ALaN WA Online Newsletter No1 December 2011

Welcome to the first edition of the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network of Western Australia Newsletter!

Views expressed by contributors to the newsletter are their own and unless expressly stated do not reflect the opinions of their employers/organisations.

This contents page links individually to each article enabling you to go immediately to those of your choice. Alternatively if you go to the main blog link you can access the articles by scrolling down the page.

We welcome your comments and contributions to our newsletter. If you are an Adult Literacy/Numeracy practitioner in Western Australia or indeed anywhere in the world we invite you to subscibe and comment. If you interested in joining the GoogleGroup of network please visit our “How to join” page and complete the online form.

1. Editorial/Introduction

2. The ALaN Network – GoogleGroup and GoogleDocs

An ALaN Network facilitator introduces the core networking tools used by the Network

3. WAALC 25 years on.

Members of the Western Australian Adult Literacy Council celebrate the 25th anniversary of WAALC

4. A week in the life of a Kimberley lecturer

We hear about an eventful week for a lecturer in the Northwest

5. Free Downloadable Resource

An extended wordsearch activity

6. CGEA numeracy units – being reviewed

Keep up with the review process

7. Certificate 1 in Entry to General Education moderation

The Certificate 1 in Entry to General Education (EGE) moderation arrangements for 2012







Thanks to the work of the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network (ALaN Network ), it is my pleasure to launch the first issue of the ALaN WA Edublog. Thank you to all contributors and especially to Jo Hart and Dani Murray for your additional work in the background.

The ALaN WA Edublog follows in the footsteps of a number of publications that have provided a source of news to adult literacy and numeracy practitioners in the west, with the support of  the WA Department of Training and Workforce Development. The most recent of these was The Circular which was replaced by the generic Training Matters in 2008. However, Training Matters can’t provide the detailed level of information that target our particular needs, so this Edublog will fill a gap.  We have tried to keep up to date using our discussion board on the CGEA Network Google Group but it doesn’t quite fill the bill.

The ALaN WA Edublog  is exciting in that we avoid all the delays and costs of printing and mailing in a print format. We hope to be able publish more regularly than the 3 or 4 per year that The Circular managed.

I commend the ALaN WA Edublog to you.  Make it your own.  If something is missing, please suggest it or even better write it for us.

I wish you all a relaxing holiday and look forward to working with you in the new year.

Cheryl Wiltshire

ALaN Network Coordinator




ALaN Network Google Group and Google Docs

Other ALaN Network  services

The ALaN WA Edublog is the public face of the ALaN Network in Western Australia – available to everyone on the net.  Our other services require you to be have a Google account and an invitation to be a member of our group. Membership is free and we encourage everyone who teaches adult literacy and numeracy in Western Australia to join.  People from other locations can apply to join as a guest.

If you aren’t already a member, see below.

CGEA Network – Google Group

The Certificates of General Education for Adults (CGEA) is one of the most used courses for adults and adolescents developing their literacy and numeracy skills in Australia.  The course was implemented in WA in 1994 and there has been a network to support teachers right from the start, known as the CGEA Network.

Since 2007,  the CGEA Network Google Group has been our key method of collaboration.  The Google Group offers a discussion board where members of the CGEA Network can post questions (e.g. relating to the curriculum, to moderation of anything to do with Adult Literacy and Numeracy) or comments. All members can add to the discussions or give their opinions on questions raised.  This year for the first time, we have some funding for  ALaN Facilitators to encourage participation in our online activities.

Messages are saved according to the date of the message, but if you are looking for information on a particular topic (e.g. accreditation), you can type this into the search box and all messages regarding accreditation will be displayed.

All members can access the membership list to see if there are any other teachers in their area and can email them directly if they wish to.

All members can invite new members, or you can ask an ALaN facilitator to help you with it.

CGEA Network Files – Google Docs

Your membership of the CGEA Network Google Group also provides access to some collections of files saved in Google Documents.  Files that were created in the first three years of the Google group have been moved here to a collection called 2008-2010 files. ALaN Model Activities contains a colelction of moderated atsks

Current files are being loaded to the 2011 CGEA Network Files. This contains individual folders (collections) for

  • Resource Ideas (contains lists of useful websites and resources developed and shared by CGEA teachers. We are encouraging teachers to use the VBQU number in the title to make it easier to identify units.
  • Professional Development (details of forthcoming PD and files from events)
  • Moderation
  • Teaching and Assessment Tools
  • Integrated Resources

All members can access these files and can download and upload documents.  If you save files in Google format, joint editing online is possible. The files are copyright free but we encourage you to upload new versions you create so others can benefit.

In 2011, no moderation samples were shared among members, but we hope that in 2012 moderation samples will start to be uploaded and that members can share more issues form their internal organisational moderation activities.  We also have access to webconferencing via BlackboardCollaborate (Elluminate Live!) to resolve  issues or to bring together people who are isolated.

