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Core Maths – reflections so far

October 15, 2018

I’ve been teaching Core Maths for 6 weeks now and I think it’s about time for some reflections. A lot of this focuses on things that I’d like to improve/modify for next year but it’s worth pointing out that plenty has gone well!

If you have any suggestions, hints, tips or solutions, please leave a comment.

Estimation

This was a great choice to start with. It’s punchy, attention grabbing and ‘different’ to GCSE maths. It feels like it’s relevant to do and there are easy links both to real life but also to more generic ‘good skills to develop’. A lot of my students have really enjoyed the liberation of not having to focus on the right answer.

Students starting late

Due to the nature of post 16 courses, there were quite a few students who missed some of the first lessons. I need to think of a ‘catch up’ system that doesn’t take up too much of my time. This is also true for students that miss a lesson.

Homework

This has broadly gone well (they were expecting to get homework) but I’d underestimated the length of time it’d take to mark them. I’ll probably stick with it next year and see if just being more aware of the marking time helps.

Resources

There just aren’t that many out there (mine are here and updating as I go). I’m trying really hard to make mine good quality and therefore reusable so it is taking a long time per lesson.

Twitter

Having said that, there is a strong group of teachers that are very good at sharing and giving advice on twitter. If you’re not already on there, I’d really recommend it just for this! The hashtag #CoreMaths is well worth a look every now and again.

Correlation/regression

This was the first topic that really lost some of the students, particularly those with lower grades at GCSE. Unsurprisingly, their straight line graph work wasn’t secure and the complicated nature of the regression lines was a bit much. I also think that the correlation topic was a bit complex and I need to consider how to deliver this better (maybe just more slowly) next time.

Calculators

They don’t all have them. I want them to have the Casio fx991-Class Wiz but they’re up to £30 each! There’s the possibility of us doing a loan scheme but I do think the lack of calculators in general did not help with correlation and regression. There was, unfortunately, a correlation with those that did less well at GCSE tending to be the ones that did not have calculators.

AMSP

The Advanced Maths Support Programme is fantastic. They are busy on twitter and working hard behind the scenes to support maths teachers in delivering this course. They are running some CPD sessions soon and, in a pretty much unprecedented turn of events for CPD, they asked what sort of things we’d want to be included and then have actually made a course focussing on those things. What more could you want? If you’re not registered to get their emails, do it now!

So, in summary, obviously a mixed bag with this new course but lots of positives and some things to work on for next year.

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