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What numeracy topics/ issues do you struggle with?

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by lucylu25, Mar 20, 2012.

  1. Hello!
    I'm interested in what issues your school faces in numeracy teaching.
    What do you want to see changing in numeracy teaching? Is there certain areas where your school needs help?
    Do you have any way of raising numeracy abilities quickly?
    How does the whole school get involved in numeracy?
    Are certain cohorts of students worse/better at numeracy generally?
    Anyt thoughts on the state of numeracy teaching today are welcome.
    Your opinion is massively important - I'm researching for a paper that hopefully will calm Wilshaw down.
    *raises a glass*
    Thank you
     
  2. Hello!
    I'm interested in what issues your school faces in numeracy teaching.
    What do you want to see changing in numeracy teaching? Is there certain areas where your school needs help?
    Do you have any way of raising numeracy abilities quickly?
    How does the whole school get involved in numeracy?
    Are certain cohorts of students worse/better at numeracy generally?
    Anyt thoughts on the state of numeracy teaching today are welcome.
    Your opinion is massively important - I'm researching for a paper that hopefully will calm Wilshaw down.
    *raises a glass*
    Thank you
     
  3. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    The biggest issue is that kids do not practice enough. In the past much numeracy practice wasn't explicit - it was just part of life. But now, kids do not use numeracy skills outside the maths classroom (OK, occasionally in DT and science).

    They don't spend ages looking at the Argos catalogue working out their "wants list" to the nearest penny and then working out how long they'll have to save up their pocket money to get the things on their lists.

    They don't cook - putting a ready meal in the microwave only requires the ability to type in exactly what is written on the packet (and even there, microwaves with barcode readers are under development).

    They don't read maps (the sat nav does that).

    They don't collect stamps and so don't care how many will fit on a page of their new album because they haven't got and don't want one.

    They don't even wear watches, so using the analogue face of a watch to work out "how long to" and hence become aware of sexagesimal arithmetic just never happens.

    They don't do "puzzles" at home as the xbox/facebook are more entertaining and accessible.

    They don't play cards or dice games for the same reason - so simple probability simulations are meaningless to them.

    This isn't about teaching - it's about how the environment outside the classroom has changed. And maths is a subject that requires knowledge and skill - you have to practice maths to be any good at it. If you stop practising times tables before they're completely burnt in (and don't come back to them from time to time), they fade away. No point in pretending we can "inspire" them to seek out the Sunday newspaper and try to solve the number puzzles - the xbox will always offer something more interesting to the majority because that's what it's for.

    To improve maths teaching, all the above has to be recognised. No point in forcing teachers to put on edutainment "lessons", because we can't compete with the xbox anyway. We need to get back to doing a lot more practice in lessons and in homework that is followed up on and sanctions given (by management, not loaded onto the teacher) when not done as practice is what really makes the difference.

    Well, that's my opinion anyway..
     
  4. Stop employing mathematically inept 'mummies'/'he-mummies' in primary schools who scraped GCSEs in core subjects.
    Sack off all singing all dancing lessons that don't move kids on in favour of core numeracy lessons that have no jazz and simple number work that is repeated until kids know basics off by heart.
    Poor teachers are too busy trying to think how they can shoe horn ICT/games/team garbage etc etc in a lesson when in reality the kids are not learning.
     
  5. A male who wants to mother children instead of teach them. A typical jack of all trades master on none (often including the basic NQT numeracy and literacy tests)
    There are some great primary teachers but too many who are aimless, substandard 'mummies' who "just want to work with children becuase they like them" and it is not servicing the requirements of pupils.
    I appreciate that may offend some but TBH its only ever going to get more of an issue until teacher training requires something beyond scraping a C grade in maths and English.
    I shudder to think of sending my kid to a school to learn numeracy/maths from some of the C grade students I have forced through mutliplt resits to obtain a low level qualification.
     
