Maths ‘adds up to higher earnings’
Children who are good at maths at the age of 10 are earning more than other similar children by the time they are 30, a study has found.
See link here
This is an unsurprising, though devastating, result.
Our “race to the middle” culture which has been brought about by the measure of success in secondary schools being a broad count of A* – C grades, has unfortunately encouraged teachers to ignore their brightest students, and focus instead on those on the D/C border.
Like a government that might target it’s policies at marginal constituencies, teachers have targeted the “marginal’ students at the detriment of those children who are sure-fire C’s, B’s or A’s, but who are not yet fulfilling their potential.
Now that attention is being drawn to this problem, let us hope that it will lead to a shift in government educational policy.
“What has 17,425,170 digits, has sparked a positive flurry of excitement and has little practical value?
The largest known prime number, of course – and it’s like finding a diamond”
Although this article badges itself as a management tip, I would argue that the advice contained is equally, if not more, relevant to the learning process.
Having real self-awareness is better than having self-esteem – if that self-esteem is based on an over-estimation of ourselves. Self-awareness helps us to develop our strengths, and to acknowledge our weaknesses with humility. The self-awareness gives a true sense of what we are capable of.
But the self awareness must be compassionate. Acknowledging weakness does not mean accepting defeat, or labelling ourselves negatively. It is just a starting point, from which we can plan our learning more effectively, and work out the best path to lives that are both fulfilling and enjoyable.
My approach to tuition is weighted heavily towards creating a sense in my students that it is enough to just turn up and try in earnest. Mistakes are a fundamental part of learning. They are the best way to pick up on false assumptions, or misunderstandings, and give tutors and teachers something to work with.
There has been some disagreement in terms of where the UK fits in with other countries for performance in maths. This current report is encouraging in the sense that our position is not as bad as we have suspected it to be.
However, we are still dropping down the international league, which cannot be a good thing. As we are now part of a more globalised economy, it matters more how our children compare with other children in the world. We cannot be content to just consider national statistics, and achievement in the context of our own nation.
It really saddens me when I hear again and again of students being coerced into spending Years 10 and 11 at high school focusing on taking and retaking Maths GCSE in the hopes of getting a grade C and then being ignored by the maths teacher for the rest of their time at school.
While I understand the need to ensure that the quality of education in schools is adequate, bland statistic-gathering does not ensure this. All we have achieved by monitoring the number of A*-C’s at each school, is an urge for teachers to get every child into that target group.
No matter if a student with A* potential achieves only a grade B – the teachers will be more chastised for the E-grade student who was only pulled up to a D.
There are no easy answers, so I won’t pretend to have them. But I do see many children wasting their potential and ruling out future careers, because their teachers have become desensitised through over-bureaucratic teaching assessment methods.
It really is the case that parenting is the true differentiator. If a child’s teachers cannot see his/her potential, then the only hope is for the parents to see it and nuture it.
While I struggle to come to terms with Michael Gove as our Education Minister, I applaud this move wholeheartedly.
I believe that the personal development that students need to undergo between taking GCSE exams to taking A level exams, requires time. It is a nonsense to expect children to gain that maturity of thought by January of Year 12. I am pleased to see a reduction in the number of exams – perhaps the ones that are left can return to having value.