Mathematics is the most important element of a child’s education in so far as it is the fundamental philosophy of life.
Should we continue to categorise mathematics as a subject or module, we will continue to miss great opportunities for our children to become the innovative and creative adults we desperately need for our failing economy to improve. We are constantly losing our creative talents to the creative industries, and while this is wonderful for the creative industries, it leaves the other industries packed full of non creative, rote learning and limited problem solving members. We only have to look at the banking crisis to see this.
Mathematics has been misrepresented in schools for many decades by a multitude of education systems including in countries such as China, US, Ireland, UK, Spain and Italy for example.
Quinn’s reforms, especially with regard to the Junior Cycle is essential in order to address these issues.
An obvious challenge is resourcing these reforms, while the natural resistance to anything new will always gather a momentum in times of austerity. It will need the full commitment of educators and parents and most importantly, the financial resources to adequately support them.
AT CMA, we teach mathematics as a journey of discovery and facilitate learning through using creative technologies, outdoor adventure and team sports and music performance. Mathematics is the one philosophy that underpins all subjects, from history to English to the sciences.
We have coined the phrase ‘Fluency in Mathematics’ as we regard mathematics almost as a language with which to interpret the world and the more fluent we become at it, even in the most basic and fundamental of concepts, the more adept we become in communicating with the world and how it operates and how we might find ways to create new possibilities, realise new potentials and innovate new paths to economic prosperity and a fairer society generally.
Our mission at the Connemara Maths Academy, is to help students become fluent in the fundamental concepts of mathematics through ‘Discovery, Creativity and Technology’. We merge music technology, media technology and 3D animation in our facilitated learning workshops and embrace creativity and original thinking in our lessons, bringing students to the point of discovering many of the concepts themselves, which is an invaluable asset to have. The more connections students can make with the concepts, the more ‘lights’ are going off in the brain and consequently the more meaningful the relationships students have with these concepts.
We also incorporate adventure activities into the programme and explore the maths of them, for example using GoPro video to capture the wave motion while windsurfing and then analysing using 3D animation.