Thursday, 5 March 2009

Professional Association

Anyone want to re-kindle this discourse now in 2009.
Lets post thoughts here, rather than add to the history!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

Let's not lose heart

I took on board Colin and Catherine's point about not rushing into anything without taking the time to broaden the constituency and engage more interest. The timescales Colin suggested, in terms of regional meetings possibly in January, seemed sensible and realistic. However, in the meantime, we seem not to have gathered much more interest, at least here on the blog, and risk losing momentum, I think. I appreciate that there seem to be technical difficulties with the blog, and it would be good if we could move to a form of online participation that is as accessible and open as possible. Maybe a small group, with some technical expertise, could take this forward? Colin and Sharon, did the contact with NIACE lead nowhere? Does anyone know what was decided about the Literacies online forum with SFEU? Perhaps we could take some of the discussion into that forum to reach a wider audience?

As for regional meetings...I think, on the ground we might be able to generate interest in the different geographical areas and possibly the face to face contact might rejuvenate both ourselves and others. Perhaps we could plan towards an open Scotland-wide meeting, building on regional meetings, early in the new year. I am happy to try to work with some others in the north to try to get a regional meeting in January. Graeme, Chris, Alasdair are you willing to help me with this?

There's obviously quite a few of you in Glasgow...what about Edinburgh? Catherine, could you help with this, connecting in the people you have already had conversations with? What about the south? Are there other exisiting 'nodes' that would make a sensible focus for regional meetings? Kathleen...what about Stirling? Ayrshire?

If we had a definite timescale for a national meeting, with some people at regional level working towards this, we might be able to pick up the momentum again.

I'm not much in favour of 'leaders', but if we are to get something national off the ground it seems we need champions in each area, and each aspect of the project, who will help move things forward.

Personally, I am still convinced that there is a need for an independent association - some things seem to be getting worse in Adult Literacies in Scotland at the moment rather than better. Certainly the problems identified early on in this blog are not going away - but it's going to be an uphill struggle to move this from being an extension of TQAL to something that is genuinely inclusive. I am convinced we CAN do it though if we work together and don't lose heart.

I'm going to start trying to get a northern meeting organised. I'll keep you posted as to our progress with this.

Aileen Ackland

Friday, 7 November 2008

another member

having struggled to get in, am at last in the blog but not at all sure how to use it. However, I am sure we need a forum for discussion of the ways to develop literacies practice and that it needs to have face to face (regional?) aspects as well as online discussion until we all catch up with the basic IT processes and feel comfortable with them.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008


I attended the 2nd Management Committee of RaPAL on 27th October (Sorry for the delay in getting back to you with this, but I have only just worked out how to

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

steady as we go!

I think it is important for all of us to stop for a moment and reflect on what we are doing in where we are at this moment.

While some of us are prepared to push ahead at speed to form a steering group other practitioners haven’t even got to the starting blocks yet.

Yesterday I attended the Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector literacy network meeting, where I spoke to some practitioners whom I had sent the blog address so that they could participate in the debate.

While they were very supportive of the idea, they felt that the blog was engaged in a conversation of which they were not a part and felt that it was a continuation of the TQAL course. This highlights the danger of the forum being seen as a clique by those who were not involved in TQAL.

Although I am aware of the need to set up a steering committee of some type to take things forward I would like it to be more representative of the wider groups within ALN in Scotland and not just former Tqallers.

I briefly spoke at the meeting to encourage those present to sign up and engage in the formation process and the debate on what we should stand for and how the forum can best represent the interests of all ALN practitioners.

It is possible that there are other reasons for people not participating more fully beyond TQAL land. These could be that they are not aware that it exists yet or that they know it exists but have not been given instructions as to how to log on. This is something I had struggled with myself and had some difficulty with the VLE.

In order to rectify this situation, and to rescue the whole project, I would suggest that people who are already participants on the blog, personally invite some people onto the blog by using the envelope icon to email someone a post. Send it to people you have emails for but are not too familiar with and ask them to sign in. Explain that they do not have to participate if they feel uncomfortable about this, but that it is good to join so that we can get an idea of the numbers that are interested it the formation of the practitioners’ association (for want of a better term).

Tell people how they can post a blog or leave a comment and also how to add themselves to the list of followers. I tried to invite the whole of the GCVS Literacy network group but it only allows for 10 emails at a time. I intend to invite as many people as possible using this method even if I don’t know them or don’t see eye to eye with them on other issues. The point is we must get more people involved.

On other issues, I think the formation of a steering group should be held off at the moment until we get more people involved. I think the time lines set out already are too narrow and unrealistic and this has been recognised by some colleagues. There is no need to rush this. It is better to nurture something that will be enduring and truly reflective of a cross section of practitioners from different areas of ALN. However, I do believe that we should be forming some type of manifesto that sets out our priorities and goals for the association. I would like to see an association formed that was going to allow for practitioners within ALN to celebrate the work that they are involved in, promote the social practice model over skill based and deficit models and allow for the sharing of experience and innovation. It should also be an arena where we can address the issues facing ALN practitioners the length and breadth of the country regarding precarious work situations and contract uncertainty as well as challenging deteriorating conditions of employment. There are many other things that the association should stand for such as helping to combat poor information channels to overcome the feeling of isolation in some areas of our work.

Of course there would have to be some management/finance structure as well in order for the association to function and work out how we can fund events like regional and national fora. It has to be democratic and if officials are elected to posts then they must be held accountable with the right of instant recall if necessary.

We should be aiming for some time towards the end of January to be having a series of regional meetings with the aim of having a national conference in April 2009. Nala in the Republic of Ireland set out a series of regional meetings and then moved toward a national conference where delegates voted on a programme of aims and objectives.

As for the support required to set up a website and produce a newsletter, time sometimes moves slowly in these areas in organisations due to other commitments and therefore, various avenues should be explored.

I am sure if we can thrash out some type of blueprint/manifesto by using the wiki or continuing the discussion blog then we can attract more of our ALN colleagues towards our ideals and aspirations.
Although it would be ideal to have fair representation from all areas I think Catherine has a point when she talks about setting up the 'bones' and adding the meat later. I feel we have to take a more direct approach in order to progress. Catherine has been very pro active and has tried to provide guidance whilst Tina has tried to pull together a steering group.

Why has this not been more productive??? Do we, initially, need to move away from a democratic stance and appoint a 'team leader'????

Friday, 10 October 2008

Steering Group

It's exciting to see that we are thinking about moving up to the next level and I do think we need to be careful how we proceed and that Tina has a point about being rudderless, although we do want to hear from all those indians. Having no idea at all about how to take this further, I'm happy to leave it with those in the know but if I can be of any assistance, I'm more than happy to have a go.

How many people do we need for this group and what kind of skills are desirable?

I did come across a site 'Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations' which has information about setting out a constitution and structures, but don't know if its relevant or not. The site address is: if anyone want to have a look.

I thought we could perhaps use the wiki to set out a constitution and then we can add and amend it as it goes along.