Session 217: Engaging Reluctant Mathematicians

MathsSession217FeatureFollowing a poll, this #ukedchat session explored strategies to help engage reluctant mathematicians. As usual, six questions were released by the hosts @mistercollard & @Wookie666

  1. Who are reluctant mathematicians?
  2. What is the format of a maths lesson? & How do you organise the children?
  3. How do you give maths a purpose?
  4. How do you integrate technology?
  5. How do use the outdoor environment?
  6. What interventions are used to support and monitor children?


The discussion started by looking at who were these reluctant mathematicians. @eylanezekiel identified that many teachers are reluctant because they may not have enough confidence in the subject. Many contributors also noted that reluctance was also down to bad experiences and the pressure of testing. @JamesDavid22 added that parents own experiences create negative attitudes to maths.

The discussion then continued with this theme as various ideas for parent and child maths sessions at school were discussed. The importance of a clear and shared maths calculation policy also seemed a key feature of successful events.

The chat then moved onto the format of maths lessons and grouping of children. There was a lot of support for relevant oral/mental starters and the importance of mental maths skills. In terms of organisation, there was a clear divide; some schools group children according to ability, especially in secondary, whilst others use mixed ability groups and solve problems in a collaborative fashion. @Maths4ukplc also mentioned the importance of creating an environment that isn’t afraid to fail. The idea that maths not being seen as a creative subject compared to literacy was also discussed with the importance of keeping maths simple and not contrived highlighted.

The next part of the discussion looked at making maths relevant to learners, particularly those that didn’t see the relevance of maths to them. Real life learning experiences were essential in cementing the key maths skills needed in life. We then moved to sharing technology ideas with lots of great apps and websites mentioned, as well as some good blogs to inspire teachers. Outdoor learning ideas were then shared as we thought about making maths relevant and using the world around us.

Finally, we looked at interventions in place. Many teachers used ‘off the shelf’ intervention programmes and others had well trained and competent TAs who taught groups effectively. However, effective high quality teaching was seen as more important than interventions. Overall, the discussion shared some great resources, ideas and really examined the systems that are in place for maths across the country. Thank you to all who contributed.

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About UKEdChat Editorial 3188 Articles
The Editorial Account of UKEdChat, managed by editor-in-chief Colin Hill, with support from Martin Burrett from the UKEd Magazine. Pedagogy, Resources, Community.

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