Monday, October 15, 2007

Problem with maths - maths teachers

I suggested in my last post that algebra does more harm than good in teaching maths but there's another factor at work - maths teachers.

1. Maths needs to be enlivened by better than average teaching.
2. Maths teachers tend to be weak on social and communications skills.
3. Good mathematicians tend to do things other than teaching.

'Maths is boring' is the usual summation by kids at school. It's also the experience of most of us who went to school.

Maths graduates and specialists tend not to be great communicators, and if a subject that is admittedly as dry as maths is to be taught well should we consider using people who are high on communications skills and moderate on maths.

On top of this the subject can be enlivened by the use of good e-learning. Look at the success of Nintendo's Brain training - mostly simple arithmetic. people actually pay £100 for a console then £20 upwards for this simple piece of software that related maths to your life (brain age) - and its fun. The MyMaths site and Bitesize are also pretty good, better than much teaching I'm sure. Yet how much of this stuff is even known by teachers, never mind used.

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