I’m delighted to have been invited to run the workshop on the future of primary mathematics at this globally leading education inquiry conference: https://www.toddleapp.com/ties/
Please can you help me prepare for this workshop? Can you write a description of what’s going on in primary maths education in your country (or any other region or education collective you are in)?
The following questions are designed be prompts to help you think in depth about what’s going on. You may not be able to or wish to answer them all and this does not matter.
Please write whatever you want to write – clearly stating which country, region or education collective you are writing about. You may want to write about how things have changed over time. If you can’t describe what’s happened in a collective of schools, you may wish to tell your story of your own experiences as a way of giving some insight into what’s going on. These stories may be publicly shared so if you wish to remain anonymous please clearly state this.
I am currently developing a workshop for an international maths education conference on this topic.
1. What is the purpose of maths education in your society (is it functional maths, international status, social equity or something else?
2. At what age do you start teaching the formal maths curriculum (i.e. the numbers to 10 are taught and will then be assumed to be known in subsequent years)? Provide the age that younger children in the year group are when they finish the relevant academic year.
3. Are lessons fully scripted in advance or not?
4. To what extent is teaching stepwise (accessing a lesson depends on having mastered previous lessons and lesson content provides access to the next lesson) and to what extent is teaching low-floor high-ceiling (i.e. access points to lessons are very low and so children do not need to have attended recent lessons to access them and levels of discussion about maths may be higher than the curriculum)
5. Are classes streamed or mixed attainment (or perhaps mixed year) and are some children left behind? If so which children?
6. If lessons are fully scripted in advance, who scripted those lessons and how much scope do classroom teachers have to influence those scripts?
7. To what extent is it assumed that the child’s brain is an empty vessel to be filled? (or is it assumed that a child’s brain is full of their own ideas that need to be uncovered and linked to the classroom maths?)
8. Do you teach maths, or do you teach children? i.e. is maths teaching about transmitting mathematical skills or is it about developing personal skills and the influencing whole child?
9. Is failure in high-stakes tests considered to be beneficial for learning?
10. Who decides the answers to the questions above in your country?
(Primary maths is assumed to be maths to age 11. If this is not what primary maths is for you please say so and explain the age range that you are referring to).
Please email your description to firstname.lastname@example.org