2018 VALBEC Conference • Friday, May 18

Literacy 4.0: preparing for new workplaces and literacy education practices


Morning session: 9:30am – 12:00 noon


Welcome Meg Cotter and Linno Rhodes, VALBEC co-presidents

Lynne Matheson MC

Keynote Literacy events in Industry 4.0 – implications for literacy educators

Prof Lesley Farrell and Dr Chris Corbel, University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education

The keynote presentation will be delivered by Professor Lesley Farrell and Dr Chris Corbel who are members of The Language and Literacy Research Hub located within the University of Melbourne Graduate School of Education.

They will review their findings concerning Literacy 4.0. Their focus will be on two main aspects of Industry 4.0, the gig economy and the smart factory. They will then sketch out their understandings of the implications of the findings for literacy educators in workplaces, the community and schools, with a view to setting up a continuing debate.

More on Literacy 4.0 >Professor Lesley Farrell and Dr Chris Corbel’s presentation will be followed by a panel discussion in which participants will respond.




Garry Argent, Michael Taylor, Laura Chapman

l to r: Garry Argent, Michael Taylor, Laura Chapman


  • Michael Taylor, National Policy and Projects Manager, Education and Training Aigroup.
  • Garry Argent, Learning Support Consultant, Master Builders Association of Victoria.
  • Laura Chapman, Volunteer Program Manager and coordinator of the Adult Literacy Program at Carringbush Adult Education.

Discussion groups 11.00 am (includes a working morning tea)

The audience will be invited to move to break out spaces for facilitated discussions.

Auditorium, Flagstaff 1 & Flagstaff 2

Lunch 12 noon – 12.50pm


Workshops: 12:50pm – 3:00pm

On the day choose two workshops, each of one hour duration.

Block 1 • 12.50pm – 1.50pm


Plumbing for Numeracy!

Debbie Sperandio

Flagstaff 1

How do plumbers use numeracy? What numeracy skills are needed to install a washbasin or dig? Let’s tap into how plumbers use numeracy in their work tasks!
This workshop will explore how numeracy is embedded in work skills using plumbing as a case study. We will discuss a framework, which can be applied to any industry, for unpacking numeracy skills required for typical plumbing tasks. We will explore how we can plan for targeted numeracy skills development for employability.

Debbie Sperandio has spent most of her teaching career teaching LLN skills in industry and has managed and facilitated over 45 WELL (Workplace English and Language) programs in a diverse range of industries, including manufacturing, construction, engineering, aged care, childcare, food processing and community services. This involved identifying and unpacking foundation skills relevant to each industry and workplace and developing workers LLN skills to meet employability needs. Debbie has worked on a range of vocational programs to support the development of foundation skills. Debbie works in the Academic and Learning Skills Support at Chisholm TAFE.


Engaging disadvantaged learners

Cate Thompson

Flagstaff 2

Cate Thompson

Cate Thompson

There is global recognition that having a job is one of the most powerful determinants of quality of life. How do we assist our disadvantaged, disengaged learners to move from unemployment and associated disadvantages into employment and positive life options?
This global challenge is one that the ACFE sector have been working to address over decades. It is also a challenge that is gaining increased attention within the European community in the context of social change.
This workshop will share some of the findings from my International Specialised Skills Institute HESG Fellowship undertaken in 2017 to identify key elements and most important factors that contribute to effectiveness in adult learning processes on EU disadvantaged adult learners.

Cate Thompson has worked in numerous roles within the education sector, all of which had a focus on supporting disadvantaged learners to improve life opportunities. She was the Project Manager for the development of the initial A Frame, initiated and managed Victorian Association for Applied Learning and developed several Social Enterprises that gave learners the opportunity to gain employment skills in supported work and learning programs. In 2017 she and her colleague, Karen Dymke, undertook an International Specialised Skills Institute Fellowship focussed on best practice in the European sector of informal learning – engaging disadvantaged learners. She currently works part time as a Community Development practitioner at a Learn Local, where she is involved in developing programs based on both her Australian experience in the field of literacy and pre-accredited learning and her findings from the fellowship.


