ETAWA 2013 State Conference

50 Years of Working Together 1963 – 2013


Esplanade Hotel, Fremantle

Friday May 17 and Saturday May 18

Conference Dinner 6:30pm Friday 17th May

ETAWA invites you to join us for 2013’s premier professional learning and networking event: State Conference 2013 – 50 Years of Working Together.

Keynote – Friday 


Helen Trinca

Author, Managing Editor of The Australian 

Dinner Speaker 


Jane Caro

Freelance copywriter, lecturer, author and commentator

Keynote – Saturday


Robert Drewe

Award winning author

Available Packages:

1 Day
Does not include dinner
2 Days
Does not include dinner
Full package*
See below for details
Conference dinner
Normal Normal Normal Buffet meal, drinks,and guest speaker Jane Caro.
ETAWA Members $260 $420 $480 $70
Student members $150 $250 $310
Presenters $200 $360 $420
Non-members $360 $620 $690 $100

*Full Package includes:

  • 2 days of talks, workshops, networking, and author signings
  • Lunch, morning and afternoon tea for both days
  • Conference dinner, including speaker Jane Caro
  • Direct access to traders and booksellers
  • Inaugural Alexandra Solosy Memorial Lecture, delivered by Dr. Ann McGuire
  • Pre-AGM and post-conference drinks and networking

Download Registration Form      Online Registration

Conference Program:

Friday – 17 May 2013

Session Presenters
Welcome to Country Matt McGuire
Keynote Presentation

From typewriters to tablets: Reporting the news in a digital world - Helen Trinca

helen-trinca news

Helen Trinca has co-written two previous books: Waterfront: The Battle that Changed Australia and Better than Sex: How a Whole Generation Got Hooked on Work. She has held senior reporting and editing roles in Australian journalism, including a stint as the Australian’s London correspondent, and is currently Managing Editor of the Australian.Helen’s newly released biographyMadeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John is published by Text Publishing.Helen will be available for book signings during morning tea on Friday and at lunch time on Saturday.

Concurrent Sessions 1

Engaging students to want to learn - Colin Thompson

Colin Thompson book

Author of The Floods series and countless other books, join Colin Thompson in a follow up to his session at our student conference. Colin will be available for book signings during morning tea.

ABC Splash portal resource - Adam Kealley and Daniel Hughes

ABC Splash is a new education website for Australia. It currently provides; video, audio clips, and games for Primary and Secondary students that are aligned to the Australian Curriculum. Alongside these individual media resources it also includes Collections, which use a narrative to sequence together resources on a theme, and Teacher Resources.In this workshop teachers will:

  • Find out about the free resources for English literacy learning available on ABC Splash
  • Learn how they can: favourite media resources for future use, create their own collections, and use these media resources with their students to teach English and literacy
  • Explore the hundreds of videos, audio clips, games and Collections aligned to the Australian Curriculum.
  • Discover the potential for their teaching, their students, and opportunities for them you to become involved.
  • Hear about what’s currently in development, and what’s planned for the coming year.

Daniel Hughes is a Teaching and Learning Advisor with Education Services Australia (ESA), working on the selection, preparation and alignment of resources to support ABC Splash. Daniel has also managed the design and production of digital curriculum resources at ESA, including teacher guides, interactive resources, websites and digital tools. In previous roles Daniel served as the Program Manager with the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation, the Principal of Victoria’s Zoo Education Service, an education officer with the RSPCA, and as both classroom and music teacher in primary schools.


Adam Kealley is a teacher at Trinity College, a Council member of ETAWA and a contractor for Education Services Australia, writing a range of student and teacher resources to support ABC Splash, in line with the Australian Curriculum. In addition, Adam has published with Pearson Education Australia and has contributed to various ETAWA publications. He has been teaching English for 15 years across the State, Catholic and Independent sectors, as well as overseas. In his spare time, Adam is currently undertaking external postgraduate study at Deakin University in Melbourne.

The Disappearing - mapping memory and place with digital poetry -Tamryn Bennett

‘So to the cities they come,

over roads and highways of waves,

where coral reaches up like a migrant

connecting the stars

into maps of deliverance.’

~ Omar Musa, from The Disappearing


The Red Room Company creates, publishes and promotes poetry in unusual ways. Commissioning contemporary Australian poets, we produce public arts projects and poetry education programs for schools, learning institutions, correctional centres and community groups that transform people’s perception of poetry. All of The Red Room Company’s education kits are developed in close consultation with teachers, poets and education professionals, with the aim of being flexible enough to meet a number of English curriculum outcomes and to suit a range of learning abilities and classroom contexts across the country. The most recent education kit to be piloted by The Red Room Company draws from the ongoing public project, The Disappearing.

The Disappearing is a new free app for iPad, iPhone and Android devices that geolocates poems to place. It offers students an authentic publication mode for both poetry and descriptive writing that explores and maps ideas and memories of place. Workshops utilising The Disappearing Learning Kit allow participants to interact with this free live app and explore learning resources that address multimodal requirements of the Australian Curriculum: English.

This session will draw from The Disappearing Learning Kit to share strategies for teaching poetry to primary and secondary English classes. Participants will also begin drafting their own poem that can be published via The Disappearing app.

