Advanced search

To be pissed of with the way dd's school is teaching? or am I out of touch?

(58 Posts)
elesbells Thu 06-Oct-11 09:53:24

dd3 (five) came home from school upset yesterday saying that the teacher said she can't 'do maths'. I tried to get more out of her but couldn't so, this morning i went in to speak to her teacher.

She told me that dd3 is not very good with sums and she was worried she was falling behind. This confused me as I often do sums with her at home and she is quite able to add and subtract numbers up to 20. (the target being numbers up to 10)

During the conversation it came to light that the school do ALL maths lessons on the computer shock and in fact, dd3 has trouble using the mouse and that's why she cannot do the maths. The teacher has said she needs more lessons on the computer and needs to learn how to use the mouse correctly.

I know we live in a computer world and she will need to be introduced to it at some point but do the basic teaching methods have to disappear?

now what i want to know is:

aibu to expect five year olds to taught maths in a more traditional way? (if john has two sweets and jane has 3 sweets ect) and not being stuck in front of a p.c.

to worry that computers are being introduced as important at too young an age?

or am I just old and out of touch? (there is a 15 year age gap between dd2 & dd3 so its different to when the older ones were in primary school)

p.s please don't say i'm old....wink

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Oct-11 09:57:06

I think it's inaccurate of the teacher to say that being bad a mouse-control means she's bad at maths. Obviously, she's not bad at maths, she just needs more help with the mouse-skills. But it's not too young for them to learn how to use computers. Most schools run IT skills as a separate thing. You can get some child-oriented software for her to practice on and there are password-protected educational sites that schools get children to access as well.

elesbells Thu 06-Oct-11 10:01:38

Is it the same in all primary schools now? all maths lessons are done on a p.c?

valiumredhead Thu 06-Oct-11 10:03:06

Lots are OP.

squeakytoy Thu 06-Oct-11 10:05:39

I absolutely do not see the point of children under the age of 11 using computers at school. They should be learning to use a pen and paper first and foremost. Learn the basics in the traditional ways first, then move on to the machine that will do it all for you later.

It is no wonder we have a generation of children who cannot write properly, and rely on a computer to do it all.

I dont think you are being unreasonable at all OP.

LydiaWickham Thu 06-Oct-11 10:06:09

there's a world of difference between not being good at maths and not being good at the medium used for representing that abilty - look at it this way, if she had trouble holding a pen and writing the sums, but could answer orally if asked to do the same sum, would you say she couldn't do the sum or she couldn't write?

Now, you wouldn't say writing wasn't an important skill, but it's a different skill. Your DD needs to learn how to use the computer, can you practice with her?

I would tell the teacher you aren't happy that your DD is being told she can't do maths when what she's struggling with is a different set of skills, the teacher should be telling you what the real problem is rather than the result of the problem (your DD not being able to complete sums she can mentally do is a result of the computer problem, not a problem in itself).

elesbells Thu 06-Oct-11 10:06:13

blimey....what happened to pen and paper..hmm

LalalalalalaSummerHoliday Thu 06-Oct-11 10:06:40

NO, they're not all done on pc at our school. In fact, very little is - they do ICT covering all the other areas of curriculum but not every day. The teacher does some sat on carpet, talking to whole class, some in small groups and some individually. A lot of it is done by speaking, and my y1 is now practising writing "number sentences", i.e. 3+5=8. They also use blocks, number lines, fingers, etc.

Are you sure you've got the right end of the stick? I'd be as horrified as you if that's right, and be straight to the KS1 planner and then head, if so.

valiumredhead Thu 06-Oct-11 10:08:37

squeaky thing is, computers ARE the basics now...

LalalalalalaSummerHoliday Thu 06-Oct-11 10:09:43

But while we're at it, as a computing professional in a previous life, I think they have a bad habit of teaching children to use particular pieces of software, rather than understanding how computers work and do what they do. And they don't teach touch-typing at any stage of school, that I'm aware (would be delighted to be corrected on this)... I think that's scandalous these days really. Not at KS1 obviously, but probably early secondary would be a good time.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Thu 06-Oct-11 10:10:19

Lots are OP.

DD's maths homework alternates between a maths board game one week and a computer based activity the next. She's just started year 1 and it was the same in Reception.

They are just embedding the use of ICT meaningfully across the curriculum. I doubt that all maths will be done on the computer because this wouldn't support the maths curriculum.

Although it largely depends on how keen the HT is on ICT!

Dnomaid Thu 06-Oct-11 10:10:40

I would ask what other ways the teacher has been collating evidence of your child's number knowledge. A good teacher should know that every child has a different learning style and by ( seemingly) only collecting her evidence from computer sessions she could be ignoring all the counting, comparing,matching etc children naturally do in a range of contexts. I taught one child who loved trains and the ONLY way I could get him to do anything i.e. Writing, painting, counting was to use the trains. We ordered them, matched them, rolled them in paint and drew them etc etc!! If I'd relied on his computer knowledge then I would have said he couldn't "do maths", when in fact he could count up to 50 and add/subtract to 20.
This document explains very well all the different types of activities that should be going on

Hardgoing Thu 06-Oct-11 10:10:55

So bizarre. A lot of understanding what numbers represent and so on is done using physical objects, so counters to represent units, or tens, whatever stage they are at. Some brilliant maths programmes use physical representations of numbers. To do it all on the computer at this age is totally counter-intuitive and frankly really problematic. Furthermore, my dd1 has been doing workings out for years, since really little, she's a star at maths as she thinks around the problem and uses the paper to find different ways to do things til she gets the right answer, or to check answers.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Although is there a chance they are just doing say addition/subtraction on the computer as the 'final' check on their understanding. I really hope so (at age 5).

