eCite Digital Repository

Numeracy as critical thinking: an innovative approach to maths education


Jain, P and Rogers, M, Numeracy as critical thinking: an innovative approach to maths education, National Association of Enabling Educators of Australia 2015 Conference Program Handbook, 25-26 November 2015, Sydney, Australia, pp. 17-17. (2015) [Conference Extract]


Enabling students have varying levels of prior experience, confidence, ability and motivation when it comes to mathematical tasks. The development of numeracy skills is a core aspect of enabling education, with many university courses requiring a certain level of mathematical competence.

A standard model of numeracy support in enabling programs is to offer a sequence of maths units that guide students gently through particular aspects of the high school maths curriculum. The aim is to cover the basics, and the best efforts to do this also incorporate examples from real life and discipline-specific contexts.

The problem with this standard model is that it essentially replicates what students learned (or failed to learn) in high school. For students with previous negative experiences, this approach can be intimidating, while other students perceive high school maths as irrelevant and unnecessary to their chosen field of study.

Our approach has been to turn the standard model on its head, by recognising numeracy as a form of critical thinking that requires much more than an ability to manipulate numbers. The University of Tasmania Academic Numeracy unit focusses on critical evaluation of information, in both every day and academic situations. The development of higher-order critical thinking skills forms the core of our unit. with explicit mathematical instruction provided in service of situating and critiquing real research. This approach has allowed us to develop critical numeracy skills in a way that is relevant. meaningful and valuable to all students, whatever their future academic endeavours.

Item Details

Item Type:Conference Extract
Keywords:mathematics education, numeracy, critical thinking
Research Division:Education
Research Group:Curriculum and pedagogy
Research Field:Economics, business and management curriculum and pedagogy
Objective Division:Education and Training
Objective Group:Teaching and curriculum
Objective Field:Teaching and instruction technologies
UTAS Author:Jain, P (Dr Pragati Jain)
UTAS Author:Rogers, M (Ms Merran Rogers)
ID Code:105729
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Academic Division
Deposited On:2016-01-13
Last Modified:2016-04-29

Repository Staff Only: item control page