Reference Group Members talk about a social and holistic approach to numeracy.
Participants at the project’s summative forum. Left to right: Joy, Denise, Melissa, Sandi, Faduma
Why a social and holistic approach?
There is a consensus among literacy practitioners involved with the workforce and the workplace that there is a numeracy gap and that innovative approaches to numeracy lag behind those for literacy.
One thing that struck me during the workshop was the way that I teach numeracy training to new tutors. When I teach them how to teach reading and writing, I emphasize the pre-, during, and post-reading/writing activities that we, as competent readers, do unconsciously. I emphasize all the things the learner brings to the text, how to teach the learner to interact with the text as they read. Yet, I don't think about that when I'm teaching numeracy! It's just math—I teach the formulae and the learner practices the skill.
Judy Perry, a literacy worker at Beat the Street in Toronto
A social and holistic approach sees numeracy as a part of life, for the whole person, within a social context. It emphasizes context rather than content, processes rather than skills, change in identity not just behaviour. It is a holistic approach, giving prominence to context, meaning, relationships and identity.
This approach to numeracy coincides and strengthens a worker-centred educational process, learning which:
is participatory, inclusive and deeply democratic in both its aims and objectives
acknowledges and builds on the experiences and skills of workers
involves hearts as well as minds
promotes solidarity and respect among workers
enhances workers’ capacities for critical reflection and action
links education with action in the world in a project of social transformation
This website introduces practitioners and others involved in numeracy education for adults to a social and holistic approach.
The Project provides background on the field-test which led to this website
Approach provides more information on the approach and its components
Activities provides sample activities developed by practitioners and the team leading the project
Reflections provides practitioner and learner feedback on the benefits and challenges of using a social and holistic approach to numeracy
Resources provides an annotated list of key print and web resources, and a list of other relevant resources