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Doing the maths: training needs of numeracy tutors in Ireland: 2013 and beyond Numeracy Conference 13 th June 2013. Introduction. This research was carried out by NALA and IT Tallaght with the support of the VEC sector.

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Doing the maths: training needs of numeracy tutors in Ireland: 2013 and beyond

Numeracy Conference

13th June 2013


Introduction
Introduction

  • This research was carried out by NALA and IT Tallaght with the support of the VEC sector.

  • Documents findings of a survey of numeracy tutors working with adult learners in Ireland.

  • To identify training needs / requirements among tutors providing numeracy tuition

  • Over 160 adult numeracy/mathematics tutors completed online survey.

  • Compare to 2001 research by Terry Maguire.


Numeracy literature
Numeracy literature

  • Defining numeracy

  • Numeracy and literacy

  • Numeracy and mathematics

  • Continuing Professional Development (CPD) – internationally and nationally

  • CPD in numeracy in Ireland


Main findings cover
Main findings cover

  • Profile of the survey participants 

  • General teaching experience and specific experience of teaching mathematics / numeracy to adults

  • Teaching practices

  • Training

  • Relationship between mathematics and numeracy and attitudes towards mathematics and teaching mathematics

  • National Framework of Qualifications


Profile of the survey participants
Profile of the survey participants

  • The majority were female and over 45 years.

  • Over 90% had third level education.

  • 8% had a degree where the main subject was mathematics.

  • Less than a third were on full time contracts.

  • No major change in the age and gender profile of tutors since 2001. However, the education profile had changed.



General and specific experience of teaching numeracy to adults
General and specific experience of teaching numeracy to adults

  • Considerable general teaching experience. However, less experience of teaching numeracy to adults.

  • Tutors delivered to adult learners with a significant number teaching young people less than 18 years.

  • Tutors were teaching mathematics / numeracy in combination with other subjects - mostly adult literacy, English and Communications.

  • The majority of tutors delivered mathematics at NFQ Level 3.

  • When we compared the 2012 and 2001 data, there was a reduction in the number of full time and volunteer tutors and an increase in the number of tutors on part time contracts.



Teaching practices
Teaching practices adults

  • 50% indicated that their current teaching is influenced by their own school experience.

  • Tutors reported in-service training as a positive influence on their teaching practices.

  • Main delivery forms were practical work, problem solving, consolidation and practice, and ‘chalk and talk.’

  • Tutors rarely or never used guest speakers, rote learning and investigational work.

  • The real difference between the 2012 and 2001 survey data was the increase in the percentage of tutors (34% in 2001 to 60% in 2012) who use technology as a teaching practice.


Training
Training adults

  • 29% had received CPD in the previous six months. 32% in the past two years & 16% in last three - five years.

  • Over 60% of tutors reported that they did not have enough training in teaching mathematics to adults

  • 15% reported that they had no training at all.

  • Training should be accredited, delivered part time and supported by technology.

  • In terms of accredited training available to tutors, there was little change between the 2012 and 2001.


Tutor attitudes
Tutor attitudes adults

  • Clear consensus that numeracy was being able to do mathematics in everyday life.

  • The vast majority had a positive attitude towards maths and teaching different levels of maths.

  • Tutors reported that they believe that doing maths at school does not necessarily make you numerate.

  • When we compared the 2001 and 2012 data we found little or no change in the attitudes of tutors regarding the relationship between mathematics and numeracy.


National framework of qualifications
National Framework adults of Qualifications

  • Tutors understood the FETAC system of accreditation.

  • Tutors indicated accreditation is very important to their learners.

  • FETAC components reduce flexibility in meeting individual learner needs.

  • Within some centres tutors work collaboratively and share resources for the delivery of FETAC mathematics programmes


Finally
Finally adults

  • NALA will convene an expert group to discuss the findings outlined in this report.

  • The expert group will address findings and issues including;

  • The kind of CPD required by numeracy tutors - re-examining model developed in 2001

  • Further development of accredited numeracy provision based on findings in report

  • The need for a national definition of numeracy


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