Film in the new Literature curriculum - Leith Daniel

This presentation is designed to show how the new Literature Curriculum is not being watered down by the inclusion of film, but is instead an opportunity to reinvigorate a course and subject many students see as stagnant. It will also provide tips for teachers unused to teaching film alongside literary classics.

Teacher, geek, author, nerd, presenter, dork. Twitter @leithned.

Should silent reading feature in a secondary school English program? - Margaret Merga

Should Silent Reading feature in a Secondary School English program?

The role of Silent Reading in the learning program has been the subject of recent research, yielding mixed findings, bringing into question the validity of dedicating valuable class time to Silent Reading in an environment of rigorous curricular demands and high-stakes testing.

In Term Four of 2012, 20 West Australian schools from diverse geographical and socio-cultural settings participated in the West Australian Study in Adolescent Book Reading (WASBR). This study explored student attitudes toward recreational book reading with an emphasis on social influences. Questions about Silent Reading were also included in the interviews, as Silent Reading can potentially improve the social capital of recreational book reading. Student responses provide valuable insight directly from the target group.

WASABR findings suggest that the diversity in implementation of Silent Reading may significantly contribute to the mixed results garnered through research. The attitudes and concerns of West Australian students provide a scaffold for the researcher to revisit best practice and examine the conditions in which Silent Reading could feature as a valuable part of a Secondary School program.


Margaret Merga is a Doctoral Candidate at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia on an Australian Postgraduate Award. She has a Masters in Education, a Graduate Diploma in Education (Secondary) and a Bachelor of Arts with Honours. She has worked in education in Australia, Thailand, Turkey, India and the USA.

Concurrent Sessions 2

Requiem for a Beast - Matt Ottley

Author and illustrator Matt Ottely will present in a follow up to his appearance at our student conference,A Day At The Museum. Well-known for the poignant Home and Away, recently featured at The Fremantle Childrenʼs Literature Centre, and Mrs Millieʼs Painting, will undoubtedly inspire your passion for illustration and storytelling.Matt will be available for book signings at the start of lunch.

Exploring cross curricula programs between English and History - FBLEP

The Francis Burt Law Education Programme (FBLEP) will present an interactive session using sample FBLEP activities and resources providing an opportunity for English teachers to explore cross-curriculum programmes between English and History.The FBLEP seeks to advance understanding of the law, legal principles and the court system by encouraging students to investigate, analyse and communicate ideas using the language, literature and literacy strands. Students are also stimulated to develop and share knowledge about social systems and world views and to promote social justice for sustainable futures.The FBLEP provides comprehensive units of work that enable both Australian Curriculum English and History to work side by side with in-depth studies of Life in the WA Colony(including the clash of cultures between Aboriginal Peoples and the early settlers), Australia’s System of Law and the Movement of Peoples which show the impacts that still reverberate into the 21st Century.

English teachers are provided with text study, creative and argumentative writing tasks, and multimodal presentation activities and ideas. History teachers are provided with digital timeline, podcast and biographical activities and ideas.

By working together, English and History teachers can enable students to apply their knowledge from one learning area into multiple learning areas, thereby enhancing their overall skills in communication, listening, reading, writing, viewing and speaking.


Dean Curtis is primary trained and has specialised in applied linguistics. He has over 22 years of experience in education, including eight years teaching English in Japan. He has been the FBLEP Education Services Co-ordinator for 2 years.

Maire Ni Mahuna has been a senior secondary teacher for over 25 years specialising in Aboriginal Education and English, including multiple experiences in senior administration. She is a sessional lecturer at Curtin University and has been working as the FBLEP Education Officer since July, 2012.

Literary Memorialisation: Remembering the figures of literature - Claire Jones

1916 was a year of cultural commemoration as literary communities throughout the world celebrated the tercentennial of Shakespeare’s death. Despite the upheaval of The Great War and the political divisions it created, nations on both sides of the conflict marked the occasion with events, publications and community memorials to pay tribute to the national and cultural influence of ‘The Bard’. In Australia these commemorations coincided with another moment of national memorialisation, as the tercentenary fell on the same day as the first anniversary of the Gallipoli landing and the inaugural ANZAC Day commemorations. Across Australia these events were combined celebrations and stories of great heroes were told and performed, and national and imperial pride expressed.

2012 was also a year of literary commemoration. The Dickens Bicentennial was marked by a number of publications and literary events in Britain and America, as well as political declarations that Dickens’ work should be a compulsory for study in English schools. In Australia, despite the continued popularity of Dickens’ work in both educational reading lists and film and television viewing, there was little commemoration of Dickens’ as a literary figure. It was also the centenary of Patrick White’s birth, Australia’s sole Nobel Literature Laureate, and while this was met with a number of literary occasions, exhibitions and public reading groups there was certainly not the wide-spread public memorialisation that occurred in 1916 for Shakespeare. This session is not an attempt to compare the cultural or literary significance of Shakespeare, Dickens or White, it is an exploration of the importance of literature to cultural memory and national imaginings. It will document the celebrations of 1916 and the consider the potential memorialisation of Gallipoli in 2015 as well as Shakespeare in 2016, and consider how these public manifestations of cultural memory are connected to the English classroom.


Claire Jones has been an English, Literature and History teacher for over 10 years. She is currently working as a PhD candidate and research associate in Australian Literature at the University of Western Australia and also teaches in the School of Education at Curtin University. Her PhD is seeking to trace the way that English education at both secondary and tertiary levels has been used to support the nation-building project of Australia.

