National Numeracy Day

What is Numeracy

It is the ability to use mathematics in everyday life (1)

What is Mathematics

The abstract science of number, quantity and space (2)

Dear World

Do we have the ability to understand numbers
Do we have what it takes to work out numbers

What do numbers mean to us

Why are numbers so important

Is there something more to numbers

Is there a science behind numbers

Is mathematics the only way to learn

What is the science of numerology

What is the science in relation to space

Why did we have numbers before words

Why do many kids not like numbers
Why are most not great with numbers
Why do we have maths anxiety today

Why are we lacking basic money maths skills

Why do we allow others to control our finances as we feel we do not understand numbers.

Why are we struggling with understanding about percentages and how it works.

Why is it important to know what percentage those money lenders are asking for.

Why is it in our interest to learn what numbers mean when it comes to paying interest.

Why is it super important to know what we are going to end up paying with the ‘buy now pay later’ deals that are selling us something.

Why are adults not Smart and savvy with the number stuff for dealing with everyday life.

Why do we rely on a calculator most of the time to work out basic number stuff.

Why are so many adults happy not dealing with cash as when it’s on a card, paper or screen, it somehow makes it easier to spend more.

When did we pretend we cannot add up and lose all sense of our credit card debt.

When did we make the choice to not Focus on numbers when it comes to our money life.

When did we forget that learning about numbers to help us in everyday life is a Priority.

What does the official website say about National Numeracy Day

National Numeracy Day is about recognising that numbers play a big part in all our lives and helping people sharpen their skills and build their confidence.

Being better with numbers is not a special talent.
It is something we can all learn and on 15th May we are asked to join and start improving our numeracy. (3)

Attitudes towards numbers have been negative for far too long.
We know that poor numeracy can fundamentally affect people’s lives and the wider economy.
(4)

Could it be possible that our poor numeracy skills are why we have the debt that we have today which not only affects our lives but the wider economy.

Do we end up living a life that feels like we are always in debt

Does the tension of us not doing our adding up properly lead to a lifetime of debt after debt until the very end.

Do we make sure we never end up in debt and live a frugal life where we save and buy the big house but never use adequate heating or eat nourishing foods to support our body.

Do we do what it takes to earn more and more money as we have pictures in our head about spending more and more.

Do we judge people on the number they have in their bank
Do we judge people on the value of their house in numbers
Do we judge people on the numbers linked to their salary
Do we judge and dismiss people who earn a lot less in life

Do we run a business where the numbers matter above anything else
In other words, we put profits before people

Do we rely on others and disempower ourselves as we simply do not understand how the big money stuff works like mortgages and investments.

Do we lack the skills to work out the real costs behind bank overdrafts.

Are we on the front foot when it comes to saving some bucks because we have done our homework with numbers in advance.

Do we forget the importance and value of using our cash to pay off debts instead of using that money to save for a rainy day.

Do we like looking at the savings we have but no interest in the debt we have which we could pay off with our savings.

Do we make our everyday budget all about saving for the big fat holiday where we will over indulge and over spend over a few weeks.

Do we stop taking care of our health and well-being because we put all our money into that thing we want that is going to make us happy.

Do we save and save as we want our kids to have more but we forget to include ourselves and our health and well-being into the sums.

Do we feel uncomfortable because we don’t know how to split the restaurant bill and think the numbers might have been divided unfairly.

Do we know how to examine and understand our pay slip and what all the deductions amount to and if it is correct.

Do we forget the numbers when we buy a new car as the image is far more important to us than the cost.

Do we buy beyond our budget because we want to look good on social media and make out we have more than we can really afford.

Do we care that the gas station up the road is upping the price and if we add up the total we would be better going to the other one.

Do we bother to use up the coupons or vouchers at the supermarket or do we think it’s a waste of our time.

Do we want to learn how to work out discounts in the shops and if they are worth going for when we buy something.

Do we end up paying excess rent because we just can’t be bothered to take the steps to live within our means even though it makes sense.

Do we join the throwaway society because we can buy new stuff as the numbers in our bank account tells us so.

Do we look at the detail of the supermarket offers getting us to spend more and buy more of what we may not really need.

