Numeracy For ESOL Teachers: You Might Not Even Realise You’re Doing It


numeracy for esol teachers

This might seem like a challenge. But it’s not. The real challenge is to think about what ESOL teachers already do through a  different lens.

If you teach English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) or have Non-English Speaking Background (NESB) learners you might be surprised to realise that you are possibly already embedding numeracy into your teaching.

Here are some examples in different ESOL-specific contexts:

Everyday life in NZ

In an “Everyday life in NZ” or similar ESOL course, you might discuss and teach any of the following:

  • Telling the time including doing time calculations.
  • Reading a bus timetable or schedule of some kind. This can also include calculations if you have to work out when you will arrive at a destination.
  • Giving, receiving and following directions.
  • Reading maps; navigation tasks are all numeracy.

Even if you don’t deal with these, there are lots of tasks relating to time, space, and location that are essential for basic survival ESOL teaching.

Workplace literacy and ESOL

In a workplace ESOL environment, it’s even easier to make the connection to numeracy. Many workplaces require staff to undertake tasks involving measurement or do calculations. If you are a workplace ESOL tutor, you’ll already be aware of the numeracy demands. Here are some examples:

  • Understanding and working with weights and measures, The context here might include weighing flour using grams and kilograms on a metric scale with up to three decimal places, for example.
  • Understanding personal benchmarks for numeracy. This might include recognising key measurements or weights for specific purposes, e.g. knowing what 20kg “feels like”.
  • Using partitioning strategies for doing mental calculations. Here a worker might need to work out how many boxes are stacked on a pallet in a warehouse. Counting all the boxes is less efficient than understanding basic area and volume.

Academic ESOL

In an academic preparation course, you might require your learners to use numeracy skills for any of these:

  • Interpreting data in a graph or table and then writing this down in words. The demands here might relate to achieving an IELTS band 5 for writing with an attached set of descriptors, for example.
  • Conducting an informal research project which involves gathering data and presenting it back in some way.

Why is this relevant?

If you teach ESOL as part of TEC funded workplace literacy or as part of SAC 1 and 2 funded training, you are now required to gain the NCALNE (Voc) qualification. Also, if you teach ESOL as part of TEC funded ILN-targeted ESOL you may also find yourself under pressure to upskill in the same way.

Connection to the NCALNE (Voc) training

If you need to complete the NCALNE (Voc) qualification you will need to provide evidence that you have analysed the literacy and numeracy demands of your training. We’re working on an NCALNE (Voc) – ESOL option specifically to help with this. There’s a preliminary Q & A page here.

Knowing the demands

If you are an ESOL teacher, you might not think that your course has any numeracy demands. If you can’t provide evidence of any numeracy demands your assessor will not be able to sign off on particular aspects of the NCALNE (Voc). You won’t be able to pass in other words.

However, if you can take a fresh look at your work in the light of the examples above, you might find that, yes… actually, there are numeracy demands. And yes, you do embed numeracy.

Do you have any other examples of numeracy teaching occurring naturally within ESOL contexts? I’d love to hear about them. Please let me know in the comments.

TEC Literacy and Numeracy Qualification Requirements for Tutors Teaching SAC Funded Levels 1 and 2


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I’ve fielded a few enquires in the past few days about this so I’m re-posting the relevant information from the TEC website. It’s up to date as of 1 Sept 2015.

Instructions are here to sign up to do the NCALNE qualification with Pathways Awarua and ALEC online. You can get started for free.

Email apply@alec.ac.nz for more info. TEC blurb starts below:

Qualification requirements for literacy and numeracy educators

This page provides information on the ‘appropriate qualification’ requirements for foundation-level tutors, including how the TEC will ensure this requirement is met. The requirement is aimed at improving the effectiveness of embedded literacy and numeracy across foundation education delivered by the tertiary sector.

Contents

What is this requirement?

From 2015, the TEC will be transitioning to requiring tutors who teach foundation-level courses to hold an appropriate qualification. Qualifications are considered appropriate if they include content and outcomes related to embedding literacy and numeracy in a New Zealand context.

Why are we introducing this requirement?

The government is committed to lifting adult literacy and numeracy skills and improving the quality and outcomes from foundation-level education.  Whilst we are making good progress with improving learners’ literacy and numeracy skills within foundation education, more can be done to improve outcomes for all learners.

