In this issue
- From the President
- Call to action: Adult literacy and numeracy classes needed in the Northern Territory
- Call to action: PIAAC update – the Australian Bureau of Statistics will not provide state by state information.
- What does PIAAC mean for the 26ten project?
- Have you read this? Health literacy
- Profiling literacy and numeracy specialists
- WAALC Conference
- VALBEC Conference
- Adult Literacy and Numeracy – A Capital Idea
- 2019 ACAL Conference papers
- Australian Training Awards Congratulations
- Migrants combine job training with English classes
- Timor-Leste 1974–1975: Decolonisation, a nation-in-waiting and an adult literacy campaign
1. From the President
December has arrived and finally it makes sense for shopping centres to be playing Christmas carols!
Since our last newsletter we have seen the release of the revamped FSK training package. Given the current lack of options to train as a specialist in the field of adult literacy and/or numeracy, it is perhaps not surprising that we have a training package for trainers, rather than teachers. In 2020 ACAL will continue to explore ways to raise awareness of the diminishing opportunities to develop skills in adult LN delivery and the need to future-proof the workforce across the entire country.
We have been gravely concerned by the news that adult LN classes in the Northern Territory are being cut even further. PIAAC is another concern, with the news that funding will not cover a state by state analysis. See below for more information and suggested actions to express your concern.
Thank you to all for your support in 2020 and on behalf of the committee I wish you a happy and safe Christmas season and new year.
Jo Medlin, President
2. Call to action: Adult literacy and numeracy classes needed in the Northern Territory
ACAL has written to the Chief Minister of the Northern Territory expressing concern at the news that Charles Darwin University (CDU) is closing its adult language and literacy classes. There are few adult literacy and numeracy providers servicing the Territory and we have been informed that CDU will cease to deliver seven language, literacy and numeracy classes in 2020. We believe the situation is dire and requires immediate action.
ACAL are calling on the Chief Minister to develop a sustainable plan for adult education, particularly given that self-governance for remote Aboriginal communities is underpinned by literacy, oracy, and numeracy skills that facilitate interactions with departmental bureaucracy.
ACAL is calling on Charles Darwin University, as a minimum, to retain the courses on scope to facilitate future opportunities. Research from CDU consistently reveals the importance of adult literacy in remote communities, so the decision is puzzling. Literacy classes are rarely profitable in terms of dollars – and nor should they be – but the value to our society and for developing potential higher education students outweighs immediate profit and requires long term informed planning. This decision seems to be a short-sighted reaction to the current budget. We look forward to a response from the Vice-Chancellor explaining why CDU are taking actions that seem to ignore their own research findings.
Suggested action for members and subscribers
3. Call to action: PIAAC update – the Australian Bureau of Statistics will not provide state by state information.
ACAL has recently learned that the PIAAC results will only be at a national level. There will be no state/territory break down. This has major implications for current and future projects relying on state/territory funding that are informed by the statistical data provided by PIAAC.
Over the past year ACAL has actively campaigned to have Australia participate in the next round of PIAAC because it is the only current indicator of adult literacy and numeracy levels providing national and state-based information. PIAAC is the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies. It is an international survey coordinated by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It provides information on skills and competencies for people aged 15 to 74 years in the three domains of:
- numeracy; and
- problem solving in technology-rich environments (PSTRE).
Suggested action for members and subscribers
4. What does PIAAC mean for the 26ten project?
The 10-year 26TEN Tasmania Strategy seeks to reduce stigma and to build the skills of adult Tasmanians who want to improve their reading, writing and maths. It is the only state in Australia that has taken a collective approach to addressing adult literacy and numeracy. 26TEN’s vision is that all adult Tasmanians have the literacy and numeracy skills they need for work and life. The vision is underpinned by three goals:
- Everyone knows about adult literacy and numeracy
- Everyone is supported to improve their skills and to help others
- Everyone communicates clearly.
The Strategy measures its success through statistics and stories. Its three main quantitative measures of success are:
- An increased number of 26TEN members and supporters.
- Meeting the aspirational targets for the percentage of adult Tasmanians with literacy skills at or above OECD Level 3.
- An increased number of organisations committed to plain English.
