Te Niho Taniwha – A Framework for Promoting Strength and Resilience in Education


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This is an idea for discussion. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now:

  • What’s a model that allows us to bring together all the things that we know and do in education including the infrastructure tools and support mechanisms?

Here’s a possible answer above. I’m not an expert on Māori design, but this just seemed to click for me.

Meet Te Niho Taniwha… or “The Teeth of the Taniwha”. Niho Taniwha can symbolise – among other things – strength and resilience.

This is how I currently see a way forward that allows us to integrate and encompass all that we’ve learned in foundation education since 2006.

I’ve recently called education a “wicked problem”. In short, this means that education is a problem that has no easy solutions and often we have no way of knowing whether we’re even on the right track to a good solution.

What we need are solutions that have some bite, if you excuse the extended metaphor and pun.

What we’ve lacked in our search for solutions is a way to conceptualise the whole…. To pull all the parts together in a way that is coherent.

Looking to frameworks of professional standards is part of a solution, but as good as this is it doesn’t really encompass the bigger picture which involves various support mechanisms and practical tools for working with learners.

My model above seeks to bring together everything that is required for a professional standards framework but sitting on top of a system of practical tools and support mechanisms including professional learning and development (PLD) and Communities of Practice (CoPs).

The practical tools and support mechanisms are customisable in the sense that you could swap them out for different tools and resources depending on the context.

But because my context is foundation learning above, the tools across the bottom include the TEC infrastructure for foundation learning: The learning progressions for adult literacy and numeracy, the assessment tool and Pathways Awarua.

Would this model work in a higher education setting? I think so. Here’s a more generic model that could be customised for a university or polytechnic:

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Different components could be swapped in across the bottom layer of the tapatoru including other tools, platforms, resources and initiatives.

The top two layers still align with professional standards frameworks including the HEA system or variants like Ako Aronui.

Te Niho Taniwha would make a great framework for wider capability building across the education sector. But even if no one thinks this is a good idea, it has provided me with a lens for analysing what’s happening across educational contexts when it comes to understanding and comparing capability building approaches.

Any thoughts please let me know in the comments.

Hat tip: I’d like to acknowledge and thank Veranoa Hetet (@whaeavee) for kindly answering my questions on twitter about Māori design including the use of triangles and showing me what Niho Taniwha looks like.

 

CONTEXT – New Content for the new NZCALNE Assessment 1 with ALEC


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Teach Better Now with ALEC in 2017

We’re in the middle of a transition from the existing NCALNE (Voc) to the newer version of this qualification – the NZCALNE (Voc). Most qualifications are now in the process of shifting from the old “National” qualifications to the current “New Zealand” quals.

It’s a bit of a messy transition as we’re all caught in the middle. We really like the new unit standards so we want to switch everyone to the newest version as fast as possible. This means that we’re writing the new content as we go.

If you have the old assessment 1 and you want to see the new one, please email us on assess@alec.ac.nz and ask for the new assessment 1 template.

If this is confusing, please email as well or ring Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2. There will be some teething problems to make the shift, but we’d rather roll out the new qualification now rather than later. It’s much better.

New course structure

The new course structure is similar to the old with a few changes to make it more streamlined. There’s a short explanation below and a longer one here.

  1. Context
  2. Approaches
  3. Demands
  4. Strategies
  5. Before
  6. Teaching
  7. After

New Assessment 1

You are welcome to stick with the old assessment 1 if you’ve already made a start. But if you haven’t, here is what you need to know below.

New content for assessment 1 is complete but it hasn’t made its way onto Pathways Awarua just yet. But it is on Graeme’s blog now.

The new assessment 1 no longer requires you to write a report and there are only three parts. There’s still work to do, but it’s a lot easy to focus on just the three content areas of definitions, frameworks, and factors.

Down below are the links you need for all of the new content for Assessment 1 including:

  • What do we mean? Definitions for literacy and numeracy
  • What’s under the hood? Frameworks we use in adult literacy and numeracy
  • Why do we have this problem? Factors associated with low adult literacy and numeracy.

Follow the links below for definitions and explanations

What do we mean?

What’s under the hood?

Why do we have this problem?

