Friday 21 September 2012


Conference Presentations

Friday 21 September 2012

Scroll down to read information about the last day of the conference as included in the conference programme, and download presentations and other material made available by the speakers.

Keynote Speaker

Bob Boughton, University of New England, NSW

Australian adult literacy practitioners and adult educators more generally have become accustomed to hearing about the loss of our original emancipatory mission over the last forty years as the result of growing worldwide neoliberal hegemony. The problem with this non-dialectical history is that it directs our attention away from the many sites of resistance around the world, and tends to reinforce our own sense of powerlessness. If we look beyond the narrow confines of the so-called advanced industrialised countries, however, we find that popular education in the tradition of Paulo Freire is alive and well in Asia, Latin America and Africa, where emancipatory literacy practices have continued to flourish and grow, and remarkable things have been achieved. In this presentation, Paulo Freire’s visit to Australia in April 1974 will be recalled as a convenient starting point for an alternative, ‘revisionist’ history of the struggle for literacy in Australia and our region. The remainder of the talk traces the link from Timor-Leste’s national adult literacy campaign to a remote western NSW Aboriginal community, which is now conducting the first pilot of the same mass campaign model, utilising the ‘Yes I Can’ method originally developed in Cuba. This application of a ‘South-South’ cooperation model in Aboriginal Australia provides us with an opportunity to consider new forms of cooperation within Australia and our region.

Bob Boughton has worked as a community development worker and adult educator since the 1970s. He is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education at the University of New England in Armidale, NSW, where his research focuses on the role of popular education in development in marginalised and impoverished communities. In 2006, he began working with the Cuban education mission in Timor-Leste on a national adult literacy campaign, which has now taught basic literacy to over 120,000 people using local village-based facilitators. In the last twelve months, he has been coordinating the trial of a similar literacy campaign model in a remote Aboriginal community in NSW.

South-South Cooperation: can it work in Australia? (converted to PDF 3MB file size)
South-South Cooperation: can it work in Australia? (ppt) (30MB file size)
South-South Cooperation: can it work in Australia? (pptx) (63MB file size)

Christine Holland, Work & Education Research & Development Services

E2 Apprentice mentoring and retention of a diverse workforce

This qualitative research, undertaken throughout 2011, aims to contribute to our understanding of how apprentices can best be supported through mentoring, and how mentoring can help indigenous and migrant apprentices in particular to negotiate personal, social, cultural and institutional barriers to success in the trades. Like Australia, New Zealand has a significant workforce of first, second and even third generation ‘migrant‚’ as well as indigenous youth who are over-represented in poor academic achievement and long-term unemployment statistics, or in minimum wage, part time and casual jobs. In a number of trades, few Maori and Pasifika people have been accepted as apprentices in the past and attrition, particularly for Pasifika apprentices, is high. This research focuses on a mentoring initiative for electrical apprentices which provides holistic support with a cultural and community focus.

Dr. Chris Holland is the Director of WERDS and author of a number of publications in workplace language and literacy, migrant inclusion, apprentice learning, mentoring and union learning initiatives. She also works directly with industry training organisations to establish effective workplace communication practices, language and literacy interventions and apprentice mentoring programmes in New Zealand.

Cheryl Wiltshire, Department of Training and Workforce Development

E3 Connecting curriculum to learners’ needs

Accredited courses offer the opportunity to design at the local level to meet local needs. Cheryl illustrates how this has allowed Western Australia to design VET curriculum products that are truly different. She will argue that if we start from what works for learners, then provide what teachers need, the other desired outcomes from education and training naturally follow, such as civic development and economic productivity. The session will explore the current status of national initiatives such as the Foundation Skills Training Package and their potential effects on innovation.

Cheryl Wiltshire works in the curriculum team at the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development. Her work history includes working as a tutor in the Northern Territory, literacy coordinator in a labour market programme in the Kimberley and programme manager for what is now C.Y. O’Connor Institute of Technology, where she supported 13 centres across the Wheatbelt of Western Australia.

