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.
A report in the Guardian newspaper – https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/apr/22/maths-scores-in-world-education-rankings-inflated-for-england-and-wales-study – says a report (soon to be published in the Review of Education) will claim that PISA maths results, from 2018, might show inflated scores for 15 year olds in England and Wales.
The report says the study, carried out by UCL Institute of Education, suggests scores were inflated because the sample was unrepresentative: low levels of participation in the test and not enough representation of lower achieving students.
This year will be the next round of PISA tests. I wonder where the UK will sit?
What do you think about the PISA tests? Does your country consider international comparisons important?
Let me know your thoughts.
Mathematics Question – Number 15 can now be found at https://nilsbirdtraining.com/mathematics-resources. This time the combination of topics is – geometric sequences, ratio and surds.
From Mathematics Question – Number 17, onwards, I plan to post each question on the blog, as well, with extra comments that will then appear in the Mathematics Questions – Newsletters. So, basically, each question, plus comments, will become part of the blog and then the newsletter will appear periodically, bringing together, each time, three questions plus comments (as it does now). Hope that makes sense!
See you soon,
As I write the mathematics questions, I think. Yes, this one’s ok. Then I find an error!
So, having shared question question 13 with a student I am tutoring, I saw that the question wasn’t clear.
It’s now been updated on the website – see here.
Just briefly looking at this article.
It seems England have improved in Primary Maths but done worse in Science.
Good behaviour helps bring better results?
One might say, this is obvious. And I would agree.
Attentive children learn. Inattentive children don’t.
What do you think?
Welcome to Mathematics Questions – Newsletter No. 4 – support for Mathematics Questions 10 to 13
Download the previous Mathematics Questions – Newsletters here
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