Increasing student success through effective literacy and numeracy support


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Abstract: "The success of students is of central concern for tertiary institutions globally and in New Zealand. When learners are unable to meet the literacy and numeracy demands of their programmes, they struggle to achieve the learning outcomes necessary to graduate, and tend not to reach full potential in their community.
To improve the quality of teaching and learning at Unitec NZ, staff is beginning to employ an integrated approach to teaching courses, thereby assisting students with literacy and numeracy challenges. Professional development is essential to engage staff in the process of refocussing and revisioning the experience offered to learners.

The Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation (CTLI) is working closely with staff to design and provide contextualised workshops in direct response to needs identified by each school for their specific learners. This paper describes one such initiative for Automotive Engineering staff, where a range of literacy and numeracy related tools were showcased in two collaborative and interactive workshops. Eleven literacy and numeracy support tools, sourced from a variety of places, were chosen to exemplify best practice. The presenters will give an overview of the workshops and the thinking/theory behind them (including the iterative cycle of evaluation and improvement of the workshops in response to participant feedback). A demonstration of key workstations with the associated handouts / interactive tasks will be available for trial by conference participants who will also be asked to evaluate each tool/workstation in a feedback form."

Please cite as: Please cite as: Owen, H, & Schwenger, B. (2008). Student Success; Increasing student success through effective literacy and numeracy support. Paper presented at the EIT Teaching and Learning Conference, 2008, Hawke's Bay, New Zealand.

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  • ‘ Literacy is at the very heart of a culture of quality and equality, for when people gain the power to decode their world, they gain the power to effect changes to it’ (Shaikha Mouza Bint Nasser, 2007). Increased literacy and global awareness are now seen as the key to unlocking human potential with literacy, language and numeracy (LLN) competencies described as foundation or key competencies. They provide the base for the learning of more specialised or generic competencies needed in a home, social, work or educational context, such as helping family members with their learning, analysing and synthesizing information, overseeing the operation of sensitive machinery or working effectively in a team (Tertiary Education Commission, 2008a).
  • Increasing student success through effective literacy and numeracy support

    1. 1. Increasing student success through effective literacy & numeracy support   Hazel Owen and Bettina Schwenger   Centre for Teaching and Learning Innovation Unitec NZ
    2. 2. Overview <ul><ul><li>Definition of literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Underpinning dynamic variables affecting literacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Literacy & numeracy skills - tertiary education </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The 'tradeshow' approach (theory / design) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Overview of tradeshows </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Interactive task for you </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Conclusion / feedback </li></ul></ul>
    3. 3. CRSP Student “Success” Learning in real-world contexts Transferable skills Investigational work Problem solving Small group work Analysis and interpretation tasks
    4. 4. “ Literacy is the ability to identify, understand, interpret, create, communicate and compute, using printed and written materials associated with varying contexts. Literacy involves a continuum of learning to enable an individual to achieve his or her goals, to develop his or her knowledge and potential, and to participate fully in the wider society.”   (UNESCO, 2003, p. 5) Definition of literacy
    5. 5. Discipline expert Literacy expert Students (Smith, 2008)
    6. 6. Status of literature Literary canon Society & culture Family Political policies Wealth Vocational skills Literacy Freedom/ creativity Access to books Teacher training Education Pedagogy Dynamic variables affecting literacy Reading culture Opportunities to read
    7. 7. Literacy & numeracy skills How many students experiencing issues with literacy & numeracy skills do you think are participating in tertiary education? a)15.5% b) 30% c) 46% d) 73% (Culligan, Sligo, Arnold, Noble, 2005)
    8. 9. The 'tradeshow' approach
    9. 10. <ul><li>‘ The Complete Lexical Tutor’ ( </li></ul><ul><li>using a lesson plan template to embed literacy activities </li></ul><ul><li>three activities to engage with a text </li></ul><ul><li>videos (with text/audio and mixed media) created in Camtasia Studio to support students while accessing and referencing a text </li></ul><ul><li>‘ pop ups’ within the text (written, visual, and audio) </li></ul><ul><li>Tools: Hot Potatoes quizzes (using multimedia), quizzes in Blackboard (using images and hotspots), flash cards and numeracy (lesson plan on metric conversions) </li></ul>
    10. 15. Review quizzes
    11. 17. Hot Potatoes
    12. 18. Hot Potatoes (cont.)
    13. 20. Keesing-Styles, L. (2008). Automotive Tradeshows - Literacy and Numeracy in Vocational Education. The VET(31), 7. Feedback
    14. 21. Keesing-Styles, L. (2008). Automotive Tradeshows - Literacy and Numeracy in Vocational Education. The VET(31), 7. Linda Keesing-Styles Feedback (cont.) This is a superb model for staff professional development, no matter what the topic. Here, a whole department is engaged in reflecting on and improving their teaching and their students’ learning.
    15. 22. Interactive task for you <ul><li>Turn to the person next to you </li></ul><ul><li>Using the handout, discuss the questions, and </li></ul><ul><li>Write your responses </li></ul><ul><li>There will be a short opportunity for a couple of people to describe their conclusions/ reaction </li></ul><ul><li>Please hand your completed handout to either Hazel or Bettina (the presenters) </li></ul>
    16. 23. Items to discuss <ul><li>Describe a positive workshop or training experience that you have had. Explain what you feel made it effective. </li></ul><ul><li>Would the tradeshow approach and tools be useful in your context? Why / why not? </li></ul><ul><li>For the moment ignoring institutional barriers, how would you implement training within your department/area? </li></ul>
    17. 24. Conclusion <ul><li>Effective teaching and learning support enhances and transforms </li></ul><ul><li>One size does not fit all… </li></ul><ul><li>The tradeshow must go on </li></ul>Open Blackboard in a browser: Login in with the username: eittl2008 & password: eittl2008 Click on: UATI Automotive Toolkit
    18. 25. Thank you for listening Any questions and feedback please email: [email_address] [email_address]