  6. Wot they sed!
    cyolba, applauding enthusiastically :)
     
  7. I think this is really important, those students that scrape a C at GCSE maths now really could be the primary school teachers of the future and that's scary. The standard has to be higher but it won't happen with pay and conditions the way they are.
    The standards have to be set to allow enough people willing to do the job through, if there aren't enough people who want to become teachers with higher GCSE grades then the standards have to be lower.
    I think it's half of all teachers leave the profession within 3 years, if we could find a way to keep them then we would have a surplus of teachers and the required standards could start to be increased.
     
  8. PaulDG

    PaulDG Occasional commenter

    There's nothing wrong with the pay. There's nothing wrong with the conditions (the ones on paper anyway). It's the job (as teachers are allowed to do it, under constant oppression from Ofsted and management), that's the problem
    .
    (As Douglas Adams had the Vogon guard say "the hours are good, but now I come to think of it, most of the actual minutes are pretty lousy.")
    If teachers were allowed to teach, and if they were allowed to remove the kids from the classroom that did not want to learn, retention would not be a problem.
     
  9. afterdark

    afterdark Occasional commenter

    Yes... but it would not work in the UK because there is too much telling teachers how to do their job...ad obviously criticising them when the OFSTED/government/SMT methods don't work...
    Stop the sly denigration of mathematics via those that sneer at mathematics and when maths gets 2 GCSE's as English does then you have a hope of understanding what the problems are...
    Yes...if they have taught by someone who is both terrible at maths and afraid of it they pick up many negative associations and are often too quick to give.
    The government says to teachers that numeracy is important but it not important enough to be more formally assessed at GCSE level. It could be, if there were 2 awards at GCSE level for mathematics. I find it laughable that those in whitehall all can see the reasoning behind 2 GCSE's in English [Lang and Lit] but cannot see how they are not devaluing mathematics by not offering 2 GCSE's. There always was Addition Mathematics O level previously.
    Thank you for that, but really to me... the only opinions that count are those of the students that I teach who want to learn...

     
  10. afterdark

    afterdark Occasional commenter

    Paul... hear hear.
    I must take my hat off to you sir. I agree so much with the above and <u>all of the rest of</u> your excellent post.
     
  11. afterdark

    afterdark Occasional commenter

    Do you mean that the 2 things are synonymous?
    If so, I not agree. I have used starter games a rich source of skill building with 'less able' children; and had a great deal of success. With a statistically significant proportion of children.
    Perhaps the way that it is implemented.
    BTW ICT was "shoe horned" into lessons at the behest of an OFSTED whim. It is not something that teachers one day decided to foist upon classes in lieu of mathematics.
    The same can be said for team garbage...I know this for a fact because I was teaching at the time that it became vogue. I was suitably incensed when some buffoon from OFSTED said that 'he wanted to see students working in pairs" etc.
    I was happy then doing lots of examples for practice before all the **** started.

     
  12. afterdark

    afterdark Occasional commenter

    ROFL... I know that feeling.
    Personally I find the response "would you brag about being illiterate in the same way?"
    or "would you smile[find it funny] about being unable to read?"
    Is a better response.
     
  13. My point is that some teachers feel the need to do things because its fashionable rather than it being the best way to move kids on.
    Some topics simply dont need IT, some kids simply don't need to be questionned, some kids simply don't need to work in pairs, some kids don't need to ___________ (insert a whole range of things) This idea to cram all the trash into a lesson (which is being pumped through PGCE/GTP/ITT bodies and Oftsed) is making teaching nothing about the ideal way to move kids on but a demonstration of how to play a game often at the expense of the kids.
    I dont do starters, I dont do a plenary. I start teaching when the kids are arriving and finish when the bell goes. If they miss something then they need to catch up. The UK is one of the only places where teachers fanny about and tend to the needs of kids far too much. You get there on time, start working as per many Asian countries.
     
  14. Agreed - wholeheartedly with the practice thing and they don't even get the analogy of David Beckham ( insert more recent star here) practIcing for hours. Cos they can score on the x box it's easy.

    However, in light of a delightful 2days in the company of Her Majesty's Inspectorate where do we fit in the independent learning bit. Practice is great but they need to be able to do stuff for themselves without being able to press the reset button and start again cos the computer cheated them!!
    When and where do we get that?
     

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