Well, it’s almost the end of the first year of the MaST course. My assignment is almost done and we have our last meeting this coming week.
I have cried and grumbled and lost sleep over the assignments and am still not at all sure whether this one will be good enough to secure a pass mark. It is as good as I can make it without more input from a tutor. Hopefully it will pass and if not, then hopefully they will tell me what I need to do to improve it.
The distance learning aspect of this course is the hardest part. We have had five tutorial sessions at the universitywhich have generally been excellent but we have been left to our own devices to a great extent with the assignments. This seems to be asking a great deal from a group of people with such widely differing backgrounds. My degree was with the OU so I am familiar with distance learning and capable of working on my own but I have found these assignments incredibly difficult.
The course itself has been fantastically useful and always thought provoking and I think that it has had a positive impact on my maths teaching. It has certainly made me reflect more on what I teach and why I select certain activities.
There is a conflict between what the course tells us is good teaching and what is demanded of me in terms of children’s progression. The course stresses that children’s mathematical understanding is vital and best achieved through investigative maths. The problem is that I have to get X% of my group to progress through 2 sublevels and to do that, sometimes I have to teach them certain methods and drill them in the use of those methods. This conflict has been apparent since the beginning of the course and I haven’t yet managed to reconcile it.
On a brighter note, the first payment of £1000 has been confirmed for everyone who completes the first year although we’re unlikely to see it until the middle of the year. By which time I will be stressing about next year’s assignment. Still, it’s something nice to look forward to.