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Teaching children how to use language to solve maths problems

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Teaching children how to use language to solve maths problems * * * * Key issue addressed by the study This British study looked at effective ways of using discussion ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Teaching children how to use language to solve maths problems


1
Teaching children how to use language to solve
maths problems
2
Key issue addressed by the study
  • This British study looked at effective ways of
    using discussion among Year 5 pupils to improve
    teaching of mathematics and science
  • The study builds on earlier research which showed
    that exploratory talk led to individual
    improvements in pupils test results

3
What did the researchers discover about teaching
mathematics?
  • When teachers used thinking together lessons it
    led to an increase of 44 in standardised tests
    results
  • By comparison, children whose teachers carried on
    normal teaching increased their test results, on
    average, by 26

4
What did the researchers discover about the
teachers role in mathematics discussions?
  • When teachers were explicit with children about
    how to use language for reasoning as a group, the
    children
  • learnt better ways of thinking collectively
  • improved their individual thinking skills

5
What did the thinking together programme
consist of?
  • The thinking together programme was made up of
    12 lessons
  • The first five raised the childrens awareness of
    how talk can be used for group work
  • The next seven helped children apply these skills
    in learning mathematics

6
How were the thinking together lessons
arranged?
  • Each lesson was split into three sections
  • a teacher led, whole class introduction
  • a group discussion activity
  • a whole class session to share ideas and reflect
    in the lesson

7
What techniques did teachers use to encourage
discussion?
  • Whole class discussion sometimes involved simple
    techniques, such as
  • allowing children to lead discussion
  • using reasoning words, e.g. what, how, if
    and why
  • ensuring all children took part

8
Example of a teacher helping pupils reflect on
discussion for learning
  • Teacher So if I walk around the classroom while
    everybody is talking together in their groups I
    wonder what kind of things might I hear people
    saying?
  • Asif What do you think?
  • Teacher Thats a good one. Why is that an
    important question, Carl?
  • Carl Because you ask someone else their opinion.

9
What training helped teachers to implement group
discussion?
  • Whole class discussion only worked well when
    teachers received effective training. This
    consisted of
  • discussing underlying principles
  • engaging in, and reflecting on, problem solving
    activities
  • analysing video recordings of childrens group
    discussions

10
Ensuring all children participate
  • A key factor for success in group discussion was
    impressing on children the importance of ground
    rules, otherwise
  • some children dominated while others were quiet
  • discussion led to ignoring the task at hand

11
How was the study designed?
  • 230 Year 5 pupils (109 involved in programme, 121
    in control group)
  • Improvements measured over two years using
  • Key Stage 2 national results
  • analysis of teachers interactions with pupils
  • analysis of childrens talk in class


12
How can teachers use the evidence in this study?
  • There is significant evidence that class
    discussion and group work improved pupils maths
    skills, but if these classes are not well
    organised then discussion may turn into unfocused
    talk on unrelated subjects
  • Can you think of occasions when group discussion
    was going well and others when pupils have gone
    off topic or worked in an unfocused way?
  • What do you think makes the difference?

13
How can school leaders use the evidence in this
study?
  • In order to develop and maintain these skills,
    the teachers required additional training.
    Evidence from the control groups made it clear
    that those without the right professional
    development were less successful and their pupils
    made less progress
  • What opportunities can you see for developing
    teachers skills in the use of group activity?
  • Are there staff in your school or who implement
    effective group work who could model this
    practice?

14
Follow-up reading
  • Study reference Mercer N Sams C (2006)
    Teaching Children How to Use Language to Solve
    Maths Problems. In Language Education 20 (6)
    pp. 507-528
  • Summary available at http//www.standards.dfes.go
    v.uk/research/themes/science/language_science/

15
Feedback
  • Did you find this useful?
  • What did you like?
  • What didnt you like?
  • Any feedback on this Research Bite
  • would be much appreciated. Please email
  • your feedback to
  • research.summaries_at_dcsf.gsi.gov.uk
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