When does learning stop?
For many, the superficial answer to that is when they walk away from the school gates for the last time. Well, that is what they think they think… However, when they start a new job and have to get up to speed with new systems or technology or terminology, they would consequently find that they are actually still learning. Learning doesn’t need to take place in a school or college or even in an official capacity.
As educators, we are much more aware of the need to be developing life long learning ourselves and for our pupils and their families, and how beneficial it is to have an open mindset towards learning and change.
That is one reason why at the ripe old age of 51 I still operate by the motto of ‘every day is a school day’ and not just because I am teaching children every day, but because I love learning new things myself. I did my second degree at the beginning of my thirties and am currently training to become an accredited Dyscalculia Assessor. I am hungry to want to know more and understand more.
Taking the time to soak up and take on board any new educational research I can find, is something I strive to do regularly. But why would I bother? I am a qualified teacher with decades of experience, so surely I know a lot already? Well, yes, I do, and I know that my years of experience have helped me continuously hone how and why I teach in the way I do. Nevertheless, research is always evolving, and new innovative techniques are being developed all the time. Is my teaching even better for me adding these techniques into my repertoire? You bet it is!
Yesterday I attended another of the brilliant virtual conferences run by La Salle Education (Complete Maths). https://completemaths.com/mathsconf/mini This one was just a mini-conference of 3 hours of Maths CPD with 16 options to choose from. Wonderfully diverse topics matter was on offer ranging from those aimed at the very youngest learning in Primary to those reaching for the stars in A-Level Further Maths.
I obviously am interested in gaining more insight into the struggling learners and how best to teach and support them.
My first session was Statistics in Primary Maths and why it matters by Lisa Coe. @Elsie2110 A summary of her research, in a new advisory role, about how best to teach the curriculum’s statistics elements. She had many insightful nuggets of the pros and cons of separating statistics into standalone lessons. The more she has researched, the more she is convinced that instead of insular lessons, we should be teaching statistics in a fully integrated and joined-up way to improve understanding of statistics and number sense.
My second session was with Atul Rana https://twitter.com/atulrana who I know through Tutoring forums on Facebook. This was Atul’s second time presenting to a La Salle conference, and the second time I had selected to watch his webinar. Atul is a real trailblazer for quality online tuition and had been the source of much help to me personally in March 2020 when I decided to push ahead and also go fully online forever.
His talk this time was Equals, Equality and Equations. He used virtual manipulatives to explore the difference and to examine the question -‘ what do pupils think the equals sign means?’ As always Atul provided so much food for thought for all attendees and much that we can take forward and use with our own pupils.
My final session was with Amy How who I always think of as Queen of the Rekenrek. https://www.rekenrek101.com/ https://twitter.com/rekenrek101 Her talk was called What the heck is a Rekenrek? You may well be wondering that too. I love Rekenreks and how intuitive they are to teach so many aspects of number work in a hands-on and visual way. Whilst I already know about them and use them, Amy was able to add more depth and passion, encouraging us all to utilise them even more to benefit our pupils.
I can’t wait until #mathsconf25 on 13/3/21 for a full day of Maths CPD…
In the meantime, every day is for learning!
What have you been learning about this week?