Download: E3 Connecting curriculum to learners’ needs

Cathrena McRae, The Learning Workshop

E4 Natural Born Fighters

This presentation outlines an innovative Workplace English Language and Literacy Project that developed an interactive film/multimedia resource to develop the literacy and numeracy skills of Indigenous people in regional and remote Australia wanting to establish a small business. The resource developed a number of specific strategies to meet the literacy, language and numeracy needs of these learners including:

  • A documentary that follows an indigenous man (Brian) as he establishes his boxing/fitness business, Natural Born Fighters
  • The development of a virtual community that uses 3D animation of Brian and his indigenous mentor (Elva) discussing issues indigenous people face when starting a small business
  • Interactive literacy, language and numeracy activities that support the building of the knowledge and skills indigenous people need to establish a small business.

Cathrena McRae is the Director of The Learning Workshop, a private registered training organisation based in Cairns. She has an established career in public and private training sectors across Australia, drawing on a broad spectrum of experience in delivering training, research and resource projects to communities and workplaces. The Learning Workshop has developed particular expertise in delivery of training and resource development projects to indigenous workplaces and communities in regional and remote Queensland.

E4 Natural Born Fighter (presentation)
E4 Natural Born Fighter paper

Sue Howard, LINC Tasmania (Burnie); Helen Ebsworth, LINC Tasmania (Hobart)

E5 My chance, My LINC

Describes LINC Tasmania’s approach to providing second chance learning for clients using library, literacy and community learning services in a planned, integrated way. Outlines the strategic vision that guides practice and outlines LINC Tasmania roles and place in the service provision picture. Using a case study example, explores the nature and types of partnerships and collaborative arrangements which allow for place-based initiatives to be undertaken within the strategic vision. Explores the significant role that volunteers can take in supporting learning, thus building the skills and knowledge of the community to build resilience and sustainability. Provides a challenge for participants to explore their options in creating such chances for their clients.

Sue Howard has worked in all delivery sectors of adult learning for over 30 years with much time spent in Indigenous Australian settings and organisations. She has also worked as a manager in community organisations providing mentoring and support for delivery of accredited qualifications. Her particular interests are in literacy and learning policy and strategic directions. Helen Ebsworth has been an educator for 30 years and has worked in a range of settings and sectors from schools to VET and community education. She is interested in exploring how collaboration works to benefit the community and in providing individuals with increased opportunities. Her current role provides leadership in community learning as a strengthening mechanism for VET and further education and a means to build social inclusion.

Download: E5 My chance my LINC

Christina Murphy, Victoria University; Melanie Fattore, Victoria University

E6 Volunteer Work Program

As part of unit VBQU 118 Conduct a project with guidance, a CSWE11 class at the St Albans campus this year participated in voluntary work in an English-speaking workplace. There are oracy assessments and other tasks related to this programme. The underlying basis for the programme is improving the employability skills of students, which is an integral component of all our ESL courses. It runs for a minimum of two terms and for three hours per week. A group of students have committed to one year at a hospital and are enjoying the placement. For all the students this is their first foray into an Australian workplace. Many students have been in Australia since the 1980s. We have noticed an improvement in confidence and oracy skills. Participants are being continually assessed at regular intervals. Placements were matched to the students. Two students are already interested in specialised courses to enter these employment fields.

Chris Murphy has been teaching for approximately 40 years with some time spent outside the field in complementary positions. She comes from 30 years in the primary sector as a class teacher, Reading Recovery teacher and literacy coordinator. In 2002 she qualified and began teaching in the ESL sector across all age groups. She established the ESL programme across the secondary and primary schools in Mildura. She also coordinated an outpost campus in Werribee for the Western English Language School. For the past 3 years she has been teaching in the adult sector, coordinating a CSWE11 class at Victoria University.
Melanie Fattore began her teaching career at the Koorie Open Door Education School in Glenroy, Victoria. She taught in Osaka, Japan for the Nova Intercultural Institute in 1998. On return to Melbourne she started teaching ESL under the LLNP system for Community West, a not-for-profit organisation servicing the needs of adult learners in the west of Melbourne. Since 2011 she has been at Victoria University and is co-ordinating two ESL Access I courses and team teaching CSWE11.

