Art Gallery of Western Australia: Schools Program

WATESOL was recently contacted by AGWA’s Education Assistant Eva Mampaey, regarding their school program. Eva writes,

I would like to introduce you to AGWA’s upcoming exhibitions and school programs of 2015. Please find the brochure attached.    Our school programs range across the curriculum, including English and Languages other than English. The exhibition Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices might be of particular interest to the members of the Westralian Association for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and their students.    

Click here to view the schools program brochure and here to learn more about Treasure Ships: Art in the Age of Spices.

detail: Japan, Scenes of traders in Nagasaki, Mid 18th century Nagasaki pair of hand scrolls, opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper; box, wood, paper and ink 313.0 x 35.0 cm each M.J.M. Carter AO Collection through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2014 Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide
detail: Japan, Scenes of traders in Nagasaki, Mid 18th century Nagasaki
pair of hand scrolls, opaque watercolour, ink and gold on paper; box, wood, paper and ink
313.0 x 35.0 cm each
M.J.M. Carter AO Collection through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 2014
Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide

CAES National Conference 11-13 June Hong Kong

WATESOL members may be interested in taking advantage of the extension of the early bird registration and payment deadline to 3 May 2015 for the CAES National Conference.

Professor Ken HylandDirector of CAES Dear friends and colleagues,We would like to warmly welcome you to Hong Kong for the Faces of English Conference in June 2015. Hong Kong is a particularly appropriate place to celebrate this theme as English has long been at the centre of life and work in the city and of debates around the contribution of English to education, trade, entertainment and China’s connections to the world. The conference highlights the rich diversity of approaches to understanding English and the range of contexts in which it is taught, studied and used across the globe. We look forward to welcoming participants to share their research and practical ideas and to enjoy an academically and culturally stimulating three days in Hong Kong. See you next June!

Professor Ken Hyland

Dr. Lillian WongConference Chair Dear colleagues,It is my great pleasure to warmly invite you to an International Conference hosted by the Centre for Applied English Studies at Hong Kong University. The conference will be held on 11–13 June, 2015 (Thursday to Saturday) at the Grand Hall, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre on the new Centennial Campus of the University of Hong Kong.

The conference theme is “Faces of English: Theory, Practice and Pedagogy”. This highlights the rich diversity of approaches to understanding English and the range of contexts in which it is taught and studied across the globe. The conference will bring together academics, researchers, practitioners and research students from around the world to discuss the interdependence between theory and practice, with papers which focus on the analysis, description and teaching of English in order to better understand the ways in which theory, research and pedagogy interact and inform each other. It also welcomes participants to share practical ideas and teaching materials related to the use of English in a variety of social, professional, educational and virtual contexts.

Hong Kong is a particularly appropriate place to celebrate the theme of “Faces of English” as it promotes itself as “Asia’s world city where East meets West”. I am confident that you will enjoy a stimulating conference here in the city and that your presence and participation will help contribute to this vibrancy and enrich discussions around the theme, developing professional knowledge exchange, insights and collaborations. We invite you, therefore, to submit proposals for paper presentations, colloquia, practical workshops, demonstrations and poster displays, and join us at this international conference to explore various dimensions of English and to bring together different perspectives and different voices on English and English language education.

The Conference Organizing Committee and I look forward to welcoming you to this exciting event and to meeting all of you in person in June 2015 in Hong Kong.


Best regards,

Dr. Lillian L. C. Wong
Conference Chair


Click here to view the conference flier.

ACTA (Australian Council of TESOL Associations) Update

ACTA held its annual general meeting on March 6th. After 2 years, the incumbent ACTA Executive of Adriano Truscott (President), Jenny Barnett (Vice President), Treasurer (Mairead Hannan) and Liz Davison (Secretary) decided to step down. They leave ACTA in a position of strength internally with improved finances, communication and administrative procedures, as well as externally, with new and important partnerships and projects with national education institutions. WATESOL thanks the Executive for their leadership, advocacy and support over this period.

The outgoing Executive has made way to a new and exciting team:

Michael Michell (ATESOL NSW – co-opted)

Karen Barber (WA Councillor)

Jennifer Mayers (ATESOL ACT – co-opted)

Margaret Turnbull (NSW Councillor)

The new group combines strong academic, schooling and adult sector credentials and we congratulate the new Executive on their election and commit our support to them to continue ACTA’s well-founded position as the national TESOL peak body and advocate. Adriano Truscott (WA Councillor) remains on the Executive as Immediate Past President, and will be attending the TESOL International Convention 2015 in Toronto to represent ACTA in TESOL affiliate meetings, present (See below) and hold a stand to promote ACTA 2016 and TESOL in Australia.

 Keep posted for a report from us on the conference that takes place from 25-28th March, 2015.

*** Below is description of the session Adriano Truscott is leading with educators Dr Mayra Daniel from Northern Illinois University and Dr Mari Rasmussen.

TESOL and Indigenous education in the US, Guatemala and Australia

We are to host a discussion that explores the language rights and cultural inclusion of Indigenous peoples in specific contexts in the US, Guatemala and Australia. In particular, we propose a role for TESOL in the acknowledgement and maintenance of Indigenous languages and cultures in the classroom and the involvement of community in formal education.

