Ann Gravells is an author, writer of teacher training resources and an education consultant

There has been a lot of talk lately about the standard of English and maths, not only in young people, but also in adults. If you are a teacher or trainer, there will be opportunities to help improve these skills, along with those of information and communication technology (ICT).

This article will give you some ideas of how to embed these skills during your sessions, rather than treat them as separate subjects. You will find some useful web links at the end, which offer free access to courses and resources.

Terms have changed over the years; there has been:

  • Basic Skills
  • Skills for Life
  • Core Skills
  • Key Skills
  • Essential Skills and now
  • Functional Skills.

There is also the Minimum Core of literacy, language, numeracy and ICT, which is included in the teacher training qualifications. The Functional Skills of English, maths and ICT are embedded in 14–19 learning programmes and apprenticeships, and are available as stand-alone qualifications for adult learners.

Whatever term is used, the purpose is the same, to enable people to function confidently, effectively and independently in life and at work.

You shouldn't have to be highly qualified in English, maths and ICT, but know enough to make it relevant to the subject you are delivering. For example, maths doesn't have to be about using complex equations, it can be about using numerical skills. For example, planning a household budget, working out the cost of items on a shopping list, calculating the amount of paint needed to decorate a room, or comparing gas and electricity prices.

However, you might feel your own skills do need improving; therefore, you could partake in further training yourself. There are some free online programs you could access which are listed at the end of this article.

If you are not competent, you will not set a good example to your learners. If you spell words wrongly in a handout, have difficulty making calculations or can't use a computer, your learners may lose confidence in you.

Often, the opportunities to embed skills will occur naturally, for example:

Cookery:

  • English – reading recipes, researching and reading healthy eating magazines and books, planning a menu and writing a list of ingredients, discussing recipes, talking, listening and asking questions.
  • Maths – calculating weights and costs of ingredients, measuring amounts, estimating calorific values, cooking times and temperatures.
  • ICT – using a word processor to create a menu, researching relevant websites, e-mailing other learners, creating and giving presentations using an electronic whiteboard, creating a podcast, making videos and taking photos of finished products and uploading them to a virtual learning environment, website or electronic portfolio.

Plumbing:

  • English - talking to customers and suppliers, reading manuals and writing lists of materials.
  • Maths - measuring pipes, calculating the amount of materials to use and working out invoices.
  • ICT - researching materials via the internet, e-mailing suppliers, word-processing invoices, using a spreadsheet for products and prices, creating a website and taking digital photos before, during and after jobs to add to it, and maintaining an electronic diary.

When embedding the skills during sessions, you need to ensure they are realistic and relevant to enable your learners to engage with real situations in the subject area. More opportunities seem to arise in practical subjects. Theoretical subjects might be more difficult, particularly regarding embedding maths skills, therefore you will need to be more imaginative, and perhaps even asking your learners how they feel the skills could be used for the subject.

During sessions, you need to be careful that learners are using technology appropriately, i.e. not accessing unsuitable websites or checking e-mails and social media. Agreeing ground rules should help. If you don't have access to computers in the learning environment, you could ask your learners to bring their own devices e.g. laptops, tablets, smartphones and e-readers. This is known as BYOD – bring your own device. The recent FELTAG report Paths forward to a digital future for Further Education and Skills (2014), recommends an increase in the use of technology, and for students to take responsibility for their own learning.

You could encourage your learners to carry out activities in their own time to help improve their skills. There might be free courses in your area or via the internet that they could take. You could give your learners an activity to carry out, either individually or in groups. They could produce a short presentation on a relevant topic, a blog, a wiki, a podast or a video, and then present this during the next session. This could involve English with communication skills, maths with working out how long activities will take, and ICT with the use of technology.

Ann Gravells is an author, writer of teacher training resources and an education consultant 

Ann Gravells Newsroom Strap

Useful weblinks with free courses and resources

Dropbox file sharing – www.dropbox.com
Embedded learning - http://rwp.qia.oxi.net/embeddedlearning/index.cfm
English and maths support – www.move-on.org.uk
Functional Skills resources from the Excellence Gateway - http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/node/20280
Functional Skills resources from NIACE - http://shop.niace.org.uk/catalogsearch/advanced/result/?name=functional+skills&author=&subject=&type=&year=&search.x=27&search.y=4&search=Search
Functional Skills good practice resources from Ofsted - http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/good-practice-resource-functional-skills-dv8-training-ltd
Online presentations – www.prezi.com
Open Office computer software - https://www.openoffice.org/download/
Teacher training videos for using ICT – www.teachertrainingvideos.com/latest.html
Using computers and technology – http://digitalunite.com/
Using Microsoft programs – www.reading.ac.uk/internal/its/training/its-training-index.aspx
Using the apostrophe - http://writing-kit.com/apostrophes/index.html
Using VLEs – www.ofsted.gov.uk/resources/virtual-learning-environments-e-portfolio
Video e-mail – http://mailvu.com/

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page