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AusELT Twitter Chat 13 Oct: Where PD is taking us in 2019

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What events have you attended, and which topics grabbed your attention?

What PD events have you presented at, and on which topic?

What are your take-aways, about changes in your thinking and in your practice?

Join us for a slow-burn Twitter chat all day Sunday, using the tag #AusELT. The topic is timely, given all the PD events this year. Some people in the community are more active on Twitter than Facebook, and vice versa, so a chat on Twitter is a good place to make new connections as well as share resources and thoughts.

This leisurely style of chat means you can send a tweet, read and comment any time from 10am AEDT onwards, dropping in at different times to see what’s happening.

Check the starting time in your zone here.

For links to many of the events of 2019 so far, click here.

New to #AusELT? New to Twitter? If you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with any of the #AusELT admin team on Facebook or Twitter (eg @SophiaKhan4 and @Clare_M_ELT) or by leaving a comment below. Here are some posts that should also help you get started:


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Article Discussion Group: June 2019


Image courtesy of http://kausarbilal.com/book-club-launch-at-south-asian-study-group/

Discussion of the article: From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback. Bianka Malecka, UNSW Global

Bianka writes:

While the value of timely feedback, whether formative, summative, corrective, confirming, written or oral is no longer contested, there seems to be insufficient focus on what happens after students receive feedback. After all, feedback needs to demonstrate effects and its utility ultimately depends on whether students engage with it. This is not often the case, however.

This sets the scene for her article on making feedback useful and engaging for her students. She approached this problem through an action research (AR) project, noting that a as a UEEC (University English Entry Course) writing teacher she is responsible for 8 hours of weekly writing lessons including Writing Skills, Writing Practice, Writing Workshops and Consultations. She also notes that on average, a writing teacher provides 216 feedback reports in 10 weeks!

In the AR project, Bianka surveyed all her students about their experiences with written feedback. She also interviewed her colleagues to find out what they did. This resulted in 77 student responses and 6 teacher interviews.

Bianka writes:

As for suggested improvements to feedback, seven students suggested marking strengths as well as weaknesses while 10 students mentioned providing increased opportunities for one-on-one oral feedback.
In terms of students’ perception of the most valuable essay feedback, 34% of respondents wanted teachers to correct their errors, 24% would like to have their errors underlined, 16% valued teacher’s use of error correction code (intended to identify the type of error, without correcting it) and only 5% viewed evaluation sheets as helpful in their progress.

Interestingly, correction codes, which many teachers seem to favour, were not preferred by students.

Some questions to get us started:

  • How do you think your students would compare to these findings?
  • What do you think of the examples of feedback tasks the author outlines?
  • Do you practice any other kinds of feedback/backfeed?

Welcome to the voting page of the Article Discussion Group. The idea is for us all to vote for our preferred article from the latest English Australia Journal, read it, and then join in a moderated discussion of the article. Authors will either join in on the discussion, or respond offline to points raised and questions asked, facilitated by the moderator. The discussion will take place on the #AusELT Facebook page and is scheduled as such: June 17-23 is reading time; June 24-30 is discussion time.

The articles are all relevant to many of the contexts in which members of AusELT practice. One is a research article focused on technology-enhanced academic language support for EAP-type programs. Another is an investigation of teachers’, students’ and administrators’ beliefs about an English-only college policy. The third introduces strategies for increasing student engagement with feedback. Each article has been peer-reviewed, meaning that the editor has invited leading TESOL scholars to review and offer suggestions for improving earlier drafts. We have some excellent reviewers who, together with the authors, have ensured you receive the best quality research reports upon which you can make some decisions about your own teaching.

The discussion moderator will orient you by providing a summary of the research design (where applicable) and the overall purpose of the research. The discussion will not only focus on how the article can inform your own teaching, but also on opportunities for further research in any form. It will hopefully spark ideas for improving the quality of life in many classrooms! Each article has an abstract for you to read; after all, just as you can’t judge a book by its cover, you can’t judge a research article by its title. The complete articles are all open access, freely available online here and downloadable in pdf here. The chosen article will be made available as a pdf and available for download on this page.


