Highlights and Takeaways from the 2024 NEAS Management Conference

The 2024 NEAS Management Conference left a lasting impression on all attendees! With an innovative new format, the conference dedicated one day to intensive professional development and another to engaging, forward-thinking discussions on the industry’s future. Attendees gained invaluable insights on staying ahead of the curve and leading in educational excellence. 

Collaborating for Professional Growth 

The insightful sessions at the Academic Manager Workshop on Thursday featured ELT professionals who shared their expertise on management trends, professional practices, technological advancements, and global developments. This inclusive approach was beneficial for everyone, from new leaders to seasoned managers, fostering a vibrant exchange of best practices, ideas, and perspectives. 

Reflecting on the wealth of knowledge sourced from our membership and partners is incredibly rewarding. 

Forward Thinking: Innovation and ELT Excellence 

This year’s keynote speakers were nothing short of exceptional – engaging, thought-provoking, and future-focused! 

In his opening plenary, Louka Perry invited us to rethink how we teach and learn by shifting paradigms. He prompted us to consider the importance of the environment – emotional, physical, and social – in which we absorb new information. He asked us to reflect on the purpose of our learning, questioning whether our focus should be on acquiring knowledge or on the learning process itself. Finally, he encouraged us to consider the role of new technology and how we can use it to enrich our human experience. 

Eddie Woo was simply a force of nature! Echoing Louka’s considerations, he emphasised the importance of how we learn, over the specific information we acquire. He identified collaboration, connection, and complexity as key components of lasting professional learning and encouraged us to integrate these elements into the design of our training. 

Ailsa Lamont delivered a compelling presentation on the pressing issue of climate change. She highlighted how this issue impacts us as ELT professionals: our students care deeply about it. She provided practical examples of how we can contribute to sustainability through simple practices and empowering our students with the vocabulary to engage in these important conversations. 

Finally, it was time for a reality check regarding technology. Bosco Anthony burst our bubble by highlighting the advanced technology already in existence. He discussed the use of virtual reality for work placements in healthcare, flying cars, and AI-integrated glasses. Bosco explained that the question is not whether we should use AI, but how to make the most of the time it saves us. 

Through engaging discussions and thought-provoking presentations, the conference underscored NEAS’ commitment to driving excellence and shaping the future of ELT. 

The Role of NEAS: Past, Present and Future

In the afternoon, we connected with the wider ELT community, engaging in conversations about homestay, education agents, and wellbeing and mental health. We explored the potential of hosted accommodation amid the housing crisis, the challenges of recruiting international students, and the importance of providing safe environments for students and employees. 

Our CEO, Adam Kilburn, concluded the day with a presentation on NEAS’ role, renewing our commitment to: 

  • Quality: Our core business, guiding our professional development offerings. 
  • Our Members: Serving the diverse communities within ELT. 
  • Thought Leadership: Leading the sector with innovative ideas. 
  • Giving Back: Supporting members, partners, and the broader community. 

The conference culminated in an Awards ceremony celebrating 59 new endorsements across various categories: 

  • Quality Provider Award – New Member 
  • Quality Product / Service Award 
  • Premium Product Award 
  • Online Delivery Award 
  • Quality Education Agent Award 
  • 25 Years of Quality Commitment Award 
  • NEAS Master Practitioner Award 

The event ended on a high note with a cocktail hour, offering ample opportunities for networking and connection. 

Thank you for your support! 

On behalf of the NEAS team, Quality Assessors, Board, and Advisory Council, we extend our heartfelt thanks to all members who attended the conference and to the sponsors who made it possible. We are proud to serve the ELT community, fostering opportunities for knowledge sharing and mutual learning.

May 2024

News from Adam

Welcome to the latest edition of our CEO’s column News From Adam.

It’s strategic planning time at NEAS. We’ve been looking ahead, making decisions about where we want to be. You’d appreciate that this process has me doing some research, reflecting and, well, thinking fairly deeply about NEAS. In addition to all the usual market statistics and scans of our environment, I’ve been looking at documents from the past: board papers, financials, considerations of ways forward from others, strategic plans of the past. It’s fascinating. And what have I synthesised from all of this? NEAS has had some great staff and leaders in its midst (really, it has a history of contribution!) but there is an essence to NEAS that is somehow greater than any individual board member, employee or CEO, for that matter. The dedication to quality runs throughout, of course, and so it should!  For me, though, NEAS has always been about its membership.
And now?
NEAS is a community of ELT providers (and others!) banded by quality. It still is an association of members. Our new strategic plan will put members first. We offer great value, and we’re going to continue increasing that value to a growing, diversifying membership. In building communities, NEAS aims to meet the needs of its sponsors and other partners too. We feed an ecosystem of collaboration and innovation for our sector, with various parties making different contributions. Let’s not forget the role we play for students and the broader community. We’re a community that gives or shares, and this too will be part of our new plan.

NEAS is a forward-looking, learning organisation and I’m filled with anticipation for our future.  The near future holds our upcoming conference on May 9 and 10. I’ll be talking to you then about NEAS, its past, its present and its future, so I’ll stop now to hold you in some suspense! And if you’re not interested in any of this navel gazing: no worries! There are some excellent speakers of insight and intelligence lined up.
We’re making arrangements to fit in some extra places, but you’ve really got to get in and register now. It’s filling up.

