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“The very word – maths – can evoke a lot of emotion, and much of that emotion is wrapped up in anxiety. Anxiety from the pupils who know they needs this golden ticket – this maths GCSE – but also anxiety from parents who often have negative feelings about maths themselves from their own childhood experience… they perhaps weren’t taught particularly well. Time and time again I hear parents and even teachers say to kids, ‘I hated maths when I was at school.’ If you can do one thing to help improve your child’s maths it would be to not pass on your negativity and anxiety. It’s possibly the single biggest thing holding our children back.”
Naomi Sani, maths teacher, consultant and author
I’m really excited to share the second in our Expert Help video series. I talk to Naomi Sani, highly experienced maths teacher and member of The Centre for Innovation in Mathematics Teaching, University of Plymouth. Also a consultant for the Department for Education and author of How to do Maths so your Children Can Too: The essential parents' guide, Naomi is a fantastic advocate for changing the way we feel about maths. She’s helped me help my own children with their primary school SATs by showing me ways to bring maths teaching to life. As an English Literature graduate who left the subject behind many years ago, I never imagined I could get a buzz from solving maths problems with my sons. But I do!
Naomi talks about ways to put the positive back in to maths learning, and discusses why this is especially important for girls.
WATCH 0.00 - 11.15: 'Do this one simple thing to transform your child's maths.'
Naomi also talks about the Core Maths programme, which she helped create, the new course for those who want to keep up their valuable maths skills post-16 but are not planning to take AS or A-level mathematics*. It’s been heralded at the maths exam for ‘real-life’ and highlights skills such as how to split a restaurant bill and work our mortgage repayments.
WATCH: 11.15 - 26.04: An introduction to Core Maths for parents
* This video was first recorded in 2014 when Core Maths was being piloted in English schools. The programme is now in place. Find out more about Core Maths here.
The Maths Factor (age 4-11)
A super easy-to-use site, created by Carol Vorderman, The Maths Factor promises to boost your child's confidence in maths in 30 days – and it really delivers. The key is that there are a range of games and ways to practice. So if your child doesn't 'get' one method; try another. Plus there's a whole host of helpful videos that explain the methodology of primary maths problems for parents. Aimed at 4-11 years olds, it's subscription based but new users can try for a month for just £1. Now, that's the kind of maths we love!
Primary school jargon buster
This is a great maths language jargon buster from the excellent Oxford Owl site. Did you know there is such a thing as a maths dictionary? Some of the reasons why parents struggle to help their children with maths is because the language has changed: our children do chunking rather than dividing and factor families and number squares rule. This jargon buster can be a life saver.
Stepping up to secondary
BBC Bitesize really does manage to break subject down in to manageable chunks and is a great resource to introduce to Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4 pupils. Well-designed and easy to understand. Highly recommended home help.