Download: E6 Volunteer work program

Pauline O’Maley, Victoria University; Lynne Matheson, La Trobe University

F1 Unpacking the puzzle: Integrating Theory and Practice in adult literacy and numeracy teaching

Whether you are an experienced or new practitioner, articulating theories on which you base your practice may need some unpacking or reinvigoration. Through dialogue and exploration of key approaches to teaching and learning, the nexus between theory and practice will be explored in this interactive session. Participants will be invited to consider ways in which to reclaim the territory of theory-based practice that is learner-centric rather than accountability-driven. Based on a Freirean notion of literacy as dialogical (1972), this session has been conceived as a dialogue, a pedagogical conversation. Participants will have the opportunity to talk about working with students in various learning settings and how adult learning principles and learning and teaching theories influence and shape their work.

Pauline O’Maley is a member of the VALBEC committee and has had terms on ACAL as Secretary and Co-president. She currently works at Victoria University as an educational developer as part of the university’s Language, Literacy and Numeracy Strategy, in the Faculty of Arts, Education and Human Development. Lynne Matheson is a member of the VALBEC committee and worked in ACE and TAFE before moving to La Trobe University where she works as a project officer in the Faculty of Health Sciences.

F1 Unpacking the puzzle
F1 Unpacking the puzzle references

Rhonda Pelletier, Chisholm Institute

F2 Networking to bring LLN to employees in small and medium-sized enterprises

SMEs are often not able to cover the cost of training to support their employees’ LLN skills needs. Chisholm Institute conducted a WELL (Workplace English Language and Literacy Program) strategic project to establish a network so that SMEs could access WELL training by collaborating on one WELL training application. This presentation will report on the research, on establishing and maintaining the network, on feedback received from participating companies and the impact on the training organisation hosting the network. What does this kind of provision require of:

  • Language departments?
  • Companies?
  • Employees/learners?

Tools for working with SMEs will be presented for session participants to map their own regions and for feedback on their effectiveness. A debatable point will be raised from the network project: How does this provision of training exhibit good language and adult learning principles? Can anything of worth be provided in this model of work?

Rhonda Pelletier is currently the project officer for Chisholm Institute’s ENTWINED network WELL Strategic Project. She has worked in the Workplace English Language and Literacy programme for most of the last 14 years. Recently, through Fiveways Training Support, Rhonda released ‘Not Your Usual Practice: Education Voices in the Workplace’, a WELL strategic project that captured the experience of WELL practitioners. In recent times Rhonda has also provided professional development in integrating language and literacy in delivery and assessment for vocational trainers and private providers.

Corinna Ridley, Victoria University

F3 Literacy Problem or Deficit Discourse?

This presentation will explore how the concept of literacy is represented in discourse and the ways these distinctions affect our understanding of what is meant by ‘academic literacy’ (Lea & Street 1998). The session will cover: How is the role of literacy represented in discourses of student diversity and success? How are these discourses informing the practices of teachers in the context of widening participation? In Australia, in what ways is the so-called ‘literacy crisis’ a literacy problem or the result of how we define literacy? How does this position adult literacy practices as part of life-long learning? This session will set the scene and invite discussion on the role of practitioners in broadening the thinking about the meaning of literacy.

Corinna Ridley heads the School of Language and Learning at Victoria University. She has had extensive experience managing and teaching ESL and adult literacy programs in both TAFE and HE sectors, in Australia and abroad. Since taking up the role of Head of School she has supported continued growth of learning support services across both sectors of the University and provided support to a range of significant University initiatives including the embedding of academic skill development in curriculum, and the extension of Students Supporting Student Learning Programs. She has recently commenced her doctoral research which will focus on diversity and disadvantage in widening university participation. Corinna continues to teach on an occasional basis, through lecturing in the Masters of TESOL in Vietnam for VU and most recently lecturing in the Graduate Certificate in Tertiary Education.

