- Use technology! One bonus was having access to a data projector in most classrooms. I could demonstrate how to access pages, where to find links and create flowcharts to name a few. This tool then allowed me to print the group's input and distribute it to them while hot in their heads. From the resources available on this website it is obvious I utilise a variety of sites to assist students develop their numeracy and literacy skills and become techno savvy. The younger digital natives knew how to play games and access Facebook, but had much to learn about research and software applications. I'm no techno queen, but I can navigate my way around Europe (without GPS) and the Microsoft Office Suite (with the HELP menu).
- Use technology! Introduce students to the range of tools available in the basic programs e.g. PowerPoint or WORD. One tool that proved invaluable was the table format in Word. Students were able to demonstrate their ability to organise data and present it in an appropriate format.
- Use technology! Why not show students how to access and utilise the HELP tool in each program. Okay I know the language can be a little overwhelming, but that is where the data project was a must.
- Use technology! For students who have low level writing skills using WORD gives them a great opportunity to publish a schmick looking document. After dictating a book about fishing, a 54 year old student typed the book (with one finger) and inserted photos he had taken. All this with asssitance from myself and another student. The joy he experienced when it was published was astounding. Technology can be useful!
The first step when learning to juggle is toss one ball between your two hands. Sounds easy, and it is! It's when you introduce more balls that the fun begins. Just like any classroom! Below are a few strategies that have helped me deal with a class of twenty + aged from 16 to 64 and with diverse backgrounds that included: ESL, VERY reluctant learners, people with intellectual disabilities and older adults who were illiterate.
Having been in the education field for over 33 years, I've never been able to compartmentalise these areas. However, due to timetabling and policy I felt like I was droning on for hours (or was it years) on the same subject. It has taken me a few of those 33 years to refine my teaching strategies, hopefully like a good red wine maturing, but it was worth the tweaking or in some cases all out cauterisation.
The fine tuning has enabled me to bring a real life approach to literacy and numeracy for post school students. By real life I mean, exposing students to tasks that are interconnected and embedded just as they are outside the classroom. Has that made my teaching life easier? Yes and no! Yes, because the students are motivated with the material and delivery. No, because I couldn't find appropriate teaching resources. That's why this web site has come about.
Before setting to work on the learning resources I review the concepts and skills that students will require to complete the tasks. I cover these concepts/skills in a more formal teaching setting, however, I make these lessons very interactive and hands-on. Also prior to starting the integrated resources, I review the activities. Some days it felt like I was juggling chainsaws (as no doubt you all do), but I managed to carve a few good pieces along the way without losing any fingers. Sanity is another matter!