Collaborative Numeracy program Take 2

Beth Marr will be returning to Western Australia in late February to start a second set of workshops developing teacher’s skills to apply collaborative learning techniques to adults learning numeracy.

The 2014 pilot program will form the basis for  a series of videos.   Whether you need to refresh your skills and re-visit the concepts, or start learning about the ideas from scratch, the videos will allow you to do this in your own time and place. Sorry, but 2015 program participants will not get the chance to be in a video!

I would love to hear from anyone who has tried some of the models of activity that Beth taught us last year – you can comment here publicly so the whole world can see if they wish or, if you prefer,  in our membership-only ALaN Network Google Group.

More of Beth’s work is available at “Building Strength With Numeracy” on the VALBEC website.

Let me know if you missed out on a place in the program. There are still a couple of spots available.


Cheryl Wiltshire

ALaN Network WA





Professional learning coming up in WA

Introduction to Certificates in General Education for Adults (CGEA)

This induction program for new CGEA teachers is scheduled on Wednesdays in 2015 (11 March and 12 August).

Teach Me Grammar 2015

A new program for Teach Me Grammar will start in July. 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 of the previous program.

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.

Program starts 26th February 2015. Any late applications as soon as possible please. Contact 

New ALaN Network projects 2014-2015

The Adult Literacy and Numeracy Network  continues to be supported by the Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD) with the task of fostering collaboration and professional learning between adult educators in Western Australia.

Network facilitation

Jo Hart will offer support to the online functions of the ALaN Network including acting as editor for this Edublog ALaN WA. Her expertise in online learning will continue to offer us access to new ways to collaborate as professionals and to use these tools with our students.

Claire Willis takes over from Dani Murray as membership manager, offering assistance to practitioners to gain and maintain access to our members only facilities and to make the best use of them.

CAVSS Leaders Projects

A new initiative this year will be the development of a CAVSS Leaders Network. C. Y. O’Connor Institute of Technology and Durack Institute of Technology have offered to start us off with some products to share with the objective of creating much wider understanding of the CAVSS model across organisations and how to make it work.

Adult numeracy projects

The new adult numeracy projects build on the great start we made in 2013 and early 2014.

Phil Hart will maintain the Edublog What’s in a number?  that resulted from our 2013 round of projects. This provides us with a dedicated numeracy and mathematics space to share teaching and learning ideas online as well as access the great work done over the last two years.

Beth Marr will continue her work in offering a range of professional learning options that develops teacher skills related to using collaborative learning in the context of teaching adults numeracy. This will include:

  • A repeat of the three block series piloted in 2014 Collaborative Numeracy
  • A two day workshop for those unable to commit to a longer course see item 2
  • creation of videos and a PD leaders guide based on the pilot workshop and designed for in house use by RTOs
  • working with Centacare Employment and Training staff to develop an adaptation of collaborative activities to support numeracy development for low level ESL students.
  • Delivering an initial Practical Strategies workshop in  Geraldton (co-funded by Durack Institute of Technology will partially fund  for their teachers to avoid the cost of sending teachers to Perth).

Other projects

Gerard Laumen from Challenger Institute of Technology will share his experiences in using free Google applications with students building literacy by creating a Google Circle focused on this topic.

Watch the newsletter and the Google Group for more information on all these projects in the next few months.

Cheryl Wiltshire
ALaN Network Coordinator



Curriculum update – August 2014

52426WA Certificate I in Entry to General Education will expire 30 September 2014. The new curriculum has been drafted and has been submitted to the Training Accreditation Council.   Email if you need a draft.

Course in Applied Vocational Study Skills 52626WA (CAVSS) is now implemented with new Business Rules available. The previous CAVSS course has now expired so make sure that you are using (enrolling students in) the new course.

52379 Course In Underpinning Skills for Industry Qualifications (USIQ) has been re-accredited, and the Business Rules are now  available.

New time for WAALC conference

The Western Australian Adult Literacy Council (WAALC) is piloting a change of conference time from July to April. As a result, they will not have a conference in July 2014. The next conference will be April 2015.

Proposed Dates are 16th and 17th April 2015 (at the end of school holidays and after Easter).

Conference planning is starting now.

Please book 16-17 April 2015 for the conference into your organisation’s calendar (and advise of any clashes with other events substantially affecting LLN teaching staff).

Send ideas to include in the conference: suggestions for Keynote speakers, topics, workshops or other activities that you think would make for an  inspiring event.

WAALC offers professional learning independent of employers and government priorities.  Your support is needed to help newcomers to the LLN field and to re-energise and update the experienced worker.

We plan to call for Expressions of Interest in September/October so be talking to new presenters with something to share and reminding your favourite presenters that you want them back!

Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award

Don’t forget that nominations close at the end of May for the second Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award conferred as part of the Australian Training Awards. Jo Hart was a finalist in the inaugaral award last year. It would be great to have a finalist or a winner from Western Australia this year too.

The Australian Training Awards are the peak, national awards for the vocational education and training (VET) sector, recognising individuals, businesses and registered training organisations for their contribution to skilling Australia.

