Pre-Conference Forum

'At the front line: context, pedagogy and practice'

'At the front line' encapsulates references to both historic and contemporary times. Darwin was 'at the front line' of Australia’s defence during WWII, suffering 64 bombing raids. This 'frontline' focus continues today, with a focus on Indigenous education and health.

The ACAL Pre-conference Forum will be held in Darwin at the Museum & Art Gallery of the Northern Territory.

The forum is an additional event held on Thursday, September 9, the day prior to the conference, and requires registration and payment. You may register for the forum or conference or both.Boat

Our guest speakers for the Forum are from the adult literacy front line, and will leave you in awe and inspired, as they paint a picture of the context, pedagogy and practice of adult literacy and numeracy 'Northern Territory style'. This will include presentations that focus on Indigenous contexts and a 'both ways' approach to pedagogy.

In the afternoon, participants will join a facilitated Interest Group of their choosing. These groups will explore the context, pedagogy and practice of an aspect of Literacy and Numeracy. Interest Groups will focus on Indigenous contexts, the justice and VET systems, targeted programmes such as the LLNP and WELL, Policy and Research and Numeracy Teaching.

When the Forum closes it is only a short stroll around Bullocky Point to the iconic Mindil Beach Sunset Markets, to peruse the stalls, enjoy a multicultural feast with food from Japan, Thailand, Timor Leste, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Cambodia and to watch the sunset with friends and colleagues, new and old.

Pre-conference Forum outline

Subject to change without notice

9:00 am Forum Registration

9.15 am Opening and Welcome by Professor Steve Larkin, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Indigenous Leadership at Charles Darwin University

9.30 am Andrew McMillan

10.15 am Robyn Ober

11.00 am Morning Tea

11.15 am Ruth Wallace

12.00 noon Curator Floor Talk

12.30 pm Lunch, enjoy the Museum and Art Gallery and the gardens

2.00 pm Interest Groups

  • Moving forward: valuing Indigenous culture and identity
  • Influencing policy and expanding research
  • Using technology in the LLN classroom
  • Using learners’ ‘funds of knowledge’ in numeracy classrooms
  • Prison Education–how it works
  • Working together in DEEWR Funded programs

5:00 Stroll to Mindil Beach for the iconic market.

Forum speakers

Andrew McMillan

Andrew McMillanAndrew McMillan is an award winning journalist and author who started his writing career freelancing for the national rock music magazine RAM. Andrew’s first book Strict Rules focused on the 1986 Midnight Oil/Warumpi Band Blackfella-Whitefella tour of remote Aboriginal communities in the NT. More recently, Andrew's book An Intruder's Guide to East Arnhem Land was winner of the inaugural Territory Read NT Book of the Year award in 2009. This book has been described as 'Part autobiography, part travelogue, part poetic description of the landscape but mostly history, this book should be compulsory reading for anyone wanting to learn about Aboriginal Australia' (Bruce Elder, The Age / Sydney Morning Herald 19 July 2008). In this Forum, Andrew discusses his experience at the front line, witnessing, experiencing and documenting changes in Arnhem Land via three of his non-fiction books Strict Rules, Catalina Dreaming and An Intruder’s Guide To East Arnhem Land. For more on Andrew McMillan, see his website

Ms Robyn Ober

Robyn OberRobyn Ober is an Indigenous woman with connections to the Djirribal/Mamu Rainforest Aboriginal people in North Queensland and the KuKu Yalandji people. Robyn has extensive teaching experience and has been involved in award-winning Indigenous higher education and vocational education training. Robyn has also been involved in a number of research projects focusing on Indigenous educational leadership and both-ways teaching and learning. She has been on high level tertiary working parties and committees, presented conference papers and written journal articles and has excellent links with Indigenous student groups. Robyn has been at the front line in the development of both-ways pedagogy over the past two decades, in working to combine Indigenous and non-Indigenous ways of knowing, being and learning in teaching practice and in research.

At the Forum, Robyn will share that journey and show us what Both-Ways looks like today.

Ruth Wallace

Ruth Wallace is the Director of the Social Partnerships in Learning Research Consortium, Charles Darwin University. Her particular interests are related to undertaking engaged research that improves outcomes for stakeholders in regional and remote Australia. At the forum Ruth will discuss Integrated approaches to literacy learning in Indigenous contexts.

Integrated approaches to literacy learning incorporate not only the relevant knowledge and skills but also knowledge of the context in which they are used. Multimedia and mobile technologies have provided the affordances to incorporate learners’ and alternate contexts into literacy development that include learners’ workplace, school, home and community lives. This presentation shares practical examples of using mobile technologies and multimedia in literacy learning in Indigenous contexts across the lifespan and is an opportunity to discuss ways to connect to learners’ strengths as knowledge workers and their aspirations for literacy learning.

Lunch and surrounds

Lunch will take place overlooking the pandanus-fringed Arafura Sea and time has been allowed for viewing of the 27th Telstra National Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Art Award.

2.00 pm Interest Groups

What is an Interest Group Gathering?

ACAL Interest Groups are gatherings for new and experienced practitioners around a particular aspect of LLN that will allow time for in-depth discussion. The sessions will focus on a topic and offer time for sharing of ideas, experiences and resources. They offer the opportunity to learn new ideas and to develop networks for continued interaction and professional sharing.

For more information about the Interest groups, click on the links below:

Moving forward: valuing Indigenous culture and identity

Ruth Wallace, Director, Social Partnerships in Learning Research Group, Charles Darwin University

Alison Reedy, Educational Designer, Teaching and Learning Quality Group, Charles Darwin University


Influencing policy and expanding research

Geri Pancini, Work-based Education Research Centre, Victoria University

Cheryl Wiltshire, Curriculum Research and Development, WA Department of Training and Workforce Development


Using technology in the LLN classroom

Debbie Soccio, Senior e-learning consultant, eWorks and Victorian e-learning coordinator for the Australian Flexible Learning Framework


Using learners’ ‘funds of knowledge’ in numeracy classrooms

Keiko Yasukawa, Lecturer, University of Technology Sydney


Prison Education–how it works

Helena Zielinska, Adult and Basic Education Coordinator, WA Department of Corrective Services

Lynne Pantaur, Teacher, The Bremer Institute of TAFE


Working together in DEEWR Funded programs

Jenni Anderson, LLNP Service Manager Tasmania, Mission Australia

John Radalj, Gordon TAFE



5.00 pm Stroll to Mindil Beach Markets


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