From the editor
We hope that you will find time to browse through this issue of the Secondary Magazine.
Time is always an issue in mathematics education. How often do you hear, read, or yourself use, phrases such as ‘ran out of time’, ‘not enough time to…’, ‘the time given to…’, ‘too time-consuming’, ‘investing time in…’, ‘the time it takes to …’, and so on…in connection with teaching and learning mathematics?
Quotations about ways in which time impacts on and influences our lives abound in history, science and literature.
For example John F. Kennedy advised:
We must use time as a tool, not as a crutch.
Leonardo da Vinci is supposed to have said:
Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.
And Albert Einstein observed:
The only reason for time is so that everything doesn't happen at once!
Here are some more.
In his interview in this issue, Dave Hewitt writes:
I have always been interested in the idea of economic use of personal time and effort, both for a learner of mathematics and for a teacher of mathematics; the idea of trying to get a lot from a little. This interest has manifested itself in many areas.
A section about Exposing errors and misconceptions in Improving learning in mathematics: challenges and strategies includes the statement:
Sessions should include time for whole group discussion in which new ideas and concepts are allowed to emerge. This requires sensitivity so that learners are encouraged to share tentative ideas in a non-threatening environment.
A report on the interesting Improving Attainment in Mathematics Project (IAMP), carried out by Anne Watson, Els De Geest and Stephanie Prestage, includes a section with the title Giving time to think and learn. It includes the information that:
rather than rushing through topics, the teachers gave extended time for learning, and often discussed this with students explicitly. They believed that it takes time to reach a learning goal, or make a new connection, although the learning which is going on en route may be dense and busy. Discussion takes time, and students would benefit from being aware of the use of time to explore, mull, think again, to ponder and so on.
They describe how:
teachers gradually shifted learners’ perceptions of how to pace their working. One teacher put no time limits on any task, and explained this to students: ‘sometimes you need more time to think’.
In Clock-time and personal-time in this issue, a teacher shares some thoughts about some effective ways of working that he has found take very little time.
Will you have the time to try some of the activities described in this issue – which you will find in Focus on…, An idea for the classroom, and in the Subject Leadership Diary.