e-WAALC NEWS August 2006

e-WAALC News is the electronic newsletter of the Western Australian Adult Literacy Council.


The WAALC Excessive Committee prepares and sends e-WAALC News to members each month. We welcome your comments, suggestions, and contributions to the newsletter.


This newsletter is also available in the ‘News’ section of our web site http://www.waalc.com.au


1)      Western Australians receive National literacy award

2)      WAALC Scholarships-           ACAL conference in Adelaide

3)      Highlights from the WAALC conference

4)      CGEA re-accreditation

5)      Funding round for literacy research

6)      Results of 2006 AGM

7)     Issues? Contributions?

8)      Teacher's Talk

9)       ‘Contacts’ update

10)  Unsubscribe?

1. Western Australians receive National literacy award

Congratulations to Carmel Jennings and Felicity Dear who received  2006 Minister’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Improving Literacy and/or Numeracy.  The Minister’s Awards are provided as part of National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) 2006 celebrations.

Carmel Jennings is the coordinator of the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Programme (LLNP) for Centacare Employment and Training, and president of WAALC.

To quote from the DEST website, Carmel received the award because:

"the  substantial impact on improved outcomes in literacy and numeracy is reflected in the high student participation rate in the LLNP, which is well above the national trend. Through her broad knowledge and application of adult literacy, Ms Jennings has been pivotal in reversing established trends within the districts in which she works.

With unflagging enthusiasm she has shown a talent for sharing knowledge and supporting those who are new to the field of adult education. Through active encouragement of new ideas and techniques she has assisted teachers to move beyond a curriculum focused approach to a student focused approach where life circumstances of students are acknowledged and incorporated into learning programmes. She has raised awareness on how adults learn and how to maximise their participation in their own learning."

Felicity Dear, the other recipient from Western Australia, is Principal of Djidi Djidi Aboriginal School in Bunbury. Throughout her career as both a teacher and co-ordinator of Aboriginal Education Ms Dear has worked to enthuse and inspire staff and students in order to achieve the best outcomes for Aboriginal students and close the gap between the educational outcomes of Indigenous and non Indigenous students.

The 2006 Minister’s Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Literacy and Numeracy are provided by the Australian Government, to recognise outstanding contributions made by individuals in the Australian community to improving literacy and/or numeracy in a wide variety of settings – from early childhood through to adult education. Further information is available on http://www.literacyandnumeracy.gov.au/2006/ministers_awards_winners.htm


2. WAALC scholarships

WAALC members are invited to apply for support to attend the 2006 ACAL conference

Literacy - It's Everyone's Business

The ACAL national conference is on in 6-7 October in Adelaide - preceded by a national forum convened by NCVER and Reframing the Future on October 5. There’s a packed conference program - over 30 workshops by practitioners, researchers and administrators, as well as guest speakers including Margaret Somerville, Dave Tout, Louise Wignall, Jill Sanguinetti, Wing-Yin Chan Lee, and the Arch Nelson Address speaker at the annual dinner will be Mr Jeff McMullen.  There will be the opportunity to explore a range of issues with ACAL executive and ACAL members including specialist strands on numeracy, panels on 'making partnerships work' ... and lots more.  The Forum on October 5 offers two sessions: one on training and assessment for adults with low literacy skills, and one called Hand in Glove - developing LLN practices in a Training Package context.

WAALC has a limited amount of funding available for scholarships.  Applications must be received by September 10th.  Successful applicants will be advised on September 15.th. 

See attached flyer for further details and selection criteria.


3. Highlights from he 2006 WAALC conference

The 2006 conference Two way Talk: Learning to listen and listening to learn was on Thursday July 13th The conference was once again held at Central TAFE, who kindly provided the venue free of charge.  This was the first time the state conference had been held during the week and it was timed to take advantage of school holidays.   55 delegates participated in the sessions.  The chief complaint in the evaluation was that delegates missed sessions they wanted to see because other great sessions were on concurrently.  This indicates that the quality of sessions was high. The majority of delegates requested WAALC to return to an annual conference instead of the practice in recent years of holding a conference every second year.

The Digital Voices workshop that ran for most of the morning was so popular that participants organised follow up sessions at Central TAFE in August and September.  None of the participants have yet put pen to paper to share the details but there were reports of people moved to tears!

To illustrate, how presenters developed the themes, here are some brief reports from delegates who participated in particular sessions:

Jim Plumridge gave a practical and highly entertaining session titled Talking the talk : the curse of corporate language and how to lift it. The session helped us to think about how we use language and why.  We went away with tips on how to improve the language that defines our work, and to avoid contributing to the verbal pollution that is so common that we take it for granted.  The session could have benefited from more time to develop ideas about how to increase the application of Plain English in both classrooms and inour institutional lives.                                                                                                     (Report by Cheryl Wiltshire)

Paul Barnes gave an enlightening presentation on the difficulties of working with ESL students within the prison system.  Many of the learners had little or no English, were unfamiliar with the prison system and had no support networks.  He explained how the learning system was a two way system.  He learned that communication can exist in an environment where there is no common language.  He learned to slow his speech, look directly at the students, use repeated two word commands and phrases and used symbolic gestures as he spoke. He adapted student handouts to suit the students.  Different symbols were used  to indicate when students were to “listen”, “speak”, or “read”.

The students had to function within the prison system so Paul concentrated on their participation and assimilation in the prison environment.  This varied from filling in the necessary forms to understanding the various commands and instructions.

In closing, Paul gave three important suggestions when teaching ESL students:

·         Listen to what is being said as opposed to what you think is being said

·         Consider what the needs of the students actually are

·         Adapt your teaching style to meet their needs.                                                                  (Report by Sheila Rod)


4.  How CGEA re-accreditation is being received in Western Australia

Western Australian CGEA teachers are feeling a little shell-shocked after a huge draft curriculum was released on August 4th and it turned out, quite unexpectedly, to be written in training package format.  Worse, the field was given only 17 days to offer feedback.  Many of the proposed changes are actually consistent with ideas that Western Australians have been suggesting since the last accreditation process.  However, the format change makes it very hard to assess their impact and decide whether they are likely to be positive. 

The project team continues to confidently predict a January 2007 implementation even though they are receiving escalating calls through SITNTALK for a more measured approach.  Hopefully, sense will prevail and the time needed for a change of this scale will be negotiated.


5. Funding round for literacy research

NCVER, through the Adult Literacy Research Program funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training, has advertised their 2006 funding round.

NCVER seeks to commission research projects which demonstrate wide-ranging thinking about the teaching and learning of language, literacy and numeracy skills to adults. In particular, projects are sought which will:

·         enhance understanding of the best approaches to language, literacy and numeracy skills development inside and outside classroom environments, with an emphasis on how to create effective and sustainable partnerships in communities

·         identify language, literacy and numeracy client groups and their common or particular needs, with an emphasis on contributing to national agreement about what outcomes from literacy programs can and should be measured and in what ways.

Researchers are also invited to submit proposals for an open category in which we seek forward looking and innovative research ideas that will contribute to improved adult language, literacy and numeracy policy and/or practice.

Information kits, including a template for proposals can be obtained from the NCVER website http://www.ncver.edu.au/newsevents/tenders.html

Closing date for submissions is 5 pm (CST) Wednesday 6 September 2006.


6.  Results of 2006 AGM

The WAALC annual general meeting was conducted as part of an extended lunch hour at the WAALC conference.  All office holders were re-elected unopposed.  Carmel Jennings is president, Cheryl Wiltshire vice president, Jim Plumridge ACAL representative, Robyn Rennie secretary and Helen Grimston treasurer.  In addition, nominations were received for all positions on the executive committee.  Melissa Jones, Lesley Gilmour, Sheila Rod, Diane Marks, Sue McKay, Margaret McHugh, and Paul Barnes. Welcome to our new members Sue and Dianne.

A motion was put to the AGM to increase fees for the first time since WAALC was founded in the eighties.  It was agreed that a more appropriate level of fees was $40.00 per year for ordinary members and $20.00 for volunteers and unwaged.  These fees apply from the date of AGM.


7.  Issues? Contributions?

WAALC seeks to represent all adult educators who deliver adult literacy and numeracy programs in Western Australia.  If there are issues that you think WAALC should take action on, let us know. 

Contributions to this newsletter are very welcome.  Good news, bad news, whatever you think others might want to know, send it in! 


8. Teacher’s Talk

We are seeking articles of about an A4 page on the topic Teacher’s Talk. What we’re looking for are anecdotes about things that work in adult numeracy and adult literacy classrooms: that strategy you use to get students writing freely, or to overcome a block about a type of Maths, or how a particular student achieved a goal.  We would like to include one or two with each issue of e-WAALC News as an attachment.


9. ‘Contacts’ update

Let us know if your address changes through one of the contact methods listed below. 




10. Unsubscribe?

If you don't want to receive this newsletter or wish to suspend it while you are away on leave, please email the WAALC secretary, Robyn Rennie [robyn.rennie@optusnet.com.au].  Back issues will be available on the WAALC website for you to catch up when you return.


e-WAALC News is the monthly electronic newsletter of (WAALC) the Western Australian Adult Literacy Council.


Web:                      www.waalc.com.au

Postal:                  Attention Robyn Rennie

            Unit 3

            641 Wellington Street

            PERTH      WA     6000


E-mail:                 Robyn Rennie  robyn.rennie@optusnet.com.au

Phone :                 08) 9482 7031     (Carmel Jennings WAALC President)

Fax:                       (08) 9322 2448