It is imperative that the next OECD PIAAC survey provide each state with adult literacy data because we need to be able to assess and learn from current national and state based related initiatives. This is increasingly significant as Australia aims to ensure that the skills of the adult working age population are meeting the economic and social demands of work and life in a modern technological society.
5. Have you read this? Health literacy
International handbook of health literacy research, practice and policy across the lifespan, edited by Orkan Okan, Ullrich Bauer, Diane Levin-Zamir, Paulo Pinheiro and Kristine Sørensen (2019).
This handbook is a collation of recent work focusing on health literacy research. It is divided into three parts.
Part 1 is titled ‘Research into health literacy: An overview of recent developments’ and is itself subdivided into the following topics: (a) The many facets of health literacy: Scoping the current research of theories, concepts and models, (b) Measuring health literacy: What, why and how? And (c) Health literacy, health outcomes and health inequalities: Some empirical findings.
Part 2 deals with programs and interventions to promote health literacy and begins with an overview of these health literacy aspects. This is followed by more details about working with a range of groups, including adults.
In the final section, three chapters directed towards policy to promote health literacy are detailed.
A PDF version of this publication can be found by typing in the title into your search window and then scanning down to the oapen.org entry.
6. Profiling literacy and numeracy specialists
Since the introduction of the TAELLN Certificate lV unit we have received many queries asking what defines a literacy and numeracy specialist. The LN field is diverse and experience and qualifications vary. In a recent submission to the FSK review, ACAL considered that the level of qualification and experience of those working effectively in the field is not necessarily correlated to their degree of impact, but we believe specialised qualifications and experience are likely to result in good practice. See the full statement here.
In this section we profile LN specialists to demonstrate the range of qualifications and experience that lead to expertise in the field. We encourage all readers to refer to the National Framework as a reminder that the TAELLN411 unit is an awareness unit and is at the start of a journey in LN teaching. For those wishing to extend from awareness to developing teaching skills we encourage shadowing, mentoring and training – several RTOs are currently delivering the TAE80113 Graduate Diploma in LLN Practice and information can be found at training.gov.au
This month we feature Wendy Kennedy, Charles Darwin University and Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award 2019 Finalist
Wendy has over thirty years’ experience in Adult General Education, focussing on the design, management and implementation of high quality, customised, adult Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) programs for organisations and communities. Seventeen years of this experience was gained working in remote Indigenous education in Gunbalanya, a community in Western Arnhemland in the Northern Territory (NT).
There Wendy developed a high level of skill and understanding of the cross-cultural issues associated with the delivery of accredited and non-accredited adult LLN programs in community environments. She was instrumental in establishing the highly successful Injalak Arts and Crafts Association, through which Gunbalanya’s Indigenous artists have been able to acquire skills, develop their local industry and control the commercialisation of their artwork.
7. WAALC Conference
Submit a proposal for the WAALC Conference
8. VALBEC Conference
Submit a proposal by March 27th
9. Adult Literacy and Numeracy – A Capital Idea
The ACAL conference committee is busily preparing for the announcement of the 2020 conference. Look out for an information email soon with more information.
10. 2019 ACAL Conference papers
Many of the conference presenters have made their papers available.
11. Australian Training Awards Congratulations
Congratulations to Debra Guntrip, National Award winner in Excellence in Language, Literacy and Numeracy Practice Award.
Deb featured in our Profile Series last newsletter.
12. Migrants combine job training with English classes
By combining practical English language lessons with work experience, TasTAFE is helping more migrants find work.
Sumaya Bushar has spent the past few weeks trying her hand at retail work at a supermarket in Glenorchy in Hobart. “I’m here for work experience. It is good for me because I am learning new things that [will] help me to get a job,” she said.
13. Timor-Leste 1974–1975: Decolonisation, a nation-in-waiting and an adult literacy campaign
This article contributes to the strand of research within the New Literacy Studies that has investigated the ways in which adult literacy campaigns are bound up with social and political movements. The focus is on the adult literacy campaign initiated in Timor-Leste in 1974, as the process of decolonisation from Portugal got underway. This campaign was based on a Freirean approach to adult literacy and was initiated by Timorese students returning from Lisbon. The article draws on archival research and oral history interviews with people who volunteered to serve as adult literacy tutors at the time.