Conference presentations

Thanks to the many people who supported a very successful conference - keynote speakers, session presenters and volunteers.

Sessions will be added to this website as they become available. Generally all documents have been converted to PDF.

KEYNOTE: Tracing the Global in the Local

Professor Mary Hamilton - Lancaster University, UK


Mary Hamilton is one of the founding figures of New Literacy Studies that introduced a social practices perspective on understanding and researching literacy.

In recent years Professor Hamilton’s works have included historical and interpretative policy analysis exploring how international influences reach into local practice and the implications of this for tutor and student agency in adult literacy education. Through her publications and research she has developed particular expertise in the international surveys of literacy and the politics of measurement.

KEYNOTE: Reading the PIAAC Results: what to look out for

Dr Jeff Evans - Emeritus Reader at Middlesex University, UK


Jeff Evans, a social practices numeracy researcher and research methodologist, has produced critical appreciations of contemporary definitions of ‘numeracy’ and ‘mathematical literacy’, and of various attempts to provide measures for these.

He has recently served on the Numeracy Expert Group of the OECD sponsored Programme of International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC).

A3 Who are we trying to kid: Empowering learners through workplace English Language Skills

Michael Atkinson, University of Deakin


Adult ESL programs in the Australian context are heavily influenced by neo-liberal notions of functional literacy and numeracy. Such notions, designed to enable the learner to function within the workplace or community, is often at odds with understandings and delivery approaches which position literacy and numeracy as a social or socio-critical practice and a means towards social empowerment. This paper argues that both perspectives can fail to acknowledge the complexity of ESL program participation for adult learners. This complexity points to the need to position the learning of literacy and numeracy in the ESL context as a social and educational journey made meaningful by a learner's sense of (emerging) identity and that a holistic, socially orientated understanding of their learning and their progress is preferable to an approach which views and evaluates learners against preconceived functional literacy skills. The participants in this study were people of refugee background from Africa who had minimal literacy skills in their own vernacular

Michael is an adult ESL teacher and PhD student at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation. His current research focus is on the processes which support intercultural dialogue between members of minority cultures and the mainstream community within Australia. Michael is also involved in researching the discourse around asylum seekers against a backdrop of human rights and cosmopolitanism.

A4 ISC Foundation Skills and WELL Broker Network – meet the team and learn about the projects

WELL Brokers Isabel Osuna- Gatty (Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council), Lisa Giammarco (Government Skills Australia), Kathy Higgs (Manufacturing Skills Australia) and Denise Poole (Service Skills Australia)

PowerPoint Presentation

The Industry Skills Council (ISC) Foundation Skills Network is a strategic project to promote cross industry sharing and collaboration on issues relating to foundation skills, especially Language, Literacy and Numeracy best practice in workplace training and assessment. The network supports the role of ISC staff working on the streamlining of training packages, the Australian Core Skills Framework mapping and FS Training Package implementation projects as well as any other LLN and FS activities including assisting WELL brokers with submissions under the Australian Government Skills Connect initiative, and in building LLN and FS development into other projects such as the National Workforce Development Fund. The network would like to take the opportunity to introduce the ISC staff working in these programs to the NSW ACAL membership and disseminate the latest information on LLN and FS from an ISC perspective.

Industry Skills Councils have been contracted by the Australian Government under the WELL program to work with employer organisations to assist in determining their workforce development needs in foundation skills. The WELL program is designed to assist organisations to train workers in English language, literacy and numeracy skills with job-related workplace training and is designed to help workers meet their current and future employment and training needs.

A6 Reparation through reading

Jane Jones, State Library, WA

PowerPoint Presentation

Better Beginnings is a program that aims to encourage parents to read to their young children. It is a program that has been extended to incarcerated students in W.A prison education centres. Students learn how to read to children in the prison education program and go on to apply these skills during family visits, better preparing their children for school. The W.A state library supports the program through the provision of reading packs, teacher resources and professional development support. In a collaborative partnership, a learning program is being developed, mapped to the EGE (Cert 1 in Entry to General Reading and Writing), drawing on the expertise of early childhood research and adult learning principles, utilising a range of age appropriate strategies and activities. This workshop is aimed towards adult education specialists and wishes to share methodologies, resource ideas and underpinning research.

