Last Updated on 12/11/2021 by James Barron
There have been several attempts at improving literacy and numeracy skills, including the creation of Adult Basic Skills Strategy Unit in 2001, Functional skills and now minimum core. “Functional skills are now defined as those skills required for competence in the use of English, maths and ICT” (Gould & Roffey-Barentsen, 2014, p. 22). The goal of minimum core is to incorporate Maths, English and ICT within the specialist subject.
As I teach computing, consciously embedding ICT is not required as ICT is ubiquitous in all classes, occasionally I will give tasks that should not be completed on a computer to get students out of their comfort zone. If I didn’t teach computing I would embed ICT in the form of requiring that student’s word process their assignments, create PowerPoint presentations on a computer and then deliver them. Both of these will implement ICT and English, an alternative that would implement both Maths and ICT would be for students to create invoices using Excel.
One of my favourite ways to embed Maths or English is in the form of a starter activity. A common starter with embedded Maths for my field is for students to calculate the size of various hard drives in multiple forms, e.g. bytes, megabytes, gigabytes, terabytes, etc. As this task is relevant to the class students will be more likely to get involved and are less likely to realise this is a maths based activity.
Another method I use to embed English is to ask what particular words mean, for example, if I provide a metaphor of a computing term I will ask what the word metaphor means. This has two benefits, the first is embedding English and the second ensures everyone understands why I am relating computing terms to non-computing elements. Another example is to ask for the definition of what a computing term means in both its computing context and its non-computing context, for example, instantiation.
As a teacher it is necessary that you “continue to develop your minimum core – the minimum skills and knowledge in literacy and language, numeracy and ICT that are expected of you as a teacher.” (Machin, et al., 2016, p. 138)
Gould, J. & Roffey-Barentsen, J., 2014. Achieving your diploma in education and training. 1st ed. London: Sage Publications Ltd.
Machin, L., Hindmarch, D., Murray, S. & Richardson, T., 2016. A Complete Guide to the Level 5 Diploma in Education & Training. Second Edition ed. St Albans: Critical Publishing.
My first experience of teaching was in 2016, when I was asked to
deliver a talk to a group of 16-year-olds on what it was like to start
your own business. I immediately knew I wanted to become more
involved in teaching but I didn’t know where to start as I had not
previously considered a career in education. A few weeks later I
agreed to teach a class of Chinese students from the Shanghai
Technical Institute of Electronics and Information, who had travelled
to the UK to learn English and Software Engineering, after that I was
hooked. Within the next few years, I taught hundreds of students of
many different nationalities, aged from 16 to 60, and from
levels 2 to 6. I focused my time teaching with Bath University and
Bath College for several more years until I felt a change was in order.
For the last few years, I have taught remotely with several private
training organisations, provided dedicated one to one coaching
sessions, provided consultancy on teaching and assessment practices
and written about my experiences as a teacher. I plan to continue
with my current activities for the foreseeable future but I’m always
open to new teaching experiences.
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