Mathematics has been an area in which I have seen a lot of change in values and perceptions during my 6 and a half years of teacher and even prior to this in my training.
Looking back through my blog and earlier Inquiries I saw that impact of this quote:
"Mathematics research is marked by debates over how to define mathematics, and these debates influence how maths is taught. Some schools of thought define maths as a set of formal rules and procedures that must be mastered to the point of automaticity, while others see it as a creative endeavour and a space for discovery." Education Hub
DMiC which we focused on in 2019 had a strong focus on maths as discussion, as argument and creative thinking. It suggested that by solving problems concepts of mathematics would become known and develop and build student skills and ideas.
Earlier in 2017 we focused on the skill set required for mathematical understanding. How do we assess specific skills and teaching to develop from one stage of knowledge to another. How do we make sure children know where they are at and where they are going? What facts do they know and need to learn.
Since then I like many teachers I am sure have struggled to find a balance. The curriculum for mathematic is wide reaching and covers so much ground each year with year 1 building into year 2 and that building into year 3 and so on.
The Education Hub suggests that we don't let these ideas knowledge vs creativity become dichotomous but rather look at how they support each other.
We all know that effective mathematics teaching is central to developing well rounded children who can grow to take an active role in society but what does effective maths teaching look like.
Teaching and learning mathematics at primary school written by Fiona Ell and Dr Lisa Darragh for the Education Hub in 2021 suggests it is:
- In Mathematics one size fits all approach can be the easy way out for teachers, a text book or web sit. This however does not address the needs of learners and teachers are better placing themselves as adaptive experts using data and observation to carefully plan for learners needs.
- Teacher knowledge is central to the teaching of mathematic. There are often sticking points that teachers and learners struggle with that can lead to confusing down the line.
- Readiness or teacher perception of readiness can impact what they cover with learners.
- "Ability" can become a limiting factor for teachers and students
- The idea of a trajectory while useful can also mean learners get stuck because it is seen that one piece of knowledge is needed for moving on.
- Engagement and understanding that engagement in central to all learning including mathematic is important for teachers to have.
So what now. I fully understand that mathematic is a context area of teaching and learning and that I need to examine my values, ideas and skill as a teacher in Mathematics. I plan to look at more literature that discusses how mathematics can be best taught.