Cultural Capability Trial for Foundation-Level Educators

ako brand

Here’s something new from my He Taunga Waka Colleagues at Ako Aotearoa. They would love you to trial new content they have been writing.

The focus is on working more effectively with your Māori and Pasifika learners.

You’ll need to visit Pathways Awarua to trial the new material and there’s a link to a survey to complete at the end. Your comments will be anonymous.

Please participate. Your comments will help make this work even better. If you already have an account, just log in with that. You’ll see a screen like the one in the image below once you’re underway

Cheers, Graeme

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Kia ora tātou/ Talofa/ Malo e lelei/Kia orana/ Bula vinaka/ Greetings!

We are pleased to announce the launch the Cultural Capability trial for tertiary foundation-level educators!

General information

The purpose of this trial by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is to improve the cultural competencies of educators across the tertiary sector.

The trial is based on cultural values – values will guide any educator to attain a broader understanding of their adult learners. The Māori Cultural Capabilities pathway trial focuses on the key value of ‘ako’, the concept of learning and teaching. The Pasifika Cultural Competencies pathway focuses on ‘values’ that are embedded and practised in cultural and everyday settings of Pasifika people.

What to do?

Firstly, read the attached information. The activities are located on the Pathways Awarua site, and here is the link to get there – https://www.pathwaysawarua. com/


  • Read the information sheet first
  • Login by creating a username and password
  • Complete the survey monkeys after each pathway to give feedback
  • This trial will remain open till the 28 February 2018

Thank you for your participation,

The He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa

Information sheet for Cultural Capability trial 2018

Greetings/kia ora /kia orana/talofalava /malo e lelei /takalofa lahi atu /ni sa bula vinaka!

The purpose of the Cultural Pathways initiative by the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) is to improve the cultural capability of educators across the tertiary sector. For this trial, the TEC are focussing on Māori and Pasifika cultural capability. This information sheet provides details for about the Cultural Capability trial created by the He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa.

Tell me more about this Cultural Pathway trial?

The cultural pathways consist of some sample activities which are interactive, for trialists to engage in, and respond accordingly. There are two pathways for trialists to complete; the Māori pathway focuses on ‘ako’ (the concept of learning and teaching); and the Pasifika pathway focuses on ‘values’ that are embedded and practised in cultural settings or instilled in the everyday actions of Pasifika people.

Where are they?

These two pathways and activities can be found on the Pathways Awarua platform, an online site for adult learners seeking to sharpen their literacy and numeracy skills in real-life situations such as driving skills, dealing with money, and health and safety. It is intended that educators (such as tutors, kaiako, lecturers, and training advisors) will be able to access these cultural capability pathways for their professional development too (easy instructions are found below).

How much time will it take?

This trial takes about 45-60 minutes, and there is a short survey to complete at the end of each Pathway.

How do I access the trial?

  1. Click on   and create a login-username and password.
  2. Click on go
  3. Select a pathway (Māori or Pasifika) on the left of your screen and complete the activities.
  4. Click on the link to a short surveymonkey to complete for that pathway.
  5. Go back and select the other pathway (Māori or Pasifika) and complete the activities.
  6. Click on the link to a short surveymonkey to complete for that pathway.

What happens after the trial?

We assure trialists that your personal details and written responses will be kept confidential and private. Your responses in the surveys will inform the design of further activities on these two cultural pathways. Information gathered in the surveys will be used for educative and research purposes only; and primarily for the benefit of tertiary educators.

We wish to finally thank you for your participation in this trial

The He Taunga Waka team from Ako Aotearoa


DEMANDS – New Content for the new NZCALNE Assessment 3 with ALEC

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Kia ora ano and welcome back

You’re up to the third assessment task in the new and improved NZCALNE (Voc). Kai pai you…!

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 here.

The new Assessment 3 still focuses on mapping the demands of your programme using the Learning Progressions. However, the format is simpler and easier to use.

There are six short sections to complete in the new assessment task.

  • What are the big picture literacy demands?
  • What are the big picture numeracy demands?
  • What are some specific reading demands?
  • What are some specific writing demands?
  • What are some specific number demands?
  • What are some specific measurement demands?

Follow the links below

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


The Learning Progressions

Looking at the big picture for literacy

Looking at the big picture for numeracy

Getting more specific

If you’re stuck, please reach out by email here: or call Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2

Concepts: What is whakapapa?

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What is it?

Whakapapa refers to genealogy, history, stages of development, or layers.

Can we dig a little deeper?

Knowledge about who you are (identity) and where you come (background) from are integral to Māori approaches to education

Whakapapa helps connect people to knowledge about the world through stories.

Also, everything has a whakapapa, not just people. Everything comes from somewhere. The story of where something or someone comes from is whakapapa.

How does this help describe a learner-centred teaching environment?

This helps describe a learner-centred teaching environment because for Māori and many others, whakapapa is always the starting place. Whakapapa means that the learners are central to the learning from the beginning.

Whakapapa is also both a noun and a verb. This means that as well as describing someone’s background or genealogy, it’s also something you have to actively do.

Learners’ cultures are important. This extends beyond Māori and Pakeha as well. Learning to whakapapa your own and other histories opens you up as a whole person and helps create relationship and connections. You can use whakapapa as an education tool to help others:

  • Make connections to people, the environment, and things.
  • Understand history and human relationships
  • Explore different viewpoints and ways of understanding.

We often use the “Wh” words (Who, What, When, Where, Why) as a quick way of teaching the basics of an inquiry process for learning. Whakapapa is another “Wh” word that we could add to this set.

In fact, whakapapa sums up all of these words and provides a great tool for framing any learning.

