Effective classrooms help develop students’ mathematical and statistical identities and proficiencies, by affirming their cultural identities, goals, and interests, and incorporate relevant cultural contexts into teaching and learning programmes.
Guidance for effective practice:
- Use contexts that are of genuine cultural significance to your ākonga (students), and that provide opportunities for mathematical challenge.
Maia (teacher) works with her students on simple ratios, to develop their multiplicative thinking. She uses the Samoan tradition of a to’ona’i, or Sunday lunch, usually held after church. The class discuss the family traditions from different cultures for sharing food in whānau, or wider groups. Her students work in collaborative teams to work out quantities of different foods they will need, such as sapasui (Traditional Samoan chow mein).
Maia: How much of each food is needed if we have a to’ona’i for our whole class?
- Convey high and realistic expectations to all ākonga and encourage them to develop a ‘growth mindset’ that all learning is achievable with effort.
Emma starts every year with her students by developing a culture of personal agency. She praises effort over result, encourages students to ask questions and take risks, rewards persistence, and flexibility in the face of challenge, and invites students to ask for feedback from her and from their classmates.
To encourage students to reflect on their learning Emma asks students to write an exit ticket for some mathematics lessons. The tickets include prompts like:
- I love a good challenge. Today my challenge was…
- I know persevering is important. Today I kept going when…
- My brain is growing all the time. Today it grew the idea…
Emma takes time to read the tickets in class during independent learning time, so she can talk to a few individual students. The tickets are glued into mathematics books and are used to inform parent interviews.
- Use class routines that acknowledge the ways your ākonga prefer to learn, and that enable efficient time management of tasks and discussions.
Ken uses karakia at important transitions during the school day. An individual student shares their own message about important aspects to attend to, such as “Let’s keep the waka moving in the right direction. Listen to everyone in our crew. Give us strength to use our maths hoe (oars) so we complete our mahi.”
Students in Ken’s class express a desire to work together, so he devotes significant time to working in collaborative teams. Ken usually allows his students to choose their own team members.