How has maths teaching changed since you were at school?


Having only just come out of university it is hard to believe that maths teaching could have changed so dramatically since I was there back in 2007-2012. But as a trainee teacher I am noticing that the methods and techniques that I am using today are very different to those that I saw as a student.

Education and teaching are advancing every day as more theory and research is being carried out. Some new ideas will come and go and some strategies will have a place in education for time to come. Back when I was at school, figuring out if you were a visual, audio or kinaesthetic learner was going to be the difference between being successful and not. But over time this research has been disproved and in some respects completely disregarded.

The main teaching resource that was used when I was at school was a maths textbook, which in my experience is a minor resource choice in today’s schools. A standard maths lesson when I was at school involved using the new and exciting SMART whiteboard to explain a topic with a teacher led discussion and then attempting the questions relating to the topic in the textbook.

In modern day a standard lesson involves a starter, teacher led discussion with mini whiteboard assessment for learning to assess student’s knowledge, an activity for the students to attempt and then a differentiated set of questions. In my experience teaching my classes, this method is effective and the students are progressing throughout the lesson. But, thinking back, my teachers said that I was progressing so this lesson structure could be altered throughout years to come.

It is hard to escape the answer to this question involving the obvious curriculum changes and the movement of different topics that I saw when at college being taught to students in years 10 and 11. Along with the new 1-9 grading system it would be hard to compare the results that I received back in 2012 to the results students today are going to receive in the summer.

Teaching is something that I plan on being involved with for the rest of my life and I look forward to seeing the advancements in maths teaching and the changes these can make to my teaching career and the education of the students I will be lucky to teach through the years to come.  

By Elizabeth Marsden