Jane joined the State Library of WA's Better Beginnings Family Literacy Program in 2011. She coordinates the development of adult literacy initiatives and supports the established family literacy programs.

B3 Applying the Australian Core Skills Framework for Assessment in the Language Literacy and Numeracy Program

Anh Le, Melbourne University

PowerPoint Presentation (large file size)

Adopting a qualitative approach, this research uses document analysis to review the ACSF, and questionnaires, individual interviews and think-aloud verbal protocols to explore the beliefs, attitudes and practices by LLN teachers and assessors using the ACSF. The research findings reveal that while the ACSF presents some very positive aspects, the framework still has several issues of concern. These include the use of normative terminology, differences between learners of native and non-native English speaking backgrounds and the limited guidance for assessment practices, especially for teacher assessors new to the field and working in isolated workplaces. The research findings also signify several vital factors affecting the framework implementation by practitioners in the LLNP, which include the program requirements, the availability of professional community and peer discussions for teacher assessors and the teacher/assessors' experience and knowledge of the program and the learners.

Anh Le is a Doctor of Education candidate at Melbourne University. She completed her Master of TESOL at Melbourne University and has 10 years teaching and assessment experience in both tertiary education in Vietnam and adult LLN education in Australia. Her interests include curriculum design, resource and assessment tools development, and teacher and assessor training and professional development.

B6 The language and literacy demands of the prison environment

Zoe Humphreys and Stewart Burkitt, Corrective Services New South Wales

PowerPoint Presentation

The workshop aims to conscientise people to the difficulties people with low literacy and language skills experience in institutional environments. Prisons contain a population known to have a high proportion of English as a second language and low language, literacy and numeracy skills. Despite this fact the language used, therapeutic and criminogenic training programs and general language and literacy demands require a high level of competency. The workshop will invite participants to examine everyday prison texts and workshop suggestions for adaptation and education programs to support prisoners' engagement and participation.

Stewart Burkitt and Zoe Humphreys work in the education unit of a New South Wales prison. Stewart teaches the Certificate in Spoken and Written English and Zoe teaches the Certificate I Access to Work & Training and Certificate II Skills for Work & Training curriculum. A core purpose of their programs are to support inmates access to and participation in the therapeutic and criminogenic programs required for their release.

C2 Merging pedagogy: LLN and VET practitioners working together

Ruth Walker, Cooperative Learning Ltd

PowerPoint Presentation

In 2012 the Language Literacy and Numeracy and Vocational Education and Training Community of Practice (LLN/VET CoP) project was conducted by Cooperative Learning Ltd to explore the enablers and barriers to LLN and VET practitioners working collaboratively. This paper explores one aspect of the findings from the LLN/VET CoP, that being differences in pedagogy, given that LLN and VET practitioners often come from very different backgrounds, with different pathways into teaching, different pedagogical knowledge, different concepts of literacy and possibly different goals for their learners. Drawing on dialogue and reflective responses provided during focus group discussions this paper explores the pedagogical practices of the participants and their responses to each other's practices. It suggests strategies that may be useful in helping LLN and VET practitioners overcome the potential barrier created by differing pedagogies and recommends further research into current pedagogy and strategies for merging pedagogies between LLN and VET practitioners.

Ruth has been involved in adult and community education for over 16 years as a teacher, administrator and more recently as a researcher. Research interests include VET teacher training, measures of quality in VET and LLN/VET collaboration.

C4 Implementing literacy and numeracy support for students enrolled in VET courses

Sarah Howe, TasTAFE

PowerPoint Presentation

This presentation will use a facilitated round table discussion to explore different models of literacy numeracy support for VET students, including those currently used at TasTAFE: the Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills (CAVSS), which focuses on embedding literacy/numeracy in VET delivery (in classrooms, workshops & simulated workplaces); study support groups, outside VET program classes - 1 - 1 tutoring and blends of these approaches. Workshop participants will be invited to share other models used in their contexts. We will look at the implementation of models in varying VET programs, different courses, different student cohorts, different delivery styles, the advantages and disadvantages of different models for particular situations and what is best practice?

