My project will focus specifically on encouraging learners to consider how the skills they learn in an English classroom are indelibly linked to obtaining and maintaining quality employment. This will be done in the plenary of each lesson through dialogue.
Also, I would like to discuss with learners the impact that literacy skills have on the quality of people’s lives the world over (with higher literacy rates come higher life expectancy, earnings, social mobility etc). We could consider this in global terms, but also at a local level, given that there is considerable social deprivation locally.
The Skills for Jobs Whitepaper sees this as an important issue: “Most occupations require competence in English, maths, and digital skills. 31 However, 49% of adults have numeracy skills no better than the level expected of an 11-year-old; for literacy, it is 15%.32 52% of the workforce do not have essential digital skills for work. 33 We need to address this so employers get the competent staff they need and people without these skills can develop them in order to find a good job, or progress their careers.”
And, more specifically for FE: “Our reforms to date encourage people to gain these basic skills by requiring 16- 19-year-old students without an approved intermediate level (level 2) in English and maths to continue studying these subjects. Achieving an approved qualification at this level is also an exit requirement for T Levels and is necessary to complete an advanced technical (level 3) or higher apprenticeship.”
I am hoping that consideration of these things will lessen the barriers between learning that our learners face. Many of our learners are disengaged, as they do not see the currency of an English qualification, or struggle to see how the skills learned therein are skills that they will use in the world of work. I hope to redress this.
I do not expect to completely change students’ world outlook; I expect, and hope, that even a subtle shift in a learners’ approach to obtaining an English qualification could have a considerable impact on their learning.
I will give my learners a questionnaire about what we have discussed, hopefully gleaning insight into their opinions about the content. I can also observe any salient shifts of attitude or engagement with the learners.