chapter  3
12 Pages

Mathematics and Mentoring

Myinterestinwhatmathematicsmightbehasdevelopedoverthelastdecade. Ispentseveralyearsasanadvisoryteacherworkingwithteachersinboth secondaryandprimaryschools.Iwasoftenaskedtoworkwithteacherstotry outcurriculummaterialsorwaysofteachingmathematics.Thisissimilarin manyrespectstoasubjectmentor'swork.WhenIwasaclassteacherithad notreallycrossedmymindthatteachershaddifferentideasastowhatmathematicsmightbe.AsIchattedwithteachersduringthecourseofmyadvisorf workIbecameawarethatwewerenotalwaystalkingfromthesameviewpoint.Irecalldiscussingsubtractionwithateacherandsuggestingthatwe askedthepupilshowtheyhadtriedtofindtheanswertosomethinglike412187.Theteacherlookedatmeinasomewhatpuzzledwayandrepliedthat shedidnotthinkthatwasagoodideaassheonlywantedpupilstodosuch calculations'usingtherightmethod'.Ialsorememberanotherincidentin whichateacherwasnotkeenthatacolleagueandIallowpupilstodrawany regularshapeonthesideofaright-angledtriangleasanintroductiontothe theoremofPythagoras.Hethoughtitwasmuchsimplerjusttotellthemthe theoremandletthemdoexamples.Hefeltitwouldbeawasteoftimeto exploreanythingotherthan'therightshape'(i.e.asquare).