KS3 strategy

21st September 2001 at 01:00
Teaching the National Numeracy Strategy at Key Stage 3: A Practical Guide. By Pat Perks and Stephanie Prestage. David Fulton pound;16.

The key stage 3 mathematics strategy encourages schools to review the quality of their planning and teaching.

Many teachers who have attended KS3 training are beginning to try out the teaching approaches promoted through the strategy and maths departments are comparing their practice against the Framework. Some will adopt the sample plans wholesale, but most will adapt their existing schemes over time. This book supports teachers and departments during the period of change.

The authors' advice is guided by their vision of how maths should be taught. They remind teachers of the importance of "connectionist" teaching in the section on teaching programmes and they explore intelligently the concept of "good direct teaching". They feel that Ma1 is underplayed within the Framework, so they show how to tweak questions from the Supplement of Examples to achieve a stronger emphasis on problem-solving and thinking skills.

In other chapters, the authors analyse changes in content, advise on lesson starters and plenaries, and show how the Supplement of Examples can support planning.

They welcome the stronger emphasis on ICT in the Framework and offer several valuable practical suggestions. Readers are encouraged to question and challenge the Framework.

Sometimes though, the authors go too far: for example, their interpretation of the Framework as defining an "undifferentiated teaching programme for each year" is questionable.

Although terminology such as "Framework for Year 7" is certainly unfortunate and misleading, the Framework does advise teachers to use the programmes for other Years to plan work for able and weaker pupils. However, this is a minor quibble, and the book is well worth a look.

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