Three critical computation skills and understanding needed in school mathematics, prep to year 9
Mathematical problem solving is founded on understanding and conceptual fluency. We can be reasonably assured that we can teach most children to add numbers. However, teaching the subtraction, multiplication and division of whole numbers, then subsequently fractions and expressions is an altogether different challenge. In this session we explore how the materials, explicit language and logic of teaching these critical computations with whole numbers can be extended to fractions computation and computation with algebraic expressions. Consistency and commonality of structure and pedagogical models enable the child to develop a deeper understanding of the operations. This understanding facilitates more abstract study of mathematics and mathematical problem solving. This session is useful for teachers of students from Year 1 to 9.
Melbourne July 3 (ACE)
Challenges for Australian School Mathematics Learning
School mathematics teaching and learning in Australia is a diverse field of practice, some sectors are performing strongly, but many are not. International comparisons are a bit embarrassing for us. This discussion examines what might be limiting the mathematics learning of the majority of Australian primary and middle Year children and how this situation can be turned around. There three critical and interrelated variables that are impacting negatively on the progress of Australian children’s learning of mathematics. These are:
1) Curriculum assumptions and more particularly the enactment of a spiral, over- crowded curriculum without attaining mastery of critical concepts.
2) The misapplication of pedagogical theory related to the child centred learning and the democratisation of classroom discourse.
3) The turn away from discipline knowledge in favour of generic principles in teacher education. Associated with this is very “trust based” governance in teacher education and limited opportunity for prospective teachers to become classroom ready, especially primary teachers.
In this session the these key factors are explored and we reflect on strategies to reduce the impact of each of them locally and nationally.