Extension Maths?

This week I have been speaking to a few teachers about 'Extension' or 'Enrichment' Maths Programs.

Do you run these at your school?

There were a few issues that popped up as we discussed the pros and cons of these offerings.

  1. Boys vs Girls: When you offer these programs do you try to have a balance in gender or do you simply select students based purely on ability? In the two schools I spoke to this week there was heavy leaning towards boys in their enrichment programs as these were the 'stronger' students. What is causing this? Should we be trying harder to promote an interest in maths with our girls?
  2. Selection: How do you chose the students involved in these programs- is it related just to their test scores or do you take into account their attitude to maths and learning? Their ability to think deeply, their collaboration and reasoning skills?
  3. Practicalities: How do you run your enrichment program? is it a weekly thing, an ad-hoc type of thing? Who runs it? Is it linked to what is happening in the classroom? Is it only a senior school thing or is it available for all students?
  4. Opportunities: Does your school run other enrichment programs? Is there a writing extension or a reading extension group? Why is it that maths seems to be special in the enrichment area?
  5. Rationale: Are schools offering an enrichment maths program because it something that is attractive/desirable to prospective parents or is there really a need for the program?

Clearly the fact that I have posed more questions than I have answered, shows I am by no means an expert in this area... so this week I am going to do some reading and thinking around these issues and next week I will share some further insights.

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