Well! This post is just a brief, short post to share some new ideas for 2021/2022. Here goes!
The mathematics questions are back! Question Number 17 has been published. It’s the first in a new series called, “The skill of thinking”. Question 18 will be published on Monday 20th September 2021. All the questions can be found at here. (Don’t forget the Mathematics Questions Newsletter is now part of this blog.)
Supporting CPD/Professional Development returns with some webinars in October2021. Watch out for a blog post with all the details. The high standards shown in Standard for teachers’ professional development are what nilsbird training wants to aspire to!
Nilsbird training is embarking on a new venture – live streams via YouTube. The first will be on October 6th at 16:00 GMT. Themes will be CPD and active learning. Watch out for a blog post with all the details.
Thinking again about CPD/Professional Development, complete these three statements and let nilsbird training know what your needs are for 2021/2022:
1) Over the next year I want to learn more about … so that I can improve my students progress in the classroom. 2) Over the next year I want to improve my understanding of … so that I can improve my students progress in the classroom. 3) Over the next year I want to improve my … so that I perform more effectively as a teacher and support my personal well being.
Life never gives up on what it throws at us and, in my case, that’s the marking season, which is now upon me! So, things like my maths questions have taken a back seat for the moment. Do keep an eye out for number 17. I’ll let you know when it will be available.
This short blog post is really about the great news I have: Educating the 21st Century Student, an online teacher training conference for Zambia, and beyond – Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August 2021. This is a conference I am putting on in partnership with Chingola Private School Association – based in Chingola, Zambia (in the Copperbelt Region!).
All the details about the conference can be found via supportforteachers.com. You can sign up there to be kept in the loop about all the arrangements for the conference. There are some amazing speakers lined up (including me!) and it’s a great price too – $30 for all three days!
I still need to write about how I’m teaching the time and fractions at the same time, but that will have to wait. Back to the marking!
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!
David nilsbird training 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!
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?
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).
My current teaching revolves around tutoring, as part of the UK Government’s National Tutoring Programme. This tutoring is designed to support students who have lost out on education because of the Covid Pandemic.
One thing myself, and others, are finding is a lack of enthusiasm/motivation from students to participate. The tutoring provides an ideal environment for catch-up but many students are just not that bothered. No doubt there are many factors as to why this is so but my thinking is: if the need to sit a public examination is taken away, will students then want to do tutoring?
So, this is an interesting point to ponder. What really engages and motivates students to learn in school? For older students, certainly, I would say that the need to pass an examination will motivate many but not all. But for younger students, what really motivates them?