Literacy Nova Scotia: Practitioners' Training Program




The Nova Scotia Literacy Practitioner Training and Certification Program

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Training Schedule for 2023-24

How to Register for the Training

Practitioner Training Staff

General Information

Description of Modules and Practicum

Frequently Asked Questions

Our Practitioner Training Program Can Open Doors For You!

“I would strongly recommend PT if you are thinking about becoming a practitioner.”   
   ~ Brent MacPhee

Brent MacPhee works with the Dartmouth Learning Network (DLN) as a Math Level II GED instructor. After receiving his engineering degree, he decided to pursue education as a career. “I had never taught a group of individuals how to do anything before. The executive director here at DLN suggested I take the Practitioner Training.”

“PT taught me about how individuals learn. I’ve found myself to be a very visual learner, and that’s not always the case with others. Typically, they learn in a group and build on things that they’ve learned before. One thing I’ve added to my math classroom is the use of manipulatives, things that are real that the adult learner can relate to."


"My approach to teaching has certainly changed as a result of the Practitioner Training program. I now incorporate a lot of new techniques I learned in the program."  
~ Read Cavita Persad's Testimonial

"The Practitioner Training Program has allowed me to reflect on my own teaching practices and the needs my students, and it's helped all of us learn."  
~ Read Mark Devereux's Testimonial

“The Practitioner Training Program is practical, flexible, and enjoyable!”  
~ Read Allison Parsons' Testimonial



 Practitioner Training Schedule 2023-2024


Practitioner Training Schedule 2024-2025

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How do I register for this training?

Registration Form for NSSAL Participants
The tuition is free of charge for participants who are LNS members and are from the Nova Scotia School for Adult Learning (NSSAL). Funding provided by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration.

Registration Form for Non-NSSAL Participants (Tuition Payers)
Individuals not associated with any learning organization within NSSAL will be charged a non-refundable tuition on a cost-recovery basis.


Practitioner Training Tuition Schedule:
(Practitioner Training registrants will receive access to the LNS Resource Hub and monthly eNews.)

Individual Modules: $478 each (includes cost of orientation and practicum)

Discounts Are Available:

LNS individual members: $400 per module (a $78 saving)

LNS members associated with non-profit organizations: $375 per module (a $103 saving)

$2,500 group rates for 6 - 12 participants

*Your tuition payment is due when you register. Tuition is non-refundable. To receive certification, you must complete 6 modules and a practicum.


Registration for the program is accepted anytime. Modules will be offered based on demand and funding. We will accommodate up to 20 participants per module.

Literacy Nova Scotia requires each module to have at least 10 people registered for it to be offered as scheduled.

Priority will be given to practitioners (paid or unpaid, class or one-to-one) working directly with learners in the following manner:

  1. You are affiliated with a learning organization (NSSAL) and the organization/network confirms your registration.

  2. You are affiliated with the learning organization (NSSAL) and you register independently from the organization.

  3. You are affiliated with a learning organization not funded by NSSAL. Tuition will be charged on a cost-recovery basis.

Please note: Auditing of courses is not permitted (ie. those who do not intend to submit an assignment should not register).

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Practitioner Training Staff

Marie David

Brenda Lavandier

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General Information

What does “literacy practitioner” mean?
“Literacy practitioner” refers to both paid instructors and volunteer tutors. Literacy practitioners work with adult literacy learners in groups and/or one-to-one.

Is this training program for tutors or instructors or both?
This training program is for both volunteer tutors and paid instructors; it is for all literacy practitioners. The teaching strategies, best practices, and curriculum referred to in the modules are meant for both tutors and instructors. The examples given sometimes refer to teaching groups of learners, and sometimes to teaching a single learner in a one-to-one situation, but all can be adapted from one situation to the other.

Is this training program for new practitioners only?
This is a foundational training for practitioners in their first year of working with adult literacy learners, but seasoned practitioners are welcome to participate. Those who work with adult learners in some other capacity, such as coordinators, support staff, board members, and administrators may find some of the modules useful to their work as well. Participants in the modules have a wide range of experience at teaching or tutoring. Some come from teaching English as a second language; others come from the K-12 system; others have no experience in teaching, but bring their own love of learning and a desire to help. Those with more experience may provide practical help to less experienced practitioners; new practitioners bring experience in other areas of life, and their ideas and questions will help more experienced practitioners re-examine their practice.

Does this course cover everything I need to be a good literacy practitioner?
No. This is a foundational training only. It gets you started working with adult learners, but good practitioners are life-long learners, and as you work in the literacy field, there will be many opportunities for further training—workshops, on-line courses, books and presentations of various kinds.

