TESOL Seminar (3) 2020

In 2020 the Department of Education, in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney, will present three TESOL Seminars. In line with recent advice to implement social distancing in schools and corporate operations, we are postponing face to face professional learning, gatherings and events where practically possible.  This postponement is in support of wider NSW Health containment strategies and minimises non-essential travel. 

This is the third seminar for this year however it is actually the first one we planned to deliver back in March but were unable to do so. In response to COVID an online platform was developed and this has proved to be ver successful. It has enabled us to reach a larger and much more dispersed audience.

The TESOL Seminar on November 7th, will not be held as a face to face session. The seminar will be made available online as a series of recorded sessions followed by a live Q & A session.

TESOL Seminar 3, 7th November

This seminar will be delivered in two parts. A Zoom recording will be made available for participants to access during the week prior to November 7th.

The second part will be a live QandA session that will take place from 10:30 am on Saturday, November 7th. The access codes for both the recordings and the QandA Session will made available to participants as they register.

Questions on notice for Dr Creagh can be sent via the comments bar at the bottom of this page. Just enter your question in the ‘Leave a Reply’ box at the bottom of this page. You will also have the opportunity, on the day, to ask questions via the Chat function in ‘Zoom’. Please make sure you identify yourself and your school before you add your question. These questions on notice will be discussed by Dr Creagh on the day.

Target Audience

Participants must have TESOL qualifications and be currently teaching in an EAL/D position in a primary, secondary school, IEC or IEHS.

Seminar 3 Details

EAL statistics: The relationship between how we count and how we teach

In this presentation Dr Sue Creagh will explore the power and challenges that come with counting EAL learners. She will present a series of statistical tableaus which represent her ongoing examination of how we can count and identify English language learners in our school system. Moving from system level down to school level, she will highlight how the categories we use, and the analyses we draw on have significant implications for pedagogy. Statistics intertwine with and justify policy which in turn impacts on the classroom practices of teachers, which in turn impacts statistics. How do we understand this cycle and use it powerfully, to support our EAL learners? How do we make our work count? Sue will explore these thorny questions in her presentation.

Powerpoint for this seminar can be accessed here

Dr Sue Creagh’s article provides some interesting background reading:

How long does it take to achieve academically in a second language? Comparing the trajectories of EAL students and first language peers in Queensland schools

Once you have listened to the recordings – please add questions or discussion points via the ‘Leave a Reply’ bar below



23 thoughts on “TESOL Seminar (3) 2020

  1. Thank you, Sue, for this informative and interesting talk. For me, in my role as EAL/D teacher in a Primary School, I found the suggestion that we too often provide Literacy Support as opposed to Language support quite thought provoking. I wondered if any other K-6 EAL/D teachers struggle to find effective ways to support students at that Consolidating Progression level. Catherine Neasey (Toongabbie Public School).


    1. I very much agree with you here Catherine. How to best support the Developing and Consolidating phase students and teachers!


  2. Both presentations were excellent and thought provoking. A lot was said about NAPLAN results, but I work predominantly with K-2 students. What data should I be collecting and analysing for these younger students?


    1. I am also teaching K-2 classes. We don’t have such a data. Sometimes the enrolment data is misleading when parents don’t want to look different from other parents by stating that they speak different language at home.
      Another misunderstanding is seen when the child is born in Australia and he is not categarised as an ESL student many times.


  3. The information in Sue’s presentation is really interesting, offering a way to look at what is really happening for our students. Data is a big part of school expectations and often I struggle with what & how to look at. I’m wondering what data we can consider using for students who have either not been here for NAPLAN or were exempted and therefore don’t have growth?
    I am keen to spend time and explore the student data, then share it with staff and executive at my school. To be able to present information to staff would help classroom teachers understand how to look at what support and growth their students need, and hopefully build a collaborative approach towards these needs.


  4. I also found both sessions really helpful. At my school we have a large number of consolidating students in years 7 and 8 and I will be using the information provided in your sessions to look much more closely at Scout Naplan data to identify those students requiring more targeted intervention. Before your sessions, I have had an unconscious tendency to think of ‘parity’ in terms of attaining bands 6/7 in the scales as indicated for most of the outcomes in our English syllabus. And yet most of our non-EALD students will not attain those bands even in their HSC English course. I am concerned now, that I have perhaps retained some of my students in the ‘consolidating phase’ longer than I need to have!


  5. I found both sessions informative and after I have learned more about Scout I will be exploring the data that is available. Reading other comments I have similar questions. What data can we use for our younger students who do not have any NAPLAN results? Also, if we believe students have reached parity by achieving everything in the Consolidating phase do we then record them as Not Required?


  6. Thank you for both sessions – thought-provoking. As an EAL/D teacher for many years, I have predominantly taught Stage 3 students. My question and concern is why are EAL/D students, in particular those born in Australia, leaving Year 6 with language proficiency at Developing Phase even though they have had EAL/D support since Kindergarten? Will these student ever reach parity in high school? I believe the issue here is the lack of consistency in the teaching of a rigid language pedagogy across K-6.There are classroom teachers who still separate the teaching of content and language. Is there research or data available to answer my questions? Is it possible to research schools with effective EAL/D collaborative practices?