Download: F3 Literacy problem or deficit discourse

Melissa Iocco, LINC Tasmania / Tasmania Prison Service; Norman Alexander, Community Corrections (South); Wendy Stothers, Tasmanian Polytechnic

F4 Corrections and Literacy in Tasmania: An Essential Piece of the Puzzle

This presentation will address the conference themes of connecting, cooperating and creating in the field of adult literacy and corrections in Tasmania. The link between low literacy levels and involvement in the criminal justice system has been long established, as has the link between lowering recidivism by raising literacy levels. The need to improve literacy levels of offenders has been recognised at the State Government strategic policy level with the Department of Education’s Tasmanian Adult Literacy Action Plan 2010-2015 and the Department of Justice’s Breaking the Cycle: A Strategic Plan for Tasmanian Corrections 2011-2020, which both emphasise that efforts to raise literacy levels of offenders need to be coordinated, well resourced and have a long-term vision. The presentations will address the recent implementation of LINC Tasmania’s volunteer tutor program in Risdon Prison and Community Corrections (South), and the existing efforts of the Polytechnic in raising literacy of offenders in Risdon Prison.

Melissa Iocco is a Literacy Coordinator at Risdon Prison. She has a background in university teaching and coordination, adolescent and adult community education and social policy and research. Norman Alexander is a Literacy Coordinator-Justice, working in the Office of Community Corrections (South). He has a background in Community Corrections, counselling and education. Wendy Stothers works in the Literacy and Numeracy team at the Tasmanian Polytechnic. She has taught in various settings for 20 years including two years at Risdon Prison in various locations within the complex.

Angela Holmes, Department of Health and Human Services; Belinda Fenney-Walch, Department of Health and Human Services

F5 Working together to improve communication and health literacy

The ability to access and use health information is a fundamental skill which allows people to make informed decisions about their health and wellbeing. Improving health literacy – and the way health professionals communicate – may help improve the efficiency of health services and prevent illness and injuries. Research by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2006 showed that 59% of Australian adults did not have what was considered adequate health literacy skills. In this presentation and through participant activities we will explore:

  • the impact health literacy skills have on individuals and services
  • the relationship between health literacy and basic literacy skills
  • opportunities for collaboration between the health literacy and adult literacy sectors
  • projects underway to improve health communication with specific population groups
  • work underway between the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Education to address health literacy issues

Angela Holmes, Belinda Fenney-Walch and Tracey Wing work in Population Health, within the Tasmanian Government’s Department of Health and Human Services. Angela coordinates implementation of the Communication and Health Literacy Action Plan and supports work in consumer engagement, health promotion and chronic disease self-management. Belinda has a Bachelor of Arts degree and has worked as a Registered Nurse and in many health policy roles. Since 2000, Belinda has specialised in health communications. Tracey works with the Population Health Equity Unit to address health inequities – the avoidable and unfair experiences and circumstances that compromise the health and wellbeing of Tasmanians.

Download: F5 Working together to improve health literacy

Borka Buseska, National Director of the LLNP, DIISRTE and Ingrid Cucchi, Director, Policy and Planning Section in the Work Job Services Australia Group

F6 Linking the pieces that lead to employment

Promoting the benefits of increased linkages between Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program Providers (LLNP) and Job Services Australia (JSA) providers and the benefits to youth/early school leavers in particular. If you are interested in knowing what strategies are effective for working with early school leavers, you won’t want to miss this presentation. This presentation will outline the findings of a recent joint project between the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) and Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR) involving the development of innovative strategies to engage early school leavers so that they can go on to further education or training, and employment. The presentation will run through:

  • a summary of the pilot and its findings
  • the key messages and lessons learnt from both the LLNP provider and also the JSA provider
  • how you can replicate the success of the pilot within your organisation

Borka Buseska is the National Director of the LLNP. Borka has been the National Director for over three years and she brings with her 29 years of experience in the public sector. Borka has worked in various Departments including the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Australian Bureau of Statistics. During this time she worked with job seekers as well as employers. She describes herself as a solution broker and her motto is ‘for every problem there is a solution’.

