Talk on creativity by Sir Ken Robison
“When you ask people about schooling they will pin you to the wall… as it runs deep within like religion or money” this is a statement that I agree with on many levels, as whenever anyone asks me what I am studying at university I reply training to be a maths teacher. I get one of two responses in 80% of cases and these are either “I was always really bad at maths” or “I hated school” I often wonder why the latter is the case for that person and why they assume the former. From the little research I have completed, which has mainly entailed either talking to people I know or people that I work with my understanding is that people assume they must be very good and quick with mental maths and be able to understand advanced mathematics if they are not then they therefore consider themselves to be ‘bad at maths.’
One of the questions raised in Ken Robinsons talk was why in school are maths, science and languages on top then humanities and finally the arts. Even within art there are hierarchies such as art and music being higher than dance and drama. Also why is dance not taught everyday like maths?
Lockhart’s ‘A Mathematician’s Lament’ has so many phenomenal points but it gets caught up in the place of dreams, as it would be amazing to teach children the way he talks about but there is a problem. The Government, OFSTED, local authority and the School care for one thing and one thing only! That is the child’s maths GCSE result (for current year 10 and below its Progress 8) and unless you teach the child what you have been told they must learn, which is one of the points that I whole heartedly agree with Lockhart that it is 90% useless for the average person they will not achieve in the subject. You will then be punished as a teacher, whether that is through pay caps, no career progression, competency or special measures. Until there is either a complete reform to maths education or the removal of standardised testing there will be little free room for people to teach differently for fear of reprisals.
The main skill that I am aiming for is to be able to take today’s curriculum and to teach it in a way that is “natural”, engaging and challenging, yet fun. I am under no illusion of the fact that this will be a constant uphill battle. As 70% of the children that come into your classroom will have a fear or hatred of maths that has been caused by bad teaching or a lack of understanding. How I would go about this I am unsure as there is no set of rules you can follow. What may work for one class would not work for another or even the same child on a different day.