Problem Solving

If anyone is having any issues joining or accessing the Google Group, they can contact any of the ALaN facilitators, who will help them.

Some members have experienced problems with uploading documents. Sometimes this results from using Internet Explorer.  If you are having problems, first try using a different browser (e.g. Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).  If this doesn’t help, ask for help in the CGEA Network Google Group.

If you would like to become a member of the Google Group then please complete and submit the form on the How to Join the GoogleGroup page

WAALC 25 years on

Members of the Western Australian Adult Literacy Council (WAALC) celebrated a milestone last Saturday.  We marked 25 years as an incorporated body by gathering for a BBQ at the Lower Chittering Volunteer Fire Brigade shed.  One of our lifetime members, Theo Bekkers, is a volunteer fire fighter in his local brigade.  Theo and his colleagues invited us to hold our celebration in their fire shed where they introduced us to the firefighting equipment and shared their experiences of fighting major fires, including the recent one in Margaret River.

WAALC committee with 25th anniversary cake.The shed provided an ideal spot for eating, socializing and the formalities of the afternoon. WAALC Committee members provided the nibbles and dips, salads and sweets and the fire fighters brought meat for the BBQ.

The event was marked by a general meeting which conferred lifetime membership of WAALC on the following people in recognition of services to WAALC:

  • Erica Daymond
  • Carmel Jennings
  • Margaret McHugh
  • Stephanie Mitchell
  • Robyn Rennie
  • Jo Taylor
  • Jim Thompson
  • Cheryl Wiltshire

We also launched a video describing what WAALC means to members; this will be available soon on the WAALC websitePhotos of past events combined with video footage of our most recent conference means that literacy workers past and present are included.

A chance to learn more about the equipment used by volunteer fire fighters.

The highlight of the afternoon was the chance to learn more about the equipment, language and processes that the volunteer fire fighters use to respond to bushfires. It was impressive to see what the fire fighters are willing to offer on an entirely voluntary basis: large amounts of time committed to training and preparation and instant response in the case of a fire emergency.  The fact that their work is potentially dangerous highlights their contribution. It makes our efforts in organising a national conference once in a while seem a little tame in comparison!

An added bonus for the teachers amongst us were the free resources to use in class this summer.

As an association operated entirely by volunteers WAALC can learn much from other volunteer organisations. The Lower Chittering Fire Brigade offers a great model of how volunteers are recruited and supported (they have 40 active members drawn from a very small community).  What both sets of volunteers shared was an enthusiasm for their different fields of activity: firefighters talk non-stop about ‘putting the wet stuff on the red stuff’ just as literacy folk talk never stop talking about literacy!

The event has made me reflect more deeply on our role as an association. We are often so caught up in the legal requirements of maintaining an incorporated body that we lose focus on our purpose and our achievements. I think our raison d’être is well described in Beverley Campbell’s Reading the Fine Print: A History of the Victorian Adult Literacy and Basic Education Council (VALBEC) 1978-2008 where she offered this description of our Victorian counterpart:

“VALBEC is a forum where teachers learn to read and interrogate the professional texts which shape their subjectivity and where they learn to read themselves and others as adult literacy and basic education practitioners. Through participation in professional activities, teachers are apprenticed into the culture of adult literacy and basic education. Their sense of professional identify is formed.

A professional organisation is where personal professional confidence is nurtured. VALBEC has provided a context where teachers can develop the confidence to articulate what they believe, by writing articles for publication or in running workshops at conferences. Teachers join professional organisations for different reasons: some want only support, others are willing to take on more up-front leadership roles. Those who do take on these challenges find that they learn new skills they were unaware they possessed.” (2009, p262)”

A sincere thankyou to our hosts from the Lower Chittering Fire Brigade for providing us with such an interesting and enjoyable way to celebrate our 25th year.

Cheryl Wiltshire, WAALC secretary

Issue 1 – Free downloadable resource – a wordsearch activity


It falls to me (JoHart – one of the current ALaN facilitators) to “kick off” our “Free downloadable resource” feature that we hope will become a regular part of the ALaN Newsletter. The intention is to share a small downloadable resource in each issue.

We invite YOU to contribute  a favourite small Adult Literacy/Numeracy resource that you have developed. We hope that each feature will provide; context in which the developer uses the resource; the resource itself; one or two tips/ideas on how to develop/generate similar resources.

Today’s Resource

Currently I am teaching CGEA entirely online. However I find that many of the small resources (especially games and puzzles) that I used in paper form are easily adapted to the online environment, particularly things like wordsearches. Here is today’s resource  as I use it in Elluminate/BlackboardCollaborate.

Originally this was a WordDoc ” Wordsearch Activity 1” just click on the title to download.