Ingrid Cucchi is Director, Policy and Planning Section in the Work Experience & Programs Branch in the Job Services Australia Group in DEEWR and has over 30 years private and public sector experience. She has worked in a variety of industries in recruitment, sales & marketing, management, government policy development and project management. Most recently Ingrid has been responsible for the implementation of two Building Australia’s Future Workforce measures including providing extra funding for JSA providers to help early school leavers to improve their literacy and build their skills for further education and employment.

Download: F6 Linking the pieces that lead to employment

Isabel Osuna-Gatty, Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council

G1 Literacy is everyone’s business: Paolo Freire and literacy programs in Latin America

Paulo Freire proposed a new pedagogy which highlights an active relationship between teacher, student, and society. In 1962, this Brazilian educator had the first opportunity to apply his theories, when 300 sugarcane workers were taught to read and write in just 45 days. According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics, Latin America has a literacy rate between 90 to 100%. This presentation will showcase a series of literacy programmes across Latin America, and how these programs have increased the literacy rate of this region to 7% since 1990, already close to universal literacy.

As a member of the Workforce Development Team and as the Workforce English Language and Literacy (WELL) Broker for the Community Services Industry Skills Council, Isabel builds partnerships with a variety of stakeholders to deliver government programmes and industry initiatives. Isabel has 12 years of project management experience working in the Community Services and Health sectors and 20 years of experience as an educator teaching English Language, Literacy and Numeracy to adults and teaching English as a Second Language at universities and community colleges.

Ann Kelly, Griffith University

G2 Workplace literacy and numeracy: Meeting the needs of employers and workers

In a recent study of workplace literacy and numeracy, the Australian Industry Group (February 2012) implemented a number of language and literacy trials of provision across three States of Australia. Major findings were that a diversity of training approaches are needed. This issue is the focus of this presentation. Researchers at Griffith University are currently engaged in an NCVER study to identify how workers prefer to learn at work. Preliminary findings from Phase 1 of the study are that a) practice-based experiences with direct guidance through shadowing, mentoring, etc., b) practice-based experiences with educational interventions (e.g. action learning, action research, project work) and c) opportunity-based experiences are the preferred modes of learning of this cohort. These findings and those from Phase 2, involving about 100 workers in all, will be elaborated in this session and implications will be drawn for how workplace L&N programs, in addition to the current WELL programs, might be conceptualised.

Dr Ann Kelly has been an adult literacy teacher, lecturer, curriculum and resource developer and researcher for over thirty years. She is currently involved with colleagues at Griffith University in a major research study that is evaluating the alignment between the existing approaches to continuing education provisions within the Australian tertiary education and training system and the current and emerging workplace, workforce and worker requirements. This project offers the opportunity to systematically appraise how these provisions might be best ordered, organised and enacted in both education and workplace settings.

Amanda Homewood, Swinburne University of Technology (TAFE Division)

G3 Warming to Global Issues: Embedding Education for Sustainability in a Language, Literacy and Numeracy Class

This workshop reports on the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of an Education for Sustainability (EfS) teaching and learning program delivered at Swinburne TAFE (Croydon Campus, Melbourne). The program:

  • focuses on activities incorporating EfS principles
  • encourages the possibility of positive action, rather than dwelling on gloomy environmental forecasts
  • incorporates the ‘triple bottom line’ of sustainability–that is, included themes connected with economic, social and environmental factors.

Firstly, a definition and context of EfS will be considered. Particular reference is made to the VET sector, especially The National VET Sector Sustainability Action Plan 2009-2012: Living Sustainably and The Green Skills Agreement 2009 (COAG). Ten EfS activities are presented which are suitable to use with a CSWE III class, or an intermediate level CGEA class. These have also been aligned with the ACSF. Emphasis will be on the practical application of activities for the classroom; discussion will be encouraged.

Mandy has spent more than 20 years teaching English to migrant, refugee and literacy students. Over the past 6 years she had coordinated the LLNP at Croydon Campus, Swinburne. Mandy has a Master of Education Degree (TESOL) and recently graduated in the Vocational Graduate Certificate in Education and Training for Sustainability. This was Australia’s first accredited course in Education and Training for Sustainability (ETfS) at the Vocational Graduate Certificate level. ETfS is now recognised internationally as the educational and pedagogical platform for teaching in sustainability.

