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Raising achievement within Mathematics

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Introduction

Student Number 0612851 Assignment 4: Raising achievement within Mathematics Education within the field of mathematics is the enhancement of knowledge and understanding, and for me, there is a strong link between the two, there seems little point in acquiring knowledge without understanding, and therefore, in order to raise achievement we must address this fundamental issue, however, whilst a deep understanding is important students must first acquire the appropriate knowledge to unlock the mysteries that lie within a problem in order to find the solution. Fritz Schumacher, the author of ?Small is Beautiful?, illustrates this point by using the analogy of the shoemaker. An excellent shoe maker needs to know about feet, the lives of his customers, where the feet go and what loads they will be expected to carry. The knowledge of how to make excellent shoes is only truly useful when linked with an understanding of the lives of those who wear the shoes. This illustration of the link between knowledge and understanding has always struck me as profound, a link which can easily be broken and difficult to restore. This, therefore, begs the question of how can I as a teacher of mathematics increase knowledge and understanding and in so doing raise standards of achievement. Given that the national average for GCSE results for 2006 was 57% 1. I consider myself to have been extremely privileged to have been placed in two schools that were both high achieving, popular, over subscribed and well disciplined schools, both had GCSE A* to C pass rates for mathematics of over 90%,with one school receiving a commendation from OFSTED. As a result my Initial Teacher Training has focused on continuing to maintain those high standards, and has encouraged me to actively seek out new and alternative ways of ensuring that all pupils, including those that have not necessarily been identified as failing but are not learning at their optimal level, are encouraged to meet their full potential. ...read more.

Middle

Recently I have been teaching my year 10 class ?factorising simple quadratic equations?, unfortunately they really struggled with the idea of finding two numbers that multiplied together to give the constant and that added to give the coefficient of x. I realised quickly that their weakness lay in their lack of confidence with adding and multiplying negative numbers. For the next lesson their starter for the lesson was completing an addition and multiplication number grids which included negative numbers. Once they were all proficient at these the mechanics behind factorising simply fell in to place. I often find that revising topics, especially the fundamentals is of vital importance when attempting to push a less able class on, although, there are times when it has been necessary to remind top sets the basics. In addition to self ?evaluation CPD (continual professional development) is considered essential, if pupils are to raise their game then so must that of the teacher themselves. Formative assessment and the use of AFL (assessment for learning) techniques are crucial for raising achievement. I was introduced to several tools which can assist and benefit children?s learning enormously, many of which I now consistently use as part of my lesson planning. My favourites are include: 1. Time to think ? allows students to think about an answer for a few moments, I like to combine this with 2. Call a Friend ? another student can help and answer the question, I try to encourage the pupil being helped to repeat the correct answer and explanation 3. Writing an example or answer from a student that contains an error ? my pupils love to spot a teachers error, sometimes even trying to convince me that a correct answer is wrong which creates discussion and subsequent clarification 4. No hands up ? a great way of ensuring I as the teacher selects who answers the question, and not from those who usually put up their hands 5. ...read more.

Conclusion

Most of the children I taught respected me for my ability to teach and I connected with them regardless of my or their gender or class. In my limited experience pupils responded to high quality teachers who put in the effort, you get out exactly what you put in. If I am enthusiastic and keen to teach, show an interest and care whether they learn something then pupils will respond positively and mirror image that enthusiasm back. As a teacher I try to ensure I praise as much as I can, pupils need to be told that they can do mathematics, I remember the beaming face of a young year10 boy who once told me he could not do algebra. I assured him that by the end of the lesson he would, I chose him several times to answer my algebraic questions, and by the end of the lesson not only could he do algebra, he was brilliant at it and I told him so! There are so many wonderful resources available today that make teaching mathematics so much easier; ten tick worksheets, mymaths, You Tube, interactive worksheets, user-friendly text books with lovely illustrations and explanations, however, I still believe that the heart of the issue of raising achievement is raising the expectations of all within the education system. Teachers need to build better rapports with the classes they teach, pupils need to feel the desire to learn more keenly. Some blame falling standards on the lack of appropriate role models, whilst others contend that the white middle class success masks the increasing failure of white working class children3. I am sure that there are many lesson to be learnt from the success of my two placement schools, nevertheless, I would argue that never before has education been so widely available to so many. No system, however well designed and implemented, will ever work unless all parties believe, want and make it work; and at the forefront must be the fundamental belief that ?every child has the right to learn, every teacher has the right to teach4. ...read more.

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