Getting blended

Kathrin Colgan and Ruth Ryan


Kathrin Colgan and Ruth Ryan

Kathrin Colgan and Ruth Ryan

Exploring new ways to design blended learning activities for LLN and CALD students can be a challenge. This workshop will be hands on, as well as offering effective tips for instructional design and dealing with copyright.
Participants will familiarise themselves with blended learning tools and applications such as Moodle, Edmodo, Nearpod, Kahoot, and Edpuzzle. There will be opportunities to share successes and strategies for overcoming difficulties in implementing blended delivery tools in the classroom. At the end of the workshop participants will have enhanced their technological skills and have an engaging activity to take away and trial with their students.

This will be a BYOD workshop so please download Nearpod, Kahoot and Edpuzzle before the session.

Kathrin Colgan has worked in a range of LLN roles where she has taught Foundation skills to assist EAL and literacy students gain employability and digital skills to pursue study pathways or jobs in their chosen careers. Kathrin’s professional efforts were recognised with the 2017 Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award she received at the Australian Training Awards. She is interested in innovative curriculum design and is currently an EAL Teacher at Chisholm Institute.

Ruth Ryan has worked in EAL for nearly 20 years in Australia and overseas. She has taught the full range of levels from absolute beginners to advanced students. She has been involved in all aspects of teaching, from creating engaging curriculum to writing assessments. Ruth is always on the lookout for ways to enhance both the teaching and learning experience and has been instrumental in getting often reluctant teachers engaged with some of the latest and greatest tech in the classroom.


Digital expertise beyond the classroom

Liz Gunn

Docklands 1

Liz Gunn

Liz Gunn

Micro-business or entrepreneurial skills are increasingly seen as necessary to participate in Industry 4.0. The Stepping Stones micro-enterprise program is a BSL initiative that is proving successful in helping immigrant women set up their own small business. Liz investigated the online (and offline) language and literacy practices used by Stepping Stones entrepreneurs’ to promote their businesses. Liz will discuss her research and talk about how these insights into micro-entrepreneurs’ literacy practices might inform foundational literacy teaching.

Liz Gunn is a researcher and teacher of adult English language and literacy. Liz has taught in a range of settings including outback Northern Territory, rural Victoria and urban Melbourne. She is passionate about identifying and applying students’ strengths in learning and teaching in the digital economy.

Block 2 • 2:00pm – 3:00pm


Grappling with the ACSF core skill of Learning

Philippa McLean and Anne Howard

Docklands 1

Philippa Mclean and Anne Howard

Philippa Mclean and Anne Howard

Philippa has been working with the ‘Yes, I Can’ program in NSW to translate the ACSF Learning skill to pick up developments that students have made as a critical area of progress. She is developing an observation sheet that explains each Performance Feature with examples of what the skill looks like in practice. These observation sheets will be developed for different contexts, such as a large TAFE or a small community provider. Participants in this workshop will be engaged in exploring the ACSF core skill of Learning and relating it to different learner cohorts to test drive how the observation sheet may be applied and adapted.

Philippa McLean has extensive and successful experience in the VET sector, with particular expertise in adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy LLN. In recent years Philippa’s prime focus has been on the delivery of professional development and project work for the adult LLN sector at a state-wide and national level. Philippa has worked on national projects developing exemplar LLN assessment tools and delivery resources. Philippa also undertakes independent validation of LLN assessment tools and processes. Philippa was the project manager and key writer for the development of the Australian Core Skills Framework, ACSF (Commonwealth of Australia 2012) and the ACSF Pre Level 1 (Commonwealth of Australia 2017).

