Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Training the Teachers

Training the Teachers

NALA have published a report, Doing the maths: the training needs of numeracy tutors in Ireland, 2013 and beyond, into the training needs of numeracy tutors in Ireland, a comparative decade on from the last survey, and feeding in to a period of unprecedented change in the Irish education sector. It looks at the changing teaching and learning environment, specifically technology, real world focus, labour force activation, assessment and teaching qualification development. The report draws on a body of UK, Irish and international research; the provision of CPD refering to impact on learner outcomes; and explores the meaning of the term ‘numeracy’ which is pertinent to our current debate around literacies, particularly in how it differentiates from literacy. Interestingly, it refers to a postulated conflict between ‘critical’ and ‘functional’ numeracy and how schema misapplied from one to another can result in breakdown. The report highlights a requirement for focussed debate on what is encompassed and understood by the term numeracy in order that a response can be resourced. This echoes with a debate RaPAL are engaging in via the 2013 conference on the recent renaming within FE to English and Maths, and the apparent dropping of the term literacy.

The Level 5 teaching qualifications that are being developed in the UK to respond to specialist literacies and generic integrated literacies have had guidance released by the exam board Acentis. I am delighted to see this support for trainee vocational teachers to develop their students’ integrated literacies skills and am sure they will be well-received in the field after the detailed Commission on Adult Vocational Teaching and Learning report earlier this year. It is equally reassuring to see that specialist qualifications for literacies specialists have been retained. City and Guilds have a generic qualification launching in 2014.

On a linked note, we have been updating the Resources section of our website and invite you to have a look, particularly at devolved Scottish perspectives, which includes their Professional Development Framework released in early in the summer – a complete overview of provision underpinned by a strong social literacies ethos.

Finally, for those of us that aren’t able to make it to Dublin at the end of this month, I am interested to see if any multimedia resources come out of NALA’s Literacy for the 21st Century: Problem solving in a technology-rich environment arranged in response to their imminent PIAAC findings and “…which is focussing specifically on people’s ability to use technology to solve problems and accomplish complex texts… It is not a measurement of computer or digital literacy, but rather the cognitive skills that are used and are necessary to function successfully at work or home in the 21st century.” RaPAL have been grappling with responding to CPD requirements of teachers utilising technology and social networking to develop literacies skills in adult learning contexts and have a full-day training session in conjunction with NIACE in Leicester on the 5th of December after a successful pilot in March. A reduced workshop is running at the conference in October and we hope to see many of you there.

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