Festival of Adult Learning (Ahurei Ākonga) ran from 1st to 8th September 2020 although activities were curtailed by Covid-19 restrictions.
This festival 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 Adult Learner Award and one tutor for Exceptional Educator. We also nominated two tutors for Lock-down Champion to mark their extraordinary efforts in keeping in touch with their learners during Auckland’s two lock-downs. Congratulations to them all for their hard work. The award ceremony was postponed because of Covid-19 Alert Levels and held in October.
Viia Lupo – ACE Outstanding Adult Learner Award nominee 2020
‘Vee’s’ journey with Literacy Waitakere began in 2017, when she enrolled in a Learner Licence course.
Her perseverance through bouts of illness and cold, wet winters when it was impossible for her to venture out from her home in Onehunga to New Lynn, saw her achieve one of her goals – to gain her Learner Licence! Since then she has also been taking driving lessons and will be able to achieve another of her goals soon – to gain her restricted driver’s licence!
While attending several learner licence courses, she also joined a beginner computer group, and then successfully progressed into the intermediate group. Not stopping there, she continued with her determination to learn new skills and gain further confidence in an adult literacy group.
Vee is a great supporter of other learners in her groups, and is always happy to help out with the skills she has gained when others are finding things difficult. She always has a smile, even when life deals her difficult moments. She loves the independence that coming to Literacy Waitakere gives her, and a chance to be her own person without the help of her family or support workers.
Akiko Irii – ACE Outstanding Adult Learner Award nominee 2020
Akiko is an exceptional learner who not only demonstrates a positive outlook towards learning but willingly takes on feedback to improve her English. She has a happy and enthusiastic attitude to all learning tasks and contributes great ideas. Akiko asks interesting questions and her questions help her peers gain a deeper understanding of what they have been learning. She offers insightful comments and contributions to class discussions.
Akiko is a team player. She has excellent communication skills and has the ability to work with others in order to achieve the best result. Her cheerful artwork and storytelling ability contribute to a warm and positive learning atmosphere for others in the group.
Akiko has a gentle and sensitive nature. She is a kind friend to her peers. She cares and tries to help other members of the group when they need learning support or seem low in their morale.
Akiko is an absolute pleasure to have in the group. She is a supportive, reliable and committed learner who achieves her best in every opportunity that is provided to her. She deserves to receive the award in recognition of her unwavering commitment to learning and her manaakitanga towards people around her.
Anne Chen – Lock-down Champion Nominee 2020
Originally from the land of orangutans and headhunters (not the Westie type), Anne discovered English language teaching in New Zealand in 1991. Her areas of tutoring interest include phonological awareness, grammar analysis and academic reading and writing exam strategies. Her target learners have been Pasifika people, with whom she uses interactive activities and songs to help practice and review new items learned, making learning effortless, fun and meaningful.
During both lock-downs, Anne continued to work digitally with learners at different times, with up to four at any one time. She encouraged her learners to use WhatsApp and Facebook, and sent emails on the mornings of the sessions, with a news clip for example and questions which were discussed and used to introduce new language and ideas. Interactive activities were used as much as was possible during online sessions, thus removing the ‘tutor’ from the main role of ‘explainer’ and extending to the learners the opportunity to question and discover the English language.
It is Anne’s fun, passionate and enthusiastic disposition and love for her work that offers all her learners the opportunity to thrive and become more confident using the English language within their communities and whanau. During the first lock-down, she even managed to enlist new learners – without even really trying! Her existing learners spoke so highly of her to their friends that they too wanted to be part of the roopu.
Jacqui Tisch – Lock-down Champion Nominee 2020
Jacqui is a youth and adult educator who has facilitated communication, social skills, self-esteem and literacy programmes in a wide variety of organisations for the past 25 years. She has a determined interest in all her learners’ well-being, with many of them showing huge steps in how they value themselves and aim to overcome hurdles that have been part of their lives since they were young.
When the first lock-down happened, Jacqui made a dedicated commitment to offer her learners the opportunity digitally to continue to have connection with each other. Through trial and error, they all learnt strategies such as hand signals, group considerations and through one learner’s good computer skills and knowledge, they all adapted to a new ‘platform’ for tutoring and learning.
Throughout both lock-downs, and until we moved to Level 1, Jacqui was skyping her literacy group learners twice a week. 3 – 4 learners attended regularly, and for one of these, who lives alone, it was the only interaction with people that she had. During the skype sessions, she shared photos, articles, Kahoot and they watched videos together. She also created a Facebook group for these learners. Of course, while changing from face-to-face learning to using screens, learning goals shifted as well as the modification of lesson content.
Jacqui managed this especially well, and with her infectious and ribald sense of humour, she has continued to engage learners and allowed them to open up and address their stress and anxieties, especially around the challenges of COVID.
Tooki Proctor – Exceptional Adult Educator Nominee 2020
Tooki came to Literacy Waitakere 15 years ago with a kete full of interesting qualifications and experiences. A very experienced computer tutor with an aptitude for IT, Tooki has an MA in English Literature, qualifications in drama and music, environmental education and volunteering as a radio operator for coastguard. Tooki then turned her attention to adult literacy tutor training and has filled the role of computer tutor very capably.
Not only does Tooki help those at low levels of literacy and numeracy with straight digital skills, embedding reading and understanding, written expression for different purposes, internet searching for job seeking, maths and online learning programmes. She helps learners at all levels, including our tutors and staff, facilitating tutor professional development sessions, to upskill on the various programmes and apps we all need to function in an online environment.
As well as tutoring, multi-talented Tooki is a programme co-ordinator, looks after our day to day IT at Literacy Waitakere, taking on social media marketing, newsletter writing, document design, especially our student writing booklets, database management, reporting student data to funders and evaluation surveys at all levels. She willingly takes on new roles when the need arises, upskilling herself in the process.
Tooki is creative and innovative in all her tutoring, responding to the needs of all those she helps with unfailing good humour and patience. Tooki demonstrates good practice in all aspects of her tutoring, in the programmes she designs, in her delivery and in evaluation.