This week we focus on two more areas within ELT that are undergoing revolutionary adjustment: teacher training and technological advancement.
Teacher training is another part of the ELT sector that is undergoing a revolution of sorts. The significance of continuous professional development (PD) for English language teachers cannot be stressed enough. “Effective teaching requires ongoing reflection, learning, and growth,” Richards (2017) explains. “Investing in teacher training programs and professional development opportunities enhances educators’ pedagogical skills and enables them to meet the diverse needs of their students effectively.” By prioritising teacher development, ELT institutions can ensure quality instruction and student success. PD should also focus on inclusive practices that address the diverse needs of learners in ELT. Implementing inclusive pedagogical approaches and providing support services for learners with special educational needs promotes equity and diversity in ELT.
Driven by advancements in digital technology, ELT is witnessing a paradigm shift towards the integration of innovative tools and platforms. From AI-powered language tutoring systems to gamified mobile apps, these technologies offer learners unprecedented opportunities to practice and refine their English language skills in engaging virtual environments. Digitised assessment methods, as part of a suite of other methodologies, can play a part in accurately gauging learners’ progress and provide targeted support for improvement.
Richards, J. C. (2017). Continuous Professional Development for Language Teachers: Strategies for Effective Teaching. Pearson Education.
Excitingly, there will be three panel discussions on the Main Day program that are guaranteed to encourage vitalised thought and discussion.
Panel 1 Homestay
Panel 2 Education Agents
Panel 3 Wellbeing
This week we throw the spotlight on Panel 1: Homestay
Australia has reached a historic milestone by establishing the world’s first-ever set of quality standards for homestay accommodation. This achievement is pivotal in ensuring a premium experience for international students, especially during a time of extreme rental increases, where quality homestays serve as a quick and affordable solution.
Expert speakers will share insights, and a panel of specialists will field an open Question and Answer session, addressing key queries such as:
· What are the Homestay Standards?
· How can I assist students in finding high-quality hosted accommodation?
· Who is responsible for insurance, and where can it be purchased?
As the new CEO at NEAS Australia, Adam Kilburn will be sharing regular insights with us through this column News From Adam. This week brings you his second update.
One of the great things about NEAS is its international profile. With a membership that extends well beyond Australia, NEAS is a global community for those committed to improvement. I’m off overseas today to attend the CamTESOL conference in Cambodia at which NEAS is to be acknowledged for its ongoing commitment to this highly celebrated event. CamTESOL draws professionals working in our sector from around the world, including a good number of our members, both from Australia and the south-east Asian region. I hope to meet some of you there.
Of course, NEAS has its own thought-leading event: the annual NEAS Management Conference to be held on the 9th and 10th of May in Sydney. We have an exciting mix of speakers engaging with us on the theme of “Quality Revolution”. Change – and hasn’t there been a lot of it lately (!?) – forces us to rethink our way to excellence. New modes of delivery; artificial intelligence; working remotely now feature prominently in our professional lives. So, given these changes, the questions are: has excellence changed? Has our way of getting there changed? I’m really looking forward to hearing from our speakers and discussing these questions with you at the conference. Registrations are now open but note that our format has changed this year. There are limited places. Please get in soon and register.
As always, I am keen to hear from you. Please feel free to get in touch with me directly. Although we’re dispersed across the world, I’m interested in learning more about you in your own setting so that NEAS can be the most integrated, member-focused, thoughtful, and community-responsive quality organisation in our sector!
We are really looking forward to greeting you in person in just 10 weeks at Aerial at UTS Function Centre. This year’s new-look NEAS Management Conference is compact, yet perfectly formed, with a limited number of seats and a program that promises to stimulate and excite thought leadership.
Reflective of the theme: Quality Revolution: Rethinking, Reshaping, and Redefining Excellence in ELT, are two areas that are currently undergoing transformation. These are: integration of blended learning as well as a renewed focus on communicative competence.
Oxford, R (2018), underscores the benefits of integrating face-to-face instruction with online learning components. “Blended learning offers the best of both worlds,” she explains. “It combines the guidance of a teacher with the flexibility and accessibility of online resources, catering to diverse learning preferences and maximising student engagement.” By embracing blended learning models, ELT programs can create dynamic and adaptive learning experiences that empower learners to take ownership of their language learning journey.
In response to the evolving needs of global and intercultural communication, ELT is placing a greater emphasis on developing communicative competence among learners, with task-based activities, role-plays, and authentic communication tasks increasingly integrated into ELT curricula. In addition to this, intercultural communication is also an important part of fostering cultural competence and global citizenship in English language education. McKay (2019) asserts that “language and culture are inseparable” and that “by promoting intercultural awareness and understanding, ELT programs prepare learners to thrive in diverse multicultural environments”, thus enriching the learning experience and equipping learners with the skills needed to navigate a rapidly globalising world.
McKay, S. L. (2019). Intercultural Communication in the Global Classroom: Fostering Understanding and Collaboration. Oxford University Press.
Oxford, R. (2018). Blended Learning Models in Language Education: Maximizing Engagement and Flexibility. Cambridge University Press.
Ailsa is a co-founder of the International Education Sustainability Group which provides climate-focused risk management, benchmarking and data for the international education sector.
She is also Co-founder and was the foundation Chair of CANIE, the Climate Action Network for International Educators, a grassroots global network from 2019 to 2023.
Her experience includes terms as international director and pro vice-chancellor international at three Australian universities, during which time she was responsible (at CQUniversity) for combining four ELICOS centres into a national operation which received commendations from NEAS for high quality.
