Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


Maths teaching not a zero-sum game

Thursday, February 28, 2013
Maths teaching not a zero-sum game

Training specialist maths teachers for primary and intermediate level in new teaching models would improve Kiwi kids’ results more effectively than focusing on memorising times tables, says a Massey University maths teaching expert.

Professor Glenda Anthony, who is championing an innovative approach to mathematics teacher education in a three-year government-funded research project, says maths teachers need to take a balanced approach by ensuring students understand mathematical concepts and structures, as well as remembering basic facts.

She was commenting on the results of the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), in which New Zealand nine year-olds scored last-equal in basic maths, with many unable to add or subtract simple numbers. The results prompted Education Minister Hekia Parata to consider a return to a back-to-basics approach, it was reported.

Professor Anthony, co-director of the Centre of Excellence for Research in Mathematics Education at the University’s Institute of Education, says it was a concern that New Zealand’s students showed a decline in mathematical performance as measured by the recent TIMSS results.

“But suggestions that we should prioritise basic facts learning ahead of understanding and exploring the wider mathematics curriculum areas are misguided,” she says. “An undue focus on a ‘back-to-basics’ movement will only serve to perpetuate the myth that learning mathematics is about speed and memory, a skill obtainable by a ‘smart’ few. If we truly want to encourage all children to learn mathematics we need new forms of teaching that empower them as active sense-makers of mathematics.”

“We need to aim for a balanced approach that supports learners with multiple strands of mathematical action—understanding, fluency, problem solving, reasoning, and confidence.

Countering underachievement in mathematics is challenging, and one that requires new teaching models and resourcing, she says. She is working with 75 primary school teachers to develop new skills, and believes children at intermediate level especially would benefit from having specialist maths teachers.

The inquiry-based model she has researched is widely favoured in most Western countries. But teachers require greater opportunities for professional development in maths education, something the New Zealand education system does not provide enough of, she says.

She and colleague Dr Roberta Hunter have had success in raising achievement in low¬-decile classrooms, where children work on mathematical problems tasks collaboratively, with teachers “orchestrating” mathematical discussion and reasoning to enhance understanding.

Dr Hunter is currently working with schools in Pasifika communities in Auckland to develop inquiry and group-based mathematical practices – a method based on her doctoral research and endorsed by the Ministry of Education, and which has produced significant improvements. Next month she travels to Singapore to work with their Ministry of Education to introduce the programme there.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Review: “Salute” By Royal New Zealand Ballet In Wellington

The Royal New Zealand Ballet performed “Salute” for a final time in Wellington on Sunday night, and it was nothing short of spectacular. More>>

ALSO:

NZ on Air: More Funding For TV Captions To Increase Access

More funding for TV captions to increase access NZ On Air has increased funding to provide more captions and audio description on television programmes for the hearing and sight impaired. More>>

Music: So Laid Back Country China Album Release

On Friday night, So Laid Back Country China held a gig at Meow for the release of their new album With Knees of Honey in Goodbye Canyon. I briefly spoke with Harriet lead vocals, keyboard) and Michael (lead vocals, guitar) before the gig More>>

Art: Wellington Region Celebrates Matariki

Eight Wellington museums and galleries have joined forces to present a major programme of exhibitions and events to celebrate Matariki 2015, the Māori New Year. The Wellington Matariki Festival will host more than 60 free events and activities between Saturday ... More>>

Wellington: TEDxWellingtonWomen Speakers Unveiled

The lineup is announced today for the highly anticipated upcoming event TEDxWellingtonWomen. Speakers include local women and men who have lived extraordinary lives and have ideas worth spreading. More>>


Books: Witi Ihimaera To Address ‘State Of NZ Literature’at Festival

6 May 2015 MEDIA RELEASE Witi Ihimaera to Address ‘State of NZ Literature’ at Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival The New Zealand Book Council has chosen the 2015 Dunedin Writers and Readers Festival as the stage for its annual address, which ... More>>

Culture: Historic Māori Portraits Travel To The Czech Republic

Image credit: Gottfried Lindauer, Wahanui Reihana Te Huatare, oil on canvas, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Mr H E Partridge, 1915 More>>

Art: Something Felt, Something Shared - Enjoy

Gabrielle Amodeo, Ruby Joy Eade, Clare McLean, Kalya Ward Curated by Emma Ng May 7 – 30, 2015 Opening: Wednesday May 6, 5.30pm Strange frequencies are channelled through personal narratives and poetic placeholders in Something felt, something ... More>>

Culture: Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015

Pukeahu Park ANZAC Day Commemoration 2015 Images from New Zealand Defence Force Click for big version A bugler plays The Last Post Click for big version A View from the top of the Carillion Click for big version Faces old and young Click for big ... More>>

Television: MediaWorks Announces Dancing With The Stars Hosts

MediaWorks and BBC Worldwide ANZ are delighted to announce host Dominic Bowden alongside co-host Sharyn Casey for the hit series Dancing with the Stars. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news