How can we use existing evidence when working with highly capable, but time-poor tutors?


Draft Professional Standards (3)

Let me tell you something you probably already know.

  • Sometimes, our best foundation education tutors are already the ones doing everything else as well.

You know who these folk are. Their students love them, they’re coaching their kid’s rugby or netball team on the weekend, they’re looking after extended family and more.

If they’re lucky they’re paid well. But most are not. Working conditions are tough. Some have the right professional qualifications and experiences. Others do not.

They have strengths. Sometimes they have tremendous expertise. And a few demonstrate amazing – and often humble – leadership in the work they do.

When you ask these tutors to engage in professional development and training, it adds another layer of complexity to their already busy lives.

It’s about time we gave serious thought to some better ways of working with our best tutors.

The system is kind of set up for this. But we’ve made it too complicated. It’s time to redesign and perhaps co-design how we want this work.

For example, if, as a tutor, you already possess skills and abilities, and you have the evidence to prove it, these should be recognised within the system that we use.

Let’s try and put it in context. I’ll use myself as an example. The boss comes to me with a professional development plan. Aside from the extra time costs, here’s what’s going through my head:

  • Don’t send me off to get training on how to use the Assessment Tool if I’m already using it with my own learners. I already know how to use it. Instead, can’t you use the evidence already generated by the system to attest to the fact that I’m already competent in this area?
  • Likewise, if I’m already delivering results working with my Pasifika learners, then let me show the evidence for this. Can’t we just acknowledge this in some way? Don’t send me off for cultural competency training.

But if there’s an obvious gap in my knowledge or experience, then it’s a different thing. I’m still busy but perhaps we should explore some different options. For example:

  • It’s clear to me that I lack confidence embedding numeracy into my vocational training. Why can’t you hook me up with some training that will allow me to become a better maths person and explore some different ways to work with numbers in the context of my training? Do I need to complete a whole other qualification?
  • Most of my learners are Maori. If I’m honest with myself, I can see that I need to know more about what works for my Maori learners. Perhaps I do need some mentoring in this area. I’ll take time out of my busy week and attend some workshops as long as I know they’re targeted towards the support I need. Perhaps I should even complete an online micro-credential that attests to these new skills.

None of this is to say that we should do away with professional qualifications for tutors.

But I think we need to acknowledge that we need some new and creative ways of recognising tutor competencies where we find them. And then designing bespoke approaches to training and micro-training where there are gaps.

And then let’s see how this connects with the qualifications.

What do you think?

Lifting our game: What goes into a capability framework for trades and vocational tutors?


Draft Professional Standards (2).png

By February next year, we’ll have a draft set of professional standards for tutors teaching foundation-level courses in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We’ve got some initial ideas about how and where to get started with this work. And we know why we need to take this next step.

But we still need to design this framework. This brings me to the next question:

  • What goes into a capability framework for trades, vocational tutors and others delivering foundation-level training?

It’s really up for grabs at the moment. But we have made a start on a structure. And we’ve started talking about some of the detail.

Over the last couple of months, we’ve been meeting with and talking to representatives from key organisations and agencies to make sure we get the starting points right.

This has included groups and individuals in government agencies such as at the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC), New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) and the National Centre for Adult Literacy & Numeracy (NCLANA).

This work is contracted through Ako Aotearoa, so we’re in regular contact with people and teams there as well.

Now we’re at the point where we need to cast our net wider and seek feedback from interested organisations and individuals in the tertiary sector.

If that’s you, here’s some further detail about the kind of structure that we’re looking at.

  • Four capability domains that encompass the professional knowledge, teaching practices, ability to engage with others and cultural capabilities that are relevant to tutors and others involved in foundation-level teaching.
  • Four levels of professional standard. Imagine a poutama or staircase with four steps. The first step describes knowledge about foundation teaching. The second step describes the application of this knowledge. This connects with some of the entry-level qualifications we have including the NZCALNE (Voc) and NZCATT at level 5 on the qualifications framework. Step three describes more extended capability and expertise. And the top tier describes expert tutors providing leadership in different contexts and capacities.

As a sector, we know quite a lot about what kinds of skills, competencies and other outputs we expect from our tutors with regards to the first two steps above.

But what we need to know more about, and where the really exciting work is, relates to our best tutors. And this means the top two tiers of our proposed structure.

For example, how can we describe the capabilities of expert tutors who are more experienced, who can demonstrate extended knowledge and application of foundation teaching skills?

This is where we need to ask a lot of questions. For example:

  • Who are our high-performing and best tutors? And what makes them better? What kinds of evidence can we point to?
  • How can we unpack the skills and capabilities that great tutors already have in a way that helps us inform the design and development of this framework?
  • What about tutors who demonstrate the ability to provide leadership, guidance and mentoring to others? What does that look like in practical terms?
  • What are the findings from current research and best practice about how we should be working with priority learner groups including Maori, Pasifika and youth?

Once we can articulate this in a clear way we can do a couple of things.

One is that we’ll be able to describe tutors with a range of skills and abilities when we need to. This includes new tutors, expert tutors, and – yes – tutors who might not be letting their light shine as brightly as it could.

So organisations will be able to highlight their strengths and needs in terms of tutor capabilities.

The second thing is that we’ll have a set of tools to design bespoke approaches to professional development where we do identify gaps and needs. And by we I mean you.

And this should apply at both the level of the organisation as well as with regards to individual tutors.

My vision for this is that it becomes something that empowers tutors to go from good to great. And creates clear pathways for professional and career development.

Nearly 80,000 words later…! All collections for the NZCALNE (Voc) are now live on Pathways Awarua.