A developmental framework for technology-enhanced academic language support (TALS)

John Smith

Griffith English Language Institute, Griffith University


Technology-enhanced academic language support (TALS) refers to any adjunctive learning and teaching program that utilises digitally based technologies to support and develop academic English language and skills. Despite its prevalence, TALS has been largely ignored in the literature. This lack of research and exploration is concerning, not only because such a widespread learning and teaching practice has been so neglected, but also because there is real need for good guidance. With the increasing rapidity of change in technology-enhanced education, there is a correspondingly increased need for TALS programs to have a solid grounding in theory, educational design and quality assurance. This paper will therefore briefly present a framework for TALS development that can be utilised across a variety of contexts and settings. It is expected that this framework will be of most use to teachers and developers interested in online academic language learning and teaching.

English-only policy in an ELICOS setting: Perspectives of teachers and students

Yulia Kharchenko and Phil Chappell

Macquarie University

Contrary to growing multilingual theories of language learning, beliefs in the advantages of monolingual instruction in English teaching are widespread and often result in an English-only approach that rarely takes into account the perspectives of the parties involved. This article reports on a study that explored perceptions of a strict English-only policy and its impact on students and teachers in an Australian English Language Intensive Courses for Overseas Students (ELICOS) setting. In a mixed-methods approach, data from a student survey and group interviews with teachers revealed a discrepancy between generally positive beliefs about the policy and a mixed impact of its implementation in practice. The study also highlighted the limitations of framing a linguistic strategy as an official policy, including the potential for conflict between the teaching staff and the students. The findings have implications for language policy decisions in the wider ELICOS sector and support research on multilingual pedagogy and first language use in English teaching and learning.

From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback

Bianka Malecka
UNSW Global

Developing strategies to encourage students to backfeed, i.e., engage in the process of mindful reflection and analysis of the meaning of feedback seems to be a genuine need to fast-track their learning. Technology has a vital role to play in this process as it makes backfeed accessible to staff and students so that a longer-term picture of learning can emerge. Using Learning Management Systems (LMS), online platforms and collaborative technologies to provide feedback and backfeed makes it more dialogic and gives students a voice in the process of feedback communication, a voice that they may be deprived of when not given an opportunity to interact with feedback. This paper explains the concept of backfeed and provides examples of strategies to integrate it in the classroom.


So, without any more fanfare, please cast your vote! Closes Sunday June 16, 2019 at 5 pm EST

Poll closed: winning article: From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback: Bianka Malecka UNSW Global

Your moderator, Phil Chappell (@TESOLatMQ)

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Transferability of skills AusELT Twitter chat 2 June 2019 8.30pm AEST

AusELT Twitter chat 2 June 2019

Fancy joining us for a bit of a chat tonight?

Check the time in your zone here.

UPDATE This chat has taken place – read the record here but will not doubt continue elsewhere. 

There are a number of higher education institutions working with ELT trainers and teachers building capacity of educators working with international and domestic students in non-ELT disciplines here. So, this topic seems one worth exploring.

These chats can take off in any direction but here are some questions that may be thrown into the mix to get you thinking.

  • What skills did you bring with you when you began in ELT?
  • Which ones have you developed along the way?
  • What are the strategies and skills which ELTs generally need and use?
  • What are some examples of these needed and used in another teaching context (non-ELT, higher education or otherwise)?
  • Which of these are transferable to teaching in other subjects / disciplines (non-ELT, higher education or otherwise)?
  • How could this transfer of strategies and skills be facilitated?
  • How about the skills and strategies you’ve acquired through connections with non-ELT teachers and academics?
  • What’s happening in PD at your place re developing skills and strategies (as opposed to building awareness of content knowledge)?

New to #AusELT? New to Twitter? If you’re not sure what to do, get in touch with any of the #AusELT admin team on Facebook or Twitter (eg @SophiaKhan4 and @Clare_M_ELT) or by leaving a comment below. Here are some posts that should also help you get started:

Photo and post by @Clare_M_ELT

Looking for work in ELT in Australasia?

This is a collection of advice and links from the AusELT community, as of October 2019.

  • Note we do our best to provide accurate and up-to-date information, but can’t check everything, so please let the volunteer admin of the month know what needs updating or what needs adding.
  •  Note also that so far this information is primarily about working in Australia. Any information about working in New Zealand will be warmly welcomed.


In general:

Use every strategy you have ever learned about, for example, having an up-to-date and brief CV, and providing evidence of your experience eg via a portfolio. If you have limited experience, think about how you can showcase what you’ve learned and what you’re interested in exploring further, and how you’re doing this.

