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Janet Harris - English Language

Janet Harris, English Language

I am a language teacher at CIT, but have previously been a childcare worker along with being a mother, grandmother, keen cook, a teacher and a language learner. I am currently studying Spanish to communicate with my extended family in South America.

I'm a long term Australian Education Union (AEU) member and a great believer in Industrial Democracy. Contact with other AEU CIT members gives me huge insight into mainstream areas of CIT, crucial for assisting my students, many of whom go on to study in other areas at CIT.


  • Teacher of the Year - 2001
  • Australian Education Union (AEU) Award
  • CIT award for innovation

Projects at CIT

  • Innovations project where I recorded mainstream CIT teachers, (Graphic Design, Childcare, Science, Animal handing and Business) and created support materials to go with the listening activities. The activities are attached to eLearn so students can get some preparation before they study.
  • A project interviewing CIT teachers in different areas, (Beauty Therapy, Carpentry, Physics and Accounting,) to explore what teaching is and how committed vocational teachers are.

Language Teaching

  • I love teaching grammar!  Analysing the structures of a language to see how we create our world linguistically, and what preconceptions are embedded in our language, is endlessly fascinating to me.
  • Reading the newspaper.  Newspaper articles contain so much idiomatic language, complex sentences, current vocab and local information. They are essential!
  • Writing selection criteria.  The joy of these is helping people realise how many skills they have and how much they have done already.
  • Conversation, discussions and meetings.  These are the forums where everything is exchanged, where we connect with others, get what we want, share information, engage with life and have a laugh.  I love enabling people to participate effectively and confidently.


Heaps of learning happens outside the classroom so I take classes on lots of excursions:

  • Parliament House and the Legislative Assembly to learn about our democratic systems and prepare for citizenship and full participation in Australian life.
  • Galleries. Last year my class were really interested in Defying Empire, the Indigenous Art Tiennial at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA). They particularly loved the Black Dog sculpture, the head of Captain Cook with a balaclava, and the found object sculptures.
  • The National Museum is a great treasure. Students can contribute their stories to the collection of migration stories in the museum.


  • I love teaching English. I love the engagement with other cultures and languages and the students themselves, always so interesting, so lively, such an enrichment to Australia.
  • I am a complete devotee of TAFEs and Vocational Education and firmly believe that’s where Australia's future lies.