The new curriculum is very exciting, it is brilliant in its design and purpose, and it meets the international standards for teaching Mathematics, Science and Technology; yet so many of our teachers and learners are not at all familiar with even the basics of the curriculum. It also seems that our teachers do not know their own power, and especially the power of their subjects, Mathematics, Science and Technology. Teachers cannot fix the poverty of their learners, but they can fix their education. Time and again I marvel at masses of research reports by so many of my learned colleagues, phenomenal international research conducted on how children learn and how children fail, inspiring strategy documents coming from the Department of Education, and then I get stuck at one place, the classroom. Disempowering, criminal inequalities exist in the provision of Mathematics, Science and Technology education among children from disadvantaged communities. Yes, I am well versed in the “historical legacy”.
I just want to appeal to every teacher of Mathematics and Science to be their own person and take responsibility for their classrooms. Each teacher’s aim should be to create an inspiring and magical classroom in 2011. Well-established classroom routines providing minimal disruption to tasks and teaching with sufficient furniture for comfortable seating will be a good starting point. You might ask where the furniture would come from. Phone me. Let us make a plan together.
No, it is not easy, BUT it is doable if you are prepared to put in just a little extra effort. A little daily cleaning, updating displays, painting old cupboards, some new resources and learning materials such as exercise books and maths sets will go a long way to create classrooms conducive to learning. Demand and secure those all-important textbooks and effective, efficient and appropriate resources for learning Mathematics, Science and Technology. This is one of the Department of Education’s 27 goals. If you have not seen them, phone me.
There are FOUR crucial bits of organisation that you must do on a daily basis:
- Organise your teaching content into a great lesson plan that clearly aims to achieve what you have planned, using those all-important SMART objectives philosophy.
- Organise your learners who must take responsibility for sorting and handing out resources, textbooks, collecting exercise books, taking turns to ensure cleanliness, etc. In 2011, you must teach and make sure that every learner is learning every minute of every lesson. I would like you to teach and not demonstrate or supervise only. There should be no wastage of time at the beginning or end of a lesson. The teaching pace must be brisk and sharply focused throughout the lesson, engaging learners.
- Organise your own skills set properly and confidently. Teachers have poor capability in the basic skills required for problem solving in Mathematics and Science – narrating, explaining, describing, synthesising, hypothesising, analysing, comparing, questioning, using calculators and verbalising definitions and explanations, for example of spatial concepts. Instead of learners stealing your teaching time to play with their cellphones, you can use cellphones for teaching and learning. It will create a fantastic learning dialogue in your classroom.
- At your school as an organisation, have regular and structured staff meetings to plan for the management of teaching, learning and the assessment of the MST curriculum as a key priority. Staff members must possess the required knowledge base, concerning themselves with standards of achievement and making systematic efforts to establish learning behaviour patterns. Differentiated learning that develops rigour and intellectual stimulus should be used to set targets for each term and monitor their achievement.
Maths Centre can supply all the materials that you need. We have connections with great suppliers and world-class material developers. We have looked at the ethos of Mathematics and Science education globally and we have decided never to give learners anything that is second-hand and cheap and cheerful. We rather create materials of excellent quality that engage learners in a range of different experiences. Maths Centre support will give you in-depth coverage of all the dimensions of the curriculum so that you begin to move towards unparalleled competence and confidence.
Our textbooks, resource kits, ICT support, charts, posters and pocket books are all designed to assist and support teaching and learning in your classroom. Our staff members in all the provinces are there to assist you, an email and a phone call away. Research reports from all over the world have been studied to choose some of the very best ideas to get you thinking. These are listed on the website. Contact us. We all need to engage in an intense critical debate to get our learners learning and our teachers teaching.