Have a look at this interesting research from Australia, investigating what makes children switch on and off to maths:
This study followed on from previous research following 273 students over the course of their first year in middle school, where findings showed that children became disengaged and saw maths as less valuable during the year, and was published in the Journal of Educational Psychology.
This seems very relevant to us in Highland, where most of us have had some experience of seeing children switching off to maths as they move through school, and even on a national level come across negative attitudes to maths so often! Have a look at the National Numeracy site for lots of interesting research on this:
Findings showed that these factors were predictors of how children engaged with maths:
- “Challenges that were well-matched to the child’s skill level, with clear goals and unambiguous feedback.
- Self-efficacy: students’ sense that they are competent and able enough to solve mathematical problems. To foster and encourage this in kids, Martin recommends that teachers and parents “restructure learning so as to maximize opportunities for success” by building on skills that students have already mastered, for example, and helping kids set challenging but realistic goals.
- The value they attach to the subject. Parents and teachers can foster the sense that math is an important and relevant body of knowledge by demonstrating the usefulness of math in the real world, and by making themselves positive role models for valuing math. In fact, parents’ own interest in math is another important component Martin and his coauthors identified.
- Students’ own love math was a strong predictor of their engagement with the subject. Parents and teachers can foster the enjoyment by creating what psychologists call good conditions for “flow”: a challenge that’s well-matched to the child’s skill level, with clear goals and unambiguous feedback.”
Have a look at all the resources on the blog to ensure we address these factors – Diagnostic Assessments to work from where children are, and build on their existing skills, the Parents page to encourage positive attitudes to maths and help children see the relevance of numeracy in their daily life, and of course previous posts showing how teachers are fostering growth mindsets and a love of maths!
Just a couple of examples here:
Please send your comments or email if you would like to share examples of promoting a love of maths within your setting!