Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Welcome to 2014 Conference: Keiko Yasukawa

2014 NSW Adult Literacy & Numeracy Council Conference:  What's in a name? From ABE to Foundation Skills – and beyond?

As adult education providers in NSW prepare for the implementation of the new Smart and Skilled policy environment, and experience the impact of the National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults, many of us are increasingly asking: what about our 'second chance' learners we have had in our classrooms for many years; where will they go; will their needs be met? What has happened to Adult Basic Education?
Much history, passion, commitment to social justice and importantly a belief in the power of education is vested in the name ‘Adult Basic Education’ which many of us identify as our ‘field’. But even in the last two decades, we have assumed other identities – adult literacy/ numeracy, language, literacy and numeracy (LLN), learner support, tutorial support, foundation education/ studies/ skills, workplace language and literacy teachers, practitioners, and sometimes trainers. What do these shifts in identity mean for the field, for practitioners and for learners? Are we simply being nostalgic in contemplating our identities, or is there something fundamental that we do not want to lose? If so, what are some new spaces and places where we can continue to be part of realising our learners’ dreams and aspirations? This conference invites participants to critically examine the transformations in our field of Adult Basic Education, and what the future holds for learners seeking a second chance in education.
While it is difficult to feel overly optimistic and enthusiastic at a time when much of what the field has achieved looks as if it is about to be dismantled, the coming together at this conference affords us with the opportunity to collectively re-imagine how we do what practitioners in the field have done so well – perhaps in different spaces and ways, with new partners within our own institutions and in our communities.
We can look forward to our keynote speakers helping us to reflect on our past and articulate the core of what we stand for, suggest new ways to connect with our learners in their communities, their classrooms and through the work they produce. Through solidarity, we will find ways to ensure that there will continue to be a second, third or fourth chance in education for those who seek it.
On behalf of the Council, I would like to thank all of the speakers and workshop presenters who have agreed to contribute to the day. Thanks are due to all the Council members who have supported the work of the Council in a range of capacities over the year. We appreciate the support given by UTS in 'housing' the Council in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, and partnering with us in the organisation of this conference. My personal thanks are due to the Council Committee members who volunteered their time to organise Council activities including this conference. We have been supported this year by Renata Atkins, our Executive Officer without whom this conference would not have happened!
Finally, thanks to all of you who are here today. We hope you enjoy the conference!

Keiko Yasukawa
President, NSW Adult Literacy & Numeracy Council

Saturday, 1 November 2014

2014 OctoberVET event

Refocusing program accountability: Lifelong and life-wide perspective on literacy and numeracy development

Presented by Professor Stephen Reder, Portland State University Thursday 23 October, 2014 UTS, Sydney

Stephen Reder’s study is a longitudinal study of adult LLN learners, that provides important insights about how we think about the benefits of adult LLN programs in the short and long term. His presentation at this year’s ACAL conference was received very highly by practitioners, researchers and those involved in policy deliberations. Keynote presentation download