Strategies: How do I make my strategies more learner centred?

Strategies (14)

To finish off writing your strategies and this assessment, there are some questions that you need to answer. These questions apply to your literacy and numeracy strategies.

As always, you can skip ahead to the assessment template, or download a worksheet if you want to take notes now.

How are you going to address the opportunities or constraints you identified earlier?

Earlier, you identified different opportunities and constraints. Some of these may be outside of what you can influence. While others may be partially or fully within your influence. You need to say how you will deal with these.

For example, you might say something like this:

  • One constraint I mentioned earlier relates to the fact that my learners seem disengaged. I think I can deal with this by including them in some parts of my planning. For example, I think I can negotiate some of the learning goals with them and put this in a learning plan that they agree to.
  • One opportunity relates to how I can contextualise the learning. For example, I have to teach a new module next month on small motors. There will be lots of “hands on” workshop teaching, but my students will have lots of new vocabulary to learn.
  • Another opportunity could be developing a new practical project that we decide together. I can still make sure that we cover the content I need, but we might be able to focus the whole group on a new project so that they feel more ownership over the direction.

How are you going to make your programme more learner centred?

In the first and second assessments, we talked about different approaches, concepts and frameworks that all contribute to a more learner-centred approach to teaching. What are you going to do to make your teaching more learner-centred? We’d like to encourage you to try things that might be new to you.

You need to say how this relates to what you’re planning in your literacy strategy. For example:

  • I think I can make my programme more learner centred by adopting a more holistic approach. I already do this, but I think I can be more explicit when it comes to using a buddy system, or some kind of peer learning with my group. This should also free me up to work with others who really need my help as well. Hopefully, that means me talking less, and, as long as they’re on task, my learners talking more.

How will you encourage learner independence?

Developing independent learners is one of the goals of adult education. It’s part of our learner-centred approach. What are you going to do to encourage your learners to be more independent?

Here’s an example of what you might write:

  • One idea I’ve got for increasing learner independence with regards to these skills is to try and shift my role from being at the front of the room to setting up more group work with fewer interruptions. I need to think about how to structure this properly though as some will still want to work alone as well.
  • Another idea I’d like to implement through the programme is to build in more learner evaluation of what we’re working on. I need to do this at the end of the course anyway, but I might build in some smaller opportunities for them to evaluate some of the new material that I’m working on.

How are your strategies informed by other key frameworks?

In the first part of this course, we looked several key frameworks that should underpin your teaching. You’ve already said in detail now how you will use the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

Next, you need to say how each of these other frameworks below will influence or inform your overall teaching approach as you implement your strategies. Skip back to Collection 1 and 2 if you need to refresh your memory.

Māori frameworks and approaches

Is there some aspect of Te Whare Tapawhā that you could implement? For example:

  • I’d like to have a look at my teaching using Te Whare Tapawhā and see where I’ve attended to all four domains and where I haven’t. I feel that we have provided the resources (Taha tinana), but perhaps some students are really lacking a strong belief that they can succeed in our programme (Taha wairua). I can work on building relationships with the group and allowing time at the beginning of this semester for people to feel comfortable to say who they are, where they are from, and where they stand.

Are there one or two particular approaches or concepts from Te Ao Māori that you could implement more explicitly? For example:

  • I’d like to be more explicit about how I use ako and tuakana-teina with my group. I know this happens naturally at times, but I think I can set up the conditions for it in a better way. I’d like to experiment with pairing up learners in different ways to see what works best for this group.

Fonofale Pasifika

Is there some aspect of the Fonofale Pasifika approach that you could implement? For example:

  • I don’t always have Pasifika learners, but I think I can incorporate aspects of the Fonofale approach. I can be more mindful of what my learners’ longer-term goals are. I might need to connect more with family members to learn this. I can make time for my Pasifika (and other learners) to work out how my training can connect with their cultural values and beliefs. On my side, I’ll need to do some learning here to find out more about what their cultural beliefs and values are.

ESOL Starting Points

This one is optional. Not everyone has ESOL learners who need support to learn the basics of how to read and write words. If you are a trades or vocational tutor, feel free to skip ahead if this does not apply to you.

If you teach a workplace literacy course, though, it might be very relevant. For example:

  • I teach refugees and migrants in a workplace literacy course. This means all of my learners are ESOL learners. I haven’t used the Starting Points framework before, but I’ve been working with this content for a long time. My challenge is to have a look at the framework and see how it can add structure to what I already do. Out of the seven knowledge areas, we already have a good focus on listening vocabulary, phonological awareness, and high-interest areas. I have to use the TEC Starting Points assessment now so it would make sense to see how I can apply the framework

What’s your timeline for your strategies?

Your timeline will depend on the length of your programme. Here are some examples. An appropriate timeline might be:

  • One academic year for a 120 Credit, New Zealand Certificate course.
  • One semester for a programme that you teach at a local private training establishment.
  • 10 weeks for a trades-related taster course.
  • 40 hours of small group training in a workplace literacy course.

What’s your approach to evaluation for your strategies?

Success means different things for different people. Also, the timeframe for your strategy is going to have an impact as well. Here are some examples of how you could measure the success of your strategies over the longer term:

  • I intend to look at the gains my learners make using the TEC Assessment Tool – the LNAAT.
  • Another way that I’ll be evaluating this strategy is by observing any changes in learner behaviour in the short term. I’ll be looking for different kinds of literate and numerate behaviour. Specifically, for literacy, I want to see my students using different kinds of reading comprehension strategies successfully and demonstrating that they know and understand how to use much of the new vocabulary that we’ll be covering.
  • I’m also going to add some questions to our end of year evaluation to ask learners if they think they have improved in areas that connect with my strategy. For example, for numeracy, I’ll get them to rate their confidence in using some of the literacy and numeracy skills in practical ways.

Up next: We’ll change gears and shift our focus from big picture strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy at the level of your programme, to learning outcomes.

And it’s the more narrowly focused learning outcomes that will help you embed literacy and numeracy into your teaching sessions.

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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