Embedding literacy and numeracy: The funnel of context

Image 13-06-13 at 9.38 AMSometimes, it’s too easy to just jump straight into the fun stuff. When you’re enthusiastic about using a new resource or teaching activity or you’re just coming to grips with this whole embedding literacy and numeracy thing you might be tempted to just jump into the deep water without thinking things through.

This approach does have a certain appeal. But it’s a bit like using a shotgun. And what you really need is a sniper rifle…

When you’ve got a sniper rifle you can be very selective and well… targeted… And you don’t have time to be anything but selective and targeted when it comes to the literacy and numeracy that your learners really need.

But you can’t get to that place unless you go through what I call The Funnel of Context [Queue extra big reverb and delay]. This means that you’ve thought about your context for teaching and training, and you have an understanding of the issues that impact your learners. And from there you can really develop an informed understanding of the literacy and numeracy demands of your training.

Then, you can actually take informed action when it comes to the fun stuff – like the teaching delivery and resource development side of things.

If you haven’t strengthened your own understanding of your context including having a go at answering the questions below, then your best intentions (and actions) are likely to be uninformed, i.e. the shotgun blast.

You don’t need definitive answers if you’re just starting out, but you at least need to think about the questions.

The Funnel of Context: Consider these questions…

  1. What are you talking about?
    • What do you mean by literacy and numeracy?
    • What about embedded literacy and numeracy?
    • Are there official definitions for these terms?
  2. Why do we have this problem?
    • Why do your learners struggle with literacy and numeracy?
  3. What’s the impact?
    • What’s the impact of low levels of literacy and numeracy on your training? What does this mean for your work? Your organisation? On your industry? Your community? Your country?
  4. What’s the background?
    • What have others done to strengthen literacy and numeracy?
    • What initiatives are underway at the moment to strengthen literacy and numeracy?
    • What frameworks or infrastructure are in place to support and strengthen literacy and numeracy?
  5. What are the resources?
    • What resources do you have access to right now? What about online?
    • What organisations are there to support you?
    • What about individuals with specialist expertise?

Author: Graeme Smith

Education, technology, design. Also making cool stuff...

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