Just to be clear, this post is meant to be something that you can read in less than three minutes. It takes longer than that to embed literacy and numeracy into your trades or vocational training.
Embedding literacy and numeracy is not rocket science though and you can get your head around the basic idea of what to do really quickly. Here’s the framework that we use to teach people how to embed literacy and numeracy:
- Context: You need to understand the context in which you work. Find out more about your teaching context nationally, locally, and in terms of your industry, trade, or specialist teaching area. For us, this is the New Zealand Context.
- Good teaching: You need to understand the basics of good teaching. Good teachers and trainers have always embedded literacy and numeracy. Sometimes though it just flies under the radar. Identify good teaching practice relating to literacy and numeracy content and make it explicit. We deal with this aspect of our course by looking at approaches and methods from indigenous Maori education.
- Mapping: You need to identify the skill gaps that your learners have. This means that you have to identify your intended outcomes for literacy and numeracy. This is the level of proficiency that you expect – not the actual reality. Do this in terms of the broad brushstrokes of your training as well as for specific samples of key training resources and materials. We use the Learning Progressions for this.
- Diagnostic: You need to have processes and tools for identifying the actual literacy and numeracy skill levels of your learners. We also use the Learning progressions for this as well. You want to know the difference between the context specific literacy and numeracy demands of your training AND what you learners can do. That’s how you identify the gaps.
- Embedding LN: Once you’ve worked out where the gaps are you are then ready to do something about them. This is where you need to create your own targeted and very specific embedded literacy and numeracy learning outcomes. Plan the LN skills training you need to do and then do it. The more interactive the better.
- Assessing progress: After you have delivered your embedded LN training around the very narrow and specific skill areas you identified for your learners you will need to assess them again. This is to see if they have made any progress. Test –> Teach –> Test is the basic idea here.
- Evaluating effectiveness: Finally, you need to work out whether your teaching interventions have made a difference and are worth repeating or scaling up. Reflect critically on your teaching strategies, learning activities, assessment methods, delivery and plan what you want to do next.
That’s it… Let me know what you think in the comments.