Introduction – what this blog will consist of and why I am writing it
Teaching Advanced Maths i.e. teaching at A-Level is an exciting and challenging job which comes with a big responsibility. Getting students at this age to become resilient, enthusiastic mathematicians means enriching our society and workforce with talented mathematical thinkers, which much of the world agrees is truly valuable.
Some years ago I enrolled in the Teaching Advanced Maths (TAM) course with MEI. The course was a godsend to a newbie teaching a few A-Level classes. The age old cliché of you only learn when you teach, was reinforced once again. The course pushed me to think deeply about concepts I had taken for granted during a highly structured, technique-rich, formula-heavy Indian education for the Indian School Certificate (ISC) or equivalent of A-levels. I delightedly embraced the TAM way of teaching and made extensive use of the resources.
Fast forward a few years, and I find myself in a school in the middle of a forest in south India, where children often have classes under trees and snakes are occasional visitors. It is a beautiful, thoughtful school, where teachers and students engage in meaningful dialogues on many aspects of life. The ISC maths curriculum however remains unchanged, discordant against the open and enquiring aesthetic of the school.
Against this backdrop, I was dropped into teaching the entire ISC as the only maths teacher to 50 odd children across the two years. Browsing through the thick dense textbooks sent my heart plunging. I knew there was a lot of preparation in store and I longed for the TFM (Teaching Further Maths) as a crutch to hobble across this swamp of a curriculum. Happily, the kind folk at MEI accepted me, despite my very long distance from England. This blog then is a diary and documentation of using TAM and TFM, the resources and support, in a overseas setting.
In my teaching and planning, I will be drawing upon the resources from https://integralmaths.org and the schemes of work http://mei.org.uk/2017-sow amongst others. By using case studies and reflections, I hope teachers in the UK and overseas can benefit from hearing about teaching a different curriculum in a different cultural setting using the invaluable experience of having trained and taught in the UK.