Being a literacy kind of guy, I really like metaphors. I was thinking about this recently, and I realised that there are a whole bunch of metaphors that I constantly use and refer to. I just haven’t really made them explicit with my learners. However, I did today.
These metaphors work for me with the literacy and numeracy professional development training that we do for the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace)… often thankfully abbreviated to the NCALNE (Voc).
Basically, what we’re trying to do is show people a system for embedding (i.e. integrating) literacy and numeracy into their trades or other vocational training content.
Here’s the list:
- It’s like building a house (Hey, they don’t call it foundation learning for nothing).
- It’s a toolbox… or at least some new teaching tools to go in your existing toolbox.
- It’s like a sniper rifle (instead of a shotgun approach).
- It’s a game… like chess or draughts.
- It’s a business… what are your key performance indicators?
- It’s a team sport. How are you going to play?
- It’s like starting a mini-apprenticeship.
All of these metaphors (Ok… two are similes) are quite powerful ways of thinking about training. The one I’m most fixated on right now though is the last one: Professional development as a kind of mini-apprenticeship. This helps to explain the kind of journey that our tutors go through.
And in the short time that we have with them I’ve come to realise that all we have to do is shift them one step along the way. Mastery is possibly too lofty a goal. However, shifting them from LN apprentices to LN practitioners is a reasonable and achievable goal. What they do from there on is their own business.
Right… work to do. Thoughts? Let me know below. Cheers, Graeme