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Funhctional Skills delivery

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Babs1111111111, Jun 15, 2011.

  1. I am currently studying for the MA in Education and, as a Functional Skills tutor, have decided to look into the different modes of delivery for Functional Skills, i.e. say an hour per week for each Functional Skill throughout the year or concentrating on one Functional Skill per semester with a number of hours delivery per week, etc, etc., or whatever other model you follow for your delivery of the various Functional Skills,
    I would be interested to hear what mode of delivery you all have in place, what different modes have been tried, how they went and which ones you have settled on and (if possible) why.
    I promise to keep anything I use in my dissertation completely confidential.
    Thanks in anticipation
  2. KYP

    KYP New commenter

    ... but I understand that the Principal Learning can now be accredited on it's own, so FS are no longer essential to the diploma programme. (That's according to the leader of our Diploma course, after I have had a very painful year trying to enthuse a group of very hostile students with Functional Maths!) We had just agreed that responsibility for delivery of Functional Maths would transfer to his area, rather than the Maths department, but looks like they may not deliver it at all!

  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    My understanding is that the big change was that the latest government took away the word 'entitlement' in respect of diplomas as soon as they were elected. Hence, they have fizzled out. No-one has opted for them at our place for two years and the previous government never quite managed to solve the issue of rural schools, such as ours, and the need to travel vast distances in order to access a particular diploma line.
    Good riddance!
    As for Functional Maths in particular, well that's just another fashion which will go the way of so many of the other fads we've had to deal with over the years. In my opinion, it doesn't matter how functional you try and make it, no-one will ever convince me it is like real life maths...
    FWIW, we run a small 6th form class and anyone who needed FS accessed it through that. 2 hours per week for maths and more of the same for english & ICT.
  4. I am a LLN specialist at a medium sized FE college, and have taught FS from E2 to L2 through the pilot and into this year. I am also a senior marker for one of the main awarding bodies for maths.

    As this is post 16 we have 1 hour a week to deliver, so just over 30 hours after deductions for all the legitimate reasons why learners miss lessons (snow, trips etc)

    My personal teaching experience is that is get them in for the exam as soon as possible so you get those who can achieve quickly on their way and then concentrate on those who need a little more help. The most successful strategy that seems to work for me is some initial input on problem solving and presenting information then exam prep, then more exam prep - a modification of TRIBAL's Move On approach for adults.

    Many of the problems that learners have with FS seems to be related to passing exams, a combination of poor exam technique, lack of confidence and a questioning the relevance of the lessons. The latter problem is quite endemic at level 1, but once you get their confidence up and give them few home truths about progression to level 2 vocational courses you can at least get that down to manageable levels. We know from adults that confidence is key, especially for those at the lower skill levels - getting them familiar with the test and knowing that they have a good chance of achieving are vital. One thing I have noticed this year is that the learners that I am teaching seem to be much better at remembering the basics ? whether this is that they have calculators and are not distracted by the arithmetic so much or it could be the applied nature of functionality providing prompts that help them remember better I can?t say, but it is interesting to observe.

    It is clear that FS is still in a state of flux, it took years for the Key Skills/Adult Literacy and Numeracy tests to settle down. FS is a significant improvement on the 40 question multiple choice test, but the exam boards are still modifying their offers and refining on-line testing. FS are still very much in their infancy.

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