I have  a variety of wordsearch puzzles and other similar activities that can be used to help students with spelling and or vocabulary. This is just one of a number that use one of the reading age type vocabularly lists to source a large number of appropriate words. I have created most of these activities using the free wordsearch puzzle maker on the Discovery Education website. The site has several other free puzzle makers and lots of other useful ideas and resources.

Please comment on the resource and share ideas you may have for its improvement, use or extensions of the activity.

Jo Hart




Review of numeracy in CGEA

The ACFE Board owned CGEA is currently accredited with Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority until December 2012 (Note: this was extended from December 2011).

In 2010 the ACFE Board approved a recommendation from the Curriculum Maintenance Manager (CMM) that the Numeracy component of the CGEA be reviewed and updated during 2011.

Dave Tout has created a draft of some new units and we are awaiting their approval by ACFE.   See the Skills Victoria website if you want to look at the draft units .



Certificate 1 in Entry to General Education Moderation

The Certificate 1 in Entry to General Education (EGE) was recently reaccredited.

Moderation meetings will be held for this curriculum in semester 1 and 2 during 2012. They will be coordinated by the Department of Corrective Services via teleconference and held in February and August. Specific dates are yet to be set.

Please contact Helena Zielinska on 08 6250 9214 if you would like to attend.

A week in the life of a Kimberley lecturer

From the outset, let’s be clear: these events actually happened and in the timeframe mentioned, but they are not the everyday experience of those who work in the Kimberley. This was an OMG week.

We were down a lecturer in Derby and I was without substantial work for the time- my project having reached a point where the work was with the publisher. So I was packed off to Derby to fill in for 6 weeks. It’s now spun out to 12 weeks but that’s another story.

In the first week I drove my own car- one that is not well suited to the Kimberley but OK for the trip I needed to do. After teaching a full day I was off to my accommodation for the night: a cattle station just out of town. After coping with the fact that it was located next door to the old (now closed- but I didn’t know that at the time) Derby Leprosarium (Yes- a leper colony!) I missed the turn to the station and drove another 47km up Gibb River Rd looking for something that looked like the right turn off. That’s one way of discovering the Kimberley- just wasn’t the one I planned. I flagged down an oncoming work ute and asked the guys in it for assistance. As it turned out they didn’t know where they were either and were no use at all. I was later to discover that this was a terribly risky thing to have done. It seems there are stories of ‘things’ happening along that road.

As I had passed the leprosarium (also known as Bungerun) I’d noticed a white 4WD with a guy sitting outside looking into the truck at a woman. I considered stopping but something felt ‘off’ so I’d kept driving (another 47km as it turned out). Later that night at dinner, the manager of the cattle station asked me if I’d noticed the 4WD. I said yes, she told me that she had stopped to see if they were OK and had been told to keep going, the police were on the way: the woman in the 4WD was dead. It seems she may have jumped out of the 4WD while it was moving. Intuition is a wonderful thing!

In the following week, I drove the work ute to Derby that I was given for the job, having left at first light from Broome. A few kilometers out of Willare I hit a roo. She’d run in front of the ute and got to the other side safely, but then turned around and ran back under the wheels of the ute. I’m since told this is a usual thing for roos to do. I’ve never taken a life before and it was very distressing despite many others saying that one less roo was a good thing. One hundred kilometers later, the rear tyre blew spectacularly while I was doing 110km/hr. I hung on to the steering wheel with a death grip as the ute bounced around the road a little closer to an oncoming road train with four very large trailers behind, than I would have liked. I managed to pull over safely and got a very rattled phone call through to my manager to send help. I was counting myself rather lucky to have managed the 1 minute of mobile phone connection as it isn’t known for being very reliable around the Curtin Detention Centre area and I didn’t have a satellite phone as an alternative. Cutting a long story short, I was actually rescued by a passing Pindan Solutions guy with an angle grinder who was able to cut off the lock (for which I had no key!) on the spare tyre and changed it for me. I still need to learn how to change a tyre. I am deeply indebted to him and his wife for not leaving me stranded there- also too to the Willare Roadhouse woman who stopped and took a message to the college for me.

A few days later I was settled into a house in Derby for the bulk of the rest of my stay. I’d shopped and bought a basic kit for the house and all was looking up. Across the road from the house is bush with the most beautiful boabs through which the sun sets. Truly breathtaking! But then came my next lesson.

Just about sunset a small group of Aboriginal people were going for a walk through the bush with their dogs. A few minutes later they all walked back out again- with dinner over their shoulder- a snake or goanna (called a ‘barney’ here). It then came sharply into focus that many of my students may live in western style homes but that they still live very closely to their traditional practices.

Conversations with my students have since convinced me that continuing traditional practices is a good way of fighting the depression and poor self esteem that many of the men in particular feel here. Providing food for the family and keeping culture alive is important.

And that was the first 6 days of working in Derby. The following days were a little quieter but everyday was still a story on its own.

Julie Esson