Research and Practice in Adult Literacy – a friendly group

Joint Conference 2013

Adult English and maths in Families, Communities and Workplaces

2nd October 2013, UCU Headquarters, London

Joint annual conference RaPAL, NIACE and UCU


Supported by the NRDC


Via NIACE has closed.

Confirmed Attendees

Catherine Paulson-Ellis, Assistant Director, Pre-Employment and Skills Unit, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS)

Attendees confirmed from across the British Isles including AoC, exam boards, city and county councils, universities, colleges, unions and other organisations such as the WEA and Reading Agency, as well as practitioners and researchers.

Conference Themes

Teachers of adult English/ Literacy and Maths/ Numeracy have been grappling with the introduction of new teacher education qualifications, changes from Skills for Life and Key Skills to Functional Skills, the development of a unit based curriculum and the pilots to measure distance travelled. Many practitioners recognise the need to reflect critically on the implications of these changes, as well as broader issues raised by current policy and research across the UK. This conference will encourage dialogue between practitioners, leading academic researchers and policy makers in order to explore the best ways of making the curriculum and accreditation work responsively for learners.

Learning benefits individuals, the economy and society as a whole. Those who participate in learning are likely to be healthier, happier and better paid than those who do not. This conference will explore English/ Literacy and Maths/ Numeracy as both individual and collective resources. Keynote presentations and workshops will examine what policies and teaching approaches best enable adults to become confident at using and enjoying English/ Literacy and Maths/ Numeracy in their families, communities and workplaces.

The conference themes will be addressed through presentations by a panel debate, the keynote speakers and the conference workshops.

Keynote Speakers

The conference themes will be addressed by:
– Carol Taylor OBE, Director of Development and Research, NIACE and Helen Casey, Executive Director, NRDC, chairing a panel discussion
Three keynote speakers:
– JD Carpentieri, Senior Policy & Research Officer, NRDC
– Jim Crowther, Senior Lecturer in Community Education, University of Edinburgh.
– Karen Evans, Professor of Education (Lifelong Learning) Institute of Education, University of London.



10:00 Arrival, registration and networking (tea/coffee available)

10:30 Welcome and introduction to the day UCU, NIACE and RAPAL

10.45 Family: English and maths in family settings
JD Carpentieri, Senior Policy & Research Officer, NRDC
Family Literacy Policy and Evidence presentation

11:00 Workplace: English and maths in the workplace
Professor Karen Evans, Professor of Education (Lifelong Learning), Institute of Education, University of London.
Workplace Thinking Space presentation

11:15 Community
Jim Crowther, Senior Lecturer in Community Education, University of Edinburgh.
Community Scotland presentation

11.30 Coffee – submit questions to panel

11.45 Panel debate chaired by Carol Taylor, NIACE and Helen Casey, NRDC

12:30 Lunch

13.15 Workshops – Session 1
1.1. Using Social Networking to Develop Literacies
Claire Collins and Tara Furlong

This workshop is designed for English/literacy practitioners and curriculum managers to introduce a range of interactive learning technologies, devices and resources to support the teaching, learning and assessment of English/ Literacies. Participants are encouraged to bring their own mobile devices in order to interact with online session resources. The workshop will include presentation, discussion, online activities and action planning.
Online Presentation
Rapporteur Social Media Workshop Summary

1.2. An interactive method for helping learners understand how sentences are structured.
Freda Davis

The topic of the workshop is the ‘Buddenbuk’ card games, and how this approach helps learners to understand and discuss sentence structure. By playing the games the participants will progress through: making sentences; conjunctions; prepositional phrases; noun phrases; verb phrases. There will be a handout linking these to functional skills, and notes explaining the grammatical basis of the games.
Buddenbuk Overview
Buddenbuk Cards
Rapporteur Buddenbuk Workshop Summary

1.3. National Numeracy Challenge Pilot – increasing confidence; improving skills – cancelled
Sarah Gibb

The workshop will consist of a short interactive presentation on the National Numeracy Challenge Pilot followed by group discussions where participants will be able to share their ideas and experience. This session will demonstrate interactively the Challenge materials, share some of the pilot findings and discuss ways in which the Challenge can both increase confidence and lead to actual improvement in everyday maths skills and understanding.
The National Numeracy Challenge Overview
The National Numeracy Challenge Pilot Report

1.4. Learning Maths online: Everyday Maths, Everday Finance, Helping children with maths
Beth Kelly

This workshop will explore the new online materials available to help adults get better at maths, manage money and help their children with maths. Using video and interactive activities and quizzes, the courses can be accessed independently or in a supported environment. The workshop will explore the ethos underpinning the resources and highlight how they can be used to support adult learners.
Learning Maths online Everyday Maths Everday Finance Helping children with maths presentation
Rapporteur Learning Maths Online Workshop Summary

14.25 Workshops – Session 2
2.1. ‘Literacy’ phased out of Adult Education?
Sarah Freeman, Sallie Condy and Tara Furlong

This workshop will offer an opportunity for participants to review why the term Adult Literacy is being phased out of the post-16 years provision in England and how the expression Literacy has been used in mainstream adult education over the past 40 years. We will discuss the implications of the term ‘Literacy’ being replaced with ‘Functional Skills English’.
Literacy or English? Presentation
Quotes to Prompt Discussion
Discussion Notes from Conference Workshop
Blog Post including Questions for Discussion
Rapporteur Literacy Phased Out Workshop Summary

2.2. Putting the fun into functional: incorporating problem solving into our teaching of maths
Gail Lydon

This practical session aims to explore a range of approaches you can use with your learners to develop their English and maths problem solving skills, including:
– what is the problem?
– engaging (and fun) approaches and contexts
– useful resources.
Fun Into Functional Presentation
Rapporteur Fun Into Functional Workshop Summary

2.3 Reading Online: what teachers can learn from adult literacy learners
Irene Schwab

This workshop will
– give details of my research into adult literacy learners’ attitudes to online reading, and the skills, strategies and practices they employ to read websites.
– explore some websites collaboratively and discuss the ways in which online reading might involve greater or lesser challenges than reading print for literacy learners
– discuss the implications for those teaching reading to Entry level learners
Reading Online Presentation
Rapporteur Reading Online Workshop Summary

2.4. Exploring How Community Open Online Learning Courses (COOCs) can empower learners to become teachers
Peter Shukie

I have developed an online portal for the development of learning and teaching where the roles of teacher and learner are open to anyone. The workshop will introduce people to the site, which anyone can go on to use and share with anyone, and give people opportunity to generate courses to go live on the site and be part of a growing resource from teachers/ learners/ anyone.
Exploring How Community Open Online Learning Courses (COOCs) Can Empower Learners To Become Teachers presentation
Rapporteur COOC Workshop Summary

(Tea and coffee available)

15.30 Close of conference. RAPAL AGM meeting for members until 16.30


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