Athanassia Iosifidou, Hawthorn-Melbourne
Student Engagement Outside the Classroom

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 no. 4 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 a Perth 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 and have ongoing support.

Athanassia became interested in languages at the age of 13 when she moved to Australia from Greece. Learning English motivated her to learn more languages and become qualified to teach Greek and French. Always on the lookout for more opportunities, she completed the CELTA and she has been teaching English ever since. She has worked in public and private schools, in Australia and France, as well as at universities and various ESL colleges. She has completed a Master of Education and written a Guide for Student Engagement within the Wider Community. She is currently a Senior Teacher in Melbourne.