April 2024

Conference Countdown: 2 Weeks Left!


Navigating Global Trends in ELT Management

IELTS has now published the full assessment scales used by examiners, having recently completed a review of its writing assessment criteria to ensure they remain transparent, fair, and fit for purpose.

As the only major test with publicly available, transparent marking criteria, the IELTS’ band descriptors outline the specific criteria that will be used to evaluate test takers’ work, and the performance levels associated with each criterion. This clarity and transparency helps test takers to understand what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated. Critical to this is enhancing IELTS preparation teachers’ engagement with the marking criteria.

This session provides academic managers with more information on the review and what has been updated, how band descriptors can inform curriculum design and how the band score descriptors now form the basis of a professional development course available to all teachers.

Explore the growth and impact of transnational delivery models in ELT management.

Discuss the advantages, challenges, and best practices associated with offering ELT programs across international borders.

Share your experience of navigating transnational delivery and your experience in ensuring quality and compliance.

Journey into the forefront of language testing and gain invaluable insights into the latest research, product developments, and innovations shaping language assessment. This session will dive into recent research findings as well as product enhancements in language testing. This presentation aims to equip academic managers with insights and knowledge needed to make informed decisions that meet the evolving needs of international students in Australia.

Join us to gain a deeper understanding of current findings and ensure your institution stays ahead in the dynamic world of international education.

Improving ELICOS curriculums by identifying academic issues experienced by students who have progressed from an ELICOS program into tertiary programs.

Effectively preparing ESL students for the challenges of higher education is a shared objective among educators today. This paper centres on the improvement of ELICOS curriculums by identifying and addressing academic challenges encountered by students who have transitioned from ELICOS programs to tertiary education.

The research seeks to improve ELICOS courses for a smoother transition and academic success for international students. The study employs a mixed-methods approach involving surveys, interviews and an analysis of academic performance data. This comprehensive methodology is employed to gain a deep understanding of the difficulties that ELICOS graduates face in tertiary education. The valuable insights from the findings have given significant input into rethinking, reshaping and redefining ELICOS courses. The research suggests customising ELICOS courses with academic skill-building and cultural training to help students better prepare for higher education.

April 2024

Conference Countdown: 3 Weeks To Go!


Let us bring your attention back to our keynote speakers for a moment…

We are excited to share that Eddie Woo will be featuring in the 2024 NEAS Conference program!

Dedicated to nurturing young minds, Eddie’s impact extends far beyond the classroom. Whether you know him for his YouTube channel ‘Wootube’, TED Talks, or television appearances on ABC’s ‘Teenage Boss’ and Channel 10’s ‘Ultimate Classroom’, one thing should be clear: Eddie embodies the essence of transformative education.

He is the maths teacher we all wish we had when we were younger!

While he remains committed to classroom teaching, Eddie is also a Professor of Practice at the University of Sydney, working with preservice teachers in the Sydney School of Education & Social Work.

We look forward to be energised by Eddie’s keynote session and can’t wait for you to hear from him at the conference!

April 2024

Conference Countdown: One Month Left!


Technology and Digital Innovation in ELT

Leading and Supporting Staff Learning

This workshop highlights the important role Academic Managers play in supporting and fostering staff learning. We look at what ongoing and informal learning might look like in practice and why prioritising staff learning results in many positives for both staff and students.

During the workshop we will engage with what staff learning looks like, the challenges with fostering a culture of informal learning in the staffroom, and the benefits in establishing staff learning as a priority in your organisation.

AI and Adaptive Learning in ELT: Personalising Education at Scale

In this workshop session, explore how the Academic English Programs at UNSW College have managed the challenges of AI and its impacts on learning and assessment. Discover what insights have been gained since its implementation of an AI Framework.

Draw on shared experiences of managing the impacts of AI on teaching and assessment to build shared best practices through workable responses.

Assessment in the Digital Age: Innovative Approaches to Testing and Evaluation

Learn how recent AI advancements are instrumental in promoting equity within assessment practices, and how you can leverage the partnership between Humans and ChatGPT to enable the creation of assessment items at an unprecedented scale and affordable cost. Discover innovative strategies that combine AI technology with multiple asynchronous proctors to safeguard high-stakes assessments.

This presentation will unveil Duolingo’s latest research findings, subscore frameworks, and introduce new interactional item types designed for 2024.

March 2024

News from Adam

Welcome to the latest edition of our CEO’s column News From Adam.

NEAS was well received by senior officials from the Education Department in Canberra last week. NEAS board member David Riordan and myself introduced them to the recently launched NEAS Homestay Standards. We also explained the NEAS Agent Quality Endorsement process. Both of these initiatives and the following they have attracted demonstrate the important leadership role taken by NEAS. We’re taking an active role in showing the way to quality improvement across a range of functions within our sector. Worth noting too is that these initiatives began some time ago. They weren’t reactions to passing trends. Don’t get me wrong. Responding to policy changes as they emerge is critical for us all. We’re subject to these forces and we must be responsive. What I’m saying though is that it’s important to be invested across time. And NEAS is invested. We’re looking forwards, finding insights in advance of what might be required right now. Another example is our quality standards for online English programs. Did you know these were developed before the COVID lock downs when we were all forced into online learning? The international student recruitment pipeline to Australia is suffering right now and I know budgets are tight. But playing the long game with us is important.

