Mrs Jodie Bennett | Assistant Head of Junior School:
While preparing for a recent presentation on Mental Strategies in Mathematics, I spoke to several students about their interest in this subject area. It became apparent that students had a particular fondness for the fun side of Mathematics lessons, for games and fast team challenges.
Students expressed that what they found the subject less appealing at times when they needed to engage in repeated practice of skills, in order to develop improved fluency, or when new concepts felt particularly difficult.
Staff regularly talk to the students about the importance of feeling stretched, as though the learning is just outside their comfort zone. Students, however, often do not have the personal experience of the feeling of satisfaction that comes after a period of intense focus on developing a new skill, making it more difficult to relate to this idea.
My conversations with students reinforced the need for shared, consistent messages around the importance of new learning being challenging. A metaphor that can appeal to students is the idea of the ‘Goldilocks zone’ where learning is not too hard and not too easy but just right. I encourage you to encourage students to persist with tasks and to reinforce the importance of consistent practice and effort when mastering new skills.