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Finnish pupils don’t get home work

Interesting infographic about Finnish school system:


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Teaching takes time

This week we had 5 90 minute lessons taught to us by our peers. Everybody was put into a group of 4, and we each had to teach one of the lessons as a group, and take part in the other four lessons as learners.

One thing that shone out so clearly from the sessions:

Teaching takes time.

From this, I don’t mean it is a skill you develop over time, as true as that is. But rather it always takes longer to teach something than you think it will. As a group, this was the first time we’ve been asked to teach an entire lesson from start to finish, and it was clear from all the lessons that everything was overrunning. For everyone.

Thankfully, our group dividing our 90 minutes into three half hour blocks, and planned them separately. Each of our 30 minutes contained the core stuff at the start and useful, but less essential stuff at the ends. We were therefore able to be more dynamic with our lesson and cut bits out from the end of one block if it was over-running without leaving the rest of the lesson up the proverbial creek. Although we had allowed for this eventuality, I don’t think any of us expected it to be as necessary.

So the lesson from the lesson: teaching takes time, build flexibility into your plan.

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The importance of considering all your pupils

We had a class on statistics this morning at Uni, 09:30 to 1100. By 10:15, 45 minutes into the class I had not yet had to do any work.

By this half way point in the lesson, all we had done was revisit the homework we had been set and go into the questions that some people had trouble with.

This isn’t in itself a bad thing to do but there were a number in the class (myself included) who had not had any issues with the homework, and had therefore spent half the lesson sitting here doing nothing.

It would have been good if we had been set some exercises first, before being asked if anyone had any issues with the homework. In that case anyone who had issues could have paid attention to the board and anyone who didn’t could have been doing something productive.

I think it’s worth noting that the problem can arise the other way around too. If a student asks a very challenging question, teachers should be wary of going into a detailed response without ensuring that either a) all members if the class can engage with the response or b) that lower ability students have something else to be working on.

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Maths tutor for hire


As you may know, I’m a trainee maths teacher, living in the Olton area of Solihull & training with the University of Birmingham. I’m also available as a private tutor for people in the Solihull/Birmingham area.

I have experience at GCSE, A Level Maths and Further Maths and would be happy to tutor up to Core Mathematics at A Level (Modules C1-4) and I have been CRB checked by the University of Birmingham.

So, if you’re looking for some extra help for your son or daughter at school, or if you just need help with your mathematics yourself, please feel free to get in touch, and we can discuss a programme of tutoring that will work best for you.

You can email me on lxr247 at birmingham.ac.uk. *

You’ll need to delete the “at” and replace it with @ symbol, to make it like a normal email address. I’ve just deleted it here so that computers don’t pick up my email address and start sending me spam!

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School allocations sorted!

We got our allocations for our school experience today, as part of our SKE year training.

I probably shouldn’t broadcast where I’ve been placed, as we have to anonymise schools and pupils in our academic writing so I should probably apply the same to this blog, but I will say I’m pleased with mine. It’s conveniently located and appears to be quite innovative in a number of ways – pupils appear to have iPads!

In school experience starts every Friday from w/b 25th Feb. Watch this space!

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With the same rules that constrain a beginner, a seasoned chess player develops strategies that at first seem incredible. But anyone can learn to play chess. And the only way to learn is by playing, because playing is much more than moving the pieces according to the rules. When you play, you create.

Preface, Creative Mathematics, Miquel Alberti.