Attitudes to Mathematics
There are some deep cultural issues associated with largely negative or at least unhelpful attitudes to STEM subjects in the UK. It has been generally felt that these attitudes need to be tackled at the level of national media and politics. Nevertheless, it is important to recognise that schools can make a significant difference to national cultural attitudes provided this is seen as a long-term and gradual process of changing hearts and minds.
This is a set of materials that came out of a range of suggested approaches for the Secondary National Strategy to improve the teaching and learning of STEM subjects. It consists of three Activity Packs aimed at three different audiences:.
This is designed for use with a school or college senior leadership team that has agreed to set aside half an hour or so to engage in an activity focusing on staff and students’ attitudes to Mathematics.
This is designed for use in the context of a whole staff event with a half an hour or so set aside for an activity focusing on staff and students’ attitudes to Mathematics.
This is designed for use in the context of a Mathematics team meeting or CPD event with a half an hour or so set aside for an activity focusing on staff and students’ attitudes to Mathematics.
These packs together with the resources on this microsite are designed to provide a set of tools that can be used to work flexibly with various groups of people to help them understand the nature of their attitudes to Mathematics. The site has been developed from research in this area and with the help of a number of secondary schools. It has also been tested with a focus group of teachers from a variety of teaching contexts. Teachers of Mathematics as well as teachers of other subjects have contributed to this work.
To be most effective the materials need to be used initially with a school’s senior leadership team. However, they are designed for use with a range of different audiences, including:
- school governors;
- groups of parents;
- mixed groups of teachers;
- specialist teachers of Mathematics.
The Personal Journey activity can also be used with pupils.
The desired outcomes of using these materials are:
- raised awareness of the complex nature of cultural and individual attitudes to Mathematics;
- understanding of how feelings about previous negative experiences with Mathematics need to be separated from evaluations of the subject itself;
- commitment to helping change attitudes to Mathematics informally or through a formal process such as a revision of the school’s policy for equality of opportunity.