How long does the program take?
You may take the modules as quickly as they become available and complete the program within six months, or you may take breaks between modules and take up to two years to complete the program.

How much time does a module take?
The online modules (all modules, except What’s Your Message? which is delivered face-to-face) require about eight hours each to complete, spread over four weeks. This includes linking to websites, reading, taking part in online discussions with other participants, doing online and offline activities, and completing assignments. However, there is a wealth of material in each module, and it would be possible to spend much more time tracking them all down. We expect each participant to suit the module to the experience, interest, and time available that each brings to the course. If you are spending more than eight hours, and you are enjoying it, carry on. If you are spending more than eight hours and feeling overwhelmed, or resentful, pull back. Make sure you get the assignment done, and fill the remaining eight hours with the activities and discussions you find most useful and interesting. Each module includes one assignment; credit for the module is granted when the assignment is successfully completed.

Goals of the program
As you work through the modules of the training program, we hope you will:

  • recognize and value the strengths you already have to bring to your work with adult learners, and take the opportunities provided to develop more strengths in other areas
  • make connections with other literacy practitioners in your area and around the province
  • broaden your knowledge of the Nova Scotia School of Adult Learning
  • learn specific teaching techniques and strategies for working with learners
  • come to see the many separate aspects of being a literacy practitioner, and understand how they weave together to make an organic whole
  • experience a model of teaching and assessment that you can transfer to your work with adult literacy learners

Format of the program
There are ten modules in the program, plus a short practicum. One of them, What’s Your Message?: Relating to the Adult Learner is delivered in a workshop format, approximately five hours long. The other nine modules are delivered online, with a facilitator. Each of them requires about eight hours to complete, spread over four weeks. This includes linking to sites on the internet, reading, taking part in online discussions with other participants, doing online activities, and completing assignments. Each module includes one assignment; when the assignment is successfully completed, credit for the module is granted.

Program Requirements

  • You may choose to do all ten modules.
  • You may choose to do only the requirements for certification.
  • You may do a module at a time when you have time.

It is strongly recommended that all practitioners, especially if they are new to the field, start by taking the module called Literacy, Adult Learners and YOU! Other modules may be taken in any order. To receive certification, practitioners must successfully complete a practicum plus six modules, as follows:

  1. ALL of these three modules:
    • Literacy, Adult Learners, and You!
    • What’s Your Message? Relating to the Adult Learner
    • Integrating Information Technology (IT) Skills Into Your Teaching

  2. ONE of these three communications modules:
    • The Beginning Reader: Basics
    • Techniques for Teaching Reading, Writing and Spelling
    • Communications: Learners in Transition

  3. ONE of these math modules:
    • Teaching Math: Basic Principles
    • Teaching Math: Keeping It Real

  4. ONE other module:
    • Learning Challenges
    • Supporting English as an Additional Language Adult Literacy Learners (EAL ALLs)
    • One communications or math module

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Description of Modules and Practicum

Orientation: Getting Started Online
The online orientation will introduce you to the website for the program; orientation activities will ensure that you can navigate the site and read and post messages to the facilitator and other participants. Your facilitator and computer technician will be available by phone if necessary. The orientation activities may take less than hour if you are very comfortable with email and other software, or a couple of hours if you have more to learn. 

Literacy, Adult Learners and You!*
*This module is a prerequisite for 'Supporting English as an Additional Language Adult Literacy Learners (EAL ALLs)' for practitioners with no prior teaching experience.
Who are the adults who come back to school to do the basics? You’ll meet some in print, in video and in person. You’ll broaden your knowledge of the Nova Scotia School of Adult Learning, and the programs and resources it offers, as well as taking a look at adult literacy through the lens of Literacy Nova Scotia. Finally, you’ll think about yourself as a practitioner. What do you have to offer? What do you need to develop? What are the joys and satisfactions that come with working with learners in the adult learning program? Is this the place for you? Learning Outcomes

What’s Your Message? Relating to the Adult Learner
This module is a one-day workshop, delivered at various places in Nova Scotia. It puts you in the same room with your facilitator and other practitioners taking the course. Relationships with learners are carried on in complex situations—often in public, each of you with assumptions and expectations, and both of you pressured by time and the need to cover content. You will spend the day looking at some common scenarios that happen between adult learners and instructors and tutors. You will learn some techniques you can use to make your relationships with learners less difficult, so you can do what you really came for—teaching and learning. We’ll let you know when and where it is offered, so you can pick the one you want to attend. Learning Outcomes

