A new approach to literacy and numeracy may help Te Wānanga o Aotearoa tauira learn these essential skills - without even realising it.
Annette Tofaeono (Ngāpuhi) is undertaking rangahau into the implementation of embedded learning in a number of TWoA programmes.
Her rangahau is among the 148 rangahau projects TWoA kaimahi are currently undertaking.
Embedded learning is about creating ways for learners to improve their literacy and numeracy skills within another learning activity.
Often they’re learning these skills without knowing it but as Annette says “it is up to us to ensure our tauira realise what these skills are”.
Annette’s rangahau plan looks to measure the impact of converting prior and cultural knowledge into explicit literacy and numeracy skills.
"It’s becoming the new way of teaching and learning; there has been research done which clearly identifies for our learners that it’s a more effective way to get literacy and numeracy skills."
Her rangahau will initially be implemented in to the context of what level one to three tauira are doing in their programmes.
"So, in a sports programme, we take the opportunity where going for a run becomes a numeracy lesson as opposed to 'right we are going to do some numeracy here’s a worksheet'."
Another aspect of Annette’s rangahau project is to acknowledge the learning differences among TWoA tauira.
This aims to help identify learners with challenges like dysgraphia, dyslexia or Asperger’s syndrome to name a few and how to better assist them.
"We are more looking at it as a heads-up for us as we ask 'is this person going to be okay with the programme, are they going to need a lot of assistance and do we have what we need to make sure they succeed'?"
"The last thing we want for them is not being at the standard and they’re failing. We could look at things like maybe where they’re situated in the class, what colours our kaiako are using on the board – it’s all about our approach," she said.
"We could also use simple strategies within the classroom, things like ensuring the handouts we’re giving out aren’t just black and white and small text."
Annette said a lot of her focus will be in the youth guarantee area, where she believes her rangahau can make a difference to encourage tauira to staircase in to higher education with improved literacy and numeracy.
In her previous role at a private training establishment, Annette said she saw a lot of tauira dropping out of programmes for various reasons.
"What I found was many of these tauira were low-literacy learners who in several cases had learning difficulties, but there are so many ways we can capture them and keep them here. I think we could have a major impact on lives. The thing I found is a lot of organisations think our tauira have to adapt to what they do. My thinking is we need to adapt to how they learn."