Integrating literacy

Integrating literacy into further education and training courses helps students succeed.

It is vital that further education and training programmes are available to everybody, including people who have literacy and numeracy difficulties. To achieve this, it is necessary for literacy development to be integrated into other courses. This helps to ensure that people wishing to undertake education and training programmes are not excluded because of the literacy and numeracy demands of the course.

Why integrate literacy?

It makes teaching and learning more effective for more people as it helps overcome literacy barriers to participation and learning. It also helps students develop the specific literacy requirements associated with their course. Research shows that integrating literacy into further education and vocational training leads to:

  • higher participation and retention rates
  • increased achievement of vocational qualifications
  • increased achievement of other course goals.

What is 'integrating literacy'?

‘Integrating literacy’ means designing and delivering courses in ways that remove unnecessary literacy barriers and that develop the key course-related language, literacy and numeracy. It requires education and training providers to take a whole-organisation approach to literacy. This involves a working partnership between subject specialists and literacy specialists. All staff in the organisation use inclusive, literacy-friendly methods and materials in their own subject or in their area of responsibility.

A whole-organisation approach to literacy requires a commitment, policy and strategy, led ‘from the top’, and developed in consultation with learners, teachers and all staff.

Training

NALA provide introductory workshops on integrating literacy and numeracy support and development into FET courses. The particular focus of the workshop is agreed with the organisation requesting the training. Typically, the workshops aim to facilitate participants to:

  • develop a shared understanding of ‘integrating literacy’ in further education and training;
  • identify core elements of a whole-college or whole-centreapproach to literacy and numeracy;
  • share experience and good practice in supporting learners with the literacy and numeracy demands of their course;
  • consider guidelines for integrating literacy and numeracy with subject teaching and learning;
  • identify possible elements of a ‘one small change’ plan for integrating literacy.

Information and advice

NALA encourages and supports organisations and service providers across a variety of contexts to use literacy-aware procedures and practices.  In the context of further education and training (FET), we work to help ensure that FET courses are inclusive of, and effective for, adults who may have language, literacy or numeracy needs.

Guidelines and resources

NALA has produced guidelines and support materials tailored to particular education, training and development programmes, developed in partnership with the relevant organisation.

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