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

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

It’s Not Rocket Science: Embed Specialised Vocabulary With These Simple Matching Activities

Literacy Word Match

Working with specialised language and technical vocabulary represents some of the biggest bang for buck if you’re in education and need to make sure your learners understand what you’re saying to them.


  • Most trainers, trades people, academic staff, and other subject area experts are so close to their own content that they constantly assume that everyone else knows what they are talking about. Actually, they don’t. We don’t. And your learners (or customers) don’t.

I’ve written about vocabulary a bunch of times including here most recently. But in terms of sheer practicality it’s hard to go past something like a simple matching activity either as diagnostic check on who know what, or as a fun way to engage people with new words, in particular specialised or technical words.

With that in mind, here are some templates to make your life easier. Just download and substitute your own words. I’ve pasted in screen shots as well, but you need to download the MS Word templates and make them your own.

How to use

  • Print on card, cut out, mix up, and get pairs or groups to work together to match up words and definitions.
  • Variation: Go for the three column approach once you think your learners are getting 95% correct on the two column. I’ve suggested separating out definitions from examples, but the third column could be any other aspect that you like, including images if you resized the cells of the table.

The first one is an example that contains 20 technical words from the world of literacy. It’s a test (if you’re up for it). How many do you know?

Otherwise though, just have a go with the templates and let me know how you get on.

The templates

3 col