The one challenge that all teachers and leaders face

  • 3 minute read
  • 14 February 2021

Teachers and leaders face many challenges throughout their career, but one that most educators will encounter and is likely to come up over and over again is the spread of ability. Catering to every student in a class of 28 is difficult, especially when every student is at a different place in their learning continuum. Albeit teachers’ best efforts, some students are slowly left behind, while others are limited as their classwork declines their potential growth rate.  

As the demand for high school and university graduates with competencies in STEM grows, it adds pressure to the school community to keep students engaged in STEM subjects up until year 12. Keeping students, in particular women, studying these fields is becoming increasingly difficult, as students don’t have the luxury of extended time and resources to help them master these subjects. Many students are being pushed through the curriculum never fully understanding what they are doing. This only adds to fixed mindsets and ideas of ‘not being a maths or science person,’ resulting in students eventually completely disengaging and dropping STEM subjects when they get the chance. 

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Image source Maths Pathway Impact Report

Coronavirus has added an extra hurdle in both keeping students excited and relieving anxieties related to subjects such as Maths. The uncertainty of the future and the potential of school shutdowns is likely to make STEM subjects more unattractive. Students may consider whether they can handle learning without the in-person support of teachers and how this may impact their final scores. 

We have carefully curated 5 articles that discuss in depth the effects of the spread of ability and how to overcome these challenges so every student can be successful in their learning journey. 

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Why even the greatest lessons fail

When it comes to the lessons themselves, some certainly go better than others. But are any lessons ever truly successful for 100% the class? Have you ever finished a class feeling confident that you made an impact with every student? READ MORE

The hidden culprit of our declining maths results

Maths results are declining in Australia. It’s something we’ve all heard before. Every year, the headlines fill our newspapers and our news feeds alerting us to downwards trends and our falling position amongst the world’s top performers. READ MORE

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Mind the gaps

In a national survey of teachers by Pivot, most believed that students learnt at about 50-75% of their regular pace during school shutdowns. Those teaching in disadvantaged schools were less confident, reporting that their students learnt only 25-50% of what they typically would. So, how do we address these gaps? READ MORE

How to close learning gaps and double student growth

In theory, students will have mastered all of the mathematics curriculum they have covered as a primary student before they head to high school. But that would be a pretty outstanding accomplishment and one that very few students actually achieve.

How can we tackle learning gaps so our students have the best possible chance to succeed? READ MORE

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How the recommendations from the Grattan Institute can work in your classroom

While it’s clear that bringing disadvantaged students up to speed is vitally important, what isn’t so obvious is the ‘how’. The Grattan Instituterecently released a report that explored exactly this. The document details strategies that can effectively bring disadvantaged students back up to speed along with recommendations for governments and schools to consider to further support these students.

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Author: Maths Pathway

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