Teach Better Now – Assessment 4 of the NZCALNE (Voc)

TEACH: What does it look like when you use teaching strategies in context?

TEACH (14)

What does it look like when you use teaching strategies in context?

Here’s an example from a practical horticulture training course for adults. The tutor’s learning outcome is to get the students to:

  • Estimate and then measure out a raised planting bed in the context of a learning to grow vegetables.

The relevant numeracy, in this case, relates to estimation and measurement in metres and millimetres as well as working out area in m2.

Here are some possibilities for the kinds of teaching strategies that the tutor might use:

  • Discuss what participants already know about measuring out a rectangle or other area for building a raised vegetable planting bed.
  • Prompt learners to make links to work they did previously with her using a tape measure to measure length in metres and millimetres.
  • Question learners about what they needed to know in order to use the tape and actually do the measuring.
  • Explain how to use the tape measure, as well as how to develop a personal benchmark for estimating and measuring length, such as your stride or the length of your boot.
  • Give feedback on the group’s ideas on the best way to estimate and then measure out the planting bed.
  • Model how to work out an area calculation on the whiteboard.

Now let’s put it into action

In your assessment for this part of the course, you have to show that you’ve planned what teaching strategies you intend to use. You should already have an idea of your learning outcomes.

Take some time to brainstorm how you will use any of these strategies across the different activities that you are planning for your project work.

  • Discuss…
  • Prompt learners to make links to their prior knowledge by…
  • Question learners about what they needed to know in order to…
  • Explain how to…
  • Give feedback on…
  • Model how to…

These prompts are the same as the ones in your assessment template. If you want to take notes right now, you can download a worksheet for this.

TEACH: Using teaching strategies

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Using teaching strategies

When your teaching is deliberate and strategic it can make a huge difference to your learners’ progress.

When you work with your own learners, whatever the context or subject, you use a range of instructional strategies to develop their knowledge, awareness and their own strategies for learning.

Using good teaching strategies means that you can provide learning and teaching that:

  • Encourages your learners to work Independently. This is one the goals of all adult education.
  • Is focused, explicit and direct. You need to show your learners what proficient adults know and do.
  • Is directed towards specific goals that the learners recognise and understand. These goals should line up with individual or group learning plans.
  • Is used consciously and deliberately for a purpose. Our approach to embedding is one in which literacy and numeracy are used consciously and deliberately.
  • Provides multiple opportunities to practise. This is so that new learning is reinforced and embedded over time.
  • Is part of a wider environment that facilitates learning.
  • Is relevant, challenging, interesting and enjoyable for the tutor and the learners.

What if I already do this automatically?

Good teachers and tutors do use teaching strategies automatically. And intuitively.

But when you are aware of the range of teaching strategies you can use, you are better able to provide the kind of learning and teaching that is really going to benefit your learners. And you are more likely to choose the best strategies for your teaching purposes.

It’s this shift from automatic and intuitive to explicit and deliberate that we want to cultivate

Can learners use teaching strategies too?

Here’s something else to think about:

  • Both tutors and learners can use teaching strategies.

If the goal of adult educators is to move learners from dependence on the tutor to independence, then to encourage this independence you need to set up activities that require learners to use these same teaching strategies with each other.

One of your roles then is to prepare activities that encourage peer learning and teaching. This is where learners model, question, prompt, give feedback and explain to each other.

TEACH: What are teaching strategies?

02 Teaching Strategies mind map

In Collection 4, we talked about broad programme-level strategies. And you wrote short statements that summarised the “big picture” direction for your embedding.

Here we want to talk about a different kind of strategy – teaching strategies. These are also called instructional strategies.

In general terms, a teaching strategy is simply any teaching approach that develops learners’ knowledge, skills and awareness. In a foundation learning context, this requires critical consideration of what literacy and numeracy to teach, and how to contextualise it in your programme or training.

So the focus here, as with learning outcomes, is on your actual teaching. And we’re going to simplify things

For our purposes, there are six main teaching strategies. These refer to what you – as the trainer or tutor – might be doing when you’re teaching:

  • Discussing
  • Prompting
  • Questioning
  • Explaining
  • Giving feedback
  • Modelling

The mind map above summarises these six teaching strategies.

NZCALNE Collection 4 is now live on Pathways

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Good news… I know you’ve seen it here in draft form, but Collection 4 of the NZCALNE (Voc) is now live in Pathways Awarua.

Collection 4 on Pathways Awarua covers a couple of key things before we dive into the teaching and assessing components and related project work over Collections 5, 6, and 7.

Here’s what’s inside… What you need to know about:

  • Developing and focusing on some broad strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy at the “big picture” programme level.
  • Structuring and writing specific learning outcomes for embedding literacy and numeracy into your teaching sessions.

There’s a pattern going on here that some of you will have noticed…

  • GENERAL ==> Specific

This is intentional. It’s less obvious with the first few Collections but it should be obvious when you get to the assessment task for Collection 4. This pattern is woven through all of Collections 1 to 4. And continues through 5 as well. The pa

This pattern is woven through all of Collections 1 to 5 as well. But the pattern changes in Collection 6 which is all specific application. This practical application of knowledge and skills is what the course is building towards.

Finally, the pattern reverses in Collection 7 as we want to zoom out from the specifics to the general again.

If you’re curious:

From the general To the specific
1. Understanding definitions, Frameworks, Factors Describing how these to your own teaching context, content, and learners
2. Understanding approaches and concepts from ALNE, Te Ao Māori, and adult teaching Describing how these to your own teaching context, content, and learners
3. Using the Learning Progressions to analyse “big picture” literacy and numeracy programme demands in terms of broad strands and progressions Using the Learning Progressions to analyse specific literacy and numeracy demands from samples of teaching resources in terms of specific steps from key progressions.
4. Building on 1 to 3 to develop “big picture” strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy at programme level. Building on 1 to 3 to develop specific learning outcomes for embedding literacy and numeracy into teaching sessions.
5. Using the Assessment Tool to get “broad brush strokes” diagnostic information about learners Developing and using contextualised literacy and numeracy assessments to get specific diagnostic information about learners; developing individual learning plans


6. Planning and facilitating teaching sessions designed to embed specific aspects of literacy and numeracy; Applying key aspects of relevant frameworks, approaches, and concepts to specific teaching sessions
To the general From the specific
7. Assessing specific literacy and numeracy progress. Reviewing the whole project with a view to changes, improvements, implications, future goals.

STRATEGIES – New content for the new NZCALNE Assessment 4 with ALEC

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NZCALNE (voc) Assessment 4 – New Content

Kia ora ano and welcome back once again to TEACH BETTER NOW

You’re up to the fourth assessment task in the new and improved NZCALNE (Voc). Excellent work…!

We’re working hard to get all new content for this and other modules live on Pathways Awarua, but until then you can find the first draft on here on the blog as always.

Feel free to leave a comment and tell us what’s useful or if something is confusing. Your comments help us to make the content better.

The new Assessment 4 is an entirely new section that wasn’t in the expired NCALNE (Voc). This is a look at strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy into your programme.

There are four sections to complete:

  • 4.1 What’s your context?
  • 4.2 What are your opportunities and constraints?
  • 4.3 What are your broad strategies for literacy and numeracy?
  • 4.4 What are some specific learning outcomes?

What’s it all about?

The idea with this task is to start looking at your own teaching context and then come up with some broad strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy. And then take a couple of smaller slices of these, and narrow them down to specific learning outcomes.

You’ll use these learning outcomes in the last three assessments to guide you through the process of creating and using diagnostic assessments, planning and delivering your teaching, and measuring learners’ progress.

Follow the links below

If you already know what you’re doing, please skip ahead to the assessment template. You can always come back and dip into these resources as you need to. Email us directly if you don’t already have the template and checklist.

Otherwise, as this is new content for you (like some of it was for us) it might be quite good to skim through the material that we’ve put together.


This is the fourth of seven collections covering the knowledge and skills you need to teach better by embedding literacy and numeracy into your training.

By the end of this fourth section, you will have covered:

  • What you need to know to develop broad strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy into your programme.
  • How to structure specific learning outcomes for embedding literacy and numeracy into your teaching sessions.

This next content area breaks down into four modules. Here’s what’s ahead:

1. What’s your context?

Here you’ll need to reflect on what kind of teaching or training you do, what kind of learners you have, and what your main objectives are. These objectives might be formal, like achieving unit standards. Or they might be more informal, like understanding health and safety requirements or being able to fill out a form.

Read more:

2. What are your opportunities and constraints?

You’ll need to identify some of the opportunities where you could contextualise literacy and numeracy in your teaching. But also, you’ll need to look at what some of the constraints or barriers to implementing this approach in your work.

Read more

3. What are your broad strategies for literacy and numeracy?

In this module, you’ll design a couple of broad strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy into your programme.

Read more about literacy strategies:

Read more about numeracy strategies

Read more about learner centred teaching

4. What are your specific learning outcomes?

Once you’ve got an idea about the broad strategies you want, you’ll learn how to focus on some specific parts of these. You’ll do this by learning how to write learning outcomes for embedded literacy and numeracy teaching.

We’ll focus on learning outcomes here so that in the next stage, you’ll be able to develop your own specific assessments and teaching activities that relate to these.

Just to sum up, this stage takes us from the more general, big picture strategies which apply across your programme, down to specific learning outcomes for particular aspects of literacy and numeracy that you want to embed into your teaching sessions with learners.

Introducing learning outcomes:

Read more about how to write specific kinds of learning outcomes

Strategies and learning outcomes:

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us by email here: assess@alec.ac.nz or by texting or calling Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2


Strategies and learning outcomes: Some things to think about before we move on

Strategies (24)

Hey, well done! You’ve got your strategies and learning outcomes in place now. Make sure you remember to submit your completed assessment to us.

Just to recap:

  • Your strategies focus on the big picture – usually, your programme as a whole.
  • Your learning outcomes focus on a narrow slice of this bigger picture. The focus is on some very specific teaching and assessing that you want to do.

All that’s left from here is the project work. The project work is the teaching practice part of the course. There are three assessments, and they are linked together. Think of them as one project.

  • Assessment 5 – BEFORE: Looking at diagnostic assessment and learning plans.
  • Assessment 6 – TEACHING: Planning and facilitating embedded activities.
  • Assessment 7 – AFTER: Measuring learner progress in literacy and numeracy.

The connection between the tasks is that you’ll need to track the same learners through the three stages. And you’ll report back on how you and they get on at each stage.

Before we move on, though, have a think about your answers to the questions below. The questions aren’t assessed, but talking about what you think with someone, particularly a colleague, will help you engage with the learning more deeply.

Strategies and learning outcomes

  • Do you feel that you have described your context accurately and concisely?
  • Are you clear on what some of the main opportunities and constraints are that you have in front of you?
  • Are you confident that you can describe a broad, “big picture” strategy for embedding both literacy and numeracy into your programme?
  • Are you confident that you can describe some specific learning outcomes for embedding aspects of this strategy into your teaching?