Everyone Can Do The Math!
It is my firm belief that everyone is born with the ability to be a decent mathematician. The problem is that sometimes things don’t quite pan out in a way that is conducive to bringing out the mathematician in all of us. So if that is the case, how can that heavily subdued number cruncher be coaxed out of hiding?
That’s where I (hopefully) come in. To attempt to make maths fun is possibly an error; fun is a desirable by-product of piquing an interest in mathematics. What is essential is that I, the teacher, have an interest and enjoy what I am doling out to the students in front of me because let’s face it, if the person delivering the stuff isn’t enthusiastic about it then why should those who are expected to do it be enthusiastic?
I was lucky enough to be recommended to Canterbury College by magicalmaths.org to deliver two days of maths revision to their students with the days broken up into six separate two hour sessions with groups of young people ranging from those retaking GCSE to Entry Level candidates. After they’d contacted me I was keen to know what they wanted rather than impose on them what I thought they might like; they know their students better than I after all. We agreed on a mixture of algebra, fractions and ratio in varying amounts with the maths faculty as these topics were consistently the “least popular” with the students despite being arguably the most useful in their future careers.
Over my 15 year teaching career I have produced numerous resources covering most topics on the maths curriculum, a number of which have received positive feedback on TES from colleagues, which is not only flattering but exceptionally pleasing to know that other maths teachers have found my resources useful and taken the time to tell me so. Many of these resources involve popular culture or technology or both and these are the resources that chose from to take and use to deliver these revision sessions. Not only was the novelty of a different person teaching the students helpful, but they got to see different methods of getting the mathematical baby bathed. Alongside this the staff members who would normally be teaching the students were in the sessions, seeing how the resources worked and being introduced to new tools. I had a chat with the majority of the maths faculty and shared all my resources with some of my less experienced colleagues.
As a result of all this I hope we have all benefited from my 48 hours in Canterbury; I certainly welcomed the experience of teaching in the different environment of an FE college, the students have hopefully had some pennies drop into place and the staff have found at least one thing that will engage their classes and enhance learning if only a little bit.
Examples of resources used during revision session