Our immediate focus is to bring the Project Steering Group together (5 March) to review how we currently engage retired teachers in programs delivering literacy skills in community centres and to discuss assumptions for testing.
Assumptions identified at the first TaCSI workshop fall out of the two critical elements of our project: literacy and retired teachers.
We know from previous testing that teachers are not interested in volunteering until after eight months of retirement at least. Therefore we need to ask ‘How do we find them once they have retired and reignite their willingness to share their skills and knowledge?’
The Australian Adult Literacy and Life Skills Survey (2006, ABS, www.abs.gov.au) indicates that 45% of South Australians do not have the functional literacy skills required to cope with daily life situations. Functional literacy is the ability to perform basic reading and writing skills including spelling and grammar, and mathematics. The need for Community Centre programs is clearly apparent but it raises the question ‘What will make people with poor literacy skills attend?’
Other questions which will help us to identify assumptions to test include:
- Is there a shortage of skilled tutors to deliver programs?
- Are retired teachers better off as a result of their involvement in tutoring programs?
Our thinking has begun to identify a number of different ways to reengage teachers and link them with community centres such as Adult Continuing Education programs, Community Development programs, Personal Support Program and the yet to be launched career planning/transition services. We envisage being able to offer a suite of options to attract retired teachers to volunteering within our member centres.