Scary or not scary!

I have found that many numeracy students get scared when you mention terms like percentages or fractions. I therefore developed this introductory activity for my new level 1 numeracy students. They are mostly young parents who were disengaged at school and have no mathematics qualifications.

They are usually nervous when they attend the first session so I try to boost their confidence and reassure them that the course will not be like school.

The words in bold lettering are written on flash cards (provided on pages 5-12). I show each one to the group and they tell me whether they find it daunting or not. As they do this I sort the flashcards into two piles: “scary” or “not scary now”.

I then use “demystifiers” to unravel the meaning of each word and reassure students that we will be covering the topic in the course (or that they can already do it in their everyday lives). You will probably find other definitions that are suitable for different groups of learners.

I then go on to do initial assessment with the learners: it is surprising how much better they then perform. It’s all down to confidence!

I hope other tutors will find this useful.

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14 pages