I’d like to start with a question:
How can we become better teachers?
Some of the answers that have been suggested (not always by teachers) are: performance targets and rewards; teaching from a centrally-designed curriculum; higher qualifications and study; INSET sessions; plain old experience. While all of these have their place, I am interested is something else, and I would like you now to answer a second question – as a way of getting an answer to the first:
How have I become a better teacher up until now?
Posted by on 25th April 2015 at 12:00am
Question: How do you introduce new concepts in Maths?
One Answer: You demonstrate and explore them in a concrete way, then get students to represent the concept pictorially, then record it numerically – from the concrete to the abstract, in other words. So if you were introducing fractions, you’d get students to cut up a cake, then draw or arrange pictures of cakes cut up, then use digits to record the process.
That all makes sense to me, and apparently it’s the main principle behind Singapore Maths, the curriculum and methods that started in Singapore and have been followed by schools around the world attracted by the country’s performance in Maths teaching.
Posted by on 16th February 2015 at 12:00am
Reasoning and Problem Solving
When the new Australian curriculum goes live in 2015, teachers across the country are being asked to – among other things – get students thinking mathematically. Two of the four proficiency strands are Problem Solving and Reasoning, (the others being Understanding and Fluency).
Posted by on 27th August 2014 at 12:00am
When I told people that my work with philosophy for children had moved me into mathematics for children, and how we teach it, a lot of them were surprised. They are still surprised when I insist that philosophy and maths are closely related. For many, those two subjects would seem opposite ends of the spectrum: at one end is cold hard mathematics with its truths set in stone, and the other is philosophy, as vague and elusive as a puff of smoke. But this is to misunderstand them both.
Posted by on 15th August 2014 at 12:00am
Some people like Maths because it feels like a land of certainty. Where other subjects – indeed life in general – teem with doubts and contradictions, numbers are cool, hard and permanent. You know where you are with them.
But is this how numbers really are, or just how we want them to be?
Posted by on 14th August 2014 at 12:00am