Helpful advice to have at hand;Secondary;Maths Year 2000;Books

1st October 1999 at 01:00
LEARNING TO TEACH MATHEMATICS IN THE SECONDARY SCHOOL. By Sue and Peter Johnston-Wilder. Falmer Press pound;15.99.

This book will be particularly useful to schools which are beginning, with the encouragement of the Teacher Training Agency, to provide all the training for teachers. But students in any institution will value it throughout their careers, and there are sufficient tasks and suggested further reading to engage even the most conscientious teacher for several years.

Directly addressing the student teacher, the authors deal with how pupils learn, different teaching approaches, planning, assessment, use of information and communication technology and special educational needs. Each chapter begins with a set of objectives and consists of clearly explained and easy-to-read advice and information about relevant research. The text is interspersed with activities which student teachers might undertake during their school placements. Each chapter ends with a short, annotated reading list.

A book described as a companion to school experience is, of course, intended to be complementary to the advice student teachers will get from the teachers with whom they will be working, and so the voice of the classroom teacher is heard only occasionally in this book. Instead, this book helps student teachers to stand back from the day-to-day routine of the classroom and to reflect on the what, why and how of their teaching.

With the increasing pace of innovation, maths education has already changed since this book was written, even though the authors are well-informed experts in their own fields. But the big ideas will not change and I recommend this book highly to student teachers and their mentors, as a thoughtful, well-written, scholarly account of what it takes to be a secondary mathematics teacher.

Barbara Ball is the co-ordinator for initial teacher training at Longslade Community College, Leicestershire

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