Tag Archives: canada

Illiterate vs. Innumerate: Why is one okay?

mathematics-327488_1280 (1)Last week, a friend shared an article with me from the Globe and Mail. In it, the author stated that she was “never ashamed of [her] limited numerical skills”. Over the years, I have often ranted about the pride people take in saying that they were never good at math. I have a secret to share: while I love math, I wasn’t always good at it.

There. I said it. My secret is out. I have always found the patterns of mathematics comforting. There was also comfort that there was a right answer. While I worked at math problems, my stubbornness would kick in. I knew that if I worked at it, I would get it. When I did master concepts, I felt a certain pride in my accomplishments. My parents can verify my initial cursing over calculus. Most people think you need to be “smart” to do math. I think you just need to be tenacious.

I firmly believe that ALL people can do math. I also acknowledge that not everyone will enjoy math. However, in order to do math, some of us will require more effort than others. Some of us will have to work hard at addition and subtraction. Others will need to start working harder when algebra is introduced. There will be some people that only start working at math when they are doing graduate level research in a new number theory.   That being said, I think that most people, with a little effort and patience, can get to a point of competence with numeracy.

Admittedly, practicing multiplication tables or solving equations may not be as exciting as a team practice, a new video game or a good book. The excuses of “I will just use a calculator,” or “I am not good at math” don’t preclude you from still requiring math in life. Most people will wonder when they will need to find “x” in real life. However, almost all college and university programs require some type of mathematics course. With the basic numeracy skills, the courses become less of a struggle.

Let’s get rid of the notion that it is okay not to be good at math. We work hard to achieve literacy – let’s put the same effort into numeracy and abolish the idea that just because it doesn’t come easily means that you can’t do it.

Bayless, Maureen. (2015, February 12). A grave mathematical error. The Globe and Mail, p L6.

sueSue Guenther
Special Projects Coordinator, Academic Zone Resource Developer and “Math Guru”
A-Z Learning Services, Student Development Centre, Brock University

Brock University A-Z Learning Services

Did you know that Academic-Zone is run by A-Z Learning Services at Brock University? Well now you do! Take the opportunity to see what else the A-Z Learning Services team provides to Brock students!

http://brocku.ca/learning-services/faculty-promotion-a-z-learning

This video provides an introduction to the variety of services delivered by the A-Z Learning Services team.

Academic-Zone is one of the many initiatives that Learning Services has put in place at BrockU. But since Academic-Zone operates all online, it can be easily implemented at other institutions. We wanted to make it available to as many students as possible, so we started licencing Academic-Zone externally to institutions across Canada! 

Academic-Zone Attends Symposium on Learning Outcomes Assessment: Practically Speaking

Two members of the Academic-Zone team will be attending the Symposium on Learning Outcomes Assessment: Practically Speaking on April 22 & 23, at the Delta Chelsea Hotel in Toronto, Ontario. The symposium gathers post-secondary instructors and educational developers from across Canada to share their experiences and expertise on the assessment of learning outcomes.

The symposium is sponsored by:

  • Council of Ontario Universities
  • Ontario College Quality Assurance Service
  • Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer
  • Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance
  • Canadian Publishers’ Council

The event will include numerous interactive and in-depth concurrent workshops and visual poster sessions focused on examining the learning outcomes assessment process.

Click here for more on the Council of Ontario Universities and the event
Click here to find out more about the event
Click here for the program schedule