Category Archives: 1.4 Prof. Commitment

Did I Discover Mathematics?

So, this elective is finished, my essay is done, i’ve blogged like I’ve never blogged before and I feel a little bit like I’ve stepped off of a roller-coaster or something; the whistle-stop tour of Discovering Mathematics.

I chose Discovering Mathematics as my elective simply because despite my anxiety about the subject, I somewhat actually enjoy maths with all it’s numeracy, calculating and problem solving.  I just didn’t feel confident in doing maths and I thought the module would help me boost my confidence and give me a better understanding of the concepts and skills in mathematics and enable me to teach it in a positive, fun way to others.

Discovering Mathematics wasn’t what I thought it was going to be but I am by no means disappointed by it and my learning,  Richard’s constant enthusiasm was both infectious and motivational, he made learning easier through fun tasks and the interesting topics he covered within the elective.  My favourite was the input on data & statistics with Dr Ellie Hothersall. However, I feel the elective did highlight the fact that what I knew about maths really wasn’t very much after all and I had no idea about just how much mathematical concepts are in my everyday life, nor was I aware of the underpinning maths in areas other that education.  I had never really thought about that properly before.

In regards to my trepidation at learning and teaching maths, I don’t now feel quite as anxious as I did before this module.  I can see that if I put the work in, my knowledge and understanding will of course develop, which will enable me to be more confident in the subject and be able to teach it more effectively to my own class.  I want to ensure that every pupil I teach feels none of the maths anxiety I felt both as a child and an adult.

I am committed to developing my own understanding of maths by continuing to read and build upon my existing knowledge of mathematical concepts and skills.  I will make every effort to ensure I am up to date on new developments and skills  which will enhance my learning and teaching and I will put into practice what I have learned about fundamental mathematics.  Over the past few months whilst covering this elective, I have found myself looking more for mathematical concepts in my everyday life and I think this is something I will not be able to help doing still – I enjoy it now and I think it is safe to say I am on the right path to Discovering Mathematics.

My Educational Philosophy.

There are so many people in the world, all with differing views on the purpose of education.  My view is that I believe the role of education is first and foremost, the way to provide a learning experience for all children which is equal to all regardless of their gender, religion race or social class.

I believe that the ethos of the school is an integral aspect of education and how the environment created within the school can include all learners regardless of ability.  Schools and its teachers must show an appropriate level of understanding towards discipline and the way in which behaviour is managed which is essential for the smooth and fair running of the school.  Showing a range of teaching methods across the different curricular areas is an effective way to promote simulating lessons which encourage learning.

But I believe that education is much more than just a level of attainment, achieving grades and enhancing learning.  It is also about supporting the needs of the pupils emotionally and encouraging them to become socialised within society ensuring the all-round enhancement of an individual.

The role of the teacher is to teach all children the norms and values of their society and culture in which they live.  Teachers are to guide children and young people on their journey to become successful learners, confident individuals, responsible citizens and effective contributors in all aspects of their lives.  Teachers should be able to provide a learning environment which is both interesting and stimulating, piquing the curiosity and eagerness of each child as an individual, encouraging them to not only progress in their learning but to want to learn and progress also.  This is the kind of teacher I want to become during my teaching journey.

Who I Am and Why I’m Here.

I am Lesleigh McAdam in the University of Dundee studying for an MA (Hons) in Education.  I arrived here following a long and wynding journey of trials and tribulations, note taking and sitting exams.  As a parent, I have a natural interest in the education of children and my ambitions to become a teacher came to the forefront as my son, now twelve, began nursery ten years ago.

It had been a long time since I had attended school in a student capacity but after contemplating my options in my choice of career, the only way forward was to apply to college which would enable to me gain qualifications in higher education; something I greatly wish I had fulfilled previous to leaving high school.  I gained some experience working with children within the primary school environment acting as a voluntary parent helper standing me in good stead for my offered place at Dundee and Angus College on the course Access to Teaching.

Making the move from paid employment to return to being a student was as scary and challenging as it was exhilarating.  I was able to enjoy a variety of lessons and quickly embraced the student life; learning new, interesting areas of study I had previously unheard of.  Throwing myself in wholeheartedly encouraged me to venture out of my introvert shell slowly but surely, getting through the work; attending an interview with Dundee University to study in BEd Education and before I knew it the year had passed.  Unfortunately, due to illness during the year I had missed a chunk of the learning and did not gain the qualifications needed to gain entry to BEd Education and so with a heavy heart I had no choice but to decline my place.

Deciding that I would apply again the following year, I returned to college on the Access to Highers intent on resitting maths intermediate two and to complete communication 4 literature 1 instead of struggling with higher English a second time.  I knuckled down and studied so hard for maths, my efforts being rewarded when I passed my exam and exceeded my expectations of the grade I earned.  Unfortunately, my interview at the university did not go so well the second time round and I was unsuccessful in my venture.  Feeling a little defeated I wondered if my ambition to make teaching my career was beyond my reach.

With a little encouragement from supportive family and friends I decided that I would apply to Dundee University a third and final time thinking if I was unsuccessful again then it was not meant to be.  I again returned to college, gained an HNC in Social Science however, following the Christmas break I discovered I was pregnant with my daughter, Carly now two and with my due date being October 2012 saw a gap year out was my only option.

After Carly’s arrival I threw myself into motherhood for a second time.  As soon as I was able, I applied to complete my HND in Social Science, luckily being accepted immediately.  Juggling further education with a baby was not easy but with plenty of support from all angles I kept my head above water.  Once again, the application to the university was submitted, this time for the MA (Hons) Education course.  I was fully prepared with my presentation ready but was a bundle of nerves.  Reminding myself that this was my last chance I pushed down the butterflies and gave it my best shot.  It went ok I thought.  Fingers crossed.

Less than a week later, I received my unconditional offer to study on the above course and could not have been happier.  It was a place I never thought I would be in and to find myself attending lectures, tutorials and workshops still evokes mild disbelief that I made it.  Finally.

I shall aspire to be the best I can be, to be confident in my knowledge and understanding allowing me to make informed and confident decisions regarding the education of children and encourage their inquisitive and eager minds so that they might flourish and succeed in their lifelong journey.