Comments on Mindset Maths

Friday 10 May

In the last edition of Faith Matters (27 March, 2019), we shared with you our excitement over the improvement shown in Maths in Year 6 through their participation in the Mindset Maths Program in 2018. In 2019, all of our students have been participating in the Mindset Maths Program. While it’s too soon to analyse data around the impact the program is having on student achievement in Maths this year across all year levels, the impressions and reflections of our students, teachers and a parent are encouraging.

Students

“Sometimes we get to work with a partner, I get to help someone else. I learn more when I explain it to someone else.”

“I like the class discussions as I can see things being solved in different ways - not just one way.”

“We could work in a group but complete our assessment individually. We actually get to collaborate and share ideas before we have to do our own assessment.”

“Instead of teaching us how to do it, they get us to grapple on a task in a group. I like this because I can understand the teaching more when we get to it because it makes more sense to me. They let us try on our own before teaching us how to do it... It’s fun and challenging and you can grapple with friends. We also show lots of teamwork and responsibility when we’re grappling in a group and I like how we combine our school values with the tasks.”

“I prefer to learn within a project because we can use all different types of Maths strategies to solve the same problem and the problems are more real life.”

“In the other years, we did Maths separately and didn’t learn together. We sat in desks and listened to the teacher. Now you connect the Maths to the other subjects and we do it as a collaborative task. It’s not as hard, like in exam conditions. Tests can be stressful and some kids don’t do well in stress so they don’t get the grades they deserve.”

“I love the number talks. The teachers put an algorithm on the board, addition, or multiplication or whatever. Then they give you time to work it out on paper and then they ask you about your strategy. It’s really fun to see the ways different kids solve the problems and they teach us new strategies that can help us when we have problems.”

“I feel more confident with the way it is being taught because it’s a lot more fun and a lot less stressful. If you make a mistake, the teachers help you and you can learn from your mistake.”

Teachers

“The big advantage is that there is a lot more collaboration with students of different abilities. The benefit is that some of the students that might struggle in some areas have more mentors to work alongside them. They encourage them to lift and to see things from a different point of view. The mentors also learn at higher and higher levels as they explain the concepts to others in their group. The dialogue is fantastic and I’ve seen kids improve greatly in a short amount of time just for that reason.”

“The children are putting themselves out there more. In previous years they were more insular and less likely to take risks.”

“There is a lot of explicit teaching that happens within each gateway in Maths. Each gateway focuses on learning one or two Maths concepts. My students have the opportunity to develop their understanding in one concept deeply instead of moving from concept to concept too quickly. I’ve found that the students are making better connections because they have already grappled with the concepts during a collaborative task before we explicitly teach them. This motivates them as they can see the purpose behind the learning. The grappling is supportive because it’s in groups, but it is also developing grit and resilience within the students as they lean into the struggle. They then get feedforward for improvement that they can use when they are tackling the independent task at the end of each gateway.”

“The kids love the number talks because they have the opportunity to see that Maths is creative and the problems can be solved in lots of ways. It also gives them an opportunity to visually represent how they are solving problems. It’s a time when students are learning that their mistakes are an opportunity to learn and grow. They are excited to show their misunderstanding and even more excited to show how this leads to new learning and a mastery of the concept. The number talks happen at the beginning of every Maths lesson so the students are really developing their number fluency and facts.”

Parents

“Our son has just come into his own with the new Maths structure. I saw first-hand the other day how fantastic the new setup is working because he is working with kids who are of a higher calibre in Maths; he is surrounded by mentors. In particular, I saw one really awesome working relationship he has with another boy in the class. They push each other and challenge each other and it was amazing to see.”

“Thank you so much for changing the Maths structure and moving away from streamlining Maths classes. We hope that the school never goes back to the old way of teaching Maths again. We have seen such a change in our son and it has had such a positive and happy impact on our family so we are just thrilled.”

Workshops to learn more about Mindset Maths will be offered later in the year, both within school hours and during the evenings You will be notified of dates and times as well as the registration process in mid-Term 2.

- Rebecca McConnell, Director of Learning and Innovation