At Undurba State School, we have a strong focus on developing students’ numeracy skills.
To be numerate is to use mathematics effectively to meet the general demands of life at home, in paid work, and for participation in community and civic life. In school, numeracy is a fundamental component of learning across all areas of the curriculum.
Numeracy within the mathematics classroom is identifying the mathematics in a context relevant to the student. The teacher’s role is to provide students with the skills and confidence to use the mathematics they have identified. In all year levels, numeracy is primarily about teaching children the skills they need to give them confidence in using mathematics — an essential ingredient if students are to be numerate. Teachers should also model this confidence at every opportunity.
It is also essential for classroom teachers to teach mathematics in ways that instil the confidence and attitudes needed to choose and use mathematics outside the mathematics lesson. They do this by creating an environment that encourages risk-taking, doesn’t solely focus on right and wrong answers, and engages students in activities, discussions, explorations and investigations where deep learning is promoted and where children have fun. Where this doesn’t occur, children might know a lot of mathematics — or procedures to ‘get sums right’ — but might not be numerate because they don’t have the confidence to draw on this knowledge when not directed to by a teacher.