How has maths teaching changed since I was at school?

Liam Smith

It has been 12 years since I left primary school, and 7 years since I left secondary school, and if I was to sum up the change in the teaching of Mathematics in one word it would have to be ‘extraordinary’! 

Jennifer Holmes

I can remember being in primary school and learning the times tables, I learnt my times tables by reading off a poster on the wall. Everything was taught on a blackboard. A set of instructions was given and we had to follow them. 

I have recently had a placement in a primary school and realised that the students were more involved in their own learning of Mathematics. There are certainly more resources for the students to use to aid their learning. In addition to this, there has been an introduction of new terminology such as: mental maths, chunking, number lines, partitioning, bridging and number bonds. 

Similarly, in secondary school, teachers taught in front of whiteboards, and used textbooks for students to answer questions. Current teaching of Mathematics is taught looking at the applications of the subject, and how certain topics of Mathematics can be used in real-life situations. 

Cutting Edge Maths

In addition to this, the introduction of interactive whiteboards, I believe, has over complicated the teaching of Mathematics, teachers feel that they need to make their lessons more technical compared to the older ways of teaching Mathematics, and I believe that this affects the quality of teaching and learning in the classroom. However, I do agree with the argument of making Mathematics more enjoyable and fun for students. Certainly the role of the teacher is much different now.

 I think one of the ways to do this is to involve the students in the lesson more by asking a range of different questions, for example, lower order questions, and higher order questions. Overall, I do agree with the importance of the students understanding the real-life applications of Mathematics, and that this does need to be incorporated into lessons. However, I also think that Mathematic lessons don’t need to include a wide variety of technology, just simple and clear instruction, with assessment for learning at questioning throughout is needed for students to make progress in this subject. Do you agree?

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