Session 4D

Ed Davies, VU English

Session Title:
A visit to the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court

A significant percentage of ELICOS students come from strictly hierarchical societies where understanding of legal and political structures is reserved for elites. It can be a surprise to find that both areas in Australia are carried on largely ‘transparently’. At the same time, EAP students are grappling with the need for specialist lexical systems in English as well as struggling to improve listening skills in context. By visiting the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court, students are able to witness a fundamental aspect of Australian life in a safe and respectful environment as well as experience some of the institutional foundations of the culture.

A scaffolded trip to the Melbourne Magistrate’s Court provides the following experiences:
• Student-led discussion of legal systems around the world
• Key vocabulary for court visit – matched in groups
• Introduction to basic elements and personnel of a sessions court (including virtual court tour and video example case from the Magistrate’s Court website)
• Role Play ‘Danielle Come To Justice’ – Victorian Law Foundation
• Understanding court etiquette
• One-hour visit to the court and written and oral feedback
While this excursion is not fully integrated into the curriculum VUE, it contributes to critical thinking and to understanding of the importance of general and institutional knowledge. The ‘Chaos & Control’ elements are in the student-led discussion of legal systems and the ONE HOUR of observation the students experience in the courts – they are encouraged to observe in groups and provide written feedback using relevant vocabulary. The PD will include videoed reactions of the students and examples of lesson plans, student work and other resources.

Ed Davies has taught EAP to prospective master’s and bachelor’s students at VU English since 2013. One of his foci is linking learning to relevant structures outside the classroom such as politics, media and the law, as well as the development of students’ critical thinking skills. He believes outcomes in the classroom are enhanced when teachers strive to know their pupils, acknowledging that the experience of overseas EAL/EAP students is a complex combination of the academic, social and cultural. Ed has taught in the secondary sector as a VCE English teacher as well as in Indigenous contexts in the Northern Territory.