DEMANDS: NZCALNE (Voc) Collection 3 is live on Pathways Awarua

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We’d love it if you stopped by and had a read through the new content for Collection 3 of the new NZCALNE on PathwaysAwarua. We cover approaches and concepts use in adult teaching and learning.

You’ll find a plain-English introduction to the Learning Progressions. This includes a demonstration of how to map the big picture literacy and numeracy demands of your programme, as well as specific samples of your teaching materials.

You’ll need to register as a new tertiary educator, or just log in if you already have an account. Look for the NZCALNE (Voc) pathway.

APPROACHES: NZCALNE (Voc) Collection 2 is live on Pathways Awarua

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You need to check out the new content for Collection 2 of the new NZCALNE on PathwaysAwarua. We cover approaches and concepts use in adult teaching and learning.

All the great content from Te Ao Maori is still there – just updated. And we’ve widened it to include things like motivation and learner agency.

You’ll need to register as a new tertiary educator, or just log in if you already have an account. Look for the NZCALNE (Voc) pathway.

CONTEXT: NZCALNE (Voc) Collection 1 is live on Pathways Awarua

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Please check out the new content for Collection 1 of the new NZCALNE on PathwaysAwarua. We cover definitions, frameworks, and factors associated with low literacy and numeracy levels.

You’ll need to register as a new tertiary educator, or just log in if you already have an account. Look for the NZCALNE (Voc) pathway.

Under the hood: ESOL Starting Points


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.

Embedding Literacy & Numeracy Case Study: Cashflow 101 – Part 1


I’m trying an experiment.

I own this game above. It’s kinda cool… like monopoly on steroids. It teaches principles of investing and financial literacy.

Numeracy, in other words.

Anyway, I’m going to use it as a case study. I want to apply the embedded literacy and numeracy process that we teach in our professional development to the game.

Games are a great way to learn and I’ve got ideas on how to turn the course and qualification that I teach into a game as well. Perhaps a couple of games…

I’ve done an analysis of the language that the game uses. From this I designed contextualised pre and post assessments for the specialised vocabulary.

And I’ve unpacked some of the calculations that you have to do to maintain your balance sheet during the game play. I’ve turned these into pre and post assessments for the numeracy content.

Today we administered the pre assessments to a group of (mostly) young people. I still have to analyse the results, but it’s looking interesting.

The plan from here is to look at delivery of a series of short, highly targeted teaching interventions based on what the results of the diagnostic tests tell us. This will include some self directed learning as well as face to face sessions with the group.

I want to look at how effective the combination of embedded LN teaching is combined with more extensive game play over a limited number of hours in a short space of time.

After the teaching + game play sessions we’ll do the diagnostic assessments as a post test. Hopefully, we’ll be able to see some improvements in the scores.

Pizza (or something) will be my shout.

The plan is to post the analysis and development here. No names will be mentioned…

But I want to share the development, resources and the process. The reason for this is so you can see how the embedding process could apply to your own context.

We need some good models for others to refer to… I’m not saying this is going to be exemplary…

But, in the absence of much else in the public domain for people to look at I’m hoping it will inspire you to copy the process and share it with others.

How To Develop Great Teaching Materials In 5 Steps

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It’s no secret that I love the process of developing new resources. That’s something that hasn’t changed over quite a few years of teaching and training.

My process for materials development has changed quite a lot of the last few years though.

I have 5 rules for myself for this process. Well, they’re more like guidelines.

  1. Solve a problem. My students tend to drive new resource creation. They just don’t know it. Most of my resource creation happens as a reaction to common problems in the learning process.
    • At the moment, many of my students are stuck on Assessment 4 in the course that I teach. In this assignment they have to collate several different kinds of evidence. I have a checklist, but I wanted to create something visual. Here’s the checklist. For my poster though, I’m only interested in the far left hand side.
      Screenshot 2015-08-25 21.56.19
  2. Start analog. I make a point of starting with my non digital tools first. I like to get the shape of the idea sketched out on the white board or in my journal. Or usually both.
    • Here’s my first draft of a poster for Assessment 4 on the white board. I started portrait and then redrew it in landscape on the left.
    • Here’s my second draft. I want people to see the different kinds of evidence they have to collect. And then make the links to their Study Guide and Assessment Guide. This time I’ve redrawn the poster in my notebook.
      Journal 2
  3. Finish digital. From the white board and journal, I move on to the digital tools. Currently, I’m learning to use Adobe Illustrator. This is a new tool for me and I’m still figuring it out.
    • Here’s a couple of printouts from early versions of the handout that I was working on.
  4. Iterate as fast as possible. I go through many different versions before I’m happy with the final product.
    • Here’s the current version in Illustrator.
      Screenshot 2015-08-25 14.27.52
  5. Realise that it’s never finished. One of the things I realised early on in my teaching career was that my resources needed to be dynamic. The content needs to evolve, rather than remain static.
    • Here’s a screen shot of the PDF of the resource (for now anyway).
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