Tearing through the tartan maths ceiling Daniel Sellers 28 th  June 2010 Oslo
<ul><li>Aim:  to explore ideas for increasing adults’ engagement in maths learning in Scotland ... </li></ul><ul><li>This ...
<ul><li>23% of Scottish adults may have low skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a further 30% may find their skills inadequate to...
“ The ability to read, write and use numeracy, to handle information to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and ...
Terms: “ literacies”   Encompassing literacy and numeracy, the term reflects the “dynamic and diverse ways in which adults...
 
<ul><li>Features of adult literacies delivery in Scotland: </li></ul><ul><li>cross-sectoral (community-based adult learnin...
A “refocusing” numeracy ... “ there is a need to raise the profile of numeracy within a learner-centred, research-informed...
To be numerate means to be competent, confident, and comfortable with one’s judgements on  whether  to use mathematics in ...
<ul><li>Subsequent national developments: </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners’ network (real and virtual) </li></ul><ul><li>Ac...
Characteristics of provision: One or two specialist tutors in a whole local authority area or ... All tutors support liter...
 
 
Further research ... “ 39% of men and 36% of women in the survey had literacy abilities at a level likely to impact on the...
Further research ... continued “ Few adults have an awareness of their own literacy and numeracy needs”  “ levels of self-...
<ul><li>An “Invisible Maths Ceiling”? </li></ul><ul><li>Yvonne:  </li></ul><ul><li>professional, early forties, team leade...
Why tartan? Complex pattern: different colours (numeracy for very different purposes) coming from different directions (mo...
 
 
<ul><li>My thoughts ... </li></ul><ul><li>It’s only when you want to use numeracy and  cannot  that you have a problem ......
<ul><li>What do we need to do ... </li></ul><ul><li>Normalise the need to polish up rusted skills ... especially among old...
Contact me ... Daniel Sellers 0141 282 5253 [email_address]   Learning and Teaching Scotland The Optima, 58 Robertson Stre...
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Tearing through the tartan maths ceiling

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Annotated presentation to ALM 17, Oslo, 2010

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Tearing through the tartan maths ceiling

