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?


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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.

It’s time to lift our game: building tutor capability in foundation learning.


Draft Professional Standards (1)

In Aotearoa New Zealand, the government has invested seriously in building an infrastructure for embedding literacy and numeracy into trades and vocational education since 2007.

And as educators and tertiary organisations we’ve all invested as well. Sometimes this has been our time, but often it’s included our money as well.

The infrastructure has included professionalising the workforce as well as a suite of tools and resources for tutors, trainers and adult educators to use.

If you’ve contributed or participated in some way, whether small or large, you should give yourself a pat on the back. Ka pai e hoa…!

And now, we’re at the stage that we have to look at how to lift our game once more.

Ten years on, we have a much better idea of what is working and what isn’t. And we know that just about everything that we touch – or that touches us – in the sector has evolved.

This includes policy, the needs of educators and organisations, and research not to mention the knowledge base that underpins professional development in the foundation learning sector.

From here we need to improve our current system of professional development and capability building, be better connected, work more effectively and do all of this with greater coherence.

We know that some of what is offered for tutor professional development is not working as well as it could. At least, we not seeing the deep changes that we want to see in our tutors and education organisations.

That is not to say that we haven’t seen positive change. There is certainly tremendous and ongoing work happening around the country.

But here’s the thing.

Some tutors, even despite performing well when they are completing professional qualifications just go back to the way they were after they finish the training.

I’m not saying everyone is like that, of course.

In fact, we all know plenty of tutors who complete a programme like the New Zealand Certificate in Adult Literacy & Numeracy Education (NZCALNE) and have a classic lightbulb moment (or two or three).

But some tutors and organisations are just sitting on their hands. Others are stuck. You know who I mean.

And there’s more to it than that of course… it’s a complex eco-system.

As a country, we are super fortunate to have a suite of high quality, entry-level professional qualifications as well as resources for our trades, vocational and workplace tutors.

However, as a recent review commissioned by the TEC suggests, we need to figure out how to take it to the next level.

In other words, we all need to lift our game. And this means providers and those of us involved in delivering professional development as much as tutors and trainers.

Developing a professional standards framework that describes tutor capability is a big step in this direction.

The intention is that a framework like this would help us do a couple of things.

One is that it would help us identify strengths and needs at both an organisational and individual tutor level. And the other is that it would help inform coherent professional development pathways and new capability building opportunities moving forward.

What I’m talking about here is bespoke approaches to ongoing capability development.

This last part is important if we want to be pragmatic about designing meaningful professional development. This is the age of customisation, of the 3D printer. Not the factory.

We know it intuitively, but we need to recognise explicitly that organisations are not the same. Working in industry as a trainer is not the same as working in a Polytech.

Individual experiences and prior knowledge are not the same either.

Maori learners are not the same as Pasifika learners. And for some, classes might feel like they’re more representative of the United Nations.

But hopefully, and with your help, a robust framework like the one we’re talking about here might be a way to bring coherence to how we stitch all this together.

That leads me to my next question:

  • What goes into a capability framework for trades and vocational tutors?

Feel free to chime in if you’ve got something to say.

Experienced Workplace Literacy Contract Tutors required: Napier-Hastings


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From time to time, people ask me to post job ads. I’m always happy to do so. Here’s the latest one as of Feb 2017. All contact to the organisation please. Cheers, Graeme.

Training For You Ltd is an award-winning tertiary education provider that believes that education is the key to making a difference in the lives of learners. A commitment to a partnership approach is what makes our programmes successful for learners (employees) and the businesses they work within.

We are seeking experienced literacy tutors who can effectively and efficiently design, develop and deliver quality contextualised teaching and learning activities that engage, challenge and stimulate learning, and improve literacy and numeracy skills, while also meeting the operational goals of the business which the programme is designed for.

These tutor positions are on a contract basis and are likely to be part-time delivering a Workplace Literacy programme within a national business with a site in Napier The role reports to the Education Manager (off campus).

To be effective in this role you must be able to

  • Understand the impact of the literacy and numeracy demands and needs of the workplace on employees (learners) with low levels of literacy and numeracy
  • Design and deliver customised and contextualised training packages for the business based on agreed outcomes
  • Profile the literacy and numeracy abilities of the learners, and understand how to modify teaching to meet the needs of the individual learners
  • Implement specialised literacy assistance one-on-one for learners with very high needs
  • Undertake accurate and timely programme administration and reporting
  • Reflect on teaching practice and continuously improve quality of delivery

Successful applicants will have the following:

  • NCALNE or a specialist literacy qualification
  • Excellent literacy and numeracy skills
  • A professional approach to working with businesses and learners
  • Current or recent experience in the delivery of Literacy and Numeracy programmes
  • Full, clean Driver licence
  • Ability to effectively communicate with a wide range of people from diverse cultural backgrounds, in both group and one-to-one settings
  • Proven strategies for working with students with learning difficulties
  • Competent use of Microsoft Office programmes
  • Advanced organisational and time management skills

Applicants who do not currently hold a NZ working visa or permanent NZ residency or citizenship need not apply.

If you have the qualifications, we’d love to hear from you immediately.

For a confidential conversation, phone Rachel on 06 349 1258 or 027 348 2439.

Applications close 8 March 2017

Apply to Rachel Smith

rachel@trainingforyou.co.nz

Literacy & Numeracy Job Vacancies: Kaiako / Tutor Positions With Te Wananga o Aotearoa and Corrections


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Here’s the first job vacancy announcement for the Job Board from my friends at Te Wananga O Aotearoa.

Seems fitting that it’s International Literacy Day. Perhaps you should celebrate by getting a new job.

Did I say that there are 14 positions available? This is exciting work moving forward in the most challenging teaching environment you can find anywhere.

We still have a handful of places available in our professional development course if you need to get the qualification mentioned below.

Feel free to comment. Pasted in below:

Kaiako/Tutor – Literacy & Numeracy Support Services (14 positions)

Fixed term (until 30 June 2018), full time
Ref: 15DIDG487 – Northern, Central and Lower Northern Regions

He karanga tēnei ki te hunga e kai ngākau nui ana ki te kaupapa o Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. Mā te hoe kotahi ka haere kotahi atu

Te Wānanga o Aotearoa is working with the Department of Corrections to provide literacy and numeracy support services (LNSS) throughout NZ correctional facilities within the Northern/Central and the Lower Northern Regions at this stage. We invite applications from passionate, professional and energetic individuals for the Kaiako / Tutor positions.

Reporting to the Regional Manager the primary function of the Kaiako role is to deliver Literacy & Numeracy Support Services (LNSS) within the Prison environment to support Tauira / Learner gain in literacy and numeracy life and vocational skills to enable tauira to pathway into further education.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Assessing tauira and interpreting their results using the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults’ Assessment tool (LNAAT);
  • Developing teaching materials such as handouts and study materials as required to support learning;
  • Developing, implementing, evaluating and reporting on learner progression using Tauira Individual Learning Plans (ILP’s);
  • Facilitating learning sessions to increase tauira knowledge, skills and competence;
  • Maintaining records of tauira assessment results, attendance registers, progress and feedback.

Qualifications and experience include:

  • Holding or working towards The National Certificate in Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (NCALNE) (Voc) (Level 5) qualification as a minimum;
  • NZQA unit standard 4098;
  • 2 years’ experience successfully delivering training to at risk or second chance learners is essential;
  • The ability to pass a stringent Police check to enable access to corrections facilities and delivering Literacy and Numeracy training in the prison context; and
  • The ability to understand and converse in te reo Māori at a basic level and an understanding of Māori values, culture and tikanga would be an advantage.

As the successful candidate you will be required to complete the Department of Corrections on site induction in addition to the Te Wānanga o Aotearoa induction process.

To apply for this position you must complete an application form which you will find on the previous web page along with the position description for this role. Send your application along with an updated CV and a cover letter to –

hrdept@twoa.ac.nz or HR Department, Te Wānanga o Aotearoa, PO Box 151, Te Awamutu 3840 Enquiries to 0800 777 404

Closes 5:00pm, 21 September 2015

Literacy & Numeracy Jobs Wanted: Setting Up LN Job Board


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Are you looking for staff with literacy and numeracy expertise and credentials?

If you have a literacy and numeracy related job to advertise, I will post it here for free. The same thing applies if you are looking for a contractor or consulting expertise relating to adult literacy and numeracy.

At the moment, I am only interested in jobs offered, not jobs wanted.

This is an experiment… And I’m happy to give it some time and energy thanks to the responses I got the other day (check out the comment section if you’re interested).

For the present time, I’m happy to post any literacy and numeracy related positions, jobs or contract work. I will post positions for literacy and numeracy related work in New Zealand, Australia, for online or remote work, and internationally if I get them.

This includes work where the job is for someone who is a dual professional, e.g. a specialist in some content area other than numeracy and literacy, but who has the skills to embed literacy and numeracy into that content. NCALNE qualified trades trainers and vocational tutors fall into this category.

And of course, I’ll post jobs that are for literacy and numeracy specialists.

Terms and conditions are whatever I feel like at the time and I reserve the right not to publish your company’s job or position if I think it’s dodgy or breaches my sense of ethics or any other rules I make up at any later stage.

Possible ideas for job postings could include any or all of these:

  • Vocational and trade-related training at levels 1 and 2 where literacy and numeracy are embedded.
  • Workplace Literacy (WPL) and numeracy education.
  • Intensive literacy and numeracy (ILN).
  • Adult literacy and numeracy education including professional development and related employment or contract work.
  • Any other foundation learning focused training where literacy and numeracy are required or desired.
  • Any management, support, coordination, or consulting positions where the focus is on supporting tutors or trainers in any of the roles above.

How do I do I get a job posted here?

For the present time, if you want to post a job here you can leave a message in the comment section of this blog post (or any post on my blog), and we’ll work out how to exchange the info.

I’ll probably ask you for the following:

  1. An relevant image that I can upload, e.g. your company logo or branding.
  2. The text for the job advertisement.
  3. An expiry date for the post.
  4. A commitment to answer any questions that people leave on the site regarding the job.
  5. A commitment to come back and comment when or if the position is filled.

I’ll probably just post your text “as is” but I also reserve the right to edit it or make comments as well.

If you think this is useful to someone, particularly someone in management who might not regularly see my blog, please consider sharing this post with them via one of the sharing buttons below. Or just message them with the short link to this page: http://wp.me/p1JmwP-LP

If I get any traction with this I may revisit my idea for some kind of voluntary “opt in” register of LN credentialed professionals who are currently active. Thanks for the support so far.

Adult Literacy and Numeracy Education (ALNE) Job Board: Anyone interested…?


job-board

I’m thinking of adding a Job Board to my blog. Or alternatively, I might set up another site just to deal with this if it got a lot of traffic.

There aren’t that many jobs relating to literacy and numeracy and foundation learning, but then again the pool of talent is quite small as well.

Job postings could potentially include any of the following:

  • Vocational and trade-related training at levels 1 and 2 where literacy and numeracy are embedded.
  • Workplace Literacy (WPL) and numeracy education.
  • Intensive literacy and numeracy (ILN).
  • Adult literacy and numeracy education including professional development and related employment or contract work.
  • Any other foundation learning focused training where literacy and numeracy are required or desired.
  • Any management or coordination roles where the focus is on supporting tutors or trainers in any of the roles above.

Did I miss anything? Anyone interested if I set this up? Please comment and let me know. If I hear nothing, I’ll assume no interest.