Mathematical Confidence

What teachers really think about NAPLAN

When it comes to NAPLAN we know that parents are usually in one of three groups: unconvinced that NAPLAN is worthwhile, indifferent to NAPLAN or they can see that it has some benefits. But what do teachers really think about NAPLAN?

We, at Education Equals, are both high school Mathematics teachers, and we’ve seen many students sit NAPLAN, so we thought we’d answer a few of the most common questions we’ve been asked.

Do students find NAPLAN really stressful?

In our experience the answer is no. By the time students are in secondary school, they are so used to the rigours of […]

How much preparation is really required for NAPLAN?

There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding whether or not preparation is necessary for student confidence and success in NAPLAN. Parents and teachers alike aren’t sure whether they should spend time helping students prepare for tests, and if they do decide to help they’re not really sure of the most effective strategies or activities to employ.

There are many sensationalised stories of kids spending hours and hours sitting practice tests, refusing to go to school and experiencing sleepless nights from the worry and stress caused by the very thought of NAPLAN.

The good news is that there is a middle ground […]

Why kids are scared of NAPLAN and how to help them

The other day I asked the students in one of my Year 7 classes “who’s a bit worried about NAPLAN this year?”

About 70% of the students’ hands went up and a few students had genuinely worried faces.

I then asked them to explain to me and the class what they were worried about. Their responses provide insight into student perceptions of NAPLAN and what we can do to help them feel more confident and self-assured this time around.

Here are some of the common responses and ways in which we can help our children overcome their fears.

“I’m scared I won’t know […]

How to explain NAPLAN to your child

Learning is most effective when students feel that they are a creative force in their own education. It is often the case that children feel that learning just happens to them, rather than growing from them, especially if conversations about their learning are absent.

Whether we’re a fan of NAPLAN or not, it exists as a significant element in your child’s education. But do they really know what it’s for? Do they know how it relates to their own education or even what each test is about? Hopefully these sorts of discussions happen in their classroom, but having a conversation […]

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    Should parents be involved in their child’s formal education?

Should parents be involved in their child’s formal education?

A few weeks ago I was at the Year 11 Parent Teacher Interviews at my school and I had a great chat with the parents of a student in my form group. They’d heard me give a talk at the school where their son attends and they were very interested in just what parents can do to assist their children in achieving success at school. We chatted so much about these things that we barely talked about their daughter at all!
They told me about an interesting remark a friend of theirs had made, and it is a comment that […]

Know thy BIMDAS

Have you seen the video above before? It’s a classic and it makes me laugh every time. It’s funny, but it also highlights the many maths misconceptions floating around in society. And one of the biggest maths misconceptions that comes up time and time again is Order of Operations.
Here’s one of the latest BIMDAS memes being shared around on Facebook:

Ok, so which answer do you choose?
A: 320
B: 20
If you answered B, 20, then you have a great working knowledge of BIMDAS, or Orders of Operations.
Or perhaps you answered C, “Who cares?”.
Here’s why you should care and a few hints […]

Help Your Kids Learn Their Multiplication Tables

As Term 1 draws to a close (not that I’m counting!), the one thing I continually notice holding my students back from success is their lack of knowledge and easy recall of their times tables.
My Year 7s have been working on Prime Factors, Lowest Common Multiples and Highest Common Factors. They understand the concepts but get the questions wrong because their inability to recall their times tables easily is a major obstacle.
My Year 8s have been learning important foundation algebraic skills – simplifying, expanding and factorising expressions. I’m proud of how hard they’ve worked to learn and consolidate these […]

How to Help Your Kids Study for Maths

School is well and truly back and teachers are already thinking about writing the first round of reports. This means that students are currently sitting their first round of assessments and getting lots of feedback on how their learning is progressing so far.
Preparing for a maths test requires a different skill set than preparing for an assessment in any other subject. Here’s a guide to what your child needs to do to achieve success in their maths assessments this year.

1.    Devise a list of topics to study
Hopefully a list of topics and skills has been provided by your child’s […]

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    Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

Helping Your Child Start Year 7 Maths Successfully – Organisation

As I’ve said in a previous post, this year I’m teaching two Year 7 Maths classes at my new school. Aside from teaching the mathematics, the biggest focus of my lessons so far is settling my students into my routines for the classroom and also helping them get organised.
Organisation is an important and key life skill and those that exhibit good organisation have better chances of success in life. In my classes I focus on not only everyday organisation of materials but also on the organisation of thoughts on the page.
So what can you do to assist your child […]

Should I get a tutor for my child?

As the school year begins and the first assessments are right around the corner, more and more parents start to wonder whether they should get a tutor for their child on top of the other investments they’re making in their child’s education.
Back in the 90s (!) when I was at school not many of my peers had a tutor, and if they did they kept it pretty quiet. These days though it’s not uncommon for students to have at least one tutor, and some for almost all their subjects once they’re in Year 11 and 12.
Tutoring maths has been […]