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A change in how I taught

Teagan Ward (18 months at the school)
Year 3-4 classroom teacher
Noarlunga Downs Primary School
Noarlunga Cluster


Finding 3.2: Learning Goal
Practise explicit and scaffolded teaching with a defined and planned learning goal for each lesson that is shared with students to orient them to the learning.

I only started the project (Make It Count) in 2012; prior to that I was at the school but wasn’t able to access training. I have now been teaching number and try to do it every day. Every day we try to build up number knowledge and understanding of the language that comes with number, using a very explicit teaching approach.

It was scary to start doing that. It was completely different to any pedagogy or methodology I’d used before. On the other hand, I wanted to do something different because I found what I had done with my 5-6-7 class last year wasn’t really successful.

This meant moving away from the traditional maths lessons I learned at uni where you teach the theory then get them to go to their workbooks. This approach is very hands-on and it can be days or even weeks later that you move to the books and worksheets.

It was quite daunting but once I got into it there was heaps of support to learn the methodology and how it works. The support of Marie (Cluster Coordinator and mentor) really helped me. It took me a term to feel comfortable with it. I also had a new class which took time getting used to.

  1. My kids had learnt maths this way the year before, so when I started they knew exactly what to do – in fact they could tell me some things I wasn’t sure about or confident in. I can’t wait to have a class next year and see the flow. I started with very basic concepts this year – but next year I hope o get the flow-on from kids who have done this work in previous years – they will get to (Year) 3-4 and recognise numbers, part/part/whole, and be ready for what comes next.
  2. How I perceive maths has completely changed through my involvement in this project. When I was at school you were given a sheet, told to do your sums; that was it. No-one ever explained why we did it. This is very explicit teaching of asking the kids, getting to the end and asking “Could you use it in another sum?”, “Could you use it a different way?”. And if they don’t know, then we have to go back to it. I’ve done lots of work on multiplicative thinking – you’re not going to only get problems with small numbers in real life, so we need to look at what we’re doing and go deeper than just memorising times tables...

A change In how I taught

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