Education Today

Let your Students grade themselves to develop better mental strategies for problem solving

As teachers I am sure we have all experienced at some point during our careers, that moment of surprise and delight whilst marking a student’s maths work when we learn something or see a new way of expressing an argument. I am constantly astounded at the amount and variety of maths problem solving approaches that can be applied to the same question. In this article I will show a few ways to allow your students to provide feedback and engage in various maths activities with other students to let them get the same benefits and insights.

So why bother introducing student grading into your maths teaching plans? Well, to begin with students will gain improved conceptual understanding and develop more mental strategies related to key maths concepts by seeing varied solutions to the same problem. They may even find a completely new mathematical idea and how to communicate it which in turn teaches the student how to better communicate the concept themselves. Additionally, it will reinforce their own understanding of key maths principles by the process of actually reading a large amount of answers to the same problem.

Another reason to introduce assignments that lend themselves to peer marking into your maths lesson plans is for the renewed empathy that students can gain from looking at other students work. It can be valuable for both the top students and the bottom of the class to see others work. For the top students it can help them to realise that there may be students that are finding it difficult to understand maths concepts that they find easy. For the bottom students, it can help them to see well thought out solutions that their classmates formulate. Contrary to what many people believe, student grading can I believe lead to greater empowerment in all students – not by showing students how dumb so and so is, but rather by helping students see that they are not the only ones struggling with a maths concept. This has the effect of creating greater cohesion within the class and boosting the moral of those students who need it. For a various up to date maths resources that encourage this type of peer grading, alearningplaceateachingplace is great website to take a look at. They have over 25 years of maths education experience and a host of maths lesson plans to choose from. All the resources are categorised by grade or subject area to make sure you find what you are looking for easily.


Learning Difficulties Explained

Learning difficulties is a broad term used by teachers and assessors to describe children that can’t learn at the same pace as other children. It is important to understand that each child learns in a different way and if your child is falling behind it may be due to a particular teaching style or other reasons.

Learning difficulties fall into two categories; global learning difficulties and specific learning difficulties. Children with global learning difficulties can be described as slow learners as they find all aspects of learning difficult, regardless of the manner in which it is taught. Whereas children with specific learning difficulties generally have above average intelligence or are very bright however they have trouble with learning.

There are a number of signs to look for which may indicate that your child has a learning difficulty. These symptoms can range from difficulty reading, using an incorrect order of letters in words, difficulty comprehending maths concepts, emotional instability or poor attention span. If you suspect that your child has a learning difficulty, the best thing to do is to have your child assessed. This will be incredibly helpful for them as their school will be able to create a tailored learning program for your child’s needs.

If you feel like more can be done, using online resources are a great step in bridging the gaps in their learning. Resources such as online maths activities that follow the Australian curriculum will allow your child more time to absorb the new information whilst in the comfort of your home. An added benefit of using online resources is the ability to track a student’s progress and their level of understanding. Websites such as A Learning Place A Teaching Place provides this option for teachers who also use their maths resources. This will enable you to review your child’s progression and their understanding of all maths concepts.