VALE Joan Kirner

The VALBEC committee and wider LLN community are saddened by the passing of Joan Kirner, OA, former Victorian Premier and original patron of the Victorian Adult Literacy Council (VALC, 1984) the pre-cursor to VALBEC. A fierce advocate for social justice and fairness, her passion for women’s rights, education and conservation raged throughout her long career.

Joan Kirner is referred to as one of the friends of VALC in Reading the Fine Print: a history of VALBEC 1978 – 2008. She was instrumental in the development of state adult literacy policy in the early 1980’s. In a quote from her Arch Nelson address at the 1984 ACAL/VALC conference in Melbourne, she refers to the influence of Paolo Friere:

Friere saw literacy as a weapon to be used in the transfer to power from the powerful well resourced few to the disempowered under resourced many - the working class - I share this view.

VALBEC was fortunate to have Joan present the opening at the 2010 I learn You learn We learn conference. She gave a rousing speech reflecting on her passion for education and the power of grass roots activism. We were indeed fortunate to have her as a patron and advocate for adult literacy education.

Joan Kirner will be remembered as a ground breaking first woman Premier of Victoria, for her input to education reforms, establishment of Landcare, campaigning for women’s rights and for people with special needs and the work of Emily’s list to rectify the gender imbalance in parliament. She was indeed a friend to many and we extend our condolences to her family.

Friday, May 15, 2015 William Angliss Institute

Several presenters have provided their sessions, we'll add more here.

A great day! Thanks to Sally Hutchison for the selected pics.

See the full program

You are invited to contribute to the next edition of Fine Print

The Fine Print editorial committee is excited to include a selection of writing by students and teachers in the second edition in 2015. It provides a wonderful forum to celebrate the learning and insights of language, literacy and numeracy students and teachers across Victoria. So make a note to include in your class planning some time to explore the themes and draft pieces to submit before the deadline: 10 JUNE.

Significant others in your life and learning

two gulls - significant others in your life and learningWith the broad theme of 'significant others', whether they be family, friends, teachers or other role models, students are asked to write about how they have been an influence in their life and/or education.

Consider the following prompts:

  • How have family members or friends influenced or encouraged you to learn?

  • Who has shown you positive attitudes toward education and lifelong learning?

  • What are the benefits of education that you have seen in others and for yourself?

  • What significant life events have had an impact on your learning journey?

  • How do we show appreciation and value the wisdom and examples of our elders?

  • What importance is placed on reading and writing practices and being numerate in your family, community and society?

We ask teachers to write about how you help your students, with not only the processes and mechanics of writing, but also how you inspire, build confidence, and help your students find a voice. Also consider:

What have been some of the significant influences on your learning and teaching practices? What are some of the strategies you have used to engage and motivate learners?

What have been some of the transformations you have observed in your students over time?

We welcome both poetry and prose and will consider images or artwork as appropriate.

Submission Guidelines

Deadline: June 10th

Electronic texts only: Word document; Font: Times New Roman 12;

Word limit for students: between 50 and 250 words

Word limit for teachers: between 200 and 750 words

Please include

  • Title for the piece

  • Name

  • Learning centre or institution

  • Course or program.

The editorial committee will select pieces that best fit the guidelines and represent a diversity of learners and teachers.

Please email all contributions to

VALBEC recognises outstanding service

Jan Hagston (left) and Pauline O’Maley (right) were recently recognised with ‘Life membership’ citations at the 2015 AGM

Community Law Kit

The Community Law Kit, developed by TAFE Queensland English Language and Literacy Services, addresses a range of legal issues and life skills that every student and migrant new to Australia needs to live as an independent adult in our community. It explores legal problems faced every day in the community - such as shopping, renting, taking public transport, neighbour disputes, bullying, dealing with debt etc. and makes practical suggestions for what we can do, say and write in order to assert our legal rights, prevent legal problems arising and get help when needed.

This kit consists of: Community Law Music CD, Struggles in Stranger Street – Reader, Community Law in Action – Learning Resource, The Law Book – A Community Law Reference.

Purchase or call (07) 3261 1300.

Fine Print travels far and wide!

Margie Daniel, mother of Soraya Daniel, with Ros Bauer on Thursday Island

Margie Daniel, mother of Soraya Daniel, with Ros Bauer on Thursday Island.

VALBEC supported Soraya to attend the World Indigenous Peoples Conference in Education (WIPCE) in Hawaii in May. The last issue of Fine Print carried a report from Ros on the WIPCE.

Webinar - 'Building Strength with Numeracy' free VALBEC resources

ACAL and QCAL had a webinar on using the free VALBEC numeracy resources. Over 100 people joined in while the author, Beth Marr, took us through some strategic thinking as well as presentation tips.

This event is now concluded but you can still watch it.

ACAL webinar numeracy log

Download the free resources

Foundation Skills Workforece Development logoResponses to the Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project consultation

Who is a foundation skills specialist?

Is there a foundation skills field?

The scoping project was intended to generate discussion among those working in foundation skills to define and strengthen the identity of the field, advance the status and standing of the profession and explore options for developing professional standards.

More about the project

See VALBEC's response

Member resources

My Neighbourhood coverMany of our members produce useful resources which are often previewed at conferences or reviewed in Fine Print. See some of these on our new Resources page.
If you're a member of VALBEC (the first requirement) and you would like to have your product listed, contact VALBEC.

A Fuller Sense of Self

A Fuller Sense of SelfDuring 2010, Tricia Bowen recorded the stories of adult literacy students across Melbourne and regional Victoria. The aim of the project was to gather stories which illuminated the lives and learning experiences of these students, while describing the challenges they faced, the events that had provoked their decision to return to ‘school’, and ultimately how their lives had changed and shifted following that decision to undertake adult education. Their stories reflect a changing sense of personal identity and growth in self confidence to engage with the world.

This publication is now available for download.

'Reading the Fine Print: A history of the Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council (VALBEC) 1978 – 2008'

Reading The Fine Print coverPurchase now


Author Beverley Campbell has been involved in education for thirty-five years, twenty-five of those in adult literacy education. She is a past president of VALBEC (1989-91) and a former member of the Adult Community and Further Education Board of Victoria.

‘Fancy Footwork: adult educators thinking on their feet’

(Eds. D Bradshaw, B Campbell, A Clemans)

Purchase now

Fancy FootworkThis book invites you to travel in the footsteps of a group of women, all adult educators from Melbourne, Australia. In their desire to explore the spirit of adult education, they met and wrote regularly over two years.

Their reflections, collected here, take you inside their world. With you, they share what teaching means to them. Writing of joys, dilemmas and dangers, they reveal the complexities of teachers' lives and teaching work. Read these stories and you might very well find yourself heading in new directions.