Publication Details

Murray, J. & Cross, J. (2009). Overseas trained teachers (OTTs): student attitudes and expectations in the context of vocational education. In P. Kell (Eds.), AVETRA 12th Annual Conference (pp. 1-15). AVETRA website for 2009 conference publications: AVETRA.


The vocational education and preparation of overseas trained teachers (OTTs) in NSW is a demanding and lengthy process. It involves the development of communicative language ability to a standard equivalent to native-like vocational proficiency in two domains: linguistic and pragmatic. In order to demonstrate competence at this level, OTTs in NSW are required to pass an English language test, the NSW Professional English Assessment for Teachers (PEAT). In the PEAT, Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are specifically tested in the context of workplace requirements for the NSW education system. Success in the PEAT leads directly to the DET Pre-Employment Program. In reality, TAFE NSW courses in which students enrol to prepare for the PEAT are less concerned with test-taking strategies than they are with vocational education, although locally designed PEAT exemplars are used as practice and teaching models. Success in the test is difficult to achieve without knowledge of the reality in NSW public schools while the communication skills which are beneficial to the test taker are equally essential in the workplace. This paper will outline preliminary findings from research on the attitudes, expectations and vocational learning of a group of OTTs attending Randwick TAFE during Semester 1, 2008. During this semester a specific delivery component was developed that addressed the active skills of Speaking and Writing1, allowing equal emphasis to be given to both linguistic and pragmatic components of test preparation. The theoretical framework for these materials hypothesised the critical significance of the attitudes held by participants in relation to the test, policy and performance. Our approach to this research included qualitative and quantitative data derived from pre and post-course questionnaires, use of a Survey Monkey application to collate students performance will be considered as a case study.

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