Festival of Englishes 2021

Welcome to our annual conference for teachers of VCE English Studies. It is going to be FESTIVE in 2021! We have webinars for teachers of English Language , EAL, Bridging EAL, Literature and English throughout February and March. Sign up for as many as you wish, for yourself or for a staff group at your school. When registering a group, please include each person's name and email address in the spaces provided.

Cost: $66 incl GST per session (for individuals or a school group).

Venue: each session will be held online via Zoom 4pm-5pm. Details to be provided closer to the date.

Enquiries to the BBE office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Debbie: 0407 176 660 or Janny: 0427 152 143

Program

 16 February

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Rhonda Brislin  Rhonda Brislin

Rhonda Brislin is an experienced English and Literature teacher and has taught Literature in its many forms and study designs, from HSC to VCE.  As a former English Domain leader she has led departments through changes in English and Literature and has considerable experience teaching in secondary schools at all levels. Rhonda is interested in designing challenging and engaging literature courses for mixed ability classrooms.

 Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

This session will look at strategies for teaching this very popular play and will include some suggestions for assessment for Unit 3 or Unit 4 SACS, including ways to incorporate an oral component.  Resources for the ‘Adaptations and Transformations’ task will be explored, and there will be opportunities to share and discuss approaches to the two perspectives tasks (exam and Unit 4 SAC).  We will look at a range of theoretical perspectives and ways to ensure that our students can draw on these effectively in their writing. This will include a discussion of ‘integrated’ readings, the use of language to ‘signpost’ readings as well as the use of critical reviews.

17 February

EAL Listening

Allie BakerAllie Baker small

Allie Baker is devoted to improving the classroom experience for all students and educators. An experienced teacher and consultant, Allie has worked in classrooms in Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. She is passionate about sharing strategies that teachers can immediately implement in their own classrooms. Allie offers workshops, seminars and consultation in Australian secondary schools and her work has been published by Pearson Education, VATE and Drama Victoria. In her spare time, Allie loves to cook and eat great food and explore her local area in Victoria's beautiful North East.

 EAL Listening

This session will unpack the Listening component of the EAL course and offer a range of strategies and classroom activities to improve EAL students' proficiency in both speaking and listening. The session will include tips for improving students' note taking skills, demystifying test questions, listening for features of language and clearly responding to questions. Strategies will be suitable for all year levels, including VCE. 

23 February

Rachel TownsRear Window

Rachel Towns

Rachel Towns is a teacher and literacy coach at St. John’s Regional College, Dandenong. She has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Letters (Honours), Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), Masters in Arts (Theology) and a Graduate Diploma in Writing. Rachel has taught in a range of subject areas from 7 - 12 including English, Literature, History, Legal Studies, and Religious Education. She has written six workbooks on History for Blake Education’s Achieve History series aimed at low literacy students and had a chapter published in each of the HTAV 20th Century History textbooks. She has also had a peer-reviewed article ‘Voting Valkyries: The first Australian Feminists’ published in Agora and an essay ‘Turkish Delight and Sardines with Tea’ published in C.S. Lewis by Palgrave Macmillan. She has presented at VATE and HTAV conferences, assessed Texts and Traditions for VCAA, acted as a freelance editor for Blake Education and as a Practice Exam Assessor for Boobook Education.

Rear Window

Rear Window (1954) is a significant thriller directed by famed film-maker Alfred Hitchcock and which sets up a powerful internal drama in response to external conflict. In looking at this text I will be considering the historical context of the Cold War and McCarthyism as well as the position of the genders in the 1950s and the impact that both of these elements had upon the text. This external historical context will also be utilised in order to consider the created social context within the film of the closed-in world. This presentation will also consider a range of quotes and their significance, include key terminology that can be used to discuss the text and explore significant themes within the text that can be addressed with students in order to prepare them for writing SACs and preparing for the exam on this text. There will also be some consideration of how to connect this text to a range of students from an EAL background, as well as when teaching it as a mainstream text.

25 February

Izzy BurkeFrom shivoo to selfie: changing metaphors and identities in the Australian vernacular

Isabel Burke

Isabelle Burke is a postdoctoral researcher in linguistics at Monash University. Her research, which has been published in the Australian Journal of Linguistics, is centred around Australian English grammar. She regularly teaches linguistics to recent VCE graduates, lately with the ‘invaluable assistance’ of her cat over Zoom.

From shivoo to selfie: changing metaphors and identities in the Australian vernacular

Words like bludger and mate have stood the test of time, but grouse’s comeback was more flash in the pan – and what about selfie? Australian English has a reputation for its rich vocabulary of creative and colourful slang, although it has mostly eluded formal study. This session gives an overview of the changing nature of Australian slang, and how Australian culture and values are embedded in the lexicon.

