Reflection on First Term
When starting the course, I knew that there were many aspects of effective teaching practice that would far outstretch my previous pedagogical experience. With help from my ITT providers and support from the IMA Scholarship, I felt confident that I would be able to overcome these difficulties. By keeping a focused manner, I was, and still am, more inclined to continuously reflect on each experience (i.e. evaluating lessons immediately). Analysing where positive outcomes were met, but also where improvements could be made. Setting up an action plan to counteract these aspects of my teaching.
I went into this process, I feel, quite naïvely. There were steps that I could have taken to give myself more a running head start before beginning such an intense course. Examples would be; further experience in schools, further research into the most prevalent mathematics campaigns/ organisations in the UK and government policy in mathematics education in the UK from the last 20 years. These vital pieces of information can be reviewed before the starting the course. I would firmly recommend doing this.
I am extremely happy with the route that I decided to take for my PGCE year. I had the choice of taking the School Direct route or more of a core PGCE University-based program. Both programs have a lot of similarities and often share seminars together. With the core route, there is more emphasis on professional progression, highlighting teaching aspects that can be very easily missed. Examples would be inclusion, SEN, difficulties in literacy/ numeracy and behaviour. If I had gone straight into school without receiving guidance on these valuable aspects of daily school life, then the speed of my progression would have been compounded further.
This course is extremely challenging, and enrolment should not be taken lightly. My involvement with the IMA has been a real blessing. I would describe my experience with IMA and their associates in three words; fun, ranging and informative.
I was fortunate enough to take part in 3 IMA associated events this term. The first was the maths scholars CPD event at Aston University (with a fantastic lunch). An enjoyable day of collaboration and inspiring talks that both challenged my mathematical knowledge and visually presented effective ways of teaching students with a focus on promoting mathematical inquisitiveness.
In early November, I was invited to Bletchley Park to visit the UK’s wartime home of cryptography. This consisted of a guided tour, free range throughout the site and a captivating lecture given by Tom Briggs on Lorentz machines. These activities provided a vast range of cross-curricular resources such as the codebreaking’s historical context as well as the literacy problem solving involved. Information that I have used repeatedly in my classrooms is the role that women played at Bletchley Park. Our history can play a substantial role in inspiring the female scientists of the future and promoting job equality.
Lastly, I was given permission by my ITT provider to take part in the LMS Graduate Student Meeting at Tavistock Square, London. The range of PhD research projects that were presented, gave a detailed introduction of what type of graduate research is being undertaken and their application in the society and our economy. Subjects ranging from retail to health. This day was a fantastic immersion into current research of applied mathematics, and how the themes of these talks will have a major effect on the technology used in the future workplace by my students.
I am thoroughly looking forward to the next chapter in the story.
By Maxwell Robertson