Jiva Technology

The crisis in Maths education

It seems to me that when it comes to Maths, the world can be split into Maths: those that love it and enjoy it and those who don’t. There doesn’t seem to be an awful lot in between the two extremes, it’s more of a Marmite subject.

As one of those who falls into the former (love it) category, I can never understand why anyone could not like Maths, it’s the language that describes the natural world around us and has allowed us to build everything from space craft to iPads. When I ask the latter category (hate it) why they dislike the subject so much, they usually bemoan the difficulty of the subject at first, but one factor that always seems to creep in is the way that it’s taught. I’m willing to guess that the proportion of people who fall into the ‘love Maths’ category is small. The number of people who love Maths and then go on to teach it is even smaller. That leads me to think that enthusiastic, knowledgeable Maths teachers are in short supply. My (admittedly limited) field studies amongst parents and friends has confirmed my (jaundiced) view.

If you have decent Maths qualifications, you generally have your pick of attractive job opportunities and teaching will struggle to attract the brightest and best, if only because it doesn’t quite pay on the same scale as banking (another big employer of Maths-lovers).

In a modern economy, we need more schoolchildren to be good at Maths, but to do that, we need more of the recent Maths graduates to go into teaching. If we don’t, we end up in a downward spiral. One way to solve this (apart from paying a lot of money to Maths teachers) is to make it easier to do a bit of Maths teaching on top of other things. Teach First is one way of doing that, another is to use technology. Maths is one of the most popular subjects on Tutorhub and it’s a personal mission to make it easier for people to teach Maths.

We’re looking to solve the problem one Tutorhub session at a time.

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