Planning teaching activities for embedded literacy and numeracy learning outcomes


sniper or shotgun

So you have to teach embedded literacy and numeracy content for your trade or vocational training course… What do you do?

  1. Carry out broad brush diagnostics: Do some kind of broad-brush needs analysis and literacy and numeracy diagnostic. We recommend the TEC literacy and numeracy tool at least. Sure it’s not contextualised, but it does give you a lot of really great data.
  2. Develop learning outcomes: Use the data to develop some really clear embedded literacy and numeracy learning outcomes.
  3. Design contextualised diagnostics: Then use your embedded literacy and numeracy learning outcomes plus relevant data to help you design some short and snappy, but highly focused and contextualised literacy and numeracy diagnostic assessments.
  4. Develop guided teaching and learning sequences: Once you’ve got the diagnostic assessments in place you need to develop and plan some appropriate teaching and learning sequences that are driven by your learning outcomes.
  5. Develop resources: From there you can develop the resources that you need and go and do the teaching knowing that your delivery is more likely to hit the mark.

Coming up with guided teaching and learning sequences can be tricky though. Here’s some examples based on real life people involved in our professional development work.

Names have been changed, but the scenarios are real and the people are all trades or vocational tutors, not literacy and numeracy rocket scientists. For each case study, you’ll be able to see what they created for their embedded learning outcome as well as ideas for a teaching and learning sequence.

Case Study 1

Andrew works in a prison setting with male prisoners. He is a chef by trade (ex-army) and his job is to provide various kinds of hospitality and catering training. Currently, he is trying to teach his learners how to cost catering jobs, including calculating a room rate for small catering jobs. The learners are struggling with understanding GST in the process of working out the costings.

Embedded numeracy learning outcome

  • Carry out
  • a GST calculation
  • in the context of room rates required by a customer for a catering establishment

Planned sequence of activities

  1. Listening & Speaking: Discuss learners’ prior knowledge of and experience with GST.
  2. Numeracy: Unpack and teach different ways of calculating 15%.
  3. Numeracy: Develop and practise a range of realistic costing scenarios using GST within catering contexts.

Case Study 2

Ian is a carpentry instructor. He needs to assess his learners against unit standards from his industry. Because of new compliance regulations he is required to embed LN into his training which is largely project based. His learners are struggling with a mixture of problems including using a steel or folding rule to measure area accurately in mm in relation to their practical project and assessments.

Embedded numeracy learning outcome

  • Demonstrate how to
  • measure and calculate area for squares and rectangles
  • in the context of building industry expectations including using a steel or folding rule

Planned sequence of activities

  1. Listening & Speaking: Discuss why and how measurement and area calculations are important in the building and construction industry. Link this to specific situations where measurement and area are relevant for learners’ projects and actual work.
  2. Numeracy: Teach measurement basics including appropriate units of measurement (mm, cm, m) and how to use a steel or folding rule for linear measurement.
  3. Numeracy: Develop an understanding of area as a description of the number of square units need to cover a shape by working with squares and rectangles on maths paper. Extend this into working with millimetres and calculating areas based on measurements and drawings.

Case Study 3

Emma is a horticulture tutor. Her learners struggle with the terminology required to describe many of the concepts she needs to teach and assess. At the moment she is teaching a unit on soil structure which her learners find quite complicated. As well as the understanding ratios and percentages, Emma’s learners need to learn some of the technical jargon and specialised language used in the resource books to make sense of how clay, silt, and sand mix together to form different classifications of soils.

Embedded literacy learning outcome

  • Describe
  • key concepts using specialised language and technical terms
  • in the context of New Zealand soil structures

Planned sequence of activities

  1. Listening & Speaking: Discuss what people already know about soils and soil structures; brainstorm keywords and concepts
  2. Reading: Recognise and match key terms with descriptions
  3. Writing: Observe soil samples and work with others to write down what they see.
  4. Reading: Answer comprehension questions after reading a short text on soil structure.
  5. Writing: Carry out a short cooperative research project investigating one or more soils using key concepts and any relevant specialised language and technical terms.

Case Study 4

Charlene teaches health and safety specifically for the hospitality industry. Her learners need to gain a comprehensive understanding of an industry hazard reporting form. Some learners have difficulty understanding part two of the report which includes potential consequences of injury (slight, minor, moderate, major, fatality) and increasing probability (highly unlikely, slight possibility, medium possibility, highly likely, and almost certain). As well as the vocabulary including acronyms, learners need to understand date, time, and rating scales.

Embedded literacy learning outcomes

  • Demonstrate
  • knowledge of specialised language and related concepts
  • in the context of potential consequences and increasing probability of health and safety hazards in the hospitality industry

Planned sequence of activities

  1. Listening & Speaking: Discuss prior experiences around accidents at work to find out what people know about hazards, their consequences, and how to report on them.
  2. Reading: Use a set of word cards and a cline to recall and discuss shades of meaning between different words
  3. Reading: Skim read several completed hazard reporting forms describing consequences and probability of injuries in common health and safety scenarios. Then scan for answers to quiz questions.
  4. Writing: Work with others to write model answers for a range of health and safety scenarios using the reporting form.

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