We met Emma Tranter, Second in Maths at Ribblesdale High School, at the beginning of our project. Now, just 5 months on, nearly half of Emma’s low/ middle ability maths group have exceeded their end-of-year targets. We spoke to Emma to find out more.
Year 8 have been the success of the century! Anyone will tell you that middle to lower ability boys can be difficult to engage and motivate. They have been through the Year 6 SATS, come to secondary to be re-assessed and shuffled about. By Year 8 the ambivalence to maths has truly set in.
I was selected to trial LbQ at my school because although I am open to technology in the classroom I am not automatically won over by it. LbQ would have to prove it’s worth and my word it has done that with this Year 8 group.
Engagement is up. Enthusiasm is up. When we ran assessments in February 38% of pupils had reached their end-of-year targets and a staggering 48% have exceeded them. As a result, I have had such a lovely parents evening. The pupils accompany their parents and usually say very little, but this time there were smiles on faces and an eagerness to share their progress. Year 8 were glowing about maths and how much they enjoy it and how well they’re doing. I was filling up. The parents were blown away.
LbQ has changed the way I plan. I think about what I want to cover, see what is on LbQ, pick the bits I want to use and build around that. I will never ask the children to do a 20 minute worksheet without checking on them regularly because I realise now they could spend all that time getting it wrong. Not only is that a waste of valuable time but it’s disheartening for the pupils.
I’ve been able to run LbQ with higher year groups so that they could refresh themselves on the basics. Year 11 mock students were practising basic algebra, Year 10 students ran a question set so I could assess what they already knew about inequalities. I never anticipated running LbQ with Year 10’s and 11’s, yet they love it and now I know exactly how to tackle their teaching going forward.
The best moment happened recently during a careers speech. The visitor opened their talk by asking the class ‘Who enjoys maths?’ and my Year 8 low/ middle ability children put up their hands. It still gives me goose bumps thinking about it. Being a maths teacher is a different experience since LbQ came along – the maths teacher ceases to be the bad guy!