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Trouble with numbers

I’ve just finished watching ITV Tonight’s episode from this evening entitled “Trouble with numbers”. The show was highlighting the problem we have in this country with maths ability in Adults. I found it pretty interesting, and if you missed it I would certainly suggest catching up on it.

There were a number of things highlighted in the program that we maths teachers already know, but are major issues. Firstly, the fact that the culture in this country finds it perfectly allowable for adults to say “I can’t do maths.” This is a real issue, and last year a number of my year 11s were told this by the head of English, which led them to question the necessity of maths as you could be a head of English while being rubbish at it.

The second point was the fact that learning happens with mistakes. This seems obvious to me, and I have long worked to build a culture in my classroom that it’s fine to be wrong, as that’s how you learn. But the show suggests that this is not the case in the majority of UK classrooms, which is a shame.

There were some excellent examples of initiatives being run by various institutions to help improve adult numeracy, and I was pleased to see that they are effective. I was made up to see that the driver for one bloke was that he wanted to be able to help his daughter with her homework.

I was also pleased at the take up shown in the school that offered classes to parents. While writing my last masters assignment I looked into the effectiveness of this and it’s something I would like to run in the future.

All in all, it was an enjoyable show, although I would have liked it to be longer. And I was slightly annoyed that when they were revealing the scores of the kids vs parents exam they referred to the “average” score, rather than the “mean” score.

I’ll leave you with the worrying fact imparted by Jo Boaler on the program: Girls maths performance drops instantly if their mum tells them she was never any good at maths.

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  1. Henry Emoni
    October 31, 2014 at 8:56 am

    Good programme and a good read too. I cringed when the presenter referred to doing exercises as doing Sums.

  2. October 31, 2014 at 12:00 pm

    Reblogged this on The Echo Chamber.

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