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Engaging learners particularly boys

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by linda.meyrick, Sep 27, 2018.

  1. linda.meyrick

    linda.meyrick New commenter

    Anyone got any good tips or ideas on how to engage students with the GCSE maths curriculum especially disaffected boys who will never use circle theorems or tree diagrams and can't see the relevance of these sorts of topics no matter how exciting I try to teach it?
     
  2. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths Occasional commenter

    It's interesting that nobody had an answer to this question! I think one problem is the variety of reasons why they are disaffected, so there may not be one answer. Personally I've had success with some students and failures with others.

    I've had students who had just given up on themselves and needed showing that there was a point to them trying because they COULD get a good grade.
    WIth one Y11 group I gave them levelled worksheets from Grade U to Grade B for half the lesson, if they got 20+/25 on the Grade U then I gave them the next grade up. If they got less than 20 then they got the same Grade again, the questions were on the same topics but with different numbers so they could use the feedback/examples I did for them to help.
    Half the group engaged with it and gradually worked their way up to Grace C/B. The other half couldn't be bothered and were stuck repeating the Grade G/F worksheets over and over again. Once they saw the other students making progress and I explained they had the same SATs results, the same test tesults and setting throughout secondary school and had the same teacher so it's wasn't like the successful students were just "good at maths" - they got it and started putting effort in.

    I've had students living in a bubble of their own personal and social lives where they already have everything they want given to them by their family and have no plans or aspirations beyond that, perhaps with benefits taking over after their parents are done looking after them.
    I don't know the answer to this one. It's usually in deprived areas the students don't often leave, so perhaps broadening their horizons that there is more fun they could be having outside of their XBox if only they earned the money to do it? Perhaps this is beyond the scope of a maths lesson though.

    I've had students who just don't agree with the school system. It doesn't make sense to them that they can't specialise earlier in subjects they enjoy and may use when they are older, the way the subject is taught and assessed doesn't make sense to them either and they have some of the same complaints we have about the system.
    Another one I don't know the answer to and the most recent one I've had to deal with. These can be the most critical students who like to complain, so perhaps personal relationships are important here, get them doing the work for you since they don't want to do it for themselves? I feel like competition could be useful here too.
     
  3. jocarthew

    jocarthew New commenter

    Employ maths teachers who used to be disengaged boys.
     
    hammie likes this.
  4. linda.meyrick

    linda.meyrick New commenter

    Thanks for those thoughts:) SparkMaths response was exactly what we've tried and said. One to one conversations seem to be working at the moment. Thanks anyway
     
  5. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Incidentally, regarding tree diagrams, they almost certainly come from families that spend a lot of their income on gambling, must be an in there!
    Running school football teams gave me an advantage as a young Maths teacher. get this done or you ain't playing for the school team this week, worked for some. But only works when you are the one running the team, not as a second hand threat.
     
  6. David Getling

    David Getling Lead commenter

    Linda, have you heard the expression flogging a dead horse? Often with these types of boys can't see the point is merely an excuse to be lazy. If you observe them in almost any other situation, other than playing a video game or watching TV, you will see exactly the same laziness. Best not to lose any sleep over them and concentrate on the decent kids.
     

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