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I couldnt agree more!

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by Maths_Mike, Apr 19, 2011.

  1. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-13128701
    "To find out we need to take a quick detour into the
    science of expertise, and ask a question. Where does excellence come from? For a
    long time, it was thought the answer to this hinged, to a large degree, on
    genetic inheritance. Or, to put it another way, it is all about talent.
    It turns out that this is mistaken. Dozens of studies have found that top
    performers - whether in maths, music or whatever - learn no faster than those
    who reach lower levels of attainment - hour after hour, they improve at almost
    identical rates.
    The difference is simply that high achievers practise for more hours."
    "A study of pianists, for example, showed that the area of the brain governing
    finger movement is substantially larger than for the rest of us - but it did not
    start out like this; it grew with practice."
    "Think how often you hear children saying "I just lack the brain for numbers"
    or "I don't have the coordination for sports". These are direct manifestations
    of the fixed mindset, and they destroy motivation.
    Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, do not regard their abilities
    as set in genetic stone. These are the youngsters who approach tasks with gusto.
    "I may not be good at maths now, but if I work hard, I will be really good in
    the future!""
    "A full two-thirds of the students praised for intelligence chose the easy task -
    they did not want to risk losing their "smart" label. But 90% of the
    effort-praised group chose the tough test - they wanted to prove just how hard
    working they were."
    "This reveals a radical new approach to the way we engage with children - that we
    should praise effort, never talent; that we should teach kids to see challenges
    as learning opportunities rather than threats; and that we should emphasise how
    abilities can be transformed. "
    A brilliant article and so true in my opinion. And another nail in the coffin of APP and targets and levelling. What matters re a childs progress (regardless of their ability) is how hard they work period.
     
  2. A great article.
    I don't see that it rules out APP though.
    Just telling kids to 'work hard at maths' won't be completely successful, although it's a good start.
    Being able to tell them to work hard on adding fractions or area of sectors, so giving them a focus, would be much more successful.
     
  3. Have you read Outliers ?
     
  4. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Yes fair point.
     
  5. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    However the point is it is much more important to praise hard work and effort and telling the they are / need to be level so and so is not helpfull.
    Afl not APP!
     
  6. Another fair point!
    I have never quite got it round my noggin why they need to know their level. It's such a mishmash of equationsL5/piechartsL5/probabilityL6 that telling them overall they are level 5b doesn't help.
     
  7. Outliers?
     
  8. It is a book by Malcolm Gladwell
     
  9. Colleen_Young

    Colleen_Young Occasional commenter

  10. An interesting article and cause for thought.

    I do think there is a firm place for somehow describing the 'general' level that a student is working at (whether they be NC or some other measure). When I was at school my reports just said "Maths Exam 95%" or whatever.

    Now that was meaningless in that it could have been a really easy exam or just that I was really good at Maths or both! In my school everyone in the year did the same exam - so either there were large parts of the paper that the weakest in the year group couldn't even attempt or the paper held no challenge for the more able students.

    NC levels are far from perfect in that a 'level 5 student' could well do lots of level 6 work but have gaps in some level 4 work but the same is true of GCSE or A level grades too.

    I am also aware that for some students seeing a lack of progress (using NC levels) can act as a motivating tool to get them to increase their work rate so levels can be used alongside this.

    It is absolutely right though that AfL is the key to good progress - levels are just a useful tool for monitoring this progress and looking out for issues on a factual level as opposed to a gut feel level (as long as the level data is accurate and meaningfully collected - and I'm still in the 'give them a test' camp for generating such data).
     
  11. I agree with MathsHOD here, but maybe didn't have the inclination to type all that.

    But by the time a result is added to all the others you really lose the detail. A bit like 2 students getting the same score, but getting different questions wrong. They need specific target so that they can both improve.

    I think I'm coming from a point of SLT looking at our termly test data and wanting to know why a 4b hadn't advanced to a 4a, as if colouring it in red would make me teach them differently
     
  12. For me the take home message is that you can be as good as you realistically want to be.
    Nothing kids will ever do in science or maths in the current curriculum requires them to be anything other than alogrithm junkies and have good memories (on top of lots of practice) which favours them even more based on the research.
    If the exam was more abstract then I think you would see a divide....almost like STEP or the old holistic problem solving techniques with more able pupils being 'naturally' better at spotting things
    I honestly cannot credit that any pupil who doesnt have learning difficulties (legit ones) cannot get a C grade in maths
     
  13. Mike: it's been lovely and sunny and warm today: surely another nail in the coffin of APP?
     
  14. That was meant to be a 'blush'!
     
  15. (To me, it resembles a rabbit with whiskers and a carrot).
     
  16. don't say rabbit
     
  17. she who must not be named.....
     
  18. The BBC article read very similar to a chapter fromt the book "59 seconds" by Prof Wiseman.
    Is it just me that thinks this article is basically saying that those people who are successful in the long term learn to work harder than than those that don't?
    I notice that there now the old rightwing anti teacher bias hidden in the article,
    "Further research has shown that when students seem to possess a
    particular gift, it is often because they have been given extra tuition
    at home by their parents. "This statement is not in the '59 seconds' book BTW. So now when student excel is because of tuition at home by parents...
    So is the author of this class calling for smaller class sizes then? Apparently not.
    "This is not to deny that some kids start out better than others - it
    is merely to suggest that the starting point we have in life is not
    particularly relevant.

    Why? Because, over time, with the right kind of practice, we
    change so dramatically. It is not just the body that changes, but the
    anatomy of the brain."
    I must beg to differ with this stance, I have taught 12 years old who come not knowing the word eleven... sorry but say the starting point doesn't matter is utter balderdash and piffle.
    The notion that intelligence does not have a gentic component is twaddle. The only 'new' idea in this article is one that working harder gives better results. That is not exactly news to me.
    However, as many older colleagues will know the 'old school' were stopped from praising effort and forced to change focus to results when the far right intoduced school league tables and the insanity of linear progression through National curriculum sub levels took root
    This culture of incessantly praising children for simply doing what was ordinarily expected of them was foisted upon the educational professionals of the UK. Now this has been portrayed as failing the ownership of this idea had immediately been transfered to teachers.
    A shoddy piece of journalism unworthy of the BBC.
     
  19. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    In that case I mis understood the article.
    I read it a "progress made relates to hard work"
    Clearly that progress might be learning to count or it might be learning how to integrate by parts.
    The point I thought was being made is that take 2 pupils with the same initial abilty - and the hard working one will make more progres than the other.
     

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