16 June 2017

Topics In Depth

This year I've been responsible for running subject knowledge enhancement sessions for five trainee maths teachers. Over the course of the year, I realised something: maths teachers spend a lot of time talking about general approaches and strategies, but very little time looking at specific topics in detail.

Examining a topic in depth prior to teaching it is incredibly powerful. Even if we've taught that topic many times before, we still benefit from taking a step back and thinking about misconceptions, approaches, explanations and resources. If we had more time then we'd be able to do this with colleagues on a regular basis. We could draw on some of the excellent topic specific resources available online, such as the National Strategy materials, the NCETM's Departmental Workshops and Colin Foster's Instant Maths Ideas. What a shame that we are so busy teaching, we rarely get time to do this.

It's very clear to me why Ed Southall's book 'Yes, But Why?' is Sage's bestselling book of the year. Rather than sharing general ideas for how to teach maths, it goes into detail on individual topics. This is what maths teachers need.

My Project
I'm excited to launch a new project! My aim is to create a series of 45 minute sessions on the entire range of topics in secondary mathematics (this will probably take me years to complete!). The sessions will cover subject knowledge (the facts, the 'why', the misconceptions) and teaching ideas (approaches, resources, good questions for assessment, how to stretch and challenge etc).

I hope that my sessions will be useful for trainees, NQTs and non-specialists preparing to teach a topic for the first time, and also for experienced teachers. These sessions could be used in schools - for example if all Year 8 teachers are about to teach indices, then they could get together and run through my (yet to be written) session on indices.

I've spent many hours pulling together the very best animations, questions, resources, examples and puzzles for my first two sessions. My first session - which I'm presenting at #mathsconf10 - is on angles, focusing mainly on adjacent angles on straight lines and angles in triangles. My second session - which I'll probably run in Sheffield - is on angles in parallel lines. I'm really excited to present what I've found. It's amazing how much there is to say on each of these topics if we really look at them in depth. I believe it's worth taking the time to do so.









11 comments:

  1. This sounds fantastic. Are the sessions available on your website?

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    1. Thanks! Not yet. I'm not launching the first session until #mathsconf10 next Saturday. I'm planning to write a number of them over summer. I need to work out the best way to share them (webinars have been suggested) - watch this space!

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    2. Thanks. Am excited to see it.

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  2. Simply can not wait

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  3. Looking forward to learning more!

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  4. Excellent. I'll see you there.

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  5. Thanks for the great work. When will you be in Sheffield?

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    1. Hi. The Sheffield conference is on 30th September. See mathsconf.com for details.

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