Educational Philosophy

Educating Australian Children for the Asian Century

In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion about how to best position Australia in the burgeoning Asian Century. Much of the talk is about our relationship with Asia and how to best place our economy. Even more of the discussion is about education and the unique position that our children will find themselves during this period in history.
Many schools are planning to include the study of languages such as Mandarin as a priority ahead of the more usual languages of Italian and French, and I agree this is a great idea. There is also a call […]

“I’ve never understood algebra anyway”

Chatting with some of my maths teacher colleagues over the weekend, the topic of how we remember being taught algebra came up.
Now before you click away or start snoring, it’s not what you think!
We began talking about the common responses we hear when we tell people that we’re maths teachers. And the most common by far is “I never understood algebra at school. I just don’t get what it’s for!” In case you’re wondering what the second most common response is, it’s “You must be smart!” We sure do appreciate that one 🙂
We then got to talking about how […]

Patterning – The Foundation Blocks Of Algebraic Thinking

Patterns serve as the foundation blocks of algebraic thinking. Through patterns and sequences children learn predictive reasoning and logic, which forms the cornerstones of Algebra.
Patterns exist naturally around us in everyday life and add a symmetry, beauty and comfort to the world around us. The simplest pattern that babies learn from an early age is day, night, day, night. When babies learn and understand that this pattern exists, they have a sense of security as they can predict what comes next.
We can start teaching our babies patterning from very early on and build on the complexity as the child […]

Maths Anxiety is Real

A recently published study by Sarah Buckley on mathematics anxiety indicates that it is a very real phenomenon and may affect around 20% of Australia’s population. In a typical classroom then, around 6 kids feel anxious on a daily basis when faced with the study of mathematics.
From my years of teaching mathematics to students aged from 12 to 18 years, I would estimate that the proportion of students experiencing real stress is at least 20%. As such I have seen my role as primarily being about building the confidence of whole classes so that they are ready and receptive […]

Helping Your Child Prepare For End of Year Exams

The final term of school can be a hard slog for students, teachers and parents alike. It’s also when students in secondary school are sitting final exams and assessments. It’s important that they feel encouraged and supported to perform their very best and confidently demonstrate all that they have learned during the year.
Here are our hints and tips on what you can do to help them prepare and keep focused.

1.Devise a plan
Find out when exam and assessment periods are to be held, either from your child or directly from the school, and make it an important date in your […]

Exploring Symmetry

Symmetry might be a small part of geometry but it is a vitally important concept which links maths to the real word. Symmetry can be easily seen in everyday life. It exists all around us, in nature, in art, in our homes and in the mirror. Children naturally seek the balance and order of symmetry in everything around them.

Exploring symmetry/reflections (and thus transformations) enables the mind to recognise the complexities of shapes from many different orientations, with reflections being one of the easier of the two. IQ and aptitude tests always have spatial questions because brains that can reflect […]

5 Important Ways To “Speak Maths” With Your Children

Sometimes we don’t realise it but maths is a language in itself. New mums are always keen to expand their baby’s vocabulary; to teach them lots of words and to help them learn to speak and understand English. Stacey Keyser, an experienced speech pathologist says, “Language development begins from birth and needs to be modeled everyday by parents and caregivers.”
Teaching your baby the words and language associated with mathematics is the easiest way to incorporate maths into your baby’s life from an early age. Here are my top 5 essential ways to “speak maths” with your children.
Keyser suggests that […]

The Resourceful Child

What are some of the thoughts that spring to mind when you are asked “What do you want your child to gain and experience from their education?”
You might want your child to be happy at school, to make lasting friendships and to develop a long-lasting love of learning (and an appreciation for alliteration!!).
But when we drill down to the number one skill that we hope children will develop to prepare them for a successful future, I would say that it is resourcefulness.
What do we mean by resourceful? We mean that an individual will have both an attitude and an […]

Why Grit and Character are more important than IQ

Parents and educators want to help raise children who grow into capable, happy and successful adults. But to what extent are our achievements determined by our genes and by how we are raised and educated?
Paul Tough has researched the factors influencing how children succeed and released a now popular book on his findings. In a nutshell his argument says that character and “grit” are far more important in determining success than the IQ we are born with.
When we talk about grit and character, what do we mean? We’re talking about developing character traits such as conscientiousness, curiosity, optimism, gratitude, […]

To NAPLAN or not to NAPLAN?

On the weekend, 60 Minutes presented a special report on NAPLAN. If you’re not yet in the school game or you live outside Australia, NAPLAN is Australia’s national testing program for Literacy and Numeracy for students in Year 3, 5, 7 and 9. During one week in May, students across Australia in these year groups sit tests (most of which are multiple choice) on reading, comprehension, writing, language and mathematics. The aim of these tests is to gain and provide insight into students, schools, systems, states and teaching across Australia. What is then done with these insights is a […]