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How to discuss this with the teacher?

(54 Posts)
ChocOrange3 Mon 13-Nov-17 16:45:37


So, before I unleash I want to take a deep breath and get advice on here.

My DS is in Year 4 and he is very bright and is quite strong in maths. He has learnt some methods at home which he is capable of doing but which are contrary to the schools methods. A couple of weeks ago they were doing multiplication in class and the teacher was teaching them the grid method. DS put his hand up and asked if he could do it his way (the old fashioned column way) and the teacher said to him, in front of the whole class: "what makes you think you are so special and important that you get to do it your way".

I have verified this with another child in the class (who is a very responsible and trustworthy child) who confirms that is what she said.

So I want to convince her to allow him to use his methods if he is proving to be capable and not disrupting the learning of others but more importantly, how do I convey that it is in no way appropriate to talk to an 8 year old like that??


HotPotatoePies Mon 13-Nov-17 16:47:47

He should learn the schools way. I know it can be frustrating, but the teacher shouldn’t have to adjust things just for him. If they spoke to him that way thought it’s out of order. I would ask the teacher for their version of events though, even reliable children often have poor recall.

irvineoneohone Mon 13-Nov-17 16:54:11

I do agree with teacher.
Just because he knows one method doesn't make it ok to do whatever he likes during lesson.
My ds is similar, he does maths at home and capable, but when teacher is teaching different method, he wouldn't ask if he can do it his own way, even though he already knows other methods and the one teacher is teaching at the moment. I think it's just plain rude, imo.

regularbutpanickingabit Mon 13-Nov-17 16:55:57

Two issues here. Firstly, he does need to learn the school’s method. As maths gets harder, so some methods stop working or become unwieldy. Building up a toolbox of methods helps children learn the best one to use in different scenarios. They are also learning not to be afraid to try new ways. You may also find he misses out on points for working out, even if he gets the answer wrong.

The language reported is a different matter. If you aren’t happy with that then talk to the teacher.

SoonToBeDad20s Mon 13-Nov-17 16:58:53

Hey one of my first posts. I agree with the teacher that they should learn the schools way, never bad to learn more than one way. However it does seem she's has been over the top in her rebuttal of he's method, like she was trying to humiliate him.

GerrytheBerry Mon 13-Nov-17 16:59:36

I don't think your son was being rude ffs, he's a child, maths can be hard to grasp and if he's found a way he can get the correct end answer then good for him. But I will say I would encourage him and help him to do it the way the teacher is teaching it because I think for exam purposes it needs to be worked out that way.
I wouldn't be happy with teacher talking to mine like that either.

BringOnTheScience Mon 13-Nov-17 16:59:55

I've taught children who claimed to know the column method. Turned out that they were not secure and didn't understand what they were actually doing with the numbers and values.
The grid method is very clear for units, tens, hundreds, etc.
Then you move in to column methods.
Some schools do skip the grid now.

She sounds rude in the way she spoke if that is what happened. But how did your DC ask? His tone could have been equally rude if he came across as "Well I know a better way!" What experienced, highly trained adult wants to have their skills queried publicly by a child?!

By all means have a word to find out the facts. But do please trust the teacher to follow their school's maths policy.

bastardkitty Mon 13-Nov-17 17:03:51

You need to support him to learn via the school's method and it's not appropriate for you to challenge the methodology or try to get them to change it. If the teacher did so that, it wasn't appropriate.

Sirzy Mon 13-Nov-17 17:04:12

Surely if he is strong and bright when it comes to maths then learning the new Methods is a great way of keeping him challenged?

Methods used may have changed but that is generally because they have been found to be better/easier/different ways which allow children to build up a variety of methods to tackle the problems.

underkerstumbled Mon 13-Nov-17 17:04:32

Sympathies. My dc had a similar issue with adding large numbers using number lines. Understood the concept, found it easy-peasy and much preferred the traditional method with figures in columns. I was thoroughly told off by the teacher and told that she was not allowed to do it like that.
The way they teach maths these days is all wrong IMO. If they are naturally capable then they should be pushed ahead and allowed to use methods which they will be taught in the future anyway.

