Numeracy and Literacy Simplified

The standard of efficiency in younger students in literacy and numeracy has been the subject of recent studies around the world. This appears to place the younger students in Australia at a relatively lower level of achievement, around 26th place in comparison to the rest of the world. Reduced to everyday learnings, numeracy and literacy refers, in the main, to the reading and writing of numbers, letters and words; that is 1, 2, 3 and ‘how are you?’

The ways and means of teaching these reading and writing skills has been the topic of in-depth enquiries at the educational level among scholars and teachers. Different approaches have been chosen and utilised with younger students and the resulting outcomes seem somewhat problematic when rated against levels achieved in other countries. Perhaps a further methodology would be timely and facilitative in bringing about more acceptable outcomes in teaching the writing of numbers and letters.

Numeracy and literacy are built upon the ability to replicate the digits of numeracy and the loops and whorls of literacy. The acquisition of these configurations gives the learner the ability to express themselves in numbers and words in a coherent and conceptual mode. The writing letters and words calls for the use of loops and whorls in an on-going and somewhat complex mix, whereas writing numbers may be more available to the learner, perhaps less complex.

Altogether therefore, the writing of these configurations demands firm mental and physical control of the relevant tools, that is, brain, hand, and pen or pencil. It is in this phase of the visual display that the learner, young or old, may experience episodical confrontation. The issue of confrontation may well surface in the writing of the words rather than the less complex numbers. Once the pencil or pen is deployed in this operation, the learner is mentally and physically a vital part of the journey. Hence the outcome of the initial experience may be unfavourable and become an emotional block for further interaction with the learning routine. The use of loops, whorls and digits can be avoided in first learnings when a different methodology is employed for the teaching of the different components of numeracy and literacy.

Two hieroglyphs (marks) can be substituted for the digits of numeracy and the loops and whorls of literacy. These hieroglyphic symbols are used in any position relevant to the intended display of numbers and words. The symbols could be used by learners at any age, ranging from 4 years to old age. The writing, in the first instance, is produced in print form, which is the precursor to running writing and the use of loops and whorls. Hieroglyphs eliminate the emotional and physical demands of forming those configurations in a coherent and understandable manner. The form of numbers and words are captured in a simple and accurate methodology.

Intellectual ability and age are not relevant in this setting, and confidence will be established through the simplicity of using hieroglyphs in these configurations. The method allows all comers to participate, including sections of the disadvantaged community. Classrooms and the use of professional teachers, whilst ideal, is not necessary for the implementation of the method.


John StGeorge

May 2017

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