Maths needs to change
The business environment has changed profoundly. You will have noticed that both speed and execution has had a dramatic impact on your expectations but of course the decision-making that affects these expectations. Yes I have, you might say, but you might also be wondering why this is relevant to the teaching of mathematics. The reason we’re looking at this aspect is that people’s behaviours are changing. Inevitably that’s going to affect how students view the maths classes and their school provision as a whole.
There has been a revolution in the way we communicate with one another. It’s dead easy to make your opinion heard. Students expect to be involved. They expect people to listen to their thoughts and opinions and they are quick to voice their displeasure or boredom. Therefore customers’ relationship with business in general has been transformed. What students get up to outside of the classroom is becoming increasingly complex and exciting. Are these changes being reflected in contemporary mathematics classrooms across the world?
This might seem like a depressing start to an article but actually it’s tangible evidence that mathematics is everywhere and that for youngsters to participate fully in the new world of work, entertainment and life in general they need to understand the mathematics behind it all. They will see exactly why it’s important they get a handle on data I all its forms as examples are all around them.
Just look at the power of data. These impact everyone. Any business that actually manages to harness this power can derive insights that give tremendous competitive advantage. The decisions being made are focused totally on customer needs. What we want and what we get is happening so much quicker than it’s ever done. Insights driven business is likely to grow by 27 to 40% every year. This is going to require analysts by the bucket load.
Wherever you look Data is required. It’s not only needed in traditional industries but marketing has seen I’m massive rise in the mathematical capability of this traditionally creative Industry. Now it’s not enough to come up with a creative idea. Data needs to backup decision-making. Who’s looking? When do they look? Where are they when they look and what do they do when they stopped looking? Yes its simplistic what return on investment has never been easier to calculate.
Therefore we need people to be highly literate and confident when it comes to handling data. This is not an obscure academic use of mathematical capability this is mathematics in the real-world. Evolving consumer behaviours are being tracked like never before, but of course the data won’t solve a problem on its own. In fact we are almost drowning in data. But if we can’t begin to understand the metrics we should be caring about how can we possibly grab the really useful insights.
We are all impacted by this change. A new generation of school children will be affected by all these new ways of living, communicating, shopping and experiencing life. No, educators are not another form of entertainment; teachers should never go down that route. But educators are dealing with a multitasking, H=highly curious, impatient and demanding generation whose boredom threshold is probably the lowest it’s ever been. We have to be aware of that. Being told to be seen but not heard has probably never seemed more anachronistic.
Therefore anybody thinking of joining the maths teacher profession needs to bear all these things in mind. There is a wealth of opportunities that no generation before has had at their fingertips. It’s exciting and, provocative but an incredible adventure to embark upon. Regardless of what is happening in business and beyond what we do need are teachers who can communicate in the way young people expect and can inspire a passion for the mathematics that underpins just about every aspect of contemporary life. Could that be you?
The Maths Scholars Scholarship Scheme is now closed for the year but is likely to reopen in October. If teaching maths is something you’ve given some serious consideration to then why not check out how you can start thinking about your application for 2018. There is plenty of information on the Maths Scholars website and lots of answers to any potential questions alongside helpful articles about the application process.