Conversation starters

ACAL state representatives have been considering aspects of adult literacy and numeracy that are presented in Conversation Starters. The papers are the views and perspectives of the author and the ACAL committee encourages you all to have a read and use this as both a means of professional development as well as an opportunity to start conversations. We hope they stimulate your thinking and provide an opening for discussions with others to explore the issues.

Conversation Starter 6

September 2021

The Merry-Go-Round: Who is an LLN Specialist?  by Debra Urquhart

Conversations at a national level often come around to qualifications of LLN specialists. In the last month this has come up in both the parliamentary inquiry as well as in the work ACAL has undertaken in preparing for meetings with the Education IRC. This conversation starter brings a timely discussion about LLN in VET and how it impacts teachers and provision. Covering the FSK, workplace delivery, trainer qualifications, and digital skills, this 10 minute read will get you thinking about who shapes your role and what it means for your learners.

The merry-go-around continues in defining who is a Language Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) specialist in the adult literacy field. New conversations and debates around the skills, qualifications, and attributes of an LLN specialist have arisen once more as a response to the parliamentary enquiry, the upcoming evaluation of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults (NFSSA) and the scheduled review of the Training and Assessment Training Package (TAE). 

Conversation Starter 5

June 2019

Policy or Perish: Future-proofing Literacy Provision by Debra Urquhart

For many years, there has been continued apprehension regarding the narrowness of literacy funding and the programs that can be offered. This disappointment commenced with the Australian Language and Literacy Policy (ALLP) of 1991, when those in the field saw a policy shift from a social equity perspective to a human capital approach. This angst has been sustained with the release of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults (NFSSA) in September 2012. This ‘Strategy’, maintained the status quo; with no new programs proposed and no additional funding assigned to those currently in operation.

Conversation Starter 4

May 2019

‘Health literacy provision: Can health and adult literacy workers collaborate effectively in this increasingly important space?’ by Ann Kelly

As the average age of citizens has increased and diseases, such as diabetes, have become prevalent among many populations, governments and other stakeholders have committed to improving the ability of people to take control of their own health and, simultaneously, lessen the increasing national economic burden that is an outcome of this situation.

Conversation Starter 3

‘PIAAC The International Adult Literacy survey – should Australia take part?’ by Pam Osmond

Dec 2018

ACAL members across Australia have been considering the value of PIAAC. Pam Osmond, from NSWALNC provides a summary of the debate around PIAAC. We hope it stimulates your thinking and provides an opening for discussions with others to explore the issues.

Conversation Starter 1

‘VET Literacy Teachers: Our Unique Value Proposition’ by Debra Urquhart

Sept 2018

In her paper, Debra Urquhart, NSW State Representative, discusses the identity of adult literacy teachers within the vocational education and training (VET) sector. Debra examines this unique position through a debate on qualifications, professional development, curricula as well as regulatory frameworks.

Conversation Starter 2

‘The Deficit Model of Education – Impacts on Learners and Teachers’ by Rhonda Pelletier

Sept 2018

Rhonda Pelletier, Victorian State representative has prepared a paper on the deficit approach. This is timely indeed, with many speakers at the conference referring to issues around the deficit approach to adult literacy and numeracy. Rhonda has explored the history of the approach and considered how it is reflected in Australia today.