I am very grateful to David for his help in securing these meetings and his help had me reflecting on the value of the NEAS board. They’re a highly skilled group of individuals and by definition professional. Their number includes those elected by you as well as some from related sectors (such as David, a former TAFE Director) and others from industries and pursuits not directly related to ELT, including the important task of board sitting itself. Our model of governance gives us great strength.

Can I finish with some news that the NEAS Management Conference is nearing capacity in registrations. We’re not there yet. There are places available but our venue is smaller this year and we’ve chosen a “closer” format. It’s going to be great but only if you get in now. It will provide insight into the future and the drivers of that future. The future’s worth the investment… Right?

March 2024

Conference Countdown: 5 Weeks To Go!


Professional Development and Teacher Empowerment

Managing Multi-Site Organisations: Strategies That Actually Work

With the growing number of ELICOS institutions expanding across the country, managing multi-campus organisations has become more common.

Join our interactive workshop for practical strategies on achieving effective operations across multiple campuses, drawing from experiences at Albright’s campuses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, and Adelaide.

Cultivating Continuous Improvement in ELICOS

In the dynamic landscape of Australian ELT, schools must adapt rapidly. This presentation explores how a Sydney-based ELICOS school drives positive change through collaborative learning, improved communication, and data-driven decision-making. 

By prioritising student feedback and innovative practices, La Lingua enhances the learning experience becoming more responsive to students’ needs and expectations.

Lifelong Learning and Professional Development for Managers

Lifelong learning and continuous professional development are essential for ELT managers to stay relevant and effective in their roles. This presentation will explore strategies for building personalised learning plans tailored to the unique needs of ELT leadership.

Mentoring Models for Academic Managers

Explore diverse mentoring models in ELT, focusing on effective peer mentoring programs for academic managers.

This session covers theory, practical insights from research and case studies, and offers a platform for participants to discuss and apply peer mentoring in their contexts.

March 2024

Conference Countdown: 6 Weeks Left!


Change Management: Leading Transformation of Teacher Observations

In this session explore innovative approaches to teacher observation, including ways in which evaluative assessments may be tailored to professional development opportunities fostering comprehensive teacher growth.

Gain insights into leading teachers through communication strategies, training and phased implementation.

Building Resilient ELT Institutions

Discover the critical role of organisational resilience in ELT institutions and explore essential strategies for fostering resilience both at the institutional level and within individual teams, facilitating adaptability and perseverance in the face of challenges.

Explore innovative approaches to building a resilient culture, empowering staff members to embrace change, overcome adversity, and drive continuous improvement.

Understand the fundamental principles of organisational resilience and its significance in ensuring the long-term success of ELT institutions. Discover how resilient organisations can effectively navigate uncertainties, adapt to changing circumstances, and thrive in dynamic educational landscapes.

Building a Quality Culture: Leadership’s Role in Institutional Transformation

Join us in this workshop as we explore the role of leadership in driving institutional transformation by fostering a culture of quality. Drawing from her experience, our presenter will provide insights into the strategies employed, the challenges encountered, and the keys to success in sustaining a quality-centric culture during times of change.

Attendees will gain practical knowledge and actionable strategies to promote a culture of quality within their own organisations, empowering them to navigate change effectively. Don’t miss this opportunity to leverage these insights to drive meaningful transformation within your institution.

March 2024

Conference Countdown: Only 7 More Weeks!


With a focus on wellbeing and mental health, this panel discussion highlights the importance of sustaining the wellbeing of students and teachers in the ELT sector, making it especially relevant in today’s context. Our esteemed panellists, experts in the industry, will share valuable insights and explore effective strategies to support the wellbeing of educators and learners.

In the dynamic landscape of the ELT industry, the mental health and wellbeing of educators and international students are paramount. As the sector changes and evolves, educators and students face increasing pressure and stress. This panel discussion serves as a platform to address these challenges, offering practical solutions and fostering a supportive community.

One of the ways on which we serve our members at NEAS is to frame discussion and create a space for knowledge sharing. We expect this session to have an influence over education support for teachers and students in the community. 

March 2024

NEAS Management Conference – Just 8 Weeks and counting!


Panel 2: Education Agents

Join us for an enlightening discussion at our panel event: “Global Navigators: Redefining Quality in International Student Recruitment within the ELT Landscape.”

Meet our distinguished panellists, representatives from NEAS Quality Endorsed Education Agents, each bringing valuable insights and expertise to the table.

In this session, we’ll take a deep dive into the latest trends and innovations in international student recruitment. we will also gain fresh perspectives and practical strategies from our industry leaders as we explore ways to enhance quality standards and navigate the global education landscape together.

Don’t miss out on this opportunity to connect, learn, and contribute to the future of student recruitment and Education Agents.

March 2024