Blog: Giving maths a global makeover
CST subject specialist Lesley Wright loves her maths – and is on a mission to win over reluctant learners to its wonders with the help of fellow enthusiasts from all over the world.
As a secondary school maths teacher of some 30 plus years’ experience, I believe passionately that my subject is a fascinating one that transcends language barriers, promotes problem solving – and is great fun.
However, those same 30 years’ experience have taught me that this can be a hard sell to students. To some, maths is an exciting, entertaining and fascinating thing. To others it is a chore; lessons have to be endured throughout their schooling and an exam at the end has to be passed.
Over the course of my career I have seen many changes to the way we teach mathematics in an attempt to address this: changes in examinations and curriculum, teaching techniques, philosophies and methods. Schemes of work and specifications have been altered and adapted over the years to include these - some have been good, some not so much, but the one thing that remains the same is that ‘maths is maths’.
The international Maths (or Math if you are from some parts of the world) Twitter community, is a thriving group of likeminded people who love the subject. Maths teachers use this forum to share resources, discuss lessons, share ideas and generally enjoy chatting numbers - even algebra! It was here that I heard about the Global Maths Project (GMP) and applied to become an ambassador. The Global Maths Project aims to:
Thrill 1 million students, teachers, and adults with an engaging piece of mathematics during one special week in 2017; to have their reach grow significantly each year; and to initiate a fundamental paradigm shift in how the world perceives and enjoys mathematics. To transform and declutter mathematics content to reveal its coherence, meaning, and joy.
At present, there are around 60 ambassadors from all corners and countries of the world. It is hoped that this number will increase to 200 by April of this year. Our role is to encourage and recruit people of all ages who do maths just because it is fun. This will culminate in a special Global Maths event in the week beginning 10 October. Just imagine a million students of all ages across the world all studying the same mathematical idea at the same time and, more importantly, this being for the pure enjoyment of a challenge!
From this month onwards, schools, teachers and individuals will be encouraged to sign up to show an interest in the Global Maths week. I have already begun recruiting my own friends and colleagues, and am planning a ‘Mathematical Teach Meet’ prior to the 10 October to not only upskill the interested, but also to enjoy and experience the GMP’s chosen idea for this year.
I am looking forward to an exciting time ahead – and to winning over some of those reluctant learners to the wonder of this fascinating subject through this innovative global event.