Yesterday morning I woke up fairly early with baby Jessica (there was quite a pretty sunrise however) and I read “Modelling in Maths“, a great blog post by Bruno Reddy (@MrReddyMaths). In this post he discusses what he tries to do “consistently with modelling” in his classroom.
This is a pretty short post but it is packed with useful tips on topics as varied as questioning, example design, structuring of class practise and the isolation of tricky steps before putting steps together. I genuinely think this post should be required reading for trainee teachers (and others really) as it prompts so much critical thinking about your own practise.
It has definitely made me think about where I need to improve with consistency. I try to think carefully about the examples I use and how I structure a lesson but recently it has been all too easy to let things get in the way of this. Having a new baby, observation lessons to think about, data points to complete and all the other associated admin that goes with being a teacher have been too much of a distraction really and this does affect the quality of my lessons. For example, with one of my classes we were looking at the quadratic formula and I know that correctly evaluating the discriminant is often a cause of mistakes, but I didn’t practise this independently first. When I have taught this topic before I have done this step separately before using the whole formula in one go and I know this works better. So, for me, there is no excuse for me not having proceeded in this way – I just let my thinking time before the lesson get distracted by other less important things.
I need to fight against this!!