PD Fest 2020 Sydney – Details

PD Fest Sydney
Saturday 28 March 2020


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Full Session Details


Katherine Olston
The Centre for English Teaching, The University of Sydney

Heather Thomas

Keynote: The University Graduate Qualities – How are these influencing the university landscape and changing the teaching and learning context?

Professor Jim Tognolini
University of Sydney

Panel Discussion: Preparing students for success at University

Brooke Donnelly, Paul Forster, Ben Doran, Pamela Humphreys

Session 1A: Ipsative feedback for syntactic complexity

Malcolm Kirkwood


This session presents action research findings on the role of ipsative vs. criterion referenced feedback in developing syntactic complexity in L2 academic writing. Pedagogical implications of self-referential feedback include raising awareness of probable cross-linguistic influences that influence writing development, thus helping students achieve a more academic register in written output.


Malcolm Kirkwood has a teaching philosophy premised on growth and research. He has teaching experience in numerous countries and educational contexts and is preparing to submit his PhD thesis in the field of multimodal learning. Malcolm will be presenting findings of action research conducted at ICTE-UQ on syntactic complexity.

Session 1B: Plagiarism – Putting the cart back behind the horse

Rosemarie Fonseka
Crown Institute of Higher Education


The expectation that international students with English as an additional language will be able to reference correctly when they start their degrees not only fails to acknowledge the transition that novice academic writers (and speakers) need to navigate when becoming members of the academic community but also fails to accommodate for the students’ English language entry level.

At Crown Institute of Higher Education (Crown), the Language and Learning Advisor (LLA) has developed a framework which encourages subject academics to consider what their expectations are at each undergraduate year level. This enables careful assessment design which scaffolds the development of academic integrity throughout the duration of a degree. A commitment to developing English language competence alongside disciplinary competence also assists in the promotion of academic integrity.

In many educational settings, academic integrity training starts with warnings about breaches and practice in the technical skills involved in constructing in-text and end-of-text references. At Crown, the LLA introduces the concept of integrity in the orientation program and then uses the framework to limit the number of skills that students have to demonstrate in their first assessment tasks. Subject academics curate materials that students draw on to complete their assignments. This means that in the early part of their journey, students can focus on understanding the assessment instructions, forming an argument, reading long and complex texts, taking notes, engaging with the rubrics and structuring their response. They can then move on to finding, evaluating and integrating sources and the mechanics of referencing.


Rosemarie Fonseka is the Language and Learning Advisor at Crown Institute of Higher Education. In addition to student-facing work such as one-to-one consultations and embedded academic literacy workshops, she assists subject academics to embed opportunities for language and academic literacy development in the curriculum.

Prior to moving to Sydney, Rosemarie was the English Language Proficiency Advisor at Curtin University in Perth. At the University of Adelaide, she was the Lecturer-in-charge for a postgraduate unit in Business Communication. She has also taught in ESL, EAP, Foundation and Diploma programs and worked as a curriculum designer, corporate trainer and IELTS examiner.

Session 1C: The CET Wellbeing Ambassador Program

Dr. Nadezhda Kurukulasuriya
The Centre for English Teaching, The University of Sydney


This presentation will focus on the topic of student mental health and well-being. It will provide an outline of an innovative program, The Wellbeing Ambassador Program, developed by the University of Sydney (USYD) Centre for English Teaching (CET) Counselling Services to help empower students to connect with mental health and well-being resources and support.
The Wellbeing Ambassador Program is an intervention program aimed at enabling and empowering a network of CET peer well-being ambassadors to connect Direct Entry Pathway students with resources to support student mental health and well-being.

The Wellbeing Ambassador Program was delivered in four stages: i) recruitment, ii) training CET well-being ambassadors, iii) presentations to peer network by ambassadors, iv) evaluation and feedback and review. The overall structure of the Wellbeing Ambassador Program, its key findings and achievements in terms of outcomes, as well as considerations for future developments will also be discussed.


Dr Nadezhda Kurukulasuriya is a registered Clinical Psychologist and member of the Australian Clinical Psychology Association (ACPA). Nadezhda is currently a student counsellor at the University of Sydney Centre for English Teaching and also at the University of Wollongong.

Session 1D: Deconstructing listening: how do we do it?

