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AUT literacy teacher is ace

AUT literacy teacher is ace AUT lecturer Sharon Alderson is ACE - just ask her students.

The Manukau literacy expert has won an ACE Exceptional Adult Educator award for her commitment, effort and interest in her students. Sharon is one of four adult educators in South Auckland being honoured at a ceremony tonight (September 8) for her outstanding commitment to adult learning.

And her students are winners too.

Participants in the Manukau Family Literacy Programme (MFLP) at Rowandale Primary School, Manurewa, have received Outstanding Learner awards - along with students from AUT University's other Manukau Family Literacy sites, Bairds Otara and Dawson Road.

The awards given by Adult and Community Education (ACE) are part of Adult Learners' Week, September 5-11, which celebrates the efforts, achievements and contribution of adult learners, educators and providers. The Exceptional Adult Educator award recognises educators who ensure a quality learning environment; have exceptional commitment to excellence; demonstrate good practice; respond with creativity and innovation; and acknowledge they are sometimes also the learner.

City of Manukau Education Trust (COMET) regional coordinator MFLP Robin Houlker nominated Sharon for the award.

Robin congratulated Sharon for her wonderful and unstinting enthusiasm for the programme and her students over the past three years. "Sharon's dedication, professional interest and support for her students are why she was nominated for - and won - this award.

She has embraced the ethos of the family literacy programme and developed wonderful relationships with the early childhood, school and tertiary partners," she says.

"The students were nominated as a group so we are delighted for them," says Robin.

"Their commitment this year was a trigger for the nomination.

COMET congratulates all the winners and also other nominees for their efforts towards engaging in adult learning." ACE awards co-ordinator Pam Peters says Sharon's nominators praised her empathy, enthusiasm and hard work.

"There are many tutors and learners who are making a difference and they are worthy recipients.

Sharon's story is outstanding among many," she says.

Pam says Sharon's students include mothers and grandmothers who harness the power of education.

"I've heard of a young woman who has spent two nights a week for 18 months learning maths so she can reapply for a job she was rejected for.

Another was a 75-year-old Chinese migrant woman and her husband who learnt English for three years and now helps others.

"These are people who have shone often against the odds and it's heartening to see." Sharon says winning the award is recognition of the huge success of the Manukau Family Literacy Programme.

"There are heaps of things that make this programme different and better than others - the main one being it includes the whole family, not just the adult learner.

It accommodates parents studying full-time who want to participate in their children's education at the same time." Adult students go into their child's classroom or kindergarten every day and work alongside their young ones, she says.

"Some adult literacy programmes are short term and only a few hours a day.

Ours are 20 hours a week and cover nearly a full year.

By working with the whole family, the programmes are proving a huge success." Of the award Sharon says just being recognised by her peers is an honour - to actually win has made her feel humble and proud.

"This affirms my belief in what teaching adults should be.

I am extremely proud of my students who received the Outstanding Learner awards.

They deserve this for all the hard work, commitment and sacrifices they have made." Students receiving the Outstanding Learner awards are: Dawn Colleen Cassidy, Eseta Lanu Tuigamala, Falepunaoa Mapusua, Gloria Te-Awhina Taura, Miria Turner, Roshni Devi Narayan, Tessa Togiavalu, Vita Tanu, Eva Kuri and Lima Ailuai. Adult Learners' Week 5-11 SeptemberThe theme for this year's Adult Learners' Week is: Learning Never Stops - E kore e mutu te ako.

The week raises the profile of adult learning in New Zealand.

It includes International Literacy Day, September 8, which is celebrated across the globe and is supported by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

ENDS

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