TEACHING AND LEARNING MATERIALS
Numeracy has a great significance in our everyday life. Those topics catch us when doing our shopping and preparing dinner (cf. Eating and cooking), when using the bus instead of the car or buying a train ticket (cf. Travelling and mobility), when running five kilometers through the park (cf. Staying safe and healthy), etc. The ability of using mathematics and numbers in our personal and working life is essential each and every day and at all levels and stations of our life. Here have a close look at some very urgent, contemporary, practical, and omnipresent topics we all have to face nearly every day.
TEACHING NUMERIC SKILLS FOR USE
Mathematics and numeracy are always connected to reality and functional. This is our didactic and pedagogical starting point when working out, adapting and implementing our examples and material with or for the adult learners. We must be aware of the fact that adults use literacy, numeracy and digital skills to deal with problems in everyday life. Numeracy as we understand it today is a social practice and necessary to participate in our digital and numeric world. A social practice view of numeracy not only takes into account the different contexts in which numeracy is practised, but also how people’s life and histories, goals, values and attitudes will influence the way they carry out numeracy. We have to teach numeric skill to use. Once they are only learned and practised, but not used or only used in a test or exam, they will not last or only badly and we will observe a rapid decrease in skills, whereas math anxiety will increase. Learning and practising must therefore be followed by a functional use in authentic situations with concrete material: in daily life, in vocational situations, in games, in (social) media.
Thus, successful educational numeracy activities for adults can’t be found in school books for kids or in abstract spreadsheets, but must meet the adults’ realities, needs and challenges. Our teaching must be connected to learners’ realities, follow a holistic approach (literacy, numeracy and digital skills), aim for an improved numerate behaviour and must therefore be learner-centric. We will have to meet, pick up and accompany adults within their numeric world by enabling numeracy conversations, counteracting math anxiety, exploring the quantitative world around, using authentic material, picking up authentic real-life-situations, working on awareness of personal successful numeric behaviour, discussing (numeracy) themes like health or finances and also by supporting a critical and sensible use of tools. One fact we mustn’t forget about is that people with numeracy skills still to be developed often tend to underestimate and undermine their existing skills. That is why teaching activities must also help the learners to recognize their skills and to become aware of successful numeracy decisions they make in their everyday lives.
Every learner and every teacher have their specific needs, requirements, dispositions and preferences. This is what we want to accept and make possible by offering inspirational material with basic model examples open for individual use and adaption. The mentioned possibility of adapting and reshaping the material is valid for different aspects of the example material:
- The characteristics of the tasks can be varied in accordance with the needs of the learners.
- The duration and time distribution can be varied by reinforcing or skipping details, introductory exercises, and secondary reflections.
- The dispositions taken into account can be varied by putting special (other) emphasis on the learners’ needs.
- The level indicated can be varied by adapting exercises and tasks to a suitable level for the learners and their specific needs.