At the end of the last school year our PSHE coordinator sent an e-mail round to our department asking if any of us would be interested in delivering a Mathematics assembly to all year groups. Having thought about what I could possibly do a Mathematics assembly on I decided to go for it and week beginning 9th March I will be leading an assembly to each of our year groups...all about Mathematics.
Now, I'm thrilled that this week is the week before Pi Day on the 13th March (and the Maths conference run by La Salle Education) and so will be building something in about Pi Day during the assembly.
Having thought about what I want to say in the assembly, I have decided that I will use the chance to speak to every student in our school about their attitudes to their Mathematics and trying to dispel the myths out there about Mathematics and try to move away from the negative perceptions of the subject.
I saw, earlier this evening, this blog post on a similar theme.
I want to voice to our students that it's not ok to say 'i'm rubbish at maths', 'i'm not very good at maths', 'maths is hard' etc, etc. All the things we hear far too often. Indeed, students should be ashamed of saying these things, whereas, currently, they almost say them with pride - as if it's cool to say that they're not very good at it (Mathematics). To put it in context, people are generally ashamed of not being able to read or write and will often say nothing and hide this fact. Then why do we (the general 'we') feel ok to say we're not very good at Mathematics?
I ran a revision session to our Y11 parents last week. The session was aimed at how they can be supporting their child/ren with their Mathematics GCSE revision. After I had covered all of the various ways they can revise for their Mathematics exams and how they should be revising, I mentioned a few other bits of advice. One such piece was to be positive about their Mathematics exam!
Far too often I hear at parents' evenings that parents can't help their child/ren with their Mathematics homework as 'they haven't got a clue', or 'were never very good at Maths at school'. I asked them therefore, whilst understanding that they may not have had a good experience of Mathematics themselves, to be as positive about it as they could. Encourage their child/ren, ask them questions about what they've done, how they've done it, was there anything they could do to check their answer/s, had they looked the question/topic up on the Internet etc, etc. Rather than just going 'oh well, do the best you can'.
I think I want to approach my assemblies with the same sort of tone. Trying to encourage the students to take the 'growth mindset' approach rather than just believing/accepting that they might not be good at Mathematics and therefore giving up altogether.
I also want to highlight good practice from the students themselves. I plan to get some of my students, and other students that my colleagues teach, on board to showcase the good work that is being done. Ideally I'd want them to stand up whilst I talk about the things they've done, or allow me to show their exercise book/work they've produced on the screen - all with an aim of being positive about the Mathematics we are doing at our school, that all it requires is, perhaps, a change in attitude and that they are all capable of doing well with their Mathematics.
I've led a few assemblies this year when standing in for our head of year and so am looking forward to, what I'll now be calling, 'assembly week'. If any Mathematics teachers have given a similar assembly to the students in their schools I'd love to hear what you did/showed etc. Tweet me @mrprcollins or comment below.