It is handy to be able to use a mouse, however, motor skills are still developing massively at this age- do you object to her using a computer at home to get better at this?

onefatcat Thu 06-Oct-11 10:11:26

This is not the norm in most schools- the children should be using a variety of different media- practical, pictorial, written and ICT etc to convey their understanding of number. I would complain.

squeakytoy Thu 06-Oct-11 10:12:07

I dont think they should be the basics though.

I know they are a part of everyday life, but to me that doesnt mean children should be plonked in front of one from the day they start school.

I truly believe that learning to use a pen and pencil first is more beneficial in the long term.

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 06-Oct-11 10:12:07

I'd also query the statement that 100% of maths is done using the computer. Most schools don't have enough computers for everyone to use them at once, and since maths is a big part of the curriculum, the children must be spending some time on the subject in class in the traditional way ... I would have thought.hmm

elesbells Thu 06-Oct-11 10:12:08

that's what i'm talking about lala...traditional speaking. I was taught with blocks, buttons ans using my fingers and toes..

I specifically asked the teacher if it was ALL maths lessons and she said yes...she even looked at me like i should have known that..

I think I will ask for a meeting as I am unhappy with that way of teaching and I'm shocked by it tbh. as squeaky says, it's no wonder kids a failing..

valiumredhead Thu 06-Oct-11 10:13:16

squeaky I completely agree.

elesbells Thu 06-Oct-11 10:17:54

i've no objection to her using a computer....when she's a bit older.

she's five fgs - I just feel that one minute we are being told that we need to get our kids off the computer and make them play traditional games ect...but in the next breath they are teaching them on it....

WilsonFrickett Thu 06-Oct-11 10:24:23

this doesn't sound right to me, my DS uses computers to play maths games at computer time which then backs up the learning he's already done in maths time, IYSWIM. It's another way of learning, and for sure that part of it plays to my DS strengths as he has poor pencil grip, but I am 100% sure that using computers is just one part of an overall approach. Which definitely includes fingers, because when you ask him a sum, it's the fingers that come out!

I would make an appointment to discuss, often chatting in the morning means teachers are rushed and I think this needs proper discussion. TBH I am completely shock at anyone telling a 5yo that they can't 'do' anything angry. YANBU.

TheTenantOfWildfellHall Thu 06-Oct-11 10:30:05

Well OP, it certainly shouldn't be all lessons. The teacher should be utilising a range of teaching and learning techniques, of which ICT should be a part.

However, the children should not be sitting at computers for the activity part of the maths sessions and it goes against everything that is known about how children learn.

I would enquire about this a bit further. It's not what they should be doing.

I really would have this meeting and ask for a more thorough explanation of what is happening. I would be surprised if it is exactly as you have been led to believe (I certainly hope so anyway!)

keepingupwiththejoneses Thu 06-Oct-11 10:30:49

There is a difference from using computer to learn and to play, although computers can make learning more fun with the right programme. I know how you feel though ds2 started high school last september and had no access to a computer for various reasons, ADHD and he had broken 2 laptops so was banned from them. I got a letter from school telling me he had not done any maths hole work, when I queried this I was told that all maths homework was online and could not be given in a paper form hmm. There was his punishment out of the window angry

Blu Thu 06-Oct-11 10:33:18

The most successful progress in maths in DS's class was the term they were all given a DS lite to use for a maths programme.

It was great.

Jamillalliamilli Thu 06-Oct-11 10:38:28

Here a lot of children only get their maths lessons as interactive programs on the internet. (junior and secondary)
In one local school they go to on-line classrooms with teachers in India to get their maths lessons. They get no maths input from UK class teacher and it’s usually a TA or CS in charge.

Some of it’s cost cutting, and some’s lack of maths ability in many teachers, but it gets spun as ‘interests of the modern child’. (there are in fairness, positive sides)

My (home ed) teenage son volunteers with a junior children’s maths club in a school and they clearly benefit from personal attention, but the only reason he’s able enough at maths to do that, is because the internet rescued him when school failed him. (mouse skills turned out to be vital for us)

I’d suggest that as we live in an ever changing world, equipping your child with as many skills as possible to allow her to access all possible learning methods confidently, and if necessary independently at a young age, is probably the way to go, whatever you think about the way it’s all going.

aldiwhore Thu 06-Oct-11 10:39:38

My boys are competant with pc's (for their ages) and there is schoolwork done on them, BUT blocks, beans, pens and paper are still the mainstay, quite rightly.

Computers should be part of the basics, but not the absolute focus.

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: