Thanks in advance

]]>"Popular culture offers little outside-of-school support for children's mathematical learning. Computer games are a potential exception. These games exert a tremendous pull on some children. While many games purport to be educational and even to promote children's mathematical learning, there is little research to support these claims. Researchers are beginning to get a handle on the conditions under which students learn mathematics in school, yet almost nothing is known about how computer game-playing can support and extend children's knowledge of mathematics. In addition, researchers and software developers have paid little attention to the disparities between boys' and girls' involvement with these games. While computer games could provide the opportunity for increased mathematical learning by both boys and girls, the reality is that girls are not benefiting from the potential of computers to promote math learning. For girls, the computer's screen seems to be a kind of glass wall. They are allowed to glimpse its worlds from a distance, but are not invited inside. We explore these questions through research with elementary and middle school students, and draw on the fields of mathematics education, informal learning, children's play, and gender issues. We call our project Through The Glass Wall to emphasize that one of our goals is to help girls break down the "glass wall" that the computer screen sometimes represents: a wall that keeps them from acquiring important knowledge about technology.

]]>What subjects are more 'popular'? Why?

What can we do to 'discover' the potential in any topics we do not like, or try to avoid!

Can technology help us do this?

David

]]>I will therefore not be up to my usual prolific typing and contributing rate on this forum.

I have noticed however a lot of views so i'd like to ask all teachers who are browsing to contribute....we really do need to get this maths forum off the ground!

D

]]>I’ve been thinking recently about what exactly makes teaching and learning mathematics different to that of other subjects? Actually I have been thinking about this for a while – some of you might recall the Cockroft Report, published in the 1980’s in the UK. It was a government report on the teaching of Maths, wittingly called “Mathematics Counts”. There was one entry that made the statement

** “Mathematics is a difficult subject to teach and to learn”**

When you read a showstopper like that you then expect a qualification – how do you compare and contrast the learning process between different subjects? But I can’t recall finding any evidence or argument in the report to back up that statement. If anyone is interested I can supply the page number etc of this quote.

The classroom is still a private, sometime secretive place in which teachers spend a lot of time teaching or pondering how to improve their teaching, but every now and then a student will say something like “you don’t really have to revise for English, but you do for maths” - these kind of comments make me wonder about the learning process across the wider curriculum. I guess students are the ones who understand it most since they experience the whole spectrum from Art to Science every week.

So let’s pose these questions –

*· Is it true that “Mathematics is a difficult subject to teach and to learn”*

*· How? Why? When?*

*· If our students have a more developed understanding of the relative demands of the subjects they learn than we do, what is that understanding?*

*· Is their understanding right? How can we learn from it? Are there ways to improve it?*

I am off on holiday now for two weeks. A warm welcome to all, and I hope to hear from anyone on my return!

D

PS the maths section of the forum is sparsely populated at the mo - newcomers welcome!

]]>Professor David Reynolds of Exeter University has just published research into the effectiveness of using teaching assistants in the classroom. Reynolds studied teaching assistants helping primary children with maths.

The assistants supported weaker groups in the class while the teacher continued with the lesson. Despite the extra help, their results did not improve.

"Overall, then, this study does not provide much support for the use of assistants as a way of improving the achievement of low-achieving students, or as a means of increasing child-adult contact without employing more teachers," says the study.

"We think that what happens is that in the short term the arrival of classroom assistants makes the classroom complex for the existing teachers," explained Prof Reynolds. He said that schools need additional training in how best to use the assistants.

"The implications of this research are that it would be a mistake to only train the classroom assistants and not also include a large-scale national programme of national training for all the teachers who will be getting assistants in their classrooms."

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