The New South Wales Association of French Teachers (NAFT) was formed in 1999. NAFT has grown steadily to a sizeable and dynamic professional association and has now expanded to include the Australian Capital Territory.
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The New South Wales Association of French Teachers (NAFT) was formed in 1999. Its founding president was Jacqueline Meunier with the vice-president being Jacquie Hilmer. From humble beginnings, NAFT has grown steadily to a sizeable and dynamic professional association thanks to the dedication of numerous members who have thus contributed to its success.
NAFT was born of a need for solidarity and collaboration within the body of French teachers in New South Wales. Its aims were to provide a forum for the dissemination of ideas and a support network in the areas of professional development, methodology, pedagogy and curriculum planning, in particular for the benefit of country teachers. Its first newsletter was published in February 2000 and its first end-of-year conference was held in October 2000.
NAFT continues to provide such support to its members and is proud to make submissions, requests or representations on behalf of its membership to the Board of Studies in the areas of assessment and syllabus planning. NAFT is an effective body of professionals well-equipped to make representations or express responses to the Government decisions which may affect the teaching and learning of French in New South Wales.
In 2015 NAFT became a member of the NSW Professional Teachers’ Council (NSW PTC). This enabled the association to apply for and offer NESA (formerly BOSTES) accredited professional learning opportunities to our members. Each year, NAFT will offer a number of professional development activities that are NESA accredited.
The presidents of our association have been Jacqueline Meunier (2000), Dominique Barbeau (2000-2002), Catherine Willoughby (2002-2003), Jacqueline Meunier (2004-2006), Marie-Josée Esposito (2007-2009), Gilda Stuart (2010 – 2012), Marion Rosen (2013 – 2014), Co-Presidents Marion Rosen and Jacquie Hilmer (2015), Co-Presidents Jacquie Hilmer and Candace Robertson (2016), Co-Presidents Jacquie Hilmer and Annabel Gassmann (2017 – 2018), Co-Presidents Marion Rosen and Jacquie Hilmer (2019- 2020), Co-Presidents Annabel Gassmann and Bev Wilkinson (2021). The President in 2022 & 2023 has been Annabel Gassmann. The role and responsibilities of the president has grown in proportion with the size of the NAFT membership and its needs; the executive committee and sub-committees have likewise grown larger. We are thankful to all our office-bearers, past and present, for their dedication, altruistic and enterprising spirit. NAFT is also grateful for the valuable input of the Languages Consultants from the DET and AIS as well as the former Attachés Linguistiques and the Attachés de coopération of the French Embassy in Canberra.
In 2018 NAFT, with support of our Associate members, coordinated and hosted the biennial International and National FATFA conference at Sydney University which was a resounding success, receiving accolades from within Australia and the around the world.
At the 2017 NAFT Conference, Ghislaine Barbe was awarded NAFT’s first Honorary Life membership for her outstanding contribution to the teaching of French, the dissemination of French culture and services to NSW society in general. In 2019, Marion Rosen received the Outstanding Professional Service Award (OPSA) by the Professional Teachers’ Council of NSW. At the 2020 NAFT Conference, Jacquie Hilmer and Marion Rosen were awarded for Honorary Life membership for their many years of contribution and service to NAFT. On the International Day of the French Teacher 2020, Claire Irwin was awarded the NSW French Teacher of the Year in collaboration with FATFA and the French Embassy in Australia. On World Teachers’ Day 2021, Annabel Gassmann received the Outstanding Professional Service Award (OPSA) by the Professional Teachers’ Council of NSW. This year, Annabel’s contribution to French teaching was again recognised with her award of NSW French Teacher of the Year in collaboration with FATFA and the French Embassy in Australia.