Te Arapiki Ako
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Knowing what to do

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Last updated 28 May 2013 13:42 by NZTecAdmin

Learning from Mātauranga Māori

There are many ways in which tutors can make a focus on listening and speaking more relevant for Māori (and indeed all learners) by using and/or adapting activities that relate directly to a Māori way of doing things. Refer to the introduction for practical suggestions for incorporating concepts from Māori pedagogy into all activities.

Teaching using the progressions

You may have little say in the technical or workbased content of the course you teach, but you can plan ways in which you can meet learners’ literacy needs within the constraints of the course or work situation. A plan can be ‘in the head’ or developed on the spot when a need arises or when an opportunity is presented. A plan can also be a deliberate, written guide for work in the short, medium or long-term future.

Deliberate, strategic teaching is very important and can make a huge difference to learners’ progress. This is true for all teaching and learning, not just in the area of literacy. Building learners’ confidence and awareness of the need to communicate effectively is pivotal to the success of deliberate acts of teaching.

When you interact with adult learners, whatever the setting or subject, you use a range of instructional strategies to develop the learners’ knowledge, strategies and awareness. You need to provide instruction that:

  • encourages the learners to progress independently
  • is focused, explicit and direct, so that it shows the learners what proficient adults know and do
  • develops learners’ confidence in speaking and listening
  • is directed towards specific goals that learners recognise and understand
  • is used consciously and deliberately for a purpose
  • provides multiple opportunities to practise, so that new learning is reinforced and embedded
  • is part of a wider environment that facilitates learning
  • is relevant, challenging, interesting and enjoyable for the tutor and for the learners.

When you are aware of the instructional strategies that you can use, you are better able to provide such instruction and to choose the best of these strategies for your teaching purpose.

Instructional strategies may be used by both tutors and learners. The goal of adult educators is to move learners from dependence on the tutor to independence of the tutor. To encourage this independence, you need to set up activities that demand that learners use these same teaching strategies with each other. Your role is then to prepare activities where learners model for, question, prompt, give feedback, and explain to each other. The activities in this section are intended to promote this kind of peer learning and teaching. As with most teaching and learning, the more that learners are able to talk and interact, the more opportunities they will have to learn.

Using instructional strategies

Image of Instructional Strategies chart.

Using talk to teach and learn

Almost all teaching and learning involves listening, speaking and interacting. As well as selecting specific activities to teach particular skills, it is important that tutors (literacy and vocational) are able to use every opportunity available for encouraging, modelling and improving the quality of talk with and between learners. Talking in class (or in the workplace) is to be encouraged when it is constructive, reflective and assists with building knowledge and confidence.

Teaching and learning takes place in interactions between and among learners at least as much as (and probably more than) between tutor and learner. The tutor’s role is to set up activities that foster this interaction and that build on the skills and knowledge that have been gained in family, community and work contexts.

As illustrated in the diagram below, interactions do not have go through the tutor in order for learning to take place.
Image of Interactions chart.
Learning is built and supported by dialogue between peers, learners and tutors. Tutors play a critical role in building the awareness, skills and confidence needed for effective listening and speaking. Discussions and conversations help learners to clarify their own ideas and compare them with the ideas of others, try out new ideas and concepts, build knowledge and understanding and to develop critical thinking. The activities in this section should be used in addition to an increased level of talk in whatever situations tutors and learners are operating.

Activities for teaching and learning, listening and speaking

The activities in this section can be adapted and used to help meet the needs of learners, within the contexts of specific courses and contexts. They are designed to complement the learning progressions, and readers are referred in particular to the notes that accompany each progression (see Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy). In addition, there are further explanations of each strand in that text, and more detailed theoretical background in Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy: Background Information.

Many of these activities can serve multiple purposes, and they may involve the use of knowledge and skills across several literacy, language, and numeracy progressions. You are encouraged to integrate all these aspects of learning as far as possible, in line with the ways in which knowledge and strategies are used in real-life situations. For example, a retail assistant making an order for stock may be required to ask questions about what is required (face-to-face, on the telephone or by email), make notes, read a catalogue or list to locate specific information, write out the order, calculate the cost of each group of items, and then calculate the total amount of the order.


It is extremely important that teaching and learning are planned within the context of course and/or workplace demands. The teaching of skills in isolation is not an effective or efficient way to help learners develop their competence in listening and speaking.


Finding suitable activities

The activities in the companion resource books for literacy and numeracy provide excellent opportunities for teaching and modelling listening, speaking and interacting. The resource book Teaching Adults to Read with Understanding: Using the Learning Progressions indicates activities that are particularly suitable for listening and speaking.

The activities in this resource are based on the suggested areas for further study in the learning progressions. See the detailed descriptions alongside the progressions in Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy.

The downloadable table can be used as a quick reference guide to find activities that suit work on specific progressions. The activity numbers also appear in the examples. Many of the activities can be adapted for use in different ways and can be used for tasks and situations directly related to the workplace or course content. They are written without reference to a specific step on the learning progressions so that you can use them at the progression steps most appropriate to the learners.

This table uses an abbreviation of the name of each corresponding listening and speaking progression – these also appear at the top of each activity as a guide.


= Listen: Vocabulary


= Listen: Comprehension


= Listen: Listening Critically


= Speak: Vocabulary


= Speak: Language and Text Features


= Speak: Using Strategies to Communicate


= Interactive Listening and Speaking





Listen and Speak Discussion Examples 1-7 (PDF, 69 kB)

Examples of discussion observation activities, from Knowing the demands, knowing the learner.

Listen and Speak Activities Table (PDF, 23 kB)

A reference table for the Listen and Speak to Communicate activities.

Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy (PDF, 1 MB)

The learning progressions set out in this book provide a framework that shows what adult learners know and can do at successive points as they develop their expertise in literacy learning. This framework can be used as a guide to identifying the next steps for adult learners. Each progression covers a particular aspect of learning.



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