Category Archives: Professional development

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:


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

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

#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.

Ramblings of an ELT…rambler

by Sandra Pitronaci

Hi AusELT friends,

Over the last few months I’ve been exposed to fascinating input and ideas from a few different education events, and have decided to jot down what I call the ‘nuggets’ here, in our ever-broadening Community of Practice. These are the ideas and phrases that encapsulate my educational beliefs or pry open my world view, and remain with me long after the events have been packed away; these are the notions I mull over and draw from, where I find professional and ethical validation and consolation. I hope you find they can add value to your own professional ruminations.

September saw the ever-enjoyable English Australia Conference unfold in Sydney. I had an insider’s perspective this time around via the conference organising committee, and was mightily impressed by the staggering number and quality of abstracts put forward. Respect to all you ELT teachers out there – I am so glad to be part of such a highly-engaged and dedicated group of professionals.

The theme was Thriving in Changing Times, and as a committee member, chairing individual sessions was both a privilege and an exceptional learning curve – responsibility for one room/stream led to me attending sessions I may not have otherwise chosen, and as a result, I learnt many random pieces of information, such as the fact that Australia has the highest visa processing fees in the world, courtesy of Tim Eckenfels (IH). Denise Metzger (UNSW Global) encouraged us to embrace a growth mindset, with specific advice on how to effectively praise students. Turns out that “You’re a natural, I know you can do this!” is in fact de-motivating, as it is not rewarding genuine effort. I cringe in guilt at the vacuous platitudes I may have sincerely offered to my students over the years…

Fiona Wiebusch (UQ ICTE) and Clare Magee (UTS Insearch) reminded us that PD can happen in many different and unique spaces and places. I indulge in an inner grin as the image of our staff kitchen where deconstruction of lesson plans and lunch plates, so artfully blurred, flashes by. Donna Cook (ACU), Vickie Bos (UQ ICTE) and Nicole Patterson (Study Qld) encouraged us to consider that it’s not all about us providing for international students – they bring a richness and energy of their own into our community and we should go about recognising, fostering and promoting it so that others may see and learn from them. Again, chagrin.

Plenary speaker Antonia Clare, much admired for her bright energy and the passion she has brought to the Speakout series, lifted our hearts by helping us remember that emotion and cognition are closely linked, and that for our students to learn well, we need to engage their emotions. And a great big shout out to those of you who honoured Barbara Craig (Flinders), and me, Sandra Pitronaci (MQ ELC), with your presence at our Servant Leadership workshop. We valued your honest discussion, and we thank you once again for participating so enthusiastically.

The highlight of the conference for me, besides watching a bunch of ELT folk nutbushing the night away, and another bunch of ELT folk bravely ad-libbing through a Theatresports rite of passage, was absorbing the wisely spoken words of Sue Blundell, presenter on the Women in Leadership Panel. Organised by Aparna Jacob (UNSW Global), and including Heather Thomas (UOW), and Jenni Coster (Monash), the discussion centred around surviving and thriving in political environments. Sue’s words were a salve to my heart. “Be the peacemaker. Find solutions. Peacemakers transcend politics and focus on making progress”. A bright gold nugget clenched tightly in my fist as I spent the evenings after the conference watching our Federal Parliament transcend into the hellish depths of ego-driven leadership spills and shameless in-house bullying.

English Australia, and most especially Sophie O’Keefe, you have once again done us proud. What a profession, and what dedicated professionals. International students are being so carefully and so generously served by you all, as are we.

Soon after the English Australia Conference was over, I rambled across the ditch and over the hill, to attend and co-present at the CLESOL Conference in Christchurch. My LOTE background and a past life working with a Community Language School drew me over, along with a fascination for the strength of te reo Maori in the New Zealand linguistic space, and how our Kiwi cousins have been progressing in leaps and bounds. Language revitalisation projects are considered modest by the Kiwis, yet as an Aussie, knowing how we have neglected the languages of our First Nations People, their initiatives blew my mind. And obligations do not end at adhering to the New Zealand Standards, but also include honouring the Waitangi Treaty by embedding Maori perspective into the curriculum. I know we’re working on it back here, but I feel we still have much to catch up on. Plenaries by Paulette Tamati-Elliffee, Jeanette King and Rae Si’ilata on te reo Maori and Pasifika languages helped broaden my world view by a number of notches, and while I spent the weekend feeling slightly ashamed, I left somewhat hopeful. I might lack the knowledge and expertise to be of service in the language revitalisation of Indigenous Australian Languages, yet it was heartening to see language-teaching colleagues throwing their heart and soul into the study and revitalisation of te reo Maori, and I know there are colleagues both Indigenous and non-Indigenous doing the same in Australia. If any of you out there know any colleagues who are doing so, or who have ideas on embedding culture into the curriculum, perhaps we could do an AusELT post showcasing their work?