Dick Bird
CET University of Sydney


Both student self-reporting and exam results indicate that listening is the most problematic of the four main language skills for language learners. Conventionally, our teaching of listening tries to overcome this by focusing on cognitive strategies, such as predicting, guessing and self-monitoring. However, both Dick’s own experience of learning other languages and observing students suggest that problems exist at the pre-cognition stage, i.e. there may be a physical or learnt inability to recognise or decode L2 input – that learners have difficulty deriving meaning from sound.  He therefore went outside usual TESOL sources and consulted literature and research on the physiological aspects of sound perception and language processing, in particular what has to be learnt before human-produced sounds can be interpreted as speech and whether listeners sub-consciously filter out non-L1 sounds. He then considered what practical implications this might have for TESOL teaching.

In this workshop, Dick intends to present a brief summary of what he learnt, suggests some activities designed to overcome these problems and initiates a professional conversation around adopting new, complementary approaches to the teaching of listening.


Dick started teaching in the 80’s in Latin America. He was born in the UK, but TESOL has taken him to Portugal, Turkey and now Australia. He has been teaching EAP at CET since 2001 apart from 18 months at Yangon University as an AVI volunteer. Qualifications include CELTA, DELTA, MA Appl. Ling. and Grad Cert University Teaching.

Session 2A: Do I do that? Video self-assessment in class

Renee Constantin
Ability English


As English teachers, we strive to help students improve their language skills. However, a great number of the students who pass through our classrooms continue to struggle outside feeling demoralised when they are not able to comprehend the local shopkeeper, a telephone call or are themselves not understood. Aimed to help students gain confidence speaking in real-life situations by focusing on practical communication skills, the Survivor English course at Ability English focuses on the use of interactive and functional communication, cultural, reflective and receptive skills by moving away from lengthy texts often found in coursebooks and towards shorter, more natural and contextual examples of speech.

Weekly assessment and feedback through task-based learning activities however fails to include clear criteria for pronunciation, despite pronunciation specific classes included in the syllabus. The current study established the use of video-recordings as tools for (self-)assessment in the five-week course and determined the usefulness of the tool to aid students increase their phonological awareness and identify examples of their own errors. The study identified 91% of students positively responsed to the use of video-recording as a pronunciation self-assessment tool with students becoming increasingly more capable of identifying examples of their own and classmates errors.


Renee Constantin has been teaching at Ability English since 2015 when she was drawn to their specialised course, Survivor English. Renee holds a BA Languages (Honours Class 1) and a Masters of Applied Linguistics both from the University of Sydney and her Cert. IV TESOL from Navitas.

In 2018, Renee presented her paper Native or Non-native: Who do students prefer? at the Free Linguistics Conference in Malaysia, where she analysed her IELTS students’ written responses using the thematic and Appraisal systems. Last year, her project assessing the usefulness of videos as tools for pronunciation self-assessment was part of English Australia’s Action Research in ELICOS Program, winning the Action Research award.

Session 2B: Social Capital

Christopher Hill
UTS Insearch


The presentation will explore the still ill-defined links between TESOL/ Literacy/ Academic Literacy in our Academic English teaching practice. The presentation will focus on ways TESOL teachers can identify Academic literacy needs of students and better identify tools for improving academic literacy in their own classroom practice. The presentation will use ideas from Cummins (BICS/CALP), Norton (Social capital and Investment) and Freebody (4 reader/ writer Roles e.g. code breaker.


Christopher has been a TESOL teacher for 20 years with an interest in academic literacy, teacher professional development, and Applied Linguistics. He is currently teaching in and coordinating an ELT Programme at UTS Insearch. He has a Masters of TESOL and Applied Linguistics from the University of Technology, Sydney and lecturing  in TESOL in Language Development and Teaching Academic English at UTS.

Session 2C: Won’t you please, please help me?

Kristine De Liseo, Greg Zaharis
UOW College Australia


“Won’t you please, please help me?” (John Lennon & Paul McCartney 1965). Collaboration with internal and external stakeholders is key to delivering successful student outcomes. This presentation explores the collaboration involved in student wellbeing and support services through various student case studies. The need for support staff to reflect and access wellbeing support is also imperative. Informal and formal debrief sessions, accessing external support services and collaborating beyond the workplace environment through networking with peers is invaluable.


Greg Zaharis and Kris De Liseo are Student Advisors at UOW College. Greg has a background in ESL teaching in the secondary and tertiary sector and has been employed in student support services for over 10 years. Kris also has a background in primary and tertiary education and has been a teacher for over 15 years and more recently in student support services for 5 years.

