Intergenerational Literacy Service

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Introduction.

Literacy is part of everyday communication, and so PDT aims to enhance literacy levels with Literacy Support Programs in order to give individuals the chance to alter their everyday lives through the establishment of essential foundational learning.

The PDT is a community based organisation made up of people from IT and teaching backgrounds with representation from youth training, youth work and business administration. The Company has been active since its incorporation in 2003, and exists to assist in the development of our community by identifying need and then developing alternative ways to tackle the issues. The primary business focus of the PDT is to assist in the development of communities, in particular: Maori, Pasifika Peoples, and other disadvantaged or disenfranchised groups.

 

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Evidence Of The Need For Literacy Programs.

PDT has identified the need for parental literacy support and has established programmes to provide assistance in this area. We operate these programmes at our Richmond School premises and other external locations.

Richmond School provides education to 125 children from Richmond and surrounding suburbs. Thirty seven of these children are currently being assisted in obtaining and enhancing foundational literacy skills by the PDT two days a week. This assistance covers educational software based around literacy and numeracy concepts, games, group activities, reading time, and is based around each individual child’s ability to process information in order to obtain beneficial gains for the learner.

A very large portion of the parents targeted are of Asian, Māori and Pacific Island descent, automatically identifying them as more likely to be at risk of low English Literacy than their European/Pākehā counterparts. This factor is also clearly acknowledged, once again, in the Learning for Living research summary report.

Quote: “It is important for people with lower literacy levels do not miss out on training opportunities which may lead to increased literacy and increased chances of career progression.” Learning For Living Reading Between The Lines The International Adult Literacy Survey – New Zealand’s Performance

It is also important to note that in some instances it is not just the level of literacy an individual holds that may prevent them from securing progressive employment; it can also be the mentality the individual is fostering.

As adult education differs from youth education, adults must choose to go to class, and attending class always means taking time away from the important adult responsibilities of work, family, and community. Personal goals provide adults with the motivation to make that choice. When adult students are encouraged to express and discuss their goals, motivation is reinforced, and teachers gain valuable information that they can use to change their curriculum in ways that help students reach their personal goals.

One major factor that has presented itself consistently in lower socio-economic areas such as Linwood, Richmond, New Brighton, Woolston, and Aranui, is the need to support single parent families in foundational education. Many of these parents left secondary School at a young age, therefore, once again possess little formal education.

Quote: “The lack of literacy skills can affect a person in many ways: employment, health, family, and community life to mention a few. The lack of literacy can set up both personal and community barriers.”
Building Community Capacity: Focus on Literacy Community Impact Evaluation, 2005 Robin Houston-Knopff
Literacy Alberta

There is however, an urgent need to extend our Literacy Support Programs. Through correspondence and communication with prospective participants, it is apparent that they are not comfortable attending programs like ARAS and SPELD as they find them to have too much of a “School” type focus. They feel threatened by that sort of environment, and have identified the Whānau/family arrangement as the type of environment they would be most comfortable in.

The Target Groups For Our Programs.

The target audience for the Literacy Support Programs within the Richmond and surrounding areas has identified itself as Immigrants, Asian, Māori and Pasifika Peoples. Although we have found that in many instances peoples of Pacific Island decent are in or have completed training of some kind, they still remain within the lower literacy levels and within the ‘at-risk’ percentile.

Context Of Our Programs.

PDT’s Literacy Support Programs are community based family oriented, that aim to improve the educational opportunities of children and adults by integrating childhood education, adult education for parents, and parenting education into one program. All three components are seen as necessary to effect lasting change and improve children’s success at school.

The Literacy Support Programs aim to increase the foundational skills of adults in language, literacy, and numeracy to enable them to participate more effectively in their immediate and surrounding communities.

As the need for Adult literacy grows within our community, PDT has developed its programs to target disadvantaged peoples and assist them by delivering foundational skills, meeting them where they are at and allowing them enough space to learn at their own pace, while delivering relevant and unique education specific to the individuals needs.

The introduction of community Literacy Support Program allow instruction to be learner-centered and holistic, utilising real-world applications and building on the adult learners’ lifetime of experiences, interests and goals for returning to education. The programe is ‘hands on’ with one Literacy Facilitator and with up to eight individuals at one time.

Because each individuals enter the center with a wide range of skills, interests and motivations, the Literacy Facilitator can provide ample opportunity for these individuals to:

­explore how their literacy strengths/achievements can help them achieve life goals
­ to the extent possible, learning opportunities can be tied to the significant interests expressed by the individuals
materials around these themes can then either be developed or modified so that they are appropriate for individuals at each level.
This in turn can then be broken down into:

  • the family context
  • guidance and instruction around parenting skills
  • helping children with schooling
  • learning with their children to set examples and break the cycle
  • establish that learning is important, valuable, and lifelong
  • This literacy programme facilitates a more extended involvement of individuals with the social institutions that impact their lives and ultimately the lives of their children and entire whānau.

