ALEC Allstars & Corrections Presentation at this year’s Literacy and Numeracy Symposium

But you might ask a painter to teach L & N.001

This might not work on your mobile devices as I think it’s using flash video player, the quality is not terrific, and you can’t see the slides for the presentations… but, here’s the link to our presentation from earlier in the year where our newly minted ALEC graduates stole the show with their awesome work embedding literacy and numeracy into trades education inside the prison system.

If you’re one of the people who visits my site looking for literacy and numeracy jokes, you’re in luck. There are a couple on the video, but you’ll have to fast forward a couple of minutes until after Rachel’s introduction when I do my intro and overview of the training.

I can’t embed the video due to the flash player, but if you click here you’ll go through to the NCLANA site where they’ve posted the video. You’ll also have to scroll down to the second video which is ours. Not the top one that comes first.

At some stage, I’ll edit my own video footage together with the slides, and hopefully post this on YouTube in a series of much shorter segments.

It’s a long presentation, just short of an hour. But you’ll hear Rachel Bulliff, myself, and our team of three instructors each talk about the embedding work from different perspectives.

Aside: A few months after this presentation Rachel won the NCALNE International Literacy Day award for New Zealand.

Thoughts and comments below.

NCALNE Lite on Pathways Awarua – Update

Pathways Awarua

Just a brief update… Module 4 of our NCALNE Lite online course that we’re writing for the Pathways Awarua suite of online literacy and numeracy resources is now live. I’ve also just finished the draft for module 5 which should be finalised and live within a couple of weeks.

That leaves Modules 6 and 7 to complete. Hopefully, I’ll get through these in the next couple of months. If you’re using these modules please let me know any feedback or suggestions for improvement.

If you’re not signed up as an educator and you want to, go here if you want access to free online training for ALEC’s National Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational) – otherwise known as the NCALNE (Voc).

Rachel Bulliff from the Department of Corrections wins International Literacy Day Award

rachel-bulliff-06092013We are also extremely pleased to hear that Rachel Bulliff from the Department of Corrections has won the 2013 International Literacy Day Award from the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults based at the University of Waikato.

ALEC has been fortunate to have been working with Rachel and her team since around 2010 to deliver the National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace).

This qualification, the NCALNE (Voc), has helped nearly one hundred trades instructors and others involved in training to embed specific literacy and numeracy skills into education programmes inside the wire, and more recently with Community Probations offenders.

Well done Rachel…! You deserve it.

You can read more about Rachel and the award here.


ALEC & Department of Corrections – Embedding Literacy and Numeracy into Prison Education

Department_of_Corrections_NZ_logoVery happy to be involved with the professional development of the instructors doing this work. By the end of 2014 we should have trained around 100 NCALNE (Voc) qualified instructors and staff. Check out the media release below. Make sure you read the list of case studies at the end. These are our ALEC graduates:

Embedded literacy and numeracy education upskills prisoners

Prisoners who have poor reading skills, cannot use a ruler or struggle with calculating numbers are getting a boost with an initiative that embeds literacy and numeracy education with trade training and achieving nationally recognised qualifications.

A large number of prisoners have low literacy and numeracy skills, which affects their educational achievement, job prospects and wellbeing.

Corrections began tackling this problem by ‘embedding’ literacy and numeracy into trades training programmes. The embedding can be explicit, or can use ‘stealth mode’, where the learner is unaware they are being trained in, say, the numeracy required to bake a large batch of bread.

“Corrections is committed to reducing re-offending by 25% by 2017. We know that  assisting prisoners to reintegrate into the community through giving them opportunities to learn valuable skills, achieve nationally recognised qualifications, and helping them find sustainable work after release, they are less likely to re-offend,” says Kris Dahl, Manager Offender Training and Education

“Corrections has long known that low levels of literacy and numeracy among prisoners are among the major barriers to educational achievement and finding sustainable jobs upon release.”

“Embedded literacy and numeracy has been shown to increase learner engagement, and course retention and completion rates. It is considered a non-threatening way for adults to engage in literacy and numeracy educations, as it removes, or minimises, the stigma associated with poor literacy and numeracy skills.”

Embedded literacy and numeracy education is now delivered by instructors in sectors as diverse as horticulture, farming, laundries, painting, grounds maintenance, catering, engineering, printing, forestry, joinery, carpentry and construction. As at June 2013, 1,690 prisoners had taken part in trades training education embedded with literacy and numeracy.

Eighty-eight Corrections instructors have been trained to deliver embedded literacy and numeracy by completing the National Certificate in Literacy and Numeracy Education level 5 (Workplace/Vocational). This qualification is now being piloted with staff working closely with offenders on the frontline, such as corrections officers, youth tutors, probation officers and community work supervisors.

