How to Provide Opportunities to Learners

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Review how to provide opportunities for learners to practice their literacy, language, numeracy and ICT skills

Graham Thwaites

According to the Department of Children, Schools and Families ‘Functional skills are the essential elements of English, mathematics and Information and Communication Technology (ICT) that provide people with the skills they need to operate confidently, effectively and independently in learning, life and work (Brolin and Kokaska 1995). Better functional skills help to raise standards across the curriculum, improve learners’ employment prospects, and support their progression to further study’ (Department for Education, 2010)

As an associate ‘Literacy’ tutor within the offender learning environment, the course naturally consists of literacy and language. I purposely try to include numeracy and ICT on a regular basis, which can be difficult at times due to the resources and security issues within the prison setting.  

Literacy
As my specialist subject is Literacy within offender learning, activities undertaken revolve around this key functional skill. Everything that the students undertake links into literacy. I regular get the students to write in different forms e.g. letter writing, emails, articles and reports, because these are the key writing forms used within our daily lives and its important students are confident when writing in this way. This prepares students for life outside of the classroom, encouraging them to write appropriately and confidently.  

Numeracy
I am a keen believer of developing numeracy skills within education and therefore attempt to incorporate numeracy activities on a regular basis within my literacy lessons. Sometimes it is simply using mathematical starter activities first thing such as completing a Sudoku, or answering a range of calculations. I find this is change from the literacy tasks they regularly undertake yet a good ‘brain teaser’ to start the session off and get the students...
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