Mathematical Confidence

Can you afford NOT to teach your child early maths skills?

This year, make it a priority to include mathematics in your family life and in the education of your children. By doing so you will be creating foundations for your children that will improve their earning capacity by the time they are adults.

Studies show that even when you account for differences in gender, education and socioeconomic status, early learning of mathematics strongly influences the success and earning potential of an individual.
Let me explain that to you again.
We might think that those children who have the opportunity for a “better” education – more individualised teaching, the best school in the […]

Getting your kids motivated for the new school year

A lot of research has been done on motivation, and in particular how to spark motivation in ourselves and others. One of the most challenging tasks for parents and teachers is to find a way to spark motivation in our children and students.
When it comes to motivation there are two types: extrinsic motivation and intrinsic motivation.
Extrinsic motivation is when our motivation is encouraged by external sources. Usually we do A to achieve B. B motivates us to get A done. You might put your hand up for an extra project at work so that you receive the bonus you’re […]

Are Australians Scared of Maths?

I’ve just been lucky enough to enjoy a European winter holiday in Prague, Germany and down the Danube to Budapest. It was all about Christmas markets and tasty treats and maths. Yes that’s right, maths. You see I can’t seem to go anywhere without noticing the mathematics in my environment, and it doesn’t help that my husband is also a maths teacher.
For example, last holiday we took this photo outside the famous Sagrada Famiglia Church in Barcelona.

Sure it’s a beautiful piece of art, but that’s not why we took the photo, we took the photo because of the magic […]

What you can REALLY do for your child’s education

In the last week the education news in Australia has either been about backflips and frontflips about funding, or it has been about Australian results steadily declining in international PISA testing.
It all makes us feel a bit helpless. As individual parents and teachers, there is little we can do to influence funding decisions or to ensure that future PISA results improve.
As with everything in life, there is only ever one person you can change, and that person is you. Changing your own attitudes, beliefs and actions will very likely have an effect on those around you and you will […]

Dinner Time Maths – Discount Sign FAILS

Dinner time is the perfect time for conversations and the perfect time to engage with your children. The idea of dinner time maths is to add a small spark of maths to the conversation. Discuss a mathematical idea as a family or solve a problem together.

Tonight’s dinner time maths discussion revolves around discount sign FAILS.

Start by showing your children this picture.   Ask them what is wrong with the sign and ask them if they can figure out what it should say. This one is just to get them warmed up. This next discount sign fail will allow for a […]

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 […]

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 […]