Mathematics through the ages has developed into a sophisticated and complex body of knowledge. It has applications in all human activities, crossing culture and linguistic boundaries to provide a universal way of solving problems in all areas of study and many everyday activities
Unfortunately, Mathematics is also one of the most difficult disciplines to both understand and to teach. Many students have become extremely wary or at least so frustrated with the subject that they have little desire to apply themselves to this part of their education. The objective of maths at Berengarra School is to re-introduce the subject to those students that have experienced difficulties, while continuing to extend those students that excel.
By the time students reach secondary school, they have a fair idea of how ‘good’ they are with Maths. They know their approximate test scores and where they will be on the class list. Most will be convinced that they will never improve their mastery of the subject and will present the most ingenious excuses to avoid any studies in the subject. However, in many cases they underestimate their ability because of their fear of the subject, i.e. they are quite capable but lack confidence.
Easily attainable tasks and activities need to be built into the programs, so students can reach a stage where they are willing to have a go and persist with a problem. We need to accommodate the needs of those students intending to return to mainstream schools, as well as those that plan to take up apprenticeships or traineeships. Many want to achieve a Year 10 pass or fill in the gaps in their Year 8 understanding, while some simply want to master division or subtraction.
Recognizing a student’s unique learning style is an important factor in the design of our curriculum. To meet these demands our students are divided into groups by ability levels and learning styles. The groups are assessed at the beginning of each term and changes made where appropriate.