Integration of mathematics in vocational education has been identified to be critical in the improvement of vocational learners. Typically, mathematics has been identified to increase the learners’ competence, and integration of mathematics in vocational education has enhanced the learners’ ability to acquire more knowledge in order to handle some specific tasks in some occupation. (Bettina, 1993).
It should be noted that the impact of new technology has increased the need to posses the technical skills in order to prepare the students for the technical employment. Thus, knowledge in mathematics is very important to enhance problem-solving skills of the learners. Typically, with increase in demand for workers who have knowledge of mathematics as well as vocational skills, the integration of mathematics in vocational skills has been identified to increase the skills of students in problem solving analysis. (Bettina, 1993). The initiatives of integrating mathematics in the curriculum of vocational education has been identified as potential tools in aiding students to have opportunity of having technical knowledge of solving problems commonly encountered in technical and business fields. (Bettina, 1993, Benn, 1997).
The objective of this report is to investigate the use the use of mathematics in a vocational context, including appropriate teaching and learning issues.
The definition of vocational education provided by UNESCO includes “all forms and levels of the educational process involving, in addition to general knowledge, the study of technologies and related sciences, the acquisition of practical skills, know-how, attitudes and understanding relating to occupations in the various sectors of economic and social life.” (British Council, nd)
The significant importance of the technical and vocational education and training (TVET) is to enhance individual knowledge in specific occupation that requires technical and professional competencies. Essentially, with the rapid technological changes, skills quickly become out-of-date. (Daniel, Hulting, 2002).
Thus, with accelerated technological changes, emphasis has been placed on the integration of mathematics in vocational education in order to aid students to adapt with rapid technological changes. (Daugherty, Wicklein, 1993).
The rest of the paper is organised as follows:
The paper identifies the relevant numeracy skills and knowledge needed in integration of vocational studies, and with teachers of other subjects.
In addition, the paper discusses application of application of numeracy to vocation education.
Finally, the report identifies appropriate learning and teaching strategies in
integration of numeracy with vocational studies.
Identification of the relevant numeracy skills and knowledge needed in integration of vocational studies, and teachers of other subjects
Numeracy is not only learning mathematics, however numeracy involves ability to develop competency with numbers as well as developing confidence with numbers, and measures. Typically, numeracy involves the ability to develop greater understanding in number system, computation skills, and having inclination to solve variety of problems that involve numbers. It should be noted that numeracy is not only to have understanding in mathematics, it also involves having inclination to solve quantitative and spatial problems using wide range of context. To have greater understanding in numeracy, students should have greater understanding to present numbers in form of graphs, charts, tables and diagrams. (Lincs, 2009).
Numeracy using mathematical information involves ability to manipulate and calculate mathematical information for the application of everyday problem. Essentially, application of numeracy involves interpreting and communication results with mathematical information. (Quatrain2, 2009, Askew, 1997).
Typically, numeracy is very essential to solve everyday problems encountered in everyday life. (Ministry of Education, Youth and Culture, 2003).
There are general numeric skills and knowledge, which are needed in collaboration teacher in other subjects.
However, numeracy is very critical in vocational education as well as other subjects, having good numeracy skills enhance the performances of an individual in a workplace as well as in everyday social life.
In addition, teachers in other subjects ought to have acquisition of numeracy skills in order to aid the learners. Essentially, teacher’s development in numeracy provides opportunity for the students to develop greater understanding in numeracy.
Thus, there are wide ranges of numeracy skills and knowledge required with collaboration of teachers of other subjects. Some of the numeracy knowledge skills and knowledge are as follows:
Ability to understanding the meaning of digits and numbers.
Understand the relationship between numbers and concepts of numbers.
Having the skills to think rationally and logically.
Ability to interprete and apply mathematical information.
Having the skills to perceive and predict patterns.
Having the skills of visual perceptual.
To have ability to memorise.
Having the skills to organise in sequence.
Having measuring skills and spatial.
Having ability to calculate
Having language skills.
Having ability to solve numerical tasks from a given complex problem.
Having the skills to relate action to the appropriate purpose.
Ability to identify categorise and relationship.
Having skills in producing good handwriting and motors skill.
Having the ability to perceive and remember direction of road. (Quatrain2, 2009).
Numeracy has been identified to be applicable to other subjects. For example, language has been identified to be critical in numeracy. Typically, understanding language is very critical in understanding mathematics. Thus, the use of language helps in clarifying ideas in mathematics. Other subjects such as science, arts and technology, design, Information and Communication Technology, Geography, and business studies have integrated numeracy in research, analysing data and present findings in research. (Lincs, 2009).
Meanwhile, to enhance greater understanding of numeracy in vocational education, this report provides application of numeracy in vocational education.
Application of numeracy to vocation education
Numeracy has been identified as the key element in vocational education. Typically, good understanding of numeracy helps in achieving vocational education. The students with numeracy skills have been known to understand and follow some technical drawing. (Quatrain2, 2009).
Typically, students who learned numeracy with vocational education have been known to achieve better performances at the workplace after finishing their education. For example, the research carried out by Britannica (2007) revealed that the learners who receive education that integrates numeracy with vocational education, these students have been identified to have higher success rates and have ability to make positive attitudes. It should be noted that the motivation of many learners to engage in vocational education is for employment purpose. However, many of the learners are motivated to improve their numeracy while learning. (Britannica, 2007, Roberts, 2005).
Essentially, the numeracy skills combined with vocational skills help the learners to acquire confidence, competence and skills to succeed in the workplace. Many learners have altered their opinion that combination of numeracy with vocational study helps them to build confidence of being prepared to work in the future. (Quality Improvement Agency, 2008, Coben, O’Donaghue, Fitzsimons, 2000)).
Despite the advantage of integration of numeracy in vocational study, there is need to adopt appropriate learning technique to enhance integration of dual skills on the learners.
Identification of appropriate learning and teaching strategies for learners’ needs in numeracy and vocational studies
To help students to apply the knowledge acquired from numeracy and vocational studies, there is need to develop appropriate learning and teaching strategies. Typically, the appropriate teaching strategies are essential for knowledge development among learners. Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations (2009) pointed out that the effective methods of learning and teaching the vocational studies and numeracy are as follows:
- Delivering of lecture notes.
- Small group discussion among learners.
- Question and answers time to aid learners to develop the skills of asking and answering questions.
- Discussion among learners.
- Use games to help learners to develop problem solving skills.
- Encourage debate among learners.
However, Quality Improvement Agency (2008) argued that identification of numeracy to be embedded in vocational studies is essential. The identification will aid learners to succeed in their workplace. The Quality Improvement Agency pointed out that Video clip is effective in teaching learners the numeracy skills and vocational education. With the use of video clips, the learners will be able to develop skills to
- deal with customers and co-workers.
- be able to read and find useful information.
- make notes
- develop skills to obtain information from tables, graphs and chart.
- have ability to calculate unit of weight, money and capacity.
The report investigates the integration of numeracy in vocational studies. The paper reveals that development of numeracy is essential in order to cope with everyday problems that the learners encounter after completing their vocational studies. It should be noted that the importance of vocational education cannot be underestimated. Thus, investment in vocational education is beneficial for individual as well as society. (Sakellariou, 2006, Swan,2006).
However, the paper reveals that to enhance the learners to develop problem-solving skills. There is need for the combination of numeracy with vocational education. Among the advantages of integration of numeracy with vocational study is that the learners will be able to think rationally and logically as well as understanding relationship between numbers and concepts of numbers. Apart from this, the leaner would develop skills of perceive and predict patterns as well as developing skills of visual perceptual. The paper also argues that the appropriate learning methods are essential to enhance the skills of the learners.
Among the appropriate methods are to deliver hand out and lecture notes to the learners. Using games and debate are also being identified to aid learners to develop problem-solving skills. The paper also points out that the use of video clips is advantageous to learners to develop skills to obtain information from graphs, tables, and charts. The video clip also aids learners to have ability to calculate unit of weight, money and capacity.
List of References
Askew, M. (1997) Effective Teachers of Numeracy, Kings College, London.
Benn, R. (1997). Adults Count Too – Mathematics and Empowerment. NIACE, London.
Bettina, L, A. (1993). ED355456 – Integrating Science and Math in Vocational Education. ERIC Digest, Eric Publication, USA.
British Council, (n.d.). What do we mean by Vocational Education & Training?. Web.
Britannica, (2007). Embedding literacy language and numeracy, Encyclopaedia, Britannica, UK.
Coben, D. O’Donaghue, J. & Fitzsimons, G. (2000) Perspectives on Adults Learning Mathematics, (ed), Research and Practice. London.
Daniel, J. Hulting, G. (2002). Technical and Vocational Education and Training for the Twenty-first Century, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation. China.
Daugherty, M.K.& Wicklein, R.C. (1993). Mathematics, Science, and Technology Teachers’ Perceptions of Technology Education, Journal of Technology Education, 4(2).
Lincs,S. (2009). NUMERACY POLICY, KING EDWARD VI HUMANITIES COLLEGE, UK.
Ministry of Education,Youth and Culture, (2003). MATHEMATICS AND NUMERACY POLICY, Government of Jamaica, Jamaica.
Oxford Cambridge and RSA Examinations, (2009). OCR Teaching in the Lifelong Learning Sector – Qualification Units Unit 34 – Level 5 Developing Numeracy Knowledge and Understanding, UK.
Quatrain2, (2009). Numeracy Related Activities, Centre for Inclusive Learning Support (CILS), United Kingdom.
Quality Improvement Agency, (2008). Quality Improvement Agency Skills for Life Quality Initiative Planning to Embed Literacy, Language and Numeracy in Vocational or Other Programmes (2.5) Trainer Pack, Quality Improvement Agency for Lifelong Learning (QIA), UK.
Roberts, C. (2005). Embedded Case Studies. Embedded Teaching and Learning of Adult Literacy, Numeracy and ESOL, NRDC. London.
Sakellariou, C. (2006). Benefits of general vs vocational/technical education in Singapore using quantile regressions, International Journal of Manpower, 27 (4). 358-376.
Swan, M. (2006). Collaborative Learning in Mathematics, A Challenge to our Beliefs and Practices. NIACE, Leicester.