Primary English Teaching Association Australia Life membership was established in 1995. Life membership is awarded by the Board of Directors to a member in recognition of their outstanding service to the Association, to English literacy teaching in Australia, and to the education profession.
Past recipients of this award:
- John Vaughan, 1995 (Deceased 2010)
- Mandy Tunica, 2003
- Barry Dwyer, 2003 (Deceased 2009)
- Vivienne Nicoll-Hatton, 2004
- Jan Turbill, 2004
- Pat Edwards, 2005
- Maurice Saxby, 2005
- Paul Brock, 2005
- Richard Parker, 2006 (Deceased 2013)
- Robyn Ewing, 2006
- Barbara Comber, 2007
- Beverly Derewianka, 2012
Life member since 2003
Mandy has demonstrated a longstanding commitment to education and to the Primary English Teaching Association. She was a teacher, lecturer, consultant, inspector and cluster director.
Within the context of the Primary English Teaching Association, she was a member of the Board, Vice President, consultant to the Board and the first Professional Development Officer. In these capacities, she also represented the Primary English Teaching Association on the Joint Council of NSW Professional Teachers Associations Board, the Australian Literacy Federation and the National Education Forum.
In 1993, Mandy organised the first National Conference of the Primary English Teaching Association, Practically Primary – a national conference focusing on language in primary education, which was held at University of Sydney in January 1994. Mandy also organised the Primary English Teaching Association Poetry Festival in 1996. This passion for poetry was shared with all Association members in her aptly titled book, For the Love of Poetry
, published in 1995.
Mandy remains dedicated to the Association and continues to engender passion and commitment in teachers of the future. Back to top >
Life member since 2004
Vivienne's passionate commitment to the Primary English Teaching Association commenced when she joined the Primary English Teaching Association Council in 1978. She served as a councillor until incorporation of the association in 1982 when she joined the Board of the newly incorporated Primary English Teaching Association as Vice-President and then as President from 1984 to 1988.
Within two years of her retirement from the Board, Viv was back working for Primary English Teaching Association as the Acquisitions Editor, a role she held for eight years. In 1998, she resigned from the Primary English Teaching Association to return to the primary classroom to teach language and literacy to primary aged students.
There are many legacies of Viv's time at the Primary English Teaching Association, in particular the environmental communications project, Special Forever. As education consultant and manager of the project when it commenced in 1993, Viv ensured that it was built on a foundation of best-practice teaching and learning. As a consequence, the project was the largest and longest running environmental education program in Australia. It also served as a model for similar projects in the UK and USA.
Other contributions she made to the Primary English Teaching Association are the publications that she both acquired and wrote for the association, including Taking a Closer Look at Literature Based Programs (1993), and May I See Your Program Please? (1996).
From 1999 until 2010 Viv held part-time positions as a teacher-librarian in two small inner-western Sydney systemic Catholic schools, where she enjoyed meeting children's reading interests and teachers' resource needs, as well as developing her skills with new educational technologies. She is now moving into retirement but intends to return at her own pace to writing for teachers.
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Life member since 2004
Jan Turbill has been a member of the Primary English Teaching Association since 1973. She was a Council member from 1978 until incorporation of the association in 1982. First on the Council and later on the Board of PETA, Jan has held the positions of: Minutes Secretary, Public Officer and Vice-President, the last held from 1982 to her retirement from the Board in 1989.
During Jan's time with the Primary English Teaching Association the membership reached approximately 18,000 in 1989. Growth in membership at the Primary English Teaching Association reflected the profession-led revolution that was taking place in Australian primary classrooms and the Primary English Teaching Association was at the forefront of these changes. Entrepreneurial leadership resulted in the Primary English Teaching Association becoming one of the most successful professional teaching Associations in Australia.
Jan also made an enormous contribution to the Primary English Teaching Association’s success as an author and co-author of best-selling publications such as No Better Way to Teach Writing (1982), Now We Want to Write (1983); Towards a Reading and Writing Classroom (1984); and Coping with Chaos (1987).
Jan is now a global educator providing leadership both inside and outside Australia. Her research into professional learning of teachers frames the design of teacher professional development nationally and internationally. Her keynote presentations at international conferences in the USA, UK, New Zealand and Singapore challenge participants. Her membership of various international editorial boards ensures that teachers remain informed of the latest research.