Results for offenders are encouraging. Instructors report a higher level of engagement and comprehension among prisoners, with fewer dropping out of programmes due to literacy and numeracy issues. Prisoners are more able to cope with the theoretical aspects of trades training, are more enthusiastic about completing homework and better able to progress onto higher level qualifications.

After improving their literacy and numeracy, many of the prisoners have progressed onto completing higher level nationally recognised qualifications that are being delivered by both Corrections’ instructors and  tertiary education organisations registered and accredited with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority(NZQA).

Embedded literacy and numeracy occurs in addition to Corrections’ core intensive Foundation Skills literacy and numeracy initiative.

Seventy percent of prisoners function at a less than an adequate level of literacy.  Adequate literacy is the level at which a person is “able to cope with the demands of everyday life and work in a complex, advanced society”.

Embedded literacy and numeracy education takes place in all Corrections’ prisons. Examples are:

Tongariro/Rangipo Prison: An instructor has developed an abacus to teach mathematical concepts. The abacuses are being made by prisoners in the carpentry workshop at Spring Hill Corrections Facility.

Auckland Prison: A mechanical engineering instructor is incorporating reading, writing and numeracy into teaching engineering design and manufacturing.

Hawke’s Bay Prison: A painting instructor has developed a portable classroom to teach numeracy concepts and terminology around the painting trade. A joinery instructor is teaching numeracy to offenders in the youth unit as part of a Limited Credit Programme in wood manufacturing.

Auckland Women’s Prison: A horticulture instructor is embedding literacy and numeracy education in work with high security prisoners.

Northland Region Corrections Facility: A Senior Corrections Officer used the embedding technique to develop a resource to help prisoners with writing their Parole Board applications. 

Rimutaka Prison: An instructor in the Print Shop has been developing resources, such as times tables posters and word games, to increase literacy and numeracy of prisoners.

Waikeria Prison: Embedding literacy and numeracy has been used by catering and dairy farming instructors.

Christchurch Men’s Prison: An automotive engineering instructor is incorporating reading, writing and numeracy into teaching mechanical engineering.

Otago Corrections Facility: Engineering, grounds maintenance and catering instructors are using embedded literacy and numeracy education.

Invercargill Prison: Two catering instructors are using embedded literacy and numeracy education.


Exporting the NZ’s baseline knowledge and skills for embedding literacy and numeracy

NZ-Educated-smallI’ve been excited about this before… Usually, my elation is crushed by some annoying practical reality of funding or compliance.

However, a new set of draft NZQA rules may make it possible for us to export NZ’s baseline knowledge and skills for embedding literacy and numeracy. I think there is a market for it, especially using frameworks for integrating indigenous pedagogies.

I got the NZQA draft rules by email. There’s a link to the NZQA page for consultation but this particular set of rules wasn’t there when I checked it. Hopefully, by the time you read this NZQA will have updated the online list.

If you want to see the document and the link doesn’t work, leave a message below and I’ll forward it to you. There’s a couple of key things from my side:

  • One relates to the titles of the qualifications (Page 3): I would prefer option 2, i.e. “Adult Literacy Education & Consulting (ALEC) Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (Vocational/Workplace).” Even though the qualification title is quite longwinded, adding our company name would increase opportunities to tie into our brand and link the training directly to us and our reputation. Having a list of countries (Option 1) would immediately limit the export opportunities and actively exclude and discourage interest from potential students.
  • The other relates to Offshore Delivery rules (Page 4): This is still not clear for me. I want to deliver the international version of my course 100% by distance using online learning via interactive modules, video lessons (like Kahn Academy), some online and print-based media and then assess portfolio evidence that the candidates submit electronically. I anticipate that any interested parties will be completing the work while they are also working part or full time and will be geographically dispersed around the world in mostly English-speaking countries. At no point am I considering opening an overseas campus in any particular location. My niche is rather small, but big enough as long as I don’t have to be constrained by the geography. Course delivery would be online from NZ. Candidates for assessment could live and work anywhere. My reading of the offshore delivery is that the scenario in mind is at a physical location in a foreign country. I’d like some clarification around this if possible.
I’d really like to support this in the strongest way possible. 
I have a very clear idea of what I want to do and I’d like to be able to do this within the NZQA framework. If these rules are a match for how I want to redevelop my product for international export I would be happy to submit it to the NZQA for approval in the very near future if you are looking for a test case, or an NZQA-friendly provider to work with in developing these rules further.
Any thoughts…?