As I work as a tutor I get to see a lot of different things concerning learning. With online tutoring I work with older students who, for example, are genuinely keen to improve their mathematics knowledge/want to get the right grades. With face-to-face tutoring I work with younger students (as mentioned previously) who vary in their enthusiasm and commitment.
Recent experiences in the face-to-face environment have shown me that some students seem to ‘rule the roost’ when it comes to not cooperating and just doing as they please! No doubt such students might have genuine behaviour problems but certainly they show a complete lack of commitment to their learning needs. (I would say they are definitely old enough to know how important learning is!)
So, what are to be done with students who just ‘can’t be bothered’ and will leave the classroom whenever they please?
You thoughts, as always, are welcome!
PS How would you teach telling the time to those who have missed the opportunity in the curriculum? My thoughts on this in the next post!
I am writing this post, after having provided my next bit of support, as a tutor, on a course. Before that I was doing some marking (where I fell asleep!) So, life is proving rather busy at the moment. (Have I taken too much on? – maybe!)
With my reference to Part 4 of motivation, I had a pleasant surprise from one of the 9/10 year old’s today. They said that they were now beginning to enjoy maths, when it comes to telling the time. (They have even been practising at home, it seems!) Another student, however, said they hate maths!
There seems to be such a disparity between different students’ perceptions about maths when they are young. Some like it and some hate it! I wonder if other subjects are the same?
Just so that you are aware, my Mathematics Question – Number 17 might be a little delayed due to how busy I am. Please keep an eye out here and on my website.
Bye for now.
Today, I’d like to add some more thoughts to this engagement question.
Thinking about some 9/10 year olds I worked with this afternoon, I began to think about what level of our UK GCSE (16 year old examination) they might sit in 6/7 years time. (Assuming this examination still exists!) It is clear to me that the students are already pretty good at mathematics and therefore I would predict they would sit the highest level.
So, assuming my prediction is correct, how do we keep the engagement going/keep them interested for another 6/7 years? (I think this is especially important to think about, when work the students can do/cover now will be revisited during the first few years of high school, and then within the actual GCSE examination.)
What would you do with such ‘bright’ students, as they progress through school?
Let me know your thoughts!
For those of you following the Mathematics Questions, Number 16 is now available to download from https://nilsbirdtraining.com/mathematics-resources.
As I said in a previous post, from Mathematics Question – Number 17 onwards, the questions and any additional information that would ordinarily appear in the Mathematics Questions – Newsletters, will become a feature of the blog. The newsletters will then become a summary of the blog posts. You can sign up to receive the Mathematics Questions – Newsletters here.
A new feature, coming soon, will be a dedicated domain name for the Mathematics Questions.
This week ended, after having spent my first time in a Junior School (7 to 11 yrs of age in the UK) since a few days of supply teaching I did 2/3 years ago. I am in the school for around 10 weeks; again as part of the UK Government’s National Tutoring Programme. I am working with groups of 3. (Students having been selected for extra support because of the education they have missed over the last year.)
One thing that struck me, from my first few days, was a comment that one of the 9 year olds said to me. They confidently declared that they don’t like maths. They like literacy instead. So, it makes you wonder what it is that has given the student this opinion? They are only 9 and they have already made the choice! What does this mean for the student, when they have another 7 years to study this subject? They have already decided they don’t like! (It makes you wonder how long a 14 year old, who is disinterested in maths, has held their opinion?)
Can we blame a teacher for the choice the student has made? Was maths taught in an uninteresting way and this caused the student to make their decision? We will never know. How are we now to bring the student to see the importance of the subject? The annoying thing is, I think the student shows promise of being good at the subject (with support).
I have just googled a phrase I remember. Something along the lines of, give me a child of 7 and I’ll make a man of him. One website says it’s Aristotle who said it: https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/709859-give-me-a-child-until-he-is-7-and-i. Another talks about it being the motto of the Jesuit Order: https://breakingspells.wordpress.com/2008/01/01/give-me-a-child-until-he-is-seven-and-i-will-give-you-the-man/
Does this phrase also mean, what I learn in the first few years of schooling can make or break my interest in a subject? We will ponder.
Your views, as always, are welcome. Connect with me using the contact details shown in the side bar.