change is one of the most tricky (trickiest?) tasks confronting historical linguists. We can take note of what we imagine to be the changes underway, but we can never be sure they will run their full course. Clearly, language professionals such as teachers and editors are also in a tricky position. There is never a magic time in linguistic change when misuse becomes use. It is murky and it is messy. However, there are signs that the confrontational relationship between standard and vernacular might be about to change. Many of the proscribed features of non-standard English are now extremely widespread in both native and non-native varieties of English. They are also gaining in status. With growing egalitarianism and liberalization, and with e-communication loosening the straitjacket effect of the Standard, we are seeing a more even-handed attitude to non-standard variation. Non-standard English is shaking off its stigma and ‘going public’.

Kate Burridge, BA (Hons) (UWA), PhD (London) FAHA

Kate Burridge completed her undergraduate training in Linguistics and German at the University of Western Australia. This was followed by three years postgraduate study at the University of London. Kate completed her PhD in 1983 on syntactic change in medieval Dutch. She also taught at the Polytechnic of Central London before joining the Department of Linguistics at la Trobe University in 1984. In February, she moved to Monash University to take up the Professor of Linguistics. She is a fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities.

Her main areas of research are: grammatical change in Germanic languages; the Pennsylvania German spoken by Amish / Mennonite communities in Canada; the notion of linguistic taboo; the structure and history of English. Kate also presents weekly language segments on ABC Radio and Television.


The conference is supported by Adult Community and Further Education