Saturday, 5 July 2014

The Perfect Maths Lesson - A review


This is my first experience of the 'Perfect Lesson' series from Jackie Beere and friends and to me the title has a lot to live up to!  I needn't have worried.  Straight from the start Ian gives compelling and motivating reasons for learning, not just learning maths, but any learning and, particularly importantly, how to deal with the ultimate question 'why are we learning this?'.  He frames the learning and remaining content of the book within the context of the modern, 'flat' world, which every conscientious teacher is desperately trying to give their learners an advantage in.  Now I'm hooked.

I have to admit that I read the rest of the book with enthusiasm even though it is about maths!  Ian delivers an excellent balance of theory and context with hundreds (well, it seemed like hundreds.  I haven't actually counted them) of practical examples that any teacher can take into a classroom tomorrow.  From engaging and challenging learners, including some great ideas for using apparatus, through to chilli heat rated activities to increase independence, the wealth of thought provoking activities makes this book a must have in any staff room.  There is a hugely important chapter on emotional connections with learners and the end of chapter checklists act as quick reminders and useful pointers.

So will this book mean you deliver the perfect maths lesson?  Personally I don't think any book, no matter how good, but this one will provide you with a whole toolbox of strategies and ideas that cannot fail to improve the learning in your lessons.  And here's the important bit; any learning could be improved by using this book.  The underlying principles, with a bit of un-maths tweaking, will have a direct on your teaching and, although the book has a secondary 'flavour', these can be as equally applied to the primary phase.

In sum-mary (I tried really hard to resist a number of maths puns!), if you're looking for easily accessible ideas and strategies to refresh your teaching, whether in maths or other curriculum areas, this book will be an excellent addition to your collection.  It's a quick and easy read that you can dive into any point and pull out a gem...and who knows, maybe that will be the one that secures the 'outstanding' judgement - or better still, gives your learners the advantage in the real world!

Now I'm off to look at the rest of the perfect lesson series...!