Exploring the whakapapa of something, e.g. a subject, a discipline, an object, a person, a group of people, an organisation, or your own genealogy allows you to actually deal with all of the “Wh” words and to investigate the relationships between the parts and the whole.

What’s your starting point with a new group of learners?

  1. How do you whakapapa with your learners in your teaching context?
  2. What’s something that you teach, that would be interesting to whakapapa?

Teach better: How should we look at teaching and learning?


Introducing Approaches

In these next modules, we look at some of the approaches and concepts used in adult teaching.

Here are a few things you need to know first. Feel free to skip ahead if you want.

What’s a teaching approach?

  • When we talk about teaching, an approach is simply a way of looking at teaching and learning.

Teaching approaches lead to teaching methods, which is the way you teach something. And this involves using activities, strategies, or techniques to help learners learn.

What’s a teaching concept?

A concept is an idea. In this case, it’s an idea about teaching or learning. For us, it’s related to adult literacy and numeracy.

We want you to know some of the key ideas about teaching and learning that relate to your work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Why are we talking about this?

Any approach to teaching and learning has some theory sitting behind it. This includes the work that you do.

But we’re not going to get deep into education theory. Our goal is this… For you to:

  • Know some of the terminology.
  • Have a working understanding of what the words mean.

This is a big topic, but we’ve picked key approaches and concepts that are relevant to adult literacy and numeracy in Aotearoa New Zealand.

At every point, what we’re most interested in is our thoughts and answers to this question:

  • How does this approach help us make our teaching more learner centred?

This means that it’s the practical application that we want you to focus on.

What’s the problem? Socio-economic factors


There is a range of socio-economic factors associated with low levels of adult literacy and numeracy.

This includes things relating to education, income and occupation that have a negative influence on someone’s position in relation to others in society.

Sometimes this relates to the kind of home environment that a person grew up in. For example, the following kinds of home life are associated with low levels of literacy and numeracy.

A home environment:

  • That is chronically stressful. For example, if parents are distressed.
  • That is characterised by low literacy and numeracy. An example would include a home where there are few books or reading is not valued.
  • Where parents may be unable to afford resources such as books, computers, or extra tuition needed to create positive literacy and numeracy experiences.
  • Where parents have less time available to read to their children at younger ages or provide academic support as they get older.

The kind of school environment someone grew up in has an impact too. For example,

  • Schooling that doesn’t meet the needs of learners who struggle for various reasons.
  • Poorly trained or inexperienced teachers.

In terms of income and occupation, these factors below are often associated with low levels of adult literacy and numeracy.

  • Poverty or low incomes
  • Unemployment or underemployment.

Other factors sometimes include poor physical or mental health, or discrimination because of culture, religious or other reasons.

Some questions to think about

Again, it’s good to stop and think about the impact of these on your own learners. The questions below are not assessed, but thinking about your answers to them will help you with the assessment task.

  1. Can you identify any socio-economic factors affecting your own learners?
  2. If you think about your learners, is any of this their own fault?
  3. Make a list of what factors you can positively influence versus what is outside of your control.

Plain English Definitions for the Literacy Progressions

Lit Progs

I’ve started writing new course content for the new NZCALNE (Voc) – the latest version of our course. I want to revise the definitions that we use to talk about the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.

The terminology is confusing for most people. And some of the existing definitions are not very helpful either.

Here’s a list of the literacy progressions below, with my plain English explanations. If this is something that you’re involved with using, either as a tutor or manager, I’d like some feedback.

I want to know if these make sense below. This is still a specialised area, but I’ve tried to use a limited vocabulary, active voice, and no adverbs.

Have I missed any critical aspects of the meanings? If yes, how can I add these without making it sound like rocket science? The audience is trades and vocational tutors who are non-experts in literacy and numeracy.

Here’s the list. Please direct any feedback to the comment section. Thanks…!

Vocabulary Knowing the meanings of words, how to use them, and how they relate to each other.
Language & Text Features Using and understanding language, texts, and parts of texts including speech.
Comprehension Understanding the messages, making connections with what you know, inferring meanings.
Listening Critically Understanding who is speaking and why. Aware of speakers’ purposes and points of view
Interactive Listening & Speaking Taking part in conversations and discussions. This includes taking turns, interrupting in a way that is appropriate and checking meanings.
Using Strategies to Communicate Getting ideas and information across to others in a way that is effective.
Decoding Knowing how to say written words out loud
Reading critically Understanding who wrote something, why, and for whom.
Purpose & Audience Having reasons and goals for writing. Knowing who you are writing for.
Spelling Writing words in a way that is correct and consistent.
Planning & Composing Deciding what to write about. Then recording ideas.
Revising & Editing Making changes and corrections to writing. The aim is that the writing is clear, meets your purpose and engages with the audience.

Where do I find the full versions of the Learning Progressions?

The TEC have decided that they will not print any more copies of the Learning Progressions resources. Nor do they have any plans to print them again.

Rather these are available online only now, and you can just use them as electronic documents or you can print them out yourself.

You can download the main books in the links below. These are each 1MB PDF files. There are also the double-page strand charts further down as well which would probably open up on your phone if needed.

Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy

Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy (PDF, 1 MB)

Strand charts and Guidebooks

Open Source Learning Progressions

And just as an interesting aside, the progressions are now licensed for re-use by the TEC under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International Licence.

This means, in essence, we are free to copy, distribute and adapt these documents for non-commercial purposes, as long as we attribute them to the TEC and abide by the other licence terms.

And that means we could remix and potentially upgrade them… in other words, develop Learning Progressions 2.0. Anyone interested?