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PD1: Getting started

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**Aims of the session This session is intended to help us to:**

reflect on our current assumptions, beliefs and teaching practices; consider the aims of the approaches in this resource; begin exploring ways in which our learners might become more actively engaged in their own learning.

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**Beliefs about learning and teaching**

Put the statements you all agree with into one pile. (Modify the statements if you wish.) Put the statements you all disagree with into a second pile. If you cannot reach agreement about a statement, then place it in a third pile, noting the reasons for your disagreements.

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**Statements to discuss Mathematics is best learned through practice.**

through discussion. Learners learn mathematics best when they work on their own. Learners learn mathematics best when they work collaboratively. Mathematics is a network of ideas. Mathematics is a hierarchical subject.

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Statements to discuss It is best to begin teaching mathematics with easy problems, working gradually up to harder ones, otherwise learners make mistakes and lose confidence. It is best to begin teaching mathematics with complex problems, or learners won't appreciate why mathematics is important. Mathematics is a creative subject. Learners learn best by creating their own questions and methods. Learners learn mathematics best by working through carefully constructed exercises. It is better to spend time on fewer questions and solve them in more than one way, even if this slows the session down. I always feel in a hurry when I teach mathematics. There is so much to cover in the time.

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Statements to discuss Learners are at such different levels of competence that I have to allow each one to work at their own pace. I try to teach the whole group at once and keep them at the same pace. I find out which parts of mathematics learners already understand and don't teach those parts. I start teaching mathematics from the beginning, assuming they know nothing. I try to avoid learners making mistakes when learning mathematics. I encourage my learners to make and discuss mistakes when learning mathematics.

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**Most common teaching methods**

Statements are rank ordered from most common to least common 1 = almost never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = half the time, 4= most of the time; 5 = almost always. Source: Swan (2005) Mean (n=120) Learners start with easy questions and work up to harder questions. 4.26 I tell learners which questions to tackle. 4.02 I teach the whole class at once. 3.90 I know exactly what maths the lesson will contain. 3.80 Learners learn through doing exercises. 3.67 I try to cover everything in a topic. 3.56 I avoid learners making mistakes by explaining things carefully first. 3.31 Learners work on their own, consulting a neighbour from time to time. 3.30 I teach each topic from the beginning, assuming they know nothing. 3.29 I tend to teach each topic separately. 3.19 Learners use only the methods I teach them. 3.18 I draw links between topics and move back and forth between topics. 3.03 I tend to follow the textbook or worksheets closely. 2.99

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**Least common teaching methods**

Statements are rank ordered from most common to least common 1 = almost never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = half the time, 4= most of the time; 5 = almost always. Source: Swan (2005) Mean (n=120) I only go through one method for doing each question. 2.95 I encourage learners to make and discuss mistakes. 2.63 Learners work collaboratively in pairs or small groups. 2.57 Learners learn through discussing their ideas. 2.53 I jump between topics as the need arises. 2.51 I find out which parts learners already understand and don’t teach those parts. 2.44 I teach each learner differently according to individual needs. 2.43 Learners compare different methods for doing questions. 2.24 I am surprised by the ideas that come up in a lesson. 2.08 I encourage learners to work more slowly. 2.03 Learners choose which questions they tackle. 1.98 Learners invent their own methods. 1.73

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**Most common learning strategies**

Statements are rank ordered from most common to least common 1 = almost never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = half the time, 4= most of the time; 5 = almost always. Source: Swan (2005) Mean (n=779) I listen while the teacher explains. 4.28 I copy down the method from the board or textbook. 4.15 I only do questions I am told to do. 3.88 I work on my own. 3.72 I try to follow all the steps of a lesson. 3.71 I do easy problems first to increase my confidence. 3.58 I copy out questions before doing them. 3.57 I practise the same method repeatedly on many questions. 3.42 I ask the teacher questions. 3.40 I try to solve difficult problems in order to test my ability. 3.32 When work is hard I don’t give up or do simple things.

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**Least common learning strategies**

Statements are rank ordered from most common to least common 1 = almost never, 2 = occasionally, 3 = half the time, 4= most of the time; 5 = almost always. Source: Swan (2005) Mean (n=779) I discuss my ideas in a group or with a partner. 3.25 I try to connect new ideas with things I already know. 3.20 I am silent when the teacher asks a question. 3.16 I memorise rules and properties. 3.15 I look for different ways of doing a question. 3.14 My partner asks me to explain something. 3.05 I explain while the teacher listens. 2.97 I choose which questions to do or which ideas to discuss. 2.54 I make up my own questions and methods. 2.03

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**Principles for effective teaching**

Build on the knowledge learners bring to sessions. Expose and discuss common misconceptions. Develop effective questioning. Use cooperative small group work. Emphasise methods rather than answers. Use rich collaborative tasks. Create connections between mathematical topics. Use technology in appropriate ways.

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**Make a poster Make a poster showing all you know about one of the**

following. Decimal numbers. Proportion. Circles. Quadratic functions. Show all the facts, results and relationships you know. Show methods and applications. Select only the most important and interesting facts, both at a basic and a more advanced level.

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