Skip to Content

AMEP Research Centre

Maths Words: Vocabulary Builders

Maths Words: Vocabulary Builders
by Jo Duffy
Published by NSW AMES, 2006

How refreshing to pick up an Australian-produced book that supports the teaching of ESL numeracy! With an increasing number of newly-arrived students with little or no education in basic Maths, this book and the accompanying CD ROM really fill the need for a relevant, real life Maths vocabulary text.

The first thing which the teacher will notice is the clear, simple presentation of the book, and the accompanying colourful Australian illustrations and photographs. Students will feel comfortable with the user-friendly layout and easily-recognised pictures and words.

The fourteen topics in this book range from number recognition and spelling exercises, to currency, distances and measurement. In covering these essential topics and the vocabulary associated with them, the book provides a useful platform from which even the most Maths-shy teacher can teach the CSWE I and II Numeracy Modules. It provides plenty of scope for teachers to build on the exercises given. The fact that this excellent resource starts from the recognition and spelling of numbers provides necessary groundwork for those students who have missed this in their time before arrival.

However, a certain level of student literacy is required, and they should also have some basic computing skills before attempting the CD ROM. While the CD ROM is a useful and exciting complement to the book, when trialled recently with a refugee youth class, it was found to be slightly awkward to navigate at first. With guidance and practice, students were able to work out the patterns and instructions. Students particularly liked the exercises on using a calculator and working out directions. The fact that the computer exercises increase in difficulty within each topic gives the students a sense of achievement and the ability to build on their basic knowledge at their own pace.

This book and CD ROM answer the call for teachers who have been devising their own resources in order to teach CSWE Numeracy Modules, and also provide strong support for those teachers who are reluctant to teach Numeracy modules.

Reviewed by Vanessa Newbery & Jill Kaye, AMEP Northern Territory
Charles Darwin University, Darwin