MaST Meeting One

So after a couple of months of blogging about various issues, this blog should now get back to what it was originally intended to be, a reflection of what I have done on the Primary Maths Specialist course.

Today was the first meeting of Module 2 and lived up to expectations. The overall subject was Mathematical Thinking but it was primarily concerned with the role of algebra in our thinking and teaching. As ever, there were several ideas that I want to take and use in the classroom straight away. The problem of not knowing what to write in my PLL should be solved for at least a while as I work my through the suggested activities.

It was quite ironic having this meeting today after my last post on children not remembering things, particularly methods. I had decided that I needed to do more practice to make the children more familiar with the methods they needed to use but today’s session ( as always) made me think.

There was an extract taken from research carried out in 2009 by Nunes et al:

“Mathematical reasoning, even more than so than children’s knowledge of arithmetic, is important for children’s later achievement in mathematics.”

The research apparently showed that while knowledge of arithmetic was important, it was the ability to reason that had most impact on achievement. So back to the drawing board??????

Our maths consultant also talked about the research into numberlines done in Britain and the Netherlands. Apparently in the Netherlands, the use of number lines is a lot more open and flexible, whereas in lessons here we are more inclined to say “use the number line in this way”. More food for thought.

It’s back to the age old problem of finding a balance. I need my children to be able to do certain tasks by the end of the year, to be able to jump through the year 5 hoops. If they don’t, then I will be judged a less than satisfactory teacher! But for their long term achievement, they need to have time spent on improving their reasoning skills.

So back to juggling the available time and trying to make the best use of it to develop the children’s ability as best I can.

There was much discussion on assignments, both past and future. I think that it was generally agreed that the course would be much more enjoyable without having to do them.

Apparently the pass mark was 50. Somehow I managed to score 50 on both of my assignments so I was correct when I said that I must have  just managed to squeeze through. A heartfelt thanks to my tutor or whoever decided that I should fall the right side of the line. I am so glad that I don’t have to resubmit. I will be very interested to read the feedback though and I really want to try and make a better job of the one this year.

Lots of food for thought from this morning and another session on Saturday so my brain will be buzzing.

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