NCALE (Vocational)

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Content and Learning

This programme is a professional qualification for Adult Educators who want to improve their skills to develop adult learners' literacy and numeracy skills within a vocational training or education programme. The programme consists of one compulsory 30 credit unit standard, Unit Standard 21204, and 10 credits of electives. Delivery is a blend of online learning, work based portfolios and workshops.

For enrolment enquiries: contact 0800762786 within New Zealand or email edc enquiries

If you are enrolled in this qualification at Otago Polytechnic, log into the OP Moodle course Staff Support for Embedding Literacy and Staff Support for Embedding Numeracy.


Unit Standard 21204

Develop adult learners' literacy and numeracy skills within a training or education programme

This unit standard is intended to raise the literacy awareness of an adult educator from a non-literacy subject area where the main purpose is to develop skills other than literacy. This adult educator may have learners who need literacy skills' development to successfully achieve in a training or education programme that is not a specialist literacy and/or ESOL programme. The adult educator is likely to be delivering a programme and will be recognised as an adult educator in their own field. This unit standard assumes a professional level of expertise in adult education and training, including cultural perspectives that underpin their teaching to Maori learners and learners from other cultures. People credited with this unit standard are able to describe adult literacy in Aotearoa New Zealand, including in relation to the programme, describing Maori literacy; and, in the context of an actual education or training programme with actual learners: identify the literacy demands of the programme, identify the literacy strengths and needs of the individual learners in the programme; integrate literacy skill development into the delivery of the programme; use literacy teaching strategies to promote adult literacy skill development in the programme; assess learner literacy progress in the programme; and evaluate effectiveness of literacy teaching strategies and learning activities and any specialist adult literacy support in the programme.


Electives (10 credits)

SMS Code Course Title NQF Credit.
AL511551 Moderate Assessment 6
AL511552 Design Assessment 6


  • NCALE Provider Guide
  • Benseman, J., Sutton,A. A Lander, J. (2005) Lighting the Way, Min of Ed. Wellington, NZ.
  • Benseman, J., Sutton, A. & Lander, J (2003) Foundation Learning in Aotearoa/New Zealand - Mapping the nature and extent of provision,Auckland Uni Services Ltd, NZ.
  • Benseman, J., & Sutton, A. (Eds.). (2008). Facing the challenge: Foundation learning for adults in Aotearoa New Zealand. Wellington, New Zealand: Dunmore Publishers.
  • Bynner, J.(2001) Life course change and social change, Insights from cohort comparisons, Cambridge, UK
  • Bynner, J. Literacy, Numeracy and Employability, University of London, Accessed 26/01/2009
  • Clark, C. and Ackerman, R. Social inclusion and Reading. An exploration. National Literacy Trust, UK. Accessed 26/01/2009
  • Culligan, N., Sligo, F. et al Analysis of New Zealand Data from the International Adult Literacy Survey. Min, of Ed.., Nz. Accessed 26/01/2009
  • Dugdale, G. and Clark, C. (2008) Literacy Changes Lives: An advocacy resource, National Library Trust, UK

Teaching Methods and Strategies


Principles of Adult Learning

  • Adults are self-directed learners and are capable of independent learning.
  • Adult learners draw on their previous experiences of life and learning, and bring these experiences to bear on new learning.
  • Learning needs to be directly related to the developmental tasks of an adult‟s social roles and directly applicable to real-life issues.
  • Motivation factors for adult learners are deep-seated and internally derived.

The Teaching and Learning Process

The resource books that accompany the learning progressions (see the reference list or go to TEC Website ) show how the learning progressions can be used to support teaching and learning using three key aspects of effective teaching and learning practice.

  • Knowing the demands (of texts, tasks, situations or problems that learners encounter)
  • Knowing the learner (what a learner can do already, in order to determine the next learning steps: this includes the use of assessment activities)
  • Knowing what to do (to help learners move on to the next steps: this includes the use of teaching and learning activities).

This three-sided or triangle model is a useful basis for planning and teaching, and should be reflected your practice with learners.

Go to Embedding Literacy and Numeracy Module for more about the teaching and learning process.