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us assess@alec.ac.nz

Under the hood: Taking notes on the five frameworks


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As with the definitions, it’s a good idea to pause here and think about what we’ve covered so far. You need to know about each of these frameworks and how they apply to you as a teacher or trainer:

  • Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy
  • Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy
  • Te Whare Tapa Whā
  • Fonofale Pasifika
  • ESOL Starting Points

Let’s make some notes. You might want to skip back and check on any details. But we also want you to think about your own situation and how you would answer these questions in your own words

For each framework you should be able to say what you think for each of these questions:

  • What’s the framework for?
  • What actually is it? What’s it about?
  • How’s it relevant to your own teaching or training situation?
  • What are the implications for you? Is there something you need to do?

Time to do some work

Let’s pause for a few moments. Here’s your task:

  • Download the worksheet, or use the chart below to make notes on the five frameworks we’ve talked about.
  • Make sure you’ve got some notes on what each one is for, what it’s about, as well as the relevance to your learners, and any implications for your teaching.

This task is not assessed, but it will help you with your assessment.

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Under the hood: ESOL Starting Points


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The Starting Points framework allows tutors to focus on learning that happens at or before koru/step 1 on the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy. This is often in an ESOL context.

Where does it come from?

The ESOL Starting Points were created by The Tertiary Education Commission (TEC). This was in response for a guide for working with learners who are pre-literate or very low level literacy learners.

What’s it for?

If we work with ESOL learners, the Starting Points allows us to focus on seven important areas that:

provide support for working out how to read and write words (decoding written words, forming letters, and writing or encoding words) to enable learners to access and work within the first steps of the learning progressions.

They represent critical skills and knowledge that are essential for supporting adult literacy development.

Without these skills and knowledge, it is unlikely a learner could advance significantly through the progressions for reading and writing (Starting Points, p. 3).

What is it?

It’s not represented by grid with strands and steps like the Learning Progressions. This is because the skills and knowledge are closely related and cross over.

Here are the seven knowledge areas:

  • Listening vocabulary. This includes the words a person recognises when they hear them in spoken language.
  • Phonological awareness. This refers to a learner’s ability to hear, recognise, and use the sounds that make up spoken words.
  • Sound-letter relationships. This is ability to make connections between sounds and the letters that represent them.
  • Print and word concepts. This refers to the rules that govern the use of the written language.
  • Letter formation. This relates to how well someone can form letters so they can write down words.
  • Environmental print. This refers to the words and images found out and about. This can include billboards, advertising, signs and labels.
  • High-interest words. These are words that are personally important that learners might recognise on sight. An example would be someone’s own name or a brand like McDonalds.

How is it relevant?

The ESOL Starting Points will not be relevant for everyone. For example, if you are teaching a trades or vocational training programme it’s unlikely that you will need to use the Starting Points.

However, if you are teaching a workplace literacy programme that involves new migrants, refugees, or other pre-literate learners then the Starting Points could be very relevant and useful.

What does it mean for me?

If you do have low-level ESOL learners, you will probably need to use the Starting Points reading assessment. This is part of the LNAAT.

If you’re unsure about this it could be a good idea to talk to the person in your organisation that administers the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool (LNAAT).

This assessment generates a report similar to the one’s we looked at earlier for the Literacy Progressions. For some courses, such as workplace literacy, doing this assessment will be a condition of your funding.

Under the hood: Fonofale Pasifika


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The Fonofale is a holistic, Pasifika model of health and wellbeing. As with Durie’s Te Whare Tapa Whā it comes from the healthcare sector.

Where does it come from?

The Fonofale Pasifika model was created by Fuimaono Karl Pulotu-Endemann (2009). Pulotu-Endemann is a Samoan-born, New Zealand-based academic and nursing professional.

What’s it for?

As with Te Whare Tapa Whā it’s designed to help you think about health, education or other aspects of life in a more holistic way.

What is it?

It’s a visual representation of Pasifika values and beliefs. We use the Samoan fale or house to describe the important factors of healthy development.

