Sunday, 4 February 2018

Mathematics is a real world skill!

This year my inquiry will focus on mathematics. I want to support learners to have dialogic discussion and apply computational thinking as they develop real world maths skills within a real connect.

It will Focus on the Manaiakalani Achievement Challenge 6: Lifting the achievement in maths for all students years 1-13.

I am extremely lucky that this year our school is working with Bobby Hunter and the DMIC team to help our learners develop their mathematical understanding and become problem solves who use big mathematical ideas, work together and use mathematics in a real world context.

Bobby came to talk to us on ur teacher only day about the history of mathematics teaching and learning in New Zealand and the history of deficit thinking that is ingrained into teaching practice.

There are a few main points that I gained from this learning that I want to share as I think about how DMIC researcher and pedagogy can link in with and support my inquiry focus in 2018.

1. What works for diverse learners therefore it works for all learners.

Bobby talked a lot about a need for maths to be culturally responsive and grounded in a context that is meaningful to learners. She stated that if maths is not in the meaningful context students become disconnected and their fore develop the dislike for maths that leads to disengagement.

This discussion reminded me of my own experience of maths, which I have to state was the opposite of what Bobby was talking about, I love maths at school, It had an answer and I could work backwards and forward to check it. However often my friends would say when will we ever use algebra (this could be any mathematical concept) once we leave school. I think this disconnection between the maths and its purpose was what Bobby was talking about. If we teach maths in a real context when learners will know how the maths can be used to once they leave school.

2. Values
There are a number of different values in the class:
-Those of the students cultures that they bring to school.
-The teachers values
Just to name a few.

We have to consider these values and draw upon the cultural values of our learners in mathematics.

One Bobby said that I really relate to is:

You want to affirm the cultural capital of children in front of you. What they come with are strengths and we need to build on these strengths.

We often forget the everyday maths that comes from the family values that the children are exposed to at home. This might be thin like spatial knowledge and knowledge of patterns drawn from sewing or weaving or simple everyday task like hang the washing or making beds.

Interweaving culture and maths allows children to connect with each other and see inside each others worlds. Finding something that really matters to a student allows them to open up and be the centre of their learning.

One value that Bobby talked about a lot was service.

One of the teacher said that for pasifika children, the pathway to leadership is through your service. It is not about yourself, you have to serve others before yourself. Pasifika children are drawn to service and this can often have a cultural disconnect in the classroom

As teacher we need to think:

What are the core pasifika value? How do they play out in the classroom?

What are your core Values? How do they play out in the classroom?

3.High Expectations!!!!!!!
This to me is the most important thing. We have teacher must have high expectation if we want our learners to raise to meet them. Struggling is not a bad thing, we learn the most when we find learning challenging and we have to be resilient and push yourself and others to find answer.

We must tell learners This is going to be hard you will struggle but it will be great when you get through it. You must tell them. Mathematics is not just one day. It can happen over time as they struggle with the thinking.

Inclusion, Inclusion, Inclusion!!! Everyone needs to be involved.

Working together doesn’t just happen you have to structure it.

This is only the beginning of what Bobby talk to us about if you would like to see my other notes please visit this Doc.

Give all this learning I have a lot of thinking and learning to do but I am excited to link this in with my inquiry as I grow as a teacher and think about how I can make maths cultural responsive and engaging for my learners.

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