Have we worked out the real cost of credit cards and the 0% deals or do we lack the numeracy skills for this.

What is missing on the school agenda for numbers

Why have we got a negative attitude about numbers

Do we need to stop and question this before going any further

When did it start – was it during school lessons

Why has poor numeracy not been addressed

Did we find numbers hard to grasp and understand

Does school agenda force us with complicated stuff

Is mathematics in the way it is taught really needed

Are we expected to have more than common sense
Are we making it interesting and engaging every child
Are we making it about the numbers and not about human life

Is this where we are losing the plot when it comes to numbers

What is Maths Anxiety

“An emotion that blocks a person’s reasoning ability when confronted with a mathematical situation” (Spicer, 2004).

85%  students thought to be affected by maths anxiety (Perry, 2004)

26%  have moderate to high levels of maths anxiety (Jones, 2001) (5)

Mathematics Anxiety is a negative emotional reaction to mathematics that can be debilitating.

It has been defined as a feeling of tension and anxiety that interferes with the manipulation of numbers and the solving of mathematical problems in…ordinary life and academic situations.

The severity of Mathematics Anxiety can range from a feeling of mild tension all the way to experiencing a strong fear of maths.

Mathematics Anxiety is not restricted to tests or classroom settings.
It may generalize to various ‘real world’ situations with the consequence that otherwise perfectly intelligent and capable persons develop a severe avoidance of situations involving any kinds of mathematics.

Mathematics Anxiety is not be confused with general anxiety related to assessment.
That is, Mathematics Anxiety is specifically related to mathematics not anxiety about taking tests. It is unique in this regard as there are not widespread anxiety conditions for other specific content areas such as reading or writing. (6)

HELLO

Back in 2001 we got told there was moderate to high levels of maths anxiety affecting over a quarter of all students.

Then 3 years later 85% are affected by the same type of illness they call maths anxiety.

Then we get told it goes beyond the classroom and it’s in real life – real world situations and even affecting those society call intelligent1

Without having any numeracy skills – can we feel that SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT

To keep it super simple we have known for some time now that people of all ages are reacting to numbers in the way that our current intelligence2 is teaching us. It is causing tension in the body and that leads to some kind of shuddering which we call anxiety.

In other words, we do not have a settlement in our body and it can be debilitating as the above study confirms.

Next

There is a whole range starting with mild tension and going up the scale to a strong fear of maths.

The abstract science of number, quantity and space (2)

The meaning of the word mathematics is not adding up

The first thing to note is the definition above tells us it is the abstract science of number. In other words, it is existing in thought – an idea which does not have a physical concrete existence.

So is this why people struggle with this in the first place as we don’t all have the minds that can accept this kind of stuff.

Are we moving away from the essence of what we actually need to be learning to live human life.

Next

They use the word space but yet we know or have learned almost nothing thus far about the science of space.

What if we were taught about the science of space by those who do know what this means.
In other words, they live the truth of what they are talking about
A monumental example of this would be the books Time(7) and Space(8) by Serge Benhayon.

What if giving space to our students when we teach mathematics is the one thing they need, so they can grasp the basics and then follow through in their own time and space what more they need in order to live a human life on earth – nothing more and nothing less.

Could this be the antidote to maths anxiety or will we wait another 2 decades for more research whilst even more suffer.

Are our teaching methods not working because we are not able to inspire all the kids in the class about the value and science behind numbers.

What if those teaching numbers had a basic understanding about the science of numerology and were able to bring another dimension in.

What if we had real life teaching where numbers are used in life like –

  • Supermarket shopping
  • Living within your means
  • What it means to run a household budget
  • How to live according to the money we have
  • The dangers of using money and creating debt
  • Learning the importance of saving using numbers
  • How to work out percentages and why it is needed
  • Know how to calculate simple numbers for spending

£20.2 billion – cost of poor numeracy to the UK economy

£3.2 million – cost to UK employers for low numeracy levels

50% working age people have the numeracy skills of a primary school child

Poor numeracy – more than twice as likely to be unemployed

Research has shown good number skills can help to better manage money and avoid debt. (4)

Hello

£20,000,000,000 – the cost to one country because of poor numeracy

What is the cost of poor numeracy for the world economy

What is our individual responsibility here and are we ready to learn

Is the multi billion cost because we choose a lifestyle that is not in line with what we truly need.

