However, I realise the importance of not simplifying tasks excessively as this reduces cognitive challenge. I believe in ‘scaffolding’ which is an adult or peer helping a child to move from his/her performance level to their potential level, giving just enough help to move the child from one to another. Student Number 03920910 Both the class teacher and I collaborate regularly with the SENCO and ensure that IEPs are followed and updated regularly and she provides input into the planning for the specific individuals experiencing difficulty not only with mathematics but with other areas of learning.
Bi-lingual support is prevalent in school. There is Punjabi, Urdu and Bengali language support in school full time. Our bi-lingual assistants are encouraged to speak to the children in their heritage language whenever necessary. These children need to be fluent in their mother tongue before English language acquisition can take place. Cummins (1984). Part Three As the Open University states, children need to have a positive approach towards mathematics and I feel this positive thinking is enhanced by relating maths to the real world around us. If a child is able to do mathematics without realising it is mathematics, then the
negative feelings towards the subject are taken away and barriers do not immediately come down. Research in learning and motivation advises us as instructors to incorporate more active learning into our classes to improve understanding and long term retention of what is learned (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000: Greeno, Collins & Resnick, 1996). Active learning works because its goal is simple: To move students from passive recipients to motivated participants through more contextualized, hands-on teaching activities
Mathematical investigations are an enjoyable way to enlarge conceptual understanding and encourage children. Pirie (1987) We recently undertook a measuring activity within a numeracy lesson. The children were encouraged to walk around the classroom measuring everyday objects i.e., window ledges, tables, bookcases etc. They were able to make decisions themselves about what they chose to measure and Student Number 03920910 were also asked to estimate whether certain objects were more or less or about the same as a metre. These hands on activity created a positive atmosphere for learning and offered pace to the lesson.
Strong and Rourkes theory that children with mathematical difficulties have poor fact retrieval and memory for arithmetic tables is an overriding factor in our particular school. This is due, in the main, to the children’s limited English skills and that their auditory channel is often the weakest, they simply cannot hold a number in their heads long enough to carry out a calculation. We try to offer these children every opportunity to manipulate physical resources.
They also have great difficulty learning multiplication tables. Some have learnt a verbal story with no understanding of the maths. They find it easier to learn spoken responses to visual cues, so we try to encourage the children to respond to cue cards, firstly in table order rather than randomly. In my opinion, the old fashioned way of chanting times tables every day was the most effective way to revise multiplication facts.
Strong and Rourke (1985) also cite the third category of mathematical disability is visual-spatial difficulty in representing and interpreting arithmetical information. Some children with English as a second language also have visual perception difficulties and need to use concrete objects to support calculations. They get a better understanding of a number by physically manipulating a set of objects and then experiencing the combining and partitioning of that set. Student Number 03920910 When I am explaining number bonds to ten, I use the multilink and show the children how ten multilink cubes can be grouped in different ways.
We also have sets of cards that provide a visual representation of the number bonds to ten. Studying Module 9 has given me a greater insight into the importance of relating mathematical concepts to everyday life. Therefore, in order to develop future practice when supporting children learning mathematics I feel it is important to realise that children’s contact with maths does not start and finish within the lesson. As a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, I can offer a range of skills to support this within the classroom environment. (Hockley 1985)
I could ensure I use mathematical vocabulary during science and technology lessons to reinforce their understanding of mathematical terminology. Take the time to count objects out loud, for example, paper, scissors, pencils etc. Bring mathematical concepts into art lessons i.e. painting 2D and 3D shapes (Programme of Study KS2 Mathematics: Ma3 Shape space and measures – understanding properties of shape)
During free choice sessions, I could encourage the children to play board games using a dice and to choose ‘spatial toys’ such as building blocks, shape matching, peg boards, stacking toys, bead counting frames, mosaic shapes and jigsaws (Programme of Study KS2 Mathematics Ma3 Shapes space and measure – problem solving.) The children most likely to benefit form using these ‘spatial toys’ are the ones least likely to choose them so they need encouragement by ensuring the activities provided are simple ones that they are able to complete and achieve with little intervention. Vygotsky social learning theory states that with adult help children can perform tasks that they would not be capable of completing on their own with the use of ‘scaffolding’ – this is when the adult continually adjusts the level of assistance in response to the child’s level of Student Number 03920910 performance.
Scaffolding can help to develop skills for independent problem solving and is an effective support strategy for supporting children in school “Pupils need to be able to apply calculation skills and the understanding of number to problems in other National Curriculum subjects and to real-life situations.” (The National Curriculum – Handbook for Primary Teachers 1999 p21) ICT is recognised as an important resource within the Numeracy Strategy. Not only does the Strategy outline its importance within its introductory section, but it also acknowledges ICT as a factor, which promotes a high standard of numeracy.