A trimmed curriculum bodes well for maths

21st March 2008 at 00:00
Reading last week's front page report on disenchantment with A Curriculum for Excellence, I agree a number of teachers are less than convinced about the development. Some are negative about organised events they have attended which were designed to bring them up to date with official thinking.

This is hardly surprising, given that the new curriculum requires a shift in the "how" of teaching rather than being simply a definition of the "what", exacerbated by the uncertainty over the assessment of it all.

The move from specific 5-14 outcomes to more open-ended descriptions, coupled with encouragements such as "I can apply this to solve problems in everyday life" or "I can work collaboratively and discuss ... ", will require a greater degree of interactive teaching than is currently the norm.

I believe, however, that the 5-14 curriculum will be trimmed, which will help more youngsters get to grips sooner with their reading and numeracy.

I am, in fact, hopeful about A Curriculum for Excellence, especially for maths - the favourite subject of most kids (until we lose them when they lack fluency in their tables, find division hard and fractions even harder).

There is much potential for improvement here, especially if the numeracy skills can be picked up through enhancing mental agility, which just happens to be an excellent context for interactive teaching.

I believe maths teachers, both primary and secondary, are uniquely placed to help lead these developments.

Tom Renwick, www.mathsontrack.com.

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