Thursday, October 06, 2005

The one who has the shoe on

It is important that students bring a certain ragamuffin, barefoot irreverence to their studies; they are not here to worship what is known, but to question it. - Jacob Bronowski

The IMPACT program, led by David Clarke, required pupils to give written responses fortnightly to eight questions.
  1. What was the best thing to happen in Maths during the past two weeks?
  2. Write down one new problem which you now can do.
  3. What would you most like more help with?
  4. What is the biggest worry affecting your work in Maths at the moment?
  5. Write down the most important thing you have learnt in Maths during the last two weeks.
  6. Write down one particular problem which you still find difficult.
  7. How do you feel in Maths classes at the moment? (Circle the words which apply to you.)
    A. Interested B. Relaxed C. Worried D. Successful E. Confused F. Clever G. Happy H. Bored I. Rushed J. (Write down one word of your own)
  8. How could we improve Maths classes?
Sample answers to each question:
  1. We worked hard and learnt.
  2. I can't do any problems but I can now do triangles.
  3. Fractions but the teacher thinks I know them.
  4. Sometimes I'm a bit unsure where to put the decimal point.
  5. I'm stupid in class.
  6. Algebra a bit, but because I don't understand why we don't use numbers. It would be simpler.
  7. Relaxed. Bored. I feel relaxed because I'm bored.
  8. Have less work and more learning.
Source: The Interactive Monitoring of Children's Learning of Mathematics, David Clarke, For the Learning of Mathematics, Feb 1987.

If you are a teacher, give these questions to your students. It is suggested that you ask students to write their names, but that their answers will be treated in confidence. If you are a student you are welcome to put your answers in a comment below.

It is all too seldom that students are asked how they feel about their math life. However, in some countries the students have to evaluate their school life once a year via the Internet.


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