After each of the consultations, based on discussions and questions at the session, I sent out activities to use with students, or further sources of information, to workshop participants. That material is included in this manual, in a revised form. Marina Niks, RiPAL BC, commented on a draft of this chapter, and practitioners Evelyn Battell and Karen Burns read an early first draft of this manual, and I revised it in the light of their comments and suggestions. Bob Darling, Leslie Kiehlbauch, Dee McRae, Vicki Noonan and Iris Strong read the next draft, which I revised to take the final shape you see here.
I began by searching out and reading the research about teaching basic math to adults. I concentrated on books and articles about teaching basic concepts (whole number operations, common fractions, decimals and percent) to the kinds of ABE/Literacy students who come to programs in BC. Even though I was looking at programs in BC, I wanted to see what was going on in other places, so I read some literature from Australia, the UK and the USA, as well as Canada. I concentrated on material about instructional methods and teaching philosophy, rather than questions about policy or curriculum.
Although some major players, such as Diana Coben (2003) from the British National Research and Development Centre for Adult Literacy and Numeracy, have said that there hasn't been enough research done to make any definitive statements about how to improve instruction, many people have gone ahead to make many definitive statements about exactly that. I soon found a comprehensive and concise statement of principles written by Lynda Ginsburg and Iddo Gal (1996) that fit well with what many authors were saying: