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.

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