Individuals may attend four mornings a week for three hour sessions, All classes are multi-level with literacy to advanced levels. The programs are inclusive of all.
The recruitment strategies include, but are not be limited to:

 

  • Face-to-face contact with parents
  • Parental contact via telephone and email
  • Regular slots within the Richmond School newsletter
  • Distribution of flyers and information pamphlets in the local areas
  • Promotion through local community organisations
  • Information evenings and low-key information seminars
  • Open days where parents can gather information, view resources and support mechanisms, and meet staff.

Program Content

The participants are encouraged to choose their own path to create a distinctly self-driven and uniquely personalised program.

These different entry levels mean everyone has the opportunity to study. The level you start at will depend on either previous qualifications or relevant life and work experience. Even if participants have never studied before, or their education was interrupted by those unexpected “speed bumps” called life, we can help them get started.

The programs are modeled on the very successful Kenan Model and include:

  • Adult Literacy – Assisting in the development of already existing literacy skills parents posses while contextualising this into a real world scenario that is relevant to each individual. Adult education component designed to extend basic education skills, including teaching adult participants to think critically and creatively, solve problems, set goals, and acquire successful interpersonal skills
  • Parent Education – provide instruction on how children grow, develop and learn to read and write, address issues critical to family well-being and success, connect parents with a wide array of community resources, and provide parents with opportunities to network and develop mutual support systems with others in the programme. Parents will be provided with knowledge of how their children learn and how they can assist in their child further in education
  • Parent and Child Together – This component will provide the opportunity for parents and children to interact together as a family unit. Children’s interests and preferences drive activities, with parents following the lead. The Facilitator will help parents learn how to support their children’s learning through interaction with each other in meaningful activities, including play
  • Child Literacy – Children’s education to promote the growth and development of their children and to engage their parents in their child’s educational program in order to foster meaningful involvement that will be maintained throughout the child’s educational career.

It is important to note that this is also foundational learning aimed at individuals pursuing either other training/personal development or employment. This is accommodated by our programs post literacy support element and is to assist in the transition from a structured literacy program to a self-learning phase.

The focus is highly relevant to the individual, and can consist of several target areas, with some participants continuing non-formal education, training through the Christchurch Polytechnic or PTE’s, some with adult night Schools and some with simply self-learning/correspondence.

Program Design And Delivery.

Most adult students have a friend or relative who provides personal support that helps them persist in their learning. If the Literacy Facilitator identifies these “learning sponsors,” provide them with advice on how to be helpful, and engage them in program activities, a stronger bond of support might develop. The Program cannot provide all of the personal support a student needs, but the Facilitator can use various techniques that build a community of learners so that students provide support to each other.

PDT understands the need for the uniqueness of communities to shine through and be represented within the Literacy Support Programs.

As identified in the Learning For Living research summary report of 2005, the “strongest predictor of low literacy was found be educational attainment.” In this respect, the Literacy Support Programs allow learning goals to be measurable, attainable, specific, realistic, and allow clients as much time and space as they require to digest and process literacy concepts.
This is achieved by:

­Utilising a Individualised Learning Plan.

­The provision of a literacy programme that is both welcoming and supportive of individual needs, and will
­Provide literacy services with greater consideration of the client while creating a non-threatening, down-to- earth, stress-free environment that is conducive to the learning requirements of all involved
The Literacy Support Programs is be based on the Kenan Model using the four interlocking processes of Adult Literacy, Child Literacy, Parent and Child Literacy and Parent Education.

  • Combined with this model is the “Five Standards of Effective Pedagogy;
  • Joint productive activity
  • Literacy, numeracy and language development
  • Contextualised for relevance and making meaning
  • Challenging activies for learners at all levels
  • Instructional conversation over lectures.

Delivery Methodology / Learning Styles

Learners alongside his program will allow Interactive Literacy Activities Time, while enhancing and Children enriching the relationship between parent and child.

  • Contextual – When and wherever possible, delivery is to utilize a concept of contextualised teaching applications, resources, and understanding for use by the learners to relevant contexts they have shown connection to family and parenting.
  • Learning Styles – Recognition and implementation of different learning styles are to be practiced in delivery methods for beneficial gains for the learners. “Given the amount of resources being applied to adult literacy programs in New Zealand and elsewhere in the Western World, it is surprising that there is so little evidence as to its effectiveness in helping these learners literacy skills”. Venezky, 1997
  • Teaching – Teaching methods must uphold current and recognized methodology as methodology evidence by theorists and research as best practice indicators for positive learning gains for the learner.