Sarah has been working in Foundations Programs for almost ten years at TAFE in Hobart. In that time she has worked across a range of programs including literacy/numeracy support in VET courses, stand-alone literacy/numeracy classes, small group and 1-1 study support, and alternative year 11 and 12 programs for disengaged youth. These have been delivered in a variety of settings including community venues, prison, senior secondary colleges, trade training centres, and vocational program classrooms and workshops. She has a passion for working with learners to remove barriers to succeeding in training and employment.

D5 The Foundation Skills Training Package in practice

Anita Roberts, Innovation and Business Skills Australia (IBSA)

PowerPoint Presentation

The introduction of the Foundation Skills Training Package is an opportunity for practitioners to reflect on how LLN programs are contextualised for vocational purposes and to consider new approaches to delivery and assessment. This workshop will examine how units and qualifications from the Foundation Skills Training Package may be used in LLN programs and explore ways for LLN practitioners to work with vocational practitioners to design and deliver contextualised learning programs. Participants will be shown resources that are available to assist the implementation of the Foundation Skills Training Package and have the opportunity to provide advice on further resources that need to be developed.

Anita Roberts has worked within the vocational education and training system at the national level since 1995 and has extensive experience in language, literacy and numeracy policy in the VET sector. She has coordinated a variety of LLN projects and authored a number of reports and publications on behalf of Industry Skills Councils. Anita worked closely with Innovation & Business Skills Australia on the development of the Foundation Skills Training Package. She is also a member of the Victorian State Advisory Committee for the Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) program.

D6 Ethics in the Gaol

Suzanne Jarrett, AEVTI, Corrective Services

PowerPoint Presentation

Notes to accompany PowerPoint

Could the teaching of ethics be extended to gaols? An ethics course for offenders, has been delivered twice by the writer. The modules completed by offenders to date such as reading, writing, speaking and listening have included ethical content where appropriate. This content has then been extrapolated to activities and situations, that the offender may find himself in once released, such as participating in the employment market, using social media or being confronted by an issue that might cause hostility. This presentation will show that although ethics, philosophy and workplace concerns/issues provided the foundation for content and resources in the course, the basic skills of reading, writing, listening and communication were the focus of the lessons. The discussion will conclude with case studies of the progress of various offenders and a report on some unexpected positive outcomes of this project.

Suzanne has worked in schools and adult education for a number of decades. She has Master of Arts (Literature and Linguistics)and a Graduate Diploma (TESOL). She had almost completed a Graduate Diploma in Special Education when she decided to drop this avenue of study to take on some separate university subjects in sociology and criminal justice.

D7 Exploring personalised learning environments for the LLN classroom

Ann Leske, LLN In-sight and Jacqueline Bates, Labyrinthe Learning

PowerPoint Presentation

Partcipants are invited to a round-table discussion exploring the potential for personal learning environments to strengthen LLN skills. LLN skill development is important for formal and informal learning, and qualifications at all levels. How teachers facilitate the development of LLN skills and knowledge is an important factor in determining learning outcomes. Teaching and learning via personalised learning environments alters learning venues, changes face-to-face teacher contact to invisible-but-present teacher contact, and expands the learner contact time to be flexible and individually defined. Personal learning environments can offer new ways of teaching and learning to promote learning ownership. support collaborative learning and strengthen learner engagement. Participants can share your initiatives and strategies with others and bring their own device (optional)

Ann has been actively engaged in teaching and coordination of adult LLN projects since 1998. In 2010, Ann was a recipient of an NCVER Community of Practise research scholarship, enabling her to explore the impact that perceptions of literacy have on Adult Literacy partnerships. Jacqueline is an experienced presenter, manager, teacher and learning technologist with 16 years in the VET sector. As statewide Project Manager for VLEenable 2011-13 she provided support to teams in all 10 TAFE NSW Institutes to undertake 46 strategic Virtual Learning Environment projects. The VLEenable project was a finalist in the 2012 TAFE NSW Quality Awards.

