Mathematical Confidence

Maths Without Tears – the transition to high school maths

Why do so many kids find the jump from maths in primary school to maths high school so challenging?
Throughout our many years of teaching we often share a very common experience and that is the confusion and frustration felt by families when their child suddenly begins to struggle with maths upon entering high school. Only too often we hear parents who are angry and confused because their child was in an extension class in primary school, or never ever had a problem with maths and now they are struggling to pass their assessments. Now, all over Australia, high school […]

3 Do’s and Don’ts For Exam Study

With Year 12s in Western Australian about to embark on their final exams as they complete their final stage to achieve university entrance, we thought it would be a good time to share our advice on just how students should and shouldn’t study for maths.
These upcoming exams are worth 50% of their overall ATAR score, and so it’s not too late to tweak a few techniques and emphasise more efficient and worthwhile study habits.
Please pass this article on to anyone you know with kids about to embark on these examinations.

Don’t

Rewrite Your Notes

Perhaps this is a good strategy for English […]

How to choose a school for your child – Part 1

My husband and I, both teachers, often get asked for advice about which school people should send their kids to. One of our closest couple friends are expecting their first child in 2 months and the father wanted to know whether they really needed to get their son’s name down at a school as soon as he’s born. We then started discussing the types of schools available in Perth and what their options were.
What I always assume is common knowledge is really not known or understood by most parents. Since we get asked this sort of thing so often […]

Either you’re good at maths or you’re not

Yesterday I went to the dentist and met my new dental hygienist. With my mouth open for nearly 40 minutes, you wouldn’t think we got much of a conversation in. After asking how my day had been and me explaining it had been great since I’m a teacher on school holidays, we got down to talking about which school and what I teach. And then the conversation went something like this:

Hygienist: “Wow! I always think maths teachers must be super smart. I’m terrible at maths and not very smart.”
Me: Using facial expression as best I can to indicate that […]

The Art of Counting Backwards

In my younger, student years I remember excitedly landing a great casual job for new years day. For those youngsters who are happy not to have a big night on New Year’s Eve and happy to work on New Year’s Day, a job at the Perth Cup behind the bar is an awesome way to make some good money. The catch was, I arrived, had a quick orientation, no training and was then thrown behind the bar and the crowd of people screaming to be served was about four rows deep. Then the real clincher was that the tills […]

Why Mastering Maths at a Young Age is Important

It’s subject selection time in most schools and students in Year 10 are making decisions about what subjects they want to study in their senior and final years of school.
It’s a much more involved process than it was when you and I were at school. Students attend numerous information sessions and there are the usual information sessions for parents. Universities host Open Days at around this time so that students can find a possible future pathway and learn what they might like to study and the prerequisites to get there. They undergo counselling sessions with course and career advisors […]

Maths Anxiety – Even Celebrities Suffer From It

Maths anxiety comes to all of us at one time, but imagine being frozen by the anxiety live on TV for a charity event!

Well that’s the situation Patricia Heaton faced and it is wonderful to see how with the support of those around her she overcame her anxiety and gained her confidence.

Teaching Kids to Work Hard

Working hard and applying effort is not something that kids usually encounter when they are young, nor is it something that most children develop naturally as the need arises. Of all the life skills that a child can develop, applying consistent and significant effort to achieve a goal is something that is valuable to learn from an early age. In fact, it is something that I spend a lot of time teaching my younger students in Year 7 and Year 8 to develop and establish by making them accountable for their class work and homework each day.
Let me share […]

How To Get Your Child To Do Their Homework

I think about homework nearly everyday. I think about my own homework (which currently consists of marking and report writing). I check whether my students are completing their homework (and far too often they are not). My husband expresses his frustration about his students not completing their homework. And these sorts of useful articles find their way into one of my news feeds (note sarcasm alert – the article is not at all useful in my opinion!)
We’ve discussed before why we think homework is important, especially when it comes to maths. Perhaps in an ideal world, kids could go […]

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    How to Approach Your Child’s Teacher Without Being Confrontational

How to Approach Your Child’s Teacher Without Being Confrontational

Recently a parent of a Year 12 boy asked me for advice on how best to approach her son’s teacher to inquire about the low course average. She was unsure as to how to do this without putting the teacher offside. Parents definitely have a right to inquire about how things are going in the classroom and request more information about things like course averages and student results, but there are definitely some key do’s and don’ts, which if adhered to, can help you get the information that you need without creating an uncomfortable, confrontational situation. Here are some tips […]