Get them used to having a go

14th September 2007 at 01:00

Nurturing and boosting your AS groups now is the way to maintain their interest in maths in the future, as Clare Parsons explains

So, there you are, in front of your class of new AS pupils, and some seem to be struggling. In spite of a good grade at GCSE, everyone else seems to be coping better than they are. How do you stop them losing heart?

Nurture and boost their confidence. They may look cool and grown up, but they are still GCSE pupils. Many think that maths is a set of techniques and recipes to regurgitate in an exam. Thinking, experimenting, getting things wrong, are new. Get them used to having a go, making mistakes and discussing them.

Shake things up. Get everyone working together. Most AS lessons now include activity: rotate groups, allocate pairs, get them working co-operatively. Get everyone involved, and doing more maths outside the classroom.

Roll out problem-solving competitions (the Mathematical Association's Problem Pages 14-19 weekly prize puzzle), recruit for trips out (Maths Inspiration lectures), tell them about the UK Mathematics Trust's Senior Maths Challenge, kick-start a self-coaching group.

With TLC, not too many should vote with their feet. But if the message gets out that maths is OK, you may have to assimilate extra peopl *

Clare Parsons is head of maths at Sir George Monoux College in east London

Problem Pages 14-19, pound;9.99, the Mathematical Association: www.m

Nationwide maths lectures: For UKMT Senior Maths Challenge details:

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today