What’s the big picture for embedding literacy and numeracy via the new NZCALNE (Voc)?


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What’s the big picture?

Here’s the big picture for embedding literacy and numeracy and an update on our work at ALEC.

This is the big picture for our revised embedding process and pipeline. And it’s the big picture for the new NZCALNE (Voc) training and qualification that we’re feverishly working on.

New content for Collections 1 to 4 are complete. We’ve also finished the Portfolio+ assessments for 5 to 7. We’re still working on the regular content for Collections 5 to 7.

What does that mean?

That means that you or your tutors should be working on the new version of this qualification now.

If you’re an experienced tutor, that means that we are now set up to work with you using a portfolio approach for the practical work. Get in touch if this is you – assess@alec.ac.nz

It also means that we’ll have this new content live on Pathways Awarua shortly. There’s a short video overview here on my blog in the meantime and all the new content is summarised here with links.

Also, stay tuned for new and revised content for Collections 5 to 7 covering diagnostic assessment, planning, facilitating, and assessing progress.

If you want to print out the new structure, just hit the link below for a PDF version:

The context for adult literacy and numeracy: Some things to think about before we move on…


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From here you can move on to the second section. Next up we’re going to look at some of the approaches we use in adult teaching.

Before that, though, you should have a think about your answers to the questions below.

The questions aren’t assessed, so you don’t have to hand in your answers. But talking about what you think with someone, and then writing down your responses will help you engage with this work more deeply.

Definitions

  • What do you think about the definitions that we’ve discussed?
  • Are there any aspects that you really like?
  • Is there anything here that you can use or absorb into your own teaching and training?

Frameworks

  • How familiar are you already with the Learning Progressions frameworks?
  • What value you can see in the Māori and Pasifika frameworks?
  • Do you think you’ll need to refer to the ESOL Starting Points framework?

Factors

  • What do you see as the major factors associated with low levels of adult literacy and numeracy?
  • What causes the biggest impact on your learners?
  • What do you think has the biggest impact on our country as a whole?

Good work…!

What’s causing the problem? Thinking deeper and taking notes


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By now you should have had some time to think about what’s causing the problem of low adult literacy and numeracy? Or at least, you’ve had some time to think about the factors that we associate with low literacy and numeracy levels.

Here’s what we’ve covered:

  • The impact of colonisation
  • Socio-economic factors
  • Cycles of poverty
  • Poor teaching
  • Technology

Let’s make some notes. As with the other sections, you might want to skip back and check on any details. But we also want you to think about your own learners. What do you see as the main factors associated with low adult literacy and numeracy?

Time to do some work

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

  1. Download the worksheet, or use the chart below to make notes on the different
  2. factors we’ve talked about.
  3. Can you think of specific examples for each?
  4. What’s the impact of each on your learners?
  5. What’s the wider impact of these on our country as a whole?

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

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What’s the problem? Technology


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The impact of technology and the accelerating technological change is one of the themes that often comes up in discussions about why we face literacy and numeracy problems in the 21st century.

The relentless march of technology and increasing technological complexity mean that the demands of work and life have changed significantly in recent years compared to previous generations.

Adult learners today face literacy and numeracy demands today that simply did not exist before. Or at least they did not exist in the same way due to the increasing integration of computers, mobile devices, and the internet in our daily lives and work.

This change is highly visible and means that we all need to develop new “literacies” including digital literacy in order to keep learning and address gaps that could emerge between the “technologically” rich and poor.

Your learners are likely to be at a disadvantage if they can’t access online resources and services for work or daily life.

Some questions to think about

Let’s pause for a few moments. The questions below are not assessed, but thinking about your answers to them will help you with the assessment task.

  1. What impact has technology had on your trade or industry?
  2. What about the impact on how you teach or assess?
  3. What can you do to help encourage digital literacy?

Low adult literacy and numeracy levels: What’s causing the problem?


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It’s difficult to say exactly what is causing the problem of low adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand. What we can say though is that low adult literacy and numeracy skills are associated with certain kinds of things.

Just because two things happen together doesn’t always mean that one causes the other. This is an easy mistake to make. In technical terms, we can say this: “Correlation does not imply causation.”

So the point is to be a bit cautious when we’re talking about what we think is causing the problem.

That said, here’s a list of things that often pop up when we talk about what’s causing low skills in the adult population in literacy and numeracy:

  • The impact of colonisation.
  • Socio-economic factors.
  • Cycles of poverty.
  • Poor teaching.
  • Technology.

We’ll have a look at each of these next.

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.