Be prepared to fit in, and show you are open to opportunities to expand your repertoire and take on new challenges , rather than presenting your personal requirements.

Consider also updating your record of PD / professional development (aka CPD as in Continuing ~). English Australia has a tool for teachers to record their PD activities and reflections.


Via online links, and direct contact

  • Note it is a good strategy to check out the websites of potential employers, as well as to go and check out their premises. Introduce yourself to the admins / receptionists, and bear in mind they will form an immediate impression of you which they will no doubt pass on.
  • Have a copy of your CV to pass on. Remember that they will be aware if the DoS / principal is looking for teachers right then, so be ready for a possible interview. That said, don’t be surprised if that person is not free to come and talk to you right now.

Your best strategy may be to send an initial email introducing yourself and attaching your CV.

  • Note the DoS / principal may be fielding multiple contacts made by people forced to provide evidence of having applied for work, regardless of how suitable they are for the field. Don’t be expecting a personal response every time. If you do feel the need to send a follow-up email, be mindful how you express your continued interest and why you are interested in working with this institution.

Use drop-down menus of member organisations to find contacts eg


Via AusELT on Facebook posts

People do sometimes post in the AusELT Facebook group when they have positions available, so scroll down through recent posts in case.

  • Note this does not conflict with AusELT guidelines, as this activity is clearly of benefit to people looking for work, as opposed to links which promote your own profit-making business.

You can also search the group using relevant terms, eg for a post about Qs you might be asked at interview on 3 March 2019.

There may also be other Facebook groups which post ads eg ESL Teachers – Brisbane. Use the Facebook search field.


Via generic job sites

While some organisations do not advertise, as they receive CVs by email or through their websites, you can also check sites such as https://www.seek.com.au/ and https://au.indeed.com/, using search terms such as ‘TESOL’ and similar.


Via ‘relief’ work

Register with agencies who connect teachers and institutions for ‘relief’ work aka cover teaching via eg http://readyteacher.com.au/contact


NB Check requirements

See also the ELICOS Standards https://www.legislation.gov.au/Details/F2017L01349 – scroll to Standard P6.4

  • Working for an RTO (Registered Training Organisation) such as TAFE and AMEP providers delivering VET courses

    • Note that the Cert IV TAE is no longer required if you have a diploma or higher level qualification in adult education. However, if your employer specifies having a TAE, the latest version of the Cert IV in TAE is 40116 https://training.gov.au/Training/Details/TAE40116
    • NB For the definitive answer on the above note re requirements for having a current Cert IV in Training and Assessment, the jury is still out, with conflicting advice. This may be because there are fine differences when it comes down to the individual organisation, depending on the range of courses they offer. Scroll back to numerous conversations about this eg 15 Sept 2019, 13 Aug 2019, 16 Jan 2019, …
  • For employees and also volunteers working with children (defined as someone under the age of 18), check your state or territory in Australia re the WWCC (Working With Children Check) – which is valid for 5 years for date of issue – here

Their FAQs is useful, too.


EG for NSW, go to


  • NB if you work in a primary or secondary school setting, a Working with Children Check is not enough. You need to register in your state. Checking with AITSL https://www.aitsl.edu.au or the local body in your State/Territory (e.g. Victorian Institute of Teaching for Victoria) is strongly recommended.

It may ALSO be worth getting a ‘police check‘ https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/services/criminal-records/national-police-checks

From their FAQs, https://www.afp.gov.au/what-we-do/services/criminal-records/frequently-asked-questions this involves comparing an individual’s details (such as name and date of birth) against a central index of names using a name matching algorithm to determine if the name and date of birth combination of that individual matches any others who have police history information. The name will then be vetted by police personnel to determine what information may be disclosed, subject to relevant spent conviction legislation and/or information release policies.

Note if you’re planning to work overseas, it’s better to do this before you leave the country.

Otherwise, check other info in the AusELT blog as well https://auselt.com/working-in-elt/ where you can find links for ELT associations, information about knowing your rights, and links

And last but not last, go along to local PD events and make connections, eg MeetELT in Sydney or Melbourne.

In the meantime, consider doing some volunteer work.

2019 Professional Development Opportunities

Here is a collection of many of the opportunities for PD we have had so far in 2019. Please let the admin of the month know about any we can add, and any links which could be added.

