Back to school tips with Maths specialist Jenny Forsythe



AS PART OF OUR BACK-TO-SCHOOL SERIES, WE’VE GATHERED SOME OF OUR FAVOURITE EDUCATION PROFESSIONALS TO SHARE THEIR KEY WORDS OF WISDOM.


Passion 4 Maths


MATHS SPECIALIST JENNY FORSYTHE, FOUNDER OF PASSION 4 MATHS, ASSOCIATE OF ADVANCED MATHEMATICS SUPPORT PROGRAMME (AMSP) AND FULLY QUALIFIED TEACHING PROFESSIONAL (PGCE), SHARES SUPERB TIPS ON HOW TO SUPPORT YOUR CHILD AS THEY RETURN TO SCHOOL.


JENNY, WHAT WOULD YOU SUGGEST ARE THE BEST WAYS IN WHICH A PARENT CAN SUPPORT THEIR CHILD IN BEGINNING THE NEW SCHOOL YEAR?


Be engaged with their whole school life. Try to avoid just asking about the areas they find difficult or the ones they find easier.


Know their timetable so you can ask them about algebra on the days they do Maths or acting on the day they have drama.


Equipment! Encourage them to always have it (I failed on numerous occasions). A recorder was the biggest bane of my life!


AS A MATHS SPECIALIST, WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE PARENTS WHOSE STUDENTS STRUGGLE IN THIS SUBJECT?


Make sure they have a good source of method notes to refer to (I have some on TES).


Encourage independent learning and feedback by letting your students use their calculator to CHECK their work.


Find opportunities in your daily life to encourage Mathematical thinking; reading a bus/train timetable, adjusting quantities in your favourite recipe, calculating the time to cook a roast…


WHAT TIPS WOULD YOU GIVE PARENTS WHO FIND THEIR CHILDREN RELUCTANT TO DO MATHS?


Encourage them to do Maths regularly in small chunks.

Avoid the worksheets with reams of similar questions.

Tell them it is a life skill which can open many doors and lead to an attractive income.


It also helps you to understand technology, which with the prolific use of computers, means you may not have to rely solely on a computer expert but can be in control of your own destiny.

DO YOU HAVE ANY FAVOURITE MATHS-RELATED BOOKS THAT YOU WOULD CONSIDER A GREAT CROSS-OVER BETWEEN ENGLISH AND MATHS?


In fiction, ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night time’ by Mark Haddon (for any age). An engaging story and all the chapter numbers are prime! There’s not much Maths content, but questions about the unusual chapter numbers could provoke an unexpected Maths discussion.

The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Night -Time can be used to spark discussion of Maths.


Non fiction ‘How to solve it’ by G.Pólya 1945, but still so relevant today and makes so much sense; ‘…understand the problem, try to use experience from related problems to plan an attack, carry out the attack, ask yourself whether you really believe the answer you’ve got.’ (Easy enough to read but probably for a more enthusiastic Mathematician.)


How To Solve It by G. Polya


FINALLY, WHAT’S YOUR MOTTO FOR LIFE?

After some recent public exams, it has become ‘keep your head, do your best and keep going’.

September 2019

If you would like any further information or support from Jenny, find her here!


For more back to school tips, check out what our Signature experts have to share, here.