Today’s maths input from Tara Harper confirmed but also questioned many of my pre-existing morals surrounding the subject. For me, the foundation block when thinking about maths, and the whole curriculum in fact, is identifying and recognising that every child will start at a different level of understanding and will develop that understanding in different way and time.
Therefore, I thought a good place to start is to reflect to my early recollections of maths and I’ve realised that my relationship with maths has been very unsteady. I believe I started off reasonably strong in early primary school but as I progressed through school and moved to secondary I found I then struggled a great deal with maths around P7/S1 and developed a fear and discomfort going into the classroom (among reflection, I believe this was due to my teacher at the time). However, when I reached S3/4 and had a new teacher, my abilities shot back up as this teacher took the time to explain new concepts to me in a way that made sense in my head and maths became my favourite subject due to the achievement and progression I was feeling. However, I haven’t been in a maths lesson since so my fear has heightened a little again.
From this reflection and reading Haylock (2014), I have come to believe that the most important thing when teaching maths is to be adaptable and empathetic in the way we understand others’ way of thinking. An important point that will always stick with me is that, just because I understand something one way does not mean that any child in my class will see it that way. I will most likely have 30 different methods of thinking sitting in front of me and each one should be fully embraced, praised and used to its full potential.
This is something I will indefinitely take with me on Professional Practice as the attitude needs to be changed in schools, and more specifically teachers, towards maths as this is something everyone will undoubtedly use in their life and work. Therefore, why not make the most of the learning in school and turn it from dread and fear to enthusiasm and an overall positive learning experience for all.