Past winners - Contribution to Professional Practice


The winner of the 2017 Contribution to Professional Practice award was Melinda Gamlen from Adelaide University English Language Centre for her essay entitled "How drama can help global citizens to flourish in English".

The judges commented that Melinda's paper was well-written, well supported by literature and full of practical advice for teachers wanting a bit more high drama in their classrooms.

View Melinda's working paper "How drama can help global citizens to flourish in English" here.

 Contribution to Professional Practice Melinda Gamlen, Sasha Hampson (Pearson) & Marc Weedon-Newstead

 Melinda Gamlen, Sasha Hampson (Pearson) and English Australia Chair Marc Weedon-Newstead


The 2016 winners were Sandra Caon-Parsons and Paula Dimmell from English Language Centre, Professional & Continuing Education, The University of Adelaide for their paper ''Creating opportunities for students to connect in a global context." The paper detailed the Intercultural Competency program and curriculum framework, which Sandra and Paula developed, designed to create meaningful and personalised opportunities for mixed-ability learners to develop their Intercultural Competency skills. The program has been embedded across all courses at the University of Adelaide's English Language Centre.

According the the award judges, the strength of this paper was the practical support which the Intercultural Competency program offers to those teaching ELICOS. They described the program as distinct and innovative in the way that it helps learners understand and communicate more successfully with people from other cultures.

The paper itself described in detail the program’s clear rationale, curriculum fit and relationship with the graduate attributes of the University of Adelaide in ‘preparing all students for performing in a global context.’


Sandra and Paula (centre) with Sasha Hampson from Pearson (L) and English Australia Chair Marc Weedon-Newstead



The 2015 winners were Jose Lara & Lesley Speer from Macquarie University English Language Centre, NSW for their paper on their centre’s Book Club Café to encourage extensive reading.

The judges agreed that Jose and Lesley’s presentation is a wonderful example of practically-oriented classroom exploratory research that is transferable to many contexts involving second language learners. It is grounded in a significant issue that is faced by many teachers in ELT. It outlines in good detail a way to implement extensive reading in a novel and teacher/student friendly manner. The results are encouraging and should be striking enough to encourage other teachers to apply it to their own contexts. A thoroughly good example of effective, innovative exploratory research!


     Jose and Lesley with Pearson's Sasha Hampson and English Australia Chair, Marc Weedon-Newstead



The 2014 winner was Vicki Bos, a teacher at the Institute of Continuing & TESOL Education, the University of Queensland (ICTE-UQ) for her paper on the benefits of a student choir and how to set one up.

The judges were unanimous in selecting Vicki as the winner, describing the approach as ‘creative and innovative’, and agreeing that it has the potential to play an ‘immense’ role in raising student confidence within and outside the classroom.

Participants in Vicki's workshop at the conference sang at the conference close, much to the delight of choristers and audience alike!

2014 Award for Contribution to Classroom Practice

 Vicki receives her award from English Australia Chair, Marc Weedon-Newstead and Christina Tandog (from sponsors Pearson).


This year's recipients were Karen Benson, Julijana Stepanova & Amanda Eads from Strathfield College, NSW for their paper on extensive reading. The team undertook an action research project to investigate how to engage their learners in reading, and this was so successful it is now part of the college program. 

This was a unanimous choice for the judges, who commented on the depth and detail of the paper as well as the potential impact on colleges. It presents a clear outline of how teachers can implement an extensive reading program and how this can provide considerable support to students. 

Karen Benson (Right) receiving the award from Pearson's Tina Tandog on behalf of her colleagues.




Barbara Craig and Sandra Pitronaci were the recipients of the 2012 Award for their paper 'Jazz it up, Teacher! Music Club promotes pronunciation, fluency and off-beat engagement in an ELT classroom'. The paper related how a Music Club was set up at the college with a very positive response from students, and included points for teachers on setting up a simlar program in their contexts. Judges praised the winner’s paper as a ‘good clear outline’ of a practical idea that came out of identified needs at the college. They thought teachers would appreciate the fact that no special musical talent or knowledge was needed and noted that it would be well worth implementing in other ELICOS contexts. Click here for a PDF of their presentation.

2012 Award for Contribution to Professional ELICOS Practice

Sonia Wilson, Pearson Australia's General Manager, Professional, Vocational and English Language (L) with Barbara Craig & Sandra Pitronaci


Barbara Craig has worked at Macquarie University English Language Centre for the past 10 years as teacher, student advisor and Senior Teacher. She is currently Head of Academic Programs at the centre. She holds a Masters in Applied Linguistics.

'We have had great fun developing our Music Club and watching our students benefit from it.' she said. 'To have received this award from English Australia and Pearson Australia is an added delight and we are very grateful to them for their encouragement and support.'

Sandra Pitronaci is Senior Teacher, Programs, at Macquarie University English Language Centre, where she has worked for the past five years. She has been teaching LOTE and ESL for 13 years, and is currently completing an MA in Applied Linguistics.

