ABSTRACT

The ability to draw, interpret and analyse graphs, maps, tables and charts has always been a mainstay of geography. Now there is a plethora of other numerical skills necessary to master in the modern GCSE and A Level specifications. It is not merely the ability of students to become more numerically literate which is the only challenge for students and teachers; it is the application of these skills that is so vital to improve the student’s geographical understanding and thus their progress with the subject. The key to improving students’ numerical skills is through seizing the opportunity presented through our everyday teaching to incorporate and develop those skills. This does not imply that we should necessarily ‘shoehorn’ in specific lessons – however, this may be one approach that will successfully upskill our students. We should also acknowledge that numeracy in geography is not just primarily involved in skill development: we are also interested in developing the students’ mathematical understanding and how this can be applied to the real world. In reality, when we discuss numeracy in geography we are essentially discussing mathematical thinking – not just the use of numbers, but more how the use of maths can help us improve our understanding of how the world works.