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KS3 Maths assistance please - teachers?

(7 Posts)
jampots Fri 04-Mar-05 11:33:20

DD now year 7 is in top group in maths but although she understands the work in class doesnt seem to confidently complete her homework and is always asking for reassurance. So I asked a teacher from our primary school to give her an hour each week just for this half term to build her confidence (her maths teacher wont move her down a group as she feels she has the ability). Anyway tutor came last night and seems to think she's working at year 9 maths and in front of him she performed well. He has recommended getting a tutoring programme for the PC instead of paying him each week. So can anyone recommend a tutoring (not testing/revision) programme geared for KS3 (and he seemed to think KS4) and also what is actually covered in the KS3 curriculum? She has covered standard form, function machine, algebra (albeit did this at primary), sequencing, etc and i think are going onto trigonometry.

popsycal Fri 04-Mar-05 11:33:48

You need Fisil

popsycal Fri 04-Mar-05 11:35:07

And as a primary teacher, I am not sure how I would judge a child to be working at year 9 level.......are they a maths specialist? Just wondering??

jampots Fri 04-Mar-05 11:36:56

he's the maths mentor type person (?) for the borough. He also does some further education work (which came after he was shortlisted for Tof theY award last year)

popsycal Fri 04-Mar-05 11:39:12

Aha!!!!! That makes a lot of sense then!!! Sorry for casting asspurtions (sp??)

Anyway - you need Fisil - secondary head of maths department. I am a mere brain dead, hormonal jack of all trades master of none primary teacher

jampots Fri 04-Mar-05 13:04:59

its ok - esp after the calibre of teacher you're used to at our school

fisil Fri 04-Mar-05 13:33:44

found it - thanks for pointing me in this direction popsy!

I am currently pg and have been off sick for the last 6 weeks trying not to think about work, so I will do my best to help you, but I can't promise the best answer!

Firstly the topics you mention do sound very good: standard form, for example, is generally level 7 work as it involves manipulation of powers (although it can be level 5 or 6 in some circumstances). I wonder if the difficulties actually come from the teacher or class she's in. I find that our top sets contain students who are cocky but not especially good and students who have a natural ability or try really hard, but condemn themselves constantly. It sounds like your daughter falls into this second category and it is very important for a teacher to recognise and support such students. Her response (not moving her down) would suggest that she is aware that your daughter is this type. However, as you can imagine, the cocky weaker students are often the ones who get more attention, and may even appear to be getting more correct as they will be putting their hand up (and if the teacher's doing her job right she'll be focusing them on their work by praising their efforts). But the teacher should also be making sure your daughter is aware of her ability and how well she is progressing.

Another problem with bright students and mathematics (and the reason why I turned away from maths after A-levels for a while) is the fact that it can appear that questions are either right or wrong. This can be devastating for a hard working student who has perfectionist tendencies! I am fascinated by the academic research that has been done on this subject, but I won't go into all that here. Basically there have been attempts to get rid of the black and white nature of mathematics and to teach it using open ended questions. The Numeracy Strategy is brilliant at this (not at everything, but in this case it is) and it sounds like her primary school was really clued up to developments in mathematics education, so I bet she got that a lot! However, many secondary schools/teachers have not embraced this and you can get very unimaginative text book based teaching where the emphasis is on how many questions you got right (or wrong!). If your daughter's teacher is like this, I'm sorry. If you think that the department is a strong and progressive one, but this teacher is being very traditional, then contact the Head of Department. As a HoD I have done loads of work over the past few years to overcome this problem, yet I know there are still members of my department who make excellent students hate mathematics because they don't enable them to explore the subject but instead do their confidence in!

Now I will get to your question. I suggest that it is not tutoring programmes you need but enrichment programmes. I get a couple of publications from the mathematical associations designed to develop and excite bright young mathematicians. They are called Symmetry Plus and Mathematical Pie (sic). I belong to both assocs and can't remember which comes from which, but visit them mathematical association and association of teachers of mathematics . There are also excellent websites, such as nrich . A google search of something like "maths fun" brings up some fairly good stuff too.

I also enjoy going to the childrens reference section in bookshops, or the popular science mathematics section and getting great books such as The Number Devil

I've gone on a bit, I hope I've been useful. Ask away if I've been a bit unclear or got it all wrong, or missed anything!

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