What medicine means to me and how the ASAS program at CET has helped me get ready for study in Sydney

by Dr. Emmanuel Taribo
ASAS 2010

While growing up as a child, I was always curious about the causes of people’s illness and what measures needed to be taken for their recovery. The look on sick people’s faces showed hopelessness, restlessness, fear, anxiety, depression, etc. For me, I was only interested in one thing, to put a continuous smile on their faces despite the odds.

While practicing medicine in my country, Nigeria, I realized that quite a number of medical conditions were preventable. As a result I developed an interest in doing a Masters of International Public Health at the University of Sydney. As part of the preparation for the program, the University took us through an intensive four week Advanced Skills for Academic Success (ASAS) program at CET. A wide array of topics ranging from Critical Thinking to career development was delivered by knowledgeable experts in their respective fields. The aim was to familiarize ourselves with the city, the university and all its services and ultimately learn how to meet the expectations of the University’s lecturers.

The ASAS program is a laudable initiative by CET in preparing and equipping International Students for studies at the University of Sydney.

Dr Emmanuel Taribo, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria

Dr. Emmanuel Taribo is a medical doctor working at the Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja, Nigeria. He is an international student at the University of Sydney preparing to commence a Masters of International Public Health.

OSHC rule change for international students

As from 1 July 2010 the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has issued a new rule which states that Oversees Student Health Cover (OSHC) must be paid for the proposed duration of the student visa.

For packaged students:

  • CET will accept payment for the OSHC from the start of the English course to the commencement of the university course.
  • The university will accept payment for the OSHC to cover the degree course. The student will pay the OSHC for the degree course after he/she has passed their English course and received a firm offer.

For non-packaged students:

  • Course length less than 10 months: The visa will usually be granted for up to one month longer than the duration of the course
  • Longer than 10 months: The visa will usually be granted up to two months longer than the duration of the course.
  • Longer than 10 months and finishing at the end of the Australian academic year (December): The visa will usually be granted up to March 15 of the following year.

For any questions regarding this please contact DIAC Student Visa via email: or phone: 131881

Learning English through Science

by Katynna Gill

29 March 2010

Thirteen Japanese students from Tohoku University have taken part in an innovative program to learn English through Physics and Mathematics lectures and customised tutorials at the University of Sydney in March 2010.

The two and a half week program was organised by Professor Hideo Kozono, from the Mathematical Institute at Tohoku University, and the University of Sydney's Centre for English Teaching, with the School of Physics and School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Having successfully run the program in 2009 for the first time with ten students from Tohoku University, the Centre for English Teaching expanded the program in 2010 to include daily English tuition over a longer period, and Faculty of Science staff ran specially tailored tutorials in maths and physics for the Japanese students.

Tohoku Science and Math

A series of pre-recorded mathematics and physics lectures by Dr Martin Wechselberger, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Associate Professor Zdenka Kuncic, from the School of Physics, were shown to the students so they could learn the English used in the lectures with the University of Sydney's Centre for English Teaching.

After learning the required English with Geoff Hegarty, from the Centre for English Teaching, the Tohoku University students joined University of Sydney students in the third year mathematics and physics lectures.

Most of the Tohoku University students are at the end of their first year of their Bachelor of Science degrees, with three students at the end of their second year. The thirteen students are part of a special program for gifted science students at Tohoku University which is supported by the Ministry of Education in Japan. The students who travelled to Sydney were selected from the program for their excellence in mathematics and physics.

Dr Martin Wechselberger, from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, who gave the third year Differential Equations and Biomathematics (Advanced) lectures and tailored tutorial, said, "This year the Tohoku students were able to attend more of my lectures - five - and I also ran a tutorial especially for them, which worked really well.

"We covered the existence and uniqueness of solutions of differential equations. The main theorem we covered was the Picard-Lindelof Theorem, and I introduced mathematical tools such as the contraction mapping principle and Gronwall's inequality to master the corresponding proof. The Japanese students did well to follow all this in English!" said Dr Wechselberger.

"It was great to see they asked questions in the lectures and their level of preparedness and dedication to the tutorial exercises was wonderful - our Australian students could learn from them!"

