What changes to secondary mathematics would you like to see happen?
I appreciate there is a great emphasis on problem solving in the GCSE’s but I think there needs to be more extension based work at the top end to reward the most able students as well as problem solving and challenge questions. One thing I feel is missing is higher expectations, too many pupils, feel bold enough to come into a maths lesson and openly say they “hate maths”, or its “too hard”.
Often times I am seeing a push to get students good grades, 4 – 7, but in schools generally I have been in, more often than not grade 8/9 seems like a stretch or unrealistic, this feeds into the high standards expectation. Take for example when I was doing my GCSE’s, I felt overall whilst an A* might not be at Grade 9 in todays GCSE’s, there was the culture of doing exceedingly well. When I speak to pupils in top set in my placements, they seem shocked at the idea of getting top grades.
For the pupils in secondary school maths, I feel like some students have been let down as there is an accumulation of maths knowledge built from primary, consolidated in secondary and built upon further from Key stage 3 to Key stage 4, but students are asking me what is the point of maths, as they are not aware the modern world from technology to the energy crisis and goods in the shops are all built from the fundamental basis of maths and principles like supply and demand / forecasting or planning and designed.
Reflecting upon my experience of being in secondary school there was a great emphasis on textbooks, and repeated practice. Compared to now where everything is on whiteboards and is interactive, I can see the benefit of technology and incorporating into the classroom, but I feel that by not using the textbooks now, there has been something lost in the way work is done. Yes, technology is good, I like the fact that a lot of work being set is digital and most things are online.
One can’t deny the Impact of Covid 19 and catch-up curriculum needed to bridge what could be a lifetime of potential maths missed and contact face to face time due to online learning (both missing contact with pupils and parents).
By Emmanuel Bamgboye - Twitter
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