ALaN WA Newsletter – December 2014

Welcome to edition 15 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 subscribe and comment. If you are interested in joining the GoogleGroup for our network, please visit our “How to join” page and complete the online form.

This is our last newsletter for 2014 – the next one will be late January or early February 2015. We wish you a safe and peaceful break and look forward to sharing again in the New Year.


1. The CAVSS Experience – A Snapshot from a CAVSS Lecturer

2. Literacy Research Matters

3. Call for presenters – WA Adult Literacy Council Conference 2015

4. Keynote speaker at the WAALC Conference

5. Recent Academic Research

6. NCVER Online Survey – extended deadline

7. Conferences coming up in 2015

8. PD coming up in 2015

9. Collaborative Numeracy Workshops

10. Report on ACAL 2014 Conference Keynote



The CAVSS Experience

A Snapshot from a CAVSS Lecturer.

Being a CAVSS (Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills) lecturer over the previous two years has been a very rewarding experience. Understanding the need for such support is essential. Many students for whatever reason, have literacy and numeracy issues that were not addressed at school. This often leads to students feeling despondent and unsure of their capabilities. As a school teacher previously, it is easy to recognize how this feeling of low self-esteem can manifest itself in certain behavior in a learning environment.

For these reasons, I found forming a relationship with the students over an extended period of time was essential. Initially you are seen to be just another lecturer working through the competencies to be achieved. However, if you can set up a relationship that exists in and out of the classroom and workshop, your chances of success are that much greater. A sense of humour and good listening skills will go a long way to help yourself and students achieve success.

I have found that working with students and lecturers over an extended period allows relationships and camaraderie to build up. Moving in and out of classrooms and workshops on a regular basis, irrespective of CAVSS support, also allows students and fellow lecturers incidental support and for students to ask for individual assistance in various areas that they may be reluctant to raise in a more formal environment.

Being a CAVSS lecturer also gives you the opportunity to meet a wide and diverse range of students and staff across a range of portfolios throughout the college. The tag-teaching role ensures the literacy and numeracy support delivered is very relevant to all VET training activities and is seen as “normal” delivery. A thoroughly fun and rewarding experience.

Tony Cogan – CAVSS Lecturer at Durack Institute of Technology, Geraldton

via Helen Smith (CAVSS Local Leaders Network))

Literacy Research Matters

Looking for that critical research report, journal article or conference paper?

The VOCED & ALADIN online databases may help you.

VOCED is a free international research database from NCVER relating to workforce needs, skills development, and social inclusion. It encompasses vocational education and training (VET), higher education, adult and community education, informal learning, and VET in Schools. International in scope the database contains over 63,000 English language records, many with links to full text documents. You can easily search by keyword or ‘Browse’ by author, title, journal or subject.

Adult Learning Documentation and Information Network (ALADIN) , is an initiative of the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning. It was created to support networking and capacity building between documentation centres and libraries in the area of adult learning and literacy. Today it comprises of 96 documentation centres in 47 countries in all regions of the world, from complex university libraries and research units, to small NGO resource centres and some virtual collections. The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) is an ALADIN member organisation.

KEEP UP TO DATE: New research is collated into a bi-monthly ALADIN Online Alert located on the ALADIN News webpage – no ‘subscription’ or signup required. Find out about recent online and full-text information in the areas of adult learning, adult literacy, lifelong learning and technical and vocational education and training (TVET).

Jane Jones

Call for Presenters WA Adult Literacy Council Conference 2015

WAALC 2015 Conference

You are reminded that WAALC is now seeking Expressions of Interest from you to present at the conference  to be held at Central Institute of Technology • 16-17 April, 2015

Please give some thought to how you can contribute. We encourage practitioners who have never presented at a conference to come and share their ideas.This is a good professional development activity. WAALC Executive members will provide support and advice to any ‘novice’ presenters.

The submission process closes on 15 December.

Margaret McHugh

More information about the conference

WAALC 2015 Conference – call for papers Submit your proposal online or download a submission form from the same page. Get the Conference details for more information.



