Follow this link for the Interim Report of the Making Maths Count group:
They have identified negative attitudes to maths as a particular concern nationally, with a clear need to address the issue of maths anxiety:
“The OECD recommended that this issue of “maths anxiety” in Scotland warrants close attention.
Tackling “Maths Anxiety”
National Numeracy has suggested to our Group the following approaches to changing negative attitudes to maths:
Promoting the value and benefits of maths including providing a clear set of reasons why maths skills will help people in their daily lives.
Strengthening people’s belief in their ability to improve their maths skills. Carol Dweck’s work on the “growth mind-set” provides a useful means of achieving this aim. Developing a growth mind-set means encouraging people to believe that their abilities are not fixed and they can improve their skills through effort and dedication. This involves setting challenging but achievable goals and understanding where to obtain support when necessary. It also involves learning from mistakes and using this experience to embrace new challenges.”
Have a look at this previous post on Growth Mindsets for more information:
They also identify the vital role that teachers play in developing children’s attitudes to maths:
“Research undertaken in the USA in relation to elementary school (the equivalent of primary school) recommended more career-long professional learning in maths to increase teacher confidence and promote more positive attitudes. The research also recommended that teachers should:
recognise different learning styles
design positive experiences in maths activities
refrain from linking self-esteem to success in maths
emphasise that everyone can make mistakes in maths
make maths activities relevant, particularly linking to real life situations
emphasise the importance of quality thinking rather than rote manipulation of formulas (for example, focus on the process of undertaking a maths problem not just the result)
engage with learners about their anxiety to alleviate their fears and concerns.
These findings are reflected in the other evidence that we have gathered and can be linked to the need to develop a “growth mind-set” approach to maths as described in a previous section of our report.”
All very relevant to the training and development currently taking place in our schools in Highland! It would be great to hear your thoughts on this report – either by comments or email.