  7. Thank you for the interesting data provided in both sessions. In my opinion academic parity is achieved only when the student has mastered academic language across the curriculum in terms of developing the CALP in every KLA.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you, Sue, I found your research most interesting. The fact that it can take a new arrival EALD kindergarten student up to seven years to learn English and reach parity with their peers by year 7. This just reinforces how important it is that these students are supported by EALD teachers at the primary level. I’d like to ask Sue do you consider the first group (5-8-year-olds) of your study the group that would require the most EALD teaching time and how can we use this data or any other to support them?


  9. Thank you so much for the interesting data and research provided. This question is for Sue.
    How much EAL/D support should a student get at the Developing Level on the EAL/D Learning Progression?


  10. I support literacy K-6 via library RFF lessons. I’ll be sharing your data with staff when planning for next year.


  11. Thankyou the sessions have been very informative. I mainly do K-2 EAL/D. My question to Sue is what data should I collect and how is it best to collect it to ensure that my data is reliable enough to track progress and show that my teaching is having a positive impact?

    Also where are we meant to post the details that Elizabeth and Margaret said near the end of their presentation?


  12. I totally agree with Catherine Neasy’s post (Nov 3). I struggle every day to “show” and not “tell” teachers that my role as an EAL/D teacher is primarily language support. Teachers are often seeing me take my iPad and phone for in class or withdrawal support, where I utilise Google Translate on a daily basis together with my iPad for images in order to give meaning and contextualise vocabulary/situational context/cultural context in units of work. My Emerging S2 NAP students are now giving me feedback with comments such as, “Wow! we are learning so many words!” These students are fluent in Arabic and are therefore finding language transfer easier. In my previous school I taught refugee students with poor language and literacy in their L1 as they didn’t attend a structured school system. I utilised SLSO’s Ethnic in Tamil and Arabic in order to support language acquisition. My Arabic students with high language/literacy in Arabic will definitely reach academic parity at a faster rate than the refugee students, however the refugee students will also reach academic parity with a lot of additional support, it will just take them longer.
    I would also like to find more effective ways to support students at the Consolidating level as I cannot always see those students and would like suggestions/strategies that I can give my S3 teachers.


  13. Does the language background and phase pass onto the High Schools in NSW DE? Does ERN language and EALD Maintain information carry over? Do parents fill out new enrolment forms for HS?
    Also, from the second recording, I have been given the idea to check in on NAPLAN results and share this with the teachers as to where EALD/LBOTE students at our school may need additional support.


  14. This has been another stimulating TESOL Seminar with data based research presented.
    It is gratifying that NAPLAN data is used for quality research rather than political purposes.
    If students do not have ‘parity’ their opportunity to achieve their academic potential will not be achieved. This goes against all principles of equal educational fairness for all students.
    I need to update skills in using Scout. I just hope EALD students were given the experience to participate in NAPLAN and were not excluded because their results would influence the school’s data..


  15. Data Literacy Case 1: The importance of reading and analysing English acquisition data can hardly be exaggerated. Particularly, as you mentioned Educational Implication of EAL data and application of that knowledge in our classrooms would help teachers to make the classrooms into a learning of content and language acquisition at the same space and pace. The refugee and EAL students are judged in monolingual First Language Speakers’ terms and standards at the moment. Could you please explain further the data and the implication for the EAL and refugee Education?

    My second questions: can you suggest some strategies to make our classrooms multilingual?


  16. I wanted to know the answers to these questions:
    How long does it generally take for the EALD student to achieve minimum parity with English speaking students ?
    Why do Secondary students take a longer time to reach parity ?
    Do the younger EALD students reach parity quicker than older primary EALD primary students ?


  17. Thank you for both of the presentations. I found them really interesting. Often P.D seems to be more of the same thing that I have heard a hundred times but I was genuinely interested in this P.D and wanted to concentrate and keep watching this.
    I had seen that news report about EALD students topping Naplan results which I was surprised by and was interested to see the points bought p about that , which clarified those results.
    I was also interested in the comment about students reaching parity with other native English language learners at the consolidating stage and the refugee students still often being below this stage. The results were not a surprise but I would love these findings to be shared with the government who determines funding for our EALD students. With funding being cut in a lot of schools once we have our new arrivals move beyond the Beginning and Emerging phase we find we have a lot of students from a refugee background at the developing phase with very little support. We also have a lot of our EALD refugee students in our high school who have had very limited schooling before coming to Australia in our high school entering at a beginning stage, moving to developing as they progress through high school and then struggling in the senior years (year 10-12) as they are trying to access a curriculum that is far beyond their academic language ability. These students desperately want to finish high school but are often still at the developing stage or possibly consolidating and struggle to access the curriculum with EALD support often limited, due to funding cuts as they are no longer beginning or developing and don’t attract a higher level of funding.
    To make sense of my comments, I am in a rural area which is quite a different context from a city school with high number of EALD students.


  18. Thankyou for these informative sessions. In my role with predominately ES1 and Stg1 EAL/D students, how do I best support learners who are not provided with additional support due to being in the developing phase, and therefore are not targeted due to a greater emphasis on Beginning and Emerging phases?


  19. Thank you for the recorded sessions. I am wondering how I can make class teachers understand why students should remain on ‘Consolidating’ when they are ‘at national average’ in Naplan. It is already difficult to make them understand that CALP is different to NAP.


    1. Maybe say although they are at the national average, they are working below their full potential as they have the barrier / the disadvantage of not having English as their home language. If they were a native speaker their naplan score would be (considerably) higher.


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