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Sent on Thursday, 10 December 2015

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you for an exciting and very productive 2015. A giant thank you to each and every member of our association for their ongoing contribution and dedicated work supporting and promoting the learning and teaching of Spanish in Victoria.

With a total of 32.5 hours of professional development valid for VIT purposes. Allocated time and continuous attendance to our PDs and network sessions constitute an important means to exchange and gain professional expertise. It all results in the provision of high quality programs and we reaffirm our commitment to achieving high standards.

 

Our 2015 professional development and events involved the following initiatives:

 TPJs – Unit elaboration sessions

 Connecting and belonging Seminar: Integrating our Spanish Language program.

 AusVELS Language Curriculum Planning and transition towards the Australian Curriculum

 PRETAA Forum: Plan, reach, teach, (get them to) apply and assess.

 Spanish Curriculum design Workshop. Plan & make your own resources using ICT tools.

 2015 VATS Spanish Language Teaching and Learning Congress

 Pegs for language learning - Workshop

 Additional strategies for language teaching & curriculum delivery Workshop

 Representation in community events

 Language in Use -Spanish Writing Competition

 Participation in community and school festivals

 VCE Oral Exam Presentation and MOCK

 Year 7-8 Immersion day “Hablemos Español”. Thank you very much to Manuel Moreno, the Spanish Language Advisor,;María Inés Avila; Rachell Tattersall, Diana Gómez, Melisa Virgen Cardona, Román Jara, Marianela Arteaga for their help to run a successful program on the day.

 Preparatory session for the VCE Written Exam

 Round table about the Victorian Curriculum for languages

As usual union and collegiality were reflected on our dynamism. 2015 brought our students, schools and us much success in the delivery of our Spanish language programs and we are all graceful with the many experiences taking place at your schools to promote the knowledge of the multi-national cultures the Spanish language relates to.

We are all now ready to embark towards another exciting year and this is why preparation and planning are crucial.

Initiatives for 2016

Promotion of existent programs as foundation for new schools keen to implement a Spanish language program

To continue with the delivery and consequent promotion of quality language programs, teachers are encouraged to take firm and consistent participation in our network and PD sessions. Collegiality and professional discussion among teachers from different areas all across Melbourne is very much welcome during our gatherings and through our online feeder.

We also encourage language teachers to maintain their enthusiasm and close communication with school families and the further community. Following the success of our 2014-2015 campaign 'Spanish an easy language to learn for English speakers with a great multinational cultural wealth to offer', in 2016, VATS will launch our promotional campaign “Spanish: symbol of high quality programs for Victorian school students”. Similarly, to increase intercultural awareness we will include the motto "21 language-and-cultural pillars, one direction towards Spanish language learning" in our immersion days and community represented initiatives.

Teaching Networks and Sample curriculum programs

As you are aware Victorian government schools cater for students from diverse language, cultural and socio- economic backgrounds. This is why as language teachers we are committed to, and fully supported with, ongoing

professional development to contribute to our individual school's goals and our association's vision to provide Victorian government schools with a Spanish language program of high quality.

Innovation and technology are becoming a key focus with a strong emphasis on student engagement and 21st Century pedagogies. And, we are also aware that quality programs should operate at school level to support literacy and numeracy initiatives. What is more, research shows that when professionals get together and share their experiences and resources it results in an effective delivery of individual programs. Moreover, David Marsh states 'the most successful programs are those which integrate the best of the available approaches, methods and resources". All these statements validate our hard work all around the year to provide our colleagues with opportunities to further develop their teaching knowledge and skills.

The co-operative elaboration of sample curriculum programs, unit designs and exchange of expertise have been proved to be of high assistance for all our Spanish Language teachers in 2015. In 2016, we will continue to encourage our network meetings and implement more "totally practical journal" sessions (TPJ) where colleagues can see, apply, reflect and further discuss different curriculum components.

Professional development priorities and events

In accordance with DET's guidelines our priority areas for 2016 include:

- The Victorian Curriculum for languages

- The Implementation of quality programs in primary and secondary schools

- Teaching professional journals (TPJs)

- Exchange of expertise between teachers located around metropolitan and regional

- Innovative and exemplary teaching practices

- Language-in-use opportunities for our students

- Language advocacy and promotion

- Student retention at secondary school level

Expression of areas of interest for our Teaching professional journals

A number of suggestions and requests regarding topics and needs (to be covered during our Teaching professional journals (TPJ) and Exchange of expertise) have been collected during our events and our final annual general meeting in November 21st. It is likely that you may have identified some new matters and topics specific to you school that you would like to be taken on board during our TPJs.

Your contribution related to ideas on topics, teaching-learning needs, keynote speakers, dates, times, etc. will be highly appreciated. More ideas, suggestions and expressions of areas of interest, in dot points, will be appreciatively until December 22th 2015

2016 Membership and event registration

To take on board our priorities, your already satisfactory commitment on ongoing professional development is imperative. Membership for 2016 recommences on February 1, 2016.

Membership forms with a list of events will be emailed out soon after expressions of interests for our professional development journals have been considered. As agreed registration fees will remain the same. Members are granted free attendance and/or discounted rates for our professional development sessions as well as access to communication, teaching networks, resources, website-feeder, books, materials from or VATS library at the SRC and participation in our language-in-use opportunities.

We look forward to meeting you and extend our best wishes for another exciting and successful year.

Kind regards,

Carlos Franco                     Ana Astudillo               Lucia Romero

VATS – President                Vice-President              Treasurer

Victorian Association for Teachers of Spanish

www.vatsteachersofspanish.com

M: 0420 561 062