Nature or Nurture

Mathematics is a fundamental part of the world in which we live. It infiltrates everyday life, making it an inescapable part of our reality. From an early age it is a core subject in the curriculum and yet it is often found to be boring and irrelevant. Every child is born with the ability to […]

The death of the polymath

In years past the educated of society would be found not only proving theories in mathematics but exploring the universe, contemplating philosophy or creating art. People like Leonardo Da Vinci of Florence, painter of the Mona Lisa yet inventor and anatomist, or Eratosthenes of Ancient Greece mathematician, cartographer and also a poet. These individuals can […]

Setting and Streaming – Worth it?

What is setting and streaming? Well, setting is the grouping of students within a subject area based on a student’s ability in that subject. This is very common, especially within maths, as 94% of secondary schools state that they set for maths. My belief is that maths is so commonly set as maths is (largely) […]

I used to think dyslexia was an ‘incurable condition’…

In the UK it is said 10% of the population have dyslexia, 4% being very pronounced. What is not clear is whether this is the estimated or diagnosed percentage, but either way, it equates to a staggering 3 pupils per class of 30. Whilst they may not be showing noticeable outward signs, I worry that […]

Dream Big, But Be Realisitic

Willingdon’s article on Student Memory was an enjoyable article. I agree with what he said and I thought that there were some interesting and useful points to help us understand and teach memory. Being able to understand memory is an important topic. We need memory to learn. So often in Maths there are formulas and […]

First to React

Matthew Syed’s TEDtalk on the myth of talent and practice explores the role of pattern recognition in sport and how this can be adapted to wider learning. Syed argues that years of high quality practice and diagnostic training separates those that can, from those that (think they) can’t. He argues that it’s not about memory […]

Natural Ability vs Hard Work

Matthew Syed talks about the supposed importance of innate ability on performance. His own experience of professional table tennis made him assume that his reactions were so good he could do any sport, before quickly realizing that wasn’t the case. He points to the experience that professional tennis players have with ‘reading the game’, looking […]

How do I know that I know enough?

A very topical subject as we exit exam season in our household.. for the past 3 weeks we have had both children simultaneously in the throes of last minute polishing of knowledge culminating in 6 x SATS tests over 4 days (a result of the government’s drive to prove more primary school children are at […]

But why should we have to memorise?

I find Syed’s links to growth mindset, with reference to Dweck’s work, as well as with the nature vs nurture debate interesting. I think it is worrying how prevalent the belief that talent is the only way to succeed is. I have seen so many students saying they “can’t do maths”, thinking that it’s not […]

Cow Meat Noodles, Cow Meat Noodles, Cow…

7.       Practice and Memory This week there have been ties to what we have seen before. Syed explicitly mentions Dweck’s work (which would be the next Task, 8) and he gives some strong examples of practice forming performance. Willingham’s 3 principles focus around the idea of fostering quality practice Memrise1 attempts this with me seeing […]