Jet your way through the jam on the information superhighway - Kate Ackerman

Jump up and start in on a quick and dirty intro to our range of education programs provided free at the State Library in the heart of Perth’s Cultural Centre.  A huge frontier of safe and authentic material resources is available at your staff and student’s doorstep.  Our interactive workshop will pick and mix from a range of our following programs;

  • Find it @ the library (K-2), Books and More (3-6) and Beyond Books (7-12) give students an introduction to SLWA and explores the newspaper, map, ephemera, photo and eresource collections.
  • Fun with Fairytales (K- 2) and Snappy Tales (3-6) allow students to explore the elements of storytelling through a digital medium.Photo Fusion (7 – 12) will allow students to reinterpret and get creative with old photographs from the SLWA collection by creating digital mash ups.
  • Digging up the Past (3 – 6) and Facts for Fiction (7 – 12) demonstrate how research can be applied in real world situations by exploring SLWA collection items that have influenced and informed the writing of historical narratives.

Then and Now (K – 2) utilises the Books-To-Go template promoted by Better Beginnings and the SLWA pictorial collection to create a book comparing every day life in the olden days to now.

A Journey of Transformation - Jody Rubery and Rachelle Kelly

It is a simple truth that most of us teach so we can help others learn. But often, despite our best efforts and our most earnest intentions, the process of ‘teaching’ can get in the way of genuine ‘learning’.

Exploring new ways to engage students and shape their learning has been an exciting challenge for English teachers, Rachelle Kelly and Jody Rubery. Emboldened by their school’s vision for their teachers – “Seek to use innovative and engaging teaching strategies to facilitate authentic learning in a Catholic setting” – this duo have been exploring ways of

shifting the focus from the teacher to the student within the English classroom. Underpinned by the idea that Web 2.0 technologies allow for the types of learning experiences that have not previously been possible, Rachelle and Jody have some interesting, practical and innovative ideas and resources to share.


This session will have 3 distinct parts:


A brief look at the thinking that underpins the way curriculum and learning is shaped at Kolbe Catholic College.


Allowing participants individual and group time to explore the lessons that Jody and Rachelle use in their classrooms. Participants can see how lessons are structured so that the teacher is not dominating the lesson from the front of the room. The lessons relate to middle and senior school classes – some are laptop based while others utilise the iPad. Expect to see references to:, Evernote, Goodreader, Notability, Showme, Voice Record HD, Screenchomp, Google Docs and many more.

Part 3:

The session will end with a brief show-and-tell of the apps, websites and tools that Rachelle and Jody love best.


Rachelle Kelly is a third year English teacher at Kolbe Catholic College. She completed an Arts degree and Education Diploma double majoring in English and Psychology. Rachelle has a passion for literature and creative writing, and believes in the importance of building and maintaining literacy in young adults in new and innovative ways.

Jody Rubery spent five incredible years honing her skills at Quairading District High School before finding a home at Kolbe Catholic College – first as Head of English, later as Head of Learning Resources, and currently as Director of Innovation. Jody believes in dynamic classrooms that nurture individuals, and is constantly excited by the technology that makes that possible.

Concurrent Sessions 3  

Boys and Books - James Moloney

James Moloney book

Well-loved Australian author James Moloney will present on boys and reading.We are delighted to announce that one of Australia’s most loved authors, James Moloney, will be joining us for ETAWA’s first ever student conference, ‘A Day At The Museum’ as well as presenting at our State Conference. Perhaps best known as author of A Bridge To Wiseman’s Cove and Dougie, James has also worked as a teacher in metropolitan and country schools, and as a teacher librarian. James’ first novel for adults, The Tower Mill, was released in September 2012.James will be available for book signings during afternoon tea.

Collaborative learning using web tools - Ron Barton and Jason D'Argent

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

– Henry Ford

Collaborative, group-based learning activities offer huge benefits for our students. It is for this reason the principles of middle schooling keep reappearing in the facets of our governing policies. While this idea is not new (collaborative learning has been successful since the late 18th Century when George Jardine from the University of Glasgow used these strategies to engage his students), constant advances in technology allow for new approaches, new ways in which we can work together.

With the digital context of contemporary students, it is increasingly difficult to not acknowledge that they are highly technologically capable. Beyond this, there is a systemic push to use technology in our classrooms evidenced in the Australian Curriculum requirements and the Director General’s Classroom First strategy which states, “[our students] need to be adaptable, resourceful and quick to learn. They need to be technologically competent, and… able to think things through for themselves and show initiative, not wait for direction”. Through the interactive nature of Web 2.0 tools we are able to transcend physical barriers and collaborate with others on a global scale. In the 21st Century English classroom, cloud based tools give students and teachers opportunities to read, analyse and create authentic texts with a variety of collaborators both synchronously and asynchronously. They can connect staff and students with the world outside of the classroom to provide meaningful learning for all involved.

Ron Barton
was once a disengaged, disinterested and distracted student but is now a published poet, Level 3 Classroom Teacher and Associate Dean of English. He actively seeks, and is an advocate for, innovative methods of classroom practice to ensure that students don’t fall into the same traps he did.

Jason D’Argent is a passionate lifelong learner and technology advocate who has taught Drama and English for the last 5 years. As both a teacher and ICT coordinator, collaboration and innovation drive him. He is an energetic, self-confessed Google nut who loves online gaming, authentic learning and Shakespeare.

