By Analiese Roberson, ACE Aotearoa Professional Development and Networks Manager.
The need for ACE Teaching Standards was identified as a key issue by the ACE Sector Strategic Alliance in 2011. The work, funded through the ACE sector Professional Development Group, has been in response to growing demand from mostly smaller ACE providers seeking support for tutor training. There was also evidence from applications for professional development grants that teaching quality continued to be an ongoing and high priority for providers and communities, both funded and non-funded. The big question was – if we are teaching, how do we know we are any good?

ACE Aotearoa, with support from Ako Aotearoa worked to progress the work required – with a focus on identifying the values that underlie Adult and Community Education in Aotearoa New Zealand.

The usefulness of the standards depend on how well they meet the needs of learners, tutors and providers, encouraging use in a ‘scale to size’ and ‘fit for purpose’ way. The standards were created as an aspirational framework to achieve quality, particularly as a generic tool that may also be used with volunteers.

These standards were agreed to by the sector and have been applied within the ACE Quality Assurance toolkit.


We are now at the stage for review and maintenance to ensure the standards are current.

The timing of review coincides with the release of the Productivity Commission final report on New Models of Tertiary Education. In chapter 14 of that report the Commission recommends providers develop and adopt frameworks of standards for tertiary teaching, suitable for New Zealand’s tertiary education system. The development of these frameworks, the Commission says, should incorporate evidence about effective teaching of Māori and Pasifika students in tertiary settings.

At the end of 2017 ACE Aotearoa established a reference group to provide input and guidance for the review. Members of this group are: Dara Davenport (Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards recipient, Literacy practitioner); Greg Hoskins (Schools in ACE); Kathryn Hazlewood (Tertiary Education Commission); Rauhina Cooper (Kia Ata Mai Educational Trust); Ian Row (Ako Aotearoa); and Wendel Karati (Risingholme Community Centre). Aiono Manu Faeea-Semeatu has been commissioned to assist with the writing and implementation.

What’s changed

The values and principles are the same, but there are now fewer standards (from 11 to 7) – but they are designed to achieve more. The language has been made more straightforward and teaching standards now have improved visibility within the system – as part of the quality assurance toolkit and within the tertiary education professional framework. Cultural capability standards are now aligned with the work being done by Ako Aotearoa. 

Next steps

The revised standards will be rolled out via regional sector workshops. It will be an opportunity for ACE tutors and any staff involved in the teaching and learning service of ACE providers, to attend a practical day workshop.

About the workshop

Making sure that you are the best educator for our community doesn’t need to be tough – but you don’t want to be that dodgy educator either. The workshop is an opportunity for you to take a look at what your strengths are and find out what other areas you would like to improve on that will make sure you keep far away from being ‘pretty dodgy’ to growing ‘better gogy’. Come along to find out more, learn about good adult learning principles, and get some take away ideas to improve teaching practice. We’re here for a good time not a long time – let’s make it count!

NOTE: The words ‘pretty-dodgy’ and ‘better-gogy’ refer to the education terms pedagogy and andragogy (the method and practice of teaching). Note that both terms are used in adult education, although pedagogy has Greek origins ‘peda’ referring to the role of leading children. The term andragogy means the method and practice of teaching adults. And finally, heutogogy, the study of self-determined learning. But that’s a whole other workshop and we’re not here to freak you out – just a ‘for your information’ notice.

Article from ACE Aotearoa Autumn Newsletter 2018.