2011 English Australia Conference


Adelaide, South Australia

Around 350 delegates defied the current ELICOS downturn and attended the 2011 English Australia Conference, hosted by the South Australia branch of English Australia. From English Australia Chair David Matthews’ welcome where the positive outcomes of the Knight review into the student visa program were announced as they were released in Canberra, to TV chef and ‘local identity’ Dorinda Hafner’s uninhibited and uplifting final plenary, 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 enjoyed three days of information, challenge and inspiration to take back to their workplaces at a time when it is more important than ever that ELICOS is able to provide the best possible English language tuition and support to international students.


Adelaide Hilton

The program comprised speakers invited for their expertise on a broad range of ELICOS-related topics, together with presentations selected from the call for papers. Click here for PowerPoint presentations that were submitted by presenters.







Contexts of ELICOS

Once again the English Australia Conference was characterised by the active involvement of government, regulatory and professional bodies seeking to work more closely with ELICOS for better outcomes for all.

Chair of Education Adelaide Bill Spurr (right) gave the opening address, outlining the ways in which Education Adelaide works to ensure the international student experience in South Australia is a positive one.

With the international education industry continuing to experience a downturn in student numbers, many conference sessions and presentations focused on maintaining standards and providing up-to-the-minute information as well as identifying what we should be considering for the future.


 Bill Spurr opens the 201 English Australia Conference





Delegate at 2011 English Australia Conference

Some key sessions aimed at business managers and marketers included:

  • updates on government policy and the regulatory environment (ASQA, TEQSA, DIAC, Austrade, AEI/DEEWR, NEAS);
  • market updates from representatives of Austrade based in Korea and Eastern Europe as well as an update on student trends in China and Japan from AEI representative Karen Sandercock;
  • a panel on engaging with working holiday makers;a panel featuring regulatory, educational and marketing perspectives of the future of ELICOS;
  • a presentation from the Migration Institute of Australia on how to encourage best practice in education agents without regulation.

Paresh Kevat gave a featured workshop on where to find and how to use business intelligence and Austrade’s Marie Hill outlined the new ‘Australia Unlimited’ brand.



Teaching and learning

As always, what happens in and around the classroom is central to the conference and there were many presentations that addressed the perennial concerns of assessment, teaching with technology and teaching EAP as well as reminders of the increasing importance of English as a lingua franca and the need to help students become the global citizens they will need to be in the future.

Plenary speaker Dr Peter Woods outlined six ‘bridges’ that need to be crossed in order for colleges and universities to produce citizens comfortable communicating across cultures around the globe, Andy Hockley gave us some guidance in leading and managing educational programs in challenging times and Professor Elana Shohamy challenged us to consider what and how we are testing. Professor Andy Kirkpatrick outlined implications for English language teaching in the growing role of English as a lingua franca in the Asia region and Professor Mike McCarthy showed us how corpus collections of learner language can be used to design effective learner grammars.

Elana Shohamy (right) joined Dr Nick Saville, Eileen Tyson and Professor Anne Burns in a panel discussion of the future of ELT assessment, chaired by Dr Kieran O’Loughlin, covering classroom-based assessment, the use of technology, teacher research and ‘learning-oriented assessment’.

Elana Shohamy addresses 2011 English Australia Conference


Research was another focus of many conference sessions. There were presentations on research into how students develop IELTS band 7 proficiency; critical success factors for students moving from pathway to university; and Dr Betty Leask from the University of South Australia joined the conference to outline the IEAA’s research agenda. A colloquium was held to present the outcomes of projects undertaken for the 2011 English Australia / Cambridge ESOL Action Research in ELICOS program. The eight teacher-researchers outlined their main findings in six projects, which covered teaching reading to Arabic learners; making assessment rubric explicit; teaching grammar in EAP; raising learner awareness of their pronunciation; using blogs to encourage creative writing; and engaging students in independent learning.


The student voice

This year English Australia worked with the Council of International Students in Australia (CISA) to hold a forum in Adelaide in early September, where students from English Australia colleges discussed their experiences with CISA President Ms Arfa Noor. Three students then joined a panel comprising Anne Holmes from NEAS, Denise von Wald from Education Adelaide and George Masri from the Office of the International Student Ombudsman, who suggested ways in which their concerns could be addressed and ELICOS colleges could provide a better service for students.


Social & Networking Opportunities – Recognition and Celebration

Guests at the 2011 English Australia Conference gala dinner

Delegates caught up with colleagues from across the industry at the welcome reception, sponsored by IELTS. Councillor Sue Clearihan welcomed delegates on behalf of the Mayor of Adelaide. The gala conference dinner was held at the beautiful National Wine Centre where a superb dinner was followed by presentation of the 2011 English Australia Awards and dancing.

Delegates also had the opportunity to network and share the challenges and successes in their roles with their peers at the two Networking Breakfasts – one for Directors of Studies, with special guest Andy Hockley, and the other for Administration/Marketing/Student Support Staff, with English Australia Executive Director Sue Blundell.



The Chair of English Australia, David Matthews, the English Australia Council and English Australia’s Executive Director Sue Blundell are very grateful for the support from conference sponsors who included platinum sponsor IELTS; gold sponsors Cambridge English; silver sponsor ETS TOEFL®; and bronze sponsors Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press and Pearson.

English Australia would also like to thank the members of the South Australia Program Committee as well as all those who gave their time and energy to presenting and chairing sessions that contributed to the success of the conference.