Keynote speaker at the WAALC Conference

2015 WAALC State Conference

Keynote Speaker – Michelle Circelli NCVER

Michelle Circelli, a member of NCVER’s Research Management Branch, manages commissioned research projects funded under the National VET Research Program. Michelle also undertakes research and consultancy projects for NCVER and has a particular interest in adult literacy and numeracy. Michelle was the 2013 Fulbright Professional Scholar in Vocational Education and Training and spent four months in the United States at the end of 2013 undertaking research into measuring success of adult literacy and numeracy programs with the Californian Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office and the federal Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (formerly the Office of Vocational and Adult Education).

Michelle’s keynote address will discuss the work undertaken during her Fulbright Scholarship in late 2013, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly of particular approaches used in the United States to measure outcomes from adult literacy and numeracy programs. In recent years in Australia there has been increasing investment in programs and a greater acknowledgment of the importance of literacy and numeracy for social and economic participation. However, we know little about the returns on this investment for funders and providers, or outcomes for learners – what works for whom and why? How do we know if a program is successful? Indeed what ‘outcomes’‚ are we measuring to determine success?

Margaret McHugh

Recent academic research

Research into the discourse of “at-risk”

Some of you may be interested in this recently completed Master’s Thesis, Just_Whose_Story_is_it.  You will recognise the human subjects of the research in the profiles of some of your students. The research argues for socially just schools and illustrates how some students are positioned so that they do not receive just treatment.

Margaret McHugh

NCVER on-Line survey – deadline extended to 19 December

NCVER Online Survey

The NCVER is conducting a survey on behalf of the National Foundation Skills Strategy (NFSS) Project.

If you teach or help people develop their English language, literacy, numeracy or employability skills they need your help!

There have already been 586 valid survey responses submitted – an unprecedented response rate according to Michelle Circelli at NCVER.  Responses from WA comprise around 8% of the total received so far.

The project team are excited about the strong response and eager to gather more evidence and information. Please complete a short survey at:

Margaret McHugh

Conferences coming up

Conferences 2015

WA Adult Literacy Council 2015 State Conference at Central Institute of Technology on 16th and 17th April, 2015. The conference is titled Great Expectations: literacy, the individual and the economy.

ACER Research Conference 2015 – Learning assessments: Designing the future. 16-18 August, Crown, Southbank, Melbourne
A conference to connect  teachers, education leaders and policy makers with the latest assessment research to inform teaching and learning.

ACAL National conference 2015 – Resilience, Risk, Preservation – held held at the Adelaide Zoo in  Adelaide on 24th and 25th September 2015.

PD coming up from December 2014

Teach Me Grammar 2015

Teach Me Grammar is available again for next year if you are interested in Teach Me Grammar checkout the GoogleGroup or visit Teach Me Grammar Program 2015 to get more information and the application form.

Collaborative numeracy: working together to build numeracy skills in adults

Collaborative numeracy: working together to build numeracy skills in adults is a program of  professional development for teaching numeracy to adults and young people in vocational training  and other adult learning contexts. For more information on this and application forms see the article that follows this one.

Applications need to be in by 5pm Monday 19th January 2015

The Collaborative Numeracy Workshops

Collaborative Numeracy

In 2014 Beth Marr delivered a series of extended workshops for adult numeracy teachers in Western Australia. This very successful program will be offered again in 2015. You are encouraged to apply, but numbers are strictly limited. Applications will be assessed once the application period closes on 19th January 2015.

See Collaborative Numeracy 2015 information for applicants for more information and download the Application Collaborative Numeracy 2015

The program consists of three workshops, each of a day and a half, scheduled for February, March and April. You are required to attend all three of the workshops.

Previous participants have said:

“ It was pure luxury to be able to explore and experience cooperative logic.”

“Every single thing we did was useful. It extended my thinking, knowledge and strategies. Loved it.”

“Making sense of algebra.”

“Hands on is a much more interesting and engaging way to include students with different abilities.”

“Making learning social.”

 Margaret McHugh