Congratulations to Password English Language Test on receiving its NEAS Quality Endorsement!
The Password English Language Test assesses English proficiency across listening, reading, writing, and speaking skills. Widely used in academic and professional settings, it gauges an individual’s ability to communicate effectively in English. Components include multiple-choice questions, listening exercises, writing tasks, and oral interviews. Test scores indicate proficiency levels, spanning from beginner to advanced.
NEAS is pleased to assess and endorse the Password English Language Test in the category of Quality Products and Services (Area K). The Quality Principles of Area K focus on these features of the target Product and Service: its underlying research; its fulfilment of purpose; its processes for maintaining quality; its uniqueness and innovation; and its contribution to the ELT community. Detailed information on Area K of the NEAS Quality Assurance Framework can be referenced here: https://neas.org.au/resources/neas-quality-framework/#area-k.
The Password English Language Test is a cost-effective tool used for assessment, counselling, screening, and placement within English Language Teaching (ELT) Centres. Developed with expertise from the Centre for Research in English Language Learning and Assessment (CRELLA) at the University of Bedford and in collaboration with various universities, it focuses on high-frequency grammar and vocabulary, beneficial for assessing lower proficiency levels down to A2 Level of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (CEFR). This facilitates quick and effective student placement and course design for progression towards desired scores in high-stakes exams. Tailored for young adults, it incorporates communication patterns from popular textbooks and undergoes rigorous validation processes involving industry professionals. Continuous review and enhancement include feedback from leading ELT organisations and contributions to publications like EL Gazette, PIE News, and Independent Education Today.
At TasTAFE, students in the Focus Group spoke highly of the positive learning experience, with their contentment extending to teachers, fellow students, and the program as a whole. Students praised the clarity of explanations, an easy-going teaching approach, and the creation of a collaborative learning environment.
The ELICOS department at TasTAFE has actively improved communication with VET departments , undertaking substantial measures to stay updated on the language skills essential for upcoming TAFE programs. This ensures alignment with evolving educational needs. These collaborative efforts have resulted in adjustments that have already positively influenced the goals of current students.
In their pursuit of quality, TasTAFE has undertaken a successful project to update their curriculums in line with student needs. The updated curriculums integrate language skills, cultural understanding, and effective communication strategies to deliver a comprehensive learning experience. The focus on desired learning outcomes ensures that students receive high-quality education adhering to NEAS standards and reflecting TasTAFE’s dedication to providing top notch educational opportunities.
As an Australian-registered Education Consultant Agency, Link House Group began recruiting international students from its head office in Sydney in 2015. It also has an office in Medellín, Colombia.
NEAS assessed Link House Group’s application using Area J of the NEAS Quality Assurance Framework, focussing on these important Quality Principles: the presence of an ethical framework underpinning the practices of the agency and its counsellors; provision of information to stakeholders that is ethical, accurate and consistent; use of governance structures that are effective and transparent; supporting a performance and development culture for staff; implementing systematic risk management processes; and routinely obtaining stakeholder feedback to inform the continuous improvement of services. More information on Area J can be referenced here: https://neas.org.au/resources/neas-quality-framework/#area-j.
NEAS uses a unique 360-degree stakeholder feedback model in its Quality Review processes, ensuring comprehensive input from partner providers and students. These interviews underscore the agency’s dedication to delivering professional, high-quality services to its stakeholders.
Student interviews highlighted the agency’s exceptional level of care and professionalism, particularly in their attentive approach to addressing student needs. Provider feedback echoed this sentiment, emphasising the agency staff’s consistent professionalism and quality throughout their longstanding business relationships. The overarching theme from these stakeholder interviews is the agency’s commitment to compliance with legal requirements and related processes.
This Homestay COP event is being held on Friday 22 March 2024 in Sydney, in partnership with industry stakeholders and practitioners and is supported by NSW Government and Study NSW. Sponsors for this symposium are IELTS, Edgewise and Pearson
Australia has reached a historic milestone by establishing the world’s first-ever set of quality standards for international student homestay accommodation in Australia. This achievement is pivotal in ensuring a premium experience for international students.
This symposium will be an engaging workshop that will delve into the theme of Providing Solutions in an Accommodation Crisis. Expert speakers will share insights, and a panel of specialists will discuss burning issues under the umbrella of this theme.
This Homestay Symposium caters to homestay service providers, education providers, education agents, and professional staff supporting students in accommodation and welfare matters.
Date and Time: Friday 22 March 2024, 3-5pm (Sydney). 5-6pm: Networking drinks and refreshments.
The first NEAS PD was held on the Gold Coast in conjunction with Study Gold Coast and was a roaring success. Attendees enjoyed an afternoon of collaboration and investigation at this Communities of Practice: Leadership in ELT event, which explored the theme of Elevate & Collaborate: Nurturing Growth through Teacher Training and Collegiality in ELT.
There was a special focus on the NEAS requirements for teacher qualifications and tips on how to assess teacher qualifications.
This theme resonated with the current landscape of English Language Teaching (ELT), which is witnessing an influx of new teachers with limited in-class experience. It also explored effective teacher-training strategies; how to equip new teachers with skills and insights to navigate diverse classrooms effectively. By addressing the topic of collaboration, it acknowledged the importance of fostering a collegial work environment where essential support mechanisms are provided, and shared expertise can be easily circulated.
Attendees expressed their enthusiasm and gratitude for this highly interactive and enjoyable afternoon and calls for more of the same have been heard. Watch this space!
The Global Leader in Quality Assurance for the English Language Teaching Community.