Wednesday 19th May 2021 marks National Numeracy Day, a national campaign that focuses on building a love of maths among school children and encouraging adults to become more confident with numbers.
At Action Tutoring, we understand the value of developing numeracy skills for everyday life. With the help of our dedicated volunteer maths tutors, we have delivered a total of 76,417 maths sessions to disadvantaged pupils across the country over the last ten years.
As part of National Numeracy Day, we spoke to two of our dedicated volunteer maths tutors, Ceri and Ediho, about the importance of developing numeracy skills, how tutoring can support young people with maths and why they decided to offer there help as volunteer tutors.
Why do you think feeling confident with numbers is important for young people?
E: Most people do not realise that mathematics is used in everyday life and that wherever we go, we deal with it in one way or another. Good numeracy skills are essential for shopping, saving, renting a house or taking a mortgage. We all need to master basic numeracy to solve some of the issues we face daily.
How do you use maths in your everyday life?
C: I use maths to manage my time, for example how long I will work and when I have time to relax, as well as when buying my food and deciding if I have the extra money to splurge on treats. I also use maths when planning trips – I think about what time I must leave to arrive somewhere at a particular time, based on how long it takes to get there.
What is your favourite maths topic?
C: My favourite maths topic would be algebra – I find that they are like puzzles that I can solve!
E: I like differential equations, as I can use these equations to help me solve mathematical and physical problems.
What made you want to become a volunteer maths tutor?
C: I wanted to be able to help the pupils that need that little bit of extra support in order to shine, just as I needed the same for English due to my Dyslexia and Dyspraxia.
E: I wanted to pass on what I know and what I have learned over the years. I am aware that many young people struggle with mathematics, so I felt compelled to try and help them with this. Above all, it is a joy to know that you are making a change in helping somebody achieve their ambition, become a better learner and master a new topic.
It is a joy to know that you are making a change in helping somebody achieve their ambition, become a better learner and master a new topic.
How do you think tutoring can help young people improve their numeracy skills?
C: I believe that there are many different learning styles and that not everyone benefits from regular classroom learning to the same degree. More focused learning like small group tuition can benefit some pupils greatly. There is also the fact that many pupils just need a bit of consolidation of their numeracy skills through repetition, which can be achieved through tutoring.
How can parents help support their children with maths?
C: I believe that a good way to support children with their maths is to have them use it in real life. For example, when shopping, they could be given a £5 note and allowed to pick their desserts, which can’t exceed that amount. This will give the children some joy (because it’s dessert!) but also means they need to do some maths to work out what they can purchase.
E: Parents need to be involved in the process of exploring and learning mathematics with their children. Young people should be encouraged to explore everyday mathematics and discuss real life examples as a family.
Any top tips for young people who struggle with numeracy?
C: For children struggling with maths, my suggestion is to split questions into smaller steps so that they are easier to work with. If you are struggling, smaller numbers can be easier to work with and though this makes the problem longer to work through, it can be simpler to solve.
E: Make sure that you always break down instructions before tackling any problems, talk to your parents or teachers about the best techniques you could use and be positive and optimistic that problems are there to be solved and that there are techniques that you can use to do this.
If you would like to support disadvantaged young people with their numeracy skills, apply now to become a volunteer maths tutor using the link below.