Abstract to Maths Mastery- Unlocking children full potential in Maths
Wednesday 20th June 2018
Maths is such an important subject as it is used every day life. We use money, tell the time, cover distance when walking, measure amount of ingredients needed to cook a meal. Yet Maths continues to be the problem most students face in their school life in UK. Why is UK with all the facilities and resources not doing so well in Maths? How can we as a nation improve our maths ability?
The UK's lack of mathematics ability is exposed in the International Programme for Student Assessment (PISA) rankings in 2015. The UK not only lagging behind top performers such as Singapore and Finland, but also trails Vietnam, Poland and Estonia. In maths, the UK is ranked 27th, slipping down a place from three years ago, the lowest since it began participating in the Pisa tests in 2000 (OECD). The influential Pisa rankings are based on tests taken by 15-year-olds in over 70 countries.
In Singapore, Japan and China all children are expected to master maths and they do. It is important to learn from the best if we want to get better. It is with this reason that the government introduced Maths mastery which is now taught in schools across the schools in the country from primary level to GCSE level. Maths mastery enables children to develop deeper conceptual understanding. Teachers especially primary school teachers are undergoing training across the country to effectively implement this policy .It is important to emphasise that the success of children in Maths and school in general does not lie on the schools alone. Parents are expected to play active role in their children education. In this policy, children are encouraged to be ready and willing to explore new things without fear of failure which is vital for the growth mind-set. This encourages independent and creative thinking and hence children especially primary students can explore beyond numbers.
It is important for parents to understand that for children to be successful at Maths they need constant practice. It is like learning to drive or learning any new skills such learning to play a musical instrument. It takes time and practice to master the skill. Maths is no different.
The best way to help students to become better at maths mastery is to expose them to the right problems. For primary school pupils 'White Rose Maths Hub' has lots problem solving questions on various topics which will be useful in developing mastery skills. For GCSE level, students must be exposed to problem solving questions in past papers or practice papers. Children should be encouraged to see the link between different topics as some GCSE questions require more than one skill. For instance, children should be exposed to angle problems which require the knowledge of solving equations.
The benefit of tutoring is that the tutor is able to expose children to these mastery problems and speak in a language that the children can understand and relate. This supplements what they are being taught in schools and make a lot of difference helping them to become confident in Maths mastery. One-to-one tutoring allows the time and the space to enable children to master the skills of mastery and hence fulfil their full potential.