e-WAALC NEWS November 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)      Celebrate the end of another year

2)      Reports from the ACAL conference: Literacy:  it's everyone's business

3)      Planning for the WAALC conference 2007

4)      CGEA re-accreditation

5)      Congratulations Read Write Now!

6)      New members?

7)      ‘Contacts’ update

8)      Unsubscribe?

1.  Celebrate the end of another year

WAALC members and friends are invited to join the executive committee for dinner at Basil Leaves restaurant in East Perth at 7.00 pm on Thursday 14 December 2006.

Basil Leaves offers reasonably priced Thai food in a peaceful location by the stream that runs into Claisebrook Cove.  It is BYO so bring your favourite alcoholic drink.  Address: 82 Royal Street East Perth.

The executive will be holding their December meeting in the cafe area on the ground floor of e-Central TAFE prior to the dinner (140 Royal Street).  Members and their guests are welcome to attend.  The meeting will  start at 5.30 pm.

RSVP to Cheryl Wiltshire on cheryl.wiltshire.det.wa.edu.au or 0437972043 by December 10th.


2. Reports from the ACAL conference

WAALC assisted a number of members to attend the 2006 ACAL Conference  ‘Literacy it’s everyone’s business’.  The conference this year was in Adelaide in October. All four of the delegates reporting below were attending their very first ACAL conference.  Here are a few snippets of their impressions.

Jim Plumridge attended the conference as the Western Australian state representative on the ACAL executive committee.  He reports: "Most speakers seemed to believe that literacy is for and about business and nothing else. In the first panel discussion, the Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (ALLS) was described as having been carried out from ‘a human capital perspective’.  That was the prelude to much earnest discussion, on both days of the conference, on the relation of literacy and numeracy to labour market outcomes.  Very little was said about reasons for becoming literate that were unconnected with getting a job.

One or two speakers challenged the prevailing orthodoxy, reflecting the policies of all Australian governments, that education and training must be driven overwhelmingly by economic imperatives and that ‘measurement’ is the key to a happier future for all.  One speaker warned that ‘literacy is being reframed as employability.’  Elizabeth McInnes spoke eloquently on regressive changes to the social security system impacting on VET, while Janet Giles from the SA union movement gave an electrifying account of how Commonwealth government policies such as Workchoices and Welfare to Work have the potential to disrupt Australian lives."

Sue McKay was  another delegate. Sue became a member of the WAALC executive in July and is a volunteer coordinator Read Write Now! Adult literacy program.  She reports: "The workshop ‘Connecting Voices’ presenter Robyn Jay, gave an overview of ‘social software' such as ‘blogs’ ‘wikis’ and group bookmarking.  These free web based tools enable people to connect and to form online communities.  One on one tutoring can be isolating so I will be exploring these tools as methods of networking between tutors and new learning experiences for students. (For further information on ‘social software’ visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_software)

The Volunteer Literacy Tutor Support Project (VOLTS) gave a preview of the ‘Literacy Face to Face’ a resource to assist volunteer tutors and others who want to help someone improve their literacy. ‘Literacy Face to Face’ will be online at www.lg.tafensw.edu.au/facetoface from mid November and will augment the training materials and resources currently available to volunteer tutors in Western Australia and other states.  It will also be available as a hard copy in book and CD form.

Darryl Dymock’s summary of findings from the NCVER Research Project on Community Adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy Provision in Australia, gave an insight of literacy practice among non accredited programs in other states. Students in such programs do not always have pathways or measurable outcomes in human capital however the social capital is significant. To remain a relevant force we need to continually ensure that student assessment, monitoring, tutor and coordinator training is of a high quality. "

A third WA delegate to the conference, Deborah Duffy, is a long term WAALC member.  Deb reports:  "As a literacy teacher in a metropolitan TAFE, I found the “big picture” information presented in regard to government policies and their impact on both literacy and numeracy providers and learners to be enlightening, relevant and thought provoking. Listening to Janet Giles (SA Unions), Elspeth McInnes (sociologist and Convenor of the National Council of Single Mothers and their Children) and Jill Sanguinetti (Victoria University) share their thoughts on the impact of current government policies, such as the new Industrial Relations laws and the Welfare to Work scheme, certainly reinforced for us the vulnerability of many of our learners and others with low literacy and language skills.

On a related theme, Stephen Black and Ian Falk’s session on their NCVER research, Reframing adult literacy and numeracy course outcomes: A social capital perspective, provided a sense of validation for those of us who continually see the qualitative benefits in terms of social capital made by students in our literacy programs (and a useful support for those of us constantly under pressure to justify our Module Load Completion Rates to our managers!).  This research paper is really interesting to read and can be downloaded in its entirety or as an executive summary from the NCVER website at http://www.ncver.edu.au/publications/1683.html"

Robyn Rennie, WAALC secretary, XXXXX


3. Planning for the WAALC conference 2007

Due to demand from delegates at this year's WAALC conference, we have decided to revert to annual state conferences, instead of holding it once in two years as has been recent practice.  The executive have decided to hold the conference in the July school holidays again: so put July 12 2007 in your diaries now!

Planning is under way.  If you have ideas about the theme or activities that be linked to the conference, please contact any of the executive members to discuss.   Volunteers to help out with conference organisation are also needed.  Let us know if you would like to be involved.

Watch out for more news in the coming issues of e-WAALC News!


4. CGEA reaccreditation

The extension of the current CGEA accreditation to 31 December 2007 was a relief to everyone concerned. CGEA teachers are now waiting to hear what the new CGEA courses will finally include.  The second two week consultation period closed at the end of September.  The most recent report on progress from the project team  is in a Powerpoint presented to the ACAL conference on October 6.  See SITNTALK under resources.

The VALBEC site contains a report on the process from September.  It states: "VALBEC considers that the processes of the re-accreditation have been problematic for the level of change to the CGEA accredited course. We consider that practitioner feedback and involvement is critical for the successful implementation of the new course and that professional development following the endorsement of the document cannot replace input and critical review by practicing teachers in the field, during the development stage.'  See http://www.valbec.org.au/ for the full report.

WAALC supports VALBEC's position that needs to be more attention paid to concerns raised by practitioners.  Due to the level of change imposed on the curriculum by the use of Training Package format, most Western Australian practitioners are advocating further development with a much higher input from users.  The project team have intimated that the basis of the concerns are a simply lack of knowledge of Training Package format.  Their stated position is that professional development at implementation stage will resolve the issues.  WAALC does not believe this is the source of the problem as so many CGEA teachers have completed Certificate IV TAA or its predecessors.  Many even teach courses written in Units of Competence.  These practitioners, arguably well-informed, are clearly able to identify problems with the curriculum document that are far beyond the difficulties of understanding the new, complex format.


5. Congratulations Read Write Now!

WAALC would like to congratulate all involved in the Read Write Now! program.  Read Write Now! is celebrating 30 years of providing literacy assistance to West Australians.  The program provides a valuable alternative community-based service to those who may not attend adult education classes at present.  Since it started in 1977, 4500 volunteer tutors have been trained.  The tutors have worked with about 20000 students.  

Wishing past and present Read Write Now! students, tutors and all who support them all the best as they mark this anniversary over the coming year.


6. New members?

Who do you know that should be a WAALC  member?  You are welcome to forward this newsletter to colleagues who you think should be a member of WAALC.  Or perhaps invite a prospective members to attend events like our end of year dinner to meet other members.

Membership forms are available at www.waalc.com.au


7. ‘Contacts’ update

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


8. 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

                Level 3, 641 Wellington Street

                PERTH    WA   6000


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

Phone :                 08) 9482 7003     (Carmel Jennings WAALC President)

Fax:                       (08) 9322 2448