E6 One size does not fit all! A case study of the development and publishing of local, multi-lingual stories for adult literacy learners in the South African context.

Catherine Rich, University of KwaZulu-Natal

PowerPoint Presentation

Notes to accompany the PowerPoint

New Readers Publishers (NRP)is a non-profit publishing project, based in the Centre for Adult Education at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. It develops, publishes and promotes stories for adult literacy learners in South Africa's official languages. There is a tension between stories as a reading option for newly literate adults and reading materials issued to adult learners as part of national imperatives for community development programmes. This paper explores the tension that exists between the local and the global as demonstrated by the issues and challenges facing local language publishing, such as the hegemony of English and the linguistic dominance of certain African languages, regional variations and colloquial versus standardised forms of language. This will be illustrated using the NRP's experience of publishing stories and will give examples of how reading can be successfully promoted through stories.

Cathy is the Assistant Project Manager of New Readers Publishers and has worked on this project since June 2002. Her duties include the financial management of the project, sales and customer liaison and database maintenance as well as running workshop promoting reading. Previously she taught adults English in the UK and in Durban.

F1 Collaboration in post-secondary settings: a localised practice?

Pauline O'Maley, Tao Bak and John Hamilton, Victoria University; Niki McCartney and Diana Coben, National Centre of Literacy & Numeracy for Adults, New Zealand

PowerPoint Presentation

In an increasingly globalised environment, the New Zealand National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults and Victoria University (VU), Melbourne, have forged a partnership around contextualising LLN assessment in post-secondary settings, with a focus on collaborative approaches. The National Centre works collaboratively with colleagues in the tertiary sector to build professional capability in adult literacy and numeracy through research and evidence-based professional development supporting a whole organisation approach, with a particular focus on educators of priority learners (Māori, Pacific Peoples and Youth). VU has taken an institution wide approach, with literacy specialists working closely with discipline staff on planning, teaching and assessment. In this presentation we examine the strengths of these two different approaches, and explore development of some shared good practice guidelines. Our aim is to learn from each other's practice, in educational settings both characterised by a shift from generic study skills approaches to more contextualised classroom-based literacy learning.

Diana Coben is the director of the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults, and Nicola McCartney is the associate director, NCLNA is a key part of the national infrastructure to strengthen the literacy and numeracy skills of adult learners in New Zealand. Pauline O'Maley, Tao Bak and John Hamilton are educational developers in Academic Support And Development at Victoria University. They are situated in the colleges of Arts, Business and Health and Biomedicine respectively.

G1 Apprentice Mentoring: the importance of relationship in learning

Chris Holland, Work & Education Research & Development Services

PowerPoint Presentation

Neo-liberal discourses and national policy pressures in tertiary education, introduced around 1990 in New Zealand, have accelerated in the first decade of the 21st century. This is clearly demonstrated in adult literacy. With attention in national strategy documents on the crisis of 'functional illiteracy', teacher development programmes, materials, assessments and standards have become increasingly regulated and standardised. The intense focus on the technicalities of learning and teaching has ignored the importance of relationship. Despite the adult literacy blitz on vocational education and training, recruitment, retention and qualification completions continue to be major issues within the apprenticeship system. Some barriers may be reduced, however, through introducing mentoring relationships. This paper asks what is so important about mentoring and a relational mentoring approach for apprentices. It explores the elements, benefits and pitfalls of different approaches to mentoring. and mentoring practices that are most effective in general, and which suit particular cultural groups.

Chris is a workplace language and literacy consultant/researcher based in Auckland. Her current professional interests include policy and practice in language, literacy and vocational learning, learning and teaching for a healthy society, the learning relationship, and research methodologies. She has undertaken research both in New Zealand and internationally.

