Transform Maths Meetings With This Collaborative Gem

, ,

This post is for anyone who leads (or aspires to lead) mathematics in their institution.

Time with colleagues is precious and can easily be consumed with admin which whilst feeling important, detracts from the main task of improving teacher efficacy. We need teachers to share knowledge and expertise. Strong departments have a shared understanding of what they teach – and how best to teach it. 

If you lead a team of mathematics teachers, try this at your next departmental meeting鈥

Choose a mathematical idea you know most colleagues are teaching soon – for example, the idea of Reversing a Percentage Change.聽 Before your next meeting, get every team member to write out one question that they think best tests students’ understanding of the idea. Have them include the correct solution.聽

For example, they might write鈥

Have them write out three plausible incorrect answers on a separate piece of paper. Encourage them to think about answers students might arrive at if they make an error or have a misconception. Have each colleague bring their question, its answer and their three incorrect answers to your next team meeting.聽

For example, they might write鈥

At the meeting, have them swap questions (but not wrong answers) with a colleague and on a third piece of paper, get each of them to write three more incorrect answers, this time, for their colleague鈥檚 question.

Then, swap back and have the pairs discuss what they have created. 

Discussing why they chose the particular question they did is worthwhile as it leads to a better understanding of what we are looking for from students when we are teaching this particular mathematical idea. Then, have them discuss the similarities and differences in the chosen wrong answers. Open the discussion up to the whole team. Some colleagues will be able to offer powerful insights into the mistakes and misconceptions and how to mitigate them. There鈥檚 also scope here to discuss different methods and teaching approaches.

Based on collective feedback, refine the questions as required and type them up. 

Do this regularly and the department will soon have a bank of quality, collaboratively generated questions to use in lessons as hinge questions, exit tickets or for retrieval practice, with the added benefit that less experienced colleagues will benefit from the insight of their peers and the entire team will gain a richer and shared understanding of the curriculum.

That鈥檚 all for just now.

Feel free to share your suggestions for getting more from maths team meetings to the comments

Thanks for reading.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *