December 2019 | VALBEC | Web version

1. From the President

The VALBEC and FINE PRINT editorial committees would like to thank our funding body, ACFE, for their continued support and commitment to VALBEC and Fine Print.
We would like wish our subscribers and members a restful and relaxing summer and festive season.
We farewelled some important people from VALBEC this year – Don MacDowell who has led us in our admin for the past 20 years – I think he (fondly) said we were like herding cats! We also said goodbye to Lifetime Members Ann Haynes and Lynne Matheson. Other members to leave us were outgoing co-president Meg Cotter, and general committee members Karen Dymke and Kathrin Colgan. We thank you all for your time at VALBEC, the wealth of experience you shared and your commitment to the sector.

As they say, when one door closes another opens…we welcomed Anna Musgrove to the VALBEC admin role, and general committee members Chris Tully, Pam Mahlis, Sandy Iyngkaren, Kerrie Tomkin and Mieke Alexander (since resigned). We have 2 numeracy experts (Chris and Pam) on this year’s committee which is very exciting…watch this space.

In 2019 we held a successful and well attended conference, expertly convened by Rhonda Pelletier. Thanks Rhonda!
We held 4 workshops – we kicked off our PD calendar early in February with a workshop hosted by the leaders in Pronunciation in EAL teaching at Carringbush Adult Education; followed by Positive Psychology for Adult Learning with international Guests Kirke Olson and Sher Kamman and local Pos Psy expert, Marie MacLeod; next up was EAL teaching and Drama with Jodie Whitehurst; and finally another session on using Pos Psy in the adult classroom with Marie. Oh – and we just held our final session which was about Digital and Cyber safety and awareness and instructed by Shruti Malavde. If you have any thoughts on the types of PD you would like VALBEC to organise – please let us know.

This year we provided funding for an adult literacy practitioner to travel to San Diego to attend the ProLiteracy conference. I am very much looking forward to reading Tina Vlahos’ Fine Print article about her trip and all the thoughtful insights and connections she made. We hope to provide this funding on an annual or biannual basis as we strive to learn about what is happening overseas in this space.

We are looking forward to another wonderful year in 2020 – planning for the Annual VALBEC Conference in May is underway already with Rhonda once again convening with the support of new member Kerrie Tomkins.

We would also like to acknowledge the hard work of other organisations with whom we work – ACAL, The Reading and Writing Hotline, ALA, CMMs Nadia Casarotto and Cheryl Bartolo, other State organisations, Neighbourhood Houses Victoria, the Victorian ACE Policy Network, Adult Literacy Connect and Public Libraries Victoria – and wish them a safe and happy festive season.

Lastly, I would like to thank the Executive and General Committee members of VALBEC. We are all volunteers on the Committee and do so because we are committed to the sector and to providing quality professional development and advocacy to the many wonderful literacy and EAL practitioners out there.
Best wishes from Linno Rhodes, VALBEC President, on behalf of the VALBEC Committee

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2. Conferences

2020 VALBEC Conference – Call for Papers Out Soon

Now is the time to start thinking about 2020 and delivery for your students.

‘All Comers: Welcome’ is designed to make it easier to involve your students in the conference.

We invite you to consider the different ways you can present your students’ journeys:
A poster tour – make one poster size panel to show the journey of one or more students. The posters will be mounted on display boards along the wall of the auditorium. The first session after lunch will be a 45min ‘tour’ where everyone can walk around the room and view the work done, and talk to the students and their teachers. Posters remain your property and, we imagine, may make a great banner for your foyer.

Workshops, presentations, panel presentations, Q&A sessions
– these types of presentations may suit your needs.
– Time limit: 60 min – you should consider leaving 10 – 15 min for questions.
– Shorter sessions of 45min or 30min will also be considered

Find out more here

NHV Conference

Community Colleges Australia

Community Colleges Australia – 2019 Conference in November.


World Literacy Summit

The World Literacy Summit will be held in Oxford University in 2020. Call for papers close December 13.


2020 ACAL Conference

The 2020 ACAL conference will be held in Canberra. Details to follow.

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3. Resources

TAFE staff


Adult Community Education staff in the National Tertiary Education Union 


The right way to lead teacher learning

A note from Liz Gunn: VALBEC Committee Member

I subscribe to updates from the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Useable Knowledge website and I always find them extremely insightful. This recent post, titled “The right way to lead teacher learning” deals with the idea of ‘practice protocols’ for effective facilitation. Although most of you perform these good practices whenever you lead colleagues’ professional development, the post introduces range of terms and ideas that might be new to some VALBEC members.

Personally, I always feel a bit inadequate about creating excellent and exciting PD sessions, so I got a lot out of the post, especially the reminders to:
• Build collaboration into the structure of a PD session
• Listen for phrases like “You changed my mind when…” or “I did that thing you talked about and here’s what happened” because they mean collaboration is happening, and
• Pay attention to time so that you can get though all the material you need to cover

Hopefully this website post will inspire you when preparing your next PD for colleagues in 2020 (if not sooner).

Liz Gunn: VALBEC Committee Member, Fine Print Editorial Committee Member, and Melbourne Polytechnic, Language, Literacy and Education Support Teacher

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4. Special Dates Coming Up

  • 1 December – World AIDS day
  • 3 December – International Day of Persons with Disabilities

5. Professional Development

Get the TAEASS502 in one week during January Term Break!

Upgrade your TAE credentials with TAEASS502, Design & develop assessment tools
LWA is offering the TAEASS502 in Richmond, VIC.When: 6 – 10 January 2020
Face-to-face Delivery: Monday – 6 January and Tuesday -7 January 8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Where: 13 William Street Richmond, Vic 3121
Online Delivery: Online access for learning and tutorials
Cost: $350Training over one week via a combination of face-to-face and online. Participants work at their own pace to submit materials within the month of January.

Registration / queries: or email

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6. Fine Print: Is Paulo Freire still relevant?

Rob McCormack opens the latest issue of Fine Print by reflecting on this question 50 years after the first English translation of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. It is the first of a planned 3-part series on Freire to mark the anniversary, so make sure your membership is current for 2020 to ensure you get the rest of the story.

Also in this issue: Jodie Whitehurst speaks dramatically, Kirke Olson says thank-you, Trent Newman updates us on the Literacy 4.0 Project, Hanne Decat evaluates Web Based Training, Lynne Matheson reflects on Don MacDowall’s 20-year contribution to VALBEC, Linno Rhodes reports from the 2019 Learn Local Awards and Zoe Phillips makes us wish we’d got our act together and gone to Jode Whitehurst’s VALBEC workshop. Please take some time over the summer months to sit down with Fine Print and discover what your colleagues near and far have been saying and doing this year.

We are now turning our attention to content for 2020, so please contact us with your ideas – whether it’s something you would like to write for us or something you would like to see in print. Feedback on past content is also really valuable:

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