Talking about NZ’s embedded literacy and numeracy approach with Indonesian vocational teachers at AUT


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Recently, I had the tremendous privilege and pleasure of spending a day at Auckland University of Technology (AUT) talking about literacy and numeracy with a group of vocational teachers and tutors from Indonesia.

The group was large. The image above shows half of the team and I need to paste in a second photo below so you can see the other half. Here we go…

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My sincere thanks to Dr Adrian Schoone at AUT for inviting me to join these teachers for a day in their busy schedule. Adrian also deserves credit for the two photos above.

These vocational teachers and other support staff were here on a two-week study tour in October looking at how we teach trades and vocational education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

And as part of our introductions and whakawhanaungatana (getting to know each other), I asked them all to place themselves on a giant map I had projected on the wall.

As you can see below, they came from all over Indonesia – from the West to the East.

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For my part, it was a brief and hopefully fun introduction to literacy, numeracy and the embedded approach that we’ve developed here over the last 10 years.

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We had a play with some of the online tools that we have in New Zealand for literacy and numeracy as well. Luckily, AUT had a computer lab big enough to house us all for an hour or so.

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My students for the day were friendly, engaged and worked hard to transcend some of the language barriers between us.

One of the most interesting things for me was realising how integral approaches from Te Ao Māori are now to any discussion I want to have about this work.

Concepts like ako and tuakana-teina seemed to really resonate with the group and their own cultures.

In fact, some had questions about how they could incorporate aspects of their own indigenous ways of knowing and being into their teaching practice.

Just on that note, according to Wikipedia:

  • there are over 300 ethnic groups speaking more than 700 living languages across the vast Indonesian archipelago.

So these weren’t questions I felt could readily answer, but hopefully, they will open a door to further positive discussion back home.

This, in turn, should feed into the work these excellent teachers are doing to invigorate and reinvigorate vocational education in Indonesia.

Overall, it was an excellent day,  I loved spending time with this group and I’d do it again in a heartbeat.

To my new friends and colleagues:

  • Assalam ‘alaikum. I wish you all the best with your work in Indonesia and hope our paths cross again at some stage.

 

 

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


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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

 

Cashflow 101 Experiment – Part 2: Developing a vocabulary assessment


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Feel free to skip this one… It’s a bit on the technical side. But I wanted to document how I developed a couple of targeted diagnostic assessments. These relate to my Cashflow 101 experiment that I’m running at the moment.

This one relates to the vocabulary used in the game. I’ll do a separate post on the numeracy diagnostic that I created.

Cashflow 101 is a board game that teaches financial literacy. As you play the game you learn how the concepts work. But there is a bit of jargon and technical lingo to learn as well.

You also have to do some maths as you play the game. But that’s for another post. Ultimately, I want to gamify the course and qualification that I teach.

What I wanted to do here was develop a couple of assessments that test what people know before learning the game. These needed to focus on context specific vocabulary and numeracy skills.

Below is my process for developing the diagnostic assessments. These are my pre and post tests for the experiment.

Vocabulary Word Bank

First of all, I needed to come up with a bank of words to work from. I found a PDF version of the instructions online and uploaded this to the online Vocab Profiler.

I’ve written about how I’ve used this tool before. It’s not perfect, but it acts like a kind of filter to help me focus.

Once I submitted the text, the Vocab Profiler sorted the words according to frequency (in other words how often they are used).

I printed out the frequency lists and then made my own selection for the word bank.

You can see my print out and working in the image at the top of this page.

I used the lists to develop a word bank of technical words. Here’s a shot of the first page of the word bank. I’ve added in the definitions.

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The key is as follows:

  • 1K = First thousand words of English
  • 2K = Second thousand words of English
  • AWL = Academic Word List
  • Off list = Words not in the 1K, 2K, or AWL

In terms of the Learning Progressions that we use in New Zealand, most of the vocabulary that’s interesting is probably Step 4, 5, and 6. Mainly step 6 or Off List according to the Vocab Profiler.

From the word bank I developed the vocabulary assessment. Here’s a screenshot of the first page:

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On retrospect I think I was a bit overzealous. There were 38 words in my vocabulary assessment. That’s too many. Feel free to revise it for me.

My preferred format for vocabulary assessments is what I call a partial cloze. I gap out part of the word in a sentence. It’s simple and easy to do.

The person taking the test should be able to get some of the meaning from context. And a bit of a hint from the first few letters.

If they know the word, but can’t spell it they might have a go at writing it. But if they don’t know the word, the context and letters aren’t enough to give the game away.

When I mark it, I mark it once for correct spelling and then a second time for word knowledge (i.e. if it’s clear they know the word but just can’t spell it).

If you’re interested, you can download and use any of the following. Let me know in the comments if you do.

  1. Cashflow Wordbank
  2. Cashflow Vocab Pretest

Gamification 101: How To Turn The Course I Teach Into A Game


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Technical stuff is hard to teach. This is because it’s… well… technical. As a trainer you have to work hard to make things understandable.

One way to do this is to turn it into a game. Or a series of games.

I’m interested in this at the moment because I’m experimenting with Cashflow 101. This is a game that teaches financial literacy.

My goal is to gamify the course and qualification that I teach. I want to incorporate some teaching of the concepts people need. But I want most of the emphasis to be on the game play.

I haven’t given up on my idea for Tutoropoly or some kind of cooperative board game where players have to work together to collectively win (or lose).

But I thought I’d tackle something a bit easier first. So I’ve devised a prototype. It’s more of a card game. And much easier to design and play.

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The purpose of the game is to get people using the vocabulary that we use when we talk about our stuff. It’s kind of teacher vocabulary. It’s not very interesting to civilians. But it is the language of our trade.

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So far, I’ve produced a paper version of the card game. We’ve had a couple of goes at this at home. The game play is Fish. But the next iteration will incorporate a few rules from Canasta to liven things up.

If I get around the finishing it, I might post the templates here. Anyone interested in a copy? Let me know in the comments.

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.

How to get started embedding vocabulary into your training by creating a word bank


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Vocabulary rocks…!

If you’re going to focus on just one thing when it comes to embedding literacy into your trades or vocational training it has to be vocabulary.

Vocabulary runs through all of the literacy progressions and it’s probably the best bang for your buck in terms of time spent embedding anything on the literacy side of things.

If your learners have a basic vocabulary of 2,000 high frequency words, it’s likely that they can understand  roughly 80% of the words in an academic text.

But they need to know around 95% of the words in a text before they can successfully guess the meanings of unknown words and actually make sense of a text.

The best way to get started with embedding vocabulary is to develop your own Word Banks that are focused around very specific content areas that you have to teach. Here I’m particularly talking about aspects of your teaching or training programme where there are a lot of academic, specialised, or technical words.

Once you have a Word Bank for a particular chunk of teaching, there are all sorts of things you can use it for. This includes:

  • Creating mini vocabulary diagnostic assessments for pre and post testing of learner knowledge
  • Creating all kinds of fun activities to teach and practise the language.

More on that in another post still to come.

So here’s how you go about creating the Word Bank. Think in terms of the following three categories and follow the instructions below:

  • Everyday Words
  • Academic Words
  • Specialised or Technical Words

Everyday Words – Step 3 on the Vocabulary Progression

  1. List the high-use, everyday words that relate to the content you intend to teach.
  2. You can include some less common words as long as they don’t belong in the Academic or Specialised lists.
  3. You can include words from the second thousand (2K) word list.

Academic Words – Step 4/5 on the Vocabulary Progression

  1. List the academic words you need for the content you intend to teach. Think of words that describe processes or academic tasks.
  2. You can include some of the high-use specialised words you need.
  3. And you can include words from the academic word list (AWL). Highly specialised or technical words should be in the list below.

Specialised Words – Step 6 on the Vocabulary Progression

  1. List the more highly specialised and technical words you need for the content you intend to teach.
  2. Think of the jargon of your trade or content area including specialised acronyms and informal language.
  3. You can include words outside of the 1K, 2K, and AWL.

Here’s a handy worksheet you can use to do all of this. It’s the same as the image above. I suggest you print it out A3 size or as large as you can. Click the download link below: