To further develop my subject knowledge in Probability, I have chosen to conduct the curriculum project with year 9; middle ability group (set 5) students. The Key Stage 3 SATs result showed that all of these students were able to achieve Level 5 with the exception of few who achieved a Level 4.
This year 9 class had four 50 minutes duration mathematics lessons per week, and I had responsibility for two of these lessons. Initially I was patronised working with this class because, this set was more challenging in both behaviour and learning. Most of the pupils from this class would be taking their GCSE -Foundation Level. The School's records indicated that 62.2% of the candidates who took GCSE achieved A* to C grades.
The math Teacher Mr X was head of math and his lesson is always functional and well controlled, and I was certain that I will not receive the same respect from the pupils. Before Christmas break my teaching experience with this class was centred mainly on issues of discipline. Most of the pupils learning were frequently disrupted by inappropriate classroom behaviour and absenteeism. They were also very difficult to encourage and motivate. Positive methods of discipline, detention and use of the School's behaviour policy and referral system gradually improved my relationship with the class and also made them to understand that I would always keep up to my word. This success strengthened my determination to improve the learning environment and introduce a sense of mathematical achievement within this class.
The Government, through the National Curriculum, has expressed their belief that probability is of great importance within the subject of mathematics. Understanding and using probability appears in Key Stage 2 and features strongly thereafter. Most of the School offer statistics at GCSE level and this trend reflects the importance of statistics to modern consumers in a society where the ability to make decisions, interpret data and communicate information is vital.
I planned to include this framework within my teaching methodology with careful planning. I intended to sharpen my skills particularly in relation to setting homework, marking and work with individual pupil mistake and misconception. As Boaler highlights "innovative ways teachers engage their students in learning and move math from a 'drill and kill' experience to one where students become mathematicians, not just rote memorizers "Thus in addition to this framework, I intended to teach the use of experimental activities with probability in lessons;
Bright and Hoeffner, 1993 states "Solutions to probability problems often seen counter intuitive even for teachers''. I, therefore, saw experimental activities playing an important role in linking the theoretical and empirical approaches to probability
Each of the pupils in my class had been issued with both a New National Framework Text Book and homework Book. I intended to use them as resources supplementing them with worksheets and other teaching resources drawn from internet.