AusELT picture

AusELT Twitter Chat Feb 3

Learning from our students


PD West Sat March 9

Building Creativity, Building Skills, Building Academic English Skills, Building Community


AusELT Twitter chat Empowerment and Teachers 7 Apr


NEAS Management Conference Sydney May 8-10

Leadership in ASEAN and Australia: Influencers in ELT

UECA PD Fest Sydney Sat Apr 13

Innovate! Delivery, Assessment, Support and Services in EAP and Pathway programs


AusELT Twitter chat June 2

Transferability of Skills


AusELT article discussion June

From feedback to backfeed: Increasing student engagement with feedback: Bianka Malecka UNSW Global


UECA Assessment Symposium Brisbane July 13-14


MeetELT Melbourne Aug 14

IDEA: Innovate, Digitalise, Engage, Activate

MeetELT Sydney 28 Aug



English Australia Conference 2019 Melbourne Sept 18-20

‘Engage, Include, Adapt’


ACAL Conference 2019 Sydney Oct 4-5

Australian Council for Adult Literacy Conference

Critical re-imagining: adult literacy and numeracy practices for sustainable development



UECA PD Fest Melbourne Oct 26

Shape: Tech, Academic, Social and Cultural Engagement


ALTAANZ / ALAA / ALANZ Conference 2019 Nov 25-27

Applied Linguistics and Language Teaching: Making Connections


AALL Biennial Conference Fremantle Nov 27-29

Association for Academic Language and Learning


And ongoing

English Australia

Webinars upcoming and past


Action Research information


Continuing Professional Development Framework / CPDF resources


Special Interest Groups / SIGs


Journals current and past


Guides to Best Practice



Workshops, webinars and online learning



Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages Aotearoa NZ


MeetELT 14 August 2019: IDEAS

meetELTOn Wednesday 24 August, the third edition of the popular meetELT event took place in Melbourne! Over 80 ELT-ers took the opportunity to come down to the Duke of Wellington on a weeknight to mingle, attend professional development talks and eat delicious food all at once!

The night started with an emotion-evoking presentation by Julia Gardiner on the benefits of instilling a writing habit for students and ways to get this happening inside and outside the classroom. Connecting with students, monitoring progress and building confidence were just a few of the benefits mentioned. After a quick 5 minutes, we already had journaling ideas such as photo journals or dream journals.

The night continued strongly (between sushi, chicken skewers and a cheeky drink) with a presentation by Petar Stojanovic who talked about SMART goals. He provided practical ideas on managing at-risk students and helping them reach their goals, while also tracking their progress with an online tool.

After being reminded to post on Facebook to be in the running for a prize (who doesn’t love prizes?!), Shweta Ramkumar presented on teaching travel English using communicative as well as written activities with authentic materials. Comparing travel insurance and doing hotel reviews were just a couple of the many ideas suggested.

The break provided a chance to post a couple more selfies (have to be in it to win it!), eat samosas, finally get that free drink, mingle, and of course complete the extra activities on the table, which was a great buzz!

But as we are all teachers at heart, we quickly went back to sharing ideas! Cara Dineen gave us food for thought in designing curricula and using blended learning techniques. Most importantly, the end result should inform the assessment rubrics which should in turn inform the syllabus.

Finally, it was time for Sarah Chamberlain to share her extension task ideas. The importance of turning a one-skill activity into a multi-skill activity was highlighted and some great examples were provided together with links to resources that are ready for teachers to use.

Prizes were given, presentations were done, and the mingle continued! A big thank you to Navitas, English Australia, and Pearson for sponsoring the event, in particular Emma Currie, Christina Tandog and Derya Uysal, as well as this year’s meetELT planning committee, Vesna Stefanov, Gwenny Warnick, Margot Palmer, and Athanassia Iosifidou. Last but not least, thank you to the lovely attendees and presenters who made this event the success that it was.

This post by Athanassia Iosifidou

#AusELT Twitter chat Empowerment and Teachers 7th Apr 2019

Screen Shot 2019-04-06 at 2.50.57 AMThis chat has concluded. See the comments collated via Wakelet here.

Every 2 months is a chance for #AusELTers to get together on Twitter for a chat about something related to teaching and learning in our context. We’re due for one this Sunday at 8.30pm AEST – click here to see the time where you are.

Here are some of the things we’ve been talking about recently. Please vote on what you’d be most interested in discussing on Sunday!

Please get in touch if you would like to get involved but aren’t sure how to use Twitter. See our quick guide here.