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In this assignment I shall focus on planning for the teaching of mathematics in the primary classroom.

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Introduction

Primary Practice In this assignment I shall focus on planning for the teaching of mathematics in the primary classroom, I intend to look at the composite parts of lesson planning and include reference to teaching and learning, as there are obvious links. I shall go on to focus on planning and teaching of children of high ability and the challenge that they present teachers within a mixed ability setting. The introduction of the National Curriculum and subsequently the National Numeracy Strategy has made the teaching of mathematics much more prescriptive, the National Curriculum creates a framework of the knowledge, skills and understanding that children are expected to have gained within each of the keystages; The National Numeracy Strategy (NNS) provides guidelines on the 'range and balance of work in primary mathematics to make sure that pupils become properly numerate'(page 2). The National Numeracy Strategy gives examples of the appropriate (high) expectations that teachers should have and gives guidance on the way children should be expected to progress throughout their schooling. The National Numeracy Strategy gives key objectives for each year and refines these into topics for each term per year group; with details of the number of days each unit should occupy and supplements of examples it has been called teaching by numbers. With this plethora of information regarding numeracy teaching, it might reasonably be expected that planning of lessons would be a quick and easy process. Teachers still have a vital role to play within planning; the guidance and frameworks provides information on what to teach, the teacher will decide how best to interpret this information for the particular children within their class. ...read more.

Middle

This is too simplistic a view, the very able child will often have specific areas of ability that need to be appreciated; the child who is untidy and uninterested in their work may well be functioning well above the tasks being set and see no reason to even try to do the work, the child who is often daydreaming and appears to be detached from their peers may have understood the work already and be thinking on a higher plane altogether. The challenge is for educators to recognise these children and be able to provide a stimulating environment. Wallace (1981 p15) discusses that: '...the teachers of very able children must realise that these children need as much teaching, inspiring, guidance, reassurance and praise as other children do. They do not automatically succeed because potentially they are very able; they cannot always get on by themselves.' This is a point that crops up again and again within theories of how to teach the very able child; the answers lie in the creation of a safe and stimulating environment and a teaching style that is open and flexible, it is apparent that all children can benefit from this approach. I shall return to this area later when considering lesson planning. Social context No child can be seen in isolation; each of us operates within the social bounds of our environment. Children need and want to have friendships and to feel valuable both by the significant adults within their life and their peers. Both peers and adults can see children with above average ability as different, it is a significant factor within our society that different is often seen negatively; within ...read more.

Conclusion

There are of course specialist schools that cater for the very able child and the private educational sector would no doubt offer some benefits. I would like to be able to say that mainstream educational provision is always the most appropriate setting, but reality is that smaller classes and higher resourcing levels can make massive differences to individual children. There are obvious funding issues but I do not feel it appropriate to elaborate further here. Conclusion The teacher that creates an ethos of value to all students, their skills, knowledge and understanding, and provides a stimulating learning experience at the appropriate level for all pupils will enable all children (including those of above average ability) with a quality learning experience. It is easy to overlook the high achieving children whilst trying to get those children who struggle to acceptable attainment levels, but at what cost? We need adults who are prepared to question the social constructs in which we live; we need adults that can develop new ideas, technologies and bring them to fruition. If we insist that all children to conform to the age appropriate targets and expect little else of them perhaps as adults they will also conform to what they think is expected of them even if they are capable of so much more. Have I already taught the Richard Branson, James Dyson or Nelson Mandela of the future? If I have I hope that I have inspired and encouraged their capabilities rather than undervaluing them. I know that in the future I will be more aware of the needs of the brightest children and will try my hardest to provide learning opportunities to meet their needs. ...read more.

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