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AMEP - Has anyone taught/teaching this?

 
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djtwinkles



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2011 8:46 am    Post subject: AMEP - Has anyone taught/teaching this? Reply with quote

Hi, I'm an Australian citizen but I'm currently teaching ESL overseas. I have 6 years experience teaching adults (mostly in Australia but also Japan and Vietnam). I have a CELTA and Masters in Education. I would like to return to QLD to teach the adult migrant program offered at TAFE but I have no idea how to get in. They just don't ever seem to advertise. Also, I have heard you need a certificate in TAA to teach at TAFE, is that true? I would be interested to hear from anyone out there who has taught this program.
Cheers
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Insubordination



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2011 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only know about NSW AMEP/TAFE. I hope the same applies to QLD as it's national funding. The necessity for the TAA is true. You need to have it or be enrolled and doing it. It's a short course and not relevant to AMEP teaching. It's useful to have.

Various TAFEs advertise once a year or less often. Often on government employment websites. If you try to apply in between, you are stonewalled.

Sometimes you can get in through the back door if you know someone who works there and an immediate need comes up. NSW has other AMEP providers besides TAFE and I would look there first. The conditions are sometimes better.

TAFE NSW has a tendency to offer fewer hours than the teachers need to live on. Usually about 10 hours/week at $70/hour. There are reasons for this. It mainly involves prep time payments.

The lack of hours and oversupply of teachers makes for a highly competitive environment. It takes years to get 'in' and years more to get a permanent job. Jealously and backstabbing can be a problem.

The AMEP program is very rewarding to teach and you would probably enjoy every class thoroughly and meet fascinating and diverse students. It can be challenging, but I mean this in a positive way. The style of teaching is totally different. Genre and literacy for everyday life rule over grammar.
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bomzis1



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You need a TAA (or TAE as it is now known) to teach at TAFE. If you're lucky enough to get a job in TAFE in Brisbane it would be casual only. There's quite a few decent salaried job in areas outside the capital cities so if you wouldn't mind living in regional areas I reckon you'd have no trouble getting a job there- they do advertise fairly regularly.
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djtwinkles



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Fri May 13, 2011 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you both for the information. I'm going to go ahead and do the TAE online and keep a lookout for jobs advertised. Yes, I would definitely move to a regional area if I had the chance to teach this program. I'm a little bored of teaching academic/general so I'm up for the challenge. Thanks again Very Happy
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bomzis1



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 12:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ACtually AMEP is just the name of the programme- the actual content of the programme is general English. The difference between GE and AMEP is only the students- they'd be immigrants or spouses of residences/ immigrants rather than international or EFL students. Good luck with the job search- TAFE jobs are excellent.
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Insubordination



Joined: 07 Nov 2007
Posts: 383
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sun May 15, 2011 4:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Again, I can only speak for NSW and my own experience with this type of program (ACL, AMES, TAFE, Uni I won't name) but I never taught 'General English' in the way it is taught overseas or in an ELICOS school. The government wouldn't fund something that is not accredited with measurable outcomes. Of course, I don't want to contradict the previous poster. We might have different ideas about what 'General English' is.

I taught certificates in ESOL or Certificates in Spoken and Written English. The learning outcomes have more of a genre/everyday life focus. You won't see 'present perfect' written on an assessment task, nor will there be a chapter-by-chapter study of Headway. Outcomes were things like, 'Can write a note', 'Can read an information text', 'Can participate in a complex verbal exchange', and so on. Much more interesting to teach and any grammar would probably be functional, rather than traditional. Grammar is rarely taught in isolation from the genre being studied.

Most of the students I taught had little formal education (with the exception of some of the Certificate III students) and the traditional approach, with its focus on grammar, would not have been suitable. Nor would a lot of the CELTA approaches.
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kinshachi



Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 50
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a brief experience of teaching in this area last year, although it was with one of the many job services providers in Sydney that the gov't switched contracts to from TAFE/AMES to save a few bucks. I must admit, it was not a positive experience. There was no curriculum, and very few teaching resources. All the teachers were expected to reinvent the wheel as far as designing a course goes, and provide their own material. There were no levels, just up to 20 students from various backgrounds with widely varying degrees of English and study abilities thrown into a room together with a teacher who was left to figure out what they needed and try to provide an individual course of study for all the students simultaneously. The "learning outcomes" were not so much a study plan or assessment as a pointless paperwork burden to keep DEEWR and Centrelink happy. Most of the students had no motivation to improve their English, they were happily ensconced in their families/ immigrant enclaves, and were only doing it for the extra dole money or as a Centrelink requirement. I really felt bad for those students that actually wanted to learn, as I didn't have the resources or the time to give them the help they needed. Most of them resigned themselves to their fate, as there aren't enough TAFE/AMES places to change to anymore. A CELTA and extensive ELICOS experience were of little help, and, as has already been noted in this thread, the TAE is largely irrelevant. And all of this was for a significantly lower salary than ELICOS teaching, itself already one of the lowest paid "professional" jobs out there. After three months, I quit in frustration, despite the lack of jobs (see my thread "Where are the jobs?"), but luckily found some work back in ELICOS soon after. Insubordination, I see your experience is mainly with the top-end providers, who have experience in education. I'm sure that would be a more rewarding experience, but for others I say beware of these job services-*beep*-LLNP providers - there may be jobs there (I see them advertising constantly), but I suspect the main reason is they have a very high turnover of staff. Just my 2 cents' worth.
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kinshachi



Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 50
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Sat Jul 02, 2011 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm... I see Latin is considered profane on Dave's...
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djtwinkles



Joined: 04 Apr 2011
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Tue Jul 05, 2011 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kinshachi, sorry to hear about your experience. Sounds awful. Thanks for adding your comments. I think I'm going to stick with TAFE or AMES if I do go down the AMEP route. Surely they have a curriculum? I didn't notice too many other schools who provide AMEP apart from NAVITAS and a couple of others.
Not sure what word was deleted but I get the gist.

cheers
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bomzis1



Joined: 26 Feb 2005
Posts: 29

PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2011 2:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

To insubordination,

By General English I meant that it was English for general/ every day use not for specific purposes such as IELTS- exactly what the AMES/ CSWE teaches. GE is not just grammar based, although it is a large part of the design and in decent courses the grammar is not isolated from context at all and is not THE major factor is curriculum design. There are documents for the CSWE which details which grammar should be covered by each certificate level and even within the workbook there are 'grammar' units- although not explicitly or implicitly explained (a weakness IMO). In my epxerience teaching GE and CSWE there is a miniscule difference in the focus of the lessons/ assessment on outcomes and sticking your head in the sand and pretending grammar doesn't exist. Previously teaching GE, I used assessment tools almost identical to the ones I now use for CSWE.

You mentioned the CELTA approaches wouldn't work with your low level students. What are CELTA approaches? I've never heard of them. The TAFE system is set up for training all manner of things and they all adopt a bottom up approach. This has been extended to cover learning English although learning a language is more complex than 'learning' a skill- with both top-down and bottom up approaches effective.
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kinshachi



Joined: 06 Sep 2006
Posts: 50
Location: Sydney

PostPosted: Fri Jul 29, 2011 4:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

djtwinkles, when I quit I asked them why they have no curriculum. The Regional Manager replied, "But we do have a curriculum!", pointing to the workbooks they bought from AMES...
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talo



Joined: 26 Jun 2011
Posts: 4
Location: New Zealand

PostPosted: Sun Jul 31, 2011 5:23 am    Post subject: Loved my AMEP experience Reply with quote

My two cents worth - I've just finished up 10 years at AMEP Darwin - I'm leaving just because it's time I went overseas - but it's hard to leave! It became pretty paperwork-heavy at the end, but as far as everything else went, I loved it. We only had to teach 3 hours a day, and the rest of our time was taken up with planning and coordination of various aspects of the program. I was working for a TAFE / University - not a private provider like Navitas though. Navitas are getting lots of the new contracts, and I imagine that being a private provider and a big business (ESL is just one if their interests) things would be run quite differently. I can't comment on how exactly...it may all be for the best - who knows?!

For me, the highlight was being able to work with really diverse groups of learners, which made every day interesting. With up to 14 different nationalities in one class it was never dull - and as I'm now looking at overseas work, I'm realising how much I'm going to miss that element. I think the AMEP / AMES provides a truly multicultural teaching opportunity. Just leave any colonial attitudes at the door, show your students some respect, and bear in mind that many of them have probably been through more than many of us could get our heads around. Many students are there to learn 'survival' English, and I found that most really want to learn, and are very respectful and grateful for the opportunity.

If I was still living in Australia, the AMEP would still be my first choice for work. I just love the students! It may be hard to get in to, but worth it - if you want a really rewarding experience.

I am aware that different centres very - but they should all have a curriculum - I had to refer to the CSWE document on an almost daily basis, as we were required to adhere to it so tightly. Let's just say that if you can find a well-run centre, go for it!
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southpawgrammar



Joined: 19 Mar 2012
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri May 11, 2012 6:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I taught AMEP in 2010 and I second the comments about a lack of materials. Although most of the students were great, there was definitely a group of students who weren't that motivated and only came to socialise. That aside, it was great as you got to see huge improvements in the newly arrived refugees in particular.



Overall, it was a very positive experience and I would be happy to work in the programme again.
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