what do you think of this reposne from teachers?

1. Heated, I both agree and disagree with a lot of what you are saying. I avoided this thread as it is so difficult to comment on another teacher's teaching without knowing the whole context.

I did just want to say though that while I can see you recognize the need for discovery learning and explicit instruction, it is highly possible that what you are saying you wish for-quickly explaining HOW to do the sum (which in my experience many tutoring places do due to lack of time for sequencing etc.) is what makes many children lack those vital early number foundations. I get this all the time in my class-parents teaching their children vertical addition etc. Before they have recognized the need to even do so. Sure they can now 'work out the sum' but have buckleys applying it in any real context and certainly cannot explain the inherent number connections within it. Another Maths classic for this are times tables and skip counting. The amount if children I have taught that can do both but don't get they how or why is so frustrating! What is the point in knowing this if you cannot apply it? See it as multiple addition first to build multiplicative understanding??? My point is, in MANY cases with Maths instruction, children can certainly be taught the how but without the why are likely to flounder again at a later stage.

Can I suggest you google the Maths misconceptions? These are a set of learning milestones for Mathematical understanding and tests at each level. They say a child cannot progress to the next level until the 1st is mastered. Level 1 is subitising, 2 is place value, 3 multiplicative thinking and 4 fractions. This should highlight to you where your children's 'gaps' are. They suggest activities to support learning at each of these levels. It's amazing how many grade 5 and 6 kids still cannot subitise given it should be mastered at Prep!

BTW I actually don't think this should be your responsibility at home but it should give you some solid evidence to discuss with the teachers precisely where your kids need support

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3. Can I just say- I hate the lack of any real information in reports these days. The report is not something for the kids to read, it is for the parents information only. Give me some comparisons- where DS is in regards to the class, the year and the state/where they are expected to be. Telling me la-di-dah comments about how DS looks great in his uniform is not going to give me the tools to help him further along.

Anyway, I agree Op- some real feedback would be helpful.

DS had a great teacher this year. Really old school.

4. Originally Posted by tootsiegirl
Heated, I both agree and disagree with a lot of what you are saying. I avoided this thread as it is so difficult to comment on another teacher's teaching without knowing the whole context.

I did just want to say though that while I can see you recognize the need for discovery learning and explicit instruction, it is highly possible that what you are saying you wish for-quickly explaining HOW to do the sum (which in my experience many tutoring places do due to lack of time for sequencing etc.) is what makes many children lack those vital early number foundations. I get this all the time in my class-parents teaching their children vertical addition etc. Before they have recognized the need to even do so. Sure they can now 'work out the sum' but have buckleys applying it in any real context and certainly cannot explain the inherent number connections within it. Another Maths classic for this are times tables and skip counting. The amount if children I have taught that can do both but don't get they how or why is so frustrating! What is the point in knowing this if you cannot apply it? See it as multiple addition first to build multiplicative understanding??? My point is, in MANY cases with Maths instruction, children can certainly be taught the how but without the why are likely to flounder again at a later stage.

Can I suggest you google the Maths misconceptions? These are a set of learning milestones for Mathematical understanding and tests at each level. They say a child cannot progress to the next level until the 1st is mastered. Level 1 is subitising, 2 is place value, 3 multiplicative thinking and 4 fractions. This should highlight to you where your children's 'gaps' are. They suggest activities to support learning at each of these levels. It's amazing how many grade 5 and 6 kids still cannot subitise given it should be mastered at Prep!

BTW I actually don't think this should be your responsibility at home but it should give you some solid evidence to discuss with the teachers precisely where your kids need support
Misconceptions

I agree with everything you've said here. I'd just like to add that maths and inquiry go hand I hand. Learning needs context, maths learning becomes rote without a reality context.

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Have a look at their work books. Try to see if the teacher has written any comments or perhaps where your daughters are struggling. I know it's silly to have to 'investigate' but it's probably the most honest reflection you will get of what happens in class.

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Thanks for the tip tootsie girl. I hve looked up that site and find it is useful.

Just to be clear I do not disagree that contextual learning is the point of learning maths however my point is that what appears to have happened at many schools is that they have, in Ken Rowe's words, drunk to deeply from the constructivist well. That is in early-mid primary much more focus needs to be put back on basic skilling (rote learning if necessary) and the transmission of content and knowledge. I see nothing wrong with rote. In fact I find that memorization of certain material is a great way to know things automatically and not have to go back to the drawing board each and every time. It also frees up working memory by committing more mundane, but essential things, to long term memory.

Then of course it is also necessary for students to understand why they are doing something and when to apply it. However they will have a very hard time indeed applying anything if they don't possess the building blocks of maths. So I guess my point is one of emphasis in early primary. To much emphasis on discovery/inquiry and not enough time and practice spent on vital skills such as times tables. Sometimes just the act of doing over and over leads the student to understand the meaning of the task. That is what I have found. And here is a case in point for you to ponder. My eldest understood perfectly what it meant to multiply. She could tell me that it was a quicker way of adding, it was adding in groups etc and she also new when she should apply it. What she couldn't do was give you an answer to a multiplication sum or a division sum for that matter as she didn't know her times tables. She could work it out laboriously by circling groups of biscuits etc but this certainly is not the ideal way of working out such a problem.

Just going back to something another poster said about the amount of things the teacher is required to do in any given lesson. I just find this ridiculous! How can any teacher be expected to teach maths in this way and in addition how can any student grasp it? No wonder tutoring schools are doing such a roaring trade. It truly makes it crystal clear to me as to why my kids and so many other If the teacher is expected to cram so much into one lesson it must not be very in depth and just skims the surface. Also there is little chance that much practice or consolidation will be happening. It must be totally overwhelming for the students and scramble their brains. I'd prefer a mastestry approach with plenty of time spent and much of this is taught by explicitinstruction which has been shown to be 2-3 times more effective than discovery learning. Anyone interested can read how well John Fleming's explicit instruction schools are doing. Just makes more sense to me....

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Thanks Lilcritter I have done that and the strange thing is that they both seem to do pretty well. You certainly wouldn't think they were D grade students from their workbooks!

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Agreed. Would be nice to get some info. that is not generic and seems to be about our kid as an individual. Even if it was one or 2 lines. Some report cards in some states are much better than Qld. I think in Vic. they break the subjects down into three parts such as spelling/grammer, writing and reading for eg. They also have a dot showing where your child is working at ie if they are in 3rd grade the dot might show they are still working at a 2nd grade level or alternatively the dot might indicate they are working at 1-2 years above year level. I wish we had this kind of info. in Qld.

10. I am in QLD and I found both my DD reports quite detailed. In each box was a bit about what skills they were doing eg fractions etc and whether or not my DD could complete these skills or still needed some assistance.

Might be an individual teacher or schools way of reporting.

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Yes can be a big difference between teachers. I have found that the reports have improved from last years but it is a shame that they are not more like Vic. as there is so much more info. contained in their reports.

12. You know what I wish? That there was a standard throughout the country. A standard on the school system, that all states/territories had their children starting school at the same age. That there was a universal grade system (kinder, prep, gr 1, gr 2 etc), so if you move states, your child goes in to the same grade level. I wish that all states/territories used the same curriculum, in every school. I wish that the school report system was the same nationwide. I mean as it is, Tasmanian schools only entered a 4 term year for the first time THIS YEAR, previously to that, we had always been a 3 term year.

We need nationwide consistency. Perhaps then, some of these issues, wouldn't BE issues.

I'm sorry that you're having these frustrations, heated, and I hope you can find some answers soon. I just really wish this countries schooling system was consistent across the board!

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