2014 English Australia Conference
17-19 September, Crown Conference Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Click here for the final program
Click here for PDFs of presentations and handouts
Click here for photos from the conference.
Once again English Australia staff, together with the Victoria Branch Program Committee, put together a broad program to meet the needs of delegates working as teachers, teacher trainers, academic and business managers, marketers and student support staff.
The conference was formally opened by Sarah Henderson MP, Member for Corangamite (right), who attended as a representative of the federal Minister for Education, the Hon Christopher Pyne MP. She acknowledged the importance of ELICOS and international education to the nation and shared with delegates some upcoming announcements on the government’s engagement with the sector.
Opening plenary speaker Tess Julian outlined how colleges can set up and support ‘everyday innovation’ to ensure they are able to rise to the challenge of ongoing change. In concurrent ‘mini-plenary’ sessions David Graddol, Sheila Lunter (via video) and Niclas Jönsson shared their perspectives on opportunities for Australia in the Brazilian market while Mark Pegrum looked at the dual considerations of affordability and affordances when setting up a mobile learning program, then gave us some useful case studies. Adrian Underhill’s plenary presentation posed questions about quality in professional learning and development. David Graddol’s fascinating plenary presentation on Friday morning was a critical exploration of the role of English in different sectors of the economy, particularly the services sector (see left).
The concurrent sessions featured invited speakers as well as workshops and presentations selected from the call for proposals earlier in the year. There was a strong emphasis on educational technology, with sessions looking at both practical issues and wider implications. Assessment continues to be an important area, with a number of practical sessions presented by teachers as well as experts in the field such as Gad Lim. There was a range of presentations on professional development and once again the Action Research in ELICOS Program colloquium attracted considerable interest.
Marketing staff were well catered-for this year with well-received sessions on the future of student recruitment, social media, pricing strategies and future markets. Managers benefited from these sessions as well as the opportunity to engage with senior representatives from the Department of Education and the ELICOS regulators in sessions on the upcoming ESOS reforms.
After a moving performance by the English Australia Conference Choir, led by Award for Contribution to Classroom Practice winner Vicki Bos from ICTE-UQ, the conference ended with another GrEAt Debate, where teams thrashed out the proposition ‘That quality is better than quantity’. Under the watchful eye of Moderator Tim Field,Nicki Blake captained her 'Team Quality' of Adrian Underhill and last-minute substitute Robin Simpson to victory over Pamela Humphreys’ team comprising Mauricio Pucci and Phiona Stanley. The creativity, wit and humour on display brought the conference to a very positive close.
Once again the Conference social program offered unique opportunities for delegates to meet up with old friends and connections and to make new ones. Always looking for new ways to engage member college staff, English Australia piloted a speed mentoring event, ably facilitated by Allen Blewitt, where experienced ELICOS managers shared their knowledge with those on the way up. The event was a raging success (for both mentees and mentors!) and English Australia is looking at ways this type of mentoring can be offered on an ongoing basis.
At the Welcome event the ELICOS community farewelled outgoing Chair of the English Australia Board Chris Wallis (Director of Swinburne College), thanking her for her years of contribution to the association through her active membership and her leadership as Chair. Tickets to the gala dinner, held this year at the Showtime Events Centre at South Wharf, sold out as the reputation of this sparkling event grows! Guests participated in a celebration of contribution and achievement at the English Australia Awards presentation before a superb dinner and some very fancy dancing. Guests at the dinner also gave ELICOS industry doyenne, Christine Bundesen, a standing ovation when her forthcoming retirement was announced. The three networking breakfasts, providing opportunities for academic managers, those interested in learning technologies and those involved in the ELT Barometer to mix and mingle, were also well attended and enthusiastically engaged in.
The Chair of English Australia, Marc Weedon-Newstead, the English Australia Board and English Australia’s Executive Director Sue Blundell are grateful for the support from conference sponsors who included Platinum sponsor IELTS (celebrating their 25th anniversary); Gold sponsor Cambridge English Language Assessment; Silver sponsor Education Interiors; and Bronze sponsors ETS TOEFL®, GuardMe and Pearson. Study Melbourne and Austrade also generously provided support.
English Australia would also like to thank Convenor Juliana Kendi and the members of the VIC Branch Program Committee for their contribution to shaping the program and for their delegate care as well as all those who gave their time and energy to presenting and chairing sessions that contributed so much to the success of the conference.
English Australia Conference 2015
English Australia will hold its 28th annual conference in Brisbane in 2015 with the theme of ‘Looking ahead: change, challenge and opportunity’. The conference will be held on 24 and 25 September at the Brisbane Hilton, with pre-conference events planned for 23 September. Click HERE if you would like to receive conference updates.