[Numeracy 43] Re: Welcome to the Math and Numeracy Discussion List

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Shannon Klasell sklasell at masoncountyliteracy.org
Fri Jan 22 14:36:46 EST 2010

Hello All,

My name is Shannon Klasell, and I am one of two Adult Program
Coordinators at Mason County Literacy. We're a community-based adult
literacy organization located in Western Washington State. We use
trained community volunteers guided and supported by paid staff to
provide most of the instruction we provide. We offer Basic Skills, GED
Prep, Financial Literacy, basic computer skills, and ESOL to our adult
student community. Our services reach across two counties; each with
its own distinct demographic and issues. I am also the lead GED
instructor at a class held at our main site. Over the last couple of
years I have found myself struggling with the issue of teaching math
effectively. Almost every student we serve "hates math" or is "freaked
out by math" or "can't do math". Many of our volunteers also carry the
same negative attitudes regarding math and numeracy.

I hope to listen and learn from this list. I am a bit isolated -
located in a small town in a primarily rural county and the only Basic
Skills Instructor and Coordinator for the entire organization.

Currently I am trying to "change how we think about math and math
instruction" around here. I have been fortunate to have some great
professional development experiences through the Washington State Board
for Community and Technical Colleges (a major funding source for us). I
have been working with the EMPower series of math books by Key
Curriculum. I am finding that mentoring and guiding people to improving
numeracy and math skills in EMPower's inquiry-based style is difficult
to sustain in an environment where students tend to come and go,
attendance can be spotty, almost everybody wants a GED tomorrow, DSHS
puts pressure on students to complete their studies in what they think
is a timely fashion and get a job, and many volunteers come from the
days of drill and kill.

The topics I will be most interested in are those that will help me be
more effective in helping both students and volunteers not only meet
their specific educational goals, but become confident problem solvers
and doers of math.

Shannon Klasell

Adult Program Coordinator

Mason County Literacy


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