The Four Educational Psychology Services of the FVWL Regional Collaborative have combined their research efforts to produce this ground breaking report on the psychological factors of numeracy.
We found a parallel with the national GIRFEC practice model and the Ecological System theory by Bronfenbrenner. The 94 factors were categorised into 20 clusters and then three categories.
This meta-study finds that, given the complexity and multitude of factors that influence numeracy development and mathematical attainment, Councils, the Regional Collaborative and Scottish Government need to find ways of:
- promoting long term duration of teacher pupil relationships,
- promoting whole school consistency and beyond in the teaching of mathematics
- consider the impact that relationships and attachment style may have on pupils’ numeracy development
- ensure that teacher led innovations occur in a culture of learning, knowledge and research and with reference to the existing evidence base on effective interventions
- Encouraging parents to become more involved in contributing to the development of concepts skills and knowledge which are fundamental to math but not necessarily math specific such as risk-taking behaviour, metacognition, self-regulation and beliefs about intelligence and mastery.
- Actively encourage collective teacher efficacy in a context that promotes sustainability of improvement in evidence based ways.
This highlights the need for a cultural change with regard to numeracy education to include funding, employment and training arrangements that promote the long term relationship with staff and pupils in schools, effective mathematics teaching, and recognise the impact of relationships and attachment style on pupils’ numeracy development. Implementing improvement needs sustainability and implementation of improvement to be considered as important as the specific mathematic concepts and knowledge in encouraging children to learn maths.
Our final recommendation is that there is a need for debate about practice and improvement at a strategic and practice level within the Regional Collaborative and the four education authorities.
Our Reading Culture working group met recently to plan the third of our reading professional network events in February. So far, we have had the opportunity to engage in professional dialogue around developing a reading culture with colleagues from across the Regional Improvement Collaborative and also benefitted from the expertise of Dr Sarah McGeown, Senior Lecturer Developmental Psychology, University of Edinburgh. Dr McGeown joined us for a workshop looking at promoting positive reading motivation and engagement. We considered the research in this area; the relationship between reading motivation, reading frequency and reading skill; some key factors which influence differing reading motivation and attitudes; and implications for practice.
Some of the research shared can be accessed here.
Numeracy Hub Champions across the Forth Valley and West Lothian Regional Improvement Collaborative will directly support practitioners to develop their knowledge, understanding and application of research informed pedagogy which is proven to improve outcomes for children and young people. In addition, an inter-authority, teacher driven, professional network in First Level Numeracy will be established.
Research Informed Pedagogy
Manipulatives can be key in providing effective, active, engaging lessons in the teaching of mathematics. To gain a deep understanding of mathematical ideas, children need to be able to integrate and connect a variety of concepts in many different ways. The effective use of manipulatives can help children connect ideas and integrate their knowledge so that they gain a deep understanding of mathematical concepts.
Over the past four decades, studies done at all different levels and in several different countries indicate that mathematics achievement increases when manipulatives are put to good use (Canny, 1984; Clements and Battista, 1990; Clements, 1999; Dienes, 1960; Driscoll, 1981; Fennema, 1972, 1973; Skemp, 1987; Sugiyama, 1987; Suydam, 1984).
The numeracy group believes that teachers need to learn how to successfully use manipulatives in the maths classroom and encourage student exploration, related discussion, and reflection about the prospective concepts being taught. Practitioners need to be knowledgeable with children’s exploration of the math concepts and not assume that when children use manipulatives they will automatically draw the correct conclusions from them.
The numeracy group believes that learning, teaching and assessment and the quality of what goes on in classrooms is core to this work stream and will therefore need to provide CLPL that supports practitioners in this area.
Embedded Classroom Model
The Embedded Classroom Model is based on the principals of developing a culture of collaboration and collective responsibility in schools. It involves teachers working in a spirit of openness and critical reflection, sharing their experiences, ideas and expertise with each other and engaging in an ongoing process of inquiry that promotes deep team learning. The work of teams is guided by a clear and systematic model of problem-solving and learning, one that encompasses a learning → application → refinement → application cycle.