Sunday, 7 June 2015
New maths and newer maths
Over the next few weeks I will be reflecting on maths teaching and learning within my own practice. It is a goal of mine this year to focus on and strengthen my maths practice. It is also rather pertinent considering the recent media coverage of the state of maths teaching in NZ.
I have never been strong at maths.
Throughout my schooling I really had to apply myself and put in significantly more effort to understand (or at least utilise) mathematical strategies. I got extra tutoring at high school and asked for help from higher achieving peers to pass Maths with Statistics in 7th Form (Year 13). But I did it, I passed, and I was proud of my hard work paying off.
When I started at teacher training, maths lessons still did not come easy. Maths, as I knew it, had changed. A lot. No more learning rules and applying formulae to solve equations. This was my first introduction to the Numeracy Project. Developing number sense through teaching number knowledge and number strategies. Some strategies I remembered, while often times it was like I was learning maths for the first time. Looking back it was a great experience for me to understand and relate to my learners. It was pretty powerful to have 'aha' moments as an adult learning maths aimed at year 7 & 8 children.
I found that I had to work hard again at maths and again needed to rely on discussion and support from my peers to help me understand the different ways of thinking. It was a great opportunity for us (as trainee teachers) to see how maths should/could be taught in NZ classrooms. One of the maths teachers especially stands out for her fantastic work - Gail Ledger. She made maths interesting, relevant, and fun. Her lessons were wonderful models and she also worked hard to make us all feel supported. Through hard work and help I did rather well in my maths study yet I was still not confident in my maths teaching practice and being able to deliver instruction based on the Numeracy Project.