Applicants may have the opportunity to reach the national stage in November this year and gain Australia-wide recognition for their work.

There are 18 awards, including seven ‘direct-entry’ awards. More details at

What can WAALC do for you?

The Western Australian Adult Literacy Council Incorporated (WAALC) is an independent association established to support and empower adult literacy practitioners in WA.

As an independent body, WAALC offers the adult literacy field the opportunity to have input into consultation separate from the views of employers and government agencies, allowing positions to be formulated most likely to work for the interests of students and their teachers, rather than having to fit a policy line.

WAALC is affiliated with their national counterpart, the Australian Council of Adult Literacy (ACAL) and is represented on the ACAL committee. This offers an opportunity to develop national positions and have input in areas such as the reference group for the Reading Writing Hotline.

And depending on the stage have reached in your career, there are all sorts of personal opportunities that result from belonging to a professional association.  I will be speaking to the topic: “What can WAALC do for you?” at this year’s state conference.  I have lots of personal examples and will be drawing on a published history from Victoria. However, if you have a great example that you are happy to share, let me know.

Cheryl Wiltshire
WAALC Secretary


Want  to know more about WAALC?

The Annual General Meeting of the Council that will be held at the conclusion of Day 1 of the WAALC State Conference on Thursday 18th July  2013.

Whether you are a current member or not, and whether you can make the conference or not, why not come along to the AGM to hear what has been going on during the year in the WAALC world? And for a more informal opportunity to chat about what WAALC is about, go along to Pie and Pint evening at the Irish Club in Subiaco during the evening after the AGM.

When? 4.20 pm – 5.10 p.m. Thursday 18th July  2013.

Where? Lecture Theatre, Leederville Campus, Central Institute of Technology, Corner Oxford Street and Richmond Street, Leederville



New online numeracy resources

‘Building Strength with Numeracy’ revises and improves on the iconic numeracy resources ‘Strength in Numbers’ and ‘Breaking the Maths Barrier’, and other ‘tried and true’ numeracy teaching resources developed by Beth Marr and other experienced numeracy teachers.

The new resource is a collection of activities that builds on and updates elements of the previous resources, as well as including many new, previously unpublished ideas, activities and student practice exercises.

The resource is accessible online for teachers to use in a range of settings. The activities and practice sheets span a range of levels and subject areas with some suggestions regarding links and sequencing. However, as with the previous resources, it is not intended to cover the whole of any particular curriculum or course.

It is intended that teachers select content relevant to the needs of their learners and integrate it into their own teaching plans in conjunction with other materials. For this reason it has been presented to enable users to download separate activities, single practice sheets or whole sections, as required. The resource is a work in progress in that not all sections of previous resources have yet been included. Hopefully these will be added in the future.

Thanks to VALBEC  for providing us this free resource based on all of the great work that Australians have produced about adult numeracy.

Literacy for empowerment?

The Western Australian Adult literacy Council (WAALC)  chose the title  Getting back to our roots: Literacy for empowerment for their 2013 Conference as a follow on from last year’s theme At the heart of the matter: identity and trust in adult learning.

But just what is literacy for empowerment? What roots are we getting back to?

When WAALC was incorporated back in 1986, the adult literacy field was rooted in the idea that adult literacy initiatives were needed to empower individuals and their communities to address injustice and inequality.  Students themselves were encouraged to set the objectives and to acquire skills they wanted and needed to make their lives better.

Today, such a notion may seem quaint and old-fashioned alongside the current emphasis on frameworks that define in little assessable chunks at graduated levels what literacy is required to be taught and learnt with the purpose of building Australia’s workforce skills. When practitioners try to match these modern frameworks to real people learning for real purposes, sometimes they find learner-centred activities are pushed to the fringes.

However, teachers still report that the most exciting things that happen in adult literacy classes can’t be counted against the frameworks. And many of them don’t clearly match to the objective of  the development of human capital to improve Australia’s productivity though I am sure in the long run, they do!  After all more justice and equality means more people can participate in the activities of society more fully, including employment.

So WAALC is working on a program that will acknowledge the reality of the system-driven frameworks while supporting practitioners to find ways to hold on to the importance of individual and community empowerment as a central objective of our work.

So if you want to contribute to this conversation, put 18-19 July 2013 in your diary. Registrations will open soon: keep an eye on the WA Adult Literacy Council website

Hope to see you there!

Cheryl Wiltshire

2013 WAALC State Conference Convenor



Department of Industry, Innovation, Science,  Research and Tertiary Education (DIISRTE) funds a scholarship program  to address skill shortages in the adult LLN field in Australia by increasing the number of qualified LLN practitioners, particularly in regional areas.

The Program provides a scholarship of up to $5,250 to successful applicants to support them in undertaking approved study toward an adult LLN practitioner qualification commencing in the academic year following the application round. Suitable qualifications must be accredited under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF); must include a specialisation in adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy practice; and may be delivered by either the higher education or vocational education and training sector.

Round 4 of this Program is expected to be advertised in September/October 2012 for studies commencing in 2013. Those interested in applying for Round 4 should continue to monitor this DEEWR website – it is possible that guidelines, including eligibility criteria could change.