  1. 2. Tearing through the tartan maths ceiling Daniel Sellers 28 th June 2010 Oslo
  2. 3. <ul><li>Aim: to explore ideas for increasing adults’ engagement in maths learning in Scotland ... </li></ul><ul><li>This presentation will: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>briefly outline Scotland’s adult literacy and numeracy strategy and the delivery landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>describe Scotland’s approach to adult numeracy and some characteristics of delivery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>explore the notion of an invisible maths ceiling and some ways of breaking through it ... </li></ul></ul>
  3. 4. <ul><li>23% of Scottish adults may have low skills </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a further 30% may find their skills inadequate to meet the demands of the ‘knowledge society and information age’ </li></ul></ul><ul><li>800,000 people </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IALS, quoted in Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland (2001) </li></ul></ul>
  4. 5. “ The ability to read, write and use numeracy, to handle information to express ideas and opinions, to make decisions and solve problems, as family members, workers, citizens and lifelong learners” ALNIS 2001
  5. 6. Terms: “ literacies” Encompassing literacy and numeracy, the term reflects the “dynamic and diverse ways in which adults encounter and use words and numbers in their written form” ( Literacies in the Community , 2000 ) “ social practice approach ” effective literacies learning takes account of its social, cultural, economic and political contexts. The emphasis is on how individuals and groups use literacy and numeracy in their everyday lives. At odds with a “dipstick” approach to assessing “levels” – why would you need to have numeracy before you need to use it? Why would we look for deficit?
  6. 8. <ul><li>Features of adult literacies delivery in Scotland: </li></ul><ul><li>cross-sectoral (community-based adult learning, voluntary/third sector organisations, colleges, workplaces, prisons), with “partnerships” led by each of the 32 local authorities </li></ul><ul><li>literacy and numeracy skills not separated, but seen as “situated in social practices”, with a recognition that capabilities are complex </li></ul><ul><li>values distance travelled against individuals’ learning goals with core skills accreditation where appropriate </li></ul><ul><li>sessional, part-time or fixed-term workforce </li></ul><ul><li>2,500 workers (50% paid, 50% voluntary) </li></ul>
  7. 9. A “refocusing” numeracy ... “ there is a need to raise the profile of numeracy within a learner-centred, research-informed approach to literacies that suits adults’ needs, rights and purposes for learning. This entails building awareness and developing the capacity both to do and review research amongst practitioners and learners, and to reflect on practice, something already encouraged in adult literacies tutor training in Scotland.” Adult Numeracy: shifting the focus (2005)
  8. 10. To be numerate means to be competent, confident, and comfortable with one’s judgements on whether to use mathematics in a particular situation and if so, what mathematics to use, how to do it, what degree of accuracy is appropriate, and what the answer means in relation to the context. Coben: 2000
  9. 11. <ul><li>Subsequent national developments: </li></ul><ul><li>Practitioners’ network (real and virtual) </li></ul><ul><li>Action research into the use of ICT in numeracy teaching </li></ul><ul><li>Professional development: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Numeracy “energiser” (with NIACE) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active learning (Maths4Life, Thinking Through Mathematics) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tailored CPD </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Qualification at HND Level </li></ul></ul><ul><li>National conferences for practitioners and managers </li></ul><ul><li>Links to financial capability </li></ul><ul><li>Numeracy for healthcare workers </li></ul>
  10. 12. Characteristics of provision: One or two specialist tutors in a whole local authority area or ... All tutors support literacy AND numeracy holistically Dedicated provision: “Improve your Maths” or ... Numeracy integrated into other learning, but still explicit: “Rag Tag ’n’ Textile” and “Charmworks”
  11. 15. Further research ... “ 39% of men and 36% of women in the survey had literacy abilities at a level likely to impact on their employment opportunities and life chances. In the case of numeracy, this is even more widespread with 65% of men and 77% of women experiencing difficulties.” New Light on Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland (2008)
  12. 16. Further research ... continued “ Few adults have an awareness of their own literacy and numeracy needs” “ levels of self-reported difficulty with reading, writing or numbers were lower in Scotland than in England and Wales.” New Light on Adult Literacy and Numeracy in Scotland (2008)
  13. 17. <ul><li>An “Invisible Maths Ceiling”? </li></ul><ul><li>Yvonne: </li></ul><ul><li>professional, early forties, team leader </li></ul><ul><li>needs to pass a “board” </li></ul><ul><li>fails on the “financial management” competency (tables, data, percentage increase and decrease) </li></ul><ul><li>Tariq: </li></ul><ul><li>early twenties, hairdresser </li></ul><ul><li>sells mobile phones, trying to get into police </li></ul><ul><li>fails the numeracy entry test ... three times, then out </li></ul>
  14. 18. Why tartan? Complex pattern: different colours (numeracy for very different purposes) coming from different directions (motivations) 3D Tartan?
  15. 21. <ul><li>My thoughts ... </li></ul><ul><li>It’s only when you want to use numeracy and cannot that you have a problem ... It’s not about how much numeracy someone has but how much they use . </li></ul><ul><li>So, should we be “filling tanks” with numeracy, especially when our fuel tanks are leaky (Reder and Bynner and Parsons)? </li></ul><ul><li>A major barrier in learners attending a class is the stigma they fear (Tett), and the risk to their self-image from the diagnostic assessment and how their tutor relates to them (Fingeret) </li></ul><ul><li>Also ...we don’t have the capacity or resources for mass re-education </li></ul>
  16. 22. <ul><li>What do we need to do ... </li></ul><ul><li>Normalise the need to polish up rusted skills ... especially among older people </li></ul><ul><li>Normalise asking for help from friends, colleagues, managers, as with technology. This involves a cultural change of attitude to maths/numeracy ... No longer acceptable just to be bad at maths ... Responsibility to get help </li></ul><ul><li>Promote much more integration of numeracy into other learning and activity, including social enterprise approach </li></ul><ul><li>Guides, cards, ready reckoners </li></ul><ul><li>Books, online materials (“the Learner Web”) </li></ul>
  17. 23. Contact me ... Daniel Sellers 0141 282 5253 [email_address] Learning and Teaching Scotland The Optima, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow G2 8DU T: Customer Services 08700 100 297 www.LTScotland.org.uk

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