Professor Hideo Kozono was originally inspired to organise the English language experience for his students after a visit from fellow mathematician Professor Gavin Brown while he was Vice-Chancellor of the University of Sydney.

Cristina Leontini, Study Tour Coordinator at the Centre for English Teaching, said: "This year's customised English language program developed for the top-end maths and physics students from Tohoku University has been very successful in meeting the specific academic objectives of the group as well as giving them an excellent overall experience of studying at the University of Sydney.

"A lot more emphasis was put on English speaking and listening activities. Geoff Hegarty, the CET Teacher, was instrumental in encouraging discussion on topics such as: philosophical and ethical aspects of physics, looking at new developments in physics experiments such as the Large Hadron Collider, watching video interviews of prominent scientists on the TED website, and watching ABC science shows," said Cristina.

At the official end-of-course certificate presentation, Mao Ono, one of the Tohoku University students, thanked all the University of Sydney staff involved: "We would like to thank Sydney University for this opportunity. I am personally a fan of Martin and Zdenka - I wish I could attend all their lectures! We will never forget our time here at Sydney University."

For CET customised programs:
Phone: (02) 9036 7906

Innovative Recruiting at the Centre for English Teaching

The Centre for English Teaching (CET) at The University of Sydney has introduced a new method of interviewing and recruitment to quickly and effectively assess potential new teachers.

“Assessment Centres” work by evaluating groups of prospective candidates and putting them through a series of management training activities in a workshop environment. The potential candidates are assessed on their performance in real work scenarios. Team building, problem solving and communication skills are also tested and developed.

The Assessment Centres were designed and conducted by Acting Director of Sydney’s CET, Patrick Pheasant.

“Recruiting the right people in the ESL industry can be a frustrating and exhausting process and we were struggling to find and keep passionate and highly qualified teachers.”

“The Centre needed to effectively select candidates from a large pool of people quickly. We also needed a more accurate way to predict new teacher’s future job performance.”

The Assessment Centres use a combination of drama techniques, facilitation and management training and take about two hours to simultaneously evaluate up to 30 candidates. Led by one main facilitator, participants perform a series of group exercises, including writing tests, problem solving, IT skills and leaderships tasks, observed by three assessors who are teachers at the Centre.

The assessors are looking for candidates that can grasp new concepts quickly, demonstrate an understanding of student assessment and work effectively in a team.

Personal, social and pedagogical competencies are considered.

The CET employs approximately 73 teaching and administrative staff, many from non-English speaking backgrounds. Since last year, Assessment Centres have been used to both recruit and train new teaching staff and promote the organisation in the ESL Industry.

“Assessment Centres have been used to recruit for management positions in other industries but are rarely used for ESL education. The Centre for English Teaching is one of a limited number of university owned ESL centres that use this technique in Australia,” said Patrick.

“We have found that assessment centres assist the whole process by giving candidates experience of a microcosm of the job while testing them on work-related activities as individuals and as groups. This has allowed us to predict future job performance more accurately.”

If you would like more information about Assessment Centres at the Centre for English Teaching, please contact CET Acting Director, Patrick Pheasant,

About CET

The Centre for English Teaching was established in 1988 to teach General English and has since grown to become one of the leading English Teaching Centres in Australia for post-graduate international and domestic university students. The Centre has been graduating over 1700 students per year. Fifty-six percent of students are from China with representation from almost every culture, making it a unique and vibrant learning environment. CET is housed on the fifth floor of the Wentworth Building at Darlington Campus.

100% pass-rate for December CAE course

CET would like to congratulate the students and teachers of the December CAE course in which everyone passed.

When asked why the course was so successful, the teachers, Sherrill and Marcella said it was the time spent on individual needs. Sherrill said ‘Each of our students had weaknesses. They were willing to do extra work to address these weaknesses and we developed programmes that gave them practice in the areas of greatest need.’

This individual attention was largely possible because of the intimate nature of the class. Another factor in the students’ success was the complete practice test the students did the week before the exam. This test helped calm pre-test nerves and gave students feedback on the areas to concentrate that last minute revision.

CET’s next FCE and CAE course start on 5 April for exams on the 15 & 16 June.