Mathematics embraces a wide range of inter-related activities. It is concerned with the organisation, manipulation and communication of information according to well-defined rules and processes. Everyone will appreciate that these include an understanding of number and measurement and their use in many walks of life.
Why do we teach Mathematics?
1. It is an enjoyable intellectual activity
Mathematics can be a stimulating, challenging and enjoyable experience. It gives pupils the opportunity to “get the right answer” and such mastery of a subject results in enjoyment. If this reason for studying Mathematics is to be fulfilled, then the “can’t do” attitude to Mathematics must be challenged.
2. It makes a major contribution to other subjects
Work in many other subjects involves mathematical activities. Such activities include: number and algebra (science), measures (science and home economics), geometry (home economics, art and design, technology and geography) and statistics (geography, biology and history). If pupils can see why certain aspects of Mathematics should be learnt this will provide motivation and encouragement.
3. Its use in everyday life
A facility in Mathematics is necessary in managing budgets, DIY tasks, understanding statistical and graphical data and many other aspects of life in the home or in adulthood.
4. It can contribute significantly to the development of pupils’ general skills and qualities such as communication, reasoning, problem solving, perseverance and creativity. It is a vehicle for development of general “skills” and personal qualities.
How do we believe Mathematics should be taught?
The teaching/learning of Mathematics throughout the school should facilitate opportunities for:
• teacher exposition
• consolidation and practice of fundamental skills
• teacher/pupil and pupil/pupil discussions
• practical work
• investigation work
• development of mental fluency
• confidence in the use of current technology
• an enjoyment from doing Mathematics
• a sense of self-esteem
• all children to think clearly, creatively and critically
• pupils to work co-operatively and independently
• pupils to be tolerant of the opinions of their peers
• the development of the self-discipline to work at an appropriate task, in some depth, over a period of time
• pupils to communicate clearly their thinking
• an appreciation of the place of Mathematics in society including historical and cultural influences
• an appreciation of the interdependence of the different branches of Mathematics
• an awareness of the contribution Mathematics makes to other subjects
• Pupils’ confidence in their Mathematical abilities
• A positive attitude towards Mathematics
• The knowledge
• Skills and understanding needed to apply a range of mathematical concepts to situations which may arise in their lives
• An appreciation of patterns and relations in Mathematics
• Confidence in computation by mental, pencil and paper and calculator methods
• Skills associated with the investigation of Mathematical ideas such as testing and proving their own hypothesis
• A firm foundation for appropriate further study