Maths Scholars and scholarships are more than a bursary
As a Maths Scholar, I am provided with a plethora of valuable sources of information to support my teaching practice. Given the recent and significant changes to the Key-Stage 4 curriculum, the additional support has enabled me to ‘hit the ground running’ as a trainee teacher. In addition, I have been able to quickly develop a clear understanding of the latest knowledge and skills required of GCSE students to achieve success.
As an indicator of how valuable this support has been, I seem to have had more knowledge and awareness of the changes than some of my fellow teachers. Consequently, I have been able to share the information I have received around my department and offer suggestions for how to enrich lessons.
So far, support from the IMA has been provided through organised events, mathematical society memberships (including access to a wide variety of associated materials and resources) and an introduction to a network of like-minded Maths Scholars. At a celebratory event in September, scholars were given a number of tips and suggestions for how to teach interesting and insightful lessons and we also had the opportunity to meet fellow scholars and share ideas.
Subsequently, we were invited to a series of enrichment events over the course of this academic year which will hopefully provide the same opportunities again. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the event on simulation and modelling in November; however, I am looking forward to the events next year, particularly the event in February focussing on the National STEM Learning Centre and the rather more exclusive event on the new mathematics exhibition at the Science Museum in London (if I get a place!).
Drawing upon the central ideas shared with us at the celebratory event, I have been able to focus the development of my practice in three core areas: 1) creating an environment where students are not afraid of getting it wrong; 2) basing the teaching of mathematics around practical, real-world applications; and 3) concentrating on an over-arching aim to develop problem-solving and critical-thinking skills.
The third area is particularly important for the new GCSE and, thanks to the perks of being a scholar, I have recently delivered a series of lessons to a top-set year 10 class on problem-solving using content provided at the event in September. This included asking students to propose solutions to the ‘dripping tap’ and ‘write one million’ problems. It was evident that these lessons helped to develop the students’ ability to think about complex problems logically and sequentially and this will hopefully stand them in good stead for the future.
- Ian Jepson