News: Adult Learners Week 2017

Adult Learners’ Week (He Tangata Matauranga) ran this year from 2-9 September 2017

It is an opportunity to celebrate the successes and achievements of everyone participating in Adult and Community Education (ACE).

It has also become a way to encourage anyone in the wider community with needs or desires that can be met through learning to consider adult education, whether it be learning to adjust to life in a new country, re-training to find employment, adjusting to life after prison, acquiring parenting skills or just getting out and doing an activity to make life better and meet people.

To mark the week, we nominated two learners for the Outstanding Learner Award, and two tutors for Exceptional Educator. All nominees received certificates at the award ceremonies on Saturday 2nd September during the Festival of Learning at the Te Atatu Peninsula Community Centre. 

Congratulations to them all for their hard work, and especially Eric who won the overall award for Outstanding Learner.

Our Outstanding Learner nominees were Eric Tuiavii  and Paul Chappory. 

Eric is an excellent role model of an effective adult learner.  Eric is a builder and a family man who has made an ongoing commitment to attend a weekly evening programme to further his personal and professional literacy goals.  He is an asset in the group learning situation where he readily grasps and shares reading, writing, speaking and listening strategies with other learners in the programme.  Eric effectively applies strategies learnt, both within the group learning situation and in his daily life.  Eric’s commitment to learning has been strongly motivated by his desire to share his literacy knowledge and skills with his young daughter who has just begun her school education as a new entrant.

Eric has developed effective leadership and communication skills while attending the programme.  Eric is also utilising these skills in his work as a builder. He welcomes people from a wide variety of backgrounds, ages and abilities, helping them feel at ease as they settle into the group.  He motivates and guides other learners in the group with his active encouragement and example.  He is like the glue that holds everyone together in the learning environment.  Eric is most certainly an outstanding adult learner.

Paul came to Adult Literacy Waitakere almost a year ago to improve his job prospects and aim higher in his goals.

Right from the start he has shown himself to be enthusiastic and open to learning, extremely dedicated to putting that learning into practice and looking for any opportunity to learn more.  He is also keen to share any knowledge he has.

Paul has demonstrated that his hard work has paid off and has already made a difference in his personal life by lessening his anxiety and increasing his confidence ie. dealing with WINZ, ACC, looking at job applications etc. He says:

“My anxiety level used to be about a 8 or 9 when doing things, now it’s about a 3 or 4.  I’m using the tools that I have learnt here”

Our Exceptional Educator nominees this year were Toni Reihana and Tracy Thomas.

Toni is someone who has a quiet presence. She isn’t seen to be playing the fool, speaking loudly, waving her arms to get attention. She sits quietly, still, composed, and is totally present.

Her warmth, delight in learning and teaching, sense of humour and genuine respect of all learners creates the cement that that holds the learning relationship together. She works with learners from a range of backgrounds, ethnicities and skill bases. She encourages, gives constructive feedback and enjoys seeing the learners increase in self-belief, confidence and skills.

After working with Toni, one learner,  who had had his own business for 5 years, was able to pass a specialist driving licence and felt confident to take on the full responsibility for all aspects of running his business, including the paperwork. He said “Toni is a brilliant teacher. She used a lot different strategies to help make me understand. She was patient, didn’t pressure me, gave me time to work things out. She made everything relevant to my needs and gave me lots of opportunities to practice.”

Tracy has been a tutor with Literacy Waitakere since 2015.

She works primarily with groups of adult learners seeking to improve their literacy and numeracy in order to live full and independent lives.  Tracy also supports apprentices with literacy and numeracy, enabling them to complete the theory requirements of their apprenticeships.

Many of the learners come to these groups with previous negative learning experiences and outcomes.  Each session is carefully planned to encompass a variety of learning styles enabling learners to focus on working towards their goals.  Tracy creates a safe and vibrant learning environment where learners’ opinions are valued, mutual respect is fostered and learners are encouraged to support each other.

Tracy has an infectious giggle and a talent to see the best in people.  She designs activities that meet the needs of learners, some with dyslexia, and engages them, sometimes for the first time, as successful learners.  Laughter erupts from her learning spaces and excellent attendance attests to the learners’ engagement in the learning process.