2 March

Nathan ArmstrongSamuel Wagan Watson poetry

Nathan Armstrong

With 15 years teaching experience, including VCE English + Literature and the International Baccalaureate Language A and Theory of Knowledge courses, Nathan brings to his workshops and presentations a depth and breadth of experience that focuses on creating rich, robust and rewarding learning cultures and environments. Nathan has worked extensively with Project Zero’s (Harvard University) Visible Thinking routines and ‘Cultures of Thinking’ frameworks. Student work samples from his Year 7 English classes were published in the book ‘Making Thinking Visible How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners’. Nathan’s classroom culture and pedagogical approach were also featured in Ron Ritchhart’s book ‘Creating Cultures of Thinking: The 8 Forces We Must Master to Truly Transform Our Schools.’ Nathan’s workshops have the student at the centre and focus on the way classrooms represent cultures of learning and what we value. At the core of his understanding and work with others is the firm belief that when all learners feel welcome, known, recognised and challenged then great relationships and understanding can be fostered and nurtured.

Samuel Wagan Watson poetry

In this workshop we will delve into Watson’s poetry and the tension between the suburban and sacred which permeates most of the poems in ‘Smoke Encrypted Whispers’. We will focus on the poems individually but also the connections between them. The workshop will also focus on the elements that contribute to Watson’s poetic voice and vision. We will then evaluate different examples and approaches regarding how to write about the poems.

4 March

Greta CarusoThe Crucible and The Dressmaker

Greta Caruso

Greta has worked in the primary, secondary and tertiary sectors focussing mainly on English and Literacy. With extensive experience in state schools and independent schools, she has worked in a broad range of educational contexts.  Greta has spoken at international conferences on issues related to digital learning and innovation in education, two of her enduring passions. Recently, she has been working on the connection between listening and reading comprehension. Her experience and expertise in English as an Additional Language has led to teaching experience in Cuba, Cambodia, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. She has an extensive publications record and has been involved for many years in developing engaging and rigorous assessment tasks. She has worked in teacher education and is currently a member of the Course Advisory Committee for Torrens University.

Focus on form and structure in The Crucible and The Dressmaker

This session on Pair 5 will focus on constructing a balanced approach. In particular, we will look at considerations of text structure and the form of the text. The aim will be to take students beyond simply identifying The Crucible as a play and The Dressmaker as a novel and move them towards thinking about how the form creates the meaning. Some aspects of this include

  • degrees of fictionality
  • the role of dialogue
  • the author’s use of description
  • the development of the plot
  • the construction of the characters

10 March

Approaching the two Literature exam tasks

Sophia KmiecSophia Kmiec

Sophia Kmiec has taught VCE Literature for over 13 years and also teaches VCE English and English Language. She has particular interest in Shakespeare, Gothic fiction and postcolonial theory. Her thesis focused specificallyon the figure of the vampire and the ethnic monstrosity it was once often constructed with. Sophia has tutored many students across all VCE English subjects, presented VCE text and exam seminars, written study guides and exams, marked trial exams and SACs and undertaken VCAA assessing. Sophia has worked for BooBook for a number of years, particularly as an assessor for trial exams.

Approaching the two Literature exam tasks

Both the perspectives and close analysis exam questions will be considered in this webinar. The focus will not be on individual texts form the 2020/21 text list but rather on the tasks themselves and ways teachers can help students prepare effectively for their different demands. For Section A we will look at how teachers can assist their students to ensure not only that their perspectives are clear, but how to incorporate detailed and in-depth evidence from the text to effectively substantiate interpretations. We will also examine the importance of students having an interpretation. We will discuss what students often leave out of their responses, and how they can address this through their engagement with their texts. Close analysis is synonymous with the study of VCE Literature and constructing an interpretation about a text using three passages, as in Section B, is no easy feat. We will examine ways students can prepare for the task, how they can establish an interpretation and how they can weave the passages into their responses in order to reflect on the text as a whole. We will discuss what students often do and don’t do in this section of the exam and what differentiates the essays in the higher brackets to those in the middle and low descriptors.

 

15 March

Tracy MillsTranscripts Unpacked

Tracy Mills

Tracy Mills has been teaching English and English Language for 13 years at Vermont Secondary College. Originally from Wangaratta, but now located in the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, she has been a VCAA assessor for more than 10 years and a NAPLAN assessor as well. She is an experienced presenter and tutor with a friendly approach. She has a keen interest in and enthusiasm for linguistics and sociolinguistics as well as YA fiction and children’s literature. Outside of English, she enjoys walking her dogs, craft, and playing music for family and friends.

Transcripts Unpacked

In this session we will look at how to create your own transcripts, how to teach spoken texts to students, and how to analyse formal and informal speech. You will be provided with a number of sample transcripts that you could use in a year 11 or 12 English Language classroom and as a group we will discuss how these could be taught and analysed

16 March

Jason JewellThe Queen and Ransom

Jason Jewell

Jason Jewell is the former Head of English at McKinnon Secondary College where he taught VCE Literature, EAL and English for over twenty years. He now works as a freelance tutor and lecturer of these subjects in Years 11 and 12. He has a keen interest in gender politics and the power of language to alter the world.

The Queen and Ransom - how form amplifies theme

In this session, we will focus on key themes in this pair of texts and look specifically at how the forms of the texts assist the director and writer to communicate their messages. It will help you prepare your students for a rich analysis of the texts, supporting their study of Unit 4, Outcome 1: Comparing Texts.

