Excellent plain language Philadelphia Inquirer article on the impact of innumeracy on health
Submitted by David J. Rosen on July 3, 2018 - 5:25am
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Health literacy, reading, English language, science, and other colleagues,
JoAnn Weinberger, former Executive Director of the Center For Literacy in Philadelphia and longtime advocate of adult basic skills education, just posted the article Fear of Math is Harmful to Your Health. This woman wants to help to the AAACE-NLA adult basic skills advocacy Google group. It is an engaging, easy-to-read article about the importance of comfort and competence with numeracy for better health. The author, Sandy Bauers, points out that more than twice as many people have problems with numeracy than literacy, and gives examples of what that looks like in their health decisions and behaviors. The article is about Ellen Peters, a visiting scholar at the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania. She is writing a book, Innumeracy in the Wild, and is a distinguished professor of psychology at Ohio State. At the end of the article are simple suggestions that patients who are not comfortable with numeracy can ask medical practitioners to help them make better health decisions. I like that the article is written in plain language, and includes easy-to-understand examples. Although it is about health, not how to teach numeracy as such, the author makes numeracy in the context of important health decisions feel manageable to learn. The article might be useful for you, and for your students. It might be used, for example, in an ESL/ESOL, reading, health, numeracy, or science class. When the book is available, I expect it will include the research citations, which the article does not.
How might, or might not, you use this article with adult learners, in teacher professional development, or in adult numeracy advocacy?
David J. Rosen