Background

In 2013 the following resources were provided

1. The Resource
2. Getting Started
3. Exploring Numbers
4. In the Head Calculations
5. Fractions
6. Percentages

In 2015 'Decimals' and 'Measurement' were added.

In 2011, the VALBEC Committee recognised that it was over two decades since the publication of the iconic numeracy resources Strength in Numbers and Breaking the Maths Barrier, and others. They decided it was timely to celebrate their coming of age by funding the development of new resources that would build on and update elements of these resources for teachers to use in a range of settings and made accessible online.

The original publications benefitted from the input of teachers who were at the time pioneering the new field of adult numeracy. These teachers, who had backgrounds in mathematics, language and literacy and primary education, came together through professional development events to share their growing 'wisdom of practice'. Sharing their experience and practices not only aided their own professional growth, but benefitted others through the publications that were influenced by their discussions.

The adult educational environment has changed enormously in the past two decades. The early publications are no longer easily available and need updating with regard to the prices and contexts in Practice Sheets and examples. There is a danger that the professional 'know how' and creative approaches to adult numeracy teaching contained in the publications will be lost to the new generation of practitioners entering the field. In addition to this, many of the older cohort of adult numeracy teachers are retiring, and with them goes their knowledge of working in this important field.

VALBEC acknowledged that it is important to ensure that the 'wisdom of practice' contained within the earlier publications s made available to new teachers. They received funds from the Adult Community and Further Education (ACFE) in 2012 to create a new resource collection that could be updated and available online to current numeracy teachers across Victoria, and more widely in other parts of Australia. The development of this resource is the beginning of that process.

The major task was to select the best and most needed activities from these and other numeracy resources of the eighties and nineties and include new content that reflects growth and new ideas developed from years of ongoing practice with diverse groups of adult learners. A survey of practising numeracy teachers was conducted to canvas their opinions about which publications were most useful and why, and also to ascertain the levels and skill areas that teachers wanted to prioritise. The number of enthusiastic responses by teachers overwhelmingly endorsed the project. We trust that the resources will be of lasting value and contribute to learning and the professional development and knowledge base of a new generation of adult numeracy teachers.

Beth Marr