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To develop excellent secondary maths teachers we need space in the curriculum for critical reflection

Blog Editor, IOE Digital11 January 2022

Pete Wright.

Mathematics teacher educators face strikingly similar challenges to secondary maths teachers. Both groups face the seemingly impossible task of enabling students to achieve depth of understanding whilst being expected to cover an overly prescriptive core curriculum.

The Government’s plans for reforming initial teacher education look unlikely to have a positive impact on maths teaching. What would improve the situation?

I have highlighted elsewhere the growing consensus amongst mathematics educators that the school curriculum needs to focus more on developing conceptual understanding. Students need to progress beyond learning mathematical procedures without appreciating what they are used for. They need to develop confidence in applying these procedures to solve real life problems similar to those they will encounter in their lives. This means students need to be given opportunities to explore challenging (more…)

Does enjoyment go down as achievement goes up? Findings from TIMSS on how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over 20 years

Blog Editor, IOE Digital20 June 2017

Toby Greany. 
When the report on the 2015 International Trends in Maths and Science Study (TIMSS) was launched late last year, the media’s focus was on how England had performed relative to other countries in the tests. The headline result is that England did reasonably well overall, performing significantly above the international mean in maths and science in both years 5 and 9, which places us in the second highest performing group of countries overall. [A blog summarising England’s performance is available here].
What I want to focus on here though is how pupil attitudes to maths and science have changed over the past 20 years. One finding is that enjoyment and confidence in maths declined among Year 9 pupils in England between 1995 and 2015, even as our attainment increased. This apparent paradox has been seen across a number of countries participating (more…)