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How To Enhance Your Mathematics Subject Knowledge: Number and Algebra for Secondary Teachers Paperback – 19 Jul 2018
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"Subject knowledge in maths teaching goes way beyond just knowing how to do maths. It is necessary for maths teachers to gain a deep understand of the underlying concepts in the topics that they're teaching, as well developing sound knowledge of the common misconceptions, the mathematical connections and historical context. In this book, Jemma explains all of this with exceptional clarity. For any new teacher entering the profession, or any experienced teacher looking to enhance their subject knowledge, this book will be incredibly valuable. It is full of insight and wisdom and will undoubtedly help teachers become more confident in the classroom." (Jo Morgan, Mathematics teacher, UK)
The teachers' guide to core concepts in secondary school mathematics.
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Much of what Jemma Sherwood says is essential, isn't and can in fact be counterproductive. Take for example this alleged quote by Gauss
“Mathematics is the queen of the sciences”
Students are unlikely to know that this quote is only anecdotal, but they are well capable of challenging the erroneous claim that mathematics is a science. Regardless I cannot understand in what possible way this factoid could be regarded as "necessary knowledge".
What I do like about this book is its small format. There is plenty content that will challenge and refresh your knowledge. Even if I do not like the author's tone and priorities, there is still plenty of value here. Might be useful when lesson planning.
Finally, a special thank you for pointing out that it is poor practice to begin a lesson with an acronym, in particular BODMAS/BIDMAS, which is one of my pet hates. Textbook and website authors, please take note.
Obviously, if you are teaching mathematics, there is an assumption that you know the basics. Still, there are also questions, so you can try the problems before teaching them and ideas on how to explore the topics in the book. This gives lots of practice, to help you brush up on your skills before teaching topics and is very useful, and well laid out.
Each section starts with a suggested conceptual hook that should help students to overcome a barrier to their knowledge by making a connection to what they already know. This is similar to the Polya approach (Polya's book is a great starting point for all maths teachers and practitioners). This also fits with the ideas of Mason in his problem based approach but that can be more useful for the foundational concepts. At secondary level and in algebra the conceptual barriers are more technical and that is reflected in the level of technicality of the book. This is a good resource for secondary maths teachers but it will not solve all the possible problems you will encounter.