Anne Howard has many years of experience in the VET sector and in the SEE and AMEP Programs. Anne has expertise in the pre-training assessment area and was co-lead of the team that conducted, analysed and acted on the pre-training assessment for the VET areas. Anne worked as a Subject Matter Expert on the ACSF team at ACER, developing the online Foundation Skills Assessment Tool (FSAT) as well as various projects for Escalier McLean. Anne currently works at Victoria University Polytechnic as the manager of English and Foundation Courses (Western Melbourne English Program).


Swipe, tap and type! Digital literacy for beginner adult EAL Learners

Hayley Black


Hayley Black

Hayley Black

‘Technology Afternoons’ support adult EAL learners to develop their digital literacy skills, and to use technology as a platform for EAL learning at Carringbush Adult Education. The team-teaching model also enables teachers to collaboratively develop their teaching skills for digital literacy learning. This workshop will provide an overview of the program model, demonstrate teaching strategies and show examples of websites, apps and resources. It will also be an opportunity for teachers to share their own strategies and digital resources that have assisted their learners.

Hayley Black is an EAL teacher with a secondary school EAL and Media teaching background. Her Masters of TESOL project focussed on digital literacy for beginner adult EAL learners.


Transitions – exploring, teaching and learning strategies for the gig economy

Rhonda Pelletier and Karen Manwaring

Flagstaff 2

Karen Manwaring and Rhonda Pelletier

Karen Manwaring and Rhonda Pelletier

Much of the work of teaching requires educators to read the classroom environment to work out how students use their language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills to complete their work and to engage with their fellow learners. Then follows the work of matching the learning to the criteria to record and report on the training. With shifting priorities and changing demands how do educators keep pace?
In this workshop participants will explore ways of recognising and working with LLN skills that students will need to work in Industry 4.0. Working from what we know now, how can we be ready to draw on resources offered by real workspaces, work methods, resources and technology? At the end of this workshop you will have ideas to approach planning, research, design, delivery and assessment of LLN skills for emerging workplaces.

Rhonda Pelletier has a breadth of experience teaching in youth and adult education for second language speakers including teaching overseas, in WELL programs and now in ELICOS. Her knowledge and skills in analysing learning environments and designing programs for learners developed through coordinating or managing programs.

Karen Manwaring has worked as a teacher, co-ordinator and project manager in Learn Local, TAFE and Higher Education settings. She co-ordinated Ready for Change with Port Melbourne and St Kilda Neighbourhood Centres, a mentoring project for learners returning to education and employment. Karen teaches in the Learning Skills Unit at Melbourne Polytechnic and is a technical writer of online VET content at RMIT. She also teaches creative writing to public housing residents in St Kilda as part of the Our Voices project with Port Melbourne Neighbourhood Centre.


Lighting the way for low level literacy learning

Mieke Alexander

Flagstaff 1

This workshop will explore a range of ways of introducing and improving a lesson on literacy. Working through some tried and true activities such as ‘brain warmers’, participants will discuss how talk can be an engaging way, for even the most reluctant learners to start every lesson, to launch a new topic and warm up thinking. Mieke will share her knowledge and innovative strategies that encourage learners to contribute and drive literacy learning. She will cover integrated aspects of reading, writing and oracy with some takeaways for applying in different classroom settings. All topics will involve input from the participants so that a wide range of ideas and discussion will be guaranteed.

Mieke Alexander

Mieke Alexander

Mieke Alexander has taught for many years in primary education, gifted and remedial programs, and most recently across VCAL and CGEA programs. She has presented in-service training on gifted children, integrated curriculum, learning to learn, assessing mathematics, thinking curriculum and designing rich assessment tasks. She has developed a range of strategies to help students overcome literacy issues and improve engagement and was part of a team that won a National award for Quality Schooling 2006, an Australian wide recognition for innovative teachers.

Conference summary and close: 3.00-3.30pm

Meg Cotter and Linno Rhodes
VALBEC co-presidents


Refreshments 3.30pm – 4.30pm


VALBEC acknowledges the financial support of the ACFE Board.