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Michael Gove speaks to the Royal Society on maths and science (29 June 2011)

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by kevchenko13, Jun 29, 2011.

  1. DM

    DM New commenter

    It is just a summary of what we already knew with the exception of the developing computer programmes to teach mathematics thing - that had completely passed me by.
     
  2. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter

    All sounds good to me.
    The data he presents clearly shows that either standards are falling in Maths in the UK or have seriously failed to keep up with the improving standards in many countries around the world so time to stop grade inflation.
    I'm sure that both secondary and primary colleagues will welcome the sensible suggestion to reduce the topics taught in KS1 and KS2. In depth coverage of the fundamental concepts together with the ability to use and apply these concepts is what is needed.
    Use of computer programs, well yes. For how many years have many of us Maths teachers been trying to get the resources we know would make a significant difference to learning. Will Maths departments now become a priority for financial investment in the infrastructure needed to facilitate these developments?
    Hope that 'pathways' are designed which will really address the 'every child matters' agenda. Lets get it right for everyone this time not just move priorities to one section of learners to the detriment of others.
    Hope that those who see progress as the constant need to innovate and totally change how things are being done will now stop and start to look at what really makes for good Mathematical learning. Constantly throwing the baby out with the bath water is what has caused much of the mess we now find ourselves in.
     
  3. I think that's fair comment. Here's my summary of said summary!
    • Standards in STEM are falling behind the eastern nations; impact on the economy
    • Need to reform the curriculum, teaching and technology
    • NC review to share draft Programmes of Study in August, with the evidence
    • NC to focus on essential concepts
    • Primary maths to focus on number concepts and pre-algebra, not stats
    • Toughen up secondary curriculum - mentions calculus and Normal distribution
    • ACME's findings on take-up of maths post-16 are worrying
    • Not enough people have 'basic maths skills' (ie GCSE grade C)
    • Should set an objective for the vast majority to study maths to age 18
    • Conversion courses for graduates in related subjects to acquire specialist knowledge for teaching maths
    • High achieving graduates to be given big financial incentives to teach
    • Supporting CPD
    • Looking for private sector funding for the FMSP
    • Change curricula, tests and teaching to keep pace with technology
    • DfE working with Li Ka Shing Foundation and Stanford Research Institute piloting computer programs to teach maths
    • 'Teaching schools' will share successful ideas rapidly
     
  4. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    Oh, and as for this line "When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot aliens, it is amazing how quickly they learn" ... I could just weep
     
  5. i know i'm not going to get round to reading this before the summer hols - so kev:
    primary maths. like gaul, is divided into 3 parts - number, data and 'space and shape' - if the 2nd is junked in favour of the first (and i sure wouldn't complain) do you know anything about the status of the third?
     
  6. mmmmmaths

    mmmmmaths New commenter


    Missed that paragraph. I wonder what Marcus thinks of his amazing contribution to the resurrection of Maths education in this country!

    Re your previous post, yes agree with all of what you say but have been around too long to expect any of that to be addressed.

    As for NCETM, how good would it look if an 'old' organisation was at the forefront of Mathematical CPD much better to bring in their own ideas eg training schools Maths teaching experts and the equivalent of science learning centres and learning networks etc. They could model it on on say....I know, NCETM have a pretty good model for CPD.
     
  7. DM

    DM New commenter

    We were weeping simultaneously.
     
  8. Hi Flora
    The bit I condensed there was this:
    "One of the lessons from the international evidence is that in East Asia there is much greater focus on fundamental number concepts, fractions and the building blocks of algebra in primary school. They have minimum standards that they aim to get practically all children to reach so they have a firm foundation for secondary. It may be, therefore, that we will adopt the same approach and have much more emphasis on pre-algebra in primary and remove data handling and some other subjects from the primary curriculum.
    We should also bear in mind that in Shanghai, they have daily maths lessons and regular tests to make sure that all children are learning the basics.
    Improving the foundations in primary would allow us to be more ambitious in the secondary curriculum."
    So does shape and space count as part of 'some other subjects' or does he mean other subjects entirely? Perhaps the NC review will trim it down to some sort of 'shape and space basics' idea. But in short, who knows? [​IMG]
     
  9. So if I put a couple of his messages together correctly, parents can come into school tomorrow, sit the students in front of Manga High for an hour, and they will learn maths amazingly quickly. That must be where I was going wrong as a teacher.
     
  10. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I cant be the first (but perhaps I am just dumb enough to say it) that this speech was obviously not written by Michael Gove. The influence of Marcus or own of the other bods behind Mangahigh is obvious.
    The majority of the settement however I have to be honest I agree with.
    I was once asked by a primary colleague what I would like children to be taught. I replied number bonds, tables and shapes. The replied shocked thinking I was joking - I wasnt and I am still not!
    re magnahigh I think some of the anti attitudes are a bit wrong. This have been developed as is being offered free to all schools. Wether you like it or not the kids DO enjoy using it and DO practice their maths basics i.e tables by using it and yes we may think its a bit cheesy - and it is - but if it gets them doing maths so what.
    I might add the prodigy stuff goes all the way to A* and gives them multiple choice options - the progress through levels of competition and score points which are recorded giving and elememt of competition which again the kids love.
    It teaches the very little / nothing but it is excellent (far better than mymaths) at motivating then and getting then to do some repetitive practice - which in my opinion was is and always will be (wether we like it or not) an essential element of being good at maths.
     
  11. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    aginst mangahigh - and the majority of the rest of the retoric in this speech is that it requires a reasonable good computer to run it. My own laptop on the school internet works fine but the majority of the school computers are just way too slow and the programmes grind to a halt causing the students to get fustrated and we regularly end up on mymaths for this reason.
    so my question to Mr Gove is - were is the funding that will enable his fantastic ideas to be implimented?
     
  12. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    I agree the learn nothing - but would you not agree that a bit of repetitive practice is an essential element of mathematical development and that ICt like mangahigh can be motivational for students
     
  13. I think - and it is only think - that the computer software they are taling about is SimCalc from Stanford research institute. Here's where you can find all the info. It's the only thing I could find remotely possible.
    http://bit.ly/mQaQgm
    you can download it free and have a play by visiting the link on that page.
     
  14. Maths_Mike

    Maths_Mike New commenter

    Computer games developed by Marcus Du Sautoy are enabling children to engage with complex mathematical problems that would hitherto have been thought too advanced. When children need to solve equations in order to get more ammo to shoot the aliens, it is amazing how quickly they can learn. I am sure that this field of educational games has huge potential for maths and science teaching and I know that Marcus himself has been thinking about how he might be able to create games to introduce advanced concepts, such as non-Euclidean geometry, to children at a much earlier stage than normal in schools.
    I think this direct quote from the speech makes it clear it isnt !!
    An dwhile in my previous post I defended Manag high having now read the complete paprgraph on ICT the bit that I really did think was a joke and made me cry with sad ironic laughter was
    "Computer games developed by Marcus Du Sautoy are enabling children to engage with complex mathematical problems that would hitherto have been thought too advanced."
    I mean I defend Mangahigh as a means of practising basics but to suggest it enables children to engage with complex problems is ludicrous and overrated claim of the usefullness of the site
     
  15. DM

    DM New commenter

    Read the whole speech Mike and you will understand the Stanford reference.
     
  16. Tandy

    Tandy New commenter

    The reason that I am weeping is that it is totally unacceptable that the Secretary of State for Education can be so ill-informed, so naive about mathematics (arguably the single most important strand of the curriculum). Naive on two major counts: Firstly, that he (and his advisors of the moment) seem to have no grasp on what the discipline of mathematics actually is, and don't understand how it can truly play a role in the economic wellbeing of the nation in the future - they are stuck thinking it is about regurgitating skills, or replicating the education that he experienced in the 1950s. I have no gripe with the chap if he wants to bring his kids up in a certain way, but education systems should not be driven by the narrow vision and experience that one man has.
    Secondly, that the DfE seem to have lost any understanding about how mathematics is learned - what experiences, collaborations, mathematical talking, problem solving, knowledge creation is necessary in order to think mathematically. And it is not the place of a major speech on mathematics, to push the totally *** view that if you sit a bunch of kids in front of some wacky game, all is solved. This is nothing to do with MagnaHigh - I think it has it's place, and support them - but it has everything to do with firstly that being a wrong view about how to learn mathematics and secondly about it being wholly inappropriate for those with a narrow commercial interest to have such a hold over the opinions of a Secretary of State.

    As for the CPD thing. Well, the fact that the Department are giving up on NCETM is a complete disgrace. Hopefully the maths/science organisation that will arise now will at least stick to the principles that NCETM have set out for successful and effective professional learning.
     
  17. LiamD

    LiamD Occasional commenter

    Absolutely!
    Michael Gove has made a pig's ear of everything he has touched since becoming Education Secretary. The BSF fiasco, the headlong sprint towards academies, the EBac, the list goes on (and no doubt there's more to come). His pursuit of populist support is risible and he really needs to choose his advisers more carefully as he is clearly cluless on the subject of Education. but by far his worst failing is his indisputable resemblance to a Thunderbirds puppet.
    Incidentally he was at school with my cousin who is adamant that his first job as a reporter at the P&J in Aberdeen was obtained through nepotism.
    Usual disclaimers apply : JMO (and no doubt total bullocks as usual)
     
  18. 'Michael Gove has made a pig's ear of everything he has touched since becoming Education Secretary.'
    Possibly a bit unfair to pigs
    'The BSF fiasco, the headlong sprint towards academies, the EBac, the list goes on (and no doubt there's more to come).'
    I hate acronyms. BSF: British Socialist Front ?
    'His pursuit of populist support is risible and he really needs to choose his advisers more carefully as he is clearly cluless on the subject of Education. but by far his worst failing is his indisputable resemblance to a Thunderbirds puppet.'
    Brains, no surely not.
    'Incidentally he was at school with my cousin who is adamant that his first job as a reporter at the P&J in Aberdeen was obtained through nepotism.'
    I could tell you a few ripe things about senior members of the last labour government, from one of my in-laws. But I'm not going to.
     
  19. pencho

    pencho New commenter

    I have to say that I also don't really think he knows very much about maths education.
    He talks about students studying maths to 18. he talks about 50% of students not getting a grade C in maths. Until we get maths teaching up to a decent standard across the board and get teachers who can inspire - then I can't see it happening
     

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