Integrating Information Technology (IT) Skills Into Your Teaching
There is more variety now in teaching reading and math because of the resources you’ll find on the internet, and because of new computer programs designed to help learners with the subjects. Learners also use and want to learn to use the internet and everyday software to keep up with friends, to look for information, to share photos, to write, to organize a family tree, etc. You may be very new to this technology or an old hand, but you’ll find a richness of resources in this module, and a chance to think about some of the issues that come with the technology. Learning Outcomes

The Beginning Reader: Basics
In this module, videos of tutors and instructors working with beginning readers are used to illustrate some of the principles of teaching the skills of reading, writing, listening and speaking, with an emphasis on using those skills in a real-life situation. Some specific teaching techniques are introduced. This module is recommended for practitioners working with learners in E3 Foundations. Learning Outcomes

Techniques for Teaching Reading, Writing and Spelling
How do we teach these basic skills? How do we “mark” learner writing? How can we improve skills and self confidence at the same time? Some very specific techniques and strategies are introduced in this module to get you started, or to supplement the work you already do. This module is recommended for practitioners working with learners in E3 Foundations. Learning Outcomes

Communications: Learners in Transition
The learner who is making a transition to further education or training needs to take all the communications skills they have learned and apply them to ever more academic, more abstract, more complex reading material and writing assignments. The skills are the same, but suddenly the newspaper story becomes a biology text book and the language experience story becomes a five paragraph essay with a very strict form! This module is recommended for practitioners working with learners in E3 Foundations and ALP Level III/High School Prep (HSP) who are planning to go on to higher levels of the adult learning program, or to other training, or to take the CAEC. Learning Outcomes

Teaching Math: Basic Principles
What’s current in teaching basic math to adult learners? How can I help learners develop the ability to do mental math? How can I help them remember facts and processes automatically? How can I deal with learner resistance? This module uses content from E3 Foundations – ALP Level III/High School Prep (HSP) and the CAEC to illustrate some techniques and strategies for teaching, using manipulatives, games, models, diagrams, and print and internet resources. Learning Outcomes

Teaching Math: Keeping It Real
Topics in this module include developing number sense, using real life applications of math, finding and sharing links to interactive online sites for learners, marking for confidence and test preparation. It uses content from E3 Foundations – ALP Level III/High School Prep (HSP) and the CAEC to illustrate some techniques and strategies for teaching. Learning Outcomes

Learning Challenges
Learners in the Adult Learning Program face many challenges— learning difficulties, experiences of violence or trauma, physical and mental health issues, lack of money, family responsibilities… Our focus in this module is on how practitioners can teach so that learners can deal with the challenges and achieve their educational goals. We will see that we don’t need a different kind of teaching program or a different set of strategies to deal with each kind of challenge. Rather, teaching practices that support learners to overcome one challenge have a lot in common with strategies to support their efforts to overcome other challenges. Learning Outcomes

Supporting English as an Additional Language Adult Literacy Learners (EAL ALLs)*
*PT participants who have no prior teaching experience must take 'Literacy Adult Learners and You' before registering for this module.
How do we teach learners with low literacy skills who are also learning English? This module introduces some of the basic needs of EAL ALLs, best practices, how to do needs assessments, how to plan lessons using appropriate techniques and approaches, how to observe and give feedback to learners, and how to adjust future instruction to meet the needs of EAL ALLs. Learning Outcomes

The Practicum
The Practicum Assignment is a requirement for certification in the Practitioner Training and Certification Program. This is also a stand-alone assignment for experienced practitioners currently working with a learner and whose goal is to know how to use a NSSAL Learning Plan. The registrant will be asked to use the NSSAL Learning Plan with a learner and write a reflection on their experience. All necessary documents will be accessible once you enroll in the module.

You are eligible to register for the practicum any time after you receive credit for the module, 'Literacy, Adult Learners, and You,' and are currently working with an adult literacy learner. Please contact Marie David if you would like to begin the practicum assignment.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What if I’m not sure my computer skills are good enough to take an online course?
The orientation Getting Started Online is made for you. It will introduce you to the site you will work on for each module. Besides a written manual and some independent work, a facilitator and a technician will offer to walk you through it by phone or in person, and make sure you know how to manage the site, how to post messages to the course facilitator and other participants, and how to keep track of the material.

How long does the program take?
You may take the modules as quickly as they are available, if you wish, and complete the program in six months, or you may take breaks between modules and take up to two years to complete the program.

Can I take more than six modules?
Yes. You will receive certification as soon as you complete the requirements of the program, but you may go on to take more modules as you wish.

What about non-teaching staff?
Coordinators, supervisors, other administrators, receptionists, board members and so on will benefit from the following modules, and could take them as a matter of professional development: Literacy, Adult Learners and YOU!, What’s Your Message and Learning Challenges.

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