Implementing a Parent Programme at School - Laraine Reason

The Parents on Board Programme is a successful programme, which is designed to empower parents to facilitate their child’s learning at home. This programme has been operating since 1997 and has been implemented in schools in Australia, China and Kazakhstan in both local and international school communities. Teachers need the support of parents to create a partnership that will foster success in a child’s learning. None of us should be working in isolation – not the student; not the teacher; not the parent. We should all be working together for the best possible educational outcome. To create a successful partnership, parents need to play an active role in the child’s learning and feel that they have access to the school community. This workshop provides an overview and workbook on ways of delivering the programme in both government and private schools in Australia. Topics addressed include: ‘What Makes a Good Learner?’, ‘What About the Boys?’, ‘Reluctant Readers’ and ‘Engagement at Home’.

Laraine Reason has lived in Australia, China and Kazakhstan, working in international schools and government schools as an administrator and a teacher. She has worked with the International Baccalaureate and Western Australian curriculum pedagogy as a scaffold for her Parents on Board Programme since 1997. She is an experienced presenter, both at the secondary and primary school level. She has also presented workshops at various conferences and locations, including: Australian Association for teaching of English National Conference (Tasmania) 2001, English Teachers Association Conference (Western Australia) 2001,   Parents on Board Workshop (Beijing) 2003, EARCOS Conference (Bangkok) 2007 and International Baccalaureate Africa, Europe and the Middle East Regional Conference (Liverpool) 2010. Laraine currently works as a Curriculum team Leader of the Learning Plaza at St. Brigid’s College.

The creative writing zone - just forget the rules - Rose Moscaro

Roses are red, violets are…


It’s been done!


You have to be in the “zone” to write well.

Don’t bother teaching creative writing to young people, if you’re not going to invest in setting up the scene for your students. It has to be magical.

I know that I can’t write anything meaningful – or from the heart – if I’m not feeling inspired. So it is not uncommon for fellow staff members to see my students sprawled outside on the grass, meditating. The trick is to get them in the “zone” first, before you try to force their tender minds with metaphors and personification, or god forbid: characterisation.


I have always been known to place a large slant on creative writing in my classes – incorporating everything from impromptu outdoor writing, meditation activities that lead to free-association writing, and blogging through use of technology in the classroom. My belief is that by learning to tap into one’s inner voice, anyone can improve their writing – especially, believe it or not – their essay writing.

I’ll be focusing on four things:

1. Get in the “writing zone”

2. Practice beautiful writing

3. Forget the rules

3. Publish on the web.

Expect to feel a little refreshed after this session. After all, you should be in the zone.


Rose Mascaro is an English Teacher at Seton Catholic College who majored in Creative Writing and Journalism at Murdoch University, going on to complete postgraduate studies in Literature and Creative Writing at Curtin University. Whilst she adores the high school scene, her goal is to write full time and teach writing skills to adults.

Libraries, Literacy and navigating a skills continuum - Bernadette Nye

In this day and age, finding information isn’t difficult – because it’s everywhere. The challenge lies in guaranteeing the authenticity and accuracy of the information we find, and appropriately judging it’s context.  More so, as educators, instilling the desire in our students to become inquisitive readers, to move beyond ‘cut and paste’ and to question their own findings.

As educators, we are responsible for guiding our students (‘The Click generation’ and ‘Digital natives’ are just some of the buzzwords coined for those born these days) to make the right decisions in their research. They need to realise that learning is a skill like any other – it must be taught, learned and practiced. They can turn on a computer; they can open a book, but what next?

Being born when cars exist doesn’t guarantee being able drive effectively – we must be taught and tested, and the same goes for the humble computer! And dare I say it, the ‘book’.

The session will include a discussion on the following topics:

  • Authenticity & accuracy in online research.
  • Thinking about web2 in education and what makes a great website.
  • Working with school librarians – following a ‘skills continuum’ (A set of skills designed to engage students in ‘Learning to Learn’ and ‘Navigating the ‘Library’ to make sure our students can effectively communicate and navigate the world of information around them – in their school, library and beyond.

Bernadette Nye is a Teacher Librarian and English teacher. She is a member of the Western Australian School Library Association (WASLA) committee and enjoys making contributions to the WASLA journal IC3, in particular reviewing the latest YA titles and promoting useful teaching resources. She is currently working as the school librarian at an Independent Public School.

Plenary Session

Glyn Parry - author

Glyn Parry book

Author and teacher Glyn Parry will present our Friday Plenary for Conference 2013.

Conference Dinner

Jane Caro - author, advertising guru, social media commentator

Jane Caro book

Well-known author and social commentator Jane Caro will join us as our guest speaker at the Conference Dinner on Friday 17th May.

A regular panelist on ABC’s The Gruen Transfer and author or several books including The Stupid Country: How Australia is dismantling Public Education, Jane’s public commentary on the state of education in Australia ensures she will be an interesting and thought provoking speaker at our dinner.

Saturday – 18 May 2013

Session Presenters
Keynote Presentation

Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe book

The conference committee is excited to announce Robert Drewe as our Saturday Keynote speaker. Known variously as columnist, journalist, editor, and of course writer, Drewe brings to conference his wisdom and insight born of many years working in literature. Drewe’s awards include Australian Book of the Year (The Drowner), West Australian Premier’s Prize (The Shark Net) , and Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (The Bay of Contented Men).

