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Impact of Reduced Teacher Contact Time At A-Level?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by DM, May 17, 2011.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter

    My school reduced contact from 10 one hour periods per fortnight to 9 and now subjects studied by a small numbers of students have either 7 or 8. It is difficult to get through the content at AS but no great problem at A2. Results have improved slightly but correlation does not imply causation.
    Big saving financially - a fairly accurate rule of thumb is a saving of £1000 per year for a one hour reduction for one class per fortnight. It is a neat way to address a potential budget deficit.
     
  2. I guess it could also be led by a lack of available teachers. It's no secret that schools in parts of the school are (and have been for some time) short on maths teachers and this is another possible work-around.
    I'm afraid I don't have much else to add to the debate ... hope this wasn't a useless post!
     
  3. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    It's difficult to comment really without knowing what time allocation you had in the first place, ie 17% of what?
    Reading between the lines I'm going to presume you currently have 6 (probably 50 minute) lessons per week? In which case, a reduction to 5 per week plus directed study, however you label it, is a hell of a lot better than our 4 lessons of one hour per week...
    In which case, I'm tempted to say "get used to it"! If not, then do tell...
     
  4. mature_maths_trainee

    mature_maths_trainee New commenter

    Googleplex,
    To clarify, our school situation is currently 270 mins per week (on average). Being reduced to 224 mins taught lessons, with the remaining 46 mins teacher-driected independent study.
    It might just be that we just need to learn best practice techniques for setting teacher-directed learning. Or it might be that we cross a critical minimal threshold below which learning falters considerably?
    MMT.
     
  5. Is this a reflection on the quality of teaching perhaps? Those that taught A level in our dept had gone through a pecking order mainly dictated by time in the dept rather than their actual ability to teach at that level. Also I know of one FE maths teacher who actually hinders his class learning because he spends a lot of time explaining 'why' rather than 'how.' Perhaps some research into this wouldn't come amiss to see by how much the taught hours could be reduced without results improving, or at least not getting worse to see how much money could be saved.
     
  6. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Perhaps we can but ourselves out of a job altogether?
     
  7. Perhaps so, but is it right to predjudice results to keep people in jobs? I think it has more to do with the quality of teaching anyway. I don't think that there are enough good quality A level maths teachers to go round. The comp that I worked at a few years ago was in the top 10 in the country for GCSE results but had the A level points score of a school much lower down the league tables. Why? Perhaps because the pecking order to teach A level (in the maths dept anyway) was not based on teacher acedemic background.
     
  8. Of course it is a dangerous assumption. That is why I was careful to choose my words - "appears to be an inverse . . . " Does it not make sense then to test the hypothesis which is easy to accomplish? If the results are consistently better what should we conclude?
     
  9. Hmm . . . wasn't I alluding to this earlier?
     
  10. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Then I fail to see the point in what you are suggesting?
    an experiment to tell us that good teaching has a positive effect while poor teaching doesnt?
     
  11. No, an experiment to see if results can be improved by a reduction in contact hours as the OP has suggested in light of evidence from other schools. Whether that improvement to due to less poor teaching, students taking more control of their own learning or more time for students to assimilate knowledge in their own time and way or a mixture of the three, would need to be determined and may be different for each school/cohort.
     
  12. DM

    DM New commenter

  13. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Than quite frankly your "results" would be entirely pointless
     
  14. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    flippant by name....
     
  15. I prefer to think of myself in terms of the older definition of flippant googy: talkative, flexible, nimble, pliant :) Anyway, it would be interesting to see the effect of this ?enforced experiment? at the OP?s school. It would also make a good research project so we could perhaps get more reliable info. Perhaps we should suppress it though ? can you imagine the furore if The Sun latched onto this lol?
     
  16. googolplex

    googolplex Occasional commenter

    I'm starting to get a plex about the way you spell my googol...
    Yes, imagine the scene... Right kids, get into two groups. This group is the control group, you get taught as we've always teaching. You lot, on the other hand...the good news is you get loads more free time...
     

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