Chat thread - come chat, rant, or celebrate, here!

(434 Posts)

With thanks to the lovely timetosmile - here's the new and rejuvenated Chat Thread.

Space to yak on, rant, post any of the good and bad stuff ... just basically any chat that you don't feel fits into a specific post. With a side order of reclaiming the word 'gossip'.

I'm interested in the maths issue. My mum tutors maths to people who're struggling and she's really interested in the theories about why some people don't learn well, and what's happening with maths teaching, so I end up listening to a lot of theories despite not being a maths person at all!

I think quite a lot of children of both genders aren't very confident, are they? And I do think it's true that lots of people feel quite happy to admit they're rubbish at maths when they would feel really embarrassed to be bad at basic English-language skills.

But something that bugs me is that I've heard a fair few people saying that the woman off Countdown is a great 'role model' for girls wanting to do maths. Don't get me wrong, I know she's really clever and is a proper mathematician - but what she does on Countdown ain't maths!

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 10:33:11

I tutor maths - it's really interesting why children are struggling. So much of it is the education system. It's so pressurised and always target chasing.

I tutor a 16yr old girl who wants to do maths, physics and chemistry next year for A-level. She still lacks real confidence in herself and talks herself down despite an A* in her mocks.

MiniTheMinx Thu 24-Jan-13 10:33:57

Absolutely second what you say about countdown not being maths. So many children struggle with basic arithmetic and it seems that unless they grasp this, because the emphasis at primary is always on mental maths they are considered to be not very good at maths. I once did an hour on topology for primary it was great fun and what is more it was all experimental and concrete, no number work what so ever. I found that there were some children that were really good at spotting patterns using shapes, looking at nature, using foam number tiles and making their own patterns but struggled with memorising the times tables. They couldn't memorise it because they were not audio learners but they could learn by sight, so visual spacial concepts were all there. And if anything visual spacial reasoning is more important. We also had lots of fun just playing games like snakes and ladders, simple card games, dominoes and playing games using money with reception children, some of the children aged 5 had never played any card or board games at home shock

Oh, poor lass.

I think girls do do this, don't they? At least I see it a lot - it's really not seen as socially acceptable to be proud you got good grades.

mini - oh, that's fascinating! See, that makes sense to me, that there are so many different skills. I have severely impaired visual memory (like, really, really), and someone had to explain to me that there were going to be things I couldn't really do. Yet it seems that when children have less obvious patterns of strength and weakness, there isn't so much awareness of how it makes a difference?

I was looking at the way people teach 'chunking' and that doesn't seem to work well for some children, while it's really helpful for others.

I did hear a theory (don't know how true it is) that increasingly, lots of girls don't play with the kinds of toys that help you get into the habit of doing maths. Is that true, do you think?

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 10:50:50

My thoughts.. People take in and relate to info. in many different ways. I don't think having a class of 30 is conducive to a multi-angled approach, even if the teacher is confident in their subject.

If you're a fan of NLP you'll have heard the theory that your language gives away your learning style eg auditory (I hear you, on the same wavelength) visual ( I see), kinaesthetic (getting a feel for).

I'm probably mansplaining grin aren't I ?

As for the woman on countdown, she's window dressing as ever, one of my cousins is using her maths degree to model climate change....now that's a role model.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 10:52:15

x-post Mini

I don't even know what NLP is, so you're not mansplaining at all! Sounds interesting.

I do hate the 'window dressing' thing. I mean, she has a good degree. She really is good at her stuff. It does piss me off no end that that is how she's seen (and it is how she's seen, I know).

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 10:55:49

Agree with the traditional games thing Mini, my boys can 'see' at once the number on the side of a dice, or a playing card, but not always if the same number of objects is presented in a different pattern.

MiniTheMinx Thu 24-Jan-13 10:56:46

DS hated chunking! but he had already mastered the traditional method. I'm a visual spatial person, so I draw diagrams instead of taking notes, I forget things I hear but remember almost everything I read! we are all so different and there are always areas of overlap.

I think you have hit upon something there, with the toys. Of course parents are under pressure to buy pink gizmos because our economy relies upon the message getting through that children need these things.

Kim, so true, even when we are good at things we seem unable to overcome the conditioning.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 10:57:02

Thank you!

doyou - I forget the guy's name, but there is someone who did research about the patterns (like dice patterns) that we see most easily and associate with a number.