Jan is currently a Senior Fellow in the Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong, recently stepping down from eight years as President of the Australian Literacy Educators' Association. Jan's contribution to language and literacy education over many decades was recognised in 2009 when she was inducted into the International Reading Hall of Fame.
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Life member since 2005
Pat Edwards taught in schools in New Zealand and New South Wales for 16 years. She was a Primary Principal for 9 years, first at PLC Pymble and then Abbotsleigh College. She has since worked as a writer, editor, educational consultant and occasional lecturer.
Pat’s association with the Primary English Teaching Association began in 1974 when she joined the Primary English Teaching Association committee, and extended through to 1982. During this time Pat held the positions of committee member, Vice President, and was the Primary English Teaching Association’s second President from 1978-1979. Pat also held the honorary position of Executive Business Director for 4 years.
As a writer she contributed a number of innovative and practical books to the Primary English Teaching Association catalogue including the extremely successful PS Write Soon published in collaboration with Australia Post, The Australian Teachers Diary published in 1988, a number of PENs, and the book Hey that’s a good idea: useful hints for busy teachers published in 1985.
Pat has written over 132 books for children which have sold over 8 million copies worldwide. She was the editor and main author of the Longman Eureka Treasure Chest series which was sold to UK, New Zealand and Canada.
Two of her stories The Ghost and Katie Domigan and The Great Sandwich Swap were transformed by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation into television films.
Pat is currently looking forward to translating a selection of the stories, games, poems into DVD and her character ‘Wild Wicked Winifred’ now entertains children from the comfort of her own interactive website.
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Maurice Saxby AM
Life member since 2005
Following active service in New Guinea, and after discharge from the Army at the end of WW II, Maurice Saxby trained as a teacher at Balmain Teachers College 1948-9 and thus his role in education began. After five years teaching in Infants, Primary and Secondary schools Maurice was appointed as a Lecturer in English at Newcastle Teachers College and continued to lecture at various Colleges and Universities until his retirement as Head of Teacher Education at Kuring-gai CAE. He also served for two years as an advisor with the School Library Service of NSW. In the meantime he completed an MEd, from Sydney University and after retirement a PhD from UTS.
As a lecturer he instituted courses in Children’s Literature, both at the undergraduate and post-graduate levels. He has lectured and presented papers in this area extensively in Australia as well as in Great Britain, the USA, Germany, Japan and Germany. Whilst on study leave he spent three months doing research at the Internationalen Jugendbibliothek in Munich and served twice as a juror for the Hans Christian Andersen awards. In his second term (1965) the two HCA medals for writing and for illustration went to Australia, the first time both awards had ever gone to the same country. He has also served as judge for the CBCA awards; for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and has frequently served as an Australia Day Ambassador for the Australia Day Council.
He has published extensively and is quoted around the world for his five volumes dealing with the history and development of Australian children’s literature. He has been featured on both radio and television largely in this capacity and on children’s literature generally. His awards include the Dromkeen Medal, a Rotary Award for Vocational Excellence, The Lady Cutler Award; the Nan Chauncy Award; and citations from the School Library Association, the CBCA, IBBY, and the Primary English Teaching Association along with the Order of Australia. He is an Honorary Associate at The University of Sydney in Education and Social Work.
Publications include The Great Deeds of Superheroes; The Great Deeds of Heroic Women; The Millennium Book of Myth and Story and two picture books Russell and the Star Shell and The Devil’s Trousers.
In 2005, PETAA formally acknowledged Maurice Saxby’s influence and contribution to the teaching of English in Australia and awarded him Life Membership of the Association. Maurice continues to inspire and encourage teachers throughout Australia, including the members of Primary English Teaching Association Australia, to promote and read quality Australian literature to their students.
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Life member since 2005
Dr Paul Brock AM FACE FACEL, is the Director of Learning and Development Research in the NSW Department of Education and Communities, and Adjunct Professor at The University of Sydney. He is a Life Member of both the English Teachers Association NSW and PETAA, and is the inaugural Honorary Life Member of the NSW Secondary Principals Council. He is a Vice Patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, NSW.
Throughout his 46 year career in education as a school teacher, deputy principal, an academic in Australian, British and North American universities, as an education policy advisor at both Commonwealth and State government levels, as well as an author, editor and public speaker, he has researched and published extensively in the field of English literature, language and literacy, as well as in the area of professional teaching standards and ethics. His PhD was conferred on him by The University of New England in 1985.
His more than 130 publications include single-authored books, co-authored books, co-edited books, monographs, chapters in books, refereed journal articles, and poetry. He has also delivered over 200 academic and professional papers to international and Australian conferences and forums.
In 2006 Dr Brock was inducted as a General Member in the Order of Australia. He was awarded the Australian College of Educators Sir Harold Wyndham Medal in 2002 for his career-long contribution to education. In 2006 he was presented with the Professional Teachers’ Council of NSW Exceptional Service Award. In 2010 he was awarded the inaugural Dorothy Hoddinott Medal for Outstanding Lifetime Achievement, by the Australian Professional Teachers Association. In July 2012 he was awarded the Patrick Duignan Award by the NSW Branch of the Australian Council of Educational Leaders (ACEL). In October 2012 he received the ACEL’s national Hedley Beare Award for Educational Writing.
In 2005, PETAA awarded Paul Life Membership in recognition for his outstanding contribution to English education and to education more generally. It was also noted that Paul was in fact one of the English Teaching Association members who approved the establishment of the Primary English Teaching Association in 1972.
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Life member since 2006 (Deceased 2013)
Richard’s contribution to the Primary English Teaching Association has been profound and lasting. A past President of the Australian Reading Association (ARA), Richard came to the Primary English Teaching Association with a keen interest in tertiary education which he was able to meld to great effect with the Primary English Teaching Association’s primary focus.
Richard succeeded Dr John Vaughan as Primary English Teaching Association President and served from 1989 to 1991. During his term Richard led the Association through a crucial period of membership growth, change and development (including a move from the premises shared with the NSW Joint Council of Professional Associations to offices in Camdenville Public School), that culminated in a greater sense of identity for the Association and its staff.
In 1990 Richard encouraged the Primary English Teaching Association to extend its publishing enterprises to include its first professional development program: Exploring How Texts Work: The Video. The considerable success of this initiative was a tribute to his foresight. Richard also oversaw the publication of two books which remain Primary English Teaching Association’s top best sellers to this day: Exploring How Texts Work by Beverly Derewianka, and Learning to Learn in a Second Language by Pauline Gibbons.
In the last year of Richard’s term (1991) PETA initiated the long-standing and successful environmental communications project ‘Special Forever’ in collaboration with the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. ‘Special Forever’ involved 600 teachers and 20,000 students across the Murray-Darling Basin, and was judged an innovative, leading-edge model of environmental sustainability education when it was named as a finalist in the 2006 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes.
Richard also played a vital role in the establishment of the Australian Literacy Foundation which was for many years the voice through which the Primary English Teaching Association was able to represent its members in raising issues and responding to initiatives at a national level.
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Life member since 2006
Robyn has been a member; writer, professional development leader, board member, and finally President, a position held for five consecutive terms from 2001 to 2006.
Her belief in the importance of working in close partnership with all members of the profession, especially those in schools, was a valuable mark of her time in the presidency. She actively encouraged and participated within the professional development program, re-established the Life Membership Award program, encouraged and supported the development of the Living Literacies Dinner concept as a venue for the Primary English Teaching Association Board to connect and celebrate with the friends and supporters of Primary English Teaching Association.
During her term as President, the Primary English Teaching Association was a significant commentator and participant in state and national education forums and debates. The Association provided feedback to: reviews of the NSW syllabus; development of the NSW Institute of Teaching; and standards for teacher accreditation through the state institute and Teaching Australia.
Under Robyn’s guidance the Primary English Teaching Association prepared submissions and responses to a number of significant education inquiries including the National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy. Robyn also represented the Primary English Teaching Association on the Reference Committee of this Inquiry.
Robyn has also made a significant contribution to the Primary English Teaching Association’s publishing program as a sole author, co-author, contributor and co-ordinating editor. Her chapter ‘Exploring the language of literature’ in Taking a Closer look at Literature Based Programs, commenced a dialogue with the Primary English Teaching Association members that she has continued in her writing on topics such as: literature; reading; writing; drama; and, the mechanics and function of language in her PEN What is a functional model of language?
