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Learning Alongside My Students

Maths was never Rebecca Johns’ strong point, but the problem-solving and structured classroom discussions of ACoM have helped her learn and grow alongside her students.

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Hi everyone,

This is Rebecca Johns and I’m a year 3 teacher at Oakwood Primary School.

I have thoroughly enjoyed participating in the Champions of Maths program so far. I am one of those people who Maths doesn’t come easily too, which means unfortunately I am a teacher that brings their own perceptions to teaching maths. Throughout my teaching degree, I have worked hard to connect with the Mathematics curriculum and ensure that I approach Maths teaching with a positive outlook. I put my hand up for this opportunity knowing that it would push me out of my comfort zone and help me grow as an educator.

I was very intrigued by the program and the emphasis it gave to student input. Our school has a strong focus on inquiry and allowing students to drive their own learning. I felt that the problem-solving lesson and the structured classroom discussion brought a new element of learning to my Mathematics lessons. The use of problem-solving lessons would help in the transfer of skills, another focus of our schools blended pedagogy.

I love to learn alongside my students and engage in their exploration of the world around them. The problem-solving element of the Champions of Maths program is a great opportunity for that. It allows me to see my students understanding and learning process as they document it using the stand-up whiteboards working in their random groups. Students can use this method to explore their understanding, make their thinking visible and communicate their answers to their peers.

The structure of the program is extremely supportive for teachers to feel confident in the delivery of the lesson. The structure ensures that the important elements of the lesson are followed in order to see the most success for student learning. The whole class discussion is extremely powerful and is something I hadn’t made space for in my teaching before now. While I consistently use questioning and discussion in other learning areas, I hadn’t noticed the value of this in mathematics lessons. However even after only a few sessions my student’s ability to share, articulate and elaborate on their thinking is extremely powerful.

Planning for student’s responses is a key aspect of the lesson planning cycle and something I haven’t actively engaged with in my Mathematics planning before. Predicting the responses of students means that you can prepare how you will respond to all of the students understanding during the explore faze. Having this thinking time before the activity, allows me to connect on a deeper level with the maths understanding. As I am also learning alongside the students, I have enjoyed thinking critically about my students’ responses. Preparing the responses to student answers also helps your confidence when engaged in conversations about the thinking.

I have loved being a part of the program thus far. I have learnt more than I care to admit and am excited about continuing this journey as I slowly build my self-confidence as a Maths Teacher.


Find out more about the Alcoa Maths Enrichment Program or read the next article.


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