What Constitutes Effective Practice In Secondary (KS4 Mathematics Teaching Case Study

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What constitutes effective practice in Secondary (KS3/KS4) Mathematics teaching?

“It is noble to teach oneself; it is still nobler to teach others.” -- Mark Twain

“Mathematics is a more powerful instrument of knowledge than any other that has been bequeathed to us by human agency.” -- René Descartes

In the ‘good old days’ the emphasis was on “the three Rs: reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic”.x More recent developments have emphasized the core of literacy (“the ability to read, view, write, design, speak and listen in a way that allows us to communicate effectively and to make sense of the world.”x) and numeracy (being able “to confidently and effectively use mathematics to meet the everyday demands of life”x).

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Where is Skinner’s rattus wakefieldus3 eager to press my educational levers for a bite-size Snickers or a gold star?”

“Better you forget the educational theorists, and concentrate upon the school’s disciplinary policy!” She responded, pragmatically. “With zero tolerance.” She added, helpfully (although, perhaps, if you know Kurtz, not necessarily). Apparently, I must “strike down”x, if not “with great vengeance and furious anger”x, then at least with a stern word and an hour in the Behaviour for Learning Group (BLG).

“Lord, where have I found myself?” I mused. It is a secondary school, with less than 900 pupils, in a small Yorkshire town of less than 50,000 souls. It has several fine new buildings which give rise to some optimism, until one discovers they result from the student arsonists who loathe the school so much that they repeatedly raze it to the ground. My feelings of dread are compounded when I see that the aforementioned BLG is the same size as the science block. However, my optimism is partially restored by a hearty breakfast, and perusing Oftsted’s7 recent report which rates it “good”7, and notes that “given students’ low starting points, they make excellent progress.”7 They applaud the school’s motto: “striving for
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The town is situated in a zone of significant socio-economic deprivation, with a large part of the school’s immediate catchment area considered to be among the most deprived areas (in the first or second decile5) in the UK. Accordingly, a substantial percentage (over 50% qualify for free school meals4) of its pupils come from economically- and educationally-challenged homes, and it suffers from persistent absence rates almost 250%4 of the national average. The average household income for most of the area is a meager £500 or so per weekx, barely enough for a gentleman such as myself to employ a Polish manservant; it seems that in my new career, I will have to start scrubbing my own clothes and bringing my own lunchtime

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