Strategy: Thinking more deeply about your literacy strategy


Strategies (8)

In order for your literacy strategy to be effective, you need to consider your answers to the following questions. These are all on the worksheets and are the same as what you’ll find in your assessment template.

Here’s a list of the questions below. Then we’ll work through each one. If you know what to do here, just skip ahead to the assessment template”

  • Can you provide a breakdown of the specific literacy skill areas?
  • What kinds of specific literacy competencies or practices do you expect to see?

Can you provide a breakdown of the specific literacy skill areas?

In your strategy, you should have picked one or two literacy progressions to focus on. These are the literacy skill areas that you want to develop. These should be based on what you identified when you did the mapping exercise as part of Assessment 3.

For example, you might say something like this:

  • One area I want to focus on is learning technical vocabulary and jargon relating to health and safety in the workshop. This includes things like the correct names for the equipment and relevant parts.
  • Another area I intend to include is how to use reading comprehension strategies. This covers how to read technical instructions, operating procedures, and plans. Many of my learners struggle with reading, including how to identify key information on a page.

What kinds of specific literacy competencies or practices do you expect to see?

As your learners gain stronger literacy skills you should see some of their behaviours change in positive ways. Sometimes we refer to these behaviours as “competencies” or “practices”.

  • A competency is the ability to do something successfully or efficiently.

An example would be if a learner can use a reading comprehension strategy like scanning to successfully locate key pieces of information on a page from a workbook so that they can find the answers to questions in a workbook.

  • Practices are the actual application of a literacy or numeracy skill.

If you see learners doing things it doesn’t always mean that learners can do things successfully or effectively. But we should be looking for positive changes in their behaviour.

If we take the same example above, just because you see a learner using a scanning technique doesn’t mean that the will get the correct answers to the comprehension questions that you set them. However, practising scanning is going to help them develop the skill.

Here’s something important to think about:

  • Sometimes it takes a long time to see gains in competencies. But, you can see changes in practices almost immediately if you’re looking.

Here’s an example of what you might write:

  • What I hope to see is some gains in the students reading comprehension over time. We measure this using the TEC assessment tool at the beginning and end of the programme. However, sometimes the timeframe is too short. What I’m hoping will happen is that I’ll see students using one or two good reading comprehension strategies.
  • Also, I’d like to see more deliberate vocabulary learning. There’s a lot of specialised language in my programme and much of it will be new to most of these students. I’m probably going to try encouraging them to use some different strategies for learning new words like keeping a vocabulary journal and making giant word-bank posters to put up on the walls.

Strategy: How to write your own strategy for embedding writing


Strategies (7)

This time you need to create your own strategy for embedding writing into your programme.

You can Download our worksheet for this here if you need it.

  1. Choose one or two items from the box and then add your own context below.
  2. Write out a final draft summarising your strategy.
  3. If you need to, make any changes to ensure your strategy addresses the writing skills you want to concentrate on.

I will: Teach my learners to write to communicate with a focus on…

how to use purpose and audience strategies,

how to use spelling strategies,

everyday vocabulary,

academic vocabulary,

technical vocabulary,

how to use language and text features,

how to use planning and composing tools and strategies,

how to use revising and editing tools and strategies

and
in the context of… (add your own programme here)

Strategies: How to write your own strategy for embedding reading


Strategies (6)

Time to do some work

It’s your turn. Design your own literacy strategy by choosing from the options below. Download our worksheet to record your ideas if you want to.

Alternatively, you can skip ahead to the Assessment template and get started on this part right away.

Have a play with the ideas here, but keep in mind that for your assessment, you only need to focus on one literacy strategy.

We suggest that you use the tools below to create a broad literacy strategy for your teaching programme for strengthening either reading or writing.

How to write your own strategy for reading

  1. Choose one or two items from the box and then add your own context below.
  2. Write out a final draft summarising your strategy.
  3. If you need to, make any changes to ensure your strategy addresses the reading skills you want to concentrate on.

I will: Teach my learners to read with understanding with a focus on…

how to use decoding strategies

everyday vocabulary

academic vocabulary

technical vocabulary

how to recognise language and text features

how to use comprehension strategies

how to read critically

and
in the context of… (add your own programme here)

Download our worksheet to record your ideas and get started now.

 

Strategies: What are some examples of literacy strategies?


Strategies (4)

Here are some examples of literacy strategies developed by tutors for embedding literacy into their programmes. These are one sentence summaries. You’ll need to write something similar.

Teach my learners how to read with understanding with a focus on technical vocabulary and comprehension strategies in the context of my fitness and sports science programme.

Teach my learners how to read with understanding with a focus on vocabulary and reading comprehension in the context of my Ready For Work course for new migrants and refugees.

Teach my learners how to write to communicate with a focus on planning and composing short paragraphs in the context of the New Zealand Certificate in Employment Skills.

We’ll look at numeracy shortly as well. But, first, you need to have a go at writing a literacy strategy that you could apply to your own programme.

Strategies: How do you write a literacy strategy


Strategies (3)

A good programme-level strategy should feel broad in scope. It should be broad enough that you can apply the strategy to your programme over time. But it should also set some more specific direction in terms of what kinds of skills you’re hoping to develop.

