25 September 2012

Labor promises math camp for Tuggeranong

| johnboy
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Katy Gallagher’s turned her thoughts to Tuggeranong and is sure to get the votes flooding in with a promise to build a maths facility at the Caroline Chisholm school:

if re-elected ACT Labor will commit an extra $8.7 million to build and staff a numeracy centre at Caroline Chisholm school over the next two years.

The Centre of Excellence in Numeracy will improve outcomes in numeracy in Tuggeranong for students and the broader community.

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I guess they are trying to put something of substance in individual high schools that don’t have a particular ‘selling point’ given that they are keen to perpetuate the ‘divided we fall’ idea of having govt high schools competing with each other for enrolments.

Maths is probably the best subject for video linking to other schools as the answer is always going to be either right or wrong; but I personally don’t agree with encouraging this idea of ‘specialist’ schools (eg Lyneham for music, Calwell for the ‘creative arts’). Kids at all schools should have access to good (eg) music and creative arts programs at their local high school so they are not excluded geographically.

Eg, I went to Melrose many years ago, where I learned and excelled at a musical instrument. However, this would not have been possible if I had had to travel to Lyneham. Talent is everywhere and not just at the ‘specialist’ schools.

I also believe that so many numeracy problems could be fixed if primary schools went back to times tables by rote – it has lifelong mathematical value as you instantly just ‘know’ the initial steps before embarking on the actual life problem. It also uses many of the learning ‘gates’ – hearing, speaking, writing, rhythm. Primary school is also where most of the maths issues start. If you don’t already have the basic skills to build on, high school is pretty much the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff.

neanderthalsis10:10 am 25 Sep 12

Having spent my entire adult life either in or attached in some way to the education sector, I fail to see how a specialist numeracy centre can be anything more than a simple cluster of class rooms with some associated multimedia gumph. Virtually all the allocated funding goes into capital expenditure, with very little recurrent funding to cover specialist teachers and ongoing pd.

Spend the $$ on teacher PD, make the curriculum more interesting by incorporating experiential learning components, but having a specialist numeracy centre reeks of wankery.

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