Planning and practicing embedded approaches to raise learner achievement
The lack of basic skills within the UK was highlighted in 1999 when an international study found that 22% of British people were functionally illiterate. Furthermore the government commissioned the Moser report (1999), which suggested that “something like one in five adults in this country is not functionally literate and far more people have problems with numeracy” (Petty, 2009, p.536). The report outlined that language, literacy and numeracy skills (LLN) needed to be embedded within all teaching practice. The resulting skills acquired would allow learners to be confident and competent in every day life. It has also been suggested that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays an important part in everyday life and is “changing society, and therefore education” (Abbott, 2001, p.4).
“People need skills and confidence to participate and contribute to their organisations. The most important generic skills are Literacy, Language and Numeracy” (Investors in people, 2010)
“Literacy and numeracy are concerned with the practical application of skills and knowledge for everyday tasks and effective participation in civic life and the workplace” (Avis, Fisher & Thompson. 2010, p.116)
I am a lecturer of hospitality and catering at Eastleigh College and I teach levels 1, 2 and 3 courses to mainly sixteen to nineteen year old students. I work within a team of lecturers who deliver theory and practical lessons, sometimes with the support of learning support assistants (LSA) but with no specialist LLN lecturers.
Within the functional skills programme, literacy not only covers reading and writing, but also covers elements of speaking and listening. This helps learners to develop communication skills, which allows them to contribute to ideas, discussions and express opinions. This skill will help them develop their communication within their own life as well as communication with their tutors and peers.
In 2006 the National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and numeracy (NRDC) produced a research report regarding LNN in post-16 vocational programmes. The NRDC report found some of the following key points: There were higher retention and course success rates on embedded courses, those learners on embedded courses had much higher success rates in literacy/ESOL qualifications, learners on fully embedded courses achieved increased numeracy qualifications, learners benefited from team teaching rather than teachers having dual responsibility (Casey, Cara, Eldred, et al. 2006, pp. 5 – 6).
Within the hospitality and catering department at Eastleigh College it is the responsibility of the team to embed LLN and ICT at all stages throughout the various courses. There can often be a negative approach to embedding LLN in vocational courses as the NRDC report suggests:
“You wouldn’t expect a plasterer to go and teach English and maths, and you wouldn’t expect a maths teacher to teach plastering” (Casey, Cara, Eldred, et al. 2006, p. 39)
However it can be very easy to embed LLN and ICT through every day conversations and activities; through the use of clever questioning we can use normal conversations during lessons to embed and to create learning. In using this sort of approach there doesn’t need to be ‘extra’ work for the teacher and should naturally fall into teaching. When planning I try not to create extra work embedding LLN and ICT, I try to ensure class activities can be linked and assessed against the functional skills criteria and the majority of courses have natural elements of LLN and ICT included. The NRDC report does however suggest that learners benefit from team teaching and it could be argued that the department would benefit from a specific LLN/ICT tutor. Would a specific LLN/ICT tutor deliver a higher level of LLN/ICT as than a hospitality tutor? The answer is that they probably would. Lucas...
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