April 2021 | VALBEC | Web version

2021 AGM and presentation by PIP WILLIAMS, author of The Dictionary of Lost Words

VALBEC’s AGM is always a special time to reconnect with colleagues and get inspired for the year ahead. 2021’s AGM is especially inspiring as we meet Australian novelist Pip Williams. Pip’s first novel The Dictionary of Lost Words has received acclaim from Tom Kenneally and from reviewers who’ve said:

I can’t remember a novel so original, so perfectly executed, so wonderful that the very act of describing it brought me to tears.

Not only that, last week The Dictionary of Lost Words was announced as Australian independent booksellers’ favourite book of the year!

But what do words mean and does it matter where they come from?

Register for the AGM on April 21 to find out more about The Dictionary of Lost Words and Pip’s amazing journey writing her first novel!


VALBEC’s new Facebook Group

As you know, VALBEC aims to provide information and professional learning about adult literacy and numeracy education for our members and the wider field.

To make this an even more dynamic and interactive process, on March 28 we established VALBEC’s Facebook Group.

It’s a group for VALBEC members to share knowledge and discuss the professional work we’re engaged in.

It’s also a group for people new to the field who want to learn how to  support adult learners with quality literacy and numeracy education.

It’s a group for amigos and aficionados of adult literacy, numeracy and language, in Victoria, Australia and the world.

We look forward to seeing you there soon.



1. From the President

As April rolls around and we head into Easter, I am very much looking forward to VALBEC’s AGM where we vote in the committee for 2021-22. I hope some of you will consider joining us on the committee. We all know how important adult literacy is, and committees like VALBEC help to keep that on the agenda for our policy makers. I am also very proud of the professional learning that we offer our members and friends of VALBEC every year – from workshops throughout the year to the conference.

We are very fortunate this year to be joined by author Pip Williams who wrote The Dictionary of Lost Words. Pip will talk about words and their meaning.

Please go to our web page to register. https://archive.valbec.org.au/2021/03/14/2021-agm-and-speaker/

Here’s a review from The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/book-review-the-dictionary-of-lost-words-by-pip-williams-132503

Also – just as a ‘save the date’ we will have Tori Wilson present about trauma-informed work with EAL students in early May. Tori was our keynote at the 2020 conference and has generously agreed to present again for our members and friends.

Linno Rhodes
VALBEC President

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2. Committee Contributions

The UN Year of Peace and Trust – Pam Mahlis

The same way multilateral relations are necessary to ensure peace amongst nations, a relationship predicated on trust should exist between teacher and students within the classroom.

In developing trust, individuals must understand each other’s values and perspectives.

Having taught in a variety of different educational settings, I have found myself with a classroom of students who come from very diverse backgrounds. It is therefore vital that individuals understand the cultural and personal differences which may exist amongst their peers, and of greater importance the teacher should be able to facilitate a peaceful resolution when conflict may arise.

Therefore, this sort of understanding is essential not only in developing and maintaining trust but also in the aversion of conflict.

Acknowledging that peace and trust entails that students accept one another’s differences and should have the ability to listen to, recognise, respect and appreciate others, as well as living in a peaceful and united way. Teachers can educate students about the challenges and the importance of peace building using the Peace-building Toolkit for Educators.


The core skills of active listening, relationship building, and working cooperatively to find mutually agreeable solutions among students  is essential to create trust and peace.

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3. VALBEC Membership

Join or renew online.


Members receive:

  • 2021 – the VALBEC professional learning series of 6 workshops will be free to current individual members.
  • Discounts for the Annual Conference and other VALBEC statewide professional development.
  • Three issues of FINE PRINT per year – a quality LLN journal for discussion and debate about good practice, theory and policy issues. Feedback and contributions are actively sought from members about content and issues.
  • eVALBEC – our e-mail communication keeping members informed of professional development activities, general committee activities and more up to date policy changes.
  • Free online numeracy resources.
  • Focus on significant policy issues impacting on the field.

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4. Upcoming PD

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program

In case you missed it last month, here’s the link to the Victorian Education Department’s recently created Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners’ Program.

VALBEC would love to hear back from practitioners who have completed or are currently involved in the training. Email VALBEC with your feedback about ALNPP to help other practitioners learn more about the program and decide whether it’s relevant to them.


Join VALBEC’s new Facebook Group

Do you know about any relevant high-quality professional development for adult literacy and numeracy teachers? Join VALBEC’s new Facebook Group and share your ideas and experience with colleagues.

And while we’ve got your attention right now, share the link with other practitioners, VALBEC members or otherwise. Help teachers from the sector find VALBEC’s new forum for discussion about all things adult literacy, language and numeracy.


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5. Resources

Canva for Education

Canva have set up a space in their system for teachers to use with students. If you think image and visual literacy are important for communication in the 21st century then check out Canva’s Education resources here.


Cool Australia

A team of education specialists design and develop lesson plans and online courses. These resources are mapped to relevant year levels, learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities of the Australian Curriculum. The resources have a unique action-based approach, are free to access for teachers, available online via the Cool Australia website and are endorsed by leading education bodies.



A website created by the Victorian Department of Education and Training that has a wide range of online resources for teachers, parents and students of all ages.


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6. Fine Print

Free Resources

Have you heard about a book or other resource that sounds really good but your budget doesn’t stretch to buying it? If you’re willing to review the resource for Fine Print, email the details to Deryn Mansell at fineprintvalbec@gmail.com. Publishers will often provide free review copies to publications and we always let our reviewers keep these.Fine Print is seeking contributions from all corners of the adult literacy and numeracy community (including learners) for our 2021 journals. Have a look at the slides from our workshop at the VALBEC 2020 conference to get an idea of what we’re on about: https://bit.ly/valbecworkshop and email Deryn Mansell at fineprintvalbec@gmail.com to start a conversation.

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7. Unions

Australian Education Union


National Tertiary Education Union


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8. Special Dates


2 April – World Autism Awareness Day

7 April – World Health Day

12 April – Ramadan commences

22 April – Earth Day

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