ChocOrange3 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:05:38

Thanks all, I will ask about why they want him to maintain their method, it may well be for tests/that he isn’t strong enough in the other way yet.

DS is not confrontational or cocky, he’s a very very kind and sweet boy so I know exactly how he would have asked. The friend who recounted the event also did so independently and is a very reliable boy (nicknamed little policeman!) so I do not refute the facts. I won’t go in all guns blazing but I did want to know if anyone suggests any particular way of handling this conversation.


Sirzy Mon 13-Nov-17 17:06:56

Why does there need to be a conversation other than one to remind your son that when he is asked to use a specific method he should

Migraleve Mon 13-Nov-17 17:16:39

will ask about why they want him to maintain their method,

Really? You can’t just accept that your child goes to learn and that is the method they use?

I was in agreement that what the teacher said could have been better put, but actually if your DD is displaying an attitude to mirror yours then it’s no surprise that the teacher is fully pissed off with it.

Oblomov17 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:24:13

Her response was inappropriate. It’s always good to have different methods for doing it.
But she should have said that whilst it was good he knew that method, she also needed him to know and be able to use this (her) method.

Ask her to clarify her version of events. What exactly she claims she said.

GetTheGoodLookingGuy Mon 13-Nov-17 17:25:03

The teacher should not have said it like that, but he does need to use the school's method at this point. They may well go on to teach his method, and then afterwards allow the children to choose which method to use by deciding which is most sensible based on the numbers they have, and they also might get them to use both methods side by side to "prove" that they get the same answer, so are both valid methods.

ChocOrange3 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:40:38

migraleve I hope my DS maintains an attitude like mine, one of curiosity and a desire to learn why things are being done. Surely me wanting to understand the teachers methods and rationale so I can support the school and DS’s learning is a perfectly normal thing to do?!?!?

Hello Oblamov long time no see, about 9 years to the day grin

Migraleve Mon 13-Nov-17 17:46:41


I think it’s really sad that both you and your DC think that it’s acceptable to challenge the teacher and think you know better.

mnistooaddictive Mon 13-Nov-17 17:50:57

As a secondary maths teacher I can tell you grid method is essential to learn how to multiply out quadratic equations. We also use it at alevel to explain factorising of cubic equations. There will be many times he has to use a specific method even if he knows a different one as it will be a building block to something else.

Psychobabble123 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:53:56

Oh for crying out loud, don't be so precious! He needs to learn different methods and do waht is asked of him by the teacher. All this "I hope he's like me and maintains a desire to learn" is 😂

ChocOrange3 Mon 13-Nov-17 17:57:16

I’m not sure that’s what I’ve said migraleve. Perhaps you misinterpreted my messages, yes at first I said I wanted to “convince” the teacher to let him use his method but then I went on to say I wanted to understand why they might prefer him to maintain their method because I took on board the comments on here.

I want to know why so I can help enforce it if it’s a good reason but if not then I want to challenge their status quo, not in a confrontational/i know better than you way but so it’s clear all round of the importance of how they are learning. I genuinely don’t know why they would insist on it and I want to understand, Is that so wrong?

Sirzy Mon 13-Nov-17 18:00:00

Why is because that is the method the teacher wants them to focus on.

You seem to be determined to turn this into an issue rather than just reinforcing to your son to do as he is asked

If he is so talented at maths why is which method such an issue?

ChocOrange3 Mon 13-Nov-17 18:03:04

I don’t want to make it into a bloody issue, I just want to understand it!!!!!!

verystressedmum Mon 13-Nov-17 18:04:07

I don’t think you need to understand the teachers rational behind using a method. That’s how this school does it.
Much better you say to your ds that there’s different ways of doing things and he needs to know that way too.

Sirzy Mon 13-Nov-17 18:04:18

What is so hard to understand.

They are focusing on one particular method and ensuring the children can use that method. Therefore using a different method isn’t meeting the outcomes for that lesson.

Haggisfish Mon 13-Nov-17 18:05:59

But a maths teacher has just explained why?confused they use the grid method to enable real understanding in more complex maths.

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