Skillswise and the curriculum

If you are teaching literacy or numeracy to adults you have to reference the adult core curricula in your planning. BBC Skillswise materials also have references to the adult core curricula and this article contains suggestions on how to fit the materials into the relevant curricula.

About the adult core curricula
The Skills for Life core curricula are available online on the Excellence Gateway website. You will need to register with the site to be able to view the content. There are several curricula including Numeracy, Literacy and ESOL.

If you compare the overviews such as the numeracy overview of the online curricula with the BBC Skillswise content you will see that they are similar although they are structured a little differently.  For example, the Number section in the Numeracy curriculum has been separated into Numbers, Calculation and Fractions and Percentages on the BBC Skillswise website whereas it is organised in two parts: Whole number and Fractions, decimals and percentages in the online numeracy curriculum.

In the Literacy curriculum there are three main sections compared with six sections in the English Skillswise materials. This is because spelling, word types and sentence grammar are organised separately from reading, writing and speaking and listening on this website.

Working at different levels
Don’t forget, even if you are focusing on just one particular learning objective you will probably need to provide supporting and extension materials.  Supporting materials for L1 work can be found by looking in the E3 Skillswise materials under the same topic. If you require extension materials beyond L1 you may need to adapt the L1 materials or search one of the recommended websites in the tutor notes. For example, there is an activity called Plop it which includes L2 work on averages.

Meeting a range of learning objectives
Planning rarely involves a focus on just one objective. Research has found that effective teachers make links and connections with other topics. Therefore, you will probably need to access a range of materials, with different curriculum references, for teaching.

Many of the Skillswise materials have more than one core curriculum reference meaning that they can link to more than one learning objective. Sometimes the references are within the same section of the curriculum but some materials have references to different sections, for example Number and Measures. This makes it easier for you to link different topics in your teaching.

The first thing to do is to identify related topics, bearing in mind the needs, interests and motivations of your group of learners. For example, if you are teaching learners about fractions you could consider what this topic is connected to. Possible connected topics include multiplication, division, decimals and time, so when you are looking for appropriate teaching resources you could search these topics on the Skillswise website. If learners are struggling with working out fractions of quantities it may be that they have gaps in understanding division. If this is the case, you could provide more practice using division worksheets or a game that practises mental division skills.

Teaching in context
Learning can be more meaningful and engaging if it is carried out using an appropriate context. If you are a vocational teacher you will obviously need to embed the learning of English or maths within the vocational context. There are ideas for embedding ideas for embedding literacy, language and numeracy skills on the Excellence Gateway website.
For example, the skill of multiplying and dividing by ten has links to measures, money and percentages, which in turn can be linked with various contexts. Some of the Skillswise materials that refer to the skill of multiplying and dividing by ten include a context, such as calculating a discount of 10%.

Such links to context can make it easier for you to meet the diverse needs of a group of learners by selecting a relevant context for the group. For example, if you select the context of shopping, you could include a wide range of learning objectives such as add sums of money, estimate the weight of items, extract and interpret information from tables. You can then find Skillswise materials that cover the range of core curriculum references associated with these learning objectives.  The problem solving section in the maths materials is a good place to look for practice on a range of maths skills using various real life contexts.

Integrating English and maths skills
By teaching in this way, you can meet learners’ literacy and numeracy needs at the same time, as real life contexts obviously require both literacy and numeracy skills. The example of shopping above requires certain reading, speaking and listening skills. Therefore you could select materials from the English and maths sections of the Skillswise website. You can find ideas for integrated activities on Excellence Gateway.

It is better to use a variety of types of learning material when teaching. For example, it would be best to avoid relying on a set of factsheets and worksheets alone by including other resources such as games, activities and quizzes. The more familiar you become with the Skillswise materials, the easier it will be for you to find an appropriate range of teaching resources to meet the English and/or maths learning needs of your learners.

Excellence Gateway – Skills for Life core curricula

Excellence Gateway – Literacy overview

Excellence Gateway – Numeracy overview

Research article – Making connections: effective teaching of numeracy. Mike Askew King’s College London Beam research paper RES02

Teaching Today A Practical Guide. Geoff Petty Nelson Thornes
ISBN 1408504154

Opening PDF files
For more information on how to open PDF files, read the BBC Webwise guide to Adobe Reader.