Why are we not learning about how to manage money and avoid debt

Why are debt companies getting bigger and making even more profits because we are failing in the numeracy department.

Who are we blaming because we lack basic numeracy skills

Why are we not schooling all the unemployed with numeracy, so that they understand clearly that the benefits of working make sense.

Could it be possible that the UK economy is affected because half the working age people have numeracy skills of a primary school child.

Would it be a wise move to ensure every child from day dot learns about numbers and as school continues they learn how to relate numeracy to real human life – nothing more and nothing less.

Good numeracy is the best protection against unemployment, low wages and poor health.
Andreas Schleicher | Director for the Directorate of Education and Skills | Special Advisor on Education Policy to the Secretary-General | Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (9)

The mission for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is to promote policies that will improve the economic and social well-being of people around the world.

The OECD provides a forum in which governments can work together to share experiences and seek solutions to common problems. We work with governments to understand what drives economic, social and environmental change. (10)

Poor numeracy can affect confidence and self-esteem

Numbers are in our lives every day

Our ability and confidence with numbers impacts us financially, socially and professionally. It even affects our health and well-being.

The following are ways we use numbers everyday –

  • Working out how many minutes until our train

  • Increasing a recipe to serve extra guests

  • Checking we have received the right change

  • Working out how much to tip in a restaurant

  • Setting and keeping to a budget

  • Helping children with homework

  • Measuring medicine doses

  • Making sense of statistics and graphs in the news

Our need for a good level of numeracy only increases, as we get older and start thinking about mortgages, the financial implications of borrowing money, interest rates and pensions. It is essential that we are numerate enough to make informed decisions.

Many important decisions that we make as adults are based on numbers.

This means that people who are not confident and capable with numbers are estimated to be worse off than those who have good numeracy skills.

Wages
Recent data by the OECD show a direct relationship between wage distribution and numeracy skills.

The more money we earn, the higher our numeracy skills and we tend to earn less if we have lower numeracy skills.

Money
Good numeracy is linked to a range of positive financial behaviours including saving frequency and keeping up with bills.

Health
OECD and UK basic skills reports show the correlation between poor numeracy and poor health is clear.

Data from the British Cohort Studies show link between Depression and poor numeracy.

Social | Emotional | Behavioural
Children with difficulties – more likely to struggle with numeracy

School Exclusions
Pupils beginning secondary school with very low numeracy skills are more likely to face exclusion.

Truancy
14 year olds with poor maths skills at age 11 – twice likely to play truant

Crime
25% young people in custody have numeracy below age 7

65% adult prisoners have numeracy skills below age 11

Digital Age
Computers can do the maths for us
However, we need good numeracy in order to use them effectively – to enter the right data and decide whether the answer seems about right.

90% new graduate jobs now require a high level of digital skills built on numeracy. (9)

Why do Many Adults Struggle with Basic Financial Tasks ?
14 March 2018

Adults in England and Northern Ireland perform worse on everyday financial numeracy tasks than adults in many other developed countries – even when using a calculator.

1 in 3 adults cannot work out the correct change from a shopping trip

40% cannot apply correctly a simple discount to everyday household product

50% cannot interpret a graph containing basic financial information
Research from University College London and University of Cambridge

This research is consistent with findings published by the Money Advice Service. (11)

18 million adults in UK lack the ‘number sense’ to manage their money well (12)

“With evidence mounting up, we need to look at how millions of pounds currently being spent to improve financial capability are being used.
If you are not numerate, you cannot be financially capable, so initiatives that do not check whether people can do basic maths highlighted here, are likely to fail.”
Mike Ellicock – National Numeracy Chief Executive (12)

We all need to be able to conduct basic financial calculations in order to make rational well-informed decisions. This includes how much we should save into our pensions, understanding the financial implications of borrowing money from payday loan sites, through to whether we can really afford to buy a particular house.

Our results bring into question how many adults in England really have the skills to make such complex financial decisions.

