My career began as a high school mathematics teacher and from quite early on I was interested in the process of how students learn mathematics. I enjoyed the challenge of working with students who found learning mathematics difficult and it was through experimenting with ways of teaching them that I realized the importance of good resources. At that time there were none that suited my needs and so I began writing my own. Soon after this I teamed up with Kathy Catley who had began writing resources for New Zealand secondary pupils. During the next few years we completed a series for the secondary school in New Zealand and later wrote a very successful series for ages 11 to 16 in Britain. When Kathy retired I initially wrote a series for low achievers in Britain. During this time I was also involved in setting up a learning support service at Christchurch Polytechnic. I became further interested in how people learn, their differing learning styles and the barriers to learning. Again I was able to experiment with ways of teaching mathematics. I had three children of my own at primary school at the time and became aware that primary teachers had a huge workload coming to grips with many new curriculum areas all in the space of a few years. I had a firm conviction that mathematics could be learned and enjoyed by all students regardless of their ability and that good resources played a vital part in this. The National Curriculum Mathematics primary series (Levels 2 to 4) was written during this time (1994 to 2000).
Throughout the world teaching mathematics became more focused on teaching mental strategies in Number and Algebra and many countries introduced Numeracy Projects. I was very interested in this methodology and wrote a successful series for the Numeracy Framework in Britain (Framework Mathematics), followed by one for the Numeracy Framework in Australia and most recently for the New Zealand Number Framework (New Zealand Curriculum Mathematics (stages 4 to 7).
My hope is that these latest resources that we have created (New Zealand Curriculum Mathematics – Connecting all stands) make both pupils' and teachers' experiences of learning and teaching mathematics enjoyable and rewarding. We are always keen to receive feedback both positive and negative so that we can improve any further resources.
During my years of teaching as both a mathematics teacher in secondary schools and a primary teacher in Britain and New Zealand I have become aware of the varied ways in which students learn. In my mathematics teaching I strove to provide students with learning environments and resources that would enhance their learning. I was always cognisant of the diversity of abilities and mathematical understanding of the students in my class.
Teacher workload is a constant concern for those in the education sector and finding resources that promote clear mathematical thinking and problem solving skills can be very time consuming. My aim in writing for the Numeracy Project is to assist teachers by providing them with a range of activities that can be used in a variety of different contexts of their choosing.
Students will be able to engage in activities that use real life information presented in diverse ways aimed at their level of understanding. In my experience primary age pupils who are confident in their mathematical knowledge are better prepared to transition into secondary education ready to face new challenges in mathematics at this level.
Caxton Educational Ltd
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