Concurrent Sessions 1

Vegemite Vapours – Values in the Australian Curriculum English 7-10 - Christine Crump

Over the last decade there has been a resurgence of interest in values education in Australia and values education is integral to the Australian Curriculum. Whilst there is a general understanding that values vary according to context; the Australian curriculum specifically validates a set of common values. This presentation will explore both explicit and implicit values in the Australian Curriculum for English – what they are, their place, their emphases, and their relationship to the Curriculum Frameworks for Western Australia. It will use (and contest) definitions of values and values education from the 2005 document, National Frameworks for values Education in Australian Schools, which provides a significant basis for the Australian Curriculum. It will explore terms used in rationales, aims, outcomes, text requirements, the general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities and reflect on the assumptions behind the use of them. It will speculate about what these values might mean for faith-based schools and probably generate more questions than answers. To some extent the presentation will draw on the work of such people as Ruby Holland, Terry Lovat and Brian Hill. The presentation aims to be partly expository and partly group discussion.


Christine Crump has had a wide teaching career in a range of Sydney schools and is currently Head of Learning: English at St Stephen’s School, Carramar Campus having been Head of English and Assistant Dean of Studies at Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney. Christine is highly experienced senior English teacher having been a core Syllabus Writer, HSC marker, and presenter in NSW over a number of years. Christine has a wide range of experience and expertise in all facets of English, which informs her presentation. She has been a council member of ETA NSW. Christine has led the first and subsequent groups of International Baccalaureate candidates at St Andrew’s She has published a number of textbooks for Australian students. Christine became a grandparent in December.

The Textual politics of the body: oppression, pleasure, skin - Susan Midalia

My paper considers the literary representation of the body for its usefulness as a pedagogical strategy.  Firstly, discussing concepts of the body can be used to encourage adolescents – a group typically preoccupied with physical appearance and bodily pleasure – to engage with texts they might otherwise find tedious and/or irrelevant. Secondly, such discussions can be used to develop in students a more complex understanding of the concept of ideology, with particular application to the categories of race, class and gender. Thirdly, discussions of the body can be used to consider the so-called gaps and silences in texts, to form the basis of illuminating and less obvious readings.  Examples will be drawn from well-known and widely taught novels, plays and poems, including Pride and Prejudice, Heart of Darkness, The Handmaid’s Tale, Othello, No Sugar, Wordsworth’s “To Daffodils” and Gwen Harwood’s “Frog Price. I will also draw on examples from my recently published collection of short stories,An Unknown Sky.

Susan Midalia has taught English for over thirty years at both tertiary and secondary levels. She has a PhD in contemporary Australian women’s fiction and has published on the subject in national and international literary journals. A full-time fiction writer since 2007, she has produced two collections of short stories, both published by UWAPublishing. A History of the Beanbag(2007) was shortlisted for the WA Premiers Book Award, and An Unknown Sky was published in 2013 to critical acclaim. She is currently one of the judges for the T.A.G. Hungerford Award, and the sole judge of the Todhunter Literary Award.

It's not about the machine - performance enhancing tools for teachers - Bruce Derby

This session draws on last year’s presentation about using IT in the English classroom. The scary thing in the current technology-rich climate in education is that so much is assumed about the confidence of teachers in using technology in the classroom. In this session I will revisit some of the tools presented last year (and some others) to help teachers establish a toolkit of IT tools to help them integrate technology in the classroom without having to completely reinvent what they do. It doesn’t matter whether your school uses desktops, laptops, Macs or iPads, the fundamentals of teaching and learning with ICT are the same. What you will see modelled in this session are ways to develop reading and research skills, establish effective feedback opportunities and to diagnose student skills and understandings in the classroom.


Bruce Derby is an experienced English teacher who has taught in schools in Western Australia and the UK. He is a self-confessed nerd, or rather he has grown to accept the label. His philosophy about IT in education is built upon his belief that technology can strengthen the fundamentals of learning that we have always valued. Bruce is a member of the ETA Council and the SCSA English Course Advisory Council. He is currently Deputy Principal for Teaching and Learning at Mazenod College.

Engaging creativity, playing with parody - James Foley

James will be available for book signings at morning tea

Incorporating the ‘Sustainability’ Cross-curricular Priority into the English Class: Exploring Ecocriticism as a Literary Reading Practice - Adam Kealley

Ecocritcism is a relatively recent development in reading practices, stemming from the environmental movements of the 1990’s that resulted in a broad cultural examination of the interrelationship of humans and their environments. Initially, the literary criticism arm of ecocriticism began as a re-evaluation of Romanticism and its principles for a post-industrial world. Today, it generally seeks to explore the impacts upon culture by the environment and vice versa, as represented within and by texts.While the obvious connections to be made lie in the representation of environmental catastrophe, often in a post-apocalyptic context, application of an ecocritical reading practice can be more subtle. In settler cultures, such as Australia, ecocriticism is often aligned with a post-colonial paradigm, with ecological devastation attributed to settler influence over the environment.Through an exploration of three texts appropriate for various audiences, namely Jeannie Baker’s picture book Belonging (aka Home), Victor Kelleher’s Red Heart, and Pixar’s Wall-E, this paper will model an ecocritical approach to exploring texts as a way of incorporating the Sustainability Cross-curricular Priority of the Australian Curriculum into the English Classroom. In doing so, teachers provide students with the opportunity to “develop the skills necessary to investigate, analyse and communicate ideas and information related to sustainability, and to advocate, generate and evaluate actions for sustainable futures.  The content in the language, literature and literacy strands is key to developing and sharing knowledge about social, economic and ecological systems and world views that promote social justice.”Adam Kealley is an English teacher with 15 years of experience across the Government, Catholic and Independent sectors. Currently teaching at Trinity College, he is also undertaking postgraduate studies in Children’s Literature at Deakin University.