'We feel extremely chuffed to have been recognised by Pearson and English Australia with this award - thank you for the encouragement! Our main message to other teachers in the industry is that Music Club is something that anyone with a bit of enthusiasm can do – we hope others give it a try in their schools too'.



Juliana Kendi, Coordinator of ELICOS Programs at La Trobe Melbourne, was the 2011 winner for her paper ‘Developing students’ critical thinking skills and motivating teachers and students in an EAP program’ in which she described an action research project set up at La Trobe Melbourne to prepare students more effectively for university study and to motivate teachers as well as students. In the project students were given a ‘transition’ lesson taught by two teachers collaboratively using local university students as facilitators in discussions. This transition was to the final ten weeks of the EAP program. The project was very successful and has led to the transition lesson becoming a permanent part of the La Trobe Melbourne program.

Juliana has worked for eight years as teacher, teacher trainer and coordinator in ELICOS at the International College at La Trobe University and is currently involved in curriculum development. She holds an MA in Applied Linguistics and her research interests include methods for improving the readiness of students for successful tertiary study in Australia.

Juliana commented ‘ I was thrilled to receive the award and felt honoured and very thankful to English Australia and Pearson Education for the professional recognition associated with this award, and for encouraging ELT practitioners to undertake research and further the knowledge, understanding and advances of the ELICOS sector in Australia’.



Peter Copeman, from the University of Canberra’s Academic Skills Program and formerly from ANU College, received the award for his paper ‘Kinaesthetic voice-setting for intelligible pronunciation: towards a performance manual’, which reports part of his ongoing classroom research in the use of actor voice training techniques to teach ESL pronunciation. Peter’s career encompasses not only teaching English language and academic skills, but also actor training, scriptwriting, theatre directing, filmmaking, intercultural performance and anthropology. Trained in directing at NIDA, he also has a doctorate in creative arts from the University of Wollongong and an MA in dramaturgy from Calgary in Canada, as well as various teaching qualifications. He has several major awards for his playwriting (including two Australian Writers’ Guild AWGIEs) and for his theatre training.

‘It’s an honour to receive recognition from the ELICOS industry for my work in English language teaching and research’, Peter said. ‘ELICOS conditions don’t always promote a research culture, so this award is an important step for Pearson Australia, as a key publisher in the field, to have taken with English Australia to encourage researched-based teaching. And the generous prize money will be of great assistance with my ongoing research.’



Ian Johnson from EA Queensland member Griffith English Language Institute received the award for his paper 'Utilising cultural diversity in the English language classroom'. Ian has been involved in ELT for 40 years and is passionate about cultural inclusion. He sits on the Griffith English Language Enhancement Strategies Committee and is a member of the Griffith team awarded a grant for a two-year project to create templates and best practice guides for embedding intercultural competencies into the university's curricula. He is planning to use the prize money to visit Kanda International University English Language Centre and has been invited to present his prizewinning paper to the Gyeyonnggi International Teachers' Conference in Korea.

Ian thanked English Australia and Pearson Australia for providing the award and commented 'I was extremely delighted to receive the award. It was such an honour to stand up to do so in front of my colleagues and peers. I encourage all ELT practitioners to seriously consider entering the award. The hard work and research I undertook in preparing my paper and presentation have produced professional rewards way beyond simply winning the award. After all, it is the journey and not the goal that counts!'

Ian Johnson (centre), winner of the 2009 EA Pearson Award, with EA Chair, Seamus Fagan (left) and Dean Craig, Pearson Marketing Manager.



Andrew Foley, Centre Manager of the South Australian College of English, Adelaide, a member of English Australia, won for his presentation on 'Using academic word lists in the communcative classroom'. Andrew has been a teacher and educational manager in England, Spain, Australia and, most recently, Cambodia, where he worked for IDP Education in Phnom Penh. Andrew has just finished his Masters in Applied Linguistics.

Andrew said 'I'm very happy to receive the award from Pearson and would like to thank them for the positive contribution they are making to encourage professional development in ELT in Australia'.



The first recipient of the Award was Denise Norton from English Australia Member College Deakin University English Language Institute for her paper 'Promoting Group Participation: A conscious approach to collaboration' . Denise used her prize money to travel to the 2008 IATEFL conference.

Denise commented that 'The English Australia-Pearson Australia award is a wonderful opportunity for Australian ELICOS professionals. Winning the award at the 2007 English Australia Conference gave me the opportunity to present my paper at this year's IATEFL conference in Exeter, where I had the opportunity to meet up with delegates from around the world and to see a wider, more diverse world of English language teaching. I would encourage anyone with a professional interest in best ELICOS practice to submit a paper at the English Australia Conference and nominate for this award'.

For further information contact the English Australia Secretariat,, or (02) 9264 4700