The CLESOL Conference also hosted a plenary by Angel Lin, Simon Fraser University, acknowledging and encouraging translanguaging and trans-semiotizing. Gone are the days of the ‘interlanguage’, and oh how I most dearly embrace my clumsily emergent meaning-making… Perhaps my countless half-finished phrased and gestures cast into the wind in either/both/neither languages aren’t so meaningless after all… Then Macquarie’s very own Phil Benson led us through learning English in the multilingual city of Sydney, where thoughtful management of ‘spatial circumstances’ can greatly enhance language learning opportunities. My nugget from Phil – that a ‘post-social’ view of applied linguistics is person-centred, and sees individuals as agents of their own socialisation. My rambler’s suitcase is now emptied, but I’m still unpacking that notion. And once again, thank you to those of you who attended my session with Barbara Craig – such a delight to immerse ourselves back in our old primary and high school teaching worlds plus hear your perspectives from current times.

CLESOL Conference, you were an intense moment of immense growth, and I recommend you to anyone. Kerstin Dofs, an honour to meet you, and Daryl Streat, sorry not to have crossed paths in the real world.

Just as my language and education immersion fortnight was almost over, along came a lucky pass to the ABC’s Q&A Teaching Special, courtesy of Angie Nazim (UNSW Global). (We would have taken AusELT’s Clare McGrath with us, but it turns out she isn’t demographically fascinating enough). I was lured in by the appearances of Pasi Sahlberg, now at the UNSW Gonski Institute, and Eddie Woo, maths teacher extraordinaire at Cherrybrook Technology High, and creator of WooTube. Joining them were Cindy Berwick (NSW Aboriginal Education Consultative Group), Gabbie Stroud (author of Teacher), Jennifer Buckingham (Centre for Independent Studies), and of course the ever-sharp Tony Jones. A feast of topics, and a huge diversity of ideas and opinions on the NAPLAN test, selective schools, disadvantaged schools, remote schools, demoralised teachers, teacher autonomy as professionals, teacher qualifications and school funding.

One of the final questions of the night had many wondering if there was still hope. In Eddie Woo’s words, yes, there is, as we teachers are ‘professional non-giver-upperers’. I like you, Eddie. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to put my burning question to Pasi Sahlberg: What would be the single most important thing we should be doing in this country to improve our education system? AusELT folk, perhaps you have some ideas?


AusELT group members at the CLESOL Conference (left to right: Sandra Pitronaci, Rike Tegge, Julie van Dyke, Tricia Lewis)

Keeping the momentum going AusELT Twitter Chat Sunday 7 Oct 2018 8.30pm AEDT


EA Conf Syd 2018 ballroom ceiling shot with lights

This chat has now taken place. Please see the record of the chat, with additional links, here.

It’s often like a lot of pebbles dropped into the PD pond, where the ripples soon disappear.

You go to the conference / PD event / catch-up, and it’s a whirlwind of new ideas and re-found ones, of strategies to explore and links to follow up, of contacts made and connections strengthened. You come back exhausted and yes, you will make the time to reflect and to go back over notes and to sort the photos… after a little lie-down.

You catch a great webinar and for a change it’s a time for you to absorb rather than being the one feeding others, and the mobile is switched off for this lovely hour all to yourself. Then just as you leave at the end, there’s a knock at your door.

One way to keep up the momentum is to sit down with us for a Twitter chat. Come join us Sunday 7 Oct 2018 8.30pm-9.30pm. Bring your picnic hamper of ideas, strategies, links, readings, questions, and possibilities.

Please note daylight saving starts this weekend in Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, the Northern Territory and New South Wales. Check times elsewhere in the world

Looking forward to talking with you, #AusELT

See also:

Ramblings of an ELT…rambler

#AusELT Twitter chat – Conference/PD Swap Shop – Sunday 1st October 2017

Conference and Networking Tips – A summary of the #AusELT Twitter chats in July & August 2017

Getting the most out of a conference – #AusELT Twitter chat, 2nd July 2017

Networking for Success – #AusELT Twitter chat, 6th Aug 2017

Conferences & Presenting – #AusELT Twitter chat, 3-4 Sept 2016

Conference/PD Swap Shop – #AusELT Twitter chat, 2nd October 2016

#AusELT chat summary: Conference Swapshop (9/10/14)


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 @Clare_M_ELT and @SophiaKhan4).

Here are some posts that should also help you get started:

·        Need help with Twitter?`

·        #AusELT 1-page guide to Twitter

·        So you have a Twitter account – now what?  (from Cult of Pedagogy)


This post prepared by @Clare_M_ELT   

Image EAConf2018