G2 National Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project

Wing-Yin Chan Lee, TAFE SA and Anita Roberts, IBSA

PowerPoint Presentation

This workshop is for VET managers, practitioners and personnel interested in recent Foundation Skills workforce development initiatives. The workshop will cover an overview and progress of the National Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project that supports the implementation of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults and to assist jurisdictions in working towards the Strategy target. This Project, coordinated by SA Government and TAFE SA since May 2013, is a joint initiative by Commonwealth and state and territory governments, through the Standing Council on Tertiary Education Skills and Employment (SCOTESE). The presenters will highlight the Project's collaborative approaches to implement a package of integrated activities/elements focused on Priority Area Four in the Strategy: to build the capacity of the education and training workforce to deliver foundation skills. The presenters will explore with participants of ways to be involved in the different Project elements and how best to benefit from the intended outcomes.

Wing-Yin is currently the Educational Manager, TAFE SA. She has been involved in many state and national LLN including training, professional development and resource development projects. Her team has built successful track record of delivering WELL training across industry sectors, including a number of award winning projects. Anita has worked within the vocational education and training system at the national level since 1995 and has extensive experience in language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) policy in the VET sector. She is currently the project co-ordinator for TAFE SA Foundation Skills Workforce Development Project and Innovation and Business Skills Australia's projects on Foundation Skills Training Package and resources.

H1 Integrating Language Learning and Mathematics Learning: a case study from Sweden

Stina Thunberg, Luleå Adult Education Community College, Sweden

PowerPoint Presentation (3Mb)

This session presents a project started in an adult education college in Lulea, Sweden in n 2012. The program integrates language learning with learning mathematics for linguistically and educationally diverse learners. Using sociocultural theories of learning, second language theories and methodology for teaching basic arithmetic the program integrates the learning of mathematics with the learning of language in the regular curriculum. The program uses books, e-books, blogs, films, film making, pictures and specially developed material such as games and maps. The program is based on creating situations where the students willingly describe, discuss and debate mathematical topics both orally and in writing. Blogs are used for the students to be able to continue the discussion after the classroom. Many students use the internet for communication with people in their home countries and are more familiar with computers and internet than many of the teachers believed that they would be.

Stina is a Swedish as a second language teacher working with adult education in Luleå, Sweden. She is writing a book about combining language learning and mathematics learning to be published this year.

H6 The who, what and why of Money Problems

Hazel Davidson, QCAL

PowerPoint Presentation

This is literacy and numeracy for community development at its most basic level. What do we do as classroom teachers when suddenly faced with adults who have never been to school before, who can speak only the most rudimentary English, who have a very foggy understanding of our number system and who are already experiencing serious financial entanglements? This presentation will demonstrate the response of two very experienced teachers to this scenario. Participants will be invited to discuss both the problems and the resource produced by the speaker and her colleague, Dorothy Court.

Hazel worked as an ESL teacher for some 30 years, mainly with adults. Her main interests have been with newly arrived students who have had little or no formal education and who therefore struggle with the difficulties of English print literacy and with students from cultures where numbers have very little importance or relevance.

H7 Blended learning model for teaching and learning language programs at Kangan Institute

Maria Juj and Pauline Morrow, Kangan Institute

PowerPoint Presentation

A blended learning strategy is being implemented across Kangan Institute, including across adult literacy and numeracy programs. Implementation has involved initial teacher training, utilising the Learning Management System (LMS), Moodle, designing and developing learning modules, using existing and new digital resources. This study outlines the roll out of blended learning in Language Studies, with the CSWE and the CGEA. The LMS is used to introduce students to course hubs where information, such as handbooks and timetables are accessed. Face to face teaching and learning, combined with the LMS offers multi modal learning opportunities, using video, forums and formative assessment. The LMS is used on campus, off campus and on mobile devices. Key points of the implementation include developing and building teacher capability specifically with digital literacy, adaptation of content to suit an online environment, introducing collaborative online activities to students and overall facilitation of a blended model of teaching and learning.

Maria is Senior Blended Learning Leader at Kangan Institute working primarily in the Community Youth and Health Group and works closely with teaching staff to build capability in blended learning and the increased usage of the LMS (Moodle) to support learners' need for flexibility and engaging learning experiences. Pauline is Assistant Manager VOCEN and teacher of Adult Literacy and Basic Education and the Certificates in General Education for Adults. She initiated the move towards standardized delivery and assessment and currently implementing blended learning for learners of English language and literacy and numeracy.