 We believe this is an area that requires attention in TESOL and is an important field in global education in its own right.
 Session Description* The UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples establishes the rights of peoples to access education in their own language. Guatemala, Australia and the US, while all signatories to this declaration, enact these rights in different ways. For example, Guatemala legally recognises its indigenous peoples and grants them access to bilingual education; Australia does not constitutionally recognise its first peoples, but maintains some formal acknowledgement of their English language learning; and the US neither recognises its Native Americans in formal documents or education practices. Challenges across these contexts merit examination and problem solving by all stakeholders to assure equity at school and society become a reality. Interpreting lofty laws related to human rights so they become implementable measures is a task to embrace with energy, conviction and commitment.

This panel addresses two intersecting domains of concern: the importance of L1 for socio-cultural well-being and continuance, and the importance of L1 in the development of additional languages, such as English or Spanish. By describing specific situations in each country, the panel will elaborate on how TESOL can enhance learning for aspiring multilingual Indigenous learners. TESOL leaders can promote a balanced approach to education that acknowledges learners’ identities whilst explicitly teaching that non-Indigenous ways can be part of mainstream cultures. This effort will help ensure ALL learners an education that is non-threatening, culturally responsive and respectful of home cultures and languages.

Book Reviews

ESL Extras

The Coat & Can You Keep a Secret?

Can you keep a secretClare Harris ( has crafted two interesting and exciting short stories with a twist at the end for adult learners of English as a second language. The stories, both set in Australia, carry along at a fast pace with clear language and basic, perhaps universal, concepts.



The Coat is a story that moves along at break-neck speed with twists and interesting characters, which would appeal to both young and older adults. The Coat tells the story of a young woman who has moved to Melbourne to start her own business leaving her boyfriend in Brisbane. She needs a warm coat because of the cold weather and that coat leads her through questions of love and ethics. The language is at a pre-intermediate level and remains so throughout the book. The grammar is explicit in the text.



Can You Keep a Secret? is a story that would appeal to migrant adults, particularly those with families and jobs. The story centers on George a migrant who is up for a promotion at work but he is asked to keep it secret from his colleagues and family. This moral issue along with George’s concern that his English is not adequate for the job and a birthday party make for a highly entertaining sequence of events with a twist at the end. The language starts at an elementary level and progressively gets more difficult ending up at a pre intermediate level.


The language and the concepts in these two stories encourage the reader to read for meaning and not get bogged down in the language. It is understandable that the author has termed these readers “easy-read” stories and allocated them to the elementary/ pre-intermediate level (CSWE 1,2,3 depending on the level of support provided by the teacher). The readers are available in a ‘library’ version and you can download two chapters (story and activities) from the Book Next Door website: http://www.thebooknextdoor.comthe coat


If you want to focus on the language, the Teacher’s Guide and Workbook contains photocopiable worksheets for each chapter covering various areas such as:

1) Vocabulary (word quizzes, fill in the blanks, opposites, prepositions, collocations, similies, prefixes, Australian expressions);

2) Comprehension (sequencing, True/ False, sentence half matching, multiple choice quizzes);

3) Grammar (tenses, word order)

4) Punctuation (contractions)

Further, these language activities contained in the worksheets encourage the reader to refer back to the story for support. As such, the reader could do the worksheets independently.


These books are clearly designed for varying levels of support- independent, low to high. Depending on the level of the student and the aims of the teacher recommending the books, there are different options:

Independent- Assign the book to students to read for enjoyment.

Low support- Give the students the worksheets to complete and a copy of the audio CD so they can listen and read.

High support- Design lessons around the book and use the Teacher’s Guide and Workbook in its entirety using the worksheets and audio CD. The Guide also contains the story pages of the book that are photocopiable so you can copy them for your students to make notes on- no need to buy a class set of the books. Each pair of chapters in the Guide starts out with a page dedicated to teaching ideas which includes items such as pre-reading questions, vocabulary, prediction, post-reading questions, language notes, and discussion ideas which extend the text and personalise the concepts.


Certainly, one could get picky and say that there are some minor problems with the worksheets (e.g., multiple choice word quiz choices are more complex than the question in some instances). However, the positives of the worksheets outweigh the negatives. For example, the extra language rules for the past tense, similes, collocations, half and half sentences, tables and categorization exercises teach the students excellent learning strategies for analyzing language. Further, the answers are provided.


In summary, if you want to find books for your students that they will read with interest through to the end and go on to read others after, these books are a great choice. With this excellent set of materials, Clare Harris, the author, has certainly achieved her five goals for students, which are 1) reading for enjoyment, 2) fluency and pronunciation development, 3) vocabulary and idiom learning, 4) confidence with narratives and recounts, and 5) achievable comprehension review.


Samantha Vanderford

Independent ESL Consultant


Penny McKay Memorial Award

270181_360_photo_p._1As a teacher, consultant, researcher, keynote speaker and professional activist, Penny McKay was a leader in language education in Australia and internationally. Working collaboratively with educators and researchers in schools, she pioneered an approach to assessing learners’ development in English as an additional language.


Penny McKay Memorial Award for Best Thesis in Language Education

The Penny McKay Memorial Award honours Penny’s contribution to research and development in second/additional language education.

The Award is for an outstanding doctoral thesis which benefits the teaching and learning of second/additional languages in Australian schools, including Indigenous languages, community languages, foreign languages, Standard Australian English as an additional language or variety, and English as a foreign language.

The Award is jointly offered by the Applied Linguistics Association of Australia (ALAA) and the Australian Council of TESOL Associations (ACTA), and administered by ALAA. Applications for the 2015 award will be called for in April 2015

For more detail click here to visit the ACTA website.