Session 2D: English Australia Journal Writing Workshop

Dr. Lydia Dutcher, Sophie O’Keefe, Sandra Pitronaci
English Australia Journal


Many teachers feel a sense of ‘Who, me?’ when it comes to writing for journals. English Australia Journal is a professional journal that is specifically for teachers of English to speakers of other languages – and it is by teachers as well. Each section of the English Australia Journal represents a different type of opportunity to share your ideas. Have you recently completed research in ELT or management? Do you have a practical and innovative teaching strategy to share? Have you used a fantastic resource that other teachers should know about? If so, you may be ready to pitch an article for publication. Yes, you!

In this practical workshop facilitated by members of the English Australia Journal team, participants will discuss their publication goals, become familiar with the different sections of the journal, and ask questions directly to the editors. By the end of the workshop, you will have greater understanding of the publication process, from initial pitch to author by-line, and a deeper insight into what kinds of articles make for a good journal submission. This workshop is aimed at any teachers, teacher trainers, managers or researchers interested in learning more about publishing in the journal, whether for themselves or for their teams.


The English Australia Journal Editorial Team (Lydia Dutcher, Sophia Khan, and Sandra Pitronaci) oversees the publication of two issues per year, in collaboration with Sophie O’Keefe (English Australia) and Derek Trow (Design). They are committed to providing a space for publication of a diverse range of high-quality ELT articles and supporting authors through the publication process.

Session 3A: Creativity for individuality and academic success

Svetlana Lukovic
ACU Centre for Languages, North Sydney


Teachers generally and intuitively believe that music and art can enhance learner linguistic and academic competence, and assessment results, but it seems that there is a disparity between theoretical support and practical application in the classroom. Especially, when it is the matter of preparing for assessments. EAP teachers are often reluctant to use music and art more consistently due to a misconception of these being not so ‘academic ‘.

This session will present a case for the use of art and music as a creative teaching tool in the EAP classroom while preparing for assessments. This presentation will be supported by recent research in language learning theories, neuroscience and psychology. It will also discuss some specific benefits of using art and music such as continued deep learning, increased motivation, improved academic skills and integrated language skills.

This presentation will draw on the classroom practice of using music and art for presentations, for writing reflections and developing critical thinking. The presentation will begin by reviewing shortly some most recent research; then, it will briefly outline the context and some challenges; and finally, it will suggest a few activities for improving linguistic competence and achieving better results in assessments through creative assessment practice.


Svetlana Lukovic is the Academic Manager of the ACU English Language Centre in North Sydney. She holds an MA in TESOL, a BA in English and English Literature as well as CELTA and TEFL Certificates. She has taught English as a foreign language for more than 30 years. Her pedagogical interests include English for Academic Purposes, teacher training, Systemic Functional Linguistics, and creativity in the second language classroom.

Session 3B: ‘Un-demonising’ the correction key

Maria Greenaway
UTS Insearch


The practice of English language students using a correction key to edit and correct their writing is common in many ELICOS and Academic English classes in Australia. The procedure involves students receiving feedback on their writing tasks with implicit instructions suggested, but not directly expressed so the student can subsequently correct their own writing.

The assumption is that the key provides enough information to enable the student to use their interlanguage to supply the corrections. However, often many teachers find student uptake of the key to be quite average; thus, raising the possibility that the process is not so straightforward. The premise of the correction key may well conflict with students’ experiences, expectations and educational backgrounds, leading to a resistance of its uptake.

To increase student engagement with the feedback process, this presentation explores implications of the key and ways it can be made more accessible to students. The take-away suggestions presented are drawn from intermediate students’ evaluation on their experiences in using the key in conjunction with research on feedback conducted by distinguished authors including Ferris (2003), Hyland (2003) and Hattie & Clarke (2019).


At UTS Insearch Maria Greenaway has taught English language classes from beginner to advanced levels for general English, exam purposes and university preparation. She has also assisted the curriculum writing team in creating academic resources used in-house. She is a CELTA tutor and assessor. She is also a DELTA local tutor undertaking her DELTA OC training. Her area of interest in teaching is providing empowering, usable feedback that can feed forward to decrease student occurrence of written errors. In training, she is interested in best practice to support trainees with special needs to contribute to the ELT community.

Session 3C: Tasks for all!

