Thank you for coming to my presentation. I hope you have picked up a handout at the door, otherwise raise your hand and I will bring you a copy before we start.
My presentation and my refereed paper describe the first phase of a multi-project research study at Unitec New Zealand.I will give you a brief overview for the background of this meta-evaluation research study. What needs to be consider when providing academic development to tutors? We will look at the AR and E process cycle and its connections with embedding/integrating literacy and numeracy. I will introduce the six research projects that are part of the meta-evaluation, look at the initial/preliminary results and Then I will conclude and look at the way forward.
Over the last few years, the NZ government has funded adult literacy and numeracy capability and capacity building. At Unitec, the Academic Literacies Team (as part of Te PunaAko, the Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation) has been responsible for driving the initiative to embed LLN in programmes across the institution, with a focus on twelve programmes on level 2 and 3. All members have previously worked in language and adult literacy disciplines; some have a vocational background as well as literacy and teacher education expertise.Unitec’sEmbedded Language, Literacy and Numeracy Plan includes capability building as one of its six core elements, with the following academic development goals for teaching staff:integrate LLN into course learning outcomes, documentation, learning and teaching resources, and assessments;recognise learners’ needs and be familiar with the course demands; deliberately teach LLN explicitly linked to vocational content; andincrease reflection around teaching and learning principles and practice.(Adapted from Smith, 2008) Achieving sustainable change has been a main concern for the team, given the project’s limited lifetime, which has been extended until December 2010. Play Mark’s sound file, stop before UoQs description (otherwise too long) explain TEC as tertiary funding body in NZ
Why AD? The functions of academic development initiatives can be defined as: Extend and build current knowledge; renew and transform; and grow and develop existing expertise. (Grundy & Robison, 2004) How? Research shows that a number of aspects support successful academic development and that it can be provided through different models. Theory and praxis need to be well-combined. Opportunities for knowledge building and sharing and on-going discussion between participants as well as time for trialling, practising and reflecting are vital components for academic development work (McKenzie & Turbill, 1999). A slower pace for discussions on personal sense-making is needed and people in general prefer to have such conversations with others they trust (Giejsel & Meijers, 2005). Social interactions and conversations with colleagues are regarded as highly effective ways to support informal learning at work (Boud & Middleton, 2003; Haigh, 2006; Pankhurst & Livingstone, 2006; Wenger, 1998). “[It] both complements and can substitute for formal learning mechanisms.” (Boud & Middleton, 2003, p. 194). Action research and enquiry processes can offer flexible frameworks for informal learning to occur. The occupational identities of tutors (vocational and others) are complex because they are members of multiple communities. Beside being a teacher, they might be a carpenter, an accountant, early-childhood teacher, or electrician (Palmieri, 2004). The work with students and the T+L processes that occur in the classroom or in online spaces are influenced by how teachers perceive themselves in their occupational role and what they regard as important. Tutors who see discipline-specific LLN skills as part of the vocational content, will include LLN as part of their priorities for teaching. Learning transforms perceptions and individuals’ identity (Chan, 2009). Shaping one’s identity can described as an ongoing process that is renegotiated throughout life (Billet & Somerville, 2004). Research has shown the importance of teacher’s identity as aspect that impacts on classroom practices and on students’ success (Chan, 2009).
The teaching staff are researching their own teaching practice and the effectiveness of a specific intervention for a previously determined issue their students are facing. For each individual research project, the tutors have identified a course-related issue that students find difficult. The second step has been to develop an intervention that then is implemented. Following the steps of the AR cycle, the tutors then observe and then evaluate the success of the intervention. The steps of the embedding cycle are very similar to the action research and enquiry cycle. It enables teaching staff to enhance their research capability whilst working on aspects relevant to their teaching and learning practices (Piggot-Irvine, 2009).
The AR projects at Unitec take place at certificate-level in Electrotechnology, library, Animal Care, Foundation Studies Nursing, Automotive Technology, Music. AR projects are concerned with learning of terminology, listening + finding information, reading, numeracy and different aspects of writing .
Research findings to date and issues encountered Aim of Meta-Evaluation is to help teaching staff involved to evaluate their experience of Action Research processes as a means of sustainable change. Methodology: The meta-evaluation captures impressions through email contact as well as with questionnaires and interviews. The questions aim to ascertain the effectiveness of previous professional development and of action research as experienced by the teachers. their personal views of the teacher role and whether they feel the action research process has changed the way they see themselves in the classroom. (occupational identity)Mention questions from initial interview Results teachers: engaged, experienced in providing learning on tertiary level. Interested in changing/enhancing their practice. The majority has not used action research processes in the past. Comments regarding approaches to teaching included eg ‘changing with the environment’, ‘focusing on st autonomy’. PD in the past that has changed their approach to teaching was mostly tertiary teaching as well as language and numeracy teaching qualifications. Expectations can be divided into two main aspects mentioned: st gains and becoming more effective as teacher (through feedback of students)
Two projects finished at the end of semester one. The pictures here show how the teachers involved in those AR + E projects reporting back at University of Waikato (national project for DoL).Students: reported (all but one) that the initiative has helped them. Also sts with strong educational background found it useful. (Animal Care) Tools helps with/improves understanding, enjoyed using the tool, use it as a reference tool (Electrotech).Staff: “viral spread” – it has helped to increase other teaching staff awareness of LLN (in both disciplines)
Conclusion The Academic Literacies Team plans to work with staff in further programmes and services at Unitec to develop their own AR + E projects in the future. It is certain that workshops and other conventional formats of academic development will continue to be offered. Of course online self-study will become more dominant in coming years. The team believes that there is a number of opportunities where AR & E could offer engaging and relevant development options. We would like to create a culture where vocational tutors regard working through an AR + E process based on a relevant LLN issues as a normal part of their academic development. The project is only one of many academic development initiatives currently taking place at Unitec . It is expected that its outcomes will provide invaluable insights for future work and research. Measuring and evaluating the impact of embedding LLN on student learning outcomes in terms of retention, progression and completion in a quantifiable way is required to prove the long-term benefit of the embedding efforts. It is too early to provide such quantifiable organizational level data of the impact on tertiary student outcomes in New Zealand, according to a yet to be published government synthesis report by the National Centre of Literacy and Numeracy for Adults at the University of Waikato. Anecdotal evidence includes greater student confidence in the classroom, when working with texts and a stronger student willingness to ask questions to further understanding. Vocational tutors at Unitec have also reported a higher retention and completion rate for individual courses within programmes that the team has worked with in the last year, such as Electrotechnology and Animal Care.
Utilising action research and enquiry processes to achieve sustainable academic development
Utilising action research and enquiry processes to achieve sustainable academic development<br />Bettina Schwenger<br />
Conclusion</li></li></ul><li>Background<br />New Zealand context<br /> Unitec and the Academic Literacies Team<br /> Move from ‘informed prescription’ ... <br />(Fullan, 2003, p. 6)<br />Informed<br /> prescription <br />informed <br />professionaljudgement<br />
Providing sustainable academic development <br /><ul><li> Functions of academic development
Key components of successful change initiatives
Occupational identity of teachers</li></li></ul><li>Action research and enquiry processes for embedding work<br />Diagnose<br />Reflect + evaluate<br />Intervene<br />Test<br />Authored by Schwenger, 2010<br />Steps of action research + embedding cycle<br />
aims: student gains + becoming more effective </li></li></ul><li>
Critique, comment and share … <br />Turn to the person next to you. What are your thoughts about using action research and enquiry processes to achieve sustainable academic development? <br />Use the questions on the handout to structure your discussion. <br />Report back to the larger group.<br />