Athanassia Iosifidou, Hawthorn-Melbourne
Creating successful student engagement programs

In the current climate of globalisation, the ESL student represents the largest and fastest-growing segment of the adult education population; Australia is ranked the fourth destination for English learning. As the importance of community involvement throughout education becomes more evident, the engagement of ESL students within their new communities in Australia must be incorporated into the experiences provided by the schools. Doing this has been proven to be responsible for better health and wellbeing outcomes in students. As schools are a major point of contact for them, they must ensure that they offer an engagement program which allows students to attend to their basic human need of belonging to a community. This presentation will draw on research, on why student engagement is important, and data, collected in the form of surveys from ESL students at an ELICOS college, resulting in a convincing case for developing an engagement program in schools. Attendees will be able to replicate the surveys in their school which would guide the development of their engagement program with social, sporting and community activities. The presentation will end with a sample engagement program for schools to implement and ways to evaluate it. It will involve audience participation and feedback on the sample program suggested at the end. The presentation attendees will leave the presentation being able to take the first steps in implementing and evaluating an engagement program within their schools ensuring that international students engage outside the classroom with ongoing support to enter the wider community.

Athanassia is the Senior Teacher for General English at Hawthorn Melbourne. She has taught English at ESL colleges, public and private high schools and universities both in Australia and France. She has completed a Master of Education in Leadership and written a Guide for Student Engagement outside the classroom. She has published and presented in Scotland, Greece, Vietnam and Australia. Having moved to Australia as an international student from Greece, she has personally experienced the benefits of engaging within the wider community and has made it her mission to make a positive impact on other students' experiences today.