Demands: But wait, I’m an ESOL teacher…!


Knowing the demands (13)

Mapping the demands for teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL)

If you are not an ESOL teacher – someone who teaches refugees and migrants with little or no English – you can skip this section.

But if you are an ESOL teacher, and you teach a course that is funded by the TEC you might want to read on.

One thing to remember is that there are lots of ESOL teachers involved in teaching literacy and numeracy. And most find themselves having to complete the NZCALNE (Voc) literacy and numeracy professional development at some stage.

To complete the qualification, one of the things that you have to do is demonstrate that you know how to identify and map the context-specific literacy and numeracy demands of your course.

What does this mean for an ESOL teacher?

This means that there are a couple of things to think about.

First of all, “context-specific” means your ESOL context for your purposes. We’re not trying to get you to look at a different context than the one you’re already looking at.

So, relax…! We know that ESOL tutors don’t teach welding or hairdressing. 

What are literacy and numeracy demands for ESOL?

Literacy demands are straightforward for TESOL. They include aspects of reading, writing, listening and speaking.

However, the some specific numeracy demands might have you scratching your head.

But ESOL teachers do discuss and teach things that we can identify as numeracy. Here are some examples.

  • In an “Everyday life in NZ” course you might discuss how to tell the time or how to read a bus timetable or schedule of some kind. Reading maps; giving, receiving and following directions; navigation tasks are all numeracy.
  • In a workplace ESOL environment, it’s possibly even easier. 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.
  • Other tasks could include looking at payslips or relevant financial material, or dosages for medication including for children.
  • Any of these tasks will be more or less demanding depending on what’s required by your context. This is what we want to see when you submit your evidence.

Here’s another example.

  • In an academic preparation course, you might look at how you interpret data in a graph or table and then write this down in words. The demands here might relate to achieving an IELTS band 5 for writing with an attached set of descriptors.

All the best with mapping the demands of your ESOL programme and context. If you get stuck, get in touch with us assess@alec.ac.nz

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.

What’s under the hood? Frameworks for teaching better


car-hood-james-garner

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

Teach better – What is ESOL?


contextisking-7

What’s the definition?

ESOL stands for English for Speakers of Other Languages. This is often used to refer to:

Adult refugees and migrants who are pre-literate learners or learners who have very low levels of English language and literacy. Pre-literate learners are those who need exposure to the purposes and uses of literacy.

Where does this definition come from?

This definition comes from:

Intensive Literacy and Numeracy – ESOL. (2017, January 31). Retrieved from http://www.tec.govt.nz/funding/funding-and-performance/funding/fund-finder/intensive-literacy-and-numeracy-esol/

What are some key features?

  • English is not their first language.
  • Pre-literate learners might have no concept of our alphabet and also have no literacy in their own language.
  • Learners who are refugees may suffer from trauma or stress.
  • Many will have difficulties with most forms of communication in English.

How is this definition relevant to my teaching context?

If your learners all speak English as their first language, then this definition is not so relevant. But you still need to know about it.

For a lot of tutors and trainers, many learners are also second language learners. And with some, English might be their third or fourth language. You might have people like this in your programme. If not now, then at some stage soon.

Some tutors have no control over the learners that get accepted into your programme. Or there is no way to check their language abilities beforehand. If that’s the case for you, you should expect all kinds of communication issues. And you should have some strategies in place to deal with these.

As a trades or vocational tutor, some ESOL needs might be beyond what you can deal with. However, knowing more about your ESOL learners and asking good questions can help you figure out what your options are. Sometimes this means more specialised help for these learners.

How important is it that we also focus on ESOL learners in the new NZCALNE qualification?


Please Vote

The new version of the adult literacy and numeracy education qualification includes a focus on English language learners. This increases the relevancy of the qualification for tutors who teaching English to speakers of other languages (ESOL).

We’ll build this content in regardless, but what I’d like some feedback on is how important this is to people.

Here are some more things to think about if this affects you, your staff, or your learners

Mapping the Demands of a TESOL Course Using the Learning Progressions


Mapping the Demands

If you are a TESOL teacher, but you teach a course that is funded by the TEC you might find yourself having to complete the NCALNE (Voc) literacy and numeracy professional development.

And one of the things that you’ll have to do is demonstrate that you know how to identify and map the context-specific literacy and numeracy demands of your course.

What does this mean?

This means that you’re up to the third assessment in our course.

It also means that there are a couple of things to think about. First of all, context-specific means your ESOL context for our purposes. Next, to use an analogy from sports, it means you’ve answered this question with regards to your learners:

  • How high do they have to jump?

To meet the requirements you need to prove that you’ve looked at the demands for both literacy and numeracy. The literacy demands are straightforward for TESOL. They include reading, writing, listening and speaking.

The numeracy demands might have you scratching your head.

But ESOL teachers do discuss and teach things that we can identify as numeracy. Here are some examples.

  • In an “Everyday life in NZ” course you might discuss how to tell the time or how to read a bus timetable or schedule of some kind. Reading maps; giving, receiving and following directions; navigation tasks are all numeracy.
  • In a workplace ESOL environment, it’s possibly even easier. 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.
  • Other tasks could include looking at payslips or relevant financial material, or dosages for medication including for children.

Any of these tasks will be more or less demanding depending on what’s required by your context. This is what we want to see when you submit your evidence.

Here’s another example.

  • In an academic preparation course, you might look at how you interpret data in a graph or table and then write this down in words. The demands here might relate to achieving an IELTS band 5 for writing with an attached set of descriptors.

All the best with mapping the demands of your ESOL course and context. If you get stuck, get in touch with us assess@alec.ac.nz

 

 

New online ESOL Assessment: Starting Points Listening


The NZCER have just released the Starting Points Listening to the Adult Literacy and Numeracy Assessment Tool. Here’s the blurb:

Starting Points Listening is one of two online, adaptive assessment options designed for learners who are at or below koru/step one of the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy.

Starting Points Listening assesses a learner’s ability to understand basic, everyday words in spoken English. The main focus is listening. It is suitable only for beginning English language learners (ESOL), particularly those new to Aotearoa New Zealand.

For more information on how to use Starting Points Listening, please see the attached PDF.

Click here for the PDF: Introducing Starting Points. First page of 6 pages is pasted in below. Starting Points Reading will follow shortly.

Introducing Starting Points