17 March

Malala and Pride

Allie Baker

Allie Baker is devoted to improving the classroom experience for all students and educators. An experienced teacher and consultant, Allie has worked in classrooms in Australia, Japan and the United Kingdom. She is passionate about sharing strategies that teachers can immediately implement in their own classrooms. Allie offers workshops, seminars and consultation in Australian secondary schools and her work has been published by Pearson Education, VATE and Drama Victoria. In her spare time, Allie loves to cook and eat great food and explore her local area in Victoria's beautiful North East.

Malala and Pride

This session will offer insights into the inspirational narratives of both texts in this pairing. We will discuss key ideas and moments in the texts that offer points of intersection and room for rich discussion. The session will also offer suggested activities and approaches to improve students' comparative writing. This session is suitable for teachers of both English and EAL.

18 March

Rachel TownsWomen of Troy

Rachel Towns

Rachel Towns is a Teacher and Literacy Coach at St. John’s Regional College, Dandenong. She has a Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Letters (Honours), Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary), Masters in Arts (Theology) and a Graduate Diploma in Writing. As a teacher, Rachel has taught in a range of subject areas from 7 - 12 including English, Literature, History, Legal Studies, and Religious Education. She has written six workbooks on History for Blake Education’s Achieve History series aimed at low literacy students and had a chapter published in each of the HTAV 20th Century History textbooks. She has also had a peer-reviewed article ‘Voting Valkyries: The first Australian Feminists’ published in Agora and an essay ‘Turkish Delight and Sardines with Tea’ published in C.S. Lewis by Palgrave Macmillan. She has presented at VATE and HTAV conferences, assessed Texts and Traditions for VCAA, acted as a freelance editor for Blake Education and as a Practice Exam Assessor for Boobook Education.

Women of Troy

Women of Troy is a powerful play written by Euripides that explores the conflict and challenge of war as experienced by women. In looking at this text I will be considering the context of the patriarchal world of ancient Greek society as well as exploring the unusual representation of women in a time where their voices were often muted. This presentation will also consider a range of quotes and their significance, include key terminology that can be used to discuss the text and explore significant themes within the text that can be addressed with students in order to prepare them for writing SAC’s and preparing for the exam on this text. 

22 March

Renata TirabassiDesigning and implementing a Bridging EAL course

Renata Tirabassi

Renata is an EAL/English teacher at Thornbury High School. She has many years of experience in teaching EALD students. In recent years, she has contributed to creating the school’s curriculum in the areas of year 10 Pre Bridging and Bridging EAL. She was part of the team that established the English Language Centre at THS and co-ordinated the centre for 3 years. She likes to read the newspaper on a Sunday morning and spend time with family. She wants to visit the town of Sulmona, Italy when this COVID crisis is over.

Designing and implementing a Bridging EAL course

In this session we will examine the relationship between BEAL and VCE EAL Units 1&2 and discuss considerations for choosing the elective Areas of study for Unit 2. We will also explore how to create and source resources that are tailored for this specific group of students.

23 March

Language in Aboriginal Australia: traditional languages, Kriol and Aboriginal Englishes

Jill Vaughan and Debbie Loakes   Jill Vaughan2

Dr Jill Vaughan is a sociolinguist at the Research Unit for Indigenous Language at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses currently on the sociolinguistics of multilingualism, and has involved work on Australian Indigenous languages of northern Australia, the Irish language in the diaspora, online language use, and variation in Australian English. For the past six years, she has worked with community members in the Maningrida region of Arnhem Land documenting local languages and conducting sociolinguistic research. Jill is a co-founder of the Linguistics Roadshow and has contributed for many years to the Australian Computational and Linguistics Olympiad (OzCLO).

Dr Debbie Loakes is a phonetician who has worked on numerous projects relating to sound change and regional variation in Australian English, as well as the sound systems of Australian languages. Debbie is currently working on Debbie Loakesa project on the sociophonetics of Aboriginal English in Victoria, and is also working in in the newly established Research Hub for Language in Forensic Evidence at The University of Melbourne.

Language in Aboriginal Australia: traditional languages, Kriol and Aboriginal Englishes

 In this talk, we consider the connections between Aboriginal languages, land and social identity, and give particular attention to post-colonial contact varieties such as the diversity of Aboriginal Englishes across the country. Aboriginal English is an umbrella term for a range of varieties exhibiting regional and social variation. We discuss the many ways in which these varieties differ from other varieties of Australian English, and their function as important vehicles for identity.

25 March

Talking about argument

John Smith  John Smith

John Smith has been teaching VCE English since 2003.  A Kiwi by origin, he currently teaches at Aitken College but has experience in a range of other schools and across 4 different senior school systems. John is an experienced marker of VCE exams, including for BBE.

Talking about argument and persuasive language

My focus in this session will be on strategies that help students to begin by understanding the argument and then looking at the language. If students can learn to slow down, put down the highlighters, read the whole piece,  think about it, identify the contention,  analyse the structure of the argument, and then pick up the highlighters and look for uses of language – they will be able to develop a much more analytical response. Listing language techniques is an easy way out, a route to a very average mark.

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