We think there should be three parts to your strategy. Here’s what you should do in the three parts:

1. Identify the literacy skill area that you want to concentrate on

Make it practical, but it should be in broad terms. Use the strands of the Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy that you already identified as important in the last assessment. E.g.

  • Teach my learners how to read with understanding.

2. Say what the literacy focus is going to be within the skill area.

You can start to narrow things down. Include one or two specific literacy skills or progressions that you want to develop or practice.

Use the progressions that you identified as important from the last assessment. Choose at least one that you know is critical. Add this to your statement. E.g.

  • Teach my learners how to Read with Understanding with a focus on technical vocabulary.

You can choose more than one progression if you want. Sometimes it makes sense to deal with two related literacy skills or progressions at the same time. Add both to your statement if it makes sense. E.g.

  • Teach my learners how to read with understanding with a focus on technical vocabulary and how to read critically.

Here’s another example with a combined focus on two skills.

  • Teach my learners to write to communicate with a focus on how to use spelling strategies and academic vocabulary.

3. Say what your broad teaching context is

Your broader teaching context might be a formal qualification or programme module that you deliver. Or it could be more informal, like an ESOL workplace literacy course or work readiness programme. You would have already identified this as your context in the last assessment.

It’s important to add this onto your statement because it limits the strategy to your work. Here’s the whole strategy. E.g.

  • Teach my learners how to read with understanding with a focus on technical vocabulary and reading critically in the context of health and safety training for new steel fabrication students.”
  • Teach my learners to write to communicate with a focus on how to use spelling strategies and academic vocabulary in the context of a police and armed forces recruitment and preparation course.

Strategies: What are your broad strategies for literacy and numeracy?


Strategies (2)

You’ve had some time to think about your own context for teaching, and to look at what opportunities and constraints you’re facing.

Now you need to design at least two broad strategies that you intend to use for embedding literacy and numeracy into your programme.

These should be “big picture”, high-level strategies that apply across your whole programme. You should develop one for literacy and one for numeracy.

Remember, these are longer-term, broad strategies. We’ll get to the specifics soon when we talk about learning outcomes. These learning outcomes will apply to your project work. This project work takes you through Assessments 5, 6 and 7. Here’s a sneak preview:

5. BEFORE you teach: Using diagnostic assessment including the Literacy and Numeracy for Adults Assessment Tool

6. TEACHING: Planning and facilitating the kind of embedded activities that your learners need for your training.

7. AFTER you teach: Measuring learner progress

Ok… back to strategies and learning outcomes. Strategies next.

Developing programme-level strategies

So… how do you put together a programme-level strategy for embedding literacy or numeracy into your training?

Well, it’s easier than you might think. In this module, we’ll have a look at some examples of strategies and then we’ll take you through the process of developing them for your own context.

In the next module, we’ll zoom into the kind of learning outcomes that should inform your teaching. First, though, we’ll walk you through the process of writing a short summary of your programme strategies.

Strategies: What are your opportunities & constraints?


Strategies (1).jpg

In order to develop some working strategies for embedding literacy and numeracy, you need to do an analysis of opportunities and constraints.

This means looking at the opportunities that might be in front of you for embedding, but also what the potential roadblocks or barriers are as well.

As part of this, we need you to think about practices or process inside your organisation that will either help or hinder you.

As you write up your responses, we’d like you to describe concrete examples of what you’re thinking about.

So… you need to:

  • Identify and summarise what you see as the most important opportunities and constraints for embedding literacy and numeracy within your context.
  • Provide examples or illustrations from your experience

Here are the questions you’ll need to answer:

  • What are some of the main constraints or barriers you’re facing?
  • What are some organisational practices or processes that impact on your teaching? These can be positive or negative.
  • What are the opportunities to contextualise the learning and teaching?
  • Are there any other opportunities?

If you feel that you can answer these right now, feel free to skip to this section in your assessment template.

If you want to have more of a think about it, Download our worksheet and let’s spend some time brainstorming. The worksheet questions are similar to what you’ll find in the assessment template. You can use the worksheet to make some notes as you think about your response.

Here are the questions. Think about your answers and record your thoughts on the worksheet. Keep your notes so you can write them up later in the assessment template.  

Constraints and barriers

  • What’s the main thing that makes this work difficult for you?
  • What else gets in the way of you providing the kind of embedded literacy and numeracy teaching that your learners need?
  • Are there any other barriers you can think of?

Organisational impact

  • Are there any practices or processes inside your organisation that impact the content or the teaching in a positive way?
  • What about organisational practices or processes that impact your teaching in a negative way?
  • Is there any other kind of organisational impact that you can think of?

Opportunities to contextualise the learning and teaching

  • What are some of the opportunities you see to really contextualise the literacy and numeracy learning?
  • Out of these, what would you call the “low hanging fruit”? In other words, which opportunities would be easiest to tackle first.
  • Are there any ideas for contextualising the learning that you’ve had floating around in your head for a while that you’d like to explore?
  • What do you have to teach anyway in the next few weeks or months that might be good to focus on?

Other opportunities

  • Aside from contextualising the learning in new and better ways, can you think of any other related opportunities that might present themselves during the project work for this course?