Here are the parts:

  • The foundation. This is the extended family – the foundation for all Pacific Island cultures.
  • The roof. The stands for the cultural values and beliefs that are the family’s shelter for life. This can include traditional as well as western ways of doing things.
  • The Pou (posts). These connect the family to the culture. They also depend on each other. They are
    • Spiritual. This relates to the sense of wellbeing that comes from Christianity or traditional spirituality or a combination of both.
    • Physical. This relates to the wellbeing and physical health of the body.
    • Mental. This relates to the mind including thinking and emotional wellbeing as well as behaviours.
    • Other. This includes other things like gender, sexual orientation, age, social class, employment, and educational status.

The fale is surrounded by a protective layer. This includes:

  • Environment. This relates to the relationships that Pasifika people have to their physical environment. This can be rural or urban.
  • Context. This dimension relates to the “big picture’ for Pasifika including socio-economic or political situations.
  • Time. This relates to the actual or specific time in history that impacts on Pasifika people.

How is it relevant?

It’s relevant because you can use your knowledge of the Fonofale to enhance your teaching. As with Te Whare Tapa Whā, this knowledge is not limited to just working with the people groups it represents.

This approach is also relevant because it will help create a learning environment that is culturally safe for Pasifika learners.

What does it mean for me?

If you identify as Pasifika, the Fonofale is a framework that allows you to talk about how you probably already work with your learners. If you are not Pasifika, the framework allows you to see your learners, particularly your Pacific Island learners in a different way, perhaps closer to how they see themselves.

Here are some questions from the learner’s point of view to help you focus on each part of the Fonofale model:

  • Do I have support from my family to do this course? (Family).
  • Does this course connect with my Pacific cultural values and beliefs? (Culture).
  • Do I have the resources to do this course? (Physical).
  • Do I believe that I can do this course? (Spiritual).
  • Can I cope with the workload? (Mental).
  • Is there anything that’s going to get in the way of my goals here? (Others).
  • Are my surroundings, including home and work, going to help me achieve? (Environment).
  • Can I afford to do this at the moment? (Context and time).

It may not always be possible to always attend to all dimensions of the Fonofale for all of your Pasifika learners. But one big implication is that if you have learners who are struggling, or who are not engaged, then the Fonofale may help you work out where the problem is and how to deal with it.

But one big implication is that if you have learners who are struggling, or who are not engaged, then the Fonofale may help you work out where the problem is and how to deal with it.

What’s under the hood? Frameworks for teaching better


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As well as knowing what we mean when we use words like embedding and literacy or numeracy, we also need to know what kind of thinking sits behind these concepts.

Getting to this is like popping the bonnet or hood of your car and having a look at what’s underneath. You can drive a car without knowing much about the engine. But it helps if you know a little bit.

In fact, there are at least a couple of times when you do want to know a bit more about how things work. Every car needs a service from time to time. The more you know about how your car works, the more likely you’ll be able to keep things running smoothly. And that brings us to the second thing.

Sometimes, you need to change things. This might be to make things run better or to stop things from breaking down. Either way, teaching better means looking at how things run beneath the surface.

This means your personal approach at the end of the day. More on that in the next module. But first, we need to dig into the different kinds of thinking that underpin our ideas about literacy and numeracy.

These different ways of thinking about teaching and about literacy or numeracy are called frameworks. And we’re going to look at five of them.

  • The Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy
  • The Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy
  • Te Whare Tapawha
  • Fonofale Pan Pasifika
  • ESOL Starting Points

How do you describe literacy abilities in really low level adult learners?


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I haven’t really looked at any of this before, but I came across it the other day. Below is the TEC outcomes framework for describing ability levels for low level ESOL learners.

This is based on the Starting Points framework and applies to learners whose literacy level falls below step 1 in the Learning Progressions.

You can download the document that it comes from here on the TEC website. I’ve just reproduced it below in a list rather than table. Also, while this applies as a reporting framework for targeted ESOL funding, it’s also just a great framework for anyone working with really low level learners.

I like it because it reminds of when I was an ESOL teacher in a previous life. The framework breaks learning and developmental stages down by Speaking and Listening, then Reading and Writing.

