There are three main sections in this resource:
These sections fit a process that can be illustrated as a flow chart.
Teaching adults to make sense of number to solve problems: using the learning progressions
Knowing the demands
First, identify the numeracy demands of the number problems the learners need to be able to solve and map these against the learning progressions. There is a process that can be used to map problems as well as an applied example in this section, and a further three examples are included in Appendices A.
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Knowing the learner
Use the tools in this section and the learning progressions to identify the learners’ skills. Parts of this tool can be used with groups; other parts need to be carried out on an individual basis.
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Knowing what to do
Use the learning progressions to set achievable goals for and with the learners. The decisions about what to teach should be based on the identified demands of the problems and where the learners ‘sit’ on the learning progressions. Identify specific activities and materials to use (based on your course and context), then apply them in your teaching. Finally, review and reflect on the outcomes for the learners, with the learners.
In this resource, mapping the problems the learners will encounter is the first step in planning for instruction. The next step is finding out where the learners ‘sit’ on the progressions. Where there is a gap between what the learners can do and what a task demands, you and your learners can refer to the learning progressions to make decisions about what to teach and learn next.
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It is not essential to follow this order – in some circumstances, it will make sense to start by getting to know the learners, before finding out what it is that they want to be able to do.
This should be used alongside the information in Learning Progressions for Adult Numeracy.
Strands and progressions
The learning progressions are organised within seven strands that cover the key components of listening, speaking, reading, writing and numeracy. Each progression shows a series of steps that reflects the typical sequence of skill development for oral language, written language and numeracy. The steps described are not tasks to be mastered in a set order. They do, however, offer information and a structure that can be used to develop curricula and learning and assessment tools. This current resource provides examples of how the progressions can be used. You are encouraged to design your own materials for teaching and learning to meet the needs of the adults with whom you work.
It is important to keep in mind that although the progressions are described in separate strands, in practice, we use literacy, language and numeracy skills and knowledge in ways that are typically interconnected. For example, a person may listen to a report about rising interest rates, speak to their partner about their mortgage, read the information from several banks (using their knowledge of numbers to interpret and compare rates), then write questions to ask a bank about the options for managing a mortgage. Even filling in a form requires both reading and writing skills, and may also involve a discussion to clarify terms or requirements. Learners will better understand how their existing knowledge can support new learning when these connections are made clear.