Parallel Universes or Venn Intersections?: Numeracy and literacy teaching and learning

  • Louise Celeste Rossetto University of Wollongong
  • Lesley Wilkins University of Wollongong
Keywords: learning, literacy, numeracy, academic language, learning development


Over the years, there has been fierce debate about the definition of numeracy and literacy for Academic Language and Learning (ALL) practitioners and at times, we seem to work in parallel universes, but on reflection, we have more in common than is originally supposed. For students enrolled in mathematics courses in higher education, especially those in Education faculties or schools, previous experience of studying mathematics does not always equal competency with, and confidence in dealing with numeracy at tertiary level. McNaught and Hoyne (2011) argue that these concepts are co-dependent. Also, our diverse student population often struggles to achieve confidence and competency with academic language and literacy. This paper discusses our similar approach to teaching and learning where initially confidence is generated before challenges are issued and where explanation is privileged over discipline knowledge transference. Through our shared teaching in an ALL-focused program developed at our university, we are able to find common ground and greater understanding of each other’s expertise.

Author Biographies

Louise Celeste Rossetto, University of Wollongong
Senior Lecturer Learning Development
Lesley Wilkins, University of Wollongong
Lecturer (Mathematics) Learning Development Learning, Teaching & Curriculum
How to Cite
RossettoL. C., & WilkinsL. (2015). Parallel Universes or Venn Intersections?: Numeracy and literacy teaching and learning. Journal of Academic Language and Learning, 9(2), A79-A90. Retrieved from
Research Articles