Empowering teachers and children to develop a love of mathematics.
From conversations that I have had with others, my experience of mathematics when I was at school is similar to many people. I didn’t like maths. I really didn’t see the point of it, all those rules that I didn’t understand!
When I began teaching my specialisms were in geography, art and drama.
I became the geography coordinator and was responsible for art around the school. Being a bit of a ‘wanna be’ actress I also ran drama clubs.
At one of the schools where I worked I put on annual musicals at the local theatre and ran ‘Red Nose’ days and creative activities for other special events. They were a labour of love but it was fantastic to see the children performing and enjoying themselves. The head teacher at this school felt that I should be rewarded for my hard work and as there was no financial reward for that type of thing she offered me the role of maths coordinator.
Well, you can’t imagine how horrified I was! I eventually accepted, after much persuasion and the promise of enrolling me on a 10 day maths subject knowledge course. It was on that course and also my involvement in the Hampshire mental maths initiative, which happened at the same time as the National Numeracy Strategy was being piloted, that I discovered that mathematics wasn’t a pointless subject with rules that had to be learned even though they weren’t understood.
On the first day of the 10 day course we were asked to find the sum of two 2-digit numbers, such as, 45 + 49. I did a mental algorithm – the only way to solve it, or so I thought.
Other teachers suggested partitioning, near doubling, adding near multiples of 10 and adjusting. I was blown away by the realisation that there were other ways to perform a calculation! While working on the Mental Maths initiative I was introduced to digit cards and partitioning cards which I put to immediate use in my classroom. The activities I did with them had an instant impact on my children’s learning. It also had an impact on my teaching of mathematics and my personal attitude towards the subject.The rest is history as they say. My ‘mathematical journey’ just goes to show that no matter how old you are
you can still learn new things and no matter how insecure you are in your mathematical ability you can do it if you try! In the work I now do, I aim to take teachers who are insecure in their mathematical ability along a journey similar to the one that I was taken on.
Caroline is an experienced KS1 and KS2 teacher.
She was the mathematics consultant for Richmond upon Thames, implementing the National Numeracy Strategy and subsequently the Strategy’s renewed framework.
She is currently a freelance consultant and a co-ordinator for the NCETM. She supports the teaching and learning of mathematics in schools around London and the south east of England, delivers INSET for SMaRT and training for Numicon, lectures at a London university and writes articles and books.
PRIMARY MATHEMATICS CONSULTANCY