Teaching and learning resources in mathematics
How effectively are resources and technologies used in the teaching of mathematics in the classroom?
ERO evaluated the overall effectiveness of the appropriateness and use of resources and technologies in mathematics in relation to the following indicators:
- appropriate teaching and learning resources are present in classrooms;
- appropriate teaching and learning resources are being used; and
- teachers are confident in the students’ use of resources.
Review officers also considered any additional or supporting information concerning the use of resources and technologies.
Teachers that use high quality, appropriate resources effectively enhance the mathematics programme for students. Developing Mathematics Programmes states that teachers should use a variety of resources and equipment to support classroom teaching, including technology.
These resources should:
- provide for a range of student abilities;
- allow for the application and extension of student skills;
- acknowledge the New Zealand cultural mix;
- be visually attractive;
- have clear instructions;
- facilitate independent and cooperative work; and
- have learning activities and outcomes that are consistent with the achievement objectives.
Each syndicate was well-resourced. All resources were organised so teachers could access them easily. They were in a central location and packaged and labeled for use. In the classroom, the resources were easily accessible so the students could select a game or activity.
The provision and accessibility of mathematics resources were priorities for the school. The Parent Teacher Association had allocated a considerable proportion of their fundraising from the last two years to the purchase of mathematics resources. The principal had synchronized the provision of teacher professional development, the implementation of systems for managing the mathematics resources and the stocktake and purchase of new resources so that the teachers were able to make the best use of the resources. Students used the equipment frequently and capably to improve their understanding of mathematics and reinforce their learning.
The teacher used a wide range of appropriate teaching and learning resources that promoted student learning in mathematics. The teacher demonstrated the appropriate use of manipulative (hands-on) mathematics equipment and students were confident in their use of this equipment. The students selected and used the equipment independently to help them understand mathematics concepts and solve relatively complex problems. Much of the equipment in the classroom had been made by the school community, including the teachers, teacher aides and parents.
A particular strength of the mathematics programmes in this school was the use of information and communications technologies (ICT) to support learning. In addition to the computers available in the classroom, the school had a pod of 16 laptops that the teachers used in their programmes.
Students had access to high quality learning materials. The school had a range of teaching resources including, games, Figure it Out,
 numeracy booklets, manipulative resources. The Parent Teacher Association funded many of these learning resources.
Each classroom was well resourced with mathematical equipment. Teachers grouped the resources according to activities. The equipment was easily accessible to students at all times. The teacher modelled the use of the resources and assisted students to use mathematics equipment. The teachers reported that having good quality equipment and resources had increased students’ enthusiasm and excitement for mathematics.
Teacher aides provided extra support to teachers and students. The Year 4 lead teacher worked with the teacher aides to help them work effectively with students in numeracy.