You wouldn’t expect a maths teacher to teach plastering…

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The practice of integrating or embedding LLN into vocational study is not new, but was given renewed focus as part of the Skills for Life strategy. Many learners are motivated to learn a set of vocational skills to access employment, but much less motivated to improve their LLN. They are often not keen to return to studying English or maths, which they may well associate with negative memories from school. Many vocational qualifications also require learners to take and pass examinations in English and maths. Learners need to develop the LLN required for the workplace and the job, for the vocational study and assessment, and also for additional LLN assessments. Learners who do not have English as their first language, who may be more motivated to develop their language skills, are also motivated to find employment. For those with vocational skills from their country of origin, the embedding or integration of language learning within another subject area can offer an efficient route to learning the vocationally relevant language, while updating or learning new vocational skills.

Many practitioners believe that the most effective way of providing learners with effective LLN learning opportunities is to embed or integrate the LLN teaching and learning within vocational or recreational study and practice. But this practice has not been systematically developed or supported.

This research project examined the effects on learner success of embedding the teaching of literacy, language and numeracy (LLN) in Level 1 and Level 2 vocational programmes. The project also sought to identify the key characteristics of successful embedded LLN provision. The research examined the relationships between embedded LLN provision and:
• the retention of learners on programmes
• the achievement of vocational qualifications and qualifications in LLN
• learner attitudes.

This study focuses on learners in vocational courses. It does not attempt to compare more general discrete LLN provision with embedded provision. Learners who choose to attend discrete LLN classes have made a decision to improve those skills. This study concerns itself with the progress of learners whose primary motivation is vocational, and who may or may not acknowledge their LLN learning needs.

Casey, H. (2006) You wouldn’t expect a maths teacher to teach plastering…: embedding literacy, language and numeracy in post-16 vocational programmes: the impact on learning and achievement: November 2006. NRDC: London