2013 English Australia Conference
25-27 September, Perth Convention and Exhibition Centre, WA
Click here for the final program
Click here for PDFs of presentations and handouts
Click here for photographs
Perth, and the members of the WA Branch of English Australia, put on a wonderfully warm welcome for the more than 260 delegates who attended the 2013 English Australia Conference. The welcome addresses, from WA Minister for Education, the Hon. Peter Collier (left), at the welcome event and the Hon. Lisa Scaffidi (right), Lord Mayor of Perth at the conference opening the next day were sincere expressions of appreciation of the contribution that the ELICOS sector and international students make to the region and Program Committee Convenor Nicki Blake’s personal and moving welcome inspired delegates to make the most of their time at the event.
Delegates and presenters reflected on how to make sure the students have the best possible experience while they are learning English in Australia, exploring the conference theme of ‘It’s still about the students...’. Teachers, teacher trainers, managers, marketers, student support staff, students, academics, representatives of regulatory, peak and government bodies as well as suppliers of information and services to the ELICOS industry came together to learn as well as be re-inspired and reinvigorated.
Our opening plenary speaker, Andrew Lee, set the scene very effectively with a theme that was taken up throughout the conference - cultivating curiosity. Mini-plenary speaker Anne Burns gave a great practical outline of considerations in teaching speaking, and Jim Elliot’s plenary presentation on international student mental health issues was very well-received. Popular ELT author and blogger Scott Thornbury (left) shared an exploration of the relationship between language learning and the body with an appreciative audience.
In the concurrent sessions business managers and marketers had opportunities to get the low-down on ELICOS markets, with Austrade representatives, and insights into how to develop strong relationships with agents, with a panel convened by John Paxton. Invited speaker Barb Wood from AIM WA gave a terrific presentation on management and leadership practices.
There was plenty for those involved in academic programs with the annual Action Research in ELICOS Program colloquium, plus a range of practical sessions on EAP, assessment, academic management and using technology. Invited speaker Jill Hadfield outlined how to help students actualise their visions of themselves as learners. A session on complaints handling by Doris Gibb from the Office of the International Student Ombudsman and an outline of a very successful program of community engagement by the team from University of Newcastle Language Centre were also popular. Delegates were moved by personal stories from members of the Council for International Students of Australia (CISA) from their project ‘I am not Australian but I have an Australian story’ and we were delighted that the CISA people were able to join us.
The conference ended on a high with the return of the GrEAt Debate, deftly chaired by Paul Aucoin. Pamela Humphreys led her team of Jill Hadfield and Mike McCarthy to a narrow victory over Ruby Biscuit’s team, comprising Iain Watt and Liam Brown, arguing that the customer is NOT always right. We were pleased that Mike’s jetlag-induced (he says) argument in support of the proposition did not jeopardise the team’s success!
Again the social program proved very popular with delegates, as long-standing connections were reunited and new connections made throughout the three days of the conference. At the welcome event the outstanding contribution to the English Australia Board of founding Board member, and Chair for many years, Christine Bundesen (Director of ICTE-UQ), was recognised for her 23 years on the Board and UWA CELT Director Bianca Panizza, an English Australia Board member for 13 years, was also thanked for her significant contribution.
The glittering and glamorous gala dinner, held this year at the Duxton Hotel, was attended by almost half the conference delegates. Guests participated in a celebration of contribution and achievement at the English Australia Awards presentation before a superb dinner and exuberant dancing. The three ‘networking breakfasts’ were also well attended.
The Chair of English Australia, Chris Wallis, the English Australia Board and English Australia’s Executive Director Sue Blundell are grateful for the support in challenging times from conference sponsors who included platinum sponsor IELTS; gold sponsor Cambridge English Language Assessment; and bronze sponsors ETS TOEFL®. Study Perth and the Perth Convention Bureau also generously provided support.
English Australia would also like to thank indefatigable Convenor Nicki Blake and the members of the WA Program Committee 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 2014
English Australia will hold its 27th annual conference in Melbourne in 2014 with the theme of ‘Quality: walking the talk’. The conference will be held on 18 & 19 September at the Crown Convention Centre, Southbank, with pre-conference events planned for 17 September. Click here if you would like to receive conference updates.