School planning for mathematics

School planning - part 2

Mathematical language and methodologies

A common teaching approach to areas of difficulty such as subtraction, multiplication or fractions is very important in ensuring continuity and consistency. A school policy on such areas can be of great assistance to teachers transferring from one class to another or to long-term substitutes. This policy can be communicated to parents so that they can help children constructively with homework. Mathematics is a highly structured subject, and it is essential to have a solid foundation before moving from one level to another. Extension work on a unit or throughout several unit s is encouraged rather than a strictly vertical progression through a topic.

Mathematics can be viewed as a language in itself with its own vocabulary and grammar. It must be spoken before being read and read before being written. Some everyday words take on new meanings when used in mathematics and can cause confusion for children, for example odd, count and difference.

Assessment and record-keeping

Assessment and record-keeping are important factors in documenting the continuity of a child’s progress. All the strands of the mathematics programme should be assessed. Your school should have a common policy on the format of and terminology used in record sheets. In addressing individual differences the school must have a policy on assessment, remediation and referral.

The manageability of assessment tools and the storage of information should be addressed at school level. Information arising from assessment must be treated with confidentiality. Consideration should also be given to the frequency of delivery of tests.

Encouraging children to use self assessment techniques can enhance their enjoyment of the subject and make them more active participants in their learning. This can be achieved by asking them to look at how they arrived at a solution and verbalising how they can use this information in the future.

Organisational planning

Organisational planning in mathematics involves the whole school community. Planning should consider, for example resource requirements, homework policy and home-school links. Consultation with parents and the board of management is important for the successful implementation of this curriculum, as is discussion of issues that arise from curriculum planning in mathematics. Such planning should contribute to the overall school plan which will be reviewed by the board of management. The board, within the resources available to it, will provide support for the development and implementation of the school plan.