Friday, November 26, 2010

IVEC and me

I'm supposed to be doing a course called TAA, which I wrote about back in September, asking myself and answering textbook questions. Really though it's time for me to start innovating, or to start comprehending what I'm to do, to start thinking my way into this, because people are relying on me to come up with some goods.

I'd previously chosen a competency package, or whatever it's called, in ESOL, which tended to fit in more with high school teaching so I shall abandon that and focus on basic computing through the course.

why do I never have such students in my class?

Today at a meeting with the co-ordinator of the community centre I've been attached to over the past few years, I learned about IVEC, which is not in vitro expression cloning. It seems to mean introductory vocational education. We were talked to by a woman called Michelle from TAFE, who informed us that if we won funding for providing the goods for clients to obtain cert 1 in IVEC, we'd have to look at units of competency and develop training around it, which would be a simple matter. She talked of multiliteracy units and foundational units and pathways, it's all about pathways. Our co-ordinator tells me though that the money is all in the foundational stuff not the multiliteracy stuff, where there's lots of work to be done for little reward.

Anyway, client numeracy and literacy skills can be assessed at National Reporting System [NRS] levels 1, 2 and 3, though some clients are at an even more basic level [Not Yet Achieved, NYA 1]. I've obtained the whole TAFE document describing everything to do with this cert 1 IVEC course - it's over 1500 pages long! But here's an interesting quote from page 8:

Providers working in the Adult and Community Education (ACE) area are encouraged to offer accredited education and training programs to their clients, especially for Community and Neighbourhood Houses. Although there are no formal or funding-based requirements to do so, providing such accredited training in turn establishes a means for transitions from ACE to TAFE. Many such community clients are preparing themselves for work or vocational training and use ACE programs as a pathway to VET and TAFE.
The trouble with this observation is that while many of my students [computing, ESOL and literacy] are preparing themselves for work, very many, probably the majority, are not. Would I lose the other students if I switched to a vocational focus in my English class?

I note that this particular certificate has three supposed levels - preliminary, foundational and certificate. Also known as competency standards, with preliminary being NYA 1, certificate being at level 2 minimum and preferably higher. The problem is of course that I have no clear evidence from my teaching experience that progress is being made by my students, though there's more positive evidence I think from my one on one computer students than my ESOL students.

Hopefully I'll be able to garner evidence of improvement in my students from this framework. Here are some reassuring words about NRS:
 The NRS is a framework for describing adult language, literacy and numeracy competence in two dimensions reflecting real life performance. It provides Indicators of Competence in Reading, Writing, Oral and Signed communication1, Learning Strategies and Numeracy at five different levels and in six different aspects of social and vocational activity.
The NRS is used as a reporting mechanism for DEST-funded literacy and numeracy programs and is currently undergoing further review and development. Further information about the NRS can be obtained at

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