This requirement has been introduced to ensure quality and consistent embedding of literacy and numeracy across all foundation-level education.  The TEC expects all foundation level educators to be skilled at using the TEC’s educational resources (such as the Learning Progressions and the Assessment Tool), to know how to embed literacy and numeracy effectively in teaching activities and to be able to meet the needs of all adult New Zealanders effectively.

What is the TEC’s approach towards this requirement?

The TEC expects TEOs to ensure that the qualifications held by their tutors and educators meet TEC funding conditions. TEOs can meet this requirement by continuing to invest in the up-skilling and professional development of the foundation education workforce.

The TEC expects TEOs to ensure that either:

  • the tutor holds or is in the process of achieving an appropriate qualification such as the NCALNE (Voc) or
  • the tutor can demonstrate competency in teaching literacy and numeracy in a way that is comparable to achieving the NCALNE (Voc) qualification.

We may consider the extent to which TEOs have invested in a suitably qualified foundation level workforce in its funding decisions, such as any future competitive process for SAC Levels 1 and 2.

What funds have this requirement?

The requirement applies to the following funds in 2015:

  • Student Achievement Component (SAC) levels 1 and 2 (competitive and non-competitive, including the Māori and Pasifika Trades Training initiative)
  • Intensive Literacy and Numeracy
  • the Workplace Literacy fund.

TEOs are recommended to consider the need for a suitably qualified workforce across all foundation education, however the requirement it is not currently a condition of funding in the following funds:

  • Intensive Literacy and Numeracy Targeted ESOL
  • English for Migrants
  • Youth Guarantee
  • SAC levels 3+
  • Adult and Community Education
  • Gateway.

The qualification requirement may be extended to other foundation funds in the future as the foundation-level education sector matures and best practice is identified.

What qualifications are considered appropriate and therefore meet this requirement?

Qualifications held by tutors are considered appropriate if they include content and outcomes related to:

  • embedding literacy and numeracy in a New Zealand context
  • the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy
  • the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool.

Qualifications that are considered appropriate include:

  • National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Vocational) (Level 5)
  • National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Educator) (Level 5)
  • National Diploma in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Level 6)
  • Graduate Diploma of Teaching (Adult Literacy and Numeracy) (Level 7)
  • Master of Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (Level 9).

Tutors who have achieved any of the qualifications listed above have met the qualification requirement and do not need to take any further action.  TEOs should consider the qualifications of their workforce and assess whether further professional development is necessary in order to meet this requirement.

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Which educators does the requirement apply to?

TEOs should consider the extent of the educator/ tutors’ input into course delivery.  The requirement applies to educators and tutors who are responsible for the delivery, oversight, and/or management of an entire programme of study.

Whilst TEOs may want to invest in the capability of all foundation level educators, the requirement does not apply to:

  • subject matter experts, guest educators, or guest tutors with specialised knowledge, skills, or expertise who deliver a specific part of a programme of study, where the specific part makes up no more than 10% of the theory-based component of the entire programme of study
  • guest speakers or lecturers.

How do I get the NCALNE (Voc) qualification?

The NCALNE (Voc) is a good example of a qualification which meets this requirement.

Tutors can complete this qualification face to face or entirely online. Grants are also available to support the financial costs of completing the qualification.

Tutors can earn the NCLANE(Voc) through a number of tertiary providers. More information is available on the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults website.

Each year 145 Adult Literacy Educator grants are available to support the costs of completing the NCALNE (Voc) qualification. Grants are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis.

Email apply@alec.ac.nz for more information

Tutors can also complete the NCLANE(Voc) online through a TEC-funded Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Pathways Awarua. Tutors can register as an educator onwww.pathwaysawarua.com to complete this qualification.

Tutors who already have relevant qualifications can apply for a cross-crediting or recognition of prior learning with either Adult Literacy Education and Consulting (www.alec.ac.nz) or VisionWest (Training@VisionWest.org.nz). Adult Literacy Educator Grants are available to support this process.

What if I have more questions?

This page supersedes information in our TEC Now updates of 30 September 2014, 10 November 2014, and 29 January 2015.

If you have further questions, please email sectorhelpdesk@tec.govt.nz.