The design of this course includes the following Learning Activities:
- Face to face meetings with a course facilitator
- Lunchtime workshops and presentations from L&N ‘Champions’
- Arranged teaching observations of and by experienced L&N embedders
- Opportunities for team teaching with L & N Advisor
- Teaching Portfolio (see Assessment)
These activities require a cooperative culture within the organisation and the existence of a supportive ‘Literacy and Numeracy Advisory Team’. The L&N Advisory team would consist of specialist teachers currently located in the School of Foundation Learning, The Learning Centre, EDC, and three or four L&N coaches elsewhere in the Polytechnic. It would be desirable for each person working on the Embedding L&N module in the GCTLT to be teamed up with a L&N advisor as they plan and implement changes to their teaching practice.
The L&N Advisory team would also be important as an ongoing advisory panel as funding for L&N is pegged to student progress.
Here are some quotes from Literacy Aotearoa which support the proposed course design.
“Good practice recognises that tutors need to continue to learn in order to grow their knowledge about appropriate tutoring strategies and techniques that enable them to be responsive, flexible and effective to meet each individuals student’s literacy learning needs and goals. Tutors need to evaluate their tuition, using self-critique and student feedback to ensure tuition is effective.”
This statement supports the “action research” approach whereby tutors try new activities with their learners and evaluate their effectiveness. The new activities would be incorportated into their lesson plans and included in their teaching portfolios.
Team teaching and teaching observations by a literacy and numeracy specialist are other ways to get ideas and feedback on teaching methods and strategies. Ideally all vocational tutors starting out with embedding literacy and numeracy would be working with a literacy and numeracy advisor to help plan and deliver the course, and also to help support the learners.
“The challenge for tutors is to avoid confusing negative backgrounds and learning histories with a ‘deficit’ approach to tuition. The deficit approach is not acceptable because it casts the tutor as a provider of remedial measures, and presumes that the students ‘need fixing’.
The common tension in embedded literacy and numeracy courses is how to cater to the often widely diverse skill levels of learners. How do you cater to the two or three learners who’s skills are well below the average for the group without holding back the group and possibly alienating those whose skills are more advanced? Do you provide extra remedial support, team teaching, a tuakana teina approach and group work? Probably all of the above, though the extra remedial support will only be effective if the learners have already established a relationship with the provider of the remedial support and it is seen as relevant and in the same context as the class work. If the remedial support can be provided during normal class time without interferring with the flow of the session this is probably the best solution. This is also the team teaching approach.