Maths anxiety – a ouroboric process?

In my recent book, I discussed ‘ouroboric’ processes in education. I suggested that some relationships that people think are linear – that motivation leads to learning or that conceptual understanding must come before learning procedures – are actually cyclical. The examples that I gave were of positive processes. However, a new paper by Cambridge University researchers … Continue reading Maths anxiety – a ouroboric process?

Four tips for reducing maths anxiety

Some might argue that there should be room for a little anxiety in school life. We don’t want to wrap students up in cotton wool because the real world is not like that. Perhaps a little anxiety helps lead to better coping strategies; more resilience. Perhaps. However, I think it is true that anxiety can disrupt … Continue reading Four tips for reducing maths anxiety

Eliminating anxiety in schools

There are valid arguments against standardised tests. They have the potential to distort the curriculum by focusing teachers on only those subjects that are tested. And they can be unfair – reading tests and even maths tests often introduce world knowledge as a confound, discriminating against those from less advantaged backgrounds. Despite these worries, I … Continue reading Eliminating anxiety in schools

What Australian parents need to know about the maths wars

Following my piece on the reading wars, I thought it would be worth writing a brief for parents on the maths wars. These are not as high profile as the reading wars but they have had a similar impact, especially in the area of early numeracy. 1. What is ‘constructivism’ and why does it matter? … Continue reading What Australian parents need to know about the maths wars

Why the Scientific American article on maths education doesn’t add up

PISA recently released a report about the data that they have collected on maths teaching and learning strategies. I analysed some of this data and related it to the claims that PISA made. The report was quickly followed by an article in Scientific American. The Scientific American article focused on one area of the PISA report … Continue reading Why the Scientific American article on maths education doesn’t add up

Reform mathematics gets a makeover

In 1989, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in the U.S. published the first version of its Principles and Standards for School Mathematics. It was a pivotal moment for mathematics education both in America and across the world. Despite the relatively poor performance of the U.S. in comparison to other countries and states in international … Continue reading Reform mathematics gets a makeover

5 Things to consider in Primary School Maths

Following my recent posts on questions to ask your child’s primary school teacher (here and here), I had a request to expand on my comments about the teaching of mathematics. There are a few issues surrounding maths that I believe parents should know about but before I go into that, I wish to make two points. Firstly, … Continue reading 5 Things to consider in Primary School Maths

Why put the ‘A’ in STEAM?

Despite an element of moral panic, there is well-founded concern in Anglophone countries about a decline in the science and mathematics skills of students. International studies such as TIMSS and PISA bear out some of this decline, none more starkly than the PISA mean scores for Scotland and Australia: This has prompted discussion from politicians … Continue reading Why put the ‘A’ in STEAM?