I am a Primary (Elementary) Mathematics Consultant at Southend-On-Sea Borough Council. I have been a headteacher of a Primary School but have now put my interest in the development of mathematics to wider use and go into schools to advise teachers. I believe that mathematics is a subject that is not well taught in schools and has the potential to develop children's confidence in themselves and their potential to learn. I think that it is a subject that can be developed in schools by using the right approach such as the use of creative means to understand concepts as well as the building up of the building blocks in a step by step way. I have recently been looking at approaches to developing mathematics such as John Mighton's "Jump math" Project in canada and feel that his mix of basic skill development as well as an investigative approach leads to great success for children who did not think they could learn mathematics as is exemplified in Lambeth London where the project has proved a great success in motivating inner urban children to learn mathematics and in the process to gain confidence in themselves as learners and this has had the added spin off effect of reducing anti-social behaviour in class for many of these children. Recently, I taught a class of low achieving Year 7 (aged 11-12) children in a local secondary school. We did algebra in a fun way that just developed the concept of an empty box (represented by a P.E. mat) and something added to it. The children suddenly discovered that they "could do" algebra. it made me wonder how many thousands of other children (perhaps millions) are denied the opportunities to understand just how able they really are. John Mighton's book "The end of Ignorance" is a work that describes his campaign in "Jump Math" but also outlines his philosophy that every child has potential and can use mathematics to develop their learning.
An idea worth spreading
An idea worth spreading is John Mighton's idea that people can learn at any age. That developments in neuroscience has shown the plasticity of the brain and that we learn in small steps that allow us to make connections. As John states in his book "The End of Ignorance" chess grandmasters become great because of practise and the building up of layers of skills. Mathematics can be learnt by the same means. We start small and develop the ideas and allow the ideas to spread as pathways and networks within our brains.
I'm passionate about
Human potential. I see wonderful things happening in the world of technology and I think that this has the potential to widen every child's world and usher in a new age of learning.
Talk to me about
Any developments in learning in mathematics and the use of technology.