I’m bad at maths

Posted by James on Dec 6, 2015

I love the idea of ICT ‘humanising the classroom’ the reports from the Las Santos school district are very promising. However I don’t think Kahn academy will be applicable to all schools for a number of reasons. Firstly is accessibility, not every school has the ability to give the whole school access to computers for every maths lesson. Secondly in deprived areas not all children will have access to a computer or the internet at home and therefore that child would be penalised. But where applicable Kahn academy is a fantastic tool to aid teachers in mathematics as a lesson that can be paused rewound and accessed at the childrens own pace, which is near impossible to do in a traditional classroom setting. This also allows children with lower mathematical ability or knowledge gaps, that ability to catch up with the rest of the class. Or for the more advanced students to progress at a faster rate. Again this is difficult to achieve in a classroom setting. The teacher side of the Kahn academy gives you so much insight into the childs ability into maths a whole and individual topics. Linking back to Dylan Williams talk on formative assessment. It allows the teachers to see exactly where a pupil is struggling and to be able to support that student on the specific problem/topic that the pupil is struggling on without having to ask the pupil those open ended questions. For example ‘what is it that you are struggling with?’, ‘what is it that you don’t understand?’ or ‘where are you stuck?’ these are questions that I have asked pupils on numerous occasions only to be met with ‘everything’ or ‘maths in general’ as an answer. With Kahn academy all the analysis is already done, for example which video they watched and how long for, which questions they completed and how long these took them and which questions that they answered either correctly or incorrectly. This allows the teacher to spend the time purely focusing on how to support the student in the specific problem or area.

From reading the article by Daniel T. Willingham I have been left with more questions. One of which is why do adults and children feel unashamed to say that they are bad at maths? Whereas there is a stigma attached to illiteracy. In my experience people that have said they are not good at maths are people that have either not tried hard or had a bad experience. People are impatient with maths, for instance people will play football, rugby or computer games and practise hours every day to achieve proficiency for pleasure or competition. Yet they expect within 8 hours a fortnight of maths they would achieve the same proficiency as the hours that they have put into their hobby of choice. Also everyone if they put in the effort could achieve a passing grade at GCSE maths, from my experience the majority of students have enough basic mathematical ability to with work achieve a grade C at GCSE. In my opinion primary schools need to work on making sure that when the pupils leave they have basic mathematics, number bonds to ten and there times tables committed to memory. By having this factual knowledge it would ease the burden on secondary schools.









1 Comment

  1. pepsmccrea
    7 December 2015

    You raise important (ethical) limitations of Khan’s video and then describe what Khan can and can’t do.

    Good to see you that Willingham’s article has made you think. I like your ideas around knowing the facts.

    You’ve done well to (almost) catch up. Keep going!

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.