The reality is many adults struggle to complete even quite basic financial tasks
Professor John Jerrim – University College London (UCL), Institute of Education and Education Datalabs
Co-author of The Financial Skills of Adults Across the World. New Estimates from the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC) (2018) (12)

Why do Undergraduates Lack the Numeracy Skills Required for Courses and Work Place ?
11 February 2019

A new exploratory project by National Numeracy found many undergraduate students do not have the numeracy skills required to fully understand their course.

74% do not have numeracy levels identified as necessary for daily life and work.

Sociology | Geography | Criminology
Degree subjects highly dependent on quantitative data analysis

Where data and numbers are central to a successful degree study, lack of numeracy skills may compromise future employability.

“Most people think numeracy is a skills issue for people who are not employed; in reality anywhere we lift the stone, we may find remarkably similar statistics –

75% of people are below the level expected of a 16 year old

Most of us could not have thought this would be a problem for undergraduates…”
Mike Elllicock – CEO | National Numeracy (13)

Statistics Anxiety   

Statistics Anxiety has been shown to be the biggest predictor of poor  performance (Onwuegbuzie, 2000) in research methods courses.
Whilst it is often related to maths anxiety, Statistics Anxiety can also affect a person’s ability to use statistical computer packages and interpret research articles. (5)

Hello

Is this a wake up call for us

2019 project by National Numeracy is finding that many of our so called intelligent students that we call ‘undergraduates’ do not have the skills to fully understand the course they have chosen to undertake.

On top of that the majority are not equipped when it comes to using numbers in everyday life which includes work.

Can we agree – this makes no sense

Why do we expect so much from those who want to be graduates.

How can we call people Intelligent1 and expect them to take bigger, greater, grander positions in society when the mass are not even able to grasp and apply numbers that would support them in daily living.

Have we Lost the Plot

What on earth is missing

Is this why we have so many students who live irresponsibly because they do not do the sums needed to live daily life.

Is this why we have such a Sleep deprivation problem with those studying at higher levels because they cannot add up the numbers.

In other words, sleeping and resting needs to balance the books of action in movement.

Are we as a world, pushing them to be something they are not

Are we making our Youth go through the graduate schemes because that is what gives us the most recognition as parents.

Have we as a world become so reliant on subjects that are highly dependent on quantitative data analysis at the cost of everything else.

In other words, has our focus all been about proving something by measuring it and not considering Another Way.

What can we learn from this and what is failing us
In other words, can we identify what is not working

Are we able to get deeply Honest about the world of academia as it stands today – the world we call Intelligent2

Have we completely dismissed other aspects and dimensions that could give us even more without it creating ills like statistics anxiety.

Finally – we have quoted a study that is almost two decades ago about statistics anxiety being the biggest predictor of poor performance.

What would be the real true statistics today if we included the whole world and every undergraduate required to perform in a certain way just to successfully complete the course.

Is it time Dear World to question the current form of intelligence and those who subscribe, align and tell us this is the only way.

Are we ready to challenge those who make the rules and run the systems that govern and control our intelligence of today.

Are we as a single individual, couple, family, neighbourhood, community, town, city, country missing something when it comes to numbers.

Are we as a world not using numbers in their very basic form

Are our governments failing us because they do not know how to add up and live within their means.

Are we as nations in debt because we could not learn to live within our budget.

Are we not inspired by the budgets of our local governments which are all about cutting back funding because they got their numbers wrong.

Are we as a world lacking something about numbers as we seem to have done almost everywhere.

Are we as a world not understanding simple numbers as we have enough food to feed the whole world yet millions are starving.

Dear World

What if we understood numbers by starting with –

Why do we have a 24 hour clock
Why our internal body clock is the same

How important it is to balance our numbers in the time we spend daily to rest and sleep.

What if a number 1 is a new beginning

What if a number 9 is the end of a cycle

What if 1 to 9 is a cycle and the numbers in between all have their own meaning.

What if our date of birth has a real meaning when it comes to the numbers.

What if we taught our kids from day dot the importance and value of numbers and how to apply it in daily life.

What if there is so much more to know about numbers and where it all started.

