This section of the toolkit focuses on support for teaching and learning in mathematics. It explores the connection between teaching and learning in mathematics and numeracy.
Mathematics and numeracy
Numeracy and mathematics are not synonymous (DEETYA, 1997).
Although the terms numeracy, mathematics and mathematical literacy are often used interchangeably (Groves et al., 2006), it is important to differentiate between these two ideas and consider what this means for the teaching of mathematics and learning numeracy.
Mathematics in the early years
Young children learn from watching and listening and engaging with the world around them. New skills and understandings can emerge through demonstration, modelling and problem solving. In early years settings educators enrich learning activities by using mathematical language that helps children to explore, describe and understand the world around them and builds strong foundations for future learning in mathematics.
Evidence shows that the use of high quality curriculum resources, together with pedagogy that responds to and adapts to the needs of students leads to increased engagement and improved student outcomes.
Mathematics in the classroom
In mathematics classrooms it is important to create a rich learning environment that encourages a positive mindset and opens up the potential for growth in mathematics teaching and learning.
Using a range of teaching strategies that connect the content, skills and concepts will enhance understanding and engagement and build students’ confidence as mathematics learners and thinkers.
In the mathematics classroom students are exposed to opportunities that help them to:
- develop and engage their mathematical thinking
- solve problems and demonstrate their understanding
- apply strategies and conceptual understanding in familiar and unfamiliar situations
- recognise the relevance of their experiences in their environment through a mathematical lens
- use and connect what they are learning to contexts outside the mathematics classroom.
Teachers help students to engage with, explore and make connections between their mathematical knowledge, skills and understandings with other learning areas and the world around them.
The Victorian Curriculum: Mathematics identifies the fundamental relationship between learning in mathematics and numeracy. This relationship is demonstrated and reinforced across the strands of the mathematics curriculum and in the teaching and learning program through the
- problem solving
For more information about mathematics, numeracy, the proficiencies and their importance for learning in Mathematics see:
Why numeracy and mathematics
Curriculum planning is fundamental to developing an engaging and effective mathematics and numeracy teaching and learning program in schools and early learning centres.
Incorporating numeracy into
planning across the curriculum helps students become more proficient in all aspects of numeracy. Students can then make meaningful connections with a range of real world contexts.
Teaching practice and supports
resources and support materials help teachers build confidence and capacity to develop and deliver quality teaching and learning programs.
Department of Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. [DEETYA] (1997). Numeracy = Everyone’s Business: The report of the numeracy education strategy development conference. Canberra: Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers.
Groves, S., Mousley, J., & Forgasz, H. (2006). Primary numeracy: A mapping, review and analysis of Australian research in numeracy learning at the primary school level. Canberra: Department of Education, Science and Training.