TLDR: If you’ve ever wondered what a @NCETM #ResitMaths workgroup is like here are a few snippets of mine. We eat good food, talk about issues, discuss methods and share ideas. If you can get to Sheffield the next meeting is Fri 25th Jan or check your local HUB.
I need to admit my bias here this is my second year running the GCSE Maths Resit workgroup for South Yorkshire. I ended up doing it because no one else volunteered so I got volunteered to do it. Initially I was quite sceptical and struggled to get people involved but I’m really pleased now it’s up and running. I can’t speak for the participants, though I hope they would say good things to, but I’ve found it invaluable.
Everyone needs to find their tribe. Teaching resit GCSE is brilliant but can feel hard and disheartening sometimes. Having a support network of teachers in other institutions is brilliant. While the focus of the meetings is on a particular topic there’s also time to chat informally about what’s going on. The discussions and ideas shared give me reassurance and new things to try. I really appreciate that it is teachers working together. I asked at the end of last year whether they would like guest speakers and got my favourite quote from one of the participants ‘not until we’ve exhausted all of our own ideas’. That’s not to say we aren’t looking externally, I bring along relevant reports and research but between us we have many years of experience to draw on.
The format for workgroups is different depending on the needs in the area but roughly this is how mine works:
Arrive from 1:30 for lunch and catching up. During this time I get a few bits of admin out of the way so will have a Google form to fill in to review things from the last meeting and there’s often questions people have been asking about how things work in other institutions. To keep the focus on the topic people send me this in advance where possible or put it in during lunch
Meeting starts at 2 – We focus on a particular topic and talk about the difficulties in teaching it, misconceptions, different methods and resources. The picture shows some of the resources and ideas that were shared when we were talking about angles.
3:30-4 the meeting ends but usually a few people will be chatting about other things for a bit.
It’s been really hard work trying to get in touch with the right people in institutions. I’ve still not got anyone from the schools in the area or a few of the colleges and not many other providers are involved. If you know anyone doing maths resits please pass the message on the message that I’d love to have them along to my workgroup if they are nearby or can put them in touch with their closest workgroup lead.