PDT has already secured funding for the acquisition of hi tech computer systems. This will allow participant to integrate e-learning (where appropriate) into their literacy schedule. The purchase of these systems also means participants will have access to excellent on-line literacy resource libraries such as the BBC, Discovery, and many others.

Assessment Processes And Tools

We utilise a series of monitoring methods to ensure the success of the programs:

  • Company approval for each outcome.
  • Managerial accountability process for staff and program.
  • Reporting processes consistent with standard quality control procedures.
  • Participant outcome schedules.
  • Resource efficiency monitored.
  • Questionnaires.
  • Exit Interviews.
  • Each individual will set themselves benchmarks and work towards these in a self paced manner.
  • In many ways the progress of the individual speaks for itself. The ability for each individual to set and achieve realistic self-set goals with the assistance of the Literacy Facilitator, within realistic self-set time frames is a huge step in itself.
  • PDT will also be holding a monthly meeting; one of the objectives is to review the progress of the Literacy Support Programs and post literacy support of individuals attending the programs. These meetings are attended by all attendees and employees.

 

Assessment Process.

 

  • Formative – The establishment of an ongoing formative literacy assessment process that will give evidence of changes for learners.
  • Regular ongoing feedback to the learner by way of interactive communication, reflection, and learner participation.
  • A summary assessment process that identifies learners gains and achievement upon leaving the program.
  • Utilise the assessment process to identify program structure for beneficial gains for learners.
  • To identify levels of relevant learning that provides challenges.
  • Meets collaborative requirements of stakeholders
  • A clear learning pathway process
  • Educator Requirements
  • The appointed individuals will need to have the following:
  • Literacy Facilitator
  • Appropriate degrees or certification in the areas of education, and/or adult education, literacy and numeracy
  • Adequate background and experience working in varying literacy environments
  • A reputation as a flawless and supportive literacy provider
  • Association and recognition from ALPA and/or another well respected Literacy Provider Network
  • Previous experience working in a community environment, or, a heart for the development of communities with low Literacy levels
  • Experience in, or knowledge of ESOL techniques would be an advantage but not essential
  • Literacy Assistant
  • Appropriate degrees or certification in the areas of education, and/or adult education
  • Has, or is working towards their Certificate in Adult Teaching
  • Adequate background and experience working in varying educational / literacy environments
  • An understanding of the adult learning environment
  • A knowledge of and association with Hagley Adult Learning Centre
  • Previous experience working in a community environment, or, a heart for the development of community with low Literacy levels
  • Experience in, or knowledge of educational techniques

Aims Of The Literacy Support Programs

The programs are aimed at and designed to help break the inter generational cycle of under-education by providing opportunities for community members, especially parents and their children to learn together. Foundational literacy provides parents with basic academic and employ-ability skills; emphasis’s parenting and life skills; and ensures developmentally appropriate experiences that require interaction between parents and children.

The reason for this approach comes from the Literacy demographics in the Richmond area (placing the School at the heart of this area), the Company’s focus on Literacy development, and the location of both the School and Company on the same site, giving feasibility to a pilot program of this nature.

 

Goals should include, but are not limited to:

  • Increase foundational literacy skills
  • Improve attitudes to reading and learning in general
  • Increase parents use of books
  • Increase and improve reading to and with children
  • Learning how to learn
  • Improving self-confidence
  • Increase parent educational aspirations
  • Increase awareness of opportunities – education and work
  • Spend more focused/special time between children and parents
  • Demonstrate greater awareness of parental roles and responsibilities
  • Demonstrate greater encouragement of children
  • Participate more in School/kindergarten activities
  • Increase the contact time with child’s teacher(s)
  • Maintain parent attendance
  • Improve transition to School
  • Increase parent/child outings together
  • Increase and improve child/parent interaction
  • Increase parents’ awareness of hauora
  • how commitment to on-going learning

PDT’s objectives for this project are to:

 

  • Fulfill a need for a flexible delivery model for literacy education by including in-class, e-learning and “real-world” training and mentorship.
  • Create an exciting and flexible learning environment which is conducive to participant access, retention and success.
  • Target increase participation by disadvantaged communities in foundational education with an emphasis on basic skill development for improved literacy, numeracy and technological competency.
  • Give particular emphasis to those groups that are under-represented among Christchurch’s adult population and strive to provide education and training that correspond to Christchurch’s cultural diversity.
  • Provide education and training programs that make an active contribution to regional Maori/whanau/hapu/iwi development.
  • Develop as a networked establishment through alliances and partnerships with other foundational education providers, industry, Iwi and the Christchurch community.