Concurrent Sessions 2

Using literature to engage, inspire, educate & make connections - James Moloney

James Moloney book

Well-loved Australian author James Moloney will present on boys and reading.We are delighted to announce that one of Australia’s most loved authors, James Moloney, will be joining us for ETAWA’s first ever student conference, ‘A Day At The Museum’ as well as presenting at our State Conference. Perhaps best known as author of A Bridge To Wiseman’s Cove and Dougie, James has also worked as a teacher in metropolitan and country schools, and as a teacher librarian. James’ first novel for adults, The Tower Mill, was released in September 2012.James will be available for book signings during afternoon tea.

Other people’s lives and the perils of biography - Helen Trinca

helen-trinca news

Helen Trinca has co-written two previous books: Waterfront: The Battle that Changed Australia and Better than Sex: How a Whole Generation Got Hooked on Work. She has held senior reporting and editing roles in Australian journalism, including a stint as the Australian’s London correspondent, and is currently Managing Editor of the Australian.Helen’s newly released biography Madeleine: A Life of Madeleine St John is published by Text Publishing.Helen will be available for book signings during morning tea on Friday and at lunch time on Saturday.

From Personal to Shared Memories: Image-making and Writing - Pippa Tandy

There has been a lot of debate in recent years about the value of “Programme” creative writing. This has mostly been in the American context, but no doubt it will filter through to these parts before long. Some are arguing that the “write about what you know” maxim that has held sway in creative writing programmes since the sixties has led to a downward spiral in publishing, as what writers know has become more and more trivial, personal and banal. I have not made up my mind yet about which side of the debate I am on, but in the presentation I will be seeking to elaborate on one of my own projects which has been in part triggered by the personal, but which I hope goes beyond that to say something about the value and vulnerability of shared memory in our time.

In this session I talk about a photographic and writing project (exhibited in part last year) where I spent nearly half a year in an empty house taking photos and keeping a diary and other notes. This has culminated in a book which I am working on containing images from the project, and prose contextualising the images and telling the story of my experience.

Some information about the project is available on my website at

I aim to present this material in such a way as to offer a model of investigative work into image making and prose writing for secondary students at all levels. I will give some attention to the ways in which in writing and image making, one might go beyond the “personal” to broader concerns and so provide a starting point for a more useful understanding of “personal context”.

Beyond Michael Moore: Alternative documentaries to study in the English classroom - Maggie McPhee and Shannon Allen

Shannon Allen and Maggie McPhee recently realized that English teachers tend to fall back to the “good ol’ favourites” when studying documentary texts with their students: Bowling for Columbine, An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc. and Murderball. As the genre of documentary is expanding and developing a wider popular audience, it is an opportunity for English teachers to take advantage of some of the more contemporary and exciting texts being produced.

In this workshop they will discuss critical approaches to documentary film as well as sharing with you some of the texts and resources they have used in their classes. The focus documentaries will be: The Filth and the Fury (Julien Temple, 2000) which depicts the story of the 80s punk band, The Sex Pistols; Forbidden Lie$ (Anna Broinowski, 2007) that investigates Norma Khouri, the infamous literary fraud; Cunnamulla (Dennis O’Rouke, 2000) which presents life in the small Australian town and Searching for Sugarman (Malik Bendjelloul, 2012) about the enigmatic folk singer, Sixto Rodriguez. These films are rarely studied yet offer rich material for analysis and discussion. It is a great opportunity to widen your repertoire of visual texts studied in the classroom and take home some resources as well!


Maggie McPhee is an English and Literature teacher with 8 years classroom experience across Independent and Government sectors. She is a member of the ETAWA Council and is studying a Masters in Education at UWA. She is currently teaching at Perth College.

Literacy strategy - Jessica Bidwell

The Literacy Strategy was designed to improve literacy skills and outcomes in remote W.A. Aboriginal communities. With slight adjustments, this program was successfully implemented in a Low Socio-Economic Secondary School setting at Hedland Senior High School 2010 and later Gilmore College in 2012.

The Literacy Strategy involves teaching a double period, often two hours, where English and Society & Environment are taught cross-curricula. Within the two-hour block, an organised lesson plan of 6 parts is delivered. Firstly, students are visually and verbally shown a ‘Preview of the Day’, where they find out what will occur in the lesson. Secondly, students engage in a ‘Print Walk’, which is a short activity to warm up for learning and takes the form of a quick literacy skill or a puzzle. Thirdly, students are encouraged to read or follow along in a session of ‘Shared Reading’ about the relevant topic of the lesson.

