English Australia (EA) is the national peak body for the English language sector of international education in Australia. On the weekend, the Queensland English Australia – PD Fest was held. This event is a precursor to the national conference coming up later this year. I always enjoy this event and have been looking forward to it. Here is what happened. Enjoy!
I really enjoy going to the English Australia PD Fest each year. I love catching up with industry news, meeting other teachers in my field and seeing what others are doing in the PD sessions. I presented for the first time in 2016, but last year went as a participant and had an equally great time. So this year, it was time to present again. Turns out I ended up presenting twice and here’s how it went!
Session 1 From EAS to collaborative internship: Lessons and insights where bicycles create change
Abstract: This session presents the results and insights drawn from the 8-week collaborative internship I worked on over the Summer of 2016 with 4 DEP students: Sachie, Mauricio, Juliet and Gabriel. This session outlines the multiple theoretical perspectives that underpin the course design and explains how the project focused on providing the participants with genuine and English, academic, professional and practical workplace skills and opportunities in inventive and engaging ways.
Presenters: Sachie Togashiki is in her third year of International Liberal Arts at Soka University, Japan, majoring in Philosophy. Juliet Alfred is Special Educator at Sommerville Special School, Auckland, NZ. Mauricio Gonzalez is a Software Developer working on private contracts for the Queensland Government. Gabriel Besong was unable to present. All are graduates of GELI’s Direct Entry Program (DEP) and were participants in the 2016 Bicycles Create Change Summer Internship. Nina Ginsberg is a Language Instructor and Academic Tutor with Griffith English Language Institute (GELI).
How did it go? This session went well. I had to really condensed the session down as the afternoon sessions had less time than the morning sessions, but it was a good challenge to hit the high points of theoretical perspectives, aha moments, what worked and what didn’t work.
I spent a bit of time going through the Internship outline as this was the crux of whole venture. I explained the different components, how they work together and gave some examples of tasks and activities undertaken to show critical points of skill development, which the audience were really interested in.
It was also great because the audience got to hear directly from three out of the four participants about their experience: Sachie and Juliet had pre-recorded video (they are both overseas) and Mauricio attended in person. Congrats to all three who presented – they did a great job!
Bright Ideas Nomination: This session was one of five on the day that were nominated for a Bright Ideas Award. This means that there was representative of English Australia in the audience evaluating the presentation. Their review is coupled with the distant feedback and a summary of the session written by the presenter. The Panel then assesses each of the five sessions and announces the winner.
The prize for the Bright Ideas Award is a full expenses paid trip (all airfares, accomodation, gala dinner, registration etc) to present as the Queensland representative at the 2018 English Australia (National) Conference to be held in Sydney on 19-21 September. Bloody wicked!!
Click here to see the 2017 Bright Ideas (Queensland) Winner’s session.
Session 2: You’ll never believe what happened in class today!
Abstract: Teaching is hard, but rewarding work. Every teacher has memorable moments that has made it all worth it. This fun and positive participatory session celebrates the unique, wonderful, hilarious and often touching moments in our collective teacher experience. Join us for a few laughs and double entendres as we reminisce magical class moments!
Presenters: Just me!
How did it go? I hadn’t planned on doing this session this year. I spoke to the organisers a week before it was being held and they were still short a few sessions. I had the idea to do this session next year, but the discussion forum format was easy to organise, so I volunteered to double up. I’m glad I did.
The premise that this session was the provide designated space the teachers to sit down and share their experiences. I wanted to steer away from the usual pedagogy, theory and practical skills PD session to really acknowledge and celebrate the personal and often unknown moments that many teachers have, but are all too rarely shared.
I also wanted to recognise and honour the positive and fun side as a counterbalance all the hard work that goes into teaching, which is usually the central focus of many PDs.
The session was simple. After a quick introduction, I told a few funny stories of faux pas, pronunciation confusions, hilarious misspellings and cultural misunderstandings to get the ball rolling. We then divided up into four groups of about six people and spent the time exchanging the memorable times that it made us laugh in English class.
This session was informal, friendly and funny. It was a wonderful way to end the day. The participants who came were very generous in sharing their stories and experiences and it was lovely to hear laughter flowing easily.
Here are a few highlights from my two sessions. A massive thanks to Elliot Kirkwood Photography for providing all session photos other than my presentation slides – what a professional!