17th September 2010 at 01:00

Trainee teachers weak in maths

Posted by ScotSEN

Somewhat horrified to read this article in TESS, especially the comment from one student that if she was unsure of what to do, she would ask a classroom assistant - "the beauty of classroom assistants is that most of the ones I've worked with have been older than me, so I can just say to them `How do you do this?'"

I hope this is not a widespread attitude. Teaching numeracy and maths is one of the fundamental parts of our job, so surely all teachers should be examined to ensure that they are proficient.

It's over 30 years since I did my BEd, but I seem to remember we were only allowed one attempt at any methods exams and any failure meant we were out of the course. Maybe this system should be reinstated.

Posted by friedebe

Asking a classroom assistant isn't the appropriate way to remind yourself of how to teach something - that's not their job.

I liked how the article acknowledged that it's really the basic maths-on- paper stuff we need to improve, rather than requiring ever-higher qualifications at levels that are never taught in primary.

I appreciate there isn't much time to re-teach teachers maths during a training course, and I like the idea of providing a test that will remind them of what they need to know. You could have been quite good at maths in high school, but it's years since you had to do it without a calculator. That doesn't make you so incompetent that you shouldn't be a teacher.

The article does flag up that we need reminders, and maybe even sometimes to relearn.

Posted by carol75

There is one big question screaming in my head. When writing the plan for the day, why the hell don't these people think "I'm not sure how to do this. I'd better find out before I stand up in front of the children"?

Posted by bigjimmy

Isn't it an utter disgrace that any teacher has problems with school-level maths?! Occasionally, we get younger people on here, stating that older teachers can't or won't be able to cope with CfE, active learning etc, while forgetting that auldies have experience and have handled major educational changes throughout their careers. And some of these younger teachers can't even count - incredible!, then go to Forums and click on Opinion.

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