 

 

References

(1) (n.d). What is Numeracy? National Numeracy. Retrieved May 14, 2019 from
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/what-numeracy

(2) (n.d). English Oxford Living Dictionaries. Retrieved May 14, 2019 from
https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/mathematics

(3) (2019). National Numeracy Day. www.numeracyday.com Retrieved May 10, 2019 from
https://www.numeracyday.com/

(4) (2019). What’s the Issue? National Numeracy Day. www.numeracyday.com Retrieved May 10, 2019 from
https://www.numeracyday.com/whats-issue

(5) (2017). Marshall, E., Mann, V., Wilson, D., & Staddon, R. Learning and Teaching Toolkit: Maths Anxiety. University of Sheffield. Retrieved May 14, 2019 from
https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/polopoly_fs/1.753617!/file/What_is_maths_anxiety.pdf

(6) (n.d). What is Mathematics Anxiety? University of Cambridge. Retrieved May 14, 2019
https://www.cne.psychol.cam.ac.uk/math-memory/what-is-mathematics-anxiety

(7) Benhayon, S. (2014) Time, Space and all of us Book 1 – Time. Unimed Publishing, Goonellabah, NSW: AUSTRALIA

(8) Benhayon, S. (2016) Time, Space and all of us Book 1 – Space. Unimed Publishing, Goonellabah, NSW: AUSTRALIA

(9) Why is Numeracy Important? National Numeracy. Retrieved May 10, 2019 from
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/why-numeracy-important

(10) About the OECD. www.oecd.org Retrieved May 13, 2019 from
https://www.oecd.org/about/

(11) (2017). New Report Shows Over 18 Million Adults in the UK Lack the Number Skills to Manage Their Money Well. National Numeracy. Retrieved May 13, 2019 from
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/news/money

(12) (2018). New Research Highlights Too Many Adults Struggle with Basic Financial Tasks. National Numeracy. Retrieved May 10, 2019 from
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/news/new-research-highlights-too-many-adults-struggle-basic-financial-tasks

(13) (2019). Undergraduates Lack the Numeracy Skills Required for their Courses and Work place, According to New Exploratory Study. National Numeracy. Retrieved May 11, 2019 from
https://www.nationalnumeracy.org.uk/news/undergraduates-lack-numeracy-skills-required-their-courses-and-work-place-according-new

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Comments 2

  1. What is presented here is very powerful.

    I never knew until today that Numeracy meant ‘…the ability to use mathematics in every day life’

    When we consider this we really have got our education system upside down

    What is the point of learning all of those fractions, algebra and whatever else we learn at school if it cannot be applied in every day life?

    I left school 25 years ago and have never used 90% of what I learnt in maths classes in my daily life.

    Reading about math and statistics anxiety can we actually understand now why students take their own lives?

    Is it possible that they cannot deal with the pressures?

    When and where do we equip our students to deal with these pressures and in truth are they really necessary?

    Are we at fault for wanting to see our son or daughter, niece or nephew, grandson or granddaughter in that gown and with the graduation hat on, but have we considered the cost to the human being?

    Do we really need to change the way that we are dealing with numbers and be open to understanding their true purpose?

  2. Daily Mail – 29 June 2019
    Page 47 – Dr. Max Pemberton

    Dr Max is saying why were delegates of the British Medical Association voting overwhelmingly to stop charging foreign patients for NHS treatment on the grounds that it could be construed as ‘racist’.

    His statement is echoed by fellow medical colleagues.

    The first question is how does this happen and who is really running the show here?

    Next – who benefits if we offer this type of service to those who have never contributed to our health system or nation in anyway as they do not reside in the country?

    The NHS is at breaking point. This statement has been around for some time now.

    £200 million – £2 billion a year
    estimated cost to taxpayer of people not entitled to NHS treatment

    + £1.8 billion a year on patients from other countries where NHS have bilateral health care agreements

    In reality, £100 million is paid back so what about the rest?

    Why is this not adding up?

    Basic numeracy here tells us too much going out and not much coming in.

    SOMETHING IS NOT RIGHT
    We need people who can do basic numeracy making decisions on behalf of our health systems and on behalf of the people – those who are or have been taxpayers.

    Dr Max gives an example of an elderly person needing cataract surgery but the budget is the reason this is denied.

    Is this indulgence in political point scoring as this news story states or is there more here at play that we need to start questioning?

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