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Numeracy standards

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In this video teacher, Jay MacKenzie and two students discuss the introduction of the level one numeracy standards at the college, and the importance of effective pedagogy. The students talk about the ways this numeracy programme helps them to learn.

Professional learning conversations

These questions and suggested actions encourage you to reflect on your own school context.

The students describe a teaching model that helps them to learn in numeracy. Discuss the aspects of effective pedagogy the teacher and students describe. How do they align with The New Zealand Curriculum effective pedagogy section below?

While there is no formula that will guarantee learning for every student in every context, there is extensive, well-documented evidence about the kinds of teaching approaches that consistently have a positive impact on student learning. This evidence tells us that students learn best when teachers:

  • create a supportive learning environment
  • encourage reflective thought and action
  • enhance the relevance of new learning
  • facilitate shared learning
  • make connections to prior learning and experience
  • provide sufficient opportunities to learn
  • inquire into the teaching–learning relationship.

How do you connect your students’ learning to their personal interests?

Have you seen ...

NZ Maths numeracy unit standards forum
Forum for professional discussion, in particular to help with clarification of achievement or units standards, and to share teaching ideas. 

Secondary middle leaders section on effective pedagogy
How might you use these examples in your discussions about your approach to teaching and learning?

Effective Pedagogy in Pāngarau/Mathematics: Best Evidence Synthesis Iteration (BES)

Adolescent Literacy resources: linking research and practice by Julie Meltzer, with Nancy Cook Smith and Holly Clark

National centre of literacy and numeracy for adults


The best thing about getting our numeracy credits in this way is he does it over the year so we don't get as nervous for tests and stuff like that. So it's continuous everyday learning not ,‘Oh there's a test Friday and you have to study’. It's just every single day - you're used to it so it's not as hard.

When I arrived at this school we had the class for unit standards and it ran very smoothly. With these new standards that came out we wanted to maintain some place that was similar to that. We got to build this class because we wanted to step back and build actual knowledge, understanding in a real world that would apply for these kids. We wanted to keep to a slower pace, over the course of the entire year. Then from there we could pick up students that if they were truly prepared to do mathematics standards well maybe we'll try that.

Well Mr Mackenzie’s teaching has helped me in numeracy by doing a lot of one on one stuff which I'm not used to doing (one on one stuff) but he narrows it down so it's just you and him, not the rest of the class - so it's not as disrupting, and stuff like that so it's good.

He breaks it down, every question to a simple question but it's all coming off on that one question which makes it easier.

So when I looked at designing this idea of the numeracy class I took what I've learned from the literacy project, what I've learned from colleagues, what I've learned from research and what I've learnt from a man who taught me professional studies at a teachers' college who was an outdoor education teacher and the ideas are just so much better when we get more of the senses involved. So, these students that have always thought mathematics was on the board, in the textbook, the odd questions were the ones they had to do and the even ones were what we've reviewed, they come see me, then once they realise that 'Hey, actually this feels easier.' They are getting success and that success breeds more success.

Well he does like fun activities while he’s doing it like you’ll go hard out for twenty minutes, have a two minute break, talk to your mates and then he'll get back into it then, so that's really good.

I'll also go into my numeracy testing evidence from the secondary numeracy project. So year nine here they've all been assessed at the beginning and end. We have a look at all their success in year ten and see what holes I do need to fill. I'm also finding social holes, classroom holes that are really frustrating. Why does this student not want to talk to me?

He's also pretty funny as well. He's like a mate teaching you. Like a good friend teaching which is also good as well. So you don't get as intimidated from teachers. He's a funny guy.

The most important thing going forward is that the students need to be able to apply what they learned, and have the time to apply it.

We don't do tests. We do every bit of work that we do he will hold onto it. We will be able to learn off what we've worked on through the whole year. We have more of an understanding of situations where we would need to use maths. We'll be able to understand what we'll be able to do with it and how we could use it in real life situations.

What did the students learn in PE? Oh, cool talk to the PE teacher. ‘What did you cover? You did some beep tests? Excellent, let's get those scores.’ Bring their data into your classroom. And take the maths out of it.

Something that I've really enjoyed was going outside and measuring the athletics fields and spraying them up and that was fun because everyone likes going outside and going in the fresh air.

We've done a lot on measuring and height and stuff like that. So we just got the pushometer and we measured the fields up and then had to narrow it down every eight, twelve metres. Which was the funnest part I'd say.

You cover the three standards and make it fun. So if you can make it fun, then the kids will come back. Take the time to teach them how to build a portfolio, keep it inside your own class and build outwards. Keep the activities relevant, make them kinesthetic and talk to other teachers about how you can make a lesson kinesthetic.

Published on: 23 Jul 2012