AusAID Academic Program (IAP)
From 2007-2010, through the Centre for Learning & Professional Development (CLPD), I taught in the University of Adelaide’s International Academic Program (IAP) for AusAID sponsored postgraduate international students. This academic acculturation program provides both undergraduate and postgraduate international students with a variety of experiences and activities, particularly focused on the critical analysis of discipline-specific discourse and the nature of research in an ‘Australian’ tertiary context. AusAID recipients came from Africa, Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, Indonesia, Laos, Mongolia, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Solomon Islands, South America, Sri Lanka, Tonga and Vietnam. They aim to contribute to the long term development needs of Australia’s partner countries in line with bilateral and regional agreements.
In 2009, I piloted the first ‘First Generation Program’ at the University of Adelaide. With State Government funding, this program continues to help break down the barriers and myths of university life. The program, in its pilot year, targeted first generation students from South Australian secondary schools under-represented at the three South Australian Universities. Schools applied to participate in the program via the futureSACE Office. Successful schools were asked to select students with potential or interest in university study, but who may not achieve this without targeted support. Schools received temporary relief teacher funding from the futureSACE Office to cover costs associated with releasing teachers to attend days on campus and in development of exemplar work.
Selected students were introduced to the university and its culture through well-planned and executed workshops focused on different aspects of academic literacy (e.g., research skills, source credibility). Titled ‘Myth Busters’, my workshops were aimed at informing, encouraging and enthusing students from ‘Fairway Schools’ about tertiary study, and to offer participants a more accurate understanding of what higher education may involve. Students included Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, regional and remote, non-English speaking backgrounds, and students from low socio-economic backgrounds. Overall, it engaged more than 120 students in Years 9-11, from 15 South Australian schools with low student progression rates onto university.
In 2010, I volunteered at the Language Centre at the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua, Central America. I assisted in one of the English language programs designed to provide basic and intermediate communicative skills for children working in the Municipal Landfill of Chinandega. Students were exposed to combustion fumes, skin disease and infections from glass cuts. Our mission was to help provide basic education to children in need in this region, so that they may have the opportunity to attend school, learn and give back to society. I helped support the behavioural and learning needs of students who exhibited ‘extreme’ disruptive behaviour disorders (e.g., Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD), Conduct Disorder (CD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)).
Preservice Teacher Trainer
From 2007-2011, I was a practicum supervisor for the School of Education at the University of Adelaide; an integral core-component. I provided guidance and constructive advice through observations, systematic evaluations and dialogue to preservice teachers and their mentors; a pivotal role in the entire process of teacher development. Oftentimes, I was allocated the most difficult placements involving perceptual, cultural and language-related barriers between/among people, because of my ability to negotiate, mediate and conciliate diverse individuals and groups.
Student Evaluation of Learning & Teaching (SELTs) Results
From 2007-2011, my Student Evaluation of Learning and Teaching (SELTs) scores and feedback at the University of Adelaide have consistently referred to my excellent interpersonal communication skills, and my clear and precise presentation style. Student comments verify that I possess a high level of oral and written communication skills in relation to presenting lectures, tutorials, workshops and seminars. Unfailingly cheerful, attentive, well-informed and helpful are a few adjectives used to describe my work ethic. I utilise pedagogical approaches that place learning in relevant and meaningful contexts, and value and recognise diversity for dynamic engagement and deeper learning.
Project Officer for ‘Teaching the Teachers for the Future’
In 2011, I was the Project Officer for the Teaching the Teachers for the Future (TTF) project in the School of Education at the University of Adelaide. Funded by the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR), this project formed part of the Digital Strategy for Teachers and School Leaders that assisted with the creative and effective integration of new technologies into preservice teachers’ (DECD R-12) pedagogical practice. I was offered this appointment due to my knowledge and experience in effectively integrating contemporary e-ICT practices into today’s classrooms, and to engage and prepare new educators for the demands of an increasingly technological society. My involvement in this nationally significant project helped support 200+ new teachers to deliver on the federal government’s Digital Education Revolution within the Australian Curriculum and National Standards for Teachers.