March 2021 | VALBEC | Web version


1. From the President

Happy March everyone – the end of term one closing in on us – no one can believe how quickly that first term flies by…

At VALBEC we are planning our submission to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Adult Literacy and its importance. How can we possibly do that question/answer justice? As workers in the field we know how important it is – and how carefully we must explain its importance without going into the deficit approach. Therein lies the challenge. The submissions close on March 5 so there’s time to write…poise pens!

I have listened to two great podcasts this week – a new one from local educator, Ama Omran who hosts a new podcast called What The English? – The Adult Migrant Learner. We get to hear the voices of adult migrant learners and hear their stories. Always an important part of the teaching and learning journey to get to know who our learners are – learning doesn’t happen in a vacuum!

The other is a favourite of mine based in Ireland, but strangely relevant here – Conversations in Further Education. Funny how funding/policy issues are similar across the world.

Well, that’s it from me. Go well and Happy International Women’s Day to all people.

Linno Rhodes
VALBEC President

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2. Committee Contributions

Inspiring adult literacy panel discussion: ABC Radio National

Listen to an inspiring discussion between Jo Medlin (President Australian Council of Adult Literacy), Ian Roberts (former footballer turned actor) and Andrew Laming MP (Chair of the parliamentary inquiry into Adult Literacy), which contextualises perfectly the new inquiry into Adult Literacy and its importance: Your invitation to make a submission, highlighted in this month’s eVALBEC.

Jo speaks articulately about many of the key problems that present challenges in the field of literacy and numeracy teaching. Ian Roberts speaks about his experience of learning to read in his 30s when he became an acting student at NIDA. Andrew Laming is the chair of the inquiry into Adult Literacy. Listening to the program will give you ideas and inspiration for writing your submission to the inquiry below.

Go to ABC Radio National: adult literacy panel discussion

New inquiry into Adult literacy and its importance: Your invitation to make a submission

The Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has commenced a new inquiry into adult literacy and its importance. The Committee welcomes your views on any or all of the terms of reference.

Further information about the inquiry, including published submissions, details of any upcoming public hearings, and hearing transcripts will be available on the inquiry website

Submissions can be lodged through the inquiry website or by emailing

Submissions should be sent to the Committee by Friday, 5 March 2021 (You may consider requesting an extension to this date)

The UN Year of Peace and Trust – Linno Rhodes

In 1983, The newly elected Hawke government banned the damming of Tasmania’s Franklin River, and so began the popular wave of environmental activism in Australia. At that time I was a student at Rusden Teachers College (Julia Gillard was the head of the Australian Union of Students).

My student union subsidised a group of us to travel to Roxby Downs ( – we set off in an old HR station wagon and arrived at the Roxby Downs campsite some days later. It was here that I was introduced to Robin Morgan’s Anatomy of Freedom, which allowed me to start to think differently about all kinds of things in life – and gave me the freedom to be true to myself and who I was…as a 20-year old I gained so much energy from activism and I learned so much from the ‘peace movement’.

All around the world, every day there are protests – all coming down to issues of humanitarian concerns. I know it takes courage to protest – many governments outlaw protest and treat protesters harshly. In this year of Peace and Trust, I admire those people who take to the streets to protest and to stand up for human rights, or advocate on behalf of other issues. I am grateful to those people who continue to say no in this way. More power to them.  Peace – Linno.

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3. VALBEC Mentorship


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 outlining your interest.

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4. 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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5. Upcoming PD

VALBEC Professional Learning Survey

VALBEC delivers a range of professional learning events every year. We want to hear from members about their experiences of professional learning in 2020 and what they’d like to see more and less of in 2021. The survey is anonymous unless you would like to share your email for follow up in further discussion or get involved further in the planning and content of VALBEC’s professional learning offerings in 2021.

Go to VALBEC Professional Learning Survey

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program

If you work for a Learn Local you’ve probably heard about the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program by now. The Adult, Community and Further Education (ACFE) Board’s Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program (ALNPP) Initiative is a professional development program designed to build the capability of Learn Local trainers in literacy and numeracy delivery. Click on the links here to find out  more about this initiative designed to build practitioner capacity and increase literacy learning capital in the adult community environment.

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Practitioners Program

What’s new in Foundation Skills?

VOCEDplus: NCVER’s research database has recently added and highlighted two new resources;

(1) Reading Writing Hotline – Feedback from the Language, Literacy and Numeracy sector, and

(2) NCVER research report investigating the contribution of community education providers foundation skills training in regional Australia.

Search this website for these and many more adult literacy and foundation skills resources

VOCEDplus: VET Practitioner resource: Foundation Skills

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6. Resources


The LINCS community of practice offers, self-paced online courses, and searchable resources, adult education practitioners nationwide harness the power of collaboration and sharing to improve educational outcomes.


Be Connected

Be Connected is an Australia wide initiative empowering all Australians to thrive in a digital world. The website has online learning resources as well as a Network of community partners – the Be Connected Network – who offer support so you can develop your digital skills and confidence.


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7. Fine Print


Fine Print is a place for sharing ideas about language, literacy and numeracy education. Writing for Fine Print is a great way to contribute to your industry while developing your own professional skills – and we’re now taking submissions. Please email Fine Print editor, Deryn Mansell, to talk about your ideas:


8. Numeracy News

Numerate Individuals and numerate environments: ACAL webinar

On Feb 10, ACAL presented a numeracy webinar called Numerate individuals and their numerate environments presented by Dr. David Mellows, Dr. Jeff Evans and Keiko Yasukawa. It had some pre-reading from fine print which is interesting to read. The pre-reading are Fine Print article interviewing Dr. Mellows  in Volume 43 -3-2020 and an article called “Shifting the gaze: from numerate individuals to their numerate environment” by Jeff Evans, Keiko Yasukawa, David Mellows and Jana Kubascikova. They are both worth a read.

Link to webinar recording on YouTube

Link to pre-readings

Revisiting a Numeracy Resource from 2017

This numeracy resource is on the wonderful “LLN and VET Meeting Place: An Intersection of LLN and VET Practitioners” blogsite currently administered by Chemene Sinson.

This 2017 post is a treasure trove of ideas about workplace literacy. From statistics about workplace numeracy and the need to support and develop quantitative skills of 21st century workers, to 3 accessible resources for introducing numeracy concepts in industries such as classroom learning and hospitality and construction contexts. There is much to learn from and support development of numeracy teaching practice to suit a range of students here


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9. Unions

Australian Education Union


National Tertiary Education Union


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10. Special Dates


March 8 – International Women’s Day

March 8 – Labour Day holiday (VIC)

I love to re-visit Bread and Roses at this time of the year, a poem commemorating women and labour. You can access it here: Bread and Roses

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11. Employment Opportunities


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

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