Similiar to the principles of high-quality literacy instruction, the initial teaching of numeracy should be carefully sequenced, highly structured, and explicit.


 

When approaching the effective teaching of mathematics, a strong numeracy program will include the following:
  • explicit and systematic instruction in building number sense
  • guided and repeated practice of effective counting strategies
  • direct and systematic instruction in calculation techniques (procedural knowledge)
  • direct instruction in the language of mathematics
  • cumulative instruction in developing number facts with brief and purposeful practice
Individual differences observed in children's mathematics development is often related to variations in the development of their underlying approximate number system (also known as number sense). Number sense is one of the most important developments in the early years for the acquisition of numeracy skills and is seen as one of the biggest predictors of mathematical proficiency in primary school.

Delays in number sense not only reduce the ability to utilise effective calculation techniques, but they also reduce the development of maths reasoning skills and number fact storage by reducing a student's ability to use strategic counting, understand the base-10 number system and work with place value, utilise estimation skills to check their answers, change computational strategies when the need arises and to develop an understanding of the language of mathematics (including the link between number words and numerals).

A well rounded numeracy program explicitly teaches these foundation skills and regularly rehearses and reviews these component skills when tackling higher order mathematical tasks.

 

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