MATHS ACTION FOR PARENTS
There are plenty of resources to help you to better support your child and boost their confidence in maths (see below ).
DO PARENTS HATE MATHS HOMEWORK?
Some parents feel obliged to help their children with maths problems.
This is a relatively recent demand by schools, regrettable because:
- Homework is supposed to be practice for children to work on their own.
- The parent may be no good at maths or has been taught in a different, old-fashioned way…
- Which can promote arguments..
Which can be harassing for the parent, who may have done a hard day’s work.
Which can lead to family discord.
- A parent’s job is to see that its child does its homework — not to do it for their children, to ANY degree.
- The maths teacher is supposed to teach maths to children, not to parents.
- 50% of maths teachers are NOT qualified to teach maths. So why add a different, unqualified teacher to the equation?
HOW DOES THIS AFFECT PARENTS?
This information comes from a Survey of 400 girls in year 9 (13 and 14 year olds) and year 12 (16 and 17 year olds).
- Maths in not an inherited ability. Mothers should never say that they were no good at maths, when they were at school. (Mothers may have been badly taught) This is interpreted by the daughter as permission to be bad at maths. Instead, mothers should say, ‘There’s no reason why you shouldn’t be good at maths.’
- Only 39% of year 9 girls have a regular weekly allowance. this is regrettable, because girls do not then learn how to budget, manage and save money. We recommend a weekly allowance to instil good habits.
- Only 45% of year 9 girls undertake regular jobs at home. This is a pity because regular household tasks incorporate a girl into the home system-support work.
We recommend one daily and one weekly task to be linked to pocket money payments. Girls may then appreciate that beds don’t make themselves, that dull work is part of any job and that housework should be a family team effort.
- We recommend that Parents should not help with maths homework. The main two reasons for homework are for reinforcement of a lesson learned and for the student to learn and work alone. We believe that parents need to see that homework is prepared on time and tidy. Parents are not qualified to teach maths.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR CHILD’S ABILITY
- Your child needs to practice maths at a regular time every day.
- Do not be more ambitious: to aim for daily practice is ambitious.
- Every day for 10 minutes, your child needs to do some maths problems, taken from current maths class lessons. Don’t waste those ten minutes. Sit by your child, be encouraging, but do not do the work yourself.
- Your child needs to pay attention to his or her work, and think about nothing else. Don’t let your child be distracted, don’t let attention wander. So no TV, or radio, or other people talking.
- Get a pocket size notebook. Every day, you write down what your child worked at. Date your entries. You can then see how much progress your child makes in a month – and know how much you helped.
- Maths knowledge is built like a skyscraper; each new brick is built on the last brick. If one brick is left out at the bottom, the skyscraper might wobble or crash… So make sure your child understands one new idea, before moving on to the next new idea
- This is how to build your child’s ability and confidence, one brick at a time.
WHAT DO THEY NEED MATHS FOR?
‘For everything’ is the answer.
The difference between maths and other school subjects is that only maths is ESSENTIAL to modern life: you don’t need French to catch a train and you don’t need History to check your supermarket.
YOU NEED MATHS IF YOU WANT…
Never to be short of money
To make your money go further
To get the best deals
To check that you arent being cheated
To enjoy life more
To keep out of debt
To climb out of debt
To avoid poverty
To get a better job
To build your career
To start your own business.
Mathematics – maths – is a social justice issue: around one in five adults in the UK lack even basic numeracy skills without which they find it difficult to budget and make money stretch as far as possible; they feel stressed and insecure about money regardless of their income, and they struggle to overcome barriers to progression in work.
WHAT IS MATHS MASTERY?
Maths Mastery, introduced to English schools in 2014, expects all teachers to teach maths thoroughly, so that their pupils thoroughly understand it. To some, this might seem the way that maths should have been taught previously, as a matter of course.
PUPILS. The teaching method aims to give pupils a good understanding and application of maths, rather than teaching parrot fashion, in order to pass tests.
- All pupils move forward at the same pace. Standards of expectation are higher, for every pupil.
- Pupils are expected to practice more. Pupils who are quick to understand a concept, are given more and harder problems, partly so that slower pupils will not be left behind.
- There are better textbooks – let us hope for every pupil – so that pupils can study and revise by themselves.
- In the new textbooks, fewer decisions are left to the individual teacher. As not every good mathematician is a good teacher, this is an improvement.
- All pupils need to thoroughly learn the multiplication tables, which will enable them to be quicker and more efficient in mental arithmetic at all levels of maths.
SPECIALIST MATHS TEACHERS
- Teachers are required to have ‘a deep structural knowledge of mathematics’ and a strong understanding of the structure of the curriculum and its aims: fluency, accuracy, precision, reasoning and problem solving.
- Teachers need to be able to deliver high quality, whole class teaching, with access for all pupils.
- Teachers need to provide quick feedback to pupils and effective intervention to support all pupils to keep up with the rest of the class.
- Teachers need to use precise questioning in class, to test the understanding of pupils and regularly assess them. Pupils that require intervention – extra one-on-one coaching – are then identified and do not fall behind.
Can any maths textbook be charming, fun and unputdownable?
YES! MATHS-NOPROBLEM is the title of a series of maths teaching books based on Singapore maths; it is the ONLY series recommended by the Department of Education.
For details, telephone Tunbridge wells at 01892 537 706 or visit www.mathsnoproblem.com
WHO CAN I TALK TO?
Talk to parents and carers like yourself via PARENTKIND, the parents, carers & teachers organization with over 13,700 members and a helpful newsletter. Members meet regularly and there is an active Facebook community with 36,000 followers. Recently, PARENTKIND produced an anti-bullying campaign.
No matter what your background, what you will have in common with those 36,000 followers is that you are all LOVING PARENTS who want to help your children – yourselves
What do I need sums for?
IF YOU HAVE A BOY…
Boys do not have any UK cultural setbacks to prevent them being good at maths. Anybody can be good at maths. You DO NOT inherit maths ability.
Give boys a good reason – that they can accept – and show them the Guide to Careers that’s on the National Careers Services website.
This lists different jobs, what the starting salary is, how much you can earn in each job and what qualifications are needed.
You can speak to an National Careers Service adviser. Tel: 0800 100 900.
THE BRAIN EXPLAINED
The psyche is the non-physical content of your brain, sometimes called the soul. The tangible part, which looks in medical books like a colony of white worms, is a bit better understood.
The human brain evolved over millions of years, from the tiny, basic reptile brain – which controls your bodily functions, such as breathing and excreting – to the reflexive animal brain – often called the limbic system – which monitors emotional feelings of love and hate, memories of those feelings, learned reactions and reflex actions, such as pulling your hand away from hot tap water.
Our thinking, feeling machine finally evolved from the two previous brains into the amazingly complex, human, rational, sapient brain, which can do many things that its predecessors could not: it can think rationally, reason, speak and buy
Such tasks as designing a bus shelter, cooking from a recipe book or watching an apple fall from a tree then working out the theory of gravity, are more complex than breathing or pulling your hand away from a hot tap. Complex tasks take the sapient brain longer; they are slower to process than simply hating spinach: you need time to think.
When we sense danger – when we are afraid – humans need to react quickly, using the reflex, animal part of our brain, which learned long ago, from previous experience, to fight, flee or freeze like a rabbit in the headlights, and hope that the sabre-toothed tiger won’t notice it. If our animal ancestor had stopped for a few minutes, to think rationally about such a situation, it might have been breakfast.
When we are afraid to some degree – when we feel anxious because we dread an exam, or fear flying at 50,000 feet, or suddenly spot the stranger’s knife – there is increased activity in the limbic system, which releases an adrenalin surge; this can produce a sinking-stomach feeling, make you feel a bit sick.
Then, in a blink, we think reactively, not logically: hence the military phrase, ’Shoot first, think later.’ We obey our built-in memory of previous events, our animal instinct to fight, freeze or get the hell out of there. Our ability to think rationally and process numbers shuts down: the limbic system predominates – and prepares our body to face danger, real or imagined.
Evolution may have hard-wired us to fear snakes and tigers but Maths Anxiety is a learned response: there is nothing intrinsically threatening about maths – but your personal experiences of maths can make you feel it is threatening.
“With increased activity in the fear area of our brain, our ability to process numbers virtually shuts down,” says Californian teacher Robert Ahdoot, “This reaction was part of the evolutionary process. Fear ranges from mild apprehension to mind-freeze… When our minds are scared, we can’t do maths.”
An adult contestant in a game show might be struck dumb by brain freeze. An anxious child who suddenly feels sick, might – consciously or unconsciously – be trying to avoid a maths lesson.
Both children and adults who have Maths Anxiety are often above-average intelligent, so they can find ingenious ways of avoiding a maths situation. It was probably one such student who first claimed, “The dog ate my homework.”
INSPIRE A GIRL!
Show a girl Ambition, a three-minute film that will help her to better understand why maths is important right now and throughout their lives.
Watch a Maths Action workshop which demonstrates how attitudes to maths can be improved in school.
Watch Question Time at Langley Park School for Girls, a 57-minute film which includes inspiring and thought-provoking discussions about the role of maths in schools and beyond the school gates, and the relevance of maths to school children.
Understand why many girls have a fear of maths
Hear a discussion among girls who will NOT continue to study maths after GCSE:
Hear a discussion among girls who ARE to continue to study maths after GCSE:
Find out what we have achieved.
Find out more about The Fear Factor
“FEAR: A feeling of apprehension, concern, alarm, distress, anxiety, to be afraid, dread.” Collins Dictionary
Read the insights in this report: The Fear Factor tracks why girls do not continue to study maths after GCSE level, and consequently fail to pursue careers in maths related areas.
Link to Your Daughter’s Future a guide for parents to support their daughters as they make important decisions about their
IF YOU HAVE A GIRL
Know what you want to do when you finish your studies?
Have a look at the National Careers website which lists over 800 hundred types of job, tells you what they pay you and what qualifications you need.
Each job listed explains:
– The skills and qualifications needed to get that job.
– What working in that job would be like.
– The pay you could expect.
– What the career possibilities are.
Whatever you decide to do, whoever you want to be, you will need your maths skills.
WARNING! From time to time, this website is unavailable because it is being updated. If this is the case, you might try telephoning 0800 100 900 for information.
Take a look at one example: a career as a VET.
Mothers need to tell their daughters that they can’t just sit through maths lessons, then forget about it. The first day they leave school is the first day they’ll need maths.
For any teenage daughter who doesn’t like maths and has an iPad, you can download Shirley Conran’s FREE do-it-by-yourself
Find out more and get your free copy at moneystuff.com