I’m not sure that the levels system is so useful, but there is probably a reason for how it’s structured: 0, 0+, -1, 1, 2. It might have been easier to just have five bands, e.g. ESOL 1, ESOL 2 through to ESOL 5. If anyone can enlighten meas to the , please do so in the comments.

The idea is to use this as a kind of observation checklist with your low level learners so that you can report on or diagnose what they can and can’t do, as well as determine what the next small chunk of learning might be.

Level 0: SPEAKING & LISTENING

The learner:

  • Can convey and understand only limited meaning in conversations
  • Can identify and produce most sounds (e.g. recite the alphabet)
  • Has a limited listening vocabulary

Level 0+: SPEAKING & LISTENING

The learner:

  • Listens and responds to some requests for personal information (e.g. what is your name, address?)
  • Can use and recognise expressions
  • Can use formulaic language. (e.g. hi, yes, please, thank you)
  • Has a limited listening vocabulary of basic words.
  • Demonstrates understanding of simple verbal instructions

Level -1: SPEAKING AND LISTENING

The learner:

  • Can take part in short conversations about personal topics if the other person speaks slowly and clearly and is prepared to help
  • Can identify phrases, syllables, and begins to use sentence stress
  • Ask for simple directions/information and follows instructions
  • Identifies specific information in a conversation (e.g. numbers 1-100, weather, names, places)

Level 1: SPEAKING AND LISTENING

The learner:

Demonstrates through conversation that they have basic general and/or foundation understanding of  everyday contexts (e.g. asks questions, makes appointments, buys something in a shop) or can follow simple workplace instructions

  • Uses a variety of greetings and farewells
  • Uses strategies to maintain and finish conversation. These could include the following:
    • to indicate that the learner does not understand;
    • asking for more information;
    • slowing speech down; or
    • asking for meaning of a particular word
  • Uses verbal and non-verbal communication strategies
  • Listens to and is able to retell a short explanation, recount an event, or describe an event or story

Level 2: SPEAKING AND LISTENING

The learner:

  • Communicates and shows understanding in everyday contexts, including unskilled and semi-skilled workplaces
  • Is able to follow instruction to complete simple and routine tasks requiring a direct exchange of information or practical transaction
  • Uses some complex spoken sentence structure including use of tense (past, present), common contractions etc
  • Express meaning in a culturally appropriate manner including use of common New Zealand expression (verbal and non-verbal)
  • Pronounces words clearly
  • Demonstrates some fluency, with occasional pauses

Level 0: READING AND WRITING

The learner:

  • Can  hold a pencil/pen and is comfortable using it
  • Is beginning to develop some concepts about print (e.g. reading left to right, spaces between words)

Level 0+: READING AND WRITING

The learner:

  • Is beginning to identify letters of the alphabet independently
  • Is beginning to identify individual words, including high frequency words
  • Is beginning to form letters

Level -1: READING AND WRITING

The learner:

  • Can identify all letters independently
  • Recognises a number of individual words, including high frequency words
  • Is beginning to identify signs and symbols (e.g. street signs, caution symbols) and personally significant words and high utility words
  • Can form letters fluently
  • Can write some words independently
  • Is beginning to develop and review their own handwriting
  • Can complete a form asking for name, date of birth, address with the support of the tutor

Level 1: READING AND WRITING

The learner:

  • Applies literacy and numeracy skills for participation in everyday life, and in appropriate workplace contexts
  • Identifies signs and symbols (e.g. street signs, caution symbols) and personally significant words and high utility words
  • Reads a simple and short passage using visual aids and retains meaning from it
  • Can identify the first 300 words on the 1000 most frequent word list and write the first 200 words
  • Writes the alphabet in upper and lower case, in the correct order without prompt
  • Writes a simple sentence using basic vocabulary
  • Is able to write phonetically (spelling not correct but makes sense)

Level 2: READING AND WRITING

The learner:

  • Applies literacy and numeracy skills that are relevant to everyday contexts, including unskilled and semi-skilled workplaces
  • Can identify the first 500 words on the 1000 most frequent word list and write the first 300 words
  • Has a bank of words they can spell correctly
  • Is able to write a 4-5 sentence text about something that has been discussed or experienced in their life, or can  complete short forms in the workplace