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Knowing what to do

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Last updated 28 May 2013 13:19 by NZTecAdmin

Teaching using the progressions

Having used the previous sections, you are now equipped with information about task demands and learner needs, and you are ready to plan for teaching and learning. Often, you will have little say in the technical or work-based content of a course, but you will need to plan ways in which you can meet learners’ literacy needs within the constraints of the course or work situation. A plan can be ‘in the head’ or developed on the spot when a need arises or an opportunity is presented. A plan can also be a deliberate, written guide for work in the short-, medium-, or long-term future.

Deliberate, strategic teaching is very important and can make a huge difference to learners’ progress. This is true for all teaching and learning, not just in the area of literacy. When you interact with adult learners, whatever the setting or subject, you use a range of instructional strategies to develop the learners’ knowledge, skills and awareness. You need to provide instruction that:

  • encourages learners to progress independently
  • is focused, explicit and direct, so that it shows the learners what proficient adults know and do
  • is directed towards specific goals that learners recognise and understand
  • is used consciously and deliberately for a purpose
  • provides multiple opportunities to practise, so that new learning is reinforced and embedded
  • is part of a wider environment that facilitates learning
  • is relevant, challenging, interesting and enjoyable for the tutor and for the learners.

When you are aware of the instructional strategies you can use, you are better able to provide such instruction and to choose the best of these strategies for your teaching purpose.

Instructional strategies may be used by both tutors and learners. The goal of adult educators is to move learners from dependence on the tutor to independence of the tutor. To encourage this independence, you need to set up activities that demand learners use these same teaching strategies with each other. Your role is then to prepare activities where learners model for, question, prompt, give feedback and explain to each other. The activities in this section are intended to promote this kind of peer learning and teaching.

Activities for teaching and learning writing

The activities in this section can be adapted and used to help meet the needs of learners, within the contexts of specific courses and situations. They are designed to complement the learning progressions, and readers are referred in particular to the notes that accompany each progression (see Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy). In addition, there are further explanations of each strand in that text, and more detailed theoretical background in Learning Progressions for Adult Literacy and Numeracy: Background Information.

Many of these activities can serve multiple purposes, and they may involve the use of knowledge and skills across several literacy and numeracy progressions. You are encouraged to integrate all these aspects of learning as far as possible, in line with the ways in which knowledge and strategies are used in real-life situations. For example, a retail assistant making an order for stock may be required to read a catalogue to locate specific information, to write out the order, to calculate the cost of each group of items, and then to calculate the total amount of the order.

The table opposite can be used as a quick reference guide to find activities that suit work on specific progressions. Many of the activities can be adapted for use in different ways and can be used with texts directly related to the workplace or course content.

The table uses an abbreviation of the name of each corresponding writing progression – these also appear at the top of each activity as a guide.


= Writing: Purpose and Audience


= Writing: Spelling


= Writing: Vocabulary


= Writing: Language and Text Features


= Writing: Planning and Composing


= Writing: Revising and Editing

Suggestions for teaching the writing process and spelling

As well as the activities, this section incudes suggestions for teaching aspects of the writing process, and suggestions for teaching spelling (see 'Brainstorming'). You can develop your own activities based on these suggestions as the foundation for focused instruction on aspects of writing .



Write: Brainstorming (PDF, 26 kB)





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