From the editor
Welcome to this issue of the Secondary Magazine. We are delighted to have an interview with Professor Margaret Brown who, during the last 30 years or so, has greatly influenced national policy in mathematics education. Her work has resulted in much better understanding of many aspects of mathematics teaching and learning, impacting significantly on the curriculum and assessment, and on the development of teaching materials.
The National Centre online communities, forums and blogs provide opportunities for much discussion about the curriculum, assessment and teaching materials. The Secondary Forum is a good place to start communicating with each other for help, commenting or just sharing information. And many of the funded projects, research projects and regional networks of teachers are supported by dedicated communities, which may, or may not, be open to everyone. In this issue the Discussion about multiplication was inspired by several discussions in the online forums.
As usual we also have some ideas for the classroom that may help you develop your own teaching materials. Focus on change ringing might be a starting point for designing activities that link mathematics to other curriculum areas, and An idea for the classroom – ‘the same’ and ‘different’, suggests a kind of activity that can be used to encourage learning about any mathematical topic. Both 5 things to do and the Subject leadership diary contain links that may lead you to a variety of ideas for interesting activities.
At an inspirational meeting in July, Teaching mathematics for understanding, Professor Margaret Brown gave the keynote speech. Looking back over 30 years of changes in mathematics education, beginning with Cockcroft in 1982 and moving through to the new National Curriculum at Key Stages 3 and 4 in 2008 and the removal of Key Stage 3 Tests in 2009, Professor Brown reminded those present that “teachers find it difficult to change their practice, especially after teaching prescription and with high stakes tests – it needs time, talk, expertise and motivation”.
Professor Brown urged mathematics educators to:
- forget grand schemes of national change – local innovations have at least as great an effect
- focus on releasing the creativity of teachers and others
- focus on what produces an effect on standards – connected teaching for understanding.