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Changes in literacy and numeracy teaching practice: Annette Aubrey

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Last updated 30 January 2013 15:28 by NZTecAdmin

View comments from Annette Aubrey, Literacy & Numeracy Leader at UCOL, taken at the Symposium in Hamilton, July 2011.

Key content

Reflections on an organisation's approach to embedding literacy and numeracy The many positive spin-offs for tutors involved in professional development around embedded literacy and numeracy.


I mean, naturally with any sort of change – and this has been a sea change for some people – it’s challenging their thinking, changing their thinking, changing their teaching approaches, and we have lots of resistance. Initially we had a few champions and a few early adopters, and a few people that we were able to get onboard really quickly. So we used those people to support us, in the literacy and numeracy team, to sort of roll it out, gently at first, across the institute. But what we found over the last two and a half years, it has gathered momentum, I think particularly with the introduction of the online assessment tool. The fact that myself and my team have done a lot of work to support tutors. And one bonus that I wasn’t really expecting is that for some lecturing staff it’s really ignited their passion for teaching and learning again, because they’ve gone through an opportunity to look at the teaching practice, look at their pedagogy, and really sort of thinking afresh. And we’re supporting them with strategies, and advice, and support, to help them make what they see as embracing literacy and numeracy become a reality really.

There are challenges – I mean there are key challenges in terms of continuing professional development, for example. We’ve had experiences where we’ve had numbers of staff who we’ve supported to do a National Certificate in Adult Literacy Education who subsequently left the organisation – new staff coming on board, and so the work starts again. So continuing professional development is always going to be a challenge.

We’ve taken a different approach this year, but we’ve still got work to do in terms of: I know that the literacy and numeracy team in our institute will have done their job when we’re no longer there. Currently we’re there; and we’ll be there until the end of this academic year. And what we’re trying to do is shape a sort of handover plan and make it sit within faculty. But there are still challenges associated with that because it’s just another thing for people to think around.

I’ve had conversations with staff who tell me, "Annette, this is the first time I’ve talked about teaching – my teaching – for years". And the fact that we’re interested, we’re offering support, we’re offering strategies, and actually we’re affirming that what they’re doing is good practice. Because quite often we’ll work with applicational tutors and they’ll say to us, "But I do that already". And we’re kind of, "Well yeah, that’s fantastic. It’s a deliberate act of teaching, but now you can put a name to it". And so for us as an organisation, I think what we have seen is that reawakening of the passion of teachers, and it’s coming through. I’m seeing it and I know other people are seeing it too.



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