Maths is for life. We use our maths knowledge many times every day – often without realising it. A good mathematical education is crucial and it is essential, therefore, that when children leave primary school, they have a solid foundation of mathematical knowledge upon which to build on but also a growth mindset where they feel they can achieve. At Skelton, our approach to teaching and learning in maths is based on the 6 principles detailed below:
Success for all
Every child can enjoy and succeed in mathematics as long as they are given the appropriate learning opportunities. We can all develop through practice, support, dedication and hard work. Adopting and encouraging a growth mindset enables pupils to develop resilience and confidence, and see the value in learning from mistakes.
Depth before breadth
To truly grasp a mathematical concept, pupils must be given time to fully explore their learning. The challenge comes from investigating ideas in new and more complex ways – rather than accelerating through new topics.
Objects, pictures, numbers and symbols enable pupils to represent mathematical ideas and make connections in different ways. This strengthens conceptual understanding and develops pupils’ problem solving skills. They also help remove much of the mystery and intangibility often associated with math.
Mathematical thinking (reasoning)
Successful mathematicians are known to develop mathematical ‘habits of mind’. To encourage this, we must support pupils to be systematic, generalise and seek out patterns. Questioning is a key element of this. Such as: ‘think of another example’, ‘give a general rule’ and ‘what is the same and what is different?’
Enabling learners to solve new problems in unfamiliar contexts is the ultimate aim of mathematics education. Pupils must be given opportunities to identify, apply and connect mathematical ideas. This builds the skills needed to tackle new and more complex problems, rather than repeating routines without grasping the conceptual meaning behind them.
Research shows the more a pupil can communicate mathematically, the more they feel themselves to be a mathematician. Mathematical language strengthens conceptual understanding by enabling pupils to explain and reason. Mathematical language must be carefully introduced and reinforced through frequent discussion to ensure it is meaningfully understood.
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