Screenshot 2017-09-29 14.11.46

If you follow my blog, you’ll know that over the last eight months I have only posted content relating to the new NZCALNE (Voc).

Well… we’re done. I finished the writing a few months back, but I’m very happy to report that all seven collections including all the new and revised content are now live on Pathways Awarua.

If you’re already registered, you’ll automatically have access to all of the new content. If you’re not, you can enrol as a new tertiary educator.

This has been a mammoth writing project with something close to 77,000 words of new and updated content.

I kinda feel like I’ve said everything I want to say about the NZCALNE (Voc). My sincere thanks to the awesome team at Pathways Awarua.

What’s next…? Probably, more of the same, but I’m open to ideas. Let me know.

Cheers, Graeme

 

Teach better now – Where’s the new content for Assessment 7 of the NZCALNE (Voc)?


Kia ora and welcome to Collection 7

If you’re reading this then you are up to Assessment 7 in the new and improved NZCALNE (Voc).

That means you are up to the final assessment task in the programme…! This next part is about assessing learner progress, reviewing your teaching and working out the next steps.

As always, you can find this content on Graeme’s blog first. It will be live on Pathways Awarua shortly.

If you do stop by Graeme’s Blog, please comment. Let us know what’s useful and what’s not. Our model is a dynamic one and we’re always tinkering with programme content and assessment tasks where we can. You can help us continue to improve the experience.

There are four sections in Collection 7:

  • 7.1 Just do it: Progress assessment
  • 7.2 What does it mean?
  • 7.3 Collecting some final information
  • 7.4 Reviewing your teaching and next steps

If you find that you already know what you’re doing for a particular part of this collection, then feel free to skip ahead to the next relevant section.

Or start with the assessment template and dip into this material as you need to. Email us if you don’t already have the template and checklist.

Otherwise, work your way through as usual. Here are the links you need to different parts of this collection.

Follow the links below

Here’s the overview for the final collection.

7.1 Just do it: Progress assessment

7.2 What does it mean?

7.3 Collecting some final information

7.4 Reviewing your teaching and next steps

If you’re stuck, please get in touch with us by email here: assess@alec.ac.nz or by texting or calling Graeme on 0800-ALEC-1-2.

AFTER: What are the reflection and review questions?


You’ll find the reflection and review questions to finish off this part of the programme below. Your answers are your own evaluation of what you’ve done and how effective it was.

  • You can download the questions here in a form that you can print out and write on if you want to take notes. Otherwise, don’t forget that the template is in Assessment module 7.

THE TEACHING SESSIONS OVERALL

What went really well for you?

  • The best thing was …
  • One thing that surprised me was …

What would you do differently?

  • Something I’d do differently if I was doing this all over again, is …
  • Also, …

How do you feel you managed the delivery of embedded literacy and numeracy?

  • I think that …

What was it like collaborating with the learners on different things?

  • For the learning plans, I thought that …
  • Another thing was …

What about any collaboration with your supervisor? Any comments there?

  • One thing …

Any comments on your learners’ evaluation of the sessions?

  • They said that …

MOVING FORWARD

Are there any key changes or improvements that you will make to your teaching?

  • One change that I’m considering is…
  • I know I need to …

What kind of goals do you think you need to set for your learners from here?

  • Learner A needs to …
  • Learner B needs to …

What are the implications for you now for designing literacy and numeracy teaching and learning?

  • One implication is that …
  • Another thing is …

AFTER: How do I review my teaching and reflect on the next steps?


It’s time for some R&R. For us, that means to review and reflection.

This is the last thing. You have to think about what you’ve done in this programme and reflect on different parts of it. You don’t need to be doing advanced academic qualifications or read a lot of research to be a reflective teacher.

Reflective teaching is simply the process where you think about your teaching practice and analyse how you did. The idea is to look at where you can improve or change what you’re doing to get better learning outcomes.

If you’re like most of the people who do work in foundation education, you are probably reflecting on what you do all the time. In this next part, we want to make this process visible. Once it’s visible you can use it as evidence to finish off the NZCALNE (Voc).

Here’s what we’re going to ask you to do:

Review your teaching

This includes your reflections and thoughts on:

  • What went well.
  • What you’d you do differently.
  • How you managed the delivery
  • Any collaboration with learners and supervisor
  • Any comments on the learners’ evaluation
  • Anything unexpected.

Reflect on what you need to do moving forward

This includes your reflections and thoughts on:

  • Any key changes and improvements you might make.
  • What kind of goals you might set for these learners from here.
  • What the implications are now for designing your teaching and learning.

All we need to do this then is a set of questions for you to think about and answer. These questions are in the final section of your template for Assessment 7. We’ve also given you sentence starters as well to get you going. You can ignore these if you want.

If you know what you’re doing, you can just write up your reflections in the assessment template now. If you need some time to think about them, the questions are listed next.

AFTER: Can you remind me what evaluation evidence I need to supply for the NZCALNE (Voc)?


Let’s pause for a moment and take stock of what you should be collecting as evaluation evidence for Assessment 7 of the NZCALNE (Voc).

You still have to do your own final review, but by now you should have collected two kinds of evaluation evidence.

One lot of evidence is from your learner and takes the form of learner evaluations. The other is comments from your supervisor. There’s a separate checklist for this as discussed.

Here’s it is again below. This checklist is also in the template for Assessment 7:

Checklist of Information supplied as supporting evidence

Learner evaluations

  • These should be scanned or supplied digitally in some way.
  • You should have evaluations for at least two learners.

Supervisor comments

  • These should also be scanned or supplied digitally. We have a template for this as well. You can find it in the Assessment 7 module.

Coming up next is the last piece of work. This is your own final review and a place to reflect on what went well, what you’d you do differently and how you managed the delivery.