Mr. F. Harwood's Criteria for Teaching & His Personal, Educational Philosophy
At McRoberts, we learn & communicate through trust, support & mutual respect. Staff, students and parents work together to meet successfully the challenges of life.
Learning together . . . meeting the challenges . . . achieving our dreams!
The BC Association of Mathematics Teachers (BCAMT) has supported the Ministry’s drive to increase numeracy in our students. I endeavour to combine my understandings of learning, teaching and mathematics with the projected needs of our children for success in life to equip my students with attitudes, skills and knowledge for meeting their challenges.
The Numeracy for Students – Handbook for Parents says:
Numeracy is “...the combination of mathematical knowledge, problem solving and communication skills required by all persons to function successfully within our technological world. Numeracy is more than knowing about numbers and number operations.” (BCAMT, 1998)
Numerate students can deal with numbers and measures confidently and competently. They can compute on paper, in their heads, and by using technology. They can estimate and solve problems in a variety of situations. They also understand how information is gathered by counting and measuring and how it is presented in graphs, diagrams, charts, and tables.
Literacy and numeracy are important foundations for all learning in school. These foundations are also important for people to function successfully as adults in today’s world. To be successful in school, the workplace, and community, students must become numerate.
To be numerate, means that students:
know basic number facts estimate values & make mental calculations use mathematics comfortably in their studies
use technology appropriately to solve problems figure out numerical information from graphs & charts become effective problem solvers
The curriculum supports the following processes that foster numeracy:
developing positive attitudes estimating and doing mental mathematics problem solving communicating mathematically
connecting and applying mathematical ideas reasoning mathematically using technology
These are all attitudes and skills that employers are keen to find in their employees. Add social and emotional skills & intelligences with numeracy and you’ll find my classrooms very active places with a lot of problem solving, discussion, discovery and mathematical reasoning. I try to embed life skills and attitudes within the mathematical curriculum. I will employ a variety of teaching styles & strategies to better meet my students’ diverse learning styles and encourage open-endedness for each student to stretch their abilities. I also make myself available most lunch hours and after school times to help students grasp each idea as fully as possible.
Since learning is both an individual and a social process, I promote a great deal of active participation in groups where students reason together, seeking connections and long-term retention of the concepts. Their confidence is built up in small group participation, extra help sessions and through a system of test rewrites. This privilege is earned through extra help going over their mistakes after a test that is not as successful as they had expected. Team/group skills are highly sought after by employers as well.
How can you support your child?
Share a positive attitude towards mathematics. Encourage your child to keep a regular study schedule of doing the homework the night it is assigned to help with long-term retention and to allow them to see me the next day if there are any difficulties. Help your child see that math is very much a part of everyday work and life. Encourage your child to use calculators/computers appropriately. If you’ve time, get them to teach you what they are learning. It is the very best way for them to learn. I can best be reached via email me at email@example.com but you can also phone the school or make an appointment for a meeting. I am often out in the portable helping students and thus will return calls when possible.
ASSESSMENT: Much of my philosophy of assessment will be seen on my assessment guidelines link: AssessmentNotes
Report card marks will focus on two aspects of performance: Work Habits and Achievement Letter Grade
Work Habit marks will be calculated from daily work, homework, quizes, self and peer assessments and my own observations. The work here is mostly to prepare students for the 'summative' assessments (unit tests and retests used to determine the letter grade). Practice for summative assessments should not be counted as part of what a student shows they can do. Athletics or fine arts are not graded on how well their practices are going but on how they play their game or produce their final product. Work habit assessments are called formative assessments and are designed to help students learn. Students who have shown marked improvement during a term will positively affect their work habits report.
Achievement Letter Grades are made up of the summative assessments of a term. Students may have chosen to rewrite one or some because they were not satisfied with their first assessment(s). They must choose which assessment will count for their letter grade before the rewrite is marked. They need to be confident of which test reveals their best work. These summative assessments will be graded against the expected outcomes of their course. These can be seen in the course previews below this link.
Homework is vital to the full development of the math concepts. The assigned work has a variety of exercises designed to build a deep understanding through application, pattern growth and idea extensions. These concepts are then often fundamental to future ideas. Failing to keep up with the assigned work will lead to gaps and increased difficulties. Much extra help is available for students to ensure they are developing for summative assessments (tests of their learning). Homework will be checked through a variety of ways including: Quizzes, peer, self, and teacher evaluations, presentations and more.
Each term is a distinct reporting period. I like students to see a fresh start each term and to know how they are doing for that period of time. At the middle of June, their three terms will be averaged and a final exam will be counted for approximately 20% for their final report card achievement mark.