Governments, Parents and Maths Teachers That Make No Sense

Learning maths nonsense

Some things just make no sense,

Especially in the world of maths education.

Actually, the more I listen to parents, teachers and government on the issues that affect children’s maths learning, the more “don’t make sense” ideas I hear

Things that make no sense

Teachers complaining when parents teach their kids

Teachers complaining when parents don’t teach thir kids

Teachers complaining that Salman Khan has like 4 mistakes in every 500 videos

Government complaining that teachers who don’t have good maths qualifications can’t teach maths well

Parents complaining that their child doesn’t know their times tables, but won’t spend time practising them

Parents complaining that their kids spend too much time in front of a computer but won’t try out online maths programs

People who complain their kids watch too much TV but won’t switch on a science show themselves

Government complaining that school leavers lack maths skills but won’t pay anywhere near enough money to maths teachers

Paying a maths tutor to do help with your child’s maths homework

Paying a maths tutor, but not being willing to spend 10 minutes going over your child’s maths homework

There are probably more things to add to the list,

But that would be a waste of time,

Which would also make no sense.

What makes sense?

What does make sense is parents letting their kids spend a little bit of time each week going over something mathsy, watch a science Ted Talk, listen to a maths podcast, throw out some mental maths questions.

What maths things make sense to you?

The 31 Days to Faster Times Tables program has worksheets, audio and practical activities that DO make a lot of sense. Head on over to www.fastertimestables.com to find out more.

About The Author:Caroline Mukisa is the founder of Maths Insider. A Cambridge University educated math teacher, she's been involved in math education for over 20 years as a teacher, tutor, Kumon instructor, Thinkster Math instructor and math ed blogger. She is the author of the insanely helpful ebook "The Ultimate Kumon Review" and insanely useful website "31 Days to Faster Times Tables" You can follow her math tips on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @mathsinsider

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

6 thoughts on “Governments, Parents and Maths Teachers That Make No Sense”

There are basically two types of preferred learning styles: Auditory Sequential and Visual Spatial. Most teachers prefer A/S and teach that way with language and step by step. All students learn better when material is presented in various ways, and strongly V/S students need pictures and 3-d models. I have worked with many students who struggled with math and found that all of them can learn when I draw pictures or use hands-on materials. One 7th grader who couldn’t tell me whether an eighth was larger or smaller than a third. I drew two ‘pizzas’ and divided one into 8ths and the other into 3rds and asked her “if you could have only one slice of pizza and you were really hungry, which pizza would you rather take it from?” and she had no problem deciding. When the regular math teacher started using pictures and hands-on materials, more students learned fractions and decimals well and only a handful of students still needed my help.
Use hands-on materials throughout math instruction, even for Algebra, and watch more students learn!

While I agree with most of your points I do have to wonder why “math” is plural throughout the post.

It’s a Brit thing! Glad you agreed with the rest though!

Well that explains it, thanks, and apologies if I came off as a crass American. For all I knew “maths” could have been some new professional term currently in vogue.

Caroline, this post is so witty and true! I really appreciate the contribution your blog and your guides are making, helping parents understand the process of learning math better. Thank you for shining your light and sharing what makes sense and not letting the nonsense get you down!

I’m not a maths teacher but have taught maths successfully to the various students I tutor. Every parent can do the same, and it’s right to get people to question their own attitudes before they blame the child, teachers and government.

There are basically two types of preferred learning styles: Auditory Sequential and Visual Spatial. Most teachers prefer A/S and teach that way with language and step by step. All students learn better when material is presented in various ways, and strongly V/S students need pictures and 3-d models. I have worked with many students who struggled with math and found that all of them can learn when I draw pictures or use hands-on materials. One 7th grader who couldn’t tell me whether an eighth was larger or smaller than a third. I drew two ‘pizzas’ and divided one into 8ths and the other into 3rds and asked her “if you could have only one slice of pizza and you were really hungry, which pizza would you rather take it from?” and she had no problem deciding. When the regular math teacher started using pictures and hands-on materials, more students learned fractions and decimals well and only a handful of students still needed my help.

Use hands-on materials throughout math instruction, even for Algebra, and watch more students learn!

While I agree with most of your points I do have to wonder why “math” is plural throughout the post.

It’s a Brit thing! Glad you agreed with the rest though!

Well that explains it, thanks, and apologies if I came off as a crass American. For all I knew “maths” could have been some new professional term currently in vogue.

Caroline, this post is so witty and true! I really appreciate the contribution your blog and your guides are making, helping parents understand the process of learning math better. Thank you for shining your light and sharing what makes sense and not letting the nonsense get you down!

I’m not a maths teacher but have taught maths successfully to the various students I tutor. Every parent can do the same, and it’s right to get people to question their own attitudes before they blame the child, teachers and government.