A large proportion of time is given to practicing particular literacy skills during both ‘Guided Reading’ and ‘Shared Writing’. Lastly, a ‘Plenary’ is used to conclude each lesson because Literacy Strategy encourages students to reflect and set goals for both behaviour and academic success in their learning environment.

This short sequencing of lessons, changing of activities and coverage of four to five weeks on a topic caters to different learning styles, and attention spans, and also encourages a safe environment filled with known expectations. Literacy strategy, can and has, improved literacy skills and raised some students’ WAMSE points by up to 100 points in less than 12 months.


Jessica Bidwell is a Society & Environment teacher at Gilmore College who has successfully delivered the Literacy Strategy program.  She is in her 4th year of teaching, having spent a year at Clarkson Community High School.

Concurrent Sessions 3

ACARA Senior School Courses: Action Research Project - Panel Discussion

This Senior School Action Research Project was designed to allow teachers to develop familiarity with the proposed ACARA Senior School courses in English and Literature.  It was conducted in 2012 and involved 11 teachers from a variety of different Catholic and independent schools with a mixture of student populations. Teachers reported that through their research activities and their reflective journals that this project gave them an opportunity to increase their understanding of the content and potential demands of the new ACARA courses and their suitability for their students.One of the major benefits of this action research based project was that participants had an opportunity to reflect on their current teaching practice over a year not only on what they were teaching but how they were teaching. Teachers were able to think of different and stimulating ways in which they might engage their students in these courses by trying something different, modifying what they were doing or using new texts and sometimes ‘taking risks’ that were not always possible when delivering their ‘regular’ program.  Many of the teachers saw this as an opportunity to move in a new direction as they felt they had a ‘licence’ to do something different.This panel discussion will be introduced and facilitated by Warren Grellier (one of the consultants for the Project) and will involve three of the teachers involved in the Project: Maree Atkinson from Alta-1; Steve Holborow from Lumen Christie Catholic College; and Jennifer Morley from Clontarf Aboriginal College.  Each panel member will share his or her involvement, findings from the Project and further implications for teachers about the proposed new Senior School courses in English Maree Atkinson has taught for 12 years in both primary and senior secondary schools within Western Australia.  She has a passion for seeing disengaged youth reach their full potential.  She has been involved in writing middle school curriculum based on the Australian Curriculum and delivering education in both a classroom setting and to online students.Warren Grellier is a private consultant working with organisations, schools and teachers across the state.  He has more than 30 years’ experience in teaching, seminar and workshop presentations, curriculum development, project management, and educational administration.Steve Holborow commenced teaching in Sydney’s Western Suburbs. After teaching English, History and computing for ten years, he moved to Perth. He has been a head of English Departments for the past 30 years. He has held relieving Deputy positions in 4 Perth Catholic Colleges and is currently Acting Director of Pastoral Care at Lumen Christi College.

Jennifer Morley is a secondary English teacher at Clontarf Aboriginal College with qualifications in Aboriginal education and Australian history.  Her main role is to support students in the development of functional and critical literacy skills through the use of culturally relevant materials, individual learning styles and building upon experiences of success.

Lost in the wilderness: Libraries of today - Brad Tyrrell & Trevor Galbraith

In this presentation we will look at the role of libraries and the role they play in your school. The focus needs to shift away from the preconceived notion of what we knew libraries to be in the past to what they should be in the future. Often at times it is not the staff in libraries that are setting the library up for redundancy but the ideas that our own teachers in our schools have about how they would like to use the library.

Looking specifically at the role of Content, Integration and Resources both we will adjust the lens to shine lights on the materials role of ICT in the classroom when trying to readjust the way we teacher and create.

Topics that will be covered include:

  • ebooks – A careful look at Overdrive at JTC and Scotch
  • Library workflow – Ever wondered what happens in a library… I know I have
  • Technology for content creation – English focus and ideas for the future
  • Share and Publish – Make students authors very easy with iTunes and YouTube


Bradley Tyrrell – Head of Library, Research and Information at Scotch College

Over the past 7 years I have worked to integrate new technologies into the classroom and redefine the traditional boundaries of where technology and teaching intersect. Working as a Director of Information Technologies in the past in 2012 I took the step of looking at the role of libraries and have not turned back since. I take up a new position in 2013 transforming curriculum, adjusting long held preconceptions and working with students to achieve their best results.

Trevor Galbraith – Director of Information Technology at Corpus Christi College

If you work in WA and have been around a while you know Trevor. A skilled presenter; a teacher who is passionate about the potential of technology and the power to liberate learning for all students anywhere anytime. Trevor has pioneered the 1:1 programs at Corpus for the past three years and is a mentor to many leadership personnel.

Let's Play Scrabble program - Jane Walker

Developed by qualified teachers to meet values and requirements of the ANC Framework, ‘Let’s Play Scrabble’ is a structured play program to develop language and mathematical skills.

It uses Scrabble® concepts such as ‘hooks’ – letters added at the beginning or end of a word to form another word – and anagrams to develop mental agility, strategy and problem solving skills, improve spelling, word knowledge and dictionary use in an enjoyable way. Mathematical skills are also built and strengthened through scoring and deciding optimum play, an important process in the game.

The game tutorial uses a specially designed ‘short’ board and 52 instead of 100 tiles so students, playing in pairs, can play a full game in one period. Speed is a necessary skill of the game; finishing a game within time gives a sense of achievement. The need to think and make play decisions quickly develops teamwork, reasoning and problem solving skills. Because it is FUN, students enjoy the exercises and the competition.

