As a Teacher I was often asked by parents; “how is my child going in maths? I was never good at it so I want to know how they are doing”. I was surprised how often I heard those words…”I was never good at maths.” To be honest, I said it myself. There seems to be a negative stigma associated with maths, you’re either considered ‘good at it’ or you’re not. It’s often an internal assessment, it seems to be one of those areas in life that people are either confident in or even the thought of solving an equation makes them anxious. Maths is often misunderstood though. When undertaking professional development at my school the year I was pregnant I learnt to think about maths differently. Rather than there being a problem that needed to be solved with one specific method, I was taught to ask open ended questions and allow my students to learn through discovery. It sounds so simple now looking back- but it’s often the case, we think we must get to an answer using one method and we forget that children learn differently, they bring their own knowledge and skills to the table, even as toddlers and they can actually teach us different ways to learn.
So as the autumn leaves begin to fall in Melbourne town, we are outside all rugged up, exploring. Today we are counting the leaves one by one and moving as we count to encourage one to one correspondence. I’ve learnt that Carter needs to be moving and preferably outdoors (typical boy) so I’m learning what works for him and teaching accordingly. At his age it also needs to be quick teaching points so I incorporate some open ended teaching questions into whatever activity we might already be doing. It’s hands on and engaging and he takes ownership. He’s learning because he is discovering it all himself, and that’s where the authentic learning really happens.