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December 10, 2013

Australia | Online | Third Level

ELT MOOC launched in Australia

The long-awaited first MOOC to offer a free online English language learning course was recently launched in Australia.

The first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) for English language learners was launched in Brisbane, Australia on December 4. Fifteen colleges and universities in Queensland collaborated to develop the more than 50 lessons currently offered by MOOEC (the E is for English). Like all MOOCs, the course can be accessed free and the initial aim is for a high take-up within Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.

Lessons are organised into established levels of proficiency and approved by a committee of professional English language practitioners providing quality assurance oversight of the content.

The MOOEC is an initiative of International Education Services, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to the improvement of international education. They say an additional 100 lessons are planned for release over the next six months. Other Australian higher learning institutions have expressed a strong interest in getting on board.

IES Managing Director, Chris Evason said, “The movement towards free, online education is a key development in Higher Education and the MOOEC intends to play an important complementary role in bringing language learning to a wider audience. We are seeking to use our extensive network of 20,000 industry professionals worldwide, to help us reach learners in every country in the world.”

While a stated aim of MOOEC is "to reach individuals who currently have limited means to access high-quality, on-line English Language tuition" it will not replace face-to-face instruction. Indeed it is viewed as a means to encourage students to eventually enrol at one of the partner institutions and to do so with a "substantial learning profile."

The MOOEC website
The International Education Services website

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November 25, 2013

Australia | Education

Australia: funding changes hit ESL support program

adrian-piccoli.jpg Experts warn that education department cuts in New South Wales will have an adverse effect on ESL programs for immigrant children.

Vulnerable refugee and migrant children will be disadvantaged by the abolition of specialist support for teachers of English as a second language, academics and community groups have warned.

Ten academics from the state's top universities fear the changes are the beginning of the end for the English as a second language program in public schools across NSW.

"These changes are widely being interpreted as the beginning of a dismantling of the system-wide, targeted ESL program support infrastructure developed over the last four decades," their letter to NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said.

The academics said the NSW government plan to devolve control of school budgets from the Education Department to individual principals would also put the future of the state's 1600 specialist ESL teachers at risk.

The academics from the University of Sydney, University of NSW, University of Western Sydney, Macquarie University, Australian Catholic University and University of Technology, Sydney, said targeted funding was needed to sustain ESL teaching.

Read the full article from The Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: NSW Education Minister Adrian Piccoli (

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July 26, 2013


Australian parents pressured to drop home language for English

immigrants-in-AustraliaAn article about the pressure on immigrants in Australia to teach their children English at the expense of their native language.

Migrant parents are under pressure to dump their own language believing it will help their children learn English, an academic said during a recent talk in Sunshine.

During the talk at the Sunshine Library, Successfully Raising Children in More Than One Language Professor John Hajek, said migrant parents were taught to undervalue their own languages, and to ignore their own histories in "a mistaken belief" that it was the only way for their children to learn English successfully.

"Learning one's mother tongue and English are not at all mutually exclusive - you can achieve both very successfully if you just know how to," Professor Hajek said.

Read the full article from The Herald Sun.

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July 18, 2013

Australia | Linguistics

A Village Invents a Language All Its Own

lajamanu.jpgA fascinating look at the recent birth of a new language spoken only by the young in a remote village in Australia’s Northern Territory.

There are many dying languages in the world. But at least one has recently been born, created by children living in a remote village in northern Australia.

Carmel O’Shannessy, a linguist at the University of Michigan, has been studying the young people’s speech for more than a decade and has concluded that they speak neither a dialect nor the mixture of languages called a creole, but a new language with unique grammatical rules.

The language, called Warlpiri rampaku, or Light Warlpiri, is spoken only by people under 35 in Lajamanu, an isolated village of about 700 people in Australia’s Northern Territory. In all, about 350 people speak the language as their native tongue. Dr. O’Shannessy has published several studies of Light Warlpiri, the most recent in the June issue of Language.

Read the full story from the New York Times.

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July 17, 2013

Australia | Online

Navitas backs virtual English classes for migrants

navitas-logo.jpgTwo companies are teaming up to deliver virtual English language lessons for migrants and refugees across Australia.

Global pathway provider Navitas has teamed up with AMES, a provider of training and employment support to refugees, to deliver virtual English language lessons for migrants and refugees across Australia.

Director of the project, Iain Rothwell, said the scheme offered Australia’s first fully interactive virtual English classroom, and would replicate face-to-face lessons for those unable to attend classes in person.

“For new Australians living in rural and remote areas or those who are unable to attend face-to-face classes, the virtual classroom will allow the development of language skills to enable participation in and contribution to their local communities,” he said. Launched earlier this month, the programme is being piloted by several groups of students in Victoria, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory who are being taught by AMES and Navitas teachers based in Melbourne and Sydney. Organisers say the trial will eventually extend to 200 students and run for two years.

Read the full article from PIE News.

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June 25, 2013

Australia | Publishing | ELT People

The pity of war

ELT-publishingThe West Australian reports on an ESL teacher who is creating a series of fiction books for young readers about children triumphing over adversity in the world's war zones.

Little Safiyo arrived in Australia with a lifetime of conflict and hardship already behind her. At the age of seven, she had never been in a school or even held a pencil - but she was desperate to learn how to read and write.

When Safiyo first arrived in Australia, having fled her troubled homeland of Somalia, the children at her school frightened her. They were aware of the differences. Today, she is a top student and has made many friends. She now enjoys the admiration and respect of her classmates.

As an English as a second language (ESL) teacher, Lyn White has taught many children like Safiyo.

"I have had the privilege of listening to some incredible experiences of refugee and newly arrived children who had been displaced and traumatised by conflict," she says.

A passionate primary school teacher-librarian as well, White knew the power of story and considered the idea of creating a series of fiction books for young readers that would pay tribute to the courage and perseverance of these children.

Read the full story from The West Australian.

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June 11, 2013


ESL program for newcomers to Australia under threat

Teaching-English-in-AustraliaIn yesterday's Sydney Morning Herald, two Australian academics voiced their concerns about government plans they feel threaten ESL programs for immigrants and refugees.

While politicians proudly proclaim the achievements of our multicultural state at local community events, the NSW government is quietly dismantling a key plank of multiculturalism since its inception in the 1970s - the dedicated statewide funding and provision of English language services to migrant and refugee students in state government schools.

The English as a second language program provides specialist ESL teacher support to newly arrived and ongoing English language learners in public primary and secondary schools across the state. It now comprises 896 teaching positions staffed by about 1600 specialist ESL teachers, supporting more than 130,000 migrant and refugee students.

Under the government's Local Schools, Local Decisions (LSLD) reform, the ESL program is about to undergo a fundamental change. The NSW Department of Education and Communities is moving to replace these state-wide arrangements for ESL teaching positions to schools.

Read the full article from the Sydney Morning Herald.

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About Australia

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to ELT News in the Australia category. They are listed from newest to oldes.

Many more can be found by looking through the archives.

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