Sam thinks it is unacceptable that some staff refuse to take on whole school initiatives. Unfortunately, when Sam began the program only 55% of staff followed the agreed upon lesson structure in mathematics, 21% followed ‘some’ parts and 18% did not follow it at all. Sam thinks that professional knowledge and confidence of teachers in teaching mathematics needs to be improved and he believes in a school where all staff are ready and willing to embrace change.
The key to Sam’s initiative was to build staff capacity in mathematics through professional learning to build school wide initiatives that everyone was involved in.
Sam started by surveying teachers’ understanding of the school’s current agreement. This was analysed and shared with the leadership team and a focus on mental routines was identified. These were trialled in term 1, and then in term 2 professional development sessions on mental routines were carried out during staff meetings, a whole day PD was conducted by Ann Bater, teachers trialled implementing the strategies they were learning about, and teachers observed each other to provide feedback.
Sam’s initiative has already positively impacted many students: 89% of students report enjoying mental routines and 88% report feeling challenged. Furthermore, after the professional development day 95% of staff are attempting to implement the new teaching strategies, and 83% of staff report feeling confident in stretching and challenging students through questioning.
“A year 2 teacher who has taught for over 30 years has never had confidence in teaching mathematics. Initially this teacher was resistant to the change process. Her whole perspective of teaching maths has now changed within a term! Her enjoyment and confidence was amazing to watch. She presented what she was doing in the classroom at a staff meeting and shared with the rest of the staff that if she can get on board then anyone can.”
Like the idea?
Sam would love your support for Mental Maths, or for you to start a similar program in your school, and he’d love to hear about any ideas you have or lend a hand where he can. Shoot an email to email@example.com if you want to get in touch with Sam and we can connect you. Feel free to cheer him on in the comments below as well.
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