Sunday, 15 June 2008

Radical changes needed for Maths

According to the TES, plans to reform maths teaching in primary schools may bot be radical enough. David Burghes, mathematics professor at Plymouth University and one of the experts who drew up the original numeracy strategy, has criticised the Williams review of maths teaching before it is published next week.

The former chair of the Advisory Committee on Mathematics Education, is expected to contain recommendations for how primary schools can improve work with those children who struggle with the subject.

Professor Burghes said he feared the review would simply lead to more initiatives and different training for teachers instead of more radical change. He says that the concentration on test results means schools in England are possibly ignoring international approaches which could be more effective. He suggests English schools should copy strategies tried overseas, including rearranging desks so children sit in pairs facing the front rather than in groups; a re-emphasis on whole-class intereactive teaching; and creating more links between areas of the subject. He said, "I'm not against group work for some subjects, but it doesn't really work in maths - the groups become dominated by one child. I'm not saying we should return to chalk and talk. I want more whole-class interaction, with children coming up and talking to the class."

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