MiniTheMinx Thu 24-Jan-13 11:02:55

Don't they say that humans have always counted long before we had acquired verbal language and that there is a finite number of objects we can see without counting. Something like 5.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 11:03:29

I may have to google that LRD

On another note (no pun) ds1 has a good ear for music and I learn things well when they are set to music but otherwise very visual- spatial-kinaesthetic.

Pattern recognition/association again I suppose.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 11:05:58

"DS hated chunking! but he had already mastered the traditional method. I'm a visual spatial person, so I draw diagrams instead of taking notes, I forget things I hear but remember almost everything I read! we are all so different and there are always areas of overlap. "

I'm a big fan of different ways of teaching maths. I love visual explanations but schools really want children to do written calculations.

Division - my favourite is feeding time at the aquarium. Share 30 fish between 6 sharks grin Involves shark pictures and sharing out fish. Practical, visual and easy to understand.

Except DS thinks that 1 shark is hungrier than the rest and will eat all of them.

Seriously - visual representation of problems is a good way for some children to understand the maths.I remember a study where children were encouraged to do that - the "low ability" children seemed to shine. (Off to Google it)

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 11:07:22

Mini did you see the programme about the people who have no recognition/concept of the colour green here

we are limited to some extent by our language and I find it fascinating how much a language tells you about the person that speaks it...slight digression smile

doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 11:11:07
doyouwantfrieswiththat Thu 24-Jan-13 11:13:59

I like the sharks idea Kim I also find that sums with smarties can be very motivational.

MiniTheMinx Thu 24-Jan-13 11:30:45

Kim, we used to play a game called go fishing smile we also had all these giant sized animals 10 x 10 of various animals all approx 15 inches high. (absolute horror to cart around 100 various plastic animals in tubs!) the younger children had coloured hoops and the large animals to help with division and because they were large it meant they could move and handle things, work in groups and actually see and feel. Only after we had divided them would we start to add visual number representation. It worked well even for pre-school age group who grasped the underlying concept quickly.

I'd love to know about the study Kim because I'm sure that the lower ability children really started to enjoy the more hands on approach and some of them started to make leaps with their confidence too.

doyouwantfrieswiththat, I heard about that on the radio, some tribes and cultures have far fewer words including words for colours. I'll have a look at the link.

MiniTheMinx Thu 24-Jan-13 11:33:01

Bringing it back to women, I found the girls always needed constant reassurance, they would bring every discovery to your attention for your approval. The boys very seldom did confused

That's interesting, mini. I think the opposite happens later on - women tend to get on with stuff quietly, whereas men tend to want you to agree they're on the right lines. But I'm generalizing off too small a sample, really.

Sunnywithshowers Thu 24-Jan-13 14:12:00

I was good at maths at school but lacked confidence - I did my O level a year early and got a C at retake. I skipped my A levels including maths.

A few years ago I took an OU course equivalent to A level standard, and so did my DH. He told me he was a natural mathematician... so he didn't give his workings or answer the questions about learning.

We both passed but I beat him smile I never tire of reminding him.

My DNiece loves maths and wants to do a maths degree - I'm very proud of her.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:17:45

I'm quite lucky - I work in so many aspects of education and I find it fascinating to work with children of all ages and watch how they interact.

At the moment, I'm doing a morning a week in a nursery. I work with year 1 in the afternoon, then year 6. I also tutor upto 18.

Children are fascinating individuals - some need confidence, reassuring, others desperately want your approval, some are mega confident and have to be reminded to let others have a go and some have lots of issues brought in from their home life. sad

Sunnywithshowers Thu 24-Jan-13 14:42:22

kim I had lots of issues at home (DV, EA father) but I don't think my teachers would have really noticed. I was outwardly well behaved, apart from absences (I wrote the 'sick' notes) and not handing in homework. Oh, and I had 2 guardians within the space of 3 months - I would have liked one of the teachers to ask me about it. Am I right to think that now pastoral care is much better, so kids are probably better supported?

I've just started at uni (aged 41) and I love being around my fellow students - the youngest is 17. They have no idea how lovely they are.

kim147 Thu 24-Jan-13 14:55:19

Teachers know a lot more about their pupils than before and some things you can only guess. I work in inner city Leeds and some of the things that go on scare me. I hate to imagine what the reality of life is like for so many of the children I teach.

And their future scares me - boys and girls.

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