Download: G3 Warming to global issues

Jenni Anderson, Patricia Lucas and Charles Muggeridge, Mission Australia

G5 Learnings from 10 years of LLNP

Mission Australia has delivered the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) in Tasmania for 10 years. This workshop will discuss: Which clients are referred and how does this impact on LLNP delivery? Which clients are not referred and how does this impact on LLNP delivery? Which clients are retained and why? Which clients are difficult to retain? What strategies have worked to retain learners? What are some of the barriers that impact on learning? What have been effective ways to overcome those barriers? What facets of the programme have been difficult to deliver? What strategies have assisted in effective delivery? What have we learnt about recruitment for LLNP? What are the key learnings over the last 10 years that could improve LLNP in the future?

Jenni Anderson worked in LLNP from 2002 to 2010 as a teacher, team leader and Service Manager of LLNP across Tasmania. In 2009 she also worked training LLNP staff commencing new services in Western Australia, South Australia and New South Wales. Previously she had worked in other labour market programmes, and community and workplace adult literacy programmes. She is currently working in community services more broadly.

Download: G5 Learnings from 10 years of LLNP

Lesley Evans, WEA Illawarra

G6 Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) workshop

In this workshop Lesley will discuss why trainers and assessors need to know about the Australian Core Skills Framework (ACSF) and she will give a brief introduction to the use of the document. There will be opportunity for questions. Information on free full day ACSF workshops around Australia is available at

Lesley Evans is the Equity Education Manager at WEA Illawarra and has been working in Adult Language Literacy and Numeracy and Vocational Programs for over 20 years. In June 2011 the WEA was contracted by DIISRTE to develop and deliver a total of 60 face-to-face ACSF workshops in capital cities and some major regional towns around Australia. An ACSF online training program has also been developed and is available for remote rural participants. Lesley is managing this contract and is one of a team of presenters who are presenting the workshops. The workshops are available until June 2013 and information about them can be accessed at

Lesley has a Master of Education Degree (TESOL) and has developed her expertise in the National Reporting System and subsequently the Australian Core Skills Framework primarily through managing Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) and Workplace English Language and Literacy (WELL) contracts. She has been facilitating professional development training for teachers, trainers and assessors for over a 15-year period.

Download: G6 ACSF Workshop

Lorraine Sushames, Charles Darwin University; Wendy Kennedy, Charles Darwin University

H1 Cohesion or chaos?

This presentation will attempt to unpack segments of the Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) puzzle, as these relate to practice in the Northern Territory. It will explore the opportunities and constraints involved in attempting to fully assemble the pieces and consider what might ultimately cement them together. Factors such as policy drivers and the LLN requirements of the workplace versus employee capacity will be considered. Questions of measurement – i.e. if testing can provide an accurate reflection of someone’s ability to learn new skills and the capability of LLN providers to deliver what is really required to make a difference for learners in remote communities over the longer term will be explored.

Lorraine and Wendy have worked together extensively. Lorraine has developed and delivered a range of projects designed to strengthen the capacity of individuals to participate more effectively in society and the workforce. Her research interests reflect these activities, focusing on the role of English literacy in indigenous economic and educational advancement and in capacity-building in Timor Leste. Wendy began her teaching career in the remote Arnhem Land community of Gunbalanya. She has over 30 years’ teaching experience, the last 20 of which have been in Adult General Education. Wendy has considerable experience in indigenous education and in writing training packages/accredited courses to suit specific contexts.

Download: H1 Cohesion or chaos with notes

Stephen Neale, 2 Black Dogs Pty, Project Manager – Tourism & Hospitality Literacy & Numeracy Nodes Project, Dept of Education and Training NT; Elke Watson, Blackpixel Pty Ltd

H2 Taking the heat off LLN problems: preparing learners for Tourism and Hospitality

The need to train existing and potential workers with appropriate LLN skills is a national priority, affecting many industries. There is a growing need to assist learners by supplying contextualised programmes that are purposeful for their learning and use real-life application. The NODES project, a national initiative using the latest technology, will be available as open courseware nationally. Following the implementation of the online Fliplets project – a schools initiative to teach underpinning industry knowledge to students at a prevocational stage – the NODES project is designed as a support tool for learners. To maximise effectiveness, a multidisciplinary team worked together to extrapolate the LLN requirements in line with the training package. Content matter expertise, literacy teachings, and instructional design methodologies come together to create holistically clustered topics that are structured consistently to assist learning, adhering to adult learning principles. With a projected launch for the end of this year, this presentation seeks to showcase what has been done so far and the technology used, and to stimulate discussion.

Stephen Neale is an educator who has been working in vocational education for 12 years and is an advocate for the use of new technologies in educational delivery. For the past 3 years he has been working for the Northern Territory government managing various projects that develop resources aimed at students from remote communities or with learning challenges who study tourism and hospitality.

Elke Watson is an Instructional Designer with 9 years experience in e-learning. She has worked in e-learning design capacities in a number of industries, including not-for-profit and vocational and higher education publishing sectors, working with content matter experts to create online content. In the most recent three years she has shifted her focus on designing course material with a literacy and numeracy focus for prevocational and vocational students.


H2 Taking the heat off LLN problems preparing the learners for tourism and hospitality presentation

H2 My Knife movie (mp4)

H2 Portion Control movie (mp4)

H2 Show me example movie (mp4)

Jan Hagston, Multifangled

H3 Practical worlds of learning: applied learning as a framework for literacy resources

For the last three years, Jan has worked with teachers in youth programs, supporting them to implement applied learning and suggesting and developing activities that fit with an applied learning approach. At the same time she has been grappling with questions such as: What really is applied learning? If you start from the practical activity, how do you ensure the learners gain an understanding of the concepts and theoretical underpinnings? How do you ensure they have the skills that underpin the activity? This year she set herself the challenge of developing learning materials that start from a practical activity and incorporate theoretical understanding and help learners to read both the word and the world. Participants will have the chance to use the resources and decide for themselves if Jan has met the challenge she set.

Jan Hagston is Director of Multifangled P/L, an education and training consultancy specialising in adult and youth education. Since 2002, Jan has been closely involved in applied learning programs for young people and from 2008 to the end of 2011 she worked as the Executive Officer for the Victorian Applied Learning Association (VALA), the peak professional organisation for applied learning educators, conducting professional development for teachers of VCAL and other applied learning programs, and managing and contributing to projects that have developed applied learning resources. Jan taught in secondary schools before working in the VET sector where she has had broad experience in curriculum and materials development, professional development, and research. She has worked across education sectors – schools, TAFE institutes, adult community education providers, universities, and in workplace programs.

Download: H3 Practical worlds of learning applied learning as a framework for literacy resources

Janet McHardy, LabTech Training Ltd

H5 A social action approach to training laboratory technicians in one laboratory in Perth: literacy educator and vocational trainer working together

Teaching from a social action approach takes account of the participants’ everyday practices to make new learning meaningful. This workshop will describe the ‘Get it Right’ programme developed by LabTech Training (a Perth-based National RTO) as a ‘whole department’ approach for a laboratory servicing the mining and exploration industries in Western Australia. The presentation describes key factors in the success of this programme:

  • the enthusiastic cooperation and involvement of all stakeholders: literacy and VET educators, RTO, laboratory managers, supervisors and programme participants.
  • the programme structure. Contrary to usual practice, the literacy educator has taken the lead in developing the programme.
  • true contextualisation. VET trainers have taken time to work alongside laboratory staff for whole shifts so all programme content starts from what is done in that lab.
  • literacy educator and VET trainer take an equal role in delivering the creative, interactive programme and have an everyday presence both in the training room and on the ‘floor’.