Robyn’s books, Beyond the Script: Drama in the classroom, Beyond the script: take two and Beyond the Reading Wars all include the word ‘beyond’ in their titles which it would seem is a fitting descriptor of her desire for us to continue to challenge ourselves as educators. Robyn retired from the Primary English Teaching Association Board in 2006 but remains committed to encouraging and fostering innovative , quality pedagogy that will lead educators beyond their current achievements.
In the last five years Robyn has continued to work alongside educators interested in critical quality English and literacy pedagogy. Currently Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney, she is working in partnership with Sydney Theatre Company on the School Drama Project to enhance teacher expertise in drama and literature. Her most recent writing includes: The Arts and Australian Education: Realising Potential; Curriculum: A Narrative Approach; and Transforming the Curriculum through the Arts (co-authored with Robyn Gibson). She is also President of the Australian Literacy Educators Association (ALEA).
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Life member since 2007
Barbara Comber has been at the forefront of national and international educational leadership for many years contributing to the collective knowledge of the education community through teaching, research, publishing and the professional development of teachers. Back to top >
The quality and importance of her research into literacy, critical literacy and educational disadvantage has been acknowledged through the presentation of prestigious awards including the Australian Association for Educational Research Doctoral Thesis Award 1997 and the Australian Literacy Educators Association, Inaugural Research Award in 1999.
As Chief Investigator, Research Director or Co-Researcher, Barbara has initiated and participated in numerous research projects that have contributed to the advancement of knowledge in the area of language and literacy education. From 2004 to 2007 the Primary English Teaching Association worked alongside Barbara in the ARC research project: ‘Literacy and the environment: A situated study of multimedia literacy, sustainability, local knowledge and educational change’.
This research project sought to extend the Primary English Teaching Association’s innovative Special Forever, an environmental communications project. The research analysed the Special Forever archive, and documented school-based environmental projects through writing, the arts and contemporary multi-media.
Barbara has co-edited three books for the Association that document the outcomes of significant teacher research: Look Again: longitudinal studies of children’s literacy learning (2003), Turnaround Pedagogies: Literacy interventions for At-risk Students (2005) and Literacies in Place: teaching environmental communications (2007).
Barbara is on the editorial boards for the Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, Literacy, Reading Research Quarterly, Research in the Teaching of English, the Australian Educational Researcher (from 2001), English teaching practice & Critique, and the Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. From 2008-2010 she was a member of the Australian Research Council’s College of Experts.
Barbara has presented keynote and plenary addresses at major international professional and research conferences and regularly contributes to community discussions about literacy. She has an ongoing commitment to working with teachers to design creative, critical and enabling literacy curriculum, particularly in low socioeconomic and culturally diverse communities.
Life member since 2012
Beverly began her teaching career at Petersham Girls High as an English/History teacher. After a year or so, she headed off to Italy to do research for a Masters degree in Italian literature, returning to Australia a couple of years later to teach Italian and English in secondary schools and TAFE. Her political activism began with organizing rallies in support of the the fledgling movement to recognise community languages in schools and becoming the first consultant on community languages at the NSW Department of Education while undertaking a degree in multicultural education at the University of New England.
On moving to Wollongong, she took up a position at Warrawong Primary as a community language and ESL teacher. During that period, she completed a Master of Education and was fortunate enough to have Michael Halliday and Jim Martin among her lecturers who inspired in her an appreciation of the powerful role of language in education, particularly for those students whose background had not prepared them for the specialised registers of schooling. On becoming a lecturer at the University of Wollongong, she worked with Jan Turbill, who suggested she write a book for PETAA – Exploring How Texts Work – drawing on insights from the Write it Right project in Sydney around the notion of genres in the curriculum. With that publication began a research career of working with teachers in schools, coming to an understanding of the learning challenges facing students and how a knowledge about language from a functional perspective might support them in achieving educational success.
As Beverly worked with teachers, she observed the need for a resource explaining in accessible terms the various functions that language performs in our academic and social lives, resulting in another PETAA publication: A Grammar Companion for Primary Teachers. Her doctoral thesis tracked the development of academic writing across the years of schooling, leading to an ARC project with Frances Christie that culminated in the publication of School Discourse: Learning to write across the years of schooling.
Over the years, Beverly has had the privilege of contributing to state, national and international curriculum and syllabus development, and as she eases into retirement, she spends a great deal of her time introducing teachers to the Language strand of the Australian Curriculum: English through workshops organized by PETAA across all states and territories of Australia. Back to top >