We know that Numeracy matters
Numeracy integrates with many aspects of our lives. Sometimes we may not be aware of the calculations we apply so seamlessly, then there are other times when we are aware that we can’t work something out! Living in the 21st Century requires increased numeracy skills and knowledge to navigate the personal, community and workplace numeracy contexts.
For example, Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services Global Financial Literacy Survey of more than 150,000 adults in 148 countries in 2014 asked adults four questions based on financial concepts: risk diversification, inflation, numeracy and compound interest
The results: 30% of women and 35% of men could answer at least 3 of the four questions asked
In his discussion post (below) Dave Tout reminds us of the possible impact of living with limited numeracy skills or knowledge. Referring to the Australian results from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), Dave comments …..
…..…”that the results, no matter how you read them, demonstrate that a significant number of Australians aged 15 years and upwards do not have access to sufficient numeracy and mathematical skills to cope equitably with life in the 21st century.
The capacity to make informed decisions – in the workplace or when out shopping, following instructions about a medical or health matter, making decisions about financial matters, or understanding the implications of, say, gambling – all require good numeracy skills.
LinkedIn discussion (TAE Newcomers 2/10/15)
Numeracy instruction matters
The AAMT and AIG Identifying and Support Skills of 21st Century Workers provides an overview of the mathematics used in the workplace. The need to communicate mathematically, use in the head techniques and interpret from given data are featured in different examples.
Where possible, and perhaps more than usual, identify opportunities to strengthen learners’ numeracy skills and knowledge. Here are some suggestions to consider.
Go beyond the expected
Encourage learners to tune in to where numeracy is ‘happening’ in their lives. Go beyond the training context (if you have the opportunity) Each day on news – no matter where it is accessed, there are facts, figures , results, amounts, budgets, statistics ……- there is usually a context relevant to the learner group that could bring numeracy to life and/or be incorporated into training. Build opportunities to talk about numeracy in an ‘everyday’ conversation way.
Go beyond your comfort zone!
Building numeracy skills can feel ‘prickly’ if you are not usually involved with the numeracy task. Our everyday lives may not involve using the breadth of mathematical and measurement calculations, we can be a bit rusty, or there may be calculations we have never learnt; this can be the case in specific vocation areas.
- Check your own capacity to do the task. Be sure of the underpinning steps involved, potential trouble spots, required skills and knowledge.
- If you are feeling a bit rusty – go to where you might be able to revisit some important basics. This free 5 week MOOC Numeracy Skills for Employability and the Workplace starts again in February.
- If you are looking for how to build your learners’ foundation skills training, We also have the Numeracy webinar recording available for purchase. We discuss Teaching Tips instruction strategies to build learners’ numeracy skills within training, including use of elearning resources. Read more about the webinar here.
Go to where the learner is at
- Learners may be a bit rusty too. Offer tasks and activities that enable you to see or hear how the learner approaches the calculations involved.
- Offer step by step revision, scaffolded with resources to ‘see’ the steps again, or practise them.
- Some calculations require steps in a particular order, to remain on-target, reveal the hidden traps.
Go to sites that encourage learners to use numeracy for personal use
- Google Calendar
- Google Maps
- Google Spreadsheet
- online calculators, currency converters
Go to resources that show how to do a specific calculations.
The following resources are a selection of from the Teaching Strategies page 2 Numeracy resources. There are many more, we encourage you to ‘go and have a look’!.
- BBC Skills wise – range of familiar getting started concepts presented at three levels. Includes teacher explanation, practice worksheets, many with answers available, some videos and quizzes.
- VALBEC Strength with Numbers – range of familiar getting started concepts. Includes teaching strategies, activities and games, worksheet tasks
- Khan Academy (need you own login) – may take a little navigating but once you know your way around there are video explanations, practice tasks (self correcting) quizzes for many mathematical calculations.
- Mathcentre resources – four examples
- Facts and formula for functional mathematics (Leaflet)
- Reading tables and graphs (PDF)
- Finance – range of topics (PDF)
- Percentages (VIDEO)
- 10 You Tube channels showing a variety of strategies – check these out first. Aim to to avoid resources prepared for use with children, especially if they look very child-friendly