Although originally developed for Year 5/6 Primary Students, the program was very successfully trialled in 2012 with a Year 9 Remedial English and an English Literacy Class at Willetton SHS. The remedial students’ attitude to their class became positive rather than negative, and the literacy class enjoyed learning new words.


Jane Walker is the Education and Promotion Officer for ASPA (WA) Inc. A member and Scrabble player for over twenty years, she developed this program with two retired Scrabble playing teachers. Jane was a long term member of Toastmasters International, holding several State and National positions.

TV Binge viewing - Stuart Bender

The uniquely contemporary practice of TV binge viewing on DVDs is a pure example of the way reading/viewing practices function to activate meaning in a given text. This presentation is partially in response to some common misconceptions about reading/viewing practices as somehow “special” types of meaning-making. Rather than being the exclusive domain of a heightened form of intellectual engagement with a text, any reading/viewing practice is in fact quite a mundane routine-based behaviour. The contemporary nature of TV binge viewing also provides a useful case study of how such practices are contingent upon historical factors. Binge viewing can be partially explained as a result of contemporary events such as specific technological requirements of DVD menu designs,  as well as the popularity of illegally pirated downloads of TV shows that can be played back via USB devices in TV sets, game consoles, and laptops. This perspective calls into question how the practice of binge viewing affects (and effects) viewer engagement with the characters and narratives of the programs upon which they choose to binge. The presentation clarifies the nature of reading/viewing practices as sets of routine processes and offers a number of fresh approaches to the teaching of TV texts for English students by drawing upon recent theories of cognitive psychology and skills of textual observation.


Stuart Bender received his PhD from Murdoch University in Western Australia in 2012. He is also a director and visual effects supervisor of action films. His monograph, published by Cambridge Scholars Press in 2013 is titled Film Style and the World War II Combat Genre and draws upon his practical understanding of filmmaking as well as a theoretical background of film analysis and cognitive psychology. His recent short film The Argentinian Escape has been nominated for the awards of “Best Breakout Action Star (Stuart Bender)” and “Best Composition (Sam Cutri)” at the 2012 Action On Film Festival in California. He now teaches in the Department of Film and Television at Curtin University and has previously taught English in a number of secondary schools in Western Australia. His film work can be seen at

Views of others - One World Centre

How well do we enable our students to look into the lives of others? Are the learning experiences in our classrooms broadening student perspectives through deeper and more meaningful understanding, or do we simply rely on exposure to a wide range of texts leading to broad thinking? This highly practical and interactive workshop will demonstrate how teachers can critically explore representations of culture with their students. The workshop will demonstrate simple and powerful strategies to:

 explore diverse perspectives, stereotype and the danger of the single story with a rumour clinic,   scaffold deep thinking and effective questioning skills with the development compass rose, and  identify the use of bias, stereotype and spin with captions and images.

This workshop demonstrates global education tools that meet Australian Curriculum: English requirements by promoting intercultural understanding, questioning cultural representations and reflecting and responding to texts in context. Come along and discover how our classrooms can be windows to the world and provide experiences that promote new thinking and encourage action.


The One World Centre provides professional development and resources for teachers throughout Western Australia who wish to incorporate global education in their teaching program. Global education develops the skills, knowledge, attitudes and capacity for action for global citizenship. Exploring themes relating to globalisation and interdependence, social justice and human rights, identity and cultural diversity, peace building and conflict resolution, and sustainable futures, it provides opportunities for students to participate in working towards a more just and sustainable world.

Nuella Flynn is an experienced secondary teacher and an education officer with the One World Centre, working with teachers and pre-service teachers to encourage global citizenship with their students. She considers her interest in social justice to have begun over the kitchen table and flourished at the school debating table.

Inaugural Alexandra Solosy memorial lecture

Dr Ann McGuire

Dr Ann Maguire – Inaugural Alexandra Solosy Memorial Lecture 

Play at Work: The Pleasures and Possibilities of English Teaching Now

The verb form of the word “play” means “to engage in an activity for enjoyment,” while its noun form can mean “the scope or freedom to act.” The “play” on these two meanings signalled by the title of this lecture suggests that to be teaching English today offers a range of pleasures and freedoms. While the earliest teachers of English saw themselves as earnest “preachers of culture, ”and understood culture to be “high” culture—singular  and universal—recent broadening of the term has introduced “play” into the system in both senses of the word. It is now possible to work with texts that students themselves find enjoyable—which means for teachers the pleasure of enthusiastic and engaged responses.   The broader definition of culture also means that there is more scope, more freedom to read, think and discuss students’ contemporary context—a context in which the old distinctions of high and low, nation and other, must be examined and interrogated.   This lecture will explore some of the specific freedoms and pleasures available to us now, and offer examples of ways in which work can—at least sometimes–feel like play.



Dr Ann McGuire is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication and Cultural Studies, School of Media, Culture and Creative Arts, at Curtin University. She specialises in the teaching of narrative. Her most recent publications are concerned with popular narratives and their relationship to the post 9/11 context.  Dr McGuire has worked with English teachers for over twenty years, on syllabus committees, exam panels, and course advisory committees. She has been an organiser of the Curtin Conference for Year 12 English students since its inception.

Introduced by Pippa Tandy