February 2021 | VALBEC | Web version


VALE Cheryl Wiltshire

On behalf of the VALBEC committee and membership, we extend our sympathy to the family, friends and colleagues of Cheryl Wiltshire, who passed away as a result of a car crash on Thursday 14 January, 2021.

Cheryl also played an important role in the Australian Council of Adult Literacy (ACAL). VALBEC invites you to reflect on Cheryl’s life and works and share your stories with ACAL in her memory.

Since last week ACAL has received many tributes to Cheryl. You can read them, and more about Cheryl in the link below. There’s also a link to the Western Australia Adult Literacy Council pages that detail her massive contribution to adult literacy and numeracy in WA.



1. From the President

Happy New Year to all our members and friends. The Valbec committee met today at our annual planning day to work out how best to serve our members needs.

This year we are offering an adult literacy and / or numeracy teacher a Mentorship. This offer is open to any teacher working as an adult literacy and / or numeracy teacher primarily with English speaking background students. The mentorship includes free membership of VALBEC, attendance at all Professional Learning offered by VALBEC in 2021, including the conference and attendance at one other relevant professional conference. It also includes associate membership of the VALBEC committee, a mentor from the committee and receipt of the Fine Print journal. The only other eligibility requirement is that the person be working in the field for 5 years or less. If you are interested please send an email to info@valbec.org.au outlining your interest.

The committee have also made the decision to offer all Professional Learning sessions free to members this year – we are planning on running 6 sessions this year with the broad themes of Digital literacy, Scaffolding reading for adults, Numeracy, Adult learners with a mild intellectual disability, Singing in the classroom and we will be bringing Tori Wilson down to present on working with EAL students who have experienced trauma. She was last year’s keynote speaker at the conference.

Speaking of the conference – I know we were very late sending out the evaluation surveys, but your feedback is really important, especially as we need to know what worked and what didn’t for our first wholly online conference. Help us to not repeat our mistakes and improve on our successes!

Linno Rhodes
VALBEC President

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2. Committee Contributions

The UN Year of Peace and Trust – Denise Reynolds

The Beatles learnt Transcendental Mediation (TM) after meeting Maharishi whilst he was on a lecture tour in England. They then spent several weeks studying with Maharishi in a retreat in Rishikesh, India.

Since then, many famous people have taken up the practice; David Lynch, Hugh Jackman, Jerry Seinfeld, to name a few. And 5 years ago, me.

In 2000, the Maharishi Global Country of World Peace was inaugurated. I like the notion of TM as an effective solution to the problem of world peace.

  •  A peaceful world means a world of peaceful individuals. The individual is the basic unit of society. A peaceful individual is the unit of a peaceful world. Bring peace to all individuals, and the problem of world peace is solved.
  • World peace can be a practical reality when the individuals of every nation are healthy, happy, and harmonious. Happiness is the basis of peace. Unless one is happy, any sense of peace one has will be constantly disturbed.
  • World peace is within the reach of every nation when happiness is within the reach of the citizens of the nation.
  • Every individual influences their surroundings through every thought, word, and action. When people are happy, productive, and at peace within themselves, their surroundings reflect their state of wellbeing, and peace is a natural result.
  • Transcendental Meditation dissolves stress within the individual by providing deep rest. At the same time the individual is strengthened, so accumulates less stress and fatigue in daily activity. An individual who is free from stress naturally generates happiness and harmony in their surroundings, and thereby contributes to world peace.
  • The nature of life is to progress. Change is a constant phenomenon in creation. Peace is the basis of progress, but progress maintains peace. To be progressive, one must be more creative day by day.

The above is adapted from https://maharishividyamandir.com/tm-world-peace where more on Transcendental Meditation can be found

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3. VALBEC Membership

Join or renew online.


Members receive:

  • Fine Print three times a year – a high quality 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.
  • Discounts for the Annual Conference and other VALBEC statewide professional development.
  • Issues-based forums.
  • Focus on significant policy issues impacting on the field.
  • Free numeracy resources.

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4. Upcoming PD

Webinar – Numerate individuals and their numerate environments

Wednesday 10th Feb 5:30pm AEDT by Zoom

With Dr. David Mallows (Principal Teaching Fellow, Institute of Education, University College London), Dr. Keiko Yasukawa, (Lecturer Applied Language and Literacy Studies, University of Technology Sydney), and Dr. Jeff Evans (Reader Emeritus in Adults’ Mathematical Learning, Middlesex University, London)

This workshop develops the topic of numerate individuals and their numerate environments. As ACAL members are aware, there is growing interest in improving adult numeracy. Increases in precarious employment, heavier burdens on individuals for self-managed economic and social well-being, and changes to ‘customer service’ support provided by private firms are a few of the reasons why having the proficiency and confidence to navigate numerate environments is more important than ever before.

The session picks up on themes discussed in a paper co-authored by the three presenters. There’s also a Fine Print article that covers some of the presentation’s content as well. However, we are most interested in participants relating the ideas in the readings to their own literacy and numeracy education contexts. Therefore, the majority of this session will be a chance for participants to engage in discussion with colleagues from around Australia.

Papers and registration

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5. Resources

Eats, shoots and leaves by Lynne Truss

Audio & video presentation to show how the use of commas makes a huge difference to meaning

The sounds of English –   https://www.soundsofenglish.org/th

Very handy site for non-english speaking students, gives specific help with tongue and mouth movements with sounds like th, ph.

The Ultimate Word Games Guide

Quality, free to use word games.


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6. Fine Print


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. Numeracy News

Good Numeracy practice for students

This is a link to a series of online tests that are organised by industries. The questions are a mix of Literacy and Numeracy questions that are generic. I did the one for Electrical and the questions were not electrical related but rather maths concepts that you could use in electrical.


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8. Unions

Australian Education Union


National Tertiary Education Union


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9. Employment Opportunities

Neighbourhood Houses Victoria list current job vacancies at neighbourhood houses across Victoria.


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