Most teachers understand that everybody is a literacy teacher. I am not sure however that everyone understands that everybody is a numeracy teacher. Not a math teacher but a numeracy teacher. Regardless of the subject being taught, everyone can teach with questioning, problem solving and critical literacy in mind. In a session I was at, it was mentioned two things that I put side by side. One is that numeracy marks are quite low and the longer one stays with numeracy, the worse the marks get. Perhaps meaning that high school students are not encouraged to use exploration and manipulatives, in the same way primary teachers encourage their students to do so. Something else was brought up. I brought up the idea of coding in French class, as an idea for numeracy. Unless I misunderstood, the response I received was: “If you are not following the curriculum, you should be doing something else”. I do agree with the idea of following the curriculum but also, if someone has an innovative project that brings enthusiasm to the class that addresses some perceived lack in the curriculum, and works in the direction to resolve the issue of lack of numeracy, it could be done. If everyone is a numeracy teacher, and innovative projects should be encouraged. Here is an idea of a project I had in mind.
It felt like this: We have a problem. Teachers are not doing their work. Here’s a proposal. Don’t do it because it is not in the curriculum. Is it not this attitude that is the problem? Innovative solutions, 21st century thinking is not going to happen by doing the same things using computers. New ideas need to be brought forward, even if they depart slightly from the curriculum. How else are we going to solve this problem? Is this called thinking outside the box? or Thinking as if there was no box?
My solution to this is that in Oral French, we can discuss anything of interest and that coding is a new form of writing, a new additional text form, a new form of story telling. Coding is going to happen in my class.
Here’s some published thoughts on this idea.