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Effective Primary School Maths Intervention

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2011-10-07 21:57:33     
Article by Alan Anderson

Intervention for children struggling in maths is a key topic for teachers across the UK. How can we best define maths intervention? Which intervention programmes meet with greatest success? This article will give an introduction to maths intervention, and highlight the reasoning behind effective maths intervention resources. I am indebted to Primary Mathematics author and adviser Peter Clarke for the ideas in this article.

In an ideal world, maths teaching caters for children who are performing both above and below expectations. The Primary National Strategy calls this "Wave 1" intervention, the inclusion of all children in whole-class teaching.

Sometimes, a different approach is required to help children reach expectations for their age group. This usually involves specific guidance to individuals and smaller groups. The Primary National Strategy calls this "Wave 2" and "Wave 3" intervention. Wave 2 refers to intervention for short periods of time directed at small groups of children performing slightly below expectations. "Wave 3" refers to further assistance for children with specific educational needs when Waves 1 and 2 have not succeeded.

Research by Ann Dowker in "What works for children with mathematical difficulties?" suggests that maths intervention, when targeted, can significantly impact child performance.

Some of her observations include:

1) Children with difficulties in Mathematics can be most helped by intervention at an individual level.

2) Success depends more on the frequency and targeting than length of intervention.

3) Identifying a child's specific strengths and weaknesses is key to effective maths intervention.

Taking this into account, Primary Mathematics author and adviser Peter Clarke suggests that the effective intervention programmes will:

" - allow for flexibility so that they can easily be adapted to meet the needs of individual children

- highlight and model key mathematical vocabulary

- use of a variety of models and images - link mathematics to everyday contexts

- integrate and exemplify the use and application of mathematics, including problem solving, communicating and reasoning

- include the use of purposeful games."

Good teaching resources for teaching maths intervention allow the teacher, TA or parent to improve performance in children not reaching expectations for their age group. Some of the best resources are written to specifically cater for "Wave 2" and "Wave 3" maths support.

Further, great maths intervention resources will..

1) Make maths fun with using games and discussion to overcome barriers to learning.

2) Offer comprehensive TA support, allowing the teacher to continue with whole-class teaching

3) Identify where understanding has broken down by tracking back through the objectives of previous years.

4) Offer opportunities for Teaching, Practise, Applying and Assessing.

When helping pupils struggling in Maths, great resources can often make a huge difference. Keep in mind the suggestions above to make the right choice.

Specialized in: School Maths - Education
URL: http://www.exclusivethesis.com
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