Meredith MacAulay, Maro Alwan, Paige Hammer
UNSW Global


Engaging and motivating our students are key priorities for us as teachers. As materials writers and teachers at UNSW Global, we have found that Task Based Learning (TBL) is an approach which can address these ideals. While recently working on a curriculum project that has brought us together from various programs within our school, we were able to share perspectives on how tasks enliven different kinds of classrooms and which we would now like to share with our wider teaching community. Giving students relevant, real-life tasks to work on collaboratively, not only pushes students in terms of language but also utilises important professional and academic skills such as problem solving, critical thinking and team work. It also allows us, as teachers, to give feedback and to exploit language that students want and need. Though the traditional model of TBL could seem rigid, a task-based approach is flexible and can be adapted for learners in a number of ways.

In this workshop, we will briefly review TBL theory and present a frame-work for a task-based lesson which is highly adaptable for different programs within our centres. Then, we will present a few examples of tasks that we have created for students in two different contexts at UNSW Global: the University English Entry Course (UEEC) which supports students on direct entry pathways to degree programs and Customised Study Tour groups. Finally, participants will collaborate to create potential tasks for learners in their contexts, walking away with something to try out in class.


Meredith MacAulay is a teacher at UNSW Global and specialises in Academic English and teacher training. She has written an on-line activity book for teachers called Energising EAP by the round.

Maro Alwan is a teacher at UNSW Global. He coordinates the Customised Courses and Study Tours programs. This role involves delivering and developing English for Specific Purposes material as well as providing teacher support.

Paige Hammer teaches across a number of programs at UNSW Global and is also currently creating lesson content for the Customised Courses and Study Tours programs.

Session 3D: Bulletin Boards and Seesaws: Digital Portfolio PD

Vicki Bos, Paul Boyling


How do you share your PD with others? This workshop will examine the effective implementation of digital portfolios in teacher Professional Development using the Cambridge INSPIRE principles of best practice. These principles are that successful PD needs to be: Impactful, Needs-based, Sustainable, Peer-collaborative, In-Practice, Reflective and Evaluated. Implementing digital portfolios as a professional development practice can address these key principles, and lead to more effective CPD practices for ESL teachers, lecturers, teacher trainees, and in-service school teachers taking short-term professional development courses.

In this session, we will share four case studies of professional development groups making use of online bulletin boards such as Padlet, or portfolio tools such as Seesaw, to compile and collaborate on PD initiatives at a university language centre. The case studies are of teacher development groups from Taiwan, Saudi Arabia, Chile and Australia, and showcase a variety of PD activities, including Action Research, materials development, reading groups, classroom observations with feedback, teaching journals, and more. For each INSPIRE principle identified, the case studies will be used to illustrate how these diverse digital portfolio formats can assist with collecting, enhancing and sharing PD in educational organisations.


Vicki Bos has worked as a language teacher and teacher trainer at ICTE since 2001. Her passion is exploring the diversification of approaches to teaching, learning, and student engagement. She is involved in action research and professional development at her institution, both as a participant and a trainer.
Paul Boyling has over 15 years’ experience in Australia and abroad as a language teacher, and ICT trainer. His interests lie in different ways of integrating language teaching and technology, developing students’ academic writing and speaking skills, teacher training and participating in and facilitating professional development programs.

Session 4A: Digital translation & paraphrase tools

Cara Dinneen
Macquarie University ELC


Language learners, globally, are empowered by the increasing sophistication of digital tools for translation, paraphrase and language enhancement. Students’ increasing use of language enhancement tools, however, may call into question the validity and reliability of written assignment grades on ELICOS direct entry programs. This presentation explores current student uses of digital tools and considers ways in which the ELICOS sector may rethink assessment practices.


Cara Dinneen is the Associate Director, Learning and Teaching at Macquarie University English Language Centre. Cara holds a Master of TESOL, Graduate Certificate in Business Educational Leadership, Trinity Diploma of TESOL, BA Communications and is currently completing a Master Professional Practice in Digital Learning Leadership. Cara has 18 years’ experience in English language teaching, learning & leadership having taught and managed programs in Australia, Oman and Spain. Cara is currently the Head Convenor for the English Australia Assessment SIG. Her current area of research is students’ use of digital translation and paraphrasing tools in the preparation of English language assignments.

Session 4B: Shaping the academic integrity of EAP students

Paul Williams


This presentation will begin by reviewing the importance of teaching EAP students about academic integrity and the differences between process and product approaches to academic writing. Teachers will then be provided with some strategies for using technology to create teacher-student dialogue during the research and writing process. It will be argued that the use of technology allows for improved monitoring, ongoing feedback, scaffolded support and transparency, which is likely to shape students’ understanding of academic integrity and ethical behaviour as a student.

Examples from classroom practice will be used to demonstrate how teachers can implement these strategies with their own students. Providing timely and effective feedback will be shown to encourage greater honesty during the writing process, in preference to identifying plagiarism once students have already submitted their assignments.


Paul Williams is a Senior Teacher for CQUEnglish in Melbourne. He has been teaching Business, General and Academic English courses for almost 15 years. Paul is interested in all aspects of English Language Teaching and Management. He has completed several postgraduate courses including the DELTA and IDLTM and is currently studying the MBA at CQUniversity.

Session 4C: Upping the ante on learner autonomy and receptive skills

Tania Bencic, Brad McClymont
UNSW Global


Between 2018 and 2019, an increase to the English entry requirements by some UNSW faculties provided an impetus for a review of UNSW Global’s University English Entry Courses (UEEC), a Direct Entry Program catering largely to students on a pathway to post-graduate study at UNSW. With some students facing a bigger hurdle to achieving the required UNSW entry results at the end of the UEEC course, we set about investigating what we thought would have the most notable impact on student progress and course outcomes. An analysis of reading and listening results and our approaches to teaching and assessing receptive skills indicated that students would benefit from enhanced input, further practice and more opportunities for feedback.

Focused support leads to greater autonomy and self-direction in targeting their language needs. This session will showcase our approach to enhancing input and development of students’ receptive skills by exploiting a range of blended learning strategies and tools in a combination of pre-lesson tasks and new assessment tasks. We will also share our initial findings from our pilot on how these have deepened our understanding of the ways in which integrating student-centred blended learning activities can help learners overcome obstacles to independent learning, improve learner engagement and autonomy, as well as create a truly communicative language learning experience.


Tania Bencic holds a Bachelor of Arts (Linguistics) from the Australian National University and a Master of Arts (Education TESOL) from Bircham University. With over 16 years of teaching experience, she has been a language facilitator on English for Academic Purposes (EAP) programs at UNSW Global, Sydney for over 6 years. She also has experience in course curriculum development and assessment design. In 2018 she received a joint award from English Australia for Action Research in enhancing student academic skills for transition into university. Recently, she has been exploring areas related to blended learning and motivation.

Brad McClymont works at UNSW Global as a language facilitator, senior teacher and course coordinator of the University English Entry Course (UEEC), a direct entry program. He has over 20 years’ experience in teaching ESL and has an interest in courseware development for academic English programs. Brad holds a Bachelor of Arts (Japanese), CELTA (A) and a Master of Education (TESOL). He enjoys investigating practical and meaningful applications for blended learning opportunities to inspire and enhance learner outcomes.

Session 4D: Students, the brain and teachers

Michelle Ocriciano
University of Queensland


How many times do students need to see a word before they learn it? How much homework is too much? Is it useful at all? What is effective feedback? And the million-dollar question: how can I teach better? Around 2010, questions like these led me to the field of Mind, Brain and Education (MBE) – a blooming field that was starting to have the technology necessary to conduct the kind of research that could understand how the brain works when learning.

Simply put, MBE is the interdisciplinary combination of Education, Psychology and Neuroscience which has proved to be so successful that it has become a science in itself, going beyond its initial roots. For language teaching, MBE is our new ‘asset’ as it studies what happens in the brain when learning, and if learning happens in the brain, then it’s only logical to study it. Therefore, if we understand what happens in the brain in a learning situation, then we can develop ways to make our teaching more effective. And that has the potential to one day answer the million-dollar question.

Based on cutting-edge research and my own classroom experience, this session will describe key concepts of the MBE field and also provide hands-on suggestions to use in the classroom the very next day.


Part of ELT for over 20 years, Michelle Ocriciano has worn many hats – teacher, teacher trainer, academic manager, researcher and learning and teaching consultant. She holds a BA in Linguistics, a BEd Secondary, a BA in Pedagogy and an MA in Applied Linguistics. Michelle is currently an EAP teacher at the University of Queensland in sunny Brisbane and has embarked on a new MA in Psychology and Counselling, which she hopes will help her support her students and peers better. She is also a writer/blogger for the English Teaching Professional Magazine.

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