Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Poll

I've added a new poll. The last poll clearly showed that maths is the greatest because calculus rocks, closely followed by 'because English teachers are all nuts' and 'you have to be loony to teach science'.

A more serious one this time.. are any of the new maths courses an improvement on the old courses? I've enjoyed teaching 3AB MAT/MAS but have nothing to compare it to. The poll is on the left hand side.


  1. Your poll does not allow to select any particular course that is NOT as good as the WSA course.
    e.g 1B - 1E are as boring as batshit for the able kids who want to do a maths course but do NOT want one with a formal algebra course.
    2A - 2D are again just a repeat of year 10 work so again able year 10 students who do NOT need a high level of maths are bored. I would say the cohorts of kids I have just identified are the largest group of 'average' maths studenst and the OLD BOFFINS who have designed these courses as watered down 'academic/pure' maths course have successfully aliented the bulk of kids who want to do maths in the next 3 years once the word is out on the street.
    It is just so so sad these old traditionalists did not consider what the kids need for the future and only looked at what they wanted to teach the kids.

    Look at the MAWA text books for stage 1 course an insult to an 'average' non university bound kid (the majority).

    Yes I have taught maths for over 30 years and always thought the Curriculum Council had a death wish for maths education in WA. My fears that they have succeeded have been born out by student comment this year.

    In the south west I am comforted by the fact that at association meetings most etachers are ignoring the course outlines and trying to give the kids some problem solving and meaningful maths.

    Perhaps you could adapt your poll
    So sad so sad but I guess

  2. 1B-1E may be boring as batshit... but they sure are a whole heap better than MwM or MIPS (which killed my ESL kids). I can't agree more that the MAWA texts are garbage.. we've been using Workable maths (which has it's own problems too.)

    If uni bound students would find 2A-2D boring why not do 2CD/3AB?? It has a statistics component and tunes up their algebra. My yr 11's have been doing MAS have loved it for the thinkiness of it.. and wouldn't have been able to do any vectors or calculus under the old intro Calc/G&T model as they would have been thrown into foundations/discrete and then scaled to death.

    I think the pathway for WSA kids is out of maths and into applied subjects.. Kids destined for the shed are being given specific implementations of 1BC that focus on trade aspects - that take away the boring aspect by applying it directly to tasks.

    I wanted to phrase the poll positively.. I thought maths teachers may have had a chuckle at the hidden vote - if you don't vote for NCOS subjects ... you're saying they're the same or worse (effectively saying the course isn't better - questioning why was it changed!!!).

    Thanks for the comment!!!

  3. Re 1BC We had a great subject called Vocational maths which was designed about 10 years ago but was hung out to dry by the CC ("Huge Alguire") and never improved or modified. In fact he never understood what the kids needed.He left it as a 1 semester course and nothing to go onto in year 12 for far too long and now it is dead in WA until competency based and skill based dry TAFE units take over. It is the VOC course that the 1BCDE should have been modelled on. In our school (a large country high) Voc maths was the most popular and growing maths subject. I can't see any of the new courses attracting any more than their traditional clientele. This is my first year of teaching a 'REAL' maths course for over 20 years and it is just a "next page in the text book" affair repeat of year 10 work at stage 2. Just get it covered B4 the exam; as you show in your latest comment. Shows the courses have NOT improved or taken kids into account (only uni's who in turn do not make maths a pre-requisite). Combined 11/12 classes and small group moderation is going to be a nightmare throughout the state, but CC has no solution other than to invoke outdated policy.
    I LOVED MIP and MWM but yes ESL and boys struggled but then they could get number skills from applied situations in Voc maths. I guess the wheel will turn around in 10 years again. My opinion is too many 'traditional' thinking stereotyped academic maths teachers have failed the majority of kids who need maths for living not for the esoteric study of maths (an ideal but ....) or tertiary requirement. Yes those kids need to be catered for but not at the expense of the majority. We'll see it again in 10 years - I am convinced. OR sooner when the Govt comes clean and lets us know their agenda is to have the 1970's Victorian model of 2 tiered secondary schools. Academic (Independent Govt) and some form of trade school. As per Tasmania is heading. Where will the absolutely fantastic problem solving skills of the MIP MWM courses fit then? These courses were great but were taken by the wrong kids. Mathematically able students could (and did) really get their teeth into some real extension maths problem solving. The downfall of the courses was traditional thinking maths teachers who thought the same way as they were taught at school. People like you with trade experience at the lower level are needed in the maths classroom - just as you appear to be doing a good jhob in the academic maths classes.

    Ok back to more important matters coping with LS reporting without actually knowing what the kids report will look like till about this time of the year when it is too late to collect extra data.

  4. Some of my favourite successes were in MIPs and MwM - kids that had never passed maths gained B's and had the time to investigate mathematical concepts... but it was a frustrating course to teach - applied mathematics requires a baseline level of skill - that MwM students rarely had.

    I am experiencing the small group moderation issue - we have a number of combined yr 11/12 maths classes - and the ongoing issue of what do with the year 11's after year 12 exams. The overhead of supporting SIDE students (in 2CD MAS especially) shouldn't be underestimated or the lopsided timetables that workplace learning students cause.

    There have been some positives to look out for - if competent students are put in 3AB MAT in year 11, they now have three options in year 12 if timetabling is done right - 2CD (E's and D's), repeat 3AB (C's low B's)or go on to 3CD (high B's and A's).

    Small schools can offer a wider range of courses in mathematics - we have everything from 1A MAT to 3CD MAS next year in a school of 450 (but that required nearly all of them having an option to combine yr 10/11/12.

    There are some options for delivering new courses - I'm working on a low ability 1B course, completed over two years with disaffected students. Basically a primary course with loads of alternate assessment and tasks - maybe this could be a way to deliver VOC courses again but under the auspice of 1B?


Hi, thanks for leaving a comment.. it's good to hear what people think!