Janet has had wide experience as an adult literacy practitioner in tertiary settings and the workplace. Before coming to live in Perth in January 2011, she was a literacy facilitator at the University of Waikato National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults where she was part of a term delivering professional development to tertiary educators throughout NZ. Since coming to Perth she has worked part-time in tertiary settings and the workplace, as a CAVSS tutor. Her area of particular interest is reading difficulties and she is currently doing postgraduate study in this field at the University of Western Australia.

Download: H5 Social action approach to training lab technician

Dave Tout, Australian Council for Educational Research

H6 Some reflections on teaching and learning from numeracy and mathematical literacy assessments

What does research about the mathematical knowledge of adults and young people tell us about the teaching and learning of adult numeracy? Based on the frameworks, item development and the results of adult and young people’s performance in a number of international, national and state based numeracy and mathematical literacy assessments, this presentation will highlight a number of issues and lessons to be learnt relating to the teaching and learning of numeracy. The assessment frameworks and results to be used as the basis for the presentation include the international Adult Literacy and Lifeskills Survey (ALLS); the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), and national and state based assessments such as the New Zealand Adult Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Tool.

Dave has over 30 years’ experience working in the youth and adult numeracy and mathematics education sectors. 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. Dave is particularly renowned for his hands-on workshops, which not only make maths fun, but also demonstrate how a range of maths issues and topics can be addressed. Dave joined ACER in 2008, where he is a Senior Research Fellow, and has worked on national and international assessment projects including PISA and PIAAC.

Keynote Speaker

Pat Strauss, Associate Professor, Auckland University of Technology

Adult Literacy Practitioners – making our voices heard

The fourth strand of the conference addresses the area of creativity, and asks us to look to the future of the adult literacy sector, and find creative ways to move forward. Before we consider this future, this is an opportune moment to take stock of the present, and, in particular, ask ourselves what we understand by the term ‘adult literacy’ and who we view as adult literacy educators. There appears to be an almost unquestioning emphasis in much of the world on the functional vocational approach “resulting in a discourse of literacy as a technical skill and vocational competence” (Tett and St Clair 2011). This of course goes hand in hand with the view that links literacy to economic prosperity. In industrialised countries adult literacy learners are often viewed as those who have not succeeded in conventional education – the second chance learners. Yet I would argue that this is a narrow view and that adult literacy should be viewed as a continuum, that learners engaged in preliteracy/vocational entry classes have much in common with those at the other end of the scale, those struggling with academic literacy demands at postgraduate level, and that their tutors also have much in common. After all, as Freebody and Lo Bianco (1997) point out, effective tuition aims to equip students to actively interpret the meanings of texts and critically analyse and transform them.

At the moment a colleague and I are engaged in research into Foundation Studies programmes in New Zealand. These programmes are aimed at giving learners “the requisite academic skills that will enable them to enrol in other tertiary programmes to which they would otherwise not have been able to gain entry” (Benseman and Russ 2003). At the same time I am talking to those tasked with helping students at postgraduate level with their literacy. Both sets of tutors are a dedicated, enthusiastic and caring group of people, passionate about what they do and eager to do better. Many, however, in New Zealand at least, are marginalised by their institutions, battle for adequate resources and live under constant threat of review and possible redundancy. They too, are outside the “processes of consultation and decision–making so that policy simply ‘arrives’ without explanation” (Hamilton, 2012).

The obvious question is why bother – why should tutors of disparate groups come together? The answer quite simply is that we share so many of the same challenges that we can support and learn from each other. More importantly though is the fact that there is strength in unity. Literacy practitioners at all levels find it difficult to make their voices heard. In this presentation I would like to explore ways in which we, as literacy practitioners, can overcome the silencing of our voices, so that our understanding of student needs and challenges, and our expertise in meeting these needs gains the recognition and support it deserves.

Pat Strauss is the co- programme leader of the Masters of Literacy and Numeracy Education at AUT University in New Zealand. She has been involved in teaching various literacies to students from foundation level to those enrolled on postgraduate programmes. She is particularly interested in the